What's Not Good About A.A.

I just can't resist: This is a searching and fearless moral inventory of Alcoholics Anonymous.

  1. It doesn't work.
    We can do better than this. This is the year 2013, and we can come up with a better answer to alcoholism than "It's hopeless, so abandon yourself to God," and practice an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties. Not only does the A.A. 12-Step "treatment" not work, but it kills as many people as it appears to save. That is a very strong damnation, but the numbers back it up. There are always lots of A.A. defenders who will swear that A.A. saved their lives, and lots of A.A. boosters who claim that A.A. is keeping millions of alcoholics sober, but all objective, fair tests of A.A. that have ever been done show no better success rate than no treatment at all.

    The only possible mathematical explanation is that A.A. kills one patient for each one that it appears to save, thus making the effective success rate balance out at zero. And that is, in fact, actually believable, given just how bad the so-called "treatment program" really is, and how high the A.A. failure rate and the A.A. death rate really are. Read on.

    Bill Wilson actually bragged about that problem at the memorial service for Dr. Bob. Bill described the early days of A.A. this way:

    You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
    Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

    If you have to cull hundreds of drunks to get a few success stories, then that sounds like a one or two percent success rate. But wait! That is only the gullible victims who "take the bait", as Bill Wilson called it, just the ones who believe Bill Wilson's religious ravings and join Alcoholics Anonymous. How many of those joiners actually stay sober for any appreciable length of time, like several years? Even less, for sure.

    At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all. Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 97.

    The old-timers in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous brag about all of their friends that they have buried. They talk like they are the last survivor of the Lost Patrol — which many of them really are. They don't seem to be able to recognize the fact that if the 12-Step program actually worked, then they wouldn't need to be burying all of their friends.

  2. It's a Big Lie.
    A.A. repeats the same lies over and over, using the same propaganda technique as Adolf Hitler with his Big Lie about the evil nature of the Jews.

    The single most important issue about Alcoholics Anonymous is the question of how well it works to save people from alcoholism, and A.A. habitually, routinely, lies about its success rate, and always has.

    A.A. tells everyone who will listen that it has the only treatment program for alcoholism — that it is the only "time-tested", "proven", method of recovery — but their Twelve-Step program does not work. Rather than even concede that the program might have some problems, the A.A. true believers just shove the program on every victim they can find, using therapists, counselors, judges, and parole officers as their enforcers, while simultaneously avoiding any and all scientific testing of the effectiveness of the Twelve-Step program. When some testing does occur, like in Project MATCH, and gives results that they don't like, they just deny and ignore the results of the test.

    A.A. shills and hidden propagandists routinely plant untrue articles and stories in the press and media to sell their Big Lie, articles which push strange ideas like:

    A.A. habitually lies about its success rate. They begin every meeting by reading Bill Wilson's lie, "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path." "Rarely fails" really means "fails at least 95 or 98 percent of the time, maybe even 100 percent of the time." Alcoholics Anonymous has a death rate that is comparable to the Bataan Death March. Literally.3 And so does its sister organization, Narcotics Anonymous.

  3. It is bad religion.
    Any theologian will tell you that this is one very bad religion, just loaded with heresies. It is surprising that so many Christian churches allow A.A. to meet in their buildings. I suspect that they haven't examined the theology very closely, and they just think that getting the drunkards praying is a good thing.

    See the file The Heresy of the Twelve Steps for much more about that.

  4. It features bad psychology and bad medicine.
    A.A. gives newcomers a lot of bad advice and misinformation about alcoholism and recovery. A.A.'s dogma is based on myths and superstitions about how the human mind and body works, not facts. For example, the Big Book says, "Alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful." No, it isn't. Ethyl alcohol is a clear liquid, a hydrocarbon solvent, and it has no brain. It cannot think at all, never mind be cunning, baffling, and powerful.

    Another example: "He took his will back." The goofy dogma of A.A. has us surrendering our wills to God, and then taking them back, then surrendering them, then taking them back, in an endless tug-of-war, as if they were coins or tokens that could be grabbed and yanked back and forth at will. Our will is part of our mind, and we can't just give it away. And we sure can't "take our will back" if we have no will to do so.

    Another really bad example: in the bizarre theology of A.A., God is supposed to remove "the drinking problem" and the cravings for alcohol. When God doesn't, the A.A. members will often relapse, and feel like they didn't do anything at all. They will even describe the relapse with a strange detachment, as if it happened to somebody else; the relapse just happened because the unexpected cravings just came along...

    Another really bad fallacy is Bill Wilson's declaration that alcoholics cannot recover from alcoholism until they "hit bottom". Bill Wilson found that ordinary, relatively-sane people wouldn't join his cult religion or believe in his brain-damaged superstitious nonsense. Only the really sick, frightened, dying people who were desperately grabbing at anything that might save their lives would swallow Wilson's insane delusions. So Wilson made up a story about how alcoholics can't really quit drinking and start to recover until they hit bottom and "the lash of alcoholism drives them to A.A." (see: Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 24). A.A. members have been spreading that little piece of misinformation for the last 60 years, and now, everybody who thinks he knows something about alcoholism repeats it. But it is still untrue.

    And maybe the worst example is, "Alcoholism is a progressive disease that is caused by spiritual deficiencies, defects of character, moral shortcomings, and sin." If alcoholism is really caused by immorality, then it isn't a disease at all. It's a behavior problem.

    Giving people misinformation doesn't help them stay sober. Teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol, and cannot resist temptation and cravings, is very damaging, and almost guarantees relapses and binges. Teaching people to expect God to take away their desire to drink is self-defeating and also guarantees plenty of failures.

    Any competent doctor will tell you that a one-size-fits-all medical treatment program is a good way to kill a lot of patients. And voodoo medicine administered by amateur witch doctors is even worse.

  5. The cult-like atmosphere drives away moderate help seekers.
    More than 90% of all of the people who walk in the door looking for help turn right around and walk right back out the door when they discover just how bad the religion is, and what kind of fanatics they are dealing with. This phenomenon is so well known that it is called the "revolving door effect." Some people are so appalled by the bombastic, grandiose religiosity that they decide they would rather risk drinking themselves to death than take the A.A. cure.

  6. It is harmful to converts.
    No good comes of getting people to believe in a bunch of falsehoods, and do a bunch of ridiculous busywork that just wastes their time and energy.

    • Twelve-Step "treatment" is psychologically harmful — especially the self-criticism, and wallowing in shame and guilt — to the point of driving some believers to suicide.

    • The strange theology dooms people to relapses, because God doesn't fix all of the members' problems.

    • Teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol is self-defeating, and guarantees big problems. A sophisticated controlled study revealed that people who were sent to A.A. and taught to believe that they were powerless over alcohol did five times as much uncontrolled binge drinking as other alcoholics who received no such "education" in powerlessness. And the A.A. group did nine times as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got Rational Behavioral Therapy, where they were taught that they were powerful and could control their drinking.

    • A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics. Prof. and Dr. George E. Vaillant, who loves A.A. so much that he became a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., tried for 8 years to make A.A. look good in clinical tests, but in the end was forced to admit that A.A. had not helped the alcoholics at all — it was completely ineffective — and it had an "appalling" death rate, a death rate that was higher than any other treatment program that Dr. Vaillant examined.

    • Teaching people to expect a "spiritual experience" makes them feel like failures when it doesn't happen, or it drives them to become delusional, proclaiming that every little sentimental experience, or every intense emotion, is a spiritual experience.

    • People get tired, they get run down, their energy and enthusiasm gets depleted, they can become depressed, after they fail many times because God still hasn't taken away all of their defects of character, moral shortcomings, or "the drinking problem." Some people will just give up, and resign themselves to drinking forever or relapsing forever.

    • Telling newcomers to quit taking their doctor-prescribed medications, and just rely on the Twelve Steps for healing, is killing people.

  7. A.A. is harmful to drop-outs.
    Even those who refuse religious conversion and leave A.A. are often harmed by the A.A. dogma. The most obvious example of that is convincing people that one drink will make them spin out of control, and they will go on a huge drinking binge, because they are "powerless over alcohol." When people decide that they would rather drink than be religious maniacs, they all too often then proceed to fulfill the A.A. prediction. After one or two drinks, they think, "Oh well, I've already blown it. I've lost all of my clean and sober time now. One drink, one drunk. Might as well go ahead and really enjoy it now, since I don't have anything left to lose..."

    The few studies that have tracked various treatment programs' drop-outs and failures have found that A.A. "treatment" was worse than no treatment at all for those people. The A.A. drop-outs had worse relapses and binges than the people who never got any A.A. indoctrination, "education", or "treatment".

  8. A.A. encourages people to be illogical, superstitious, and irrational.
    This irrational example is a doctor, explaining in The Big Book how it is some kind of a miracle that wounds heal after he stitches them closed:

    For myself, I have an absolute proof of the existence of God.
    What healed those tissues, those tissues that I closed, what healed them? I didn't. This to me is the proof of the existence of a Somethingness greater than I am. I couldn't practice medicine without the Great Physician. All I do in a very simple way, is to help Him cure my patients.
    The Big Book, story "Physician, Heal Thyself!", 3rd Edition pages 350-351, 4th Edition pages 306-307.

    Apparently, this poor doctor (not Doctor Bob, but some other doctor,) drank so much alcohol, and damaged his poor brain so much, that he was no longer able to comprehend how the body could heal itself, how it scabs over and heals up wounds all by itself, quite routinely. This doctor actually thought that God had to get into every single wound on every living creature on the face of the Earth and make it heal? That kind of bizarre delusional thinking is sadly indicative of a major mental disorder. What did Bill Wilson do, go collect all of the mentally-ill, delusional, alcoholics that he could get?
    (Hint: the answer is "YES.")

    Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D. (who later became a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services) did a study of A.A. members where he heard very similar testimony:

          My first impression of the spiritual part of the program was that it was complete nonsense. At first, I didn't turn my will and life over to the care of God. I just used the "24 hours at a time" [approach to not drinking]. After a while, I started realizing that "something" was keeping me sober. After about 6 months in the program, I came to realize that it is not "me" that keeps my heart beating, not "me" that keeps my brain functioning. There has to be some other power than "I" to keep my body alive.
    The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up View For Professionals, Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., page 82.

    1. First off, the speaker was assuming a lot when he imagined that some God or "Higher Power" was keeping his brain functioning. His brain appears to have gone on vacation.
    2. The speaker was obviously incapable of understanding that our nervous systems are divided into voluntary and involuntary systems, and that the base brain manages the involuntary functions like heartbeat, breathing, and blood pressure without any conscious effort on our part. We don't need any Higher Power poking his fingers into our chests to keep us alive any more than do the frogs, dogs, rats, or cats. Dr. Milton Maxwell had a Ph.D., but it was obviously not in a medical field.
    3. For that A.A. member to assume that his ignorance of the workings of the human body proves the existence of a Higher Power is just as stupid as assuming that his ignorance of how thunder and lightning happen proves the existence of the Thunder God Thor.
    4. If some Higher Power were really making us live by micro-managing our breathing and heartbeats, then that introduces a very nasty question: "Why doesn't that same Higher Power bother to take good care of all of the starving children in Biafra, Bengladesh, and Ethiopia while He is so worried about the alcoholics' heartbeats? How can Higher Power be so uncaring about all of those children's stomachs?" (Turning their wills and their lives over His care didn't do them much good, did it?)
    5. Notice how the speaker was slowly converted to the standard A.A. religious beliefs by prolonged exposure to the A.A. "program". In the beginning, he thought that the A.A. "spirituality" was complete nonsense. Nevertheless, after six months in A.A., he started yammering illogical platitudes about some "Higher Power" keeping his heart beating and making his brain function. What this story really teaches us is that A.A. indoctrination is hard for newcomers to resist.

    And the Northern Illinois Area A.A. newletter gave us this jewel of brain-damaged logic:

    Trying to be scientific about to [sic.] alcoholism is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. But that's OK. A.A. isn't trying to be scientific.   ...
    ... those who are able to remain sober are the members who are able to behave as though they believed. [Boldface in the original.]
    Northern Illinois Area Ltd., Area 20 Service Letter, Volume XXIV, No. 1, Spring, 2000, Page 10.

    It never ceases to amaze me how they can so blind themselves to the obvious contradiction between Bill Wilson's Big Book statement that A.A. requires "grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty" (Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 58), and the constantly-parroted instructions to "Act As If", and "Fake It Until You Make It", and "Behave as though you believe."

  9. Alcoholics Anonymous is anti-intellectual and encourages people to be stupid.
    Just the vicious condescending slogans alone tell you all you need to know:
    • Quit your stinkin' thinkin'.
    • Your best thinking got you here.
    • Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.
    • Keep It Simple, Stupid!
    • Sit down, shut up, and learn something.
    • People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
    • Nobody is too stupid to get the program, but some people are too intelligent.
    • He is suffering from terminal uniqueness.
    • Utilize, Don't Analyze!

    Bill Wilson just oozed condescension and superiority when he criticized those people who chose to think for themselves:

    To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman many A.A.'s can say, "Yes, we were like you — far too smart for our own good.   ...   Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on brain power alone."
    As Bill Sees It, quotes from William G. Wilson, published by A.A.W.S., page 60.

    And of course the A.A. members love to congratulate themselves and imply that alcoholism and A.A. is much better than a college education.

    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!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, story "Promoted To Chronic", page 473.

    Here is a doctor describing going to his first A.A. meeting to fix his alcoholism, and finding that the local butcher, baker, and carpenter were members:

    "Here I am, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons, a diplomate of one of the great specialty boards in these United States, a member of the American Psychiatric Society, and I have to go to the butcher, the baker, and the carpenter to help make a man out of me!"
    The A.A. Big Book, page 348.

    Yes, Doctor, if you really wanted to get an education, you should have skipped college and medical school, and just hung out in the back alleys with the winos... They are always good at "making a man out of you."

    Along the same lines, the Northern Illinois Area Service Newsletter gave us this sneering piece of anti-intellectual propaganda that tells us that an ordinary A.A. sponsor is much better than a professional therapist:

    Twelve Ways to Tell the Difference Between Your Sponsor and Your Therapist.
    1. Your sponsor isn't all that interested in the "reasons" you drank.

    2. Your therapist thinks your root problem is your lack of self-esteem, negative self-image, and your poor self-concept. Your sponsor thinks your problem is a 3-letter word with no hyphens.

    3. Your therapist wants you to pamper your "inner child." Your sponsor thinks he ought to be spanked.

    4. Your sponsor thinks your inventory should be about you, not your parents.

    5. Speaking of your parents, your sponsor tells you not to confront them, but to apologize to them.

    6. The only time your sponsor uses the word "closure," is before the word "mouth."

    7. Your sponsor thinks "boundaries" are things you need to take down not build up.

    8. Your therapist wants you to love yourself first, your sponsor wants you to love others first.

    9. Your therapist prescribes caretaking and medication. Your sponsor prescribes prayer-making and meditation.

    10. Your sponsor thinks "anger management skills" are numbered 1-2-3... 12.

    11. Now that you haven't had a drink in six months, your therapist thinks you should make a list of your goals and objectives for the next five years, starting with finishing up that college degree. Your sponsor thinks you should start today by cleaning the coffee pots and helping him carry a heavy box of literature to the jail.

    12. Your sponsor won't lose his license if he talks about God.

    SPRING, 2000
    page 7.

    • Note the attacks on you:
      • In item 2, your therapist will diagnose you as lacking self-esteem and having a negative self-image, but A.A. says that you are egotistical, and need to be put down even more.

      • Item 3 says that your inner child needs a spanking, and item 5 says that you need to go apologize to your parents, and then the rest of the items try to make you feel even worse about yourself... They really want to burden you with guilt and self-doubts.

    • And see how they want to keep you down and in the cult. Item 11 says that you should not think about finishing college — you should just spend your time on A.A. busy-work like cleaning the coffee pots, and proselytizing and recruiting at the local jail. Heaven Forbid you should go off to college; you might get smart and really recover and not come back to the cult.

      (But you know that if you don't go get that college degree, that you will probably be working for minimum wage, or for very low wages, for the rest of your life. And then your job might be outsourced to India or China. What kind of a future is A.A. really offering you? Just a life of poverty-stricken slavery in the cult. Misery loves company, and they want you to stay and keep them company.)

    • Also notice how the sarcastic sponsor in that sneering piece of propaganda does not want to know why you drank. (Item 1.) But if you don't figure that out, and fix what's broken, then you will probably relapse. They are increasing the failure rate by their refusal to look at the causes of drinking.

      (Well, they think that they already know the real causes of alcoholism: Bill Wilson said that it's really "sin and moral shortcomings and selfishness and self-will and self-reliance and nagging wives driving a man into a fit of anger...")

    But this has to be the crown jewel: After yet another relapse, one A.A. member who was a chronic relapser declared:

    When I came into A.A. the first time, I just had no feeling for the spiritual and paid no attention to it. But this last time in, I not only recognized that there is something which distinguishes me from a tree but that it is something special that I have to look after, and pay attention to, as I am learning to care for myself.
    The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up View For Professionals, Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., page 86.

    What?! You mean I'm not a tree?!
    Right. The dead give-away is the color of your leaves. The tree's are green, and yours are pink.

  10. A.A. plays Blame-The-Victim with alcoholics.
    You don't get more than five minutes into any Alcoholics Anonymous meeting before someone is reading a canned statement, the beginning paragraphs of Chapter Five of the Big Book, that says that anyone for whom the A.A. program doesn't work is "constitutionally incapable of being honest."

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
    At some of these [steps] we balked. We thought we could find a softer, easier way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."
    Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, Chapter Five, "How It Works", page 58.

    A.A. always plays blame-the-victim when the program fails to sober somebody up or keep somebody sober: They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way."
    (That is a good example of Bill Wilson's double-talk: When he says that it isn't their fault, he is really saying that it IS their fault because they were "born that way" — born dishonest. The failure was certainly not the fault of Bill Wilson's wonderful "spiritual program" that never fails.)

    A.A. recruiters, promoters and proselytizers (like the counselors and therapists who work in treatment centers) never, not for a minute, honestly consider the possibility that maybe A.A. and the Twelve Steps aren't right for many people — never mind the fact that A.A. is wrong for most people, or that the A.A. 12-Step program doesn't really work at all.

    Notice the two veiled statements in the last paragraph of that quote, where Bill Wilson underhandedly implied that the Twelve Steps actually do work: "The members couldn't find any easier, softer, way, but the A.A. steps worked...",
    and "Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."
    Both of those statements are lies. That is the Big Lie propaganda technique, used once again. The 12 Steps didn't work. They have never worked. The "results" were always "nil".

    Even as Bill Wilson was writing those words, his fledgeling New York Alcoholics Anonymous group was experiencing a terrible relapse rate. Very few of Bill Wilson's followers actually maintained sobriety. Bill and Dr. Bob themselves actually calculated their success rate to be a mere five percent, but that is not what Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book. He lied and said that 75% recovered. (75% of those who "really tried". That is the propaganda trick of Lying With Qualifiers.

    Notice that A.A. is a "heads I win, tails you lose" kind of con game:

    • If you quit drinking and stay quit, then "the A.A. program" gets all of the credit.
    • But if you relapse and die drunk, then you get all of the blame.
    A.A. is perfect; you're a loser.

    When a doctor prescribes penicillin, and it fails to clear up an infection, the doctor switches to using something else, perhaps streptomycin or Keflex or dicloxacillin. The doctor does not just claim that the reason the penicillin isn't working is because the patient is immoral, and insist that the patient just take more penicillin and pray more. But that's how A.A. treats alcoholism with the Twelve Steps.

    Again, A.A. claims that a magical "spiritual" one-size-fits-all fix, the Twelve-Step Program, is the answer to everything. And even more outrageously, the "fix" is to turn people into religiomaniacs — religious fanatics. And, again, the real A.A. failure rate is 95 or 98 or 100 percent, and A.A. arrogantly claims that they all fail because they are all "constitutionally incapable of being honest," and they were "born that way" and they "will not completely give themselves to this simple program."
    "The program never fails anyone; people just fail the program."

    To use A.A. terminology, A.A. is in denial about its true nature:
    A.A. is constitutionally incapable of being honest with itself.
    A.A. is "naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty."
    A.A. members seek a narcissistic easier, softer way by attempting to return to infancy where they laid helplessly on their back sides and waited for Mommy or Daddy to take care of them and satisfy all of their demands. Now they want to declare powerlessness and demand that God take care of them and solve all of their problems for them.
    A.A. members seek an easier, softer way by demanding a simplistic solution to all of their problems — a magical 12-Step cure-all where God removes the desire to drink alcohol, and God also takes care of their wills and their lives for them.
    Where they previously thought that alcohol was the solution to all of their problems, they now think that 12 simple "spiritual" steps are the solution to everything:
    "Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems."
    (The Big Book, Chapter 3, page 42.)

    Alcoholics Anonymous was just born that way.

  11. Alcoholics Anonymous stereotypes alcoholics.

    Not only does A.A. stereotype alcoholics and try to shove them all into the same mold, A.A. uses an extremely negative stereotype of "the alcoholic". Bill Wilson and A.A. say that alcoholics are all dishonest and in denial, and selfish and self-seeking and manipulative, and too stupid to ever be able to figure out how to quit drinking by themselves. And they are all suffering from a "spiritual disease" because they aren't holy enough.

    A.A. even goes so far as to declare that you can kill alcoholics if you tell the truth, because those stupid alcoholics just cannot handle the truth — "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety."

    See the web page "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy" for much more on this.

  12. It totally ignores all social issues.
    A.A. says that the answer to all social problems is the Twelve Steps, and that all of your problems are of your own making. Like the Oxford Group before it, Alcoholics Anonymous believes that all social problems are caused by sin, and only by sin. A.A. will not look at any of the social causes of alcoholism, like poverty, racism, child abuse, lack of education, lack of opportunities, war, gang-banging in the 'hood, or injustice.

    A.A., along with all of the other 12-Step recovery groups, is not only apolitical, it is downright anti-political. This, combined with the anti-intellectualism listed above, makes the A.A. organization a corrupt politician's dream come true — those people just will not do anything to rock the boat or threaten the status quo. It is no surprise that fascist dictators like having A.A. in their countries, and Latin America is one of the biggest growth areas for A.A..

    Indeed, an organization that tries to ignore all societal causes of social problems "and to concern itself not at all as to the way in which the corporate life of society is organized" ... "enters the social arena inevitably on the side of reaction". In other words, it becomes fascistic in nature. The editor of The Christian Century magazine wrote that.

    The only apparent exception to the rule of ignoring the societal causes of alcoholism is that A.A. recognizes that past child abuse, being an Adult Child Of Alcoholics, contributes to alcoholism. And the fix is: Join ACOA, do the Twelve Steps, read the Book, go to lots of meetings, confess everything, etc... And make amends by apologizing for being angry about getting beaten or molested. And for other family members, the answer is to join Al-Anon or Alateen, and do the Twelve Steps, go to lots of meetings, confess everything, etc...

  13. It is a headstrong organization that does whatever it can to block research and progress in the treatment of alcoholism.
    A.A. refuses to allow any research into other treatments for alcoholism, some of which might actually work, just for a change.

    AA has taken pains to ensure that it's the only game in town. AA members have set up "educational" and "medical" front groups to promote AA and its ideology (especially the 12 steps and the disease concept of alcoholism). In addition to promoting AA and its concepts, the hidden AA members (in "professional" guise) in these front groups have repeatedly and viciously attacked critics of AA and researchers who've published findings contrary to AA dogma. They have also attempted to suppress alternative alcoholism treatment approaches — and to a great extent they've succeeded.
    == From Chas. Bufe's AA: Cult or Cure, Preface to Second Edition

    Again: We can do better than this. This is the year 2013, and we can come up with a better answer to alcoholism and drug addiction than "abandon yourself to God." (Or to "Higher Power", or whatever it is...)

  14. A.A. illegally and immorally coerces people into joining the A.A. religion.
    The organization has a vast network of "counselors", "therapists", and other treatment professionals who routinely send all patients to A.A. as a standard part of the treatment program. A.A. also uses judges and parole officers to coerce people into A.A..

    The Little Red Book of Hazelden specifically teaches recruiters to indoctrinate judges, police, doctors, clergy, and other officials as part of the proselytizing work, prompting them to force people to go to A.A. meetings. It says that faithful A.A. members can "carry the message" by:

    11. By telling the A.A. story to clergy members, doctors, judges, educators, employers, or police officials if we know them well enough to further the A.A. cause, or to help out a fellow member.
    The Little Red Book, Hazelden, page 128.

    And Hazelden is merely echoing Bill Wilson's instructions. In a 1939 letter from Bill to Earl T., a founding member of the Chicago A.A. group, Bill wrote:

    By educating doctors, hospitals, ministers along this line, you will surely pick up some strong prospects after a bit.
    PASS IT ON, The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pages 225-226.

    It is blatantly illegal and unconstitutional to force people to go to a religious ceremony, like a church service. More than a dozen state and federal judges have ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous is a religion, or engages in religious activities, but the system still sends treatment patients and criminal offenders to A.A., or to A.A.-based "treatment".

    Every American court that has ruled on the issue of compulsory A.A. attendance has ruled that A.A. is a religion, or engages in "religious activities, as defined in constitutional law," including the Federal District Court for Southern New York, the Federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, the New York and Tennessee state Supreme Courts, and the Federal 7th Circuit Court in Wisconsin.

    Today, because of the judges' rulings, the coercion is often performed by deception: People are told that they must go to a certain number of recovery group meetings per week, or else, and they are handed a list of acceptable meetings, a list which contains only A.A. and N.A. 12-Step groups. What they are not told is that they can also choose to go to Rational Recovery, SMART, SOS, WFS, MFS, or any other secular recovery group meetings that they can find. So, by default, almost everyone ends up at the twelve-step meetings, unaware of the fact that they have a choice in the matter. The counselors are taking full advantage of people's confusion and mental disorientation during the early phases of detoxing and recovery. If asked about it, the counselors will rationalize their actions by saying, "Well, those groups are what works. Twelve-Step treatment is the proven successful program. It's how we all recovered." — Thus repeating the standard party line and the Big Lie one more time, and revealing that the counselors are sending the patients to the counselors' own religion.

  15. Alcoholics Anonymous is dishonest.
    • A.A. is grossly dishonest, and lies like a rug. A.A. lies about:
      1. its cult religion roots,
      2. its history,
      3. its founders,
      4. its religious philosophy,
      5. its true nature,
      6. what it is now,
      7. what it is doing now,
      8. how the program works or doesn't work,
      9. its failure rate,
      10. bad groups that practice sexual exploitation,
      11. and more.
      And A.A. will not honestly discuss its problems. It is an organization in denial.

    • A.A. says that it is not a religion, but its official literature spends an immense amount of time raving about God and religion and how you absolutely must believe, or else.

      The Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book" even instructs recruiters in how to hide the intense religiosity of 'the program' from prospective new members, so A.A. also practices deceptive recruiting.

      And A.A. literature — which is mostly Bill Wilson's mad rantings and ravings — declares that the only people who object to the crazy religiosity and dishonesty of Bill Wilson are atheists and agnostics.

      A.A. says that it is not a religion, and is not a religious organization:

      Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization.
      The Big Book, Forward to the 2nd Edition, William G. Wilson, page XX (of the 3rd edition).

      But the state and Federal judges say that it is, and that A.A.'s denials don't count. That is simple enough to understand:

      • If a parrot says that it is an eagle, insists for years that it is an eagle, screams to everyone who will listen that it is really an eagle, does that make it an eagle? No. It's still just a crazy parrot.
      • If A.A. says that it is only a "spiritual fellowship", just a wonderful spiritual quit-drinking self-help group, and not a cult religion, and says it for years, for decades, does that make it so? No. It's still just a crazy cult religion.

    • A.A. says that it is a program of attraction, not promotion — that's Tradition Eleven. A.A. pretends to be just another self-help group that doesn't want to get involved in "outside issues" or "public controversy" — that's Tradition Ten.

      But A.A. uses counselors, therapists, parole officers, judges and doctors to coerce people into A.A., and A.A. uses hidden members and front groups like ASAM and NCADD to promote A.A., 12-Step "treatment", and A.A. beliefs about alcoholism.

      In addition, A.A. uses organizations like Hazelden as publishing fronts, to print large amounts of stupid and dogmatic pro-A.A. propaganda, and if someone criticizes the ridiculous P.R. that Hazelden cranks out, A.A. can deny any responsibility for what Hazelden is doing or saying. In that way, A.A. can have its cake and eat it too; it can benefit from the propaganda, but it can't be criticized for it, no matter how dishonest, medically inaccurate, blatantly stupid, religiously bigoted, dogmatic, or just plain wrong it is. Likewise, A.A. benefits from the actions of those hidden members and front groups, but cannot be faulted for their actions either, because supposedly, "No one speaks for A.A., and A.A. isn't responsible for the actions of those people."

      And lest you believe that the connection between Hazelden and AAWS is loose or tenuous, consider: Hazelden is the single largest buyer of AAWS books that there is.2 Hazelden buys the books from AAWS and "gives" them to its resident patients after it collects $15,000 from them for a 28-day stay there. Hazelden also redistributes AAWS books all over the country. So the true believers at Hazelden have a lot of "pull" in dictating policy at AAWS. Likewise, AAWS has a representative on the Board of Trustees of the Hazelden Foundation. And above all, they are all fellow members of, and true believers in, Bill Wilson's Twelve-Step version of Frank Buchman's weird cult religion. So they are all very much in bed together.

      And AAWS does not tell Hazelden to quit printing that fanatical, stupid pro-A.A. propaganda that tells people to just dump their own religions and only believe in Alcoholics Anonymous and the teachings of Bill Wilson to get the A.A. style of "spirituality"...

      And then A.A. even advertises itself on television, trolling for more members. And script writers who are hidden members of Alcoholics Anonymous routinely plant plugs for the 12-Step cult in programs like ER, The West Wing, and Hill Street Blues. They have no intentions of following their declared "Twelve Traditions". Their behavior is completely hypocritical.

    • On another issue, the national leadership of A.A., Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), has been committing perjury and causing grievous harm to foreign A.A. members for the "crime" of making cheap copies of old, copyright-expired versions of the Big Book available to poor people in foreign countries like Mexico, Germany, and Sweden. In Mexico, their perjury got an innocent man — another A.A. member! — sentenced to prison for a year. In Germany, they shut down a pro-A.A. web site, and sued for enough of a fortune to destroy the A.A. member who was carrying the message, as well as banning the member from ever giving away another A.A. book to anyone. And now that German A.A. member is facing paying a fine of 2.75 Million Euros or going to prison... (The final verdict was supposed to be issued August 5, 2003, but the case is still dragging on.)

      AAWS did that just to protect its own profits. The A.A. headquarters currently has $6,000,000 of cash reserves in the bank (as of their 2002 financial statement), but AAWS seems to want even more, and they are willing to even put innocent people, including A.A. members, in prison to get it. So much for their "rigorous honesty" and "unselfish, constructive action."

      In the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-Steps, Anthony of the U.K. said it eloquently:

      The issue I have isn't with alcoholics squabbling; I take that as a given. The issue I have is with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services presenting, in two different courts, false evidence. False evidence which in both cases had very severe consequences for the individuals concerned.

      To clarify, in Germany, Alcoholics Anonymous claimed that Bill Wilson was the *sole author* of _Alcoholics_Anonymous_, which clearly isn't true. In Mexico, Alcoholics Anonymous claimed that one Wayne Parks was the sole author of _Alcoholics_Anonymous_ [1], an individual who in all likelihood hadn't been born when the book was written.

      I realise that your concept of morals and ethics is very different to mine. Suffice to say I believe that lying in court under oath is one of the most serious offences one can commit, since it is an attack on justice itself. There is a reason why, in almost all courts in almost all countries, one is asked to swear an oath on a Holy Book, be it the Bible or similar work of religious significance, to tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God".

      AA, at its highest organisational level, broke that vow. That, in my view, puts AA as an organised body quite beyond the pale.
      I believe that more and more recovering alcoholics of good character are walking away from AA in an organised sense, no longer wishing to be part of such an organisation. All people of conscience have to make such decisions, however painful they may seem. The lies, the obfuscation, the flexibility and dishonesty in matters of law, morals and ethics fall way short of the ideals laid down by our founders.

      [1] http://www.aapubliccontroversy.com/mex/005.gif [Now a dead link.] [Local copy of document here.]
      Anthony ([email protected]), 29 July 2001.

      Obviously, AAWS is only in it for the money.

    Also see:

    Please note that Mitchell K. was present in Germany, witnessing the courtroom proceedings. Also note that Mitchell is an old, faithful, member of A.A., who has written a lot of history of A.A., including a biography of Clarence Snyder.

    And see a pamphlet that A.A. members have been circulating, denouncing the dishonesty of the A.A. leaders.

    And see where a Mexican A.A. member was sentenced to a year in prison for reprinting old out-of-copyright materials:

    Here is the document that A.A. General Manager Greg Muth signed that authorized A.A. and its foreign affiliates to sue A.A. members to protect the fraudulent, expired, copyright on the first edition of the Big Book.

  16. Alcoholics Anonymous is a haven for fanatics and religiomaniacs.
    It is routine for the true believers to dominate the meetings, bragging about the amount of "quality knee time" that they rack up each day (praying on their knees), or delivering well-practiced sermons that declare that A.A. with the Twelve Steps is the only way to survive alcoholism, and that Bill Wilson was just the greatest genius in the world, who was so brilliant to have made up twelve such perfect steps that will solve all of the world's problems... And there is no way to get those nuts and fools to shut up. Sure, you can walk out and go to a different meeting, but it will usually be the same thing over there.

  17. Alcoholics Anonymous is a haven for sexual predators and other manipulative personalities.
    Once such people get (or can claim to have) enough sober time to become sponsors, they can collect a harem or circle of sponsees, and run the sponsees' lives and get pretty much whatever they want. And some blood-sucking insects really do that. Some sponsors have the reputation of getting every pretty young woman who joins the group, and there is even a slang name for such behavior, "thirteenth stepping" the girl. At the gay and lesbian meetings, the victims are of the same sex, of course.

    There are also financial predators who "sponsor" newcomers, and then "borrow" money from them, and get them working for free or for very low wages, doing anything from house-cleaning and mowing the lawn to doing free carpentry. And there are sequential bigamists who marry lonely older women whom they find at A.A. meetings, and then they empty the woman's bank account, and take her life savings, and max out her credit cards, and take out a loan on her house, and then disappear with the money, only to show up at another A.A. meeting in another city with a new name, to do it all again.

    And again, the A.A. rules provide no simple way to get rid of such predators, because the only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. The group can ask a victimizer to leave after he has become intolerably harmful to too many people, but he can just go to a different group. The anonymity of A.A. helps to hide the criminals.

    In addition, it can be very difficult, or even impossible for the group to know what a sponsor is doing with a sponsee. The sponsor does not have to turn in any progress reports, or report the status of the sponsee's recovery, or answer to anyone for anything. There is no system of accountability. If the sponsee does not report to the group what the sponsor has done, then no one will ever know.

    Even worse, now there are many A.A. groups where sexual exploitation of the newcomer young women is the actual goal of the group. The old-timers in the group approve of it and practice it. And the A.A. headquarters will not stop it. Read about the story of the Midtown Group, and the Phoenix, AZ, Young Peoples' A.A., and Clancy's Pacific Group

  18. Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of brutal victimization.
    A.A. wants people to hit bottom so that they will be easy to convert to the A.A. religion. A.A. people often say that alcoholics aren't much good for anything until they hit bottom, and can be made to surrender. Hard-ass sponsors will even say to people who refuse religious conversion as a condition of quitting drinking, "Maybe you should go back out and do some more research on the subject."

    Any doctor will tell you that waiting for someone to hit bottom maximizes the damage to the liver, kidneys, and brain, and is the worst possible way to handle alcoholism.

    In addition, the people who show the best recovery rates are the people who have not 'hit bottom' and lost everything. The people who still have something left to lose are more motivated to recover, so that they don't lose it all. The people who have really hit bottom and lost it all don't have anything left to come back to — they have no house, possessions, career or marriage left to save, or to return to. Many of them feel like their lives are over, and they are less motivated to recover.

    In the Big Book, Bill Wilson lectured recruiters about an alcoholic who didn't want to join Bill's religion:

    If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do after he gets hurt some more.
    Big Book, page 95.

    So Bill Wilson says that you should just "drop him" and send him out to get hurt some more.

    Why doesn't Mr. William Wilson recommend a "middle road," where you don't loan the alcoholic any money, and you don't let him take advantage of you, but you don't just drop him because he isn't interested in your "spiritual solution"?
    Could it be that Mr. Wilson has no use for anyone who will not surrender to him, and join his religious cult, and believe what Bill says, and obey his orders?

    Again, Wilson wrote that if you won't accept his statements on faith alone, then you need to be beaten into submission:

    Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside such feelings. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as long as some of us were.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Pages 47 and 48.

    Note that you are "prejudiced" if you disagree with Bill Wilson's preaching, and you need to get "beaten into a state of reasonableness".

    Wilson repeated that idea in his later book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

    Why all this insistence that every A.A. member must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing A.A.'s remaining eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant?   ...
    Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A. ...
    Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be.

    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 24.

    1. Yes. "Who would want to sincerely try a cult religion?"
    2. Normal relatively sane people will not believe in William Wilson's delusions, or join his cult religion, or follow his orders.
    3. Only truly desperate, dying people can be so easily victimized.
    4. Only truly desperate, dying people will become so "open-minded to conviction", an essential element of Frank Buchman's cult religion.

  19. It isn't really anonymous or confidential.
    Anything you say can end up on the streets, or in a court of law. You can be blackmailed with what you say. A.A. meetings are a gossip-monger's dream come true. Some A.A. members have been horrified to find that their innermost dirty little secrets became common knowledge all over town shortly after confessing them in a meeting or to their sponsor... One of the stories in Rebecca Fransway's book AA Horror Stories reports a vindictive sponsor, who, after being fired by her sponsee, got her revenge by blabbing all of the sponsee's Fifth Step confessions all over town. Remember that sponsors are not Catholic Priests, sworn to secrecy by sacred oaths on the Bible. You just hope that sponsors and other A.A. members will keep their mouths shut. Professional people, like politicians, doctors, and lawyers, are noticeably absent from the A.A. meetings — it would be professional suicide for those people to publicly declare that they have an alcohol or drug problem.

  20. A.A. is arrogant, smug, and self-congratulatory.

    Alcoholics Anonymous arrogates to itself the role of defining alcoholism as well as its cure.

    Bill Wilson declared that alcoholism was "an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer", and then Bill claimed that practicing the Twelve Steps that he copied from the Oxford Group cult could produce that spiritual experience.

    A.A. members imagine that they actually talk to God, and get their orders from God, while doing Step Eleven. It is the height of egotism and conceit for someone to maintain that he knows what God's Will really is, because God talks to him, and tells him, every day — and then imagining that ordinary people are not so religious, and don't follow God's Will, because they don't do Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps.

    Likewise, Bill Wilson's books declare that A.A. members will actually become more spiritual or enlightened than they ever would have if they had not been lucky enough to be alcoholics.

    When someone talks to God, that is called prayer.
    When someone hears God talking back and telling him what to do, that is called schizophrenia, or delusions of grandeur, or a messianic complex...

    And A.A. is terribly smug, sanctimonious, and self-congratulatory. The Big Book yields such jewels as:

    • "You poor guy. I feel so sorry for you. You're not an alcoholic. You can never know the pure joy of recovering within the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous."     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 334.

    • It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more. How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness? The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you. Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come. The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that!     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, A Vision For You, page 153.

    • I saw in these people a quality of peace and serenity that I knew I must have for myself.     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 310.

    • They had that certain something that seemed to glow, a peace and a serenity combined with happiness.     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 290.

    • This wasn't "religion" — this was freedom!     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 228.

    • What is this power that A.A. possesses? This curative power? I don't know what it is. I suppose the doctor might say, "This is psychosomatic medicine." I suppose the psychiatrist might say, "This is benevolent interpersonal relations." I suppose others would say, "This is group psychotherapy."
            To me it is God.
          The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 352.

    • I know the biggest word for me in A.A. is "honesty."     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 482.

    • I owe everything to A.A.     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 344.

    • I am grateful to A.A. for my sobriety...     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 383.

    • Why am I alive, free, a respected member of my community? Because A.A. really works for me!     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 421.

    • I had been brought up to believe in God, but I know that until I found this A.A. program, I had never found or known faith in the reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with me in everything I do.     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 341.

    • In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys to the Kingdom.     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 312.

    • I feel that there is no situation too difficult, none too desperate, no unhappiness too great to be overcome in this great fellowship — Alcoholics Anonymous.     The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 395.

    And then there is...

    • I always believed in God, but could never put that belief meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him...
      Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, January 1, page 9.

    • May I never lose the sense of wonder I experienced on that first evening with A.A., the greatest event of my entire life.
      Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, October 19, page 301.

    • "God in His wisdom has selected a group of men to be the purveyors of His goodness. In selecting them through whom to bring about this phenomenon He went not to the proud, the mighty, the famous or the brilliant. He went to the humble, to the sick, to the unfortunate — he went to the drunkard, the so-called weakling of the world. Well might He have said to us: 'Into your weak and feeble hands I have entrusted a Power beyond estimate. To you has been given that which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my priests and ministers have I given this gift of healing other alcoholics, which I entrust to you.'"
      Judge John T., speaking at the Fourth Anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Alcoholics Anonymous Group, October 5, 1943.

    • "... there are times, oh so many times, when I wish I had been an alcoholic. The reason is that I consider the AA people to be the most charming in the world.   ...
            They have found a power greater than themselves which they serve diligently. And that gives them a charm that never was elsewhere on land and sea. It makes you know that God Himself is really charming, because the AA people reflect His mercy and His forgiveness.
            ... when they have found their restoration, their sense of humor finds a blessed freedom, and they are able to reach a god-like state..."
      Where Did Everybody Go?, Paul Molloy, pages 187-189.

    You would never guess, from reading all of those self-congratulatory stories, that the A.A. 12-Step program actually fails at least 98 or 99 percent of the people who try it...

  21. It aids and abets unrealistic blind faith.
    Mulder, on The X-Files, has a poster that says "I Want To Believe." That should be the motto of A.A.. Far too many people are in the position of just wanting to believe that it works, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, including the shrinking circle of friends and the mounting stack of dead bodies. Then they tell all of the newcomers "Keep coming back, it works!" (and attack anyone who points to the stack of dead bodies and questions whether it really works). Thus, A.A. also aids and abets a monomaniacal obsession with a single panacea, a twelve-step program.

    Just because you want to believe doesn't mean that you should believe, any more than the fact that you want to take a drink means that you should take a drink.

    Wanting to believe is perhaps the most powerful dynamic initiating and sustaining cult-like behavior.
    The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in American Society, Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., page 137.

  22. It is a genuine irrational religious cult, not a quit-drinking program.
    Too many things about A.A. are irrational and crazy, so irrational that the A.A. believers even revere the teachings of a madman, William G. Wilson, who openly demanded that people abandon Reason, logic, and human intelligence, and just embrace blind faith in his religious beliefs as the answer to all of their problems.

    Wilson's writings and behavior clearly demonstrate that he was suffering from "301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder" and "297.10 Delusional (Paranoid) Disorder, Grandiose Type", as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd Edition (DSM-III-R) on pages 200 to 203, and pages 658 to 661, respectively. Bill Wilson also showed characteristics of a messianic complex and delusions of grandeur, claiming that God had given him the mission of saving all of the alcoholics.

    So now we have a country full of certified drug and alcohol counselors who swear that the ravings of this lunatic are the answer to this country's drug and alcohol problems. No wonder the "treatment" fails so much.

  23. It's a pretend church.
    People who never made it through the seminary now get to play priest and lead the congregation in prayers. Unfortunately, they also get to lead the newcomers in everything else in their lives too, and play wise know-it-all spiritual teacher even if they are stupid jerks or cruel fools. And they don't even need much seniority to do it. Six months or a year of sober time is plenty for someone to start lecturing the newcomers as if he were an old pro, a successful abstainer, and a wise guru. And that's part of the fun of A.A. and N.A.: stick around for a while, and pretty soon, you too can start passing yourself off as an old-timer, one of the great ones, a big frog in a small pond, admired and respected by the young.

  24. It's also pretend medicine.
    People with no medical qualifications or training whatsoever get to play both doctor and psychiatrist, sometimes with disastrous results, like when they decide to tell sponsees not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.

  25. It is a culture of sickness.
    Members are expected to spend the rest of their lives going to meetings with a bunch of alcoholics, drug addicts, street criminals, convicts, and dogmatic religious believers, all of whom complain that they are powerless over their addictions, and that their lives have become unmanageable, and that they can't ever recover. And they even brag, "Quitting isn't an option for addicts like us." Do you really want to have some loser alcoholic or drug addict who has failed to run his own life and who is now addicted to 12-Step meetings and cult religion, to be your sponsor, your advisor and teacher and spiritual guru, giving you orders and determining the rest of your life?

    A far better treatment plan is to just quit drinking forever — not "one day at a time" — forever — and then get out of the meetings, and go hang out with a bunch of healthy, successful people. Forget the "nobody understands us alcoholics but another alcoholic" nonsense. Do you want to be understood by an old drunkard, or do you want to live happily?

    I am still noticing what a joy it is to talk to an attractive young woman about drug or alcohol problems, and hear her respond, "Oh, I don't do that kind of stuff. I think it would just mess me up..." Then we are free to talk about other stuff, like art, music, computers, children, or whatever... Anything but more stories of misery. Anything but more stories of drug and alcohol problems.

  26. It is unnecessary.
    More people recover from alcoholism without Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps than do it with them, several times over. More people recover without any support group of any kind than with one. A.A. won't tell you that; that's one of the biggest dirty little secrets that A.A. has. The A.A. dogma says, "Nobody can do it alone." The truth is, most successful people do it that way.

    The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health, performed the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. For it, they interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:
    "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

    The Harvard Mental Health Letter, from The Harvard Medical School, stated quite plainly:

    On their own
    There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as "Things were building up" or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution.
    Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.
    (See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)

    And most of the people who go to Alcoholics Anonymous don't quit drinking. The A.A. headquarters inadvertently let leak out the news that their triennial surveys revealed that A.A. has a 95% drop-out rate in just the first year.

    When the vast majority of the successful people recover without Alcoholics Anonymous, and most all of the people who go to A.A. don't get sober in A.A., then you know that it isn't A.A. that is making people get sober. Alcoholics Anonymous is unnecessary.

  27. Nobody is responsible.
    When something goes wrong, and somebody is badly abused, misguided, or harmed in some way, there is no one to answer for anything. Nobody is really in charge. Every group is independent, and has no connection to any other, even if they are all doing the same thing. "No one speaks for A.A.", they say, so nobody can answer criticisms. But because nobody is responsible for anything, and nobody is in charge, nobody can fix anything, either.

    Also, when a member relapses and dies, or commits suicide, nobody is responsible. A.A. blames the victim: The victim was just morally inferior and "constitutionally dishonest with himself", or "he wasn't ready", or "he hadn't hit bottom yet", or maybe "he held something back in his Fifth Step". It was not the sponsor's fault, they say. No matter what the sponsor did to the guy, like tell him to stop taking his medications, the sponsor isn't responsible for anything. It's all the victim's fault. No way will A.A. accept even the tiniest bit of responsibility for the failures and the deaths, even though it gleefully claims all of the credit for the successes.

    The applicable A.A. slogan is, "Some must die so that others can live."

    This also means that no one does any post-mortems. No one is accumulating any data on failures, in order to improve the "treatment" program, and avoid making the same mistakes again and again. Real doctors study all of their successes and failures, in order to learn from experience. But not A.A. or N.A.. They don't learn. That alone is a giant tragedy — it means that the program will never get any better.

  28. The dogma is frozen.
    The current crop of true believers smugly declare that they have all of the answers to alcoholism in the teachings of Bill W. and Doctor Bob, and that there is nothing more to discuss. They won't even look at new alcoholism treatments. That is not how Bill W. and Doctor Bob worked. They were very inquisitive and inclusive, not exclusive. Both of them learned everything they could about alcoholism from Dr. Silkworth, and they consulted with whatever other experts they could find, on a wide variety of subjects. Bill experimented with using megavitamin doses to treat alcoholism, and even tried LSD for the same reason. He never stopped looking for new answers. Alas, that isn't how the current high priests behave at all. They don't know the meanings of the words "investigate" or "experiment." They just arrogantly declare that their Twelve-Step program is the infallible answer to all of the world's ills. — Not just the answer to alcoholism, but the answer to all of the world's ills.

    Also, because of the cultish worship of Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob Smith, nothing new can be added to the A.A. scriptures. No one compares in holiness or wisdom to those two, so no one can dare to update or change the dogma, even when it is blatantly wrong. The first 164 pages of the Big Book are considered sacred, inviolate, and cannot be changed.

    And they weren't either. Now the Fourth Edition of the Big Book is out, and the first 164 pages remain untouched. Only other people's autobiographical stories were changed. And Clarence Snyder's story ("Home Brewmeister") was removed from the book because Snyder dared to criticize Bill Wilson's financial dishonesty when he was alive.

  29. A.A. uses fear, guilt, and lies to manipulate people.
    This is not a positive, life-affirming program. It is very negative to keep telling people that they will relapse and die unless they do everything right. And there is a lot to do right: not just the Twelve Steps with all of the self-criticism and guilt induction, but also attending lots of meetings, and complying with all of the accumulated "wisdom" like "you can't have any resentments", "stuff your feelings", and "do what your sponsor says." People become neurotic and depressed, they become mentally ill, if they spend too much of their time in states of fear and guilt. And A.A. tells a lot of lies, myths, untruths, and fairy tales, to keep people trapped in fear and guilt.

    • Remember that we are dealing with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
      The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, pages 58-59.

    • John Barleycorn promises us jails, institutions, or death.

    • Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
      The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, page 33.

    • We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.
      The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, page 30.

    • I now remembered what my alcoholic friends had told me, how they had prophesied that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time and place would come — I would drink again. They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all. I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots. I had never been able to understand people who said that a problem had them hopelessly defeated. I knew then. It was a crushing blow.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 41-42.

    • If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 6, Into Action, page 72.

    • 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.
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

  30. No cross-talk.
    The term "cross-talk" means saying something in response to something somebody else said. That is forbidden at meetings. The original idea was to prevent put-downs or criticism of what someone said, to allow people to be as open and honest as possible. But now it just means that nobody gets any responses to anything they say. Hence there is no way to give anyone any feedback in a meeting. You can't tell people that they are going off the deep end, or babbling crazy nonsense, or mindlessly embracing cult dogma. Everybody is just talking to a blank wall, and gets no answers or comments back. Thus there is no brake to keep people from going off on a tangent. They can say lots of crazy things and everybody just sits there and silently accepts it.

    In any ordinary group, people cannot talk crazy for very long before somebody else will call them on it, and say, "Oh yeh? That sounds really goofy. Can you explain that? Can you prove that statement? Where did you hear that? Who told you that?" In A.A. meetings, they won't ever get called on anything. They will never get a reality check.

    Also, no one can shut up the nuts who rave on and on about how wonderful the organization is, and how it gave them a life, and the organization is their new life, and how the Twelve Steps are the answer to everything — a brilliant solution to all of the problems of the world...

  31. It is throw-away therapy for throw-away people.
    All of the city, state, and federal governments want to do "something" about the drug and alcohol problem, but they don't want to do much. So they just give a contract for drug and alcohol treatment to the lowest bidder, and ignore the problem for the rest of the year. And if the lowest bidder's therapy doesn't really work, well, what can you expect for so little money? To get something better would cost more, wouldn't it?

    And, of course, the cheapest "treatment programs" are based on free A.A. and N.A. meetings.

  32. A.A. claims that it is the only way.
    Beginners are told that the Twelve-Step program is the only way to achieve sobriety, and that nothing else works. If the student believes that, then there is no reason to do anything else, or to study anything else, to help oneself, other than just do the Twelve Steps and do whatever the sponsor says. When the Twelve Steps don't work, the student has no other techniques or knowledge to use to prevent a relapse, or to recover from a relapse, so he relapses and sometimes dies drunk out in the streets.

    A.A. is quick to accuse all competing groups and recovery methods of killing patients, but maintains its own innocence. A.A. claims that it does not kill and could never kill patients. But I don't know what else to call it when they just give people a lot of misinformation, and then play blame-the-victim when the program fails and those people die. (In addition, Professor George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., did an 8-year-long test of A.A. treatment of alcoholics, and found that the A.A. program had the highest death rate of any kind of alcoholism treatment that he studied.)

  33. The authoritive literature is vague, imprecise, bombastic, and grandiose.
    Too much of the organization's defining literature, like the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is written in a euphemistic style where words mean whatever someone wants them to mean:

    • "We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe."
      (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, page 75.)

    • "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."
      (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 53.)

    • "We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our daily activities."
      (The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 85.)
      (Just where did that "vision" come from? Prayer, meditation, belladonna, delirium tremens, LSD, or delusions of grandeur?)

    • "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. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness."
      (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, page 130.)

    • "He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love."
      (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, page 56.)

    • "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, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn't it?"
      (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, page 49.)

    Uh, Hello? I just came here to get some advice on quitting drinking. Hello? Does anybody here speak English?

  34. It is voodoo medicine and cult religion masquerading as medical treatment.
    The "treatment" for the very real, very deadly, sickness of alcoholism is faith healing — blind faith in a religious cult, and faith in the teachings of a couple of brain-damaged alcoholic wrecks who were at best neurotics, or were more likely one neurotic and one psychotic.

    And when the "spiritual" treatment fails, their answer is to switch from 3 to 7 meetings per week, or even to 3 meetings per day.

    It is also voodoo medicine in another sense: It is completely unscientific, and uses superstition instead of facts. A.A. claims that alcoholism is a "spiritual disease," without ever defining what a spiritual disease is, or explaining how spirits can get sick. And then A.A. says that the "spiritual treatment" for this "spiritual disease" is going to A.A. meetings, doing the Twelve Steps, and recruiting more group members. Bill Wilson called that "spiritual growth."

  35. It is all a big bait-and-switch con game.
    There are so many bait-and-switch stunts pulled in A.A. that it borders on amazing. Here are just a few examples:
    • They start off by telling you that A.A. is a loose, easy-going fellowship, where the Twelve Steps are only a suggested program for recovery. Later, they will tell you that you will die if you don't follow the Steps correctly, and perform all of the Steps to the best of your ability.

    • They will tell you that you can "Take what you want, and leave the rest." Then they will tell you that you can't ever leave, and that your brain is too damaged for you to be able to choose what is right for you.
      Finally, they will tell you that you do not even have "the right to decide all by yourself just what you shall think." (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, pages 36-37.)

    • To get you to join, they will tell you that "it isn't religious, it's spiritual" — just a wonderful spiritual quit-drinking program. Later, they will talk endlessly about moral shortcomings, confessions, surrender to God, and religion. You will only gradually find out that it is a crazy cult religion based on the strange teachings of the fascist Lutheran minister Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman. Finally, they will tell you that the real purpose of the program is to get you to "seek and do God's will", and to bring you under "God-control":
      Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God...
      Big Book, page 77.

      Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world...
      Big Book, page 100.

    • They start off by telling you that alcoholism is a progressive disease over which you are powerless, but they end up telling you that you are guilty of sins, "defects of character", and "moral shortcomings" — that you have a moral problem more than a medical problem. In Step One, you have a disease, which is "respectable, not a moral stigma." But by Step Four, they have you busy doing a "searching and fearless moral inventory", not a thorough medical examination.

    • And even worse, they will tell you that it's a moral problem that can only be repaired by confessing all of your defects and shortcomings to man and God. Then they will tell you that you can't ever recover, and that you must spend the rest of your life going to their church services ("meetings") and confessing.

    See the file "The Bait and Switch Con Game" for many, many more points.

  36. A.A. makes "God" into a dirty word.
    Those of us who are not atheists or agnostics, who do believe in a "Higher Power" or God of some kind, and who try to be sane and reasonable in our religious beliefs, get tired of the constantly-parroted bizarre A.A. theology that makes God into a cruel, heartless, arbitrary, authoritarian, dictatorial, wish-granting, patriarchal monster Who micro-manages the world, and does a very poor job of it.

    And the same goes for the gross misuse and misinterpretation of spiritual concepts like ego loss, surrender to God, or "spiritual experience."

    The "spiritual experience" term, in particular, has really been beaten to death. To Bill Wilson, it meant seeing God in a belladonna-induced white flash, or confessing all of your "defects of character", sins, moral shortcomings, and "the exact nature of your wrongs" to your sponsor, while to another story-teller in the Big Book, it was:

    A "spiritual experience" to me meant attending meetings, seeing a group of people, all there for the purpose of helping each other; hearing the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions read at a meeting, and hearing the Lord's Prayer, which in an A.A. meeting has such great meaning — "Thy will be done, not mine."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, "It Might Have Been Worse", page 381.

    ("Yeh, don't you just get all choked up when you hear the Twelve Steps read out loud? That's a real spiritual experience, for sure...")

    And those of us who try to be sane and reasonable in our religious beliefs get really tired of the moronic, superstitious, childish Santa Claus spirituality of the the A.A. true believers who think that they can get whatever they want just by praying for it — "Just incant the name of your favorite Higher Power three times, loudly, and then read your Christmas wish list out loud, and Santa Claus will soon bring you all of the goodies."

    I have no other explanation for the many good things that have happened to me since I have been in A.A. — they came to me from a Greater Power.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Rum, Radio, and Rebellion, page 367.

    (Those good things couldn't have been caused by quitting drinking? They couldn't have been caused by no longer constantly shooting yourself in the foot by always being drunk at the wrong times? They couldn't possibly have been caused by being clear-headed, healthy, and able to work and get stuff done — just for a change)?

  37. A.A. features questionable advisors and counselors.
    The biggest losers are the best advisors, or so the story goes. The people with the worst war stories and drunkalogues have made the biggest recoveries, so they are the best teachers. Or are they? The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Or does it? What if it leads to the palace of brain damage and insanity?

    What if the biggest losers were that way for a reason, like that they had big mental problems even before their alcoholism or drug addictions, problems that they vainly tried to fix by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol? Or, what if the biggest losers were horrible vicious criminals even before they ever started drinking and drugging to excess?

    Do they automatically become sane, wise, kindly advisors, knowledgeable priests and ministers, and competent recovery counselors, just because they quit drinking alcohol and taking drugs, and attended a bunch of A.A. meetings, and started talking about "seeking and doing the will of God"? Not likely.

    The simple fact of the matter is, healthy, wealthy, and wise people do not join Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, so your odds of getting a wise, intelligent sponsor to guide you through your recovery are extremely poor.

    Then it gets worse. There are many A.A. and N.A. groups that are notorious for existing to supply the elders with young girls, money, and slavish followers. The sponsors are not wise counselors — they are sexual predators and energy-sucking vampires. See the "Midtown Group" in Washington DC, and "the Pacific Group" in California, for starters. Also check out YPAA — Young People's A.A. — which is a happy hunting ground for pedophiles.

  38. A.A. pushes a one-size-fits-all treatment program.
    It doesn't matter what someone's personal history or psychiatric condition is, every newcomer gets prescribed that same 12-Step cure-all.

    "The answer to all problems is 'Do the Twelve Steps, Get a sponsor, and Read the Big Book.'"

    Even worse, the 12-Step program aims to fix the "character defects" and "moral shortcomings" of one specific stereotypical alcoholic — someone who is very egotistical, manipulative, arrogant, selfish, inconsiderate, grandiose, dishonest, and resentful. In other words, the A.A. founder Bill Wilson.

  39. The meetings are a joke.
    All too often, the meetings are just a stupid ritual that everybody does because they think they have to do it. The formula is always the same. After everybody is done incanting all of the standard plastic-laminated dogma at the start of the meeting, people go through the motions of "sharing", which follows this formula:
    • Hi, my name is fill-in-the-blank, and I am an alcoholic.
    • I am stupid.
    • A.A. is wonderful.
    • I lived a life of crime and misery until wonderful A.A. miraculously saved me.
    • Here is a list of my favorite sins and crimes that I like to brag about.
    • My life is blessed with Serenity and Gratitude now because I do the Twelve wonderful Steps that the saintly genius Bill Wilson invented.
    • My thinking is all screwed up, and I can't manage my own life, but my sponsor is clear-headed and qualified to run my life for me, in spite of the fact that he recites the same speech and says that his thinking is fucked, but his sponsor is really clear-headed, in spite of the fact that his sponsor also gives the same speech, and says that his thinking is also really fucked, etc...

  40. A.A. is a substitute addiction, and just another dependency.
    The Big Book specifically states that A.A. is a substitute for an alcohol addiction, as well as a substitute lifestyle:

    You say, "...I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"
          Yes, there is a substitute, and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
    A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 11, A Vision For You, page 152.

    Bill Wilson's second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, adds this Orwellian double-think:

    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.

    Big Brother says, "Freedom is Slavery! Slavery is Freedom!"

    See the Cult Test item "They Make You Dependent On The Group" for much more information on dependency.

  41. A.A. is terribly self-absorbed — the cult is the most important thing in the lives of many cult members.
    A.A. tells the newly-sober people that they must put their "sobriety" (meaning: the A.A. program) before everything else, and come to depend upon A.A. to run their lives for them. Absolutely nothing must come between themselves and their "sobriety". That includes wife, children, job, career, everything. The Big Book actually teaches that wives and families are expendable in the selfish pursuit of "sobriety" and "spirituality." The new A.A. member must spend all of his spare time going to meetings, preferably 90 Meetings In 90 Days, and must get a sponsor who will supervise his indoctrination and keep him busy with reading the Big Book and making lists of personal defects. A.A. becomes such an obsession for some members that they attend from one to three meetings per day.

    After the husband joins A.A., the wife may become discontented, even highly resentful that Alcoholics Anonymous has done the very thing that all her years of devotion had failed to do. Her husband may become so wrapped up in A.A. and his new friends that he is inconsiderately away from home more than when he drank.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 118.

    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 for recruiting new cult members.

    "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.

    In addition, Doctors Donald Gerard, Gerhart Saenger, and Renee Wile described the phenomenon of "A.A. Successes", people who succeeded in quitting drinking but who became addicted to Alcoholics Anonymous, and had no life outside of A.A.:

    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....
    "The Abstinent Alcoholic," by Donald Gerard, Gerhart Saenger, and Renee Wile. Archives of General Psychiatry, Volume 6, 1962, pp. 99-110.

  42. It is a secret conspiracy.
    I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I don't like to find secret conspiracies everywhere, but this is one. It has taken control of our nation's drug and alcohol treatment facilities and institutions, and is using part of the billions of dollars that our government and the health insurance industry spends on drug and alcohol rehabilitation each year to further its own secret agenda, which includes coercing the patients into becoming members of the A.A. and N.A. 12-Step religion.

    A.A. members can easily hide their A.A. membership, because it's all confidential and anonymous, by definition. Hidden members have worked themselves into positions of power where they control the future of our nation's drug and alcohol treatment programs. A.A. uses its entrenched position to prevent any other treatment modalities from encroaching on what it considers to be its territory, and its money. A cult religion with an ineffective treatment program has no business running our nation's drug and alcohol treatment programs and lying about what it is doing.

    Personally, I could hardly care less what a bunch of crazy cultists want to believe. It's their lives, and they can do pretty much anything they want to with them. I get leafletted and hit on by the Hari Krishnas and the Scientologists often, and it doesn't matter. I don't care if a bunch of feeble-minded alcoholic burn-outs want to cluster together in church basements and convince each other that they are God's special children, and The Chosen People. It doesn't matter.

    But it does matter when a cult uses City, State and Federal tax money, as well as State, Federal, and private health insurance money, to promote its own religion while pretending to provide medical treatment for a deadly disease. That is unacceptable and unjustifiable (and felony fraud, too).

    It does matter when a cult uses parole officers, judges, and therapists to force more people to join the cult. That is unacceptable.

    It matters when people who are sick, desperate, confused, and going through a real crisis, are deceived and lied to and fed a crackpot cult religion as the universal cure for all drug and alcohol problems, by people who are supposed to be therapists, but who are really just proselytizing religious nut-cases. That is not acceptable.

    To force the insane, bizarre, and superstitious practices of a cult religion on people who are supposed to be receiving medical treatment for a deadly disease is a crime so monstrous, so evil, and so sick, that it is basically unbelievable. That is how groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are getting away with it. People can't believe that it is really happening. The other people, that is — the people to whom it is not being done.


2) Kurtz, in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1991, page 281, says that one large treatment agency accounts for two thirds of the outside sales of A.A.W.S. literature. Without a doubt, that one treatment agency is Hazelden. They so aggressively redistribute A.A. literature that the California Supreme Court ordered all Hazelden and A.A. literature removed from the California schools on the grounds that Hazelden was promoting a religion.

3) The Bataan Death March itself had a death rate of about 16 or 17%. Then that many more died during the following four years of imprisonment in a prisoner-of-war camp where the prisoners were starved, beaten, infected with diseases, and subjected to summary executions. The total death rate from the march and the following four years of imprisonment was about one third. Half of the total deaths occurred on the Death March, and the other half in the prison camp.
Professor George E. Vaillant reported that his A.A.-based alcoholism treatment program had a 29% death rate after 8 years of treating the patients with Alcoholics Anonymous. So yes, A.A. has a death rate that is comparable to the Bataan Death March.

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Last updated 21 May 2014.
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