Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult
Scorecard, Answers 41 to 50.

(To go back and forth between the questions and the answers for Alcoholics Anonymous, click on the numbers of the questions and answers.)

41. Disturbed Guru, Mentally Ill Leader
A.A. scores a 10, and deserves a 20.
Both of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous were mental train wrecks.

Bill Wilson:

Alcoholics Anonymous founder William Griffith Wilson was insane, really insane, clinically diagnosable, as well as being grossly, feloniously, dishonest, a pathological liar, abusive to others, manipulative, vindictive, exploitative, and a phony holy man.

  • William G. Wilson was a clinically diagnosable (and diagnosed) raving lunatic who suffered from paranoid delusions of grandeur and a narcissistic personality disorder. Bill Wilson was under the care of two psychiatrists, Dr. Harry Tiebout and Dr. Frances Weeks. Dr. Tiebout said of Bill Wilson: "he had been trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of 'His Majesty the Baby.'"

    William Griffith Wilson

    Wilson suffered from disease number 297.10, "Delusional (Paranoid) Disorder, Grandiose Type", and 301.81, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association in their book The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third and fourth editions (DSM-III-R and DSM-IV). The bombastic, grandiose, and completely delusional things that Bill Wilson wrote in the books Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions leave little doubt about that. Wilson routinely made grandiose statements like that he was "walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe", and that his miraculous cure for alcoholism — "getting religion" — was something entirely new and original. Bill even imagined that his Alcoholics Anonymous cult was "one of the greatest medical and spiritual developments of all time."

    Delusions of grandeur are unfortunately often seen in people who suffer from extreme cases of substance abuse disorders. It's simple, really: if you rot your brain with enough drugs or alcohol, you will go insane. No surprise there. Even A.A. says that, often:
    "John Barleycorn promises us insanity or death."
    Well, alcohol gave Bill Wilson the insanity half of it.

    Bill Wilson drank the infamous, often-poisonous, Prohibition-era "Bathtub Gin", and wrote in the Big Book that two or even three bottles of it a day was his usual rate of consumption. Bathtub Gin was notorious for occasionally being contaminated with methyl alcohol, which causes massive neural damage, even if it doesn't blind or kill you. Even "clean" ethyl alcohol kills brain cells by the millions when drunk in large quantities for prolonged periods of time, resulting in Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. So it isn't surprising that Bill Wilson ended up with brain damage and mental problems. And Doctor William D. Silkworth said that Bill Wilson was suffering from brain damage, and likely to go insane if he drank any more. Bill drank some more.

    Wilson constantly made irrational, grandiose claims like,

    We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, chapter 6, Into Action, page 75.

    We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, Chapter 9, The Family Afterward, page 130.

    And Bill repeatedly insisted that we give up our sanity, and abandon human intelligence and reason, and become just as illogical, irrational, and crazy as he was:

    Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 49.

    Reason isn't everything. Neither is reason, as most of us use it, entirely dependable, though it emanate from our best minds.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, pages 54-55.

    Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and did not like to lose our support.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, Page 53.

  • Wilson was a habitual liar, even a compulsive or pathological liar. He lied about nearly everything:

  • Bill Wilson behaved like a typical cult leader:

  • Bill felt that he was special, and entitled to the best of everything, while other people were just disgusting alcoholics who were entitled to nothing.

    They [narcissists] often usurp special privileges and extra resources that they believe they deserve because they are so special.
    DSM-IV == Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition; Published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC. 1994; page 659.

  • Bill Wilson was outrageously, feloniously, dishonest. When A.A. was just getting started, he took the money that had been raised to print the Big Book, the Bible of A.A. — money that had been raised through a felonious stock swindle. Wilson also cheated the buyers of the stock out of any share of the profits from the sales of the book. And then he stole the ownership of the copyright to the Big Book, and then took the royalties from the book sales for himself and Dr. Bob, thus violating his promises to the 30 other co-authors who were told that the group would own the book.

    • Bill promised the 30 or so other authors of the Big Book that the book would be jointly owned by all of the authors, but when he filed for the copyright, Wilson claimed that he was the sole author, and that he was the publishing company that owned the copyright — not just that he owned the publishing company, but that the company was
      "Wm. G. Wilson, trading as Works Publishing Co.".
      That was after Wilson had sold stock in a different publishing company, "The One Hundred Men Corporation", which had financed the writing of the book, and was supposed to publish the book and own the copyright. Then, with that copyright in hand, Bill Wilson blackmailed the Alcoholic Foundation (early A.A. organization) into giving him and Doctor Bob all of the royalties from the Big Book. Nobody else got anything.

    • Then Bill Wilson cheated all of the stockholders of the "One Hundred Men Corporation" or "Works Publishing" out of any share of the profits. They had been promised big profits when they bought the stock, but when the book-publishing venture finally became profitable, the stock issue was canceled and nobody got any of the profits. The profits were diverted to "The Alcoholic Foundation", whose biggest expense was supporting Bill Wilson in comfort for the rest of his life.

  • And while he was pulling all of those stunts, Bill Wilson cajoled all the other A.A. members to work selflessly, to abandon self-seeking, to have no thought of personal profit, and to quit being so selfish:

    The unselfishness of these men as we have come to know them, the entire absence of profit motive, and their community spirit, is indeed inspiring to one who has labored long and wearily in this alcoholic field.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, The Doctor's Opinion, page XXV.

    "Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles."
    "Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!"
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 62.

    "We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change."
    The Promises, in The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 84.

    "To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 93.

  • Apparently, Bill Wilson did not consider it "selfish" for him to demand that the Alcoholics Anonymous organization support him in comfort for the rest of his life, as well as buy him a beautiful house in the country and a Cadillac car. Bill Wilson ended up being so rich that his wife Lois even had a private secretary, Francis Hartigan,5 while Bill supported a mistress, Helen Wynn, on the side. While all of that was going on, Bill constantly complained about being desperately poor, starving, unappreciated, and unpaid or underpaid for all of his hard work.

  • Speaking of which, Bill Wilson was unfaithful to his wife both before and after sobriety.
    • Bill invented the A.A. tradition of "thirteenth stepping" — sexually exploiting — the attractive new women members who come to A.A. seeking help for alcoholism.
    • Bill Wilson used the A.A. headquarters and the A.A. Grapevine offices as employment services for his string of mistresses. It was understood that girls who couldn't even type were routinely hired as secretaries and office workers because they were Bill's girlfriends.
    • Bill was such an outrageous philanderer that the other A.A. members had to form a "Founder's Watch Committee", whose job it was to follow Bill Wilson around, and watch him, and break up budding sexual relationships between Bill and the dewy-eyed pretty young things who came to the A.A. meetings, before Bill publicly embarrassed A.A. yet again.4
    • Bill Wilson exhibited total disregard for the welfare of the attractive young women who came to A.A. seeking help to recover from alcoholism. Bill just screwed them. Any doctor who abused his female patients that way would have his license to practice medicine revoked. But since Bill was just a cult leader, not a healer, he didn't have any license to lose.

  • Which brings up the next item: The narcissistic Bill Wilson was incapable of empathy or of caring for the feelings of others. He was the kind of guy who could sit and watch his wife work all day long without offering to help, even when she was doing heavy labor like shoveling the snow off of the sidewalk.

    Bill [was] a monomaniac who loved to sit or lie down and think, write and read, while Lois did all of the physical work, including shoveling snow off the long driveway at Stepping Stones...
    Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 80.

    By the way, that is the effects of tobacco showing up again. The chain smoker Bill Wilson didn't have the energy to shovel snow, so his wife Lois had to do it, until she suffered a heart attack.

  • Bill yammered about unconditional love, but he really had a vindictive mean streak in him, where he would turn on people, and ostracize them and banish them for disagreeing with him. Bill even sentenced A.A. members to death by alcoholism for refusing to believe in God as Bill dictated.

    When they argued and disagreed because Bill Wilson was helping himself to all of the Big Book publishing fund, stealing the copyright, and taking all of the credit for writing the book, Bill drove his best friend, business partner, and Big Book co-author Henry Parkhurst out of A.A. and to his death, drunk, penniless, and alone.

    • Bill cheated Henry out of any royalties from the Big Book, and any stock dividends from the publishing company which published the Big Book, thus guaranteeing that Henry would die broke.
    • Then Bill abandoned Henry Parkhurst, and left him to die drunk.
    • And Bill Wilson even had the gall to describe it all as "he [Hank] was on what we nowadays call a 'dry bender'." According to Bill Wilson, it was all Hank's fault for wanting to be treated fairly — for wanting his fair share of the credit and the money. It was also all Hank's fault because Hank criticized Bill Wilson's drive to become "the Grand Poohbah of Alcoholics Anonymous".1
    • And then Bill Wilson whined and complained about how hard it was to take that Henry was gone.

  • Bill Wilson was viciously resentful and vindictive. Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book that his wife Lois was selfish, silly, and dishonest — after she worked in a department store to support him for years while he stole money from her purse and drank it up — because she had criticized him and called him a drunken sot when he got drunk and threw temper tantrums and tore up the house and threw a sewing machine at her.

  • Then Bill went into a fit of deep crippling clinical depression that lasted for eleven years, and in the middle of it, he wrote a book that he claimed was a manual that would teach people how to be happily and usefully whole (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions). Wilson also claimed that 15 years of practicing the A.A. program and being "dependent on A.A." had not produced any "baleful results", even when he was so mentally ill that he was under the care of two psychiatrists — Dr. Harry Tiebout and Dr. Frances Weeks2 — and he just laid in bed and stared at the ceiling all day long, or sat in his office and held his head in his hands all day long.

    Nell Wing, Bill's secretary from 1950 until he died, said,

    "He would come down to the office many times and sit across from me and just put his head in his hands and really not be able to communicate, just almost weep. He used to talk about it. It baffled him." Herb M., general manager at G.S.O. for many years, echoed Nell's memory: "There were some times when these horrible depressions would go on and on, for days and days. Then, it was pretty hard to make contact with him. He'd try and cooperate if you had a question, but to try and sit down and do any planning with him at that time was useless. His whole face would fall; he looked sad, sad, very sad."
    'PASS IT ON' The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pages 293-294.

    In the mid-1940's Bill's depressions were deepening. He was seldom free of black and despairing moods. He was seeing psychiatrists regularly: first Dr. Harry Tiebout, an enthusiastic supporter of A.A.'s recovery program, and then Dr. Frances Weeks.
    Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 80.

  • On top of all of that, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith were heavily into spiritism, and held regular "spook sessions" that featured séances, spirit-rapping, and Ouija boards, to get messages from "the spirits."
    • Wilson considered himself "gifted", an "adept", and acted as a medium, "channelling" the voices of various discarnate spirits whom he thought chose to speak through him. Bill imagined that he heard the voices of both dead people and God.
    • An official A.A. history book, PASS IT ON, documents numerous stories of Bill and Bob's spook sessions, including one about Bill Wilson carrying on a conversation with three ghosts before breakfast during a trip to Nantucket in 1944 — ghosts that Wilson claimed were the spirits of three distinct long-dead Nantucket citizens (PIO, pages 276-280).
    • Bill wrote, in his correspondence with Father Edward Dowling, that he was in psychic communication with a medieval monk named "Boniface". Father Dowling replied that he feared that Bill was messing with evil spirits who were deceiving him.6
    • Henrietta Seiberling wrote that Bill Wilson also practiced "automatic writing" and thought that he was taking dictation from a Catholic priest who had lived in Barcelona, Spain, in the sixteen-hundreds. (We get no explanation of how or when the priest learned to dictate in English.)
    • Then, Henrietta Seiberling said, Bill Wilson started claiming that he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, here to finish the work that Christ had not finished. Henrietta wrote that Bill Wilson was deluded and imagined himself all kinds of things.

    Bill Wilson had so much supernatural stuff going on that he was running a regular "Alky Horror Picture Show"

    Narcissists believe in magic and in fantasy.
    They are no longer with us.
    from: http://HealthyPlace.Com/Communities/Personality_Disorders/narcissism/faq3.html

  • All of that insanity was in addition to Step Eleven, which specifically instructs members to practice meditation and prayer until they hear The Voice Of God dictating their work orders to them every day. Bill Wilson admitted that people got into all sorts of trouble when they believed that the voices in their heads were The Voice Of God, telling them what to do:
    "We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas."
    But, Bill says, "Nevertheless... We come to rely on it."
    So yes, I am a gifted psychic, and I channel God, and God talks to me and gives me special messages every day...

Dr. Bob:

Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith

And Doctor Robert Smith wasn't much better off:

The standard A.A. mythology describes Doctor Bob as a wonderful, wise, kindly, gentle soul. Bill Wilson wrote that he liked to call Doctor Bob his "grumpy bear." But in the book Children Of The Healer, Doctor Bob's adopted daughter Sue Smith describes him as cold, aloof, and autocratic.

  • Doctor Bob seems to have been a dogmatic, intolerant, power-tripping, neurotic religious fanatic who got his kicks by having people surrender to God on their knees before him.

  • Nan Robertson, in her book which enthusiastically praised A.A., described Doctor Bob like this:

    He was a dignified man, gallant to women, yet he had a slangy way of speaking about them. He called women "frails" or "skirts," or, if he really liked one, simply "woman."
    He relished a dirty joke.
    Conventional and sometimes dogmatic, Dr. Bob opposed the admission of women alcoholics into the initially all-male A.A.
    Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, pages 36-37.

  • The official Alcoholics Anonymous history book, PASS IT ON, tells how Doctor Bob prepared himself for an operation on a patient by taking "one goofball" (a sedative) and drinking a beer, to steady his shaking hands (page 149).
          And Bill Wilson told the same story in his history of Alcoholics Anonymous, saying that Doctor Bob went on a binge, and then...

          We got Bob back home and into bed, and right then we made an alarming discovery. He had to perform a certain operation that only he could do. The deadline was just three days away; he simply had to do the job himself; and here he was, shaking like a leaf...
          [Three days later] Anne and I drove him to the hospital at nine o'clock. I handed him a bottle of beer to steady his nerves so he could hold the knife, and he went in.... That was June 10, 1935.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 67-71.

    Nan Robertson described Dr. Bob's recovery from his last binge this way:

    The Smith children remember that the sobering up process took three days. As it happened, Dr. Bob had an operation scheduled for that third day. Bill loaded the doctor up with the classic folk remedy of the time for hangovers — sauerkraut and tomato juice for vitamins and Karo corn syrup for energy. He gave Bob a few beers to steady his nerves and taper him off. On the way to City Hospital the morning of the operation, June 10, 1935, Dr. Bob still had the shakes. Bill gave him another bottle of beer. Alcoholics Anonymous dates its beginning from that day, the day of Dr. Bob's last drink.
    Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 54.

    Doctor Bob wouldn't postpone the operation on the grounds that he was unfit to operate — he didn't want anyone to know that he was unfit. He operated on a patient even though his hands were shaking so badly that he had difficulty holding a scalpel and cutting a straight line. He prepared himself for an operation by drinking alcohol and taking a drug. That is grossly unethical; it is felony medical malpractice; it completely disregards the welfare of the patient — Doctor Bob was gambling with the patient's life — and it is the kind of behavior that warrants revoking a doctor's license to practice medicine.

    Strangely enough, A.A. counts that day as Doctor Bob's first day of sobriety, and considers that day the founding day of Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • Bill Wilson also wrote that Doctor Bob had a very bad reputation around Akron, Ohio — 'when you let the proctologist Dr. Robert Smith operate on you, "you are really betting your ass."'3

  • In Doctor Bob's own story in the Big Book, Doctor Bob described himself as a childish fool who was constantly trying to outwit his wife by sneaking in and hiding bottles of alcohol. She was constantly turning out his pockets and performing body searches on him when he came into the house, and he was just as constantly thinking up new ways to smuggle in booze (read his story in the Big Book, "Doctor Bob's Nightmare").

    So to his wife he was just a naughty, irresponsible little boy, but to his own children he was a cold, cruel, aloof, autocratic dictator. That is a classic textbook example of a petty tyrant: someone who is a grovelling toady to his superiors, and a haughty martinette to his inferiors — a weak man who gets his jollies by lording it over someone else who is even weaker, like children. Or like sick, shaky, weak, detoxing alcoholics, whom he made surrender on their knees before him.

  • Doctor Bob's own children wrote a book about him, where they described him as a horrible cruel father who ran a badly dysfunctional family. The book is "Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob's Kids As Told to Christine Brewer", by Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows.

    Sue Smith wrote about her childhood:

    The paddle Dad used on us came from a game that had a ball with it. One end of the paddle was big and one end was little. Dad used the little end, the part that hurt like the dickens. Mom would use the big end; it didn't hurt so much for some reason. Well, Dad found out and he whittled it down so that both ends were the same. He always kept that paddle on an inside shelf of the bathroom closet. It was about a half-inch thick. Like I say, when we got it, we knew it.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob's Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 49.

    What kind of a sick sadistic alcoholic sits around whittling a paddle with which to beat his children, carving it so that it will cause more pain?

    Sue Smith fought with her father for years over her high-school sweetheart Ray Windows. She was in love with Ray, and only wanted Ray. Doctor Bob didn't like Ray because he was just a regular, rather unspectacular high-school kid. Sue wrote:

    He told me that "as long as you live in my house, young lady, you're going to do as I say." It was the old Vermont chill — he could do it with that voice and those steely blue eyes.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob's Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 33.

    He grabbed me. He would grab me by the arm and dig those fingernails into me. And he'd give me that look.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob's Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 49.

    Ernie Galbraith,
    "A.A. Number Four",
    the constantly-relapsing philanderer whom Dr. Bob shoved on his daughter.

    Doctor Bob got the bright idea of using the older man Ernie Galbraith, A.A. Number Four, to split up Susan and Ray. He asked Ernie to show an interest in Sue, to horn in and break up Sue and Ray. It worked. Ernie was 31 or 32 when Ray and Sue were only 17, so Ernie was able to just heavy Ray out and scare him off. Sue later wrote:

    At that time, Ernie said he was 30. He must have been a little older   ...
    I was about 17.   ...
    I didn't pay any attention to Ernie. I didn't like him. I thought he was a smarty, you know. He was stout, with reddish hair and a round face with blue eyes. He was outgoing, the life-of-the-party type. Ernie was single then and he kept coming to the house, and I think my dad got the bright idea that if he could get Ernie to take me out, and he'd pay the way, he might be able to get me away from Ray. We'd go down and get hamburgers, and Dad would buy them. I knew all that, but I didn't realize it was in connection with Ray at the time. Now I think it was. I think Dad was using Ernie, and it backfired on him.   ...
    Ernie gradually started to have some appeal. He was an older person and he had a good sense of humor. We always had fun. We joked together. He was a real storyteller. He could make my mom and dad laugh like nobody I've ever seen, just sitting around the kitchen table, telling stories, and drinking coffee. Like I say, they were pushing me, so I figured they liked him. And that was kind of different.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob's Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 46.

    Then one time, in the fall of 1937, I went out with Ray, and when I came home Ernie was at the house. I tried to go upstairs without being noticed, but he cornered me in the hall and asked me if I'd been out with Ray. I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "yes." So, by gosh, if he didn't whip up and grab me by the arm and get me in the car and drive over to Ray's apartment. Ray was hanging out on the corner, as usual, with a bunch of the guys. It was a warm night. Ernie got Ray in the car and that was when I broke up with Ray. Ernie just told Ray that Dad didn't want me to see him, and I don't remember what the thing was — whether I had to make up my mind or whatever. I don't remember. I didn't say much. I couldn't even look at Ray. Ray says he got the impression that Ernie was taking over and that he was out. But I know that for about three weeks I wasn't worth a nickel around there, burning the toast and forgetting to put the coffee on. I was grouchy and mean because I had broken up with Ray. I didn't really want to, but I was beginning to like Ernie then, too. Ray said he never cried in his life, but he did that night.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob's Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 47.

    Heartbroken, Ray Windows ended up joining the Army and going to the South Pacific.

    Ernie Galbraith wrote the story "The Seven Month Slip" for the first edition of the Big Book. As the story's title implies, Ernie relapsed. Often. Like all of the time. The "seven-month slip" was not a little slip after seven months of sobriety; it was seven months long — seven more months of suicidally-intense drinking after only one year of sobriety. The A.A. program didn't help Ernie to overcome his alcoholism at all.

    And Ernie philandered, too, just like Bill Wilson. Having him "show an interest in" Sue was really like having the fox guard the henhouse. Any farmer stupid enough to do that should not be surprised to find his plumpest hen eaten. Doctor Bob should have learned something about Ernie from reading his Big Book story, but no, Doctor Bob didn't learn.

    The teenage girl Susan was pretty defenseless against the well-practiced older charmer Ernie.

    Ernie wasn't the nicest person. I already knew he was a womanizer. When I went to the WPA school, sometimes he'd take a friend of mine home, usually Barb or Vianna.   ... He was going with a zillion girls at the same time. He was like Will Rogers — he never met a woman he didn't like.
          Ernie had a lot of appeal, though. Too much appeal. He appealed to everybody. Like my girlfriend Elgie would say, "I don't know what it was. It just seems like you were fascinated with that guy." And that was it. He surprised me and bought me presents, candy, and flowers. I liked that. When I was with him, I felt like I was the number one girl. Then I'd hear about him and some other gal, or he wouldn't show up, and I'd just bawl. Then he'd show up with a box of candy and I'd think he'd change. You always think they're gonna change. After a while, you can't give it up.
          He did stay sober at first. He was A.A. number four. That's how he got into the Big Book, the first one. He was dropped in the second edition because he started drinking again. He was boozing by the time we were married. That was one reason Dad didn't like him. The other, of course, is that Ernie double-crossed him. I've heard people say Dad always thought Ernie was an S.O.B.; he was the only person Dad was ever heard to talk about like that.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob's Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, pages 48-49.

    Obviously, Doctor Bob was not a very good judge of character. After Doctor Bob engineered the whole affair, and shoved Ernie Galbraith on his daughter, Doctor Bob whimpered and complained that Ernie had "double-crossed him" by plucking the ripe plum Susan.

    Bill Wilson quietly removed Ernie G.'s story from the Big Book in 1955, when the second edition was published, but it took until 1965 for Sue to get divorced from Ernie. Then, after Ray's first wife died, she finally married her high-school sweetheart Ray Windows.

    And there is more, lots more, like the daughter of Susan and Ernie ended up getting pregnant at 16, and then, several years later, killed herself and her own young daughter with Ernie's shotgun in a double murder-suicide.

    Dr. Bob's son, Robert Smith Jr., a.k.a. "Smitty", spent his life in and around A.A. and Al-Anon, yammering crazy platitudes, trying to deal with his own issues.7 One example of Smitty's neurotic mind-set is:

          I thought I was a very shallow person, because I didn't seem to be able to love my fellow man. I could see a deeper love in other people than I seemed to be able to have. I read a book that kind of set me on the right track on that one. It said love is a learned phenomenon, you're not born with it. And here's the catch, I think, for us — you have to be willing to accept love, which I could never do.
          All of this was taught to me slowly. I had a sponsor who interested me in, and forced me into, the service end of it. I learned then that everybody in the program is not perfect. I learned they don't have to be perfect for you to love 'em or even like 'em. Because when you start culling your friends, accepting only the perfect ones, you're not going to have any friends. I used to cull my friends, and if I found the slightest imperfection, I would think I have to discard them. But now I seem to be able to accept them like they are, warts and all, and present myself to other people, warts and all. And boy, you can sure have a lot more friends that way.
    "Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob's Kids As Told to Christine Brewer", by Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 157:

    That poor guy. His father, Doctor Bob, screwed him up so bad that he was unable to feel or accept love.

    And it is irrational, even insane, to expect everybody around you to be perfect, or even to expect any of them to be perfect. (Such compulsive perfectionism is characteristic of abused children.) But you can't flip out and go to the opposite extreme either, and give everybody "unconditional love and complete acceptance". If you don't set some standards, and cull your friends, then you will end up with Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, and Rev. Jim Jones for your circle of friends.

    And then it seems that Bob Smith Jr. reported, in an Al-Anon speaker's tape, that his own son also committed suicide. So two of Dr. Bob's grandchildren killed themselves, one while also murdering Dr. Bob's great-granddaughter.

    Neurosis, insanity, and tragedy ran rampant in the Smith family. Go read: Children Of The Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob's Kids, by Bob Smith Jr. and Sue Smith Windows.

    Dr. Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows, even gladly gives testimony in court against Alcoholics Anonymous. When the German A.A. organization was suing some German A.A. members for printing and freely giving away copies of the old, out-of-copyright versions of the Big Book, Sue volunteered to go to Germany to give testimony against the A.A. leadership. Unfortunately, her ill health prevented her from doing so, but she wanted to. However, she did send a notorized statement that flatly declared that Bill Wilson stole the Big Book money and copyright without the knowledge or permission of her father or any of the other Akron A.A. members.

    See a PDF copy of her statement here:

    UPDATE: Alas, Sue Smith Windows recently died of old age. May she rest in peace.

Dr. Robert Smith (left) and William G. Wilson (right)
in Akron, Ohio, 1949.

Both of those sociopaths fit the description of "former victim turned persecutor." Neither could "hack it" in the real world. They were both obsessive-compulsive, fanatical and manipulative. Behind their strong and confident exteriors — pseudo-personalities — they both needed their leader positions to compensate for a very fragile sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-identity. They both had long histories of suicidally-intense alcohol abuse. They had both wrecked their own lives. They were both members of another cult religion, The Oxford Group, before they founded their own cult religion.

Bill Wilson was also an abused child — the son of an abusive alcoholic father — and hence, "an untreated Adult Child of an Alcoholic".

And Wilson was certainly a "charismatic charmer who could change personalities in a flash." Bill bragged about giving newcomers unconditional love and complete acceptance, but he had a mean vindictive streak in him, where he would turn on people, and condemn them to death by alcohol for disagreeing with him or criticizing him.

Both Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith fit the description of "a disturbed guru".

42. Disturbed Members, Mentally Ill Followers
A.A. scores a 10.

Pretty obviously, just for starters, most of the members were drinking themselves to death before joining A.A.. That isn't normal, or healthy.

That isn't to say that every member of A.A. is mentally ill, far from it. But there has to be something really wrong with someone's mind if he really believes that a praying to a doorknob or a bedpan will restore him to sanity and fix his alcohol problem. There has to be something wrong with his logic if he thinks that an organization that promotes such nonsense is okay, and is on the up-and-up. And there has to be something wrong with his judgement if he falls in love with it at first sight:

When we reached A.A., and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 57.

There has to be something really wrong with his thinking if he buys into the whole insane package of A.A. dogma. He has to be at least a little nuts if he thinks that all of the crazy and delusional things that are listed in the other Cult Test items here are somehow all okay.

By the way, one of the reasons that the newcomer feels that he is among people who really understand is because he is gettng "love bombed". The other A.A. members surround him and cheer for him and congratulate him for coming and encourage him to keep coming back, and say that they are giving him "unconditional love". It's a standard cult recruiting technique.

One sage observer of the scene commented:

I see it as sort of like the victims of con artists. The thing they all have in common that allows a con artist to get over is that they are gullible and greedy. They want something for nothing, amazing stock returns, pyramid schemes, etc., and they are gullible enough to get swindled. Generally, I do not feel sorry for victims of con artists. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. If it sounds ridiculous, it probably is. If it sounds like hyperbole and exaggeration, it probably is.
Joe H.

A 24-year A.A. old-timer wrote,

I have also noted how angry so many of the "old timers" are. I have observed that closely and concluded for myself that the problem is that most people have a lot of grief in their lives and in a way, AA is always focusing on losses. At the same time, there is nowhere to go with grief as it isn't allowed. So the sadness gets stuffed leaving only the anger to be dumped out in the meeting, usually aimed at someone who isn't getting the program or was foolish enough to tell the truth about their selfish life. Notice that sometime. Old timers in AA are often an angry lot: a mask of serenity with a seething cauldron underneath.

And there is no shortage of true believers who are ready to lash out angrily and hatefully whenever anyone dares to criticize A.A. or its beliefs. Many people are not interested in the truth at all. Rather, they just want to hear some affirmation of their own beliefs — that is, their own superstitions.

I regularly receive emails from true-believer A.A. members who claim that I am wrong about something or other. When I answer, showing them the evidence that supports my statements, they simply ignore it and change the subject, and complain about something else. They simply will not allow their opinions to be changed by mere facts. They are in denial. That is not good mental health, nor is it recovery, nor is it a lifestyle of "rigorous honesty." That is a lifestyle of self-deception.

And then we should not ignore the failures in A.A. — those people who don't quit drinking. There is something a bit off-base about people who can week after week, month after month, come to A.A. meetings and listen to stories of horror and tragedy caused by drinking alcohol, and then go out and drink some more alcohol. That is certainly not good mental health, nor is it recovery. After a certain point, you have to conclude that those people are nuts.

Michael Lemanski observed:

In AA, the bald assumption is that following "the AA way of life" will inevitably "restore [alcoholics] to sanity."
      But this is not necessarily true. In a research report called The Abstinent Alcoholic, researchers Donald Gerard, Gerhart Saenger, and Renee Wile analyzed the abstinent population. The study included clients who had managed to achieve sobriety for up to nine years. On the basis of their findings and case studies, they divided the abstinent former alcoholics into four classifications:

  1. Overtly Disturbed (54% of the total)
  2. Inconspicuously Inadequate Personalities (24%)
  3. Alcoholics Anonymous Successes (12%)
  4. Independent Successes (10%)

      The authors describe these groups as follows:

1. Overtly Disturbed ... These ex-patients suffer with tension to a degree which concerns them; and/or they are angry, dissatisfied, or are resentful., projecting aggressive attitudes or ideas into their environment; and/or they are driven by anxiety so that they are restless, unable to relax, seeking to distract or sedate themselves from their conflicts by spending inordinate amounts of time at work or social activities of a community nature; and/or they are overtly psychiatrically ill, displaying disturbances of mood, thought, and behavior to a psychotic degree.

2. Inconspicuously Inadequate Personalities consist of those ex-patients whose total functioning is characterized by meagerness of their involvement in life and living.... There is nothing grossly "wrong" in their lives. They are not presently likely to go to jail or to a mental hospital, nor are they very troubled. On the other hand, there is no positive sense of excitement, purpose, or interest in life.   ...

3. AA Successes... It is evident that they are as dependent on AA as they were before on alcohol. They are very active in AA. Some of them spend all or practically all of their free time at AA or in 12-Step work. Conversely, they have little or no social life apart from AA....

4. Independent Successes... These ex-patients have achieved a state of self-respecting independence, of personal growth, and self-realization. They differ from the first subgroup in that they do not appear disturbed...; they differ from the second subgroup in that they are more alive and interesting as human beings...; and they differ from the third subgroup in that their efforts at self-realization are independent rather than institutionally supported....25

It certainly appears that the AA promise that "working the steps" (the centerpiece of 12-Step treatment) will make individuals "happily and usefully whole"26 was not fulfilled for the fully 90% of the individuals studied who were — after treatment, and, presumably, continued participation in AA — either overtly disturbed (54%), had "inadequate" personalities (24%), or were "AA successes" (12%).

25. "The Abstinent Alcoholic," by Donald Gerard, Gerhart Saenger, and Renee Wile. Archives of General Psychiatry, Volume 6, 1962, pp. 99-110.
26.Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, by Bill Wilson. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1953, p. 15.

A History of Addiction & Recovery in the United States, Michael Lemanski, pages 104-106.

43. Create a sense of powerlessness, covert fear, guilt, and dependency.
A.A. scores a 10.

Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer listed this item as one of the five essential criteria for an effective thought reform or brainwashing program.

A.A. creates feelings of powerlessness, covert fear, guilt and dependency in its victims in a variety of ways:

  • Step One says that members are powerless over alcohol, and unable to manage their own lives.

  • Step Two says that members are insane.

  • Step Three says that members must turn over — surrender — control of their lives and their wills to "God as we understood Him", who can be anything, including the local Group Of Drunks.

  • Step Four demands that members make lists of everything they ever did wrong in their entire lives, and Step Five instructs members to confess that list to someone.

  • Step Seven tells members to "humbly" beg God to remove their "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings". It doesn't say anything about people healing themselves.

  • Step Nine demands that members make another list of everyone they ever harmed or offended, and then Step Ten tells them to go "make amends" by apologizing and humbling themselves before everybody on the list.

  • Step Eleven tells people to hear the Voice of God. If people don't hear God talking, then they are inferior and failures again. (As a defense against that feeling of failure, some people become delusional and imagine that every little noise in their heads is the Voice of God talking to them.)

  • A.A. tells newcomers that their thinking is defective, and their morality is hopelessly flawed. "You are selfish. Everything you do is just for yourself."

  • A.A. also tells members that they cannot ever recover: "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." You will allegedly always be a sinful weak alcoholic, in imminent danger of relapsing and dying drunk in a gutter unless you Keep Coming Back to A.A. meetings.

    We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control.   ...   We are convinced to a man that we are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, "More About Alcoholism", page 30.

    We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, "More About Alcoholism", page 33.

  • The words "must", "requirement", and "necessity" are used in "the Big Book" and "12X12" far more often than the word "suggestion".

    Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
    The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, "How It Works", page 62.

    "I decided I must place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter B10, He Sold Himself Short, page 293.

    So it is that we first see humility as a necessity.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 73.

    The word "suggestion" is often closely followed by threats of "...or else your fate will be Jails, Institutions, or Death."

    ... after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 44.

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our [Bill Wilson's] suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    Then the Table of Contents of the same book gives us this Orwellian double-think:

    Absence of coercion works because unless each AA follows suggested steps to recovery, he signs his own death warrant.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 12.

    ...the [Twelve] Steps ... are "suggested" in the same way that, if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is "suggested" that you pull the ripcord to save your life.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 344, December 1.

  • Bill Wilson devoted a large part of both the Big Book and his second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, to declaring that alcoholics are all disgusting evil immoral insane sinners. That is good for inducing feelings of guilt and self-doubt —

    Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking. ... This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 44.

    An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 16.

    By now the newcomer has probably arrived at the following conclusions: that his character defects, representing instincts gone astray, have been the primary cause of his drinking and his failure at life...
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 50.

    Few indeed are the practicing alcoholics who have any idea how irrational they are, or seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. Some will be willing to term themselves "problem drinkers," but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill. ... no alcoholic ... can claim 'soundness of mind' for himself.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 33.

    ("Practicing alcoholics"? That sounds just like "practicing homosexuals".)

    Now let's ponder the need for a list of the more glaring personality defects all of us have in varying degrees.   ... Some will become quite annoyed if there is talk about immorality, let alone sin. But all who are in the least reasonable will agree upon one point: that there is plenty wrong with us alcoholics about which plenty will have to be done if we are to expect sobriety, progress, and any real ability to cope with life.
          To avoid falling into confusion over the names these defects should be called, let's take a universally recognized list of major human failings — the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 44.

    See the file "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy" for many more such examples.

  • A.A. instructs newcomers to get mentors — "sponsors" — who will supervise the newcomers and order them around. The newcomers become dependent on the sponsor to run their lives and do their thinking for them. Members must constantly seek the approval of their sponsor in everything they say, think, and do.

  • A.A. makes members repeatedly publicly or privately confess all of their sins and failures. Every meeting is just another confession session.

  • Bill Wilson insisted that A.A. members must become dependent upon the group for their very survival.

    His lone courage and unaided will cannot do it. Surely he must now depend upon Somebody or Something else.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 39.

    You can, if you wish, make A.A. itself your 'higher power.' Here's a very large group who have solved their alcohol problem. In this respect they are certainly a power greater than you, who have not even come close to a solution. Surely you can have faith in them. Even this minimum of faith will be enough. You will find many members who have crossed the threshold just this way.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, pages 27-28.

    (Crossed what threshold? To where?)

    Therefore dependence, as A.A. practices it, is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 36.

    Also see the Cult Test item They Make You Dependent On The Group for more information about dependency.

  • A.A. makes demands for superhuman perfection. A.A. members are supposed to feel lots of "Serenity and Gratitude" from practicing the Twelve Steps. Older members are supposed to feel unconditional love and complete acceptance towards newcomers. Since members cannot meet these super-human standards, they feel guilty and inadequate.

  • Phobia induction — A.A. implants fears in members, particularly fears about what will happen to them if they leave the group — they will die drunk in a gutter. Members who quit the group have no future but Jails, Institutions, or Death, they say.

  • And A.A. also makes members afraid to think. Members are told that thinking critically about the A.A. program will lead to a relapse. Newcomers are even told that they are not qualified to think.

    • "Stop Your Stinkin' Thinkin'!"
    • "You have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem."
    • "Your best thinking got you here!"
    • "Utilize, Don't Analyze!"

    Bill Wilson actually declared that A.A. members do not even have the right to think for themselves.

44. Dispensed existence
The cult decides who is worthy, and who deserves to live.
A.A. scores a 10.

  • A.A. decides whether people are good or bad, based on their abstinence from alcohol, their "working a strong program", and their acceptance of Bill Wilson's religion.

  • A.A. decides what "good" and "bad" mean.
    The "good" A.A. member is somebody who attends lots of meetings, gets a sponsor, reads the Big Book, "works a strong program", faithfully parrots the A.A. slogans and dogma, never questions or criticizes Alcoholics Anonymous or its 12-Step program or its obviously-wrong beliefs, and goes recruiting for more A.A. members... — oh, and also abstains from drinking alcohol.

  • A.A. has an elitist world view. A.A. members are allegedly more spiritual than other people.

  • A.A. dispenses conditional love and conditional approval to alcoholics, in spite of its public claims of doing just the opposite. Its "love" and approval depend, of course, on a person's conformity to the group, sobriety, acceptance of the A.A. dogma as "the true spiritual principles" and frequent meeting attendance.

  • A.A. members often practice shunning and ostracism of those who quit Alcoholics Anonymous. The drop-outs are declared to no longer be good people. (They may even be "dry drunks".) In fact, they are declared to be dangerous people — people who may lure good members back into drinking.

Just quitting drinking isn't nearly enough to be "good" in the Alcoholics Anonymous world. The condescending Bill Wilson even sneered at those alcoholics who only wanted to quit drinking, and didn't want to get converted to his goofy Oxford Group cult religion, by saying that they didn't want to "get too good too soon":

When first contacted, most alcoholics just wanted to find sobriety, nothing else. They clung to their other defects, letting go only little by little. They simply did not want to get "too good too soon." The Oxford Groups' absolute concepts — absolute purity, absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love — were frequently too much for the drunks. These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 74-75.

When people refused to become true believers in a crazy cult religion, Bill Wilson declared that they "clung to their other defects". You aren't a good "spiritual" person if you don't believe in Bill Wilson's religion.

45. Ideology Over Experience, Observation, and Logic
A.A. scores a 10.

This item is one of Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's 8 and Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer's 5 Criteria for brainwashing or mind control — Doctrine Over Person — implement group doctrine over personal beliefs. Past experiences and values are invalid if they conflict with the new A.A. morality.

This item is pretty obvious, in that almost all members of A.A. and N.A. are people who previously got into trouble with alcohol or drugs or both, so it is easy to tell them that their former life was no good, and their thinking was no good, so now they must live the 12-Step way or else their fate will be "Jails, Institutions, or Death".

The slogan is "Principles Before Personalities", which means that cult dogma can be used to trump anybody else's statements, facts, or beliefs. Also, "Look for the similarities, not the differences", which means that you should not notice the differences between what they are telling you, and what you know to be true, because you are seeing it with your own eyes, and have experienced it for yourself.

As a good A.A. member, you should:

  • Believe what your sponsor and the other old-timers tell you, rather than your own common sense and your own thinking (because they say that your thinking is "alcoholic" and "your best thinking got you here").

  • Believe that A.A. doctrines are correct, even if they seem contrary to your own personal experiences, and even if they seem illogical, contradictory, and nonsensical. (Newcomers who disagree with A.A. dogma are said to be "in denial" and "thinking alcoholically".)

  • Believe that the Twelve Steps really do work to make people quit drinking, or quit doing drugs, or quit being nagging wives, or quit wanting sex, or whatever it is...

  • Believe it when they begin every meeting by incanting "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path."
    Ignore what your own eyes tell you — that A.A. has a terrible dropout rate — that most all of the newcomers soon leave.

  • Abandon your own logical, rational mind and "Reason", and just "have faith" in the grandiose proclamations of Bill Wilson in the Big Book. Your own beliefs and understanding of religion are irrelevant, as are the opinions of most other preachers, theologians, ministers, doctors, and psychiatrists.

  • Believe that the founders or the old-timers of A.A. can see another, higher, reality which you cannot yet see, because you don't have enough years of Time (sober time in A.A., that is).

  • Likewise, believe that the old-timers have knowledge and wisdom which you do not have, so their judgement is better than yours.

  • If Bill Wilson or Doctor Bob said something, then it is true because they said it. Just ignore any and all facts to the contrary. In no case can you cite your own experiences as evidence that Bill W. was wrong about something.

46. Keep them unaware that there is an agenda to change them.
A.A. scores a 10.

This is one of Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer's Five Essential Conditions for a brainwashing program:
"Keep them unaware that there is an agenda to change them, and unaware of how they are being changed, step by step."

One of Dr. Edgar H. Schein's essential conditions for a brainwashing program is:
"Keep the person unaware of what is going on and the changes taking place."

Bill Wilson described how Alcoholics Anonymous is just such a program:

The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.
      Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.
      ... Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James [in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience] calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Appendix II, "Spiritual Experience", page 569.

So, "happily for everyone", the old-timers can see how the A.A. program is slowly changing the newcomer's mind, but the newcomer does not realize what they are doing to him until later. According to Bill Wilson, the newcomer does not even realize when he surrenders control of his will and his mind:

Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three. Isn't it true that, in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of A.A.? Already a willingness has been achieved to cast out one's own will and one's own ideas about the alcohol problem in favor of those suggested by A.A. Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this is not turning one's will and life over to a newfound Providence, then what is it?
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 35.
Also, As Bill Sees It, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, page 328.

The whole Buchmanite family participates in the Quiet Time.
They sit quietly with notebooks in hand, ready to write down the messages that they receive from God. Bill Wilson took that occult practice and made it into A.A. Step Eleven.

In Step Eleven we saw that if a Higher Power had restored us to sanity and had enabled us to live with some peace of mind in a sorely troubled world, then such a Higher Power was worth knowing better, by as direct contact as possible. The persistent use of meditation and prayer, we found, did open the channel so that where there had been a trickle, there now was a river which led to sure power and safe guidance from God as we were increasingly better able to understand Him.
        So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.

Note the hidden agenda: The newcomer may have joined A.A. because he had a drinking problem for which he was seeking help, but Bill Wilson's ulterior motive was to convert him to Bill's religion — to make him "love God and call Him by name." The truth about that hidden agenda, and the truth about the real nature of the A.A. program, were only doled out to the newcomers "by teaspoons, not buckets" because the condescending Bill Wilson felt that "they didn't want to get too good too soon."

And this line is rather disturbing:
"Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in."
Bill Wilson says that the beginners will not be able to see the "change setting in", but the elders will. So the newcomers will not be aware of how the indoctrination and the Twelve-Step program is changing them and affecting their minds, bringing them to the point where they will be ready to "love God and call Him by name", but the elders will know what is going on.

That sounds like brainwashing. The least that you can call it is the underhanded disguised religious conversion of the newcomers by the old-timers. (Yes, religious conversion done by this organization that claims that it isn't a religion and it doesn't do religious conversions.)

"There is no better means to discovery of a Higher Power than within a 12-Step program."
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 125.

47. Thought-Stopping Language. Thought-terminating clichés and slogans.
A.A. scores a 10.

The use of lots of thought-stopping slogans and clichés is one of Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's eight essential conditions for a "thought reform" (brainwashing) program.

A.A. has so many slogans and thought-stopping clichés that I can only paraphrase the Bible: "Our name is Legion, for we are so many." Alcoholics Anonymous has to be the world's champion for slogans; I just cannot think of any other cult or organization that has more slogans.

Many of the A.A. slogans contradict each other, so you can sometimes quote an A.A. slogan for whichever side of an issue you wish to promote. Also notice how many of them are negative, and condescending or demeaning to the newcomer alcoholics. That helps in the cult conversion process, breaking down the minds and wills of newcomers.

  1. "You must Work A Strong Program, or else your fate will be Jails, Institutions, or Death."
  2. "I would be in prison or dead if I hadn't come to A.A."
  3. "You're better off in here pretending you are an alcoholic, than out there pretending you're not."
  4. "Without A.A., it's Amen."
  5. "The alcoholic who is dying out there on the street."
  6. "If you drink, your fate is jails, institutions, or death."
  7. "If you leave A.A., your fate is jails, institutions, or death."
  8. "I've been in jails; I've been in institutions; there's only one more place to go."
  9. "The bottle, big house, or the box."
  10. "Death, insanity, or recovery."
  11. "Always remember the insanity... Be thankful for the pain... But most of all be thankful for the days that remain."
  12. "The choice I have today is either to be Contented or Demented."
  13. "We have a choice."
  14. "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol."
  15. "I am powerless over people, places, and things."
  16. "Strength in powerlessness."
  17. "Before You Say: I Can't... Say, I'll Try."
  18. "Pain is a constant. Suffering is a choice."
  19. "We don't get run over by the train, we get hit by the engine (1st drink)."
  20. "I've been sober and I've been drunk. Sober's better."
  21. "A.A. is the highest priced club in the world. If you have paid the dues, why not enjoy the benefits?"
  22. "A.A. is the last stop on the train."
  23. "A.A. is the last house on the street."
  24. "A.A. is the Last Stop on the Track."
  25. "I tried everything before A.A."
  26. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome."
  27. "Insanity is the seeming inability to learn from past mistakes."
  28. "Daniel didn't go back to the lion's den to get his hat."
  29. "We have no opinion on outside issues."
  30. "Keep your sobriety first to make it last."
  31. "Don't let anything get in front of your recovery."
  32. "You will lose anything that you put ahead of your recovery."
  33. "You must be willing to go to any length for your sobriety."
  34. "If you are not working on your recovery, you are working on your relapse."
  35. "If you want what we have and you're willing to go to any lengths to get it."
  36. "Half measures availed us nothing."
  37. "Where do I find sobriety? Twelve steps past any lengths."
  38. "One drink and you lose all of your years of sobriety."
  39. "One drink and you have to start over at Day One."
  40. "One Drink, One Drunk."
  41. "One drink is too many, and a thousand is not enough."
  42. "The road to sobriety is a simple journey for confused people with a complicated disease."
  43. "AA is way ahead of science when it comes to alcoholism."
  44. "Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!"
  45. "Keep Coming Back... It Works!"
  46. "Keep Coming Back... It Works If You Work It!"
  47. "Keep Coming Back... It Works If You Work It, It Won't If You Don't."
  48. "Keep Coming Back... It Works If You Work It, You Die If You Don't."
  49. "Keep Coming Back... It Works If You Work It, You Die If You Don't. So Work It — You're Worth It!"
  50. "Keep coming until you hear your story."
  51. "It isn't religious, it's spiritual."
  52. "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell; Spirituality is for people who've been there."
  53. "Most people hope to avoid hell; spiritual people have been there."
  54. "Nobody comes here by accident."
  55. "If you drunk enough to come to A.A., you've drunk enough."
  56. "You're exactly where you're supposed to be."
  57. "You are exactly where God wants you to be."
  58. "God saved me a parking spot in front of the meeting."
  59. "Your disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot."
  60. "Came, came to, came to believe."
  61. "Think."
  62. "Think, Think, Think."
  63. "Don't Drink and Don't Think!"
  64. "Don't drink, don't think, and go to meetings."
  65. "Don't drink, don't think, and don't get married."
  66. "Stop Your Stinkin' Thinkin'."
  67. "You will think your way out of A.A."
  68. "Stinkin' thinkin' will lead to drinkin'."
  69. "Stinkin' thinkin' leads to stinkin' drinkin'!"
  70. "Your thinking is alcoholic."
  71. "Your best thinking got you here."
  72. "You can act yourself into thinking right easier than you can think yourself into acting right."
  73. "If I think, I won't drink. If I drink, I can't think."
  74. "The three most dangerous words for an alcoholic — 'I've been thinking'"
  75. "The 7 T's — Take Time To Think The Thing Through."
  76. "You have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem."
  77. "Don't go into your mind alone; it's not a safe neighborhood."
  78. "Don't go in your head alone. It's a dangerous neighborhood."
  79. "Don't Intellectualize, Utilize."
  80. "The only stupid question is the one you don't ask."
  81. "We have a living problem, not a drinking problem."
  82. "3 A's in A.A. — affection/attention/appreciation"
  83. "Some people drink normally, and I normally drink."
  84. "Don't drink or use between breaths."
  85. "Intolerance = Contempt, prior to investigation."
  86. "Just Don't Drink, Dummy!"
  87. "Keep the plug in the jug."
  88. "A grateful alcoholic never drinks."
  89. "Take it One Day at a Time!"
  90. "I've been here a few 24 hours."
  91. "Slow but sure."
  92. "Give time time."
  93. "You have to put in the time."
  94. "Try it for 90 days, and if you don't like it, we'll gladly refund your misery."
  95. "We are not a glum lot."
  96. "This, too, shall pass."
  97. "I can do something for 24 hours that would appall me if I had to keep it up for a LIFETIME."
  98. "Keep An Open Mind."
  99. "Don't Compare — Identify!"8
  100. "Look For Similarities Rather Than Differences."
  101. "Don't intellectualize — utilize."
  102. "Analysis is paralysis."
  103. "It don't matter how your jackass got in a ditch, just get him out."
  104. "Take What You Want, and Leave the Rest."
  105. "Take what you can use and leave the rest."
  106. "No one person defines what AA is for anyone but himself.."
  107. "It's Bill's way or the you'll get killed way."
  108. "It's Our Way or the Die Way."
  109. "It's our way or the highway."
  110. "Work the Steps, Or Die!"
  111. "Do The Steps or Die."
  112. "Share Or Die."
  113. "Share your happiness."
  114. "Talk Or Die."
  115. "Share your pain."
  116. "Change Or Die."
  117. "There are no musts in A.A., only suggestions."
  118. "There aren't any 'musts' in this program, but there are a lot of 'you betters'."
  119. "There are no requirements in A.A., only suggestions."
  120. "The Twelve Steps are but suggestions only."
  121. "Unless each AA member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps of recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. We must obey certain principles or we die." (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.)
  122. "You are not required to like it, you're only required to DO it."
  123. "It is suggested that you Work The Steps, just like how, if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is "suggested" that you pull the ripcord to save your life.
  124. "Minds are like parachutes — they won't work unless they're open."
  125. "We do have traditions, but remember, there are no rules in AA."
  126. "Personal Recovery is all about working AA's 12 Steps... continually."
  127. "The 12 Steps tell us how it works; the 12 Traditions tell us why it works."
  128. "Unity is about making meetings and talking with others honestly in recovery."
  129. "Lead us not into temptation. I can find it myself."
  130. "Don't let them live rent-free in your head."
  131. "Don't let unpleasant people rent space in your head."
  132. "When your head begins to swell your mind stops growing."
  133. "You need a checkup from the neck up."
  134. "When a person tries to control their drinking they have already lost control."
  135. "The lesson I must learn is simply that my control is limited to my own behavior, my own attitudes."
  136. "When we couldn't dominate, control, or manipulate, we would ask for terms and conditions."
  137. "People who are wrapped up in themselves make a very small package indeed..."
  138. "You're only one drink away from a drunk."
  139. "AA does not leave US — We leave AA."
  140. "If you leave, you'll come back on your knees."
  141. "Are you in AA or around AA?"
  142. "This is a program of rigorous honesty."
  143. "Fake it until you make it."
  144. "Fake it 'til you make it."
  145. "Fake it to make it."
  146. "Act As If..."
  147. "Act as if you really believe..."
  148. "What If..."
  149. "If Only..."
  150. "Yeah but..."
  151. "If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere."
  152. "It's too early in your recovery for you to start being creative."
  153. "You must internalize sobriety principles."
  154. "Try not to place conditions on your sobriety."
  155. "Easy Does It."
  156. "Easy Does It, But Do It."
  157. "Live life on life's terms."
  158. "A.A. — a group of people seeking to live life on life's terms one day at a time."
  159. "Don't Procrastinate."
  160. "Anything can be your Higher Power: a teacup, a doorknob, a stone."
  161. "God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle."
  162. "God never gives you more than you can handle."
  163. "God will only do for you what you can't do for yourself."
  164. "Remember nothing is going to happen today that you and God can't handle."
  165. "Let Go and Let God."
  166. "Let Go Of Old Ideas."
  167. "Get out of the driver's seat and let God."
  168. "Take your hands off of the steering wheel."
  169. "Let Go or Be Dragged."
  170. "Our Need Is God's Opportunity."
  171. "Quit Playing God."
  172. "You have blocked God out."
  173. "Faith is hope with a track record."
  174. "Faith is spelled A-C-T-I-O-N."
  175. "Faith without works is dead."
  176. "Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation."
  177. "To Keep It, You Have To Give It Away."
  178. "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs."
  179. "I came, I came to, I came to believe."
  180. "Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!"
  181. "This isn't your religion's God."
  182. "A.A. never opened the gates of Heaven to let me in, A.A. did open the gates of Hell to let me out."
  183. "A.A. isn't a religion, we can't open the gates of Heaven and let you in, but we can open the gates of Hell and let you out."
  184. "Group Up and Give Up."
  185. "Put down the weapons, pick up the tools."
  186. "A.A. gives you the tools you need to maintain sobriety."
  187. "A.A. gives you the tools to change."
  188. "Uncover, Discover, Discard."
  189. "You make the changes necessary in yourself to find peace otherwise you will drink."
  190. "It's very difficult to have a belly full of beer when you already have a head full of AA."
  191. "With a stomach full of A.A., you won't have room for a beer."
  192. "A.A. isn't for everybody."
  193. "She came through the back door of A.A. (Alanon)."
  194. "Expect a miracle."
  195. "Expect miracles!"
  196. "I am a walking miracle."
  197. "Possibilities and miracles are one in the same."
  198. "You Are Not Alone."
  199. "Count Your Blessings."
  200. "Live and Let Live."
  201. "Keep Coming Back."
  202. "Keep Coming Back. It Works!"
  203. "It Works If You Work It."
  204. "Work It, You're Worth It."
  205. "The elevator is broken — use the Steps."
  206. "You don't have to wait till the basement to get off the down elevator."
  207. "The AA waltz: steps 1, 2, 3."
  208. "The steps: Give up (1,2,3) Clean up (4,5,6) Make up (7,8, 9) Keep up (10,11,12)."
  209. "The 12 steps: Clear up (1,2,3), Clean up (4,5,6,7,8,9), Group up: (10,11,12)."
  210. "There are 12 steps in the ladder of complete sobriety."
  211. "The easier softer way is one through twelve."
  212. "There's safety in numbers. One through twelve."
  213. "A.A. is the easier, softer way."
  214. "No one can take credit for their own sobriety any more than a drowning person can take credit for grasping a life preserver. Nor can anyone take credit for another person's sobriety any more than the person throwing a life preserver to a drowning person can take credit that it floats."
  215. "Our worst day in sobriety is better than our best day drinking."
  216. "Sobriety is a gift, the price of which is eternal vigilance."
  217. "Sobriety: Takes a minute to learn, a lifetime to master."
  218. "Sobriety delivers everything alcohol promised."
  219. "Sobriety, then serenity."
  220. "My daily sobriety is contingent on my spiritual condition."
  221. "The person with the most sobriety at a meeting is the one who got up earliest that morning."
  222. "If you don't work a Fourth you'll drink a fifth."
  223. "Directions to AA: Just go straight to hell and make a U-turn."
  224. "The surest way to AA is to first go all the way to hell."
  225. "Higher Powered."
  226. "My Higher Power was: To Whom It May Concern."
  227. "Stuff Your Feelings."
  228. "Feelings Aren't Facts."
  229. "I Don't Do Feelings."
  230. "All you need to start a meeting is a pot of coffee and a resentment."
  231. "Sympathy is between shit and syphilis in the dictionary."
  232. "Anger Is But One Letter Away From Danger."
  233. "Get Off The Pity Pot."
  234. "You have already relapsed and you are planning your next drink."
  235. "An ounce of prevention is worth a gallon of relapse."
  236. "Don't romance the drink."
  237. "First things first"
  238. "Selfishness, self-centeredness, that we feel is the root of all our troubles."
  239. "It's a shame we can't forget our troubles the same way we forget our blessings."
  240. "Don't Take Somebody Else's Inventory."
  241. "In A.A. I get an owner's manual to go with my new life."
  242. "F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real."
  243. "F.E.A.R. = False Expectations Appearing Real."
  244. "F.E.A.R. = Frantic Effort to Appear Recovered."
  245. "F.E.A.R. = F*** Everything And Run, or Face Everything and Recover."
  246. "F.E.A.R. = Frustration, Ego, Anxiety, Resentment."
  247. "F.I.N.E. = F--ked-up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional."
  248. "E.G.O. = Easing God Out."
  249. "E.G.O. = Edging God Out."
  250. "G.O.D. is Good Orderly Direction."
  251. "G.O.D. is a Group Of Drunks."
  252. "G.O.D. is a Group Of Drug addicts."
  253. "G.O.D. is a Group Of Dopers."
  254. "F.A.I.T.H. = Fantastic Adventure in Trusting Him."
  255. "N.U.T.S. = Not Using the Steps"
  256. "AA = Altered Attitudes."
  257. "Y.E.T. = You eventually, too"
  258. "D.E.N.I.A.L. = Didn't Even Notice I Am Lying."
  259. "D.E.N.I.A.L. = Don't Even Notice I Am Lying."
  260. "HALT: Don't get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired."
  261. "K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Stupid."
  262. "L.O.V.E.: Letting go Of Virtually Everything."
  263. "T.R.U.S.T. = Try Using the Steps."
  264. "T.R.U.S.T. = Try Relying Upon The Steps."
  265. "WISDOM = Words In Steps Do Open Minds."
  266. "A.A. = Altered Minds."
  267. "H.I.T. = Hang In There."
  268. "W.O.W. = Willingness over willpower."
  269. "H.O.W. = Honesty, Openmindedness, Willingness."
  270. "H.O.W. = How the Program works: Honesty, Openness, and Willingness."
  271. "BIG BOOK = Believing In God Beats Our Old Knowledge."
  272. "C.R.A.P. = Carry Resentments Against People."
  273. "P.L.O.M. = Poor Little Old Me."
  274. "P.R.I.D.E. = Personal Recovery Involves Defeating Ego."
  275. "P.M.S. = Poor Me Syndrome."
  276. "P.M.S. = Pour More Scotch."
  277. "S.L.I.P. = Sobriety Loses Its Priority."
  278. "S.P.O.N.S.O.R. = Service Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery."
  279. "S.T.E.P.S. = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety."
  280. "S.T.E.P.S. = Solutions To Every Problem, Sober."
  281. "Principles Before Personalities."
  282. "Believing in God Beats Our Old Knowledge."
  283. "Knowledge of the answers never made anyone slip — it was failing to practice the answers known."
  284. "You need a meeting."
  285. "Many meetings, many chances. A few meetings, a few chances. No meetings, no chance."
  286. "You don't have to wait till the basement to get off the down elevator."
  287. "Those that don't go to meetings aren't present to find out what happens to those who don't go to meetings."
  288. "When you are in a meeting, your disease is outside doing push-ups."
  289. "My disease is doing pushups, getting stronger — just waiting for me to slip."
  290. "A newcomer is someone with less than five years sobriety."
  291. "Addiction is the only disease that tells you that you don't have a disease."
  292. "You don't have to know how electricity works, in order to use it."
  293. "Alcohol is Cunning, Baffling, and Powerful."
  294. "I must never forget that I have a disease that is insidious — cunning, baffling, and powerful."
  295. "Alcohol wants to kill me."
  296. "My disease wants to kill me."
  297. "Your addiction wants to kill you."
  298. "If you don't like A.A., then find a better meeting."
  299. "Every A.A. group is independent."
  300. "I'm sorry you had a bad experience in AA." (This is the stock answer to all criticism of A.A.)
  301. "If you have a bad experience in A.A., find another group."
  302. "Don't criticize the Program."
  303. "The process is perfect; let it work."
  304. "Around The Program Or In The Program?"
  305. "A.A. works for people who believe in God. A.A. works for people who don't believe in God. A.A. NEVER works for people who believe they ARE God."
  306. "Don't debate whether or not A.A. works; figure out what works for you."
  307. "If it did not work for you, then you did not really try it."
  308. "If it did not work for you, then you did not work the Steps right."
  309. "The Steps don't work to make you quit drinking; you must quit drinking to work the Steps."
  310. "Working the Steps won't make you quit drinking right; quitting drinking will make you work the Steps right."
  311. "You don't work the Steps to quit drinking; you quit drinking to work the Steps."
  312. "If the Program does not work for you, it's because you did not work the Program."
  313. "The Program never fails, people fail the Program."
  314. "AA has never failed anyone. but people, as people will, do fail AA."
  315. "A.A. will work if you want it to work."
  316. "How does it work? It works just fine."
  317. "No one is too drunk for the program."
  318. "Don't work my program, or your program, work THE program."
  319. "Ask us how we did it, then do what we did."
  320. "Qualifications for me to help you, one) you have to need it, two) you have to want it, three) you have to ask for it, four) you have to ask me."
  321. "Your ego is just looking for an excuse to not attend a meeting."
  322. "Lighten up — the war is over."
  323. "The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them."
  324. "I am teachable."
  325. "I am teachable today."
  326. "I am teachable today. I may relapse tomorrow."
  327. "Look for the similarities, not the differences."
  328. "If you hang around the barber shop long enough, you'll get a haircut."
  329. "Don't hang around wet places and wet faces."
  330. "By the grace of God and the fellowship at AA I am alive today."
  331. "I am sober today. I don't know if I will relapse tomorrow."
  332. "I have a 12 foot drink behind me thats gonna get me if i don't work the Steps."
  333. "Fear alone won't keep me sober, but for a newcomer, it's not a bad place to start."
  334. "A.A. can't prevent a relapse but it can ruin one."
  335. "A.A. spoils your drinking."
  336. "First we stayed sober because we have to... then we stay sober because we are willing to... then we stay sober because we want to."
  337. "Every recovery from alcoholism began with one sober hour."
  338. "A.A. messes up your drinking."
  339. "Be as enthusiastic about A.A. as you were about your drinking."
  340. "No alcoholic will blame himself for a relapse."
  341. "Qualifications for me to help you, one) you have to need it, two) you have to want it, three) you have to ask for it, four) you have to ask me."
  342. "You have to maintain a fit spiritual condition or relapse is inevitable."
  343. "The only way you can relapse is by forgetting everything that you know."
  344. "Stay in the main tent, and out of the sideshow."
  345. "A.A. is not the type of place you happen to drop into because your life is great."
  346. "A.A. is a microcosm of the outside world."
  347. "Nobody goes to A.A. because their life is great."
  348. "Nothing is so bad that a drink will not make it worse."
  349. "Principles Before Personalities."
  350. "Not In Front of the Newcomers."
  351. "It Works — It Really Does!"
  352. "Recovery Is a Journey, Not a Destination."
  353. "Recovery is not something you join, it's a way of life."
  354. "A.A. is not something you join, it's a way of life."
  355. "The A.A. way of life is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions."
  356. "Stick With the Winners."
  357. "Live In The NOW."
  358. "Just For Today."
  359. "Just For Today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problems at once."
  360. "A person with one eye on yesterday and one eye on tomorrow is living cockeyed."
  361. "One day at a time."
  362. "Living in the here and now."
  363. "God Is Never Late."
  364. "Man's extremity is God's opportunity."
  365. "You will be amazed."
  366. "If God Seems Far Away, Who Moved?"
  367. "Turn it over, the results are in God's hand."
  368. "Your Turn in the barrell."
  369. "If you turn it over and don't let go of it, you will be upside down."
  370. "The price for serenity and sanity is self-sacrifice."
  371. "Sponsors: Have One — Use One — Be One."
  372. "Be Part Of The Solution, Not The Problem."
  373. "I Can't Handle It. God, You Take Over."
  374. "Willingness Is The Key."
  375. "Clean and Serene."
  376. "A drug is a drug."
  377. "If AA uses brainwashing, then our brains must need to be washed."
  378. "A.A. is not a cult; people who come here need their brains washed."
  379. "No Pain... No Gain."
  380. "Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth."
  381. "Pain before sobriety and pain before serenity."
  382. "Pain is the touchstone of progress."
  383. "Face It, Trace It, Erase It."
  384. "Pain is the fire that burns the heart burn."
  385. "Don't Drink, Read The Big Book, And Go To Meetings."
  386. "It's In The Book."
  387. "It's in the Big Book."
  388. "Use The 24-Hour Plan."
  389. "Make Use Of Telephone Therapy."
  390. "Help is only a phone call away."
  391. "Stay in Recovery For Yourself."
  392. "Stay Sober For Yourself."
  393. "Do It Sober."
  394. "Pass It On."
  395. "Another Friend of Bill W's."
  396. "Have A Good Day Unless You've Made Other Plans."
  397. "90 Meetings in 90 Days."
  398. "You Are Not Alone."
  399. "Wherever You Go, There You Are."
  400. "You either are or you aren't."
  401. "Remember Your Last Drunk."
  402. "Remember when."
  403. "Remember That Addiction Is Incurable, Progressive, and Fatal."
  404. "Try Not To Place Conditions On Your Recovery."
  405. "When All Else Fails Follow Directions."
  406. "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
  407. "People who think they know it all are very irritating to those of us who do."
  408. "Respect The Anonymity of Others."
  409. "Anonymity is so important it's half of our name."
  410. "Pain Is Optional."
  411. "We are not responsible for our family. We are not responsible to our family."
  412. "Try To Replace Guilt With Gratitude."
  413. "Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving."
  414. "What Goes Around, Comes Around."
  415. "Change Is A Process, Not An Event."
  416. "Stay Sober For Yourself."
  417. "Call Your Sponsor Before, Not After, You Take The First Drink."
  418. "When all else fails, listen to your sponsor."
  419. "Every time something goes wrong, it's because you didn't listen to your sponsor."
  420. "When you are a sponsor, you get out of yourself. If I serve, I will be served."
  421. "Never put your sponsor on a pedestal, so if they fall, you don't fall."
  422. "When all else fails, follow directions."
  423. "When all else fails, the directions are in the Big Book."
  424. "Take the mess to your sponsor, take the message to the meeting."
  425. "Your best sponsor is the Big Book."
  426. "Your Big Book is your sponsor too."
  427. "If you want to hide money from an alcoholic, stuff it between the pages of the Big Book. He'll never find it there."
  428. "Don't try to clear away the wreckage of the future."
  429. "Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired."
  430. "It's The First Drink That Gets You Drunk."
  431. "Drink, Drank, Drunk."
  432. "What Goes Around, Comes Around."
  433. "Decisions aren't forever."
  434. "Happiness is an inside job."
  435. "Remember Happiness And Serenity Are An Inside Job."
  436. "Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm."
  437. "Short version of the Serenity Prayer: Lighten up."
  438. "You know you are sharing a feeling when you do not need a reply."
  439. "Going into recovery means feeling."
  440. "You can't speed up your recovery, but you sure can slow it down."
  441. "Any Addict Clean Is A Miracle."
  442. "We Demand Less And Give More."
  443. "Believe In God Or Be God."
  444. "There is a God and I'm not it."
  445. "If you can't believe, then believe that I believe."
  446. "God has no grand kids."
  447. "If Only...."
  448. "Some have to die that others can live."
  449. "My best friend became my worst enemy."
  450. "Help Is Only A Phone Call Away."
  451. "You Can't Give Away What You Don't Have."
  452. "Under Every Skirt Is A Slip."
  453. "Under every dress there's a slip."
  454. "If you don't want to slip, avoid slippery places."
  455. "Don't watch the slippers, watch those who don't slip... watch them go through difficulties and pull through."
  456. "A slip is a premeditated drunk."
  457. "Courage To Change..."
  458. "Courage is faith that has said its prayers."
  459. "If faith without works is dead; then willingness without action is fantasy."
  460. "Bring The Body And The Mind Will Follow."
  461. "But for the Grace of God."
  462. "This Too Shall Pass."
  463. "I Can't... God Can... I Think I'll Let Him."
  464. "I Can't Handle It, God. I'll Give It To You."
  465. "Turn it over."
  466. "Let it go."
  467. "More Will Be Revealed."
  468. "You will intuitively know."
  469. "You will be amazed."
  470. "When man listens, God speaks."
  471. "When man listens, God speaks; when man obeys, God works."
  472. "The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us."
  473. "If It Works... Don't Fix It."
  474. "Resign from the Debating Society."
  475. "Quit the Debating Society."
  476. "Your secrets will keep you sick."
  477. "You're only as sick as your secrets."
  478. "We are only as sick as our secrets."
  479. "We are only as sick as the secrets we keep."
  480. "Don't hold anything back in your Fifth Step."
  481. "He must have held something back in his Fifth Step."
  482. "Don't cling to your defects."
  483. "Let go of old ideas."
  484. "We must let go of old concepts of how the world ought to be."
  485. "You're a liar, all drunks are liars."
  486. "Screw Guilt."
  487. "Some are sicker than others."
  488. "Some of us are sicker than others."
  489. "I got sick of being sick and tired."
  490. "I got sick and tired of being sick and tired."
  491. "We're All Here Because We're Not All There."
  492. "Like a wire stripped of its insulation."
  493. "If you wonder whether you need to be here, you need to be here."
  494. "Some people are so successful in recovery, they turn out to be almost as good as they thought they were while drinking."
  495. "Some A.A.'s are so successful that they turn out to be almost as good as they used to think they were when they were drinking."
  496. "Success means getting your BUT out of the way."
  497. "You're sick and suffering."
  498. "I drank: too much — too often — too long."
  499. "Formula for failure: try to please everyone."
  500. "Sorrow is looking back worry is looking around."
  501. "Alcoholism is an equal opportunity destroyer."
  502. "Alcoholism is a self-diagnosed disease."
  503. "Alcoholism is a physical compulsion coupled with a mental obsession."
  504. "Non-alcoholics have a desire. Alcoholics have an obsession."
  505. "Your disease progresses even when you are not drinking."
  506. "Don't take yourself too damn seriously." (TSATT, page 149.)
  507. "Rule 62: Don't take yourself so seriously."
  508. "Stop living in the problem and start living in the answer." (BB, 3rd ed., p. 449.)
  509. "I don't care who has a problem. What I want to know is, who has the solution?"
  510. "Be part of the solution, not the problem."
  511. "I pray to God every day that I never get the idea that I can run my own life."
  512. "Please be patient — God isn't finished with me yet."
  513. "I know I'm in trouble when I start thinking I can run my own life."
  514. "It is insane to keep on doing the same old things you've always been doing, and expect to get different results."
  515. "Don't leave five minutes before the miracle."
  516. "Don't quit before the miracle happens."
  517. "It gets better."
  518. "Only another alcoholic will understand."
  519. "Nobody can understand an alcoholic better than another alcoholic."
  520. "You can always tell an alcoholic, but you can't tell him much."
  521. "If you wonder if you're an alcoholic, you probably are."
  522. "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic."
  523. "Today there's still a monkey on my back. He's just sleeping. He's real easy to wake up."
  524. "Instant ass-hole, just add alcohol."
  525. "I didn't get into trouble every time I drank, but every time I got in trouble I was drunk."
  526. "When I drank, I was committing suicide on the installment plan."
  527. "Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you you're all right."
  528. "It's a disease of perception."
  529. "We have a disease that tells us we don't have a disease."
  530. "Denial isn't just a river in Egypt."
  531. "Denial is not a river in Egypt, but you can drown in it."
  532. "Nobody can do it alone."
  533. "Recovery is the Greatest Show on Earth."
  534. "We are all Miracles."
  535. "I'm doing the best I can and I'm still a better man than I used to be."
  536. "Meeting makers make it."
  537. "Keep your own side of the street swept."
  538. "Shut up, show up and say 'yes.'"
  539. "Bring your body, eventually your mind will follow."
  540. "The most important thing is suit up and show up."
  541. "The most important thing is just never take that first drink."
  542. "The most important thing is to work the Steps."
  543. "Meetings! Meetings! Meetings!"
  544. "I need to do the Steps!"
  545. "I need more meetings!"
  546. "If you stick with the bunch, you'll get peeled."
  547. "You have to go to these meetings until you want to."
  548. "Go to meetings when you want to, and go to meetings when you don’t want to."
  549. "It's been a good meeting so far."
  550. "Seven days without an A.A. meeting makes one weak."
  551. "There are two days in every week which we have no control over — yesterday and tomorrow. Today is the only day we can change."
  552. "It is not the experience of today that drives people mad, it is remorse of yesterday and the dread of tomorrow."
  553. "Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, only today is cash in the bank."
  554. "I have the Golden Ticket."
  555. "We have been given the Keys to the Kingdom."
  556. "The first drink gets you drunk."
  557. "We are without defense against the first drink, our defense must come from a power greater than ourselves."
  558. "How important is it?"
  559. "Sit Down, Shut Up, and Learn Something."
  560. "Take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth."
  561. "Before engaging your mouth, put your mind in gear."
  562. "Listen and Learn."
  563. "Listen like only the dying can."
  564. "Before I got into A.A., I was dying for a drink."
  565. "All I know is, it worked for me."
  566. "You are in denial."
  567. "When we think we are in control of our own lives we are living in denial."
  568. "It's paradoxical."
  569. "A man's intelligence is measured by how many contradictions he can withstand."
  570. "You cannot dry todays washing with yesterday's wind."
  571. "Every day is a gift. That's why we call it the present."
  572. "Quitting isn't an option for addicts like us."
  573. "Alcoholics can't afford to have resentments."
  574. "You have a resentment."
  575. "The road to resentment is paved with expectation."
  576. "The flip side to forgiveness is resentments."
  577. "Try to be grateful and resentful at the same time, you can't serve two masters."
  578. "Write a gratitude list and count your blessings."
  579. "Skid Row is a place in my mind — not a place on the street."
  580. "Progress, Not Perfection."
  581. "We can do what I can't."
  582. "You're not alone anymore."
  583. "First Things First."
  584. "Poor me, poor me, pour me another drink."
  585. "Nobody is ever too dumb to get the program, but some people are too intelligent."
  586. "There are none too dumb for the A.A. program but many are too smart."
  587. "You are too smart for your own good."
  588. "The Steps are numbered for the intellectual."
  589. "Never say 'no' to the program."
  590. "This is a selfish program."
  591. "When my insides match my outside, I'm practicing a good program."
  592. "It isn't the load that weighs us down — it's the way we carry it."
  593. "In A.A. we don't carry the alcoholic; we carry the message."
  594. "You can carry the message but not the alcoholic."
  595. "Today I soak up A.A. the way I used to soak up alcohol."
  596. "Life starts when you stop."
  597. "This program isn't for people who need it, it's for people who want it."
  598. "AA is not for people who want it or for people who need it... it is for people who do it!"
  599. "Opinions are like ass-holes — everybody's got one, and most of them stink."
  600. "If you point a finger at someone, you will find three pointed back at you."
  601. "When you point a finger at someone else, there are three pointed back at you."
  602. "Don't point a finger; point the whole hand (reach out)."
  603. "AA has no leaders and no one can speak for AA."
  604. "How does one become an old-timer? Don't drink and don't die."
  605. "A.A. may not solve all your problems but it is willing to share them."
  606. "Sorrow shared is halved; joy shared is doubled."
  607. "Three suggestions for making an A.A. speech: 1) be interesting 2) be brief 3) be seated."
  608. "Acceptance is the answer to all of your problems today."
  609. "Acceptance: experience is what you get when you don't get what you want."
  610. "Acceptance: Stop barking and start biting."
  611. "Accept your admission."
  612. "Get On Your Knees."
  613. "If you don't bend your knees, you'll bend your elbow."
  614. "Bend your knees before you bend your elbow."
  615. "A.A. is about finding God."
  616. "We had to quit playing God."
  617. "If God is your co-pilot, switch seats."
  618. "There are no atheists in foxholes."
  619. "There are no coincidences in A.A."
  620. "A coincidence is a miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous."
  621. "The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you."
  622. "When we surrender to our higher power, the journey begins."
  623. "God taught us to laugh again but God please don't let us forget that we once cried."
  624. "Let it begin with me."
  625. "Get out of the driver's seat.......let go and let god."
  626. "Get humble."
  627. "You can't save your face and your ass at the same time."
  628. "We didn't fly into A.A. on the wings of victory."
  629. "None of us came here on a winning streak."
  630. "None of us got here from drinking too much coffee."
  631. "I did my drinking from Park Avenue to park bench."
  632. "An A.A. meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings."
  633. "A winner is a loser who keeps trying."
  634. "It's easy to talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk."
  635. "A.A. is a school in which we are all learners and all teachers."
  636. "There is no such thing as a bad meeting."
  637. "A.A. has a wrench to fit every nut that walks through the door." (We Have The Panacea.)
  638. "The doors swing both ways."
  639. "Each and every alcoholic, sober or not, teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves and recovery."
  640. "The definition of an alcoholic; an egomaniac with an inferiority complex."
  641. "Cunning, baffling, powerful, and patient."
  642. "The time to attend a meeting is when you least feel like going."
  643. "Get to the meeting early and go to the meeting after the meeting."
  644. "If your ass falls off, put it in a paper bag and take it to a meeting."
  645. "20/20: Come 20 minutes before the meeting, stay 20 minutes after."
  646. "Alcoholics heal from the outside in, but feel from the inside out."
  647. "If you want to hide something from an alcoholic, hide it in the Big Book, because that's where he'll never find it."
  648. "Ask an alcoholic what time it is and he'll tell you how to build a clock."
  649. "Fear is the absence of faith."
  650. "Courage is faith that has said its prayers."
  651. "Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed."
  652. "We can be positive that our drinking was negative."
  653. "Stop fighting everyone."
  654. "Keep an open mind."
  655. "We have given up fighting anybody or anything."
  656. "People who leave just want to drink."
  657. "We realize we know only a little." (Big Book, page 164.)
  658. "We're the experts on addiction."
  659. "I've drunk more alcohol than you've pissed."
  660. "Untreated alcoholism KILLS, with or without a drink."
  661. "Remember that alcoholism is incurable, progressive, and fatal."
  662. "The first step is the only step a person can work perfectly."
  663. "The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step."
  664. "If a candidate for A.A. is ready, you can't say anything wrong; if he's not ready, you can't say anything right."
  665. "Step One only works when you do the other eleven."
  666. "If you quit one day at a time, every day that you don't drink will be an accomplishment. If you quit forever, you won't have accomplished anything until you're dead."
  667. "If you want to drink, that is your business... If you want to quit and can't, that is A.A.'s business."
  668. "I get what I need and inevitably find out it was what I wanted all the time."
  669. "I want what I want when I want it."
  670. "A.A. tells us that our lives can be better."
  671. "When I start wondering if everything's okay, it's probably not."
  672. "It takes time."
  673. "It takes time to get your brains out of hock."
  674. "Time wasted in getting even can never be used in getting ahead."
  675. "If I take a drink, I take my life back."
  676. "Do what you can, let go of what you can't, and leave the results to a higher power."
  677. "The results are in God's hands."
  678. "If I take a drink, I take my life back."
  679. "If you have a problem believing in God, go to an A.A. meeting and you'll see miracle, after miracle, after miracle. Seeing is believing."
  680. "There is no magic in recovery only miracles."
  681. "Let it go, it was never yours to begin with."
  682. "Just trust and surrender that's all you really need to do."
  683. "The third step is the Swiss Army knife of the steps: it helps you do everything."
  684. "Nothing pushed down inside of us stays down for very long."
  685. "Put down the magnifying glass you use to look at others and look in the mirror."
  686. "Don't take someone else's inventory."
  687. "When you're taking someone else's inventory, who's taking yours?"
  688. "Taking others' inventory: You spot it, you got it."
  689. "Taking others' inventory (when you should be taking your own)."
  690. "Don't just take an inventory; let it take you."
  691. "Take other people's inventory until you can take your own."
  692. "Uncover to recover."
  693. "As the unexamined life is not worth living, the unlived life is not worth examining."
  694. "Conquer yourself rather than the world."
  695. "Keep your own side of the street clean."
  696. "Most alcoholics who quit A.A. will drink again unless they remember where they came from."
  697. "Every drink I drank got me here. Every drink I don't drink keeps me here."
  698. "Active alcoholics don't have relationships; they take hostages."
  699. "If we don't remember our last drunk, maybe we haven't had it yet."
  700. "If you can't remember your last drink, maybe you haven't had it."
  701. "We all have another drunk left in us but we don't know if we have another recovery in us."
  702. "I might have another drunk left in me, but do I have another recovery?"
  703. "Anyone wanting to leave should take a close look at their motivation."
  704. "You never hear someone coming back telling you it got better."
  705. "A.A.'s like the Mafia — If you leave it, you die."
  706. "There is no mistake so great as that of being always right."
  707. "Keep on trudgin'."
  708. "To practice Step 5 is to share at a meeting."
  709. "Be a channel not a dam. If you pass, it's your ass."
  710. "Give to God and God will give to you."
  711. "The only thing we take from this world when we leave is what we gave away."
  712. "The key to step 6 is acceptance — accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go."
  713. "Part of compliance is defiance, but you must arrive at acceptance of the disease."
  714. "Treatment of a disease doesn't always feel good."
  715. "Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go."
  716. "When the pain of staying sober becomes less than the pain of getting drunk, you'll stay sober."
  717. "If you want to stay sober, make the coffee."
  718. "Stand by the coffee pots. It's a good way to meet people."
  719. "I didn't get sober to be miserable."
  720. "Do what you don't want to do."
  721. "No pain, no gain."
  722. "There is pain in recovery. Misery is optional."
  723. "If you fly with crows, you get shot at."
  724. "Willpower = our willingness to use a Higher Power."
  725. "Dating is pouring Miracle Gro on my character defects."
  726. "Tighten up (financially)."
  727. "If you want to feel better right away, ask God to help you be of service."
  728. "To be of maximum service to others."
  729. "Unity, recovery, and service."
  730. "The smartest thing an A.A. member can say is, help."
  731. "When I ask for patience, God gives me a traffic jam."
  732. "If you pray for honesty, the chances of your lying go 'way up."
  733. "Trying to pray is praying."
  734. "Be careful what you pray for; you're liable to get it."
  735. "When God closes one door, he always opens another — but sometimes he makes us wait out in the hallway for a while."
  736. "God could and would if He were sought."
  737. "Step 7: Humility: the spiritual focus is humility asking a higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-will or mere determination."
  738. "Get humble or be made humble."
  739. "Unless one attains some degree of humility, one is condemned to drink."
  740. "Humility is the soil in which all other virtues grow."
  741. "Humility is that virtue which reduces a man to the proper size without degrading him, thereby increasing him in stature without inflating him."
  742. "Humility is like a venereal disease. If you have it, you don't talk about it."
  743. "Humility is our acceptance of ourselves."
  744. "Those who anger you, conquer you."
  745. "Depression is anger toward inward."
  746. "Love is less a feeling than a thousand tiny acts of kindness."
  747. "To open oneself up to love, is to open oneself up to loss."
  748. "We'll love you, until you learn to love yourself."
  749. "Let us love you, until you can learn to love yourself."
  750. "Remember that you may not like us, but you will love us in a very special way."
  751. "I love you, God loves you, and there's nothing you can do about it."
  752. "The victims of alcoholism are those around us."
  753. "There are no victims, only volunteers."
  754. "If you stop treating yourself poorly, it will become unacceptable for others to do so."
  755. "When you run out of quarters for your ass-kicking machine, I've got an extra roll for you to use."
  756. "Forgiveness of others is a gift to yourself."
  757. "The number one way to relieve pain is to forgive."
  758. "Going to any length means forgiving the person who has injured you the most."
  759. "To be forgiven we must forgive."
  760. "When I demand justice, I'd better think of the consequences."
  761. "Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery."
  762. "Why recovery never ends: the disease is alcoholism, not alcoholWASm."
  763. "BE a human being not a human doing."
  764. "Don't know, just be."
  765. "What will be will appear."
  766. "If you only pray when you need something fixed, you're turning God into a repairman."
  767. "Praying is asking God for help, meditating is listening for God's answer."
  768. "We don't pray to change things; we pray to change us."
  769. "If nothing changes, nothing changes."
  770. "Prayer is not a device for getting my own way, but rather a means to become what I should be."
  771. "All you have to change is everything."
  772. "Daily Meditation for about 20 minutes is recommended for all in recovery; unless of course, you are very busy — then you should meditate for an hour."
  773. "If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy."
  774. "When you find yourself in a hurry, Stop and Recall the real ASAP: Always Say A Prayer."
  775. "If you are having trouble getting on your knees to pray in the morning, put your shoes under the middle of the bed the night before."
  776. "God answers "knee mails""
  777. "Backsliding begins when knee-bending ends."
  778. "Faith is our greatest gift; sharing it with others our greatest responsibility "
  779. "Faith chases away fear."
  780. "Faith without works is dead."
  781. "What is God's Will for me today?"
  782. "If it is meant to be, I can't stop it. If it isn't God's will, I can't make it happen."
  783. "I don't always know what God's will is for me, but I always know what it's not."
  784. "Pray as if everything depended on God; work as if everything depends on ourselves."
  785. "No person can spend more on good works than they earn in meditation."
  786. "There are A.A. members who make things happen there are A.A. members who watch things happen there are A.A. members who DON'T KNOW anything happened."
  787. "A day without prayer is a day unfulfilled."
  788. "A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel."
  789. "Focus plus Courage plus Willingness to Learn equals Miracles."
  790. "Practice these principles in all your affairs — or change your affairs."
  791. "Trust in God, clean house, and work with others."
  792. "Service: Shut up, show up and say yes."
  793. "Service is gratitude in action."
  794. "The greatest gift that can come to anybody is a spiritual awakening."
  795. "Awakening into sober usefulness."
  796. "AA leads us to God, and God leads us to ourselves."
  797. "Are you a human being having a spiritual experience? Or a spiritual being having a human experience?"
  798. "We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having human experiences."
  799. "Carry the message, not the mess."
  800. "The message is under the ashtray."
  801. "The message is up front."
  802. "Some of us get so spiritual; we are of no earthly value to anyone."
  803. "The more you have on the inside, the less you need on the outside."
  804. "How we treat others is a consequence of the depth of our own spirituality."
  805. "We are hardest to love when we need love most."
  806. "When I am working with a drunk, sometimes the drunk I'm working on is me."
  807. "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."
  808. "Only in giving do we receive in full measure."
  809. "Be where you are supposed to be, do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it."
  810. "I can only help another to the degree that I've been helped myself."
  811. "When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there: and for that, I am responsible."
  812. "We're responsible for the effort not the outcome."
  813. "Helping people help themselves."
  814. "Spirituality is the ability to get our minds off ourselves."
  815. "Program bumper stickers belong on the dashboard, not the bumper."
  816. "The slogans are wisdom written in shorthand."
  817. "Chapter five (Big Book) is called 'how it works', not 'why me?'."
  818. "The shortest sentence in the big book is, 'It Works.'"
  819. "You don't need the latest self-improvement bestseller. You have the classic in your hands. (The 'Big Book')"
  820. "Prevent truth decay — read your Big Book."
  821. "When you re-read the Big Book, you do not see more than you did before. You see more in you than was there before."
  822. "Read your Big Book every day, but try reading only the black parts."
  823. "One of those rare books that gets smarter every time I read it."
  824. "The reason I keep going to meetings is because the Big Book has no pictures in it."
  825. "If you want to hide something from an alcoholic, hide it in the Big Book, because that is where he will never find it."
  826. "The Law of Oversell: When putting cheese in a mousetrap, always leave room for the mouse."
  827. "The Law of Reality: Never get into fights with ugly people, they have nothing to lose."
  828. "The Law of Self Sacrifice: When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last."
  829. "The Law of Drunkenness: You can't fall off the floor."
  830. "Make no major changes in the first year."
  831. "No relationships in the first year."
  832. "Two sickies don't make a wellie."
  833. "Sober 'n Crazy."
  834. "Reality is for people who can't handle drugs."
  835. "Don't Quit — Surrender."
  836. "He's taking a geographic."
  837. "At first you come because you have to come, but later you come because you love to come."
  838. "This Is A Selfish Program."
  839. "Let us love you until you can love yourself."
  840. "The sicker you are the more we love you."
  841. "If you call me when you're sober I'll show you how much I love you. If you call me when you're drunk I'll show you how much I love ME."
  842. "AA is a place for sick people to get well."
  843. "A.A. is an education without graduation."
  844. "We are not bad people becoming good, but sick people becoming well."
  845. "We are not bad people trying to get good, we are sick people trying to get well."
  846. "We are sick people trying to get well, not bad people trying to get good."
  847. "My sponsor says I'm trying. Very trying."
  848. "We are not saints."
  849. "We are not reformed drunks — but informed alcoholics."
  850. "If you sober up a horse thief all you have is a sober horse thief."
  851. "We are not different from others, God just made us special."
  852. "We A.A.'s are 'gifted' people."
  853. "No matter how far down the scale you've gone, you are welcome in AA."
  854. "One alcoholic talking to another one equals one."
  855. "Service is about being at meetings to chair, share and get out of ourselves."
  856. "When you do all the talking you only learn what you already know."
  857. "The Miracle of Healing that is God's Gift — Recovery."
  858. "All of us have to ask ourselves about the GOD idea... Either he is the all-knowing master of time, space and dimension... or there is a lot of random chance in our lives and universe."
  859. "Happy, joyous and free."
  860. "He suffers from terminal uniqueness."
  861. "I am unique, just like everybody else."
  862. "If you hang around the barber shop enough, you will end up getting a hair cut."
  863. "Who you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here."
  864. "What you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here."
  865. "What you hear and see here, stays here."
  866. "Meds quiet the still small voice of God."
  867. "There is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem."
  868. "Today I have more solutions than problems."
  869. "Some must die so that others can live."
  870. "We can only keep that which we give away." (Meaning: recruit new members for the cult, and indoctrinate them.)
  871. "You have to give it away in order to keep it."
  872. "Get it — give it — grow in it."
  873. "If we don't grow, we gotta go."
  874. "Freely giving what was freely given to us..." (Meaning: recruit as we were recruited; indoctrinate them as we were indoctrinated.)
  875. "You received without cost, now give without charge."
  876. "In a bar, we got sympathy — as long as our money lasted. In A.A., we get understanding for nothing."
  877. "He's a bleeding deacon" (He's an unhappy old-timer).
  878. "He's on a dry drunk" (He is simultaneously sober and in disagreement with A.A.).
  879. "You might not want to light a match near this guy... he's too dry."
  880. "He's sitting on the pity pot" (He is indulging in self-pity; not being grateful for A.A.).
  881. "Who would you rather associate with, your former drinking buddies, or sober people in recovery?"
  882. "Move closer to AA and move closer to yourself."
  883. "Being a part of something is more important than being the center of attention."
  885. "You will never have to drink again, and will you will never be alone again."
  886. "A.A. stands for Attitude Adjustment"
  887. "I have become a pupil of A.A. rather than the teacher I thought I was."
  888. "Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it."
  889. "If the cure works, chances are, you have the disease."
  890. "Once you are a pickle, you can't be a cucumber. But once you are a pickle, you can be a newcomer."
  891. "Be nice to newcomers. One day, they may be your sponsor."
  892. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
  893. "God grant me patience. Right now."
  894. "Keep an attitude of gratitude."
  895. "Practice an attitude of gratitude."
  896. "To attract the right person, become the right person."
  897. "You spot it, you got it."
  898. "When you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you."
  899. "Everything after 'but' is BS."
  900. "If you want to find out what your character defects are, fall in love."
  901. "Keep coming back, it works!"
  902. "It works it really does! (page 88 in the Big Book)"
  903. "A job is something that happens to you on the way to a meeting."
  904. "If hanging around A.A. doesn't work, try hanging out inside A.A."
  905. "Is it odd, or is it God?"
  906. "Don't worry, if you don't get the program right away, it will get you."
  907. "Recovery is simple: eat, sleep, work the steps."
  908. "The further you are from your last drink, the closer you are to the next one."
  909. "The farther I get from my last drink, the closer I get to my next drunk."
  910. "Are you walking towards a drink or away from one?"
  911. "If we knew which drink was going to cause wet brain, we would stop just before it."
  912. "Religion is when man tells you about God, a Cult is when man tells you he is God, and 12-Step is when God tells you about yourself."
  913. "A treatment center is where you go and pay $15,000 to find out that A.A. meetings are free."

    And undoubtedly, the single worst thought-stopping slogan of all is:

  914. "Utilize, Don't Analyze."

And if they want a few more slogans, I have some favorites of my own that I'll be happy to donate to the cause:

  • "My Kharma just ran over your Dogma."
  • "Pray for Brains." — Me
  • "Some are more brainwashed than others." — Me
  • "Death is just Mother Nature's way of telling you that it's time to quit smoking." — John B. Pace
  • "Wake up and smell the coffee."
  • "Put new batteries in your bullshit detector."
  • "Keeping an open mind is a virtue, but not so open that your brains fall out." — James Oberg
  • "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you have is a cult religion, everything looks like a spiritual problem." — Me
  • "A mind is a wonderful thing to waste." — From our beloved ex-Vice President Dan Quale
  • "The problem with K.I.S.S. — Keep It Simple Stupid — is that it often leads to L.O.V.E. — Leave Out Virtually Everything." — credited to "a smart musician"
  • "Life is what happens while you are trying to get your life together." — Me
  • "A year spent making mud pies is just a year wasted — you still don't have any pies to eat." — Me
  • "There is nothing quite like dying for convincing you that you really need to take better care of your health." — Me
  • "You can get more stinkin' from 12-Step thinkin' than you can from drinkin'." — Me
  • "Don't pee in my face and tell me it's raining."
  • "Willpower — it works if you work it." — Bob O.
  • "Keep An Open Mind." — Be entirely ready and willing to admit that Bill Wilson was insane, the Twelve Steps don't work, and the whole program is a bunch of cult baloney. So keep an open mind, please, and quit being in denial.

Also see the item "Cult-speak" for more redefined words and thought-stopping language.

48. Mystical Manipulation
A.A. scores a 10.

Cults routinely practice the engineering of experiences. Dr. Robert J. Lifton called it Mystical Manipulation, and described it as,

  • Everyone is manipulating everyone, under the belief that it advances the "ultimate purpose".
  • Experiences are engineered to appear to be spontaneous, when, in fact, they are contrived to have a deliberate effect.
  • People mistakenly attribute their experiences to spiritual causes when, in fact, they are concocted by human beings.
    Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, by Robert Jay Lifton, W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1963.

Mystical manipulation is also the perception of coincidental or inevitable events as spiritual signs. Recruits are taught that such signs reveal the greatness of the group.

A.A. does that constantly. How it works is:

  • You feel worse and worse as you do your Fourth Step, making long lists of all of your sins, defects, wrongs, and moral shortcomings.
  • You feel guilty and inadequate.
  • The pressure and anxiety builds up inside of you.
  • Then you do your Fifth Step, and break down and confess everything to someone else.
  • When it is over, the sudden release of tension feels good.
  • You are relieved that it is finally over.
  • You mistakenly interpret that feeling of immense relief as a spiritual experience, and you imagine that you have been relieved of your sins.

Then A.A. members are taught to watch for coincidences, and to interpret coincidences as signs.

In addition, A.A. members routinely claim that the benefits of sobriety are caused by supernatual forces, which they are not. Any time someone quits killing himself with alcohol and starts eating better, he will feel better — a lot better. (And also quitting smoking can make things really good, really fast.) After several months of sobriety, which gives the brain time to heal some of the damage from alcohol, the ex-drinker will experience sudden rushes of energy, clarity, and heightened awareness. A.A. members are wont to claim that these experiences are "spiritual experiences" or "spiritual awakenings", caused by God, rather than the simple, natural result of recovery from alcoholism.

49. The guru or the group demands ultra-loyalty and total commitment.
A.A. scores a 10.

In the Big Book, Bill Wilson instructs the A.A. recruiters to pressure prospective new members to write blank checks to A.A. — to get them to agree in advance to do absolutely anything:

... let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 90.

Then A.A. says that members can never graduate from the program, and they can never leave. They must continue to go to meetings and Work The Steps for the rest of their lives. They must be willing to go to any length to get "sobriety" — "half measures availed us nothing."

If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.
      At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not.   ...
      Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, "How It Works", pages 58-59.

The A.A. old-timers sneer at the newcomers who only want to quit drinking and do not wish to devote their lives to a cult religion — the old-timers call them "one-steppers". (Bill Wilson was twice as generous — he called them "two-steppers".)

The Big Book actually declares that Alcoholics Anonymous must come before everything else in a member's life, including job, wife, and children — it's really The Only Thing that matters:

We all had to place recovery above everything...
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Henry Parkhurst, Chapter 10, To Employers, page 143.

"I decided I must place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition — Chapter B10, He Sold Himself Short, page 293.

And a rehash of the Big Book that is intended for youths tells a story of a supposedly-successful recovery where...

Even after she remarries, she doesn't lose sight of her priorities. She places God first and A.A. second. Her husband is never more than the third most important aspect of her life.
Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, John R., page 107.

Bill Wilson also declared:

Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 9, page 127.

So A.A. comes before job and career, and even marriage.

Note how Bill Wilson often equated involvement with A.A. and "spiritual progress". He also equated A.A. activities with "recovery". They aren't the same things at all. That's another propaganda trick, "False Equality".

And, Bill says, you must busy yourself with A.A. activities every day, even to the point of neglecting your family:

Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.
Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.

Note that "helping others" is a euphemism — cult-speak — for recruiting and indoctrinating new A.A. members. Alcoholics Anonymous has an official policy of NOT engaging in any service work or charity, and not helping alcoholics in any way except for pressuring them to join Alcoholics Anonymous, because:

The minute we put our work on a service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon our assistance rather than upon God.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 98.

And a common A.A. slogan declares, "If I don't feel like going to a meeting, I usually NEED to."

  • So you have to go to a meeting when you want to,
  • and you have to go to a meeting when you don't want to.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

And if you really don't need to go to a meeting, because you have years of sobriety and you don't need to hear the usual slogans repeated again for the hundredth time, you still have to go to a meeting "to be there for the newcomer".

A.A. allows little deviation from the rules. The hard-core true believers will tell you that any failure to conform to the dictates of the standard A.A. dogma will result in a relapse and dying drunk, and it will also prove that you are diseased and in denial, and they will say that "you are not working a strong enough program", that you are "signing your own death warrant".

Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

50. Demands for Total Faith and Total Trust
A.A. scores a 10.

Bill Wilson constantly demanded that you have complete and total faith in his religion, and believe his statements without question:

I was beginning to see that I would require implicit faith, like a small child, if I was going to get anywhere.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, The News Hawk by Jim Scott, Page 259. (Titled Traveler, Editor, Scholar in the first edition.)

Bill Wilson used all of chapter four of the Big Book to lecture the readers on how they must believe in Bill Wilson's version of God. Wilson even declared that you must abandon human intelligence, logic, and 'Reason', and just have blind faith in his program. You can't even allow intelligence, common sense, or sanity to interfere with belief that Bill Wilson's way is The Only Way:

Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
      We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. ... People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, We Agnostics, page 49.

Hence, we saw that reason isn't everything. Neither is reason, as most of us use it, entirely dependable, though it emanate from our best minds.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, We Agnostics, pages 54-55.

(So, because Bill and his friends couldn't think correctly, you shouldn't try to, either.)

Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and did not like to lose our support.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 53.

So you should abandon "Reason" (with a capital R) and just "have faith" in Bill Wilson's delusions of grandeur.

Also see the file "A.A. and Religious Faith" for more information about how you must give up your mind to Bill Wilson and A.A., and just "have faith".

to answers 51 to 60.


1) Nan Robertson, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, page 76.

2) Nan Robertson, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, page 80.
Also see: Francis Hartigan, Bill W., page 166: "By 1945, Bill [Wilson] was in treatment with another psychotherapist, Dr. Frances Weeks, a Jungian."

3) Nan Robertson, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, page 32. "When you go to Dr. Smith, you really bet your ass."

4) Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson     Francis Hartigan
Francis Hartigan was Lois Wilson's private secretary, so if anybody should be privy to the insider secrets about Bill's infidelities, it would be Francis. And Hartigan says that Bill was about as faithful as a horny alley cat, all of his life, both before and after sobriety. Hartigan says that Bill regularly 13th-stepped the dewy-eyed pretty young things who showed up at the A.A. meetings. Bill was so obnoxious that the other old-timers had to form a committee to watch him — "The Founder's Watch Committee" — to follow Bill around and keep him from doing it all again and again, and publicly embarrassing Alcoholics Anonymous yet again.
See chapter 25, The Other Woman, page 192, for a description of the Founder's Watch Committee.
Also see the web page on The Other Women for more details of Bill's philandering.

5) Bill W., A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson     Francis Hartigan
This biography was written by Lois Wilson's private secretary, Francis Hartigan.
How could an allegedly dead-broke, down-and-out, unemployed alcoholic afford to give his wife a private secretary?
Answer: After Bill finished raiding the A.A. treasury, he was far from broke.

6) The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters, edited by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., page 59.

7) "Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob's Kids As Told to Christine Brewer", by Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, pages 152-158.

8) The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience, Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., pages 64 and 93.
The sociologist Milton Maxwell went on to become a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc..

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Last updated 24 March 2015.
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