A.A. Death Threats
by "iamnotastatistic"

Date: Fri, March 15, 2013 12:00 pm       (Answered 18 March 2013)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: Death threats in AA literature

Hello again Terrance,

The threats of death to the alcoholic or AA member in AA literature are alarming and disgusting. Why does AA have to threaten its members with death? Here's a list that I've put together: some are direct and explicit, some are implicit, some are subtle — all contain the same message: Do it the AA way or die!

I've covered all of the Big Book except for the personal stories, the 12&12, The AA Service Manual and the Traditions pamphlet.There are 56 examples in this list. I wonder how many death threats there are in total in all AA literature?


*Big Book, 4th Ed.*

  • Fwd to 2nd Ed. But out of this frightening and at first disrupting experience the conviction grew that A.A.'s had to hang together or die separately.
  • Doctor's Opinion: They believe in themselves, and still more in the Power which pulls chronic alcoholics back from the gates of death.
  • 11 Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than best he had ever known!
  • 14 Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic!
  • 15 If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die.
  • 16 Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.
  • 24 When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond all human aid, and unless locked up, may die, or go permanently insane.
  • 25 ...if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end ... and the other, to accept spiritual help.
  • 30 The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
  • 44 To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.
  • 62 Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
  • 66 ...this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal.
  • 66 The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.
  • 66 In that state, the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill.
  • 70 We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality.
  • 75 He should realize that we are engaged upon a life-and-death errand. [The 5th step is a life and death errand]
  • 92 Continue to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady.
  • 96 To spend too much time on any one situation[prospective member] is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy.
  • 103 A spirit of intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved...
  • 117 Never forget that resentment is a deadly hazard to an alcoholic.
  • 124 With it you can avert death and misery for them. [working with another family]
  • 142 Say that you believe that he is a gravely ill person, with this qualification — being perhaps fatally ill...
  • 150 They have a new attitude, and they have been saved from a living death.
  • 154 But what about his responsibilities — his family and the men who would die because they would not know how to get well, ah-yes, those other alcoholics?
  • Appendix 1: To those now in its fold, Alcoholics Anonymous has made the difference between misery and sobriety, and often the difference between life and death.
  • Appendix 1: We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone.
  • Appendix 1: A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die.


  • 23 ...our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.
  • 24 Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A., and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation.
  • 30 We saw that we had to reconsider or die.
  • 31 In A.A. we saw the fruits of this belief[in God]: men and women spared from alcohol's final catastrophe.
  • 64 It is plain for everybody to see that each sober A.A. member has been granted a release from this very obstinate and potentially fatal obsession.
  • 69 Delay is dangerous, and rebellion may be fatal. [giving up character defects]
  • 76 If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possibly have.
  • 108 We knew we would have to quit the deadly business of living alone with our conflicts, and in honesty confide these to God and another human being.
  • 130 His life actually depends on obedience to spiritual principles. If he deviates too far, the penalty is sure and swift; he sickens and dies.
  • 131 Like us they had suddenly found themselves saved from death...
  • 141 At last experience taught us that to take away any alcoholic's full chance was sometimes to pronounce his death sentence,...
  • 142 If we turn this man away, he'll soon die.
  • 151 For us, if we neglect those who are still sick, there is unremitting danger to our own lives and sanity.
  • 174 Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant.
  • 189 A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die.

*The A.A. Service Manual combined with Twelve Concept for World Service, 2005-2006 Edition.*

  • S1 We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven't been given the truth may die.
  • S13 A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die.
  • 8 We very well know that the penalty for extensive disobedience to these principles is death for the individual and dissolution for the group.
  • 42 What the sponsor does and says... can make all the difference, often the difference between life and death.
  • 73 If after a trial they cannot do better, we know they face a choice: they can go mad or die or they can return to Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • 75 We know that we personally have to choose conformity to A.A.'s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions or else face dissolution and death, both as individuals and as groups.

*AA Tradition — How it developed by Bill W.*, A.A. pamphlet available at:

  • 5 We know that Alcoholics Anonymous must continue to live. Else, save few exceptions, we and our brother alcoholics throughout the world will surely resume the hopeless journey to oblivion.
  • 6 A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die.
  • 12 He can join A.A. on the mere suspicion that he may be one [an alcoholic], that he may already show the fatal symptoms of our malady.
  • 32 Still it is a fact that most of us do follow, in our personal lives, the Twelve Suggested Steps to recovery. But we do this from choice. We prefer recovery to death.
  • 43 A.A. is a power greater than any of us; it must go on living or else uncounted thousands of our kind will surely die. This we know.

Yes. Thanks for the lists. Nothing like a few death threats to keep the suckers in line.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
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**     "Then came that little man that we who live in this area saw so much,
**     him with the kind blue eyes and white hair, Doc Silkworth. You'll
**     remember that Doc said to me, "look Bill, you're preaching at these
**     people too much. You've got the cart before the horse. This 'white
**     flash' experience of yours scares those drunks to death. Why don't
**     you put the fear of God into them first. You're always talking about
**     James and The Varieties of Religious Experiences and how you have
**     to deflate people before they can know God, how they must have humility.
**     So, why don't you use the tool of the medical hopelessness of alcoholism
**     for practically all those involved. Why don't you talk to the drunk
**     about that allergy they've got and that obsession that makes them
**     keep on drinking and guarantees that they will die. Maybe when you
**     punch it into them hard it will deflate them enough so that they will
**     find what you found."
**       ==  Bill Wilson, speaking at the Memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952

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