The Twelve Biggest Secrets of Alcoholics Anonymous
What They Don't Want You to Know.

Man has the intelligence to change his life,
Sometimes, he just fails to use it...

— Author unknown

  1. The Twelve Steps do not work as a program of recovery from drug or alcohol problems.

    • The A.A. failure rate ranges from 95% to 100%. Sometimes, the A.A. success rate is actually less than zero, which means that A.A. indoctrination is positively harmful to people, and prevents recovery. Some tests have shown that even receiving no treatment at all for alcoholism is much better than receiving A.A. treatment:

    • One of the most enthusiastic boosters of Alcoholics Anonymous, Professor and medical Doctor George E. Vaillant of Harvard University, who was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), showed by his own 8 years of testing of A.A. that A.A. was worse than useless — that it didn't help the alcoholics any more than no treatment at all, and it had the highest death rate of any treatment program tested — a death rate that Professor Vaillant himself described as "appalling". While trying to prove that A.A. treatment works, Professor Vaillant actually proved that A.A. kills. After 8 years of A.A. treatment, the score with Dr. Vaillant's first 100 alcoholic patients was: 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking.
      (Nevertheless, Vaillant still became a Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he still wants to send all alcoholics to A.A. anyway, to "get an attitude change by confessing their sins to a high-status healer." That is cult religion, not a treatment program for the "disease of alcoholism".)

    • The A.A. dropout rate is terrible. Most people who come to A.A. looking for help in quitting drinking are appalled by the narrow-minded atmosphere of fundamentalist religion and faith-healing. The A.A. meeting room has a revolving door. The therapists, judges, and parole officers (many of whom are themselves hidden members of A.A. or N.A.) continually send new people to A.A., but those newcomers vote with their feet once they see what A.A. really is. Even A.A.'s own triennial surveys, conducted by the A.A. headquarters (the GSO), reveal a high dropout rate. But the triennial survey does not count all of those people who only attended a few A.A. meetings, or even dozens of meetings, before quitting A.A. — they don't qualify as "A.A. members", and they are not there to be counted. (That amounts to "cherry-picking".) If we included them, then the numbers would be much worse.

      Similarly, the leader of A.A. in Australia reported:

      "Our 1992 Survey showed that only 5% of newcomers to AA are still attending meetings after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic. Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'"
      — Dr Ron Whitington, Chairman of AA Australia General Service Board
      Comments made in AA Around Australia, Spring Edition, 1994; Commenting on a survey of more than 100 of Australia's AA groups

      And also note that the apparent five percent of A.A. newcomers who are still left after one year is exactly the same number as the usual rate of spontaneous remission among alcoholics — five percent per year. That is, in any randomly-selected population of alcoholics, approximately five percent per year will finally get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and they will just quit drinking. And the Harvard Medical School says that 80% of those successful quitters do it by themselves, alone, without any "treatment program" or any "support group".

      If we subtract the normal spontaneous remission rate for alcoholism of five percent per year from A.A.'s claimed success rate of five percent, we get zero for A.A.'s real effective cure rate.

      A.A. does not actually make anybody quit drinking; it just takes the credit for the people who were going to quit anyway. A.A. is just taking the credit for peoples' efforts to save their own lives.

      And then it gets worse: The attrition continues, and it isn't just because the old-timers all die of old age. Barely one percent of the newcomers to A.A. get a 10-year coin for sobriety, and only 3/4 of one percent get the 11-year coin. Only half of one percent — 5 out of a thousand — get the 15-year coin, and only one in a thousand gets the 20-year coin.

    • Alcoholics Anonymous does not have a success rate or a retention rate. What Alcoholics Anonymous really has is a churn rate. The story of A.A. is routinely: another hundred people lured or coerced in, and then another hundred people leave. Look here for much more about the A.A. churn rate.

    • The Twelve Steps are actually a hopelessly bad program for recovery:
      • Cult religion is not a good cure for alcoholism, and A.A. most assuredly is a cult religion.
      • One of the biggest problems with the Twelve-Step program is the learned helplessness caused by the First Step, where people are taught to confess that they are "powerless over alcohol." This leads many people to believe that once they have a drink, that a full-blown relapse and total loss of self-control is inevitable and unavoidable. So some people go on suicidally-intense binges, thinking that it is pointless to try to resist temptation.2
      • Step Two is just as bad: it teaches people that they are insane, and that only a Supernatural Being can restore them to sanity — which means that they are helpless, and cannot heal themselves.
      • Then Step Three teaches a lifestyle of infantile narcissism and passive dependency, where A.A. members turn control of their wills and their lives over to "the care of God as we understood Him", and then they expect God to take care of them and run their lives for them, and solve all their problems, and wait on them hand and foot, and do all of the hard work for them from then on... "Let Go And Let God" is their official motto, their lifestyle, and their approach to problem-solving.
      • Then Steps Four through Ten induce guilt in the members by forcing members to make lists of all of their sins and flaws, and "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings", and confess every intimate dirty little secret to another A.A. member who isn't even ordained clergy, or even sworn to secrecy.
      • In Step Eleven you are supposed to "channel" God and receive psychic work orders and power.
      • Then Step Twelve tells you to go recruiting, to draft more alcoholics into this madness.

    • There is also experimental evidence that the A.A. teachings about powerlessness lead to binge drinking. In a controlled study of A.A.'s effectiveness, court-mandated offenders who had been sent to A.A. for several months were engaging in five times as much binge drinking as the no-treatment control group which got no A.A. "help".

    • A.A. boosters and propagandists constantly repeat the Big Lie that A.A. works great, and A.A. with its Twelve Steps is the way that everybody recovers:

      One way or another Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a similar Twelve-Step program is an integral part of almost all successful recoveries from alcohol or drug abuse. In fact, it is widely believed that not including a Twelve-Step program in a treatment plan can put a recovering addict on the road to relapse. For some people, regular participation in such a mutual self-help group is all that is needed to become and remain sober.
      The Recovery Book, Al J. Mooney M.D., Arlene Eisenberg, and Howard Eisenberg, pages 40-41.

      All three of those sentences are untrue. The truth is just the opposite of what they are telling us:

      1. Far more people recover without A.A. than with it. The good, unbiased, medical research shows that the vast majority of people who successfully recover from alcoholism — like 75 or 80% of them — actually do it without any Twelve-Step program, or even any "recovery group" or "treatment program" of any kind. Contrary to everything you have ever been told by 12-Step promoters and recruiters, doing it alone, quitting without any treatment program, or any "support group", or any cult religion, is actually the "time-tested, proven" method that really works for most people. And the research also shows that A.A. is actually very harmful: it raises the rates of binge drinking, re-arrests, and death.

        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 note that the Harvard Medical School says that the support of a good spouse is more important than that of a 12-Step group. But A.A. says just the opposite: "Dump your spouse and marry the A.A. group, because A.A. is The Only Way."

      2. So it doesn't matter how many people believe that not including A.A. in a treatment program will lead to relapse — it still isn't true.
      3. And then just going to A.A. meetings does not fix alcoholics. It tends to make them relapse and binge drink, and even die.

      Also notice all of the propaganda tricks that the authors used there:

      • First there is the propaganda technique of "everybody's doing it": "AA or a similar Twelve-Step program is an integral part of almost all successful recoveries".
        That is a complete falsehood. The vast majority of the successful people recover without A.A. or any "support group". It's what "everybody" is doing.

      • Then they use the propaganda techniques of use of the passive voice and vague suggestions: "It is widely believed that not including a Twelve-Step program in a treatment plan can put a recovering addict on the road to relapse."
        It is widely believed by whom? And what do those unnamed people know? What are their qualifications? Are they doctors? Medical school professors? Or salesmen for a 12-Step treatment center? Why should we care what some unnamed invisible fools allegedly believe, anyway?

      • The authors also use the propaganda technique of fear-mongering: you will be "on the road to relapse" — you will probably die — unless you practice Bill Wilson's Twelve Step cult religion.

      • And then the fluff-headed Pollyanna attitude is outrageous: Just going to the wonderful A.A. meetings is supposedly all that is needed to fix some alcoholics.
        But since A.A. has a zero-percent success rate above and beyond the normal rate of spontaneous remission, that cannot possibly be true.

  2. Drug and alcohol addictions are not incurable, progressive diseases that usually end in death.
    And they are also not "spiritual diseases." The truth is that most people spontaneously recover, and simply "mature out of" addictive behavior. Eventually, most of them simply get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and wise up.

    (Please note that I am not trying to minimize the horrors of alcoholism, or its deadliness. If 51% of all alcoholics recover on their own, that is "most people." That still leaves a lot of fatalities.)

    Alcoholism is most assuredly not a disease "which only a spiritual experience can conquer", like Bill Wilson wrote. There is no such thing as a "spiritual disease", and alcoholics do not suffer from "spiritual diseases" that are caused by "resentments" (like Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book, on page 64).

    The "spiritual disease" of alcoholism resembles the "spiritual disease" of "candyism", which is the illness that children get from eating too much ice cream and candy.

    The Alcoholics Anonymous definition of alcoholism is so goofy that A.A.-member therapists won't even agree with this statement:
            "Alcoholism is caused by drinking alcohol."

    The A.A. founder Bill Wilson declared that alcoholism is a "spiritual disease" that is caused by

    1. sins,
    2. moral shortcomings,
    3. wrongs,
    4. defects of character,
    5. resentments,
    6. instincts run wild,
    7. character defects, representing instincts gone astray,
    8. self,
    9. self-will run riot,
    10. desires that have far exceeded their intended purpose,
    11. The Seven Deadly Sins
    12. a willful and irresponsible ego,
    13. failure to practice religious precepts properly,
    14. failure to practice Step Five properly,
    15. selfishness,
    16. self-seeking,
    17. self-centeredness,
    18. more selfishness
    19. defective relations,
    20. nagging wives,
    21. nagging wives again, "throwing her husband into a fit of anger"
    22. serious character flaws,
    23. faith that isn't accompanied by "self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action",
    24. personal secrets that we have not confessed,
    25. inherited genes or inherited sins,
    26. conditions that we couldn't correct to our entire satisfaction, and
    27. another unconfessed personal secret...

    Notice that drinking alcohol is not on that list. Bill Wilson considered everything but drinking alcohol to be the real cause of alcoholism:
            "Our liquor was but a symptom." (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 64.)
            "After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol." (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 103.)

    Alcoholics Anonymous actually teaches that alcoholics are "born that way", and have "character defects" like "alcoholic thinking" and "reacting wrong" that can be traced back to early childhood, even to a time before the alcoholic ever had his or her first drink:

    Those who do not recover are ... men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
    The Big Book, 3rd and 4th Edition, page 58.

    A.A. co-founder Doctor Bob also declared that his alcoholism was caused by selfishness:

    Unfortunately for me I was the only child, which perhaps engendered the selfishness which played such an important part in bringing on my alcoholism.
    The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, "Dr. Bob's Story", page 172.

    Another A.A.-promoting book declared:

    " wasn't because my wife left me that I started to drink, or because my mother didn't love me. It was because I have always been a potential alcoholic."
    Delirium Tremens, Stories of Suffering and Transcendence, Ignacio Solares, Hazelden, 2000, page 29.

    Fact: I've also always been a potential astronaut, and a potential Nobel Prize winner, and a potential rock and roll star, and a potential saint, too, but it never happened. I certainly was not doomed to those fates, without any choice in the matter.

    So what was the real reason that guy became an alcoholic? How about, he felt bad, and wanted to feel good? How about, he was an abused child of an alcoholic parent, growing up in a dysfunctional family, and that's why he was always different, and felt different, even from early childhood?

  3. Alcoholics Anonymous isn't just about quitting drinking:

    • Alcoholics Anonymous is really about Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • Alcoholics Anonymous is also a cult religion, one that uses alcoholism as a hook to get people to join. (The sister organization, Narcotics Anonymous, uses drug addictions in the same manner.) A.A., N.A., and all of the other 12-Step clones have the goal of getting everyone to practice "The Twelve Steps", which include commandments to seek knowledge of, and carry out, the will of God, as they hear God dictating His orders. The cofounder and leader of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, plainly declared:

      At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God...
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 77.


      Remember that we deal 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, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 58-59.

      A.A. began as a branch of another cult religion called "The Oxford Group", which was the creation of an evil fascist renegade Lutheran minister named Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, who actually admired Adolf Hitler and praised the Gestapo leader Heinrich Himmler as a "wonderful lad".

      Dr. Buchman declared,

            "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler...
            The world needs the dictatorship of the living spirit of God.   ...
            ... Human problems aren't economic. They're moral and they can't be solved by immoral measures. They could be solved within a God-controlled democracy, or perhaps I should say a theocracy, and they could be solved through a God-controlled Fascist dictatorship."
      The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament; A Study of Frank Buchman and His Movement, Tom Driberg, 1965, pages 68-69.

      The cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous, William Griffith Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, were both enthusiastic true-believer members of the Oxford Group cult, and they simply adapted Buchmanism to their own ends when they created Alcoholics Anonymous. For all practical purposes, Alcoholics Anonymous is simply Frank Buchman's cult religion dressed up in a different suit of clothes.

    • And, for all practical purposes, Bill Wilson was a fascist, just like Frank Buchman, and Bill was pushing a fascist philosophy (and A.A. still does):

      Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 100.

      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, page 24.

      (The "conviction" that Wilson was talking about there is Frank Buchman's practice of making new converts find themselves guilty and 'convict' themselves of lots of sins.)

      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.

      If you disagree with Bill Wilson's crazy cult religion, then you need to get beaten into a state of reasonableness...

      [A.A. members are] impersonally and severely disciplined from without.
      Private letter, William G. Wilson to Dr. Harry Tiebout, 9 Nov 1950, quoted in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Ernest Kurtz, page 129.

      We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 88.

      Really now. Such masochistic grovelling.

      We saw we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility.
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 75.

      In 1955, at the A.A. twentieth anniversary convention, Bill said of alcoholics,

      They would not stand for the rather aggressive evangelism of the Oxford Group. And they would not accept the principle of "team guidance" for their own personal lives. It was too authoritarian for them.   ...   In other respects, too, we found we had to make haste slowly. When first contacted, most alcoholics just wanted to find sobriety, nothing else. They clung to their other defects, letting go only little by little. They simply did not want to get "too good too soon."   ...   The Oxford Groups' absolute concepts — absolute purity, absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love — were frequently too much for the drunks. These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets.
      Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), pages 74-75,
      Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 46.

      So Bill Wilson was feeding his favorite Oxford Group "principles" (cult dogma) to the new alcoholics a little bit at a time; giving them just as much as they would tolerate, but not enough to drive them away. Bill was just gradually converting them to his "authoritarian principles".

      And then Bill Wilson sang the praises of dictatorships:

      Therefore we [AA] have the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today but none of their liabilities.
      Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 105—106.
      The full benefits of murderous dictatorships? What benefits? Benefits for whom? And what liabilities of murderous dictatorships does Alcoholics Anonymous not have?

      In A.A. there is active still another form of association, a form of which the world is today in great doubt. It has its virtues, nevertheless, especially for us of Alcoholics Anonymous: I am speaking of dictatorship. In A.A. we have two dictators, and we profit and grow through both. One is John Barleycorn, who is never very far from the elbow of each of us. The other is the Father of Lights, who presides over all men. God is saying to us, "Learn my will and do it." And John Barleycorn is saying to each of us, "You had better do God's will or I will kill you!"
      Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 225.

      Note how Bill Wilson bemoaned the fact that dictatorships had gone out of fashion. (After World War Two, the western nations had "great doubts" about the "virtues" of dictatorships.) But Bill was a faithful keeper of the flame — he was keeping the dream alive — people could still "grow and profit through dictators" in Alcoholics Anonymous.
      (Also note that in Bill Wilson's idea of a "profitable dictatorship", Bill Wilson always got to be the dictator, and he also got all of the profits, too.)

    • The A.A. religion pushes a concept of God that is worse than medieval.

    • The manual of Alcoholics Anonymous is also named Alcoholics Anonymous, but is popularly called "The Big Book". All of Chapter Four of the Big Book, "We Agnostics", covers just one subject: how all agnostics and atheists must be converted to having the same religious beliefs as the author Bill Wilson. (It is not about how to quit drinking.) Wilson actually instructed people to abandon human intelligence and reason, and embrace blind faith in "the realm of the spirit". And then the recruiting manual in Chapter Seven of the Big Book teaches that other people's religions are inferior to A.A. beliefs, because those other religions didn't keep those people from drinking. (As if the goal of all religions is to keep people from drinking.)

    • The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are not "spiritual principles", they are cult practices that Bill Wilson got from Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Groups. The Twelve Steps are a recipe for building a cult religion, not a formula for quitting drinking:
      • The Twelve Steps do not even tell you to quit drinking, or to help anyone else to quit drinking, either.
      • The Twelve Steps don't even mention sobriety, recovery, or health, but they do mention surrender to the cult, and going recruiting for the cult, and guilt-inducing confession sessions.
      • The 12 Steps also mention God, directly or indirectly, in 6 of the 12 steps. The Ten Commandments of Judeo-Christian religions mention God fewer times than that — only 4 or 5 of the 10 commandments refer to God, directly or indirectly1 — but the A.A. true believers still insist that A.A. is not a religion.
      • Seven of the 12 steps, Steps Four through Ten, are designed to induce guilt in members by having them make long lists of every sin they ever committed, and every fault, moral shortcoming, and defect of character they have, and then they have to confess it all to another member and God. Then they make another list of everybody they ever hurt or offended, and confess that, and try to make amends. And then they have to repeat the whole process again, and again, for the rest of their lives.
      • The Twelve Steps tell people to surrender their wills and their lives to "God" or "Higher Power" or the A.A. group, and to pray to "God" or "Higher Power" or the A.A. group, and then the Twelve Steps tell people how to pray and what to pray for, but the A.A. true believers still insist that A.A. is not a religion.

    • Twelve-Step enthusiasts declare that the Twelve Steps will cure anybody of anything, just like good old-fashioned snake oil. They claim that the Twelve Steps are equally appropriate for everybody from alcoholics to drug addicts to gamblers, from compulsive shoppers to emotional wrecks to rape victims, from divorcees to diabetics, from schizophrenics to fat people. The 12 steps really do have just as much to do with being a rape victim as they have to do with being an alcoholic — absolutely nothing.

      The 12-Step true believers can make such sweeping grandiose claims about the broad applicability of the Twelve Steps because those Twelve Steps are not really about alcoholism at all. The Twelve Steps have absolutely nothing to do with alcoholism; they are all about converting people to belief in a cult religion, and then recruiting more new cult members and indoctrinating them. That's what those practices did for their creator, Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman, and that is what they still do.

      So the 12 steps really are equally applicable to everything from drug addiction and alcoholism to compulsive shopping and being a rape victim, because The Steps have nothing to do with any of those things.

    • Even the children of alcoholics are supposed to do the Twelve Steps in organizations like ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics), Al-Anon, and Alateen. Obviously, the Twelve Steps can't really be a program for quitting drinking, because those children don't drink alcohol, and they never have. Yet the wives and children (and even close friends) of alcoholics are all supposed to be indoctrinated into practicing the guilt-inducing Twelve Steps, just because they have some relationship with an alcoholic and have supposedly been infected with a "spiritual disease" called "co-dependency".

  4. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are not safe havens where newcomers will find unconditional love and acceptance, expert advice on recovery, and wise, self-sacrificing helpers.
    Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are ceremonies where irrational beliefs and bad advice are commonplace. Dissenting voices and criticism of the A.A. program are not appreciated or "loved." Sexual exploitation of newcomers, especially of, but not limited to, women, is also all too common.

    A.A. meetings are religious rituals more than they are therapy sessions. Every meeting is begun by reciting the contents of pages 58 and 59 from the Big Book, which contain the Twelve Steps, and statements that everyone there got sober by doing the Twelve Steps, and that "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path", except for people who are defective — people who are "constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves" — people who were born that way — and people who thought that they "could find an easier, softer way."

    Actually, it is A.A. that is being dishonest with itself. Those statements are cherished religious beliefs and wishful thinking, not facts. The A.A. old-timers have seen millions of people fail while practicing the Twelve Steps, but they just play "blame the victim" with those failures.

    A.A-founder Bill Wilson wrote many such dishonest and grandiose things in the Big Book, and A.A. will not admit that those statements are completely untrue, or even question or test their validity. The true believers just go on with the ritual, and proclaim that Bill Wilson was a genius and a saint.

    The official A.A. manual that was published in 1940 declares that their attitude towards alcoholics is:

    The moment he wittingly drinks so much as a drop of beer, wine, spirits, or any other alcoholic drink he automatically loses all status as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    A.A. is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their desire to remain completely sober for all time.

    So, you have no status and they are not interested in helping you if you slip, or if you will not follow their rules exactly. So much for the "unconditional love" that they brag about giving to newcomers.

    But why do so many judges then sentence people to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings when A.A. says that it is not interested in helping them?

    Also notice how that statement makes Alcoholics Anonymous a cherry-picking program — they only want the winners for members. They cannot then claim that they made the members quit drinking, or saved their lives, or helped millions to quit drinking, or that they have a great success rate. A.A. only wants those people who have already chosen to quit drinking. But that is the whole battle. Really sincerely deciding to quit drinking forever is the most important factor in gaining and keeping sobriety. A.A. contributed nothing to those people who have already arrived at that decision before coming to Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. just takes the credit for other people's work.

    The numerous A.A. horror stories show just how unsafe A.A. really is:

  5. Going to A.A. meetings and doing the Twelve Steps for a few years does not necessarily make people into wise and knowledgeable alcoholism recovery counselors, suitable to be sponsors and advise and supervise the newcomers.

    Often, the program doesn't even accomplish Step Two for the old members, "restoring them to sanity."
    And it doesn't guarantee that they won't relapse.
    And it doesn't stop them from being sexual predators or neurotic control freaks, either.

    It is a myth that A.A. sponsors are wise and knowledgeable and able to give sage advice. A.A. propaganda is always telling stories about sponsors who are able to perceptively psychoanalyze their sponsees and always come up with just the right answer to solve the sponsees' problem and guide him or her towards sobriety and spirituality. That is just so much wishful thinking, and it is just another part of the Big Lie — part of the story that A.A. is a great treatment program. They don't want to tell you that healthy, wealthy, and wise people simply do not join A.A. and become sponsors. They don't want to tell you that you are likely to get some neurotic power-tripping fool who has simply memorized several dozen slogans, and he will just spout one at you in every situation.

    The truth is that A.A. is managed at the grass roots level by incompetents who literally do not know what they are doing. They have no training in treating alcoholism; they are just people who have been members of A.A. and "worked the program" for a few years, and still they presume to act as doctors, ministers, priests, and recovery counselors to the newcomers.

    (Often, they use an illogical false equality here, and point to a room full of A.A. members and say, "Look at these people. We have thousands of years of experience in drinking in this room."

    Yes, they have, together, accumulated many years of experience in drinking, but that is not the same thing as having thousands of years of experience in getting other people to sober up. By A.A.'s broken logic, the best counselors would be old alcoholics who are still drinking, because they have even more years of experience in drinking.)

    A.A. sponsors often feel entitled to tell their sponsees not to see a doctor or get counseling or psychiatric treatment, and to just trust the 12-Step program to heal them. Even worse, many A.A. sponsors feel qualified to tell newcomers not to take their doctor-prescribed medications. That has caused immense harm and grief, and even psychotic breakdowns, hospitalizations, and deaths.

    You can read about the A.A. "no medications" horror stories here:

          The more incompetent someone is in a particular area, the less qualified that person is to assess anyone's skill in that space, including their own. When one fails to recognise that he or she has performed poorly, the individual is left assuming that they have performed well. As a result, the incompetent will tend to grossly overestimate their skills and abilities.

    == "Unskilled and Unaware of It", by Alan Bellows, March 25, 2006

    One of the most interesting pieces of new "recovery" research, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, no less, has shown that newcomers do not benefit from getting sponsors. In a recent controlled study, a group of new Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous members who got sponsors did no better than another group who didn't get sponsors. But strangely enough, the sponsors did better than other members who did not act as sponsors. It seems that getting their egos stroked by acting as puffed-up, all-wise, all-knowing sponsors, ordering the wimpy newcomers around, helped the sponsors to stay clean and sober, even if it didn't help the newcomers any.

    The use of incompetent amateur counselors has led to much suffering and many deaths. They are not "the experts on addiction," like they claim, and the war stories of some old alcoholics are not more valuable than a college education and medical school:

    "Here was a book that said 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, page 473.

    "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 Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 348.

    A.A. members are not inherently qualified to work as recovery counselors, priests, ministers, doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists. They are not inherently qualified to decide that newcomers should stop taking the medications that real doctors have given them, and just trust the Twelve Steps to heal them, but A.A. and N.A. are notorious for telling newcomers not to take their meds.

    A friend who has been in and out of A.A. for 30 years described how he saw the true believers talk a mentally-ill man into quitting his medications, and then the poor guy committed suicide. After the funeral, my friend said to the A.A. sponsors:

    "He was a mess, but before you got your hands on him, at least he could say his own name. When you were done with him, he couldn't even do that."

    A flawed idea that AA is built upon: The idea that a deeply flawed person will cure another deeply flawed person.
    A dynamic fraught with peril.
    == Anonymous

  6. There is nothing moral or spiritual about trying to shove the funny Buchmanite religious beliefs of Bill Wilson on everyone else.

    • It is not moral or spiritual to tell people that:

    • It is not moral or spiritual to keep making up screwy "spiritual diseases" like compulsive shopping or being a diabetic, or being an abused child of an alcoholic, or being a victim of incest, and then declaring that only a life spent doing the Twelve Steps will save the sufferer from a life of sin.

    • It is not moral or spiritual to mislead people and make them think they are getting great therapy and great treatment for what ails them, when all they are getting is quack medicine. That keeps the people from seeking some other medical treatment that could really help them.

    • Likewise, it is not moral or spiritual to tell sick people who are having troubles that their problems are of their own making, and that all that they need to do is Work The Steps and Work A Strong Program harder, rather than seek help from a doctor or psychiatrist.

    • And it is not moral or spiritual to tell sick people that the answer to all such problems is "Work The Twelve Steps, Get A Sponsor, And Read The Big Book".

    • It is not moral or spiritual to shove an ineffective "spiritual" treatment program on people who are seeking medical treatment for a deadly illness.
      In fact, it is hard to understand how people who are otherwise pretty okay, nice, honest people can actually do it. They rationalize their actions by saying that the A.A. program saves lives, but they cannot help but see the huge failure rate of A.A. if they have been around A.A. for very long. So that rationalization doesn't really wash. They are in denial about what A.A. really is, and they are in denial about the immense A.A. failure rate, and they are in denial about what they are really doing.

    • It is not moral or spiritual to use judges and parole officers — the criminal justice system — to coerce people into the Alcoholics Anonymous organization. But they do it all of the time.

    • Foisting quack medicine on critically-ill people is criminal fraud and manslaughter.

    • Buchmanism is actually a very heretical and anti-Christian religion. Dr. Frank Buchman claimed that his religion was completely compatible with Christianity, but that wasn't true at all. Frank Buchman was just trying to fool people into becoming his followers. Buchmanism is grossly heretical, and occult, and directly opposed to many of the teachings of Jesus. See The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

  7. The A.A. formula for "spirituality" is broken, and doesn't work.
    Doing the Twelve Steps and forcing people to wallow in guilt and shame for years does not:

    You cannot get rid of your ego, or the "bondage of self", just by saying or praying that you wish to be rid of your ego. You might as well pray for your left foot to disappear.

    "Stuffing your feelings" for years leads to neurosis and mental illness, not spirituality. Real live feeling human beings cannot feel only "Serenity and Gratitude" for years and years... When members then condemn themselves and feel guilty and inadequate for not having the proper "Serene and Grateful" attitude, that just makes matters worse. Then they can feel guilty about feeling guilty.

    One 24-year A.A. old-timer said,

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

    The "Founding Fathers" of A.A. discovered all of that the hard way.

    Throughout the first 164 pages of the Big Book, Bill Wilson raved about the fantastic religious or spiritual experiences that members could expect to get after they had practiced the Twelve Steps enough. But members complained that they weren't getting The Big Experience, or seeing God, from doing Bill's 12 Steps. So Bill toned down the terminology to just a "spiritual awakening". And then he toned it down some more, and some more. Eventually, the promised spiritual experience was reduced to nothing but an "educational experience". See the description of that process in the Bait-And-Switch web page.

  8. The A.A. First Step, where people are supposed to "admit" that they are "powerless over alcohol", is a hoax.

    People are not "powerless" over their desires to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, take drugs, or eat too much. Being sick, and having a messed-up life from too much drinking, is just that — being sick. It isn't "powerlessness." Having difficulties quitting is not "powerlessness", it's having difficulties quitting. Saying that your drinking has really gotten out of control doesn't mean that you are powerless over it.

    The "powerless" doctrine of Alcoholics Anonymous is one of their most central religious beliefs. It is one of those points where A.A. radically departs from Christianity or any other mainstream religion of the world, and enters the realm of bizarre cult religion. Christianity teaches people to be responsible for their actions. So do all of the other major religions of the world.

    A.A., on the other hand, teaches that people are incapable of running their own lives and must surrender control of their lives to the A.A. group [cult] and a "Higher Power" who will control them, and do the quitting for them. Thus A.A. is teaching the doctrine that is common to so many cults — that you cannot make it without the cult. Bill Wilson wrote:

    Remember that we deal 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, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, pages 58-59.

    Thus the real purpose of Step One is to prepare the new members for Steps Two and Three, where they will confess that they are insane, and then surrender their wills and lives to "God as they understand Him" and Alcoholics Anonymous. That is the standard cult demand that members surrender to the cult, pure and simple.

    The Big Book tells us that,

    It helped me a lot to become convinced that alcoholism was a disease, not a moral issue; that I had been drinking as a result of a compulsion, even though I had not been aware of the compulsion at the time; and that sobriety was not a matter of will power.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict, page 448.

    On the contrary, sobriety is most assuredly a matter of will power and self-control. Nobody else is going to do the quitting for you. Nobody else CAN do the quitting for you. Nobody else is going to hold your hand every Saturday night.

    But Bill Wilson kept insisting that the truth was just the opposite. In his second book, written a dozen years later, he wrote:

    We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, self-confidence was no good whatever; in fact, it was a total liability. Our sponsors declared that we were the victims of a mental obsession so subtly powerful that no amount of human willpower could break it. There was, they said, no such thing as the personal conquest of this compulsion by the unaided will. ... It was a statistical fact that alcoholics almost never recovered on their own resources.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 22.

    That is distortions, falsehoods, and outright lies. The true part of that is, "Yes, the sponsors did tell such falsehoods to the newcomers." But nobody is "powerless" over alcohol, and will power most assuredly can break the addiction, and self-confidence is a big help.

    The statement that "It was a statistical fact that alcoholics almost never recovered on their own resources" is a blatant lie, for two reasons:

    • First off, MOST of the people who recover from alcoholism, like 75 or 80 percent of them, do it alone, without A.A. or any "treatment" or any "group therapy" program of any kind. The Harvard Medical School says so. But Bill Wilson didn't want people to know that; they would realize that they don't need to be dependent upon A.A. for their recovery.

    • The other reason that "statistical" statement is a lie is more subtle: Bill was implying that the A.A. way yields a higher success rate than people trying to quit drinking by themselves. That is completely false. Bill's cult religion program had, and still has, a horrendous failure rate. Many tests have shown that getting no 'treatment' at all is better than A.A. 'treatment' or help. Fewer people die, fewer people get rearrested for public drunkenness, and fewer people go on intense drinking binges when they don't get any Alcoholics Anonymous. And more people quit drinking and stay quit if they don't get any Alcoholics Anonymous "help".

    Bill Wilson would have been much closer to the truth if he had written,

    "It was a statistical fact that alcoholics almost never recovered in Alcoholics Anonymous. More than eighty percent of the newcomers were gone in a month; ninety-five percent were gone in a year, ninety-nine percent were gone in ten years. You have no conception these days of how much failure we had."

    Nobody is powerless over urges, cravings, or temptations. Just because you feel an urge or a craving doesn't mean that you have to give in to it, and feed it. The way to quit drinking is not to expect God to just magically remove all desire for drink. The way to quit is to just not give in to the cravings that will inevitably come. And lots of alcoholics do succeed in quitting drinking by doing just that.

    I'm not the only one who has noticed this contradiction. Herbert Fingarette wrote in his book Heavy Drinking:

    If the alcoholic's ailment is a disease that causes an inability to abstain from drinking, how can a program insist on voluntary abstention as a condition for treatment? (And if alcoholics who enter these programs do voluntarily abstain — as in fact they generally do — then of what value is the [disease] notion of loss of control?)
    Heavy Drinking, Herbert Fingarette, page 74.

    Bill Wilson declared that he was "powerless" over every urge or craving he ever had, no matter whether it was a thirst for alcohol, cravings for cigarettes, greed for money, or the urge to cheat on his wife Lois by having sex with all of the pretty young women who came to the A.A. meetings. That's one of the more novel and creative excuses for cheating on your wife, but it doesn't wash.

  9. A.A. flat-out lies when it says it is a program of rigorous honesty; it is just the opposite — a program of rigorous dishonesty:

    • A.A. begins every meeting by reciting a list of Bill Wilson's lies that declare that the Twelve Steps work great, and that failures only happen because alcoholics are bad people, "constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves" (Big Book, page 58):

      "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."

      The truth is, they see it all of the time. It is actually Alcoholics Anonymous that is "constitutionally incapable of being honest."

      "Fake It Until You Make It."

      "Act As If..."

    • When A.A. says "Keep An Open Mind," what they really mean is "Keep A Closed Mind", and blindly refuse to see anything wrong with "The Program", A.A. beliefs, or the crazy teachings of Bill Wilson.

    • When A.A. says "Keep An Open Mind,", what they really mean is,
      "Stay Gullible, and believe whatever we tell you. Heck, it might be true; you never know."

      The only idea that they really want you to be open to is the idea that A.A. is right about everything — the idea that the "spiritual" A.A. program with its Twelve Steps is a really good cure for alcoholism, one that actually works.

    • A.A. practices deceptive recruiting. It hides its extreme religiosity from new prospects, the "babies" and "pigeons". The Big Book recruiting manual, chapter seven, specifically instructs recruiters not to emphasize the religious element of the program. Bill Wilson's other writings tell recruiters to reveal the truth to the prospects and newcomers only a little bit at a time, doling out the truth by "Teaspoons, Not Buckets."

    • A.A. falsifies its history. A.A. has been doing that since the very beginning, when Bill Wilson hid the Oxford Group roots of A.A..

    • A.A. is a dishonest religion that says that it isn't a religion while it back-stabs and undercuts the other religions.

    • Like most cult religions, A.A. practices "Group-Think", and forbids any criticism of "the program." That is just the opposite of rigorous honesty. Like most cults, A.A. believes that it has unquestionable truths, even God-given truths, so it considers any criticism of its founders, their teachings, or the organization to be invalid — automatically invalid and untrue, because their truths are God-given.

    • Thus, A.A. calls its critics "AA-bashers" (ad hominem), and imagines that everything "AA-bashers" say is always wrong, and can be dismissed out-of-hand, because they are just AA-bashers. By this circular logic, A.A. can never be wrong, and criticism of A.A. can never be correct. And the true believers can avoid having to think, or take any criticism of A.A. seriously.

    • A.A. also enforces the Group-Think in another way: they will delist any group whose meetings do not conform to the standard formula to the satisfaction of the central-office elders. That means that the non-conforming group gets no referrals from the central office hot-line, and it isn't listed on the lists of meetings, and it doesn't get found by visitors or prospective new members, and it is just generally shunned. The group just gets cast into limbo. That threat is generally enough to enforce conformity.

    • I shouldn't have to be writing all of this stuff, these "Orange Papers". If A.A. were really "a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty" like they brag (in the Big Book, page 58), then they would have written and printed all of this information themselves, many, many years ago, just so that everyone would know what the real truth is. Instead, the A.A. headquarters keeps the archives of old documents and records sealed, locked up, so that no investigative journalists or snoopy scholars can learn the truth. They wouldn't even let the NBC News or ABC News teams take a look in the archives.

      And now Susan Cheever, who was allowed into the archives so she could write a fawning uncritical hero-worshipping biography of A.A. founder Bill Wilson, reports that the A.A. headquarters is "excising" from the official Alcoholics Anonymous archives all of the embarrassing information about Bill Wilson's sexual exploitation of women newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous. That sure as heck isn't "rigorous honesty".

  10. William Griffith Wilson
    Alcoholics Anonymous founder William Griffith Wilson was insane, really insane, clinically diagnosable, as well as being grossly, feloniously, dishonest, coldly exploitative of others, and a grandiose, habitual liar. He was not a wise counselor who helped other alcoholics, not at all.

    Bill Wilson suffered from 297.10 Delusional (Paranoid) Disorder, Grandiose Type and 301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association in their book The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third and fourth editions, DSM-III-R and DSM-IV.

    The bombastic, grandiose, and completely delusional things that Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" and in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions leave little doubt about that.

    Bill's behavior, both before and after sobriety, leaves even less doubt.

    Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith
    And A.A. cofounder Dr. Robert Smith — "Doctor Bob" — was also a mental disaster. He was a cruel petty tyrant who abused his children and who tried to drink himself to death for most of his adult life. He even operated on patients while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. The word in Akron, Ohio, was "When you let the proctologist Dr. Robert Smith operate on you, you're really betting your ass."

    See the Cult Test item, Disturbed Guru, Mentally Ill Leader for the details of these two tragic wrecks.

  11. The A.A. stereotype of alcoholics is untrue.

    A.A. creates a completely untrue negative stereotype of alcoholics, and then says that the Twelve Steps are the magic that will fix that standardized bad guy:

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

    Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn't strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose.
    (Whose intended purpose? God's? Mother Nature's? The Force of Evolution's?
    What happened to "A.A. requires no beliefs?")
    When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 65.

    "Instinct run wild? Natural desires exceeding their intended purpose? Pleasures due us?"
    Pleasures due us from whom? And due us, according to whose ledger book? God's?

    Also notice how Bill Wilson just redefined "character defects" to mean the same thing as "sins":
          That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.

    That noticeably changes the meaning of Step Six --
          6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
    — by adding a burden of guilt to the Step, making it into a begging session where we beg God to remove sins. Bill Wilson gradually morphed alcoholism from a disease to be cured, into a sin that must be removed by God. That is another Bait-and-Switch trick.

    The Sage and High Priest Of Alcoholics Anonymous,
    Bill Wilson
    Bill Wilson was all mixed up:
    • Natural desires do not supply us with "satisfactions or pleasures". Natural desires are an itch, an urge, to go get some satisfactions or pleasures. Hunger, for instance, does not give us pleasure. It gives us a big pain in the belly that drives us to go find something to eat.

    • Instincts are urges to do things like eat, survive, have sex, and care for our young. Such urges are extremely intense, because that's what works to keep the species from going extinct. (See the definition of "instinct" here.)

    • But there is no "instinct" to drink ethyl alcohol or get high on drugs.

    • You do not voluntarily chose to get hungry, crave sex, feel a drive to survive, or wish to care for your young. You do not allow those "desires" to "far exceed their intended purpose." You are driven by very strong compulsions to do what is necessary for survival and reproduction. That's just life, keeping life going, no matter what...

    • According to Bill Wilson, God is a poor bio-engineer whose designs for instincts and desires are malfunctioning badly. They aren't working as He intended, and we aren't working as He intended. Gee, we aren't getting our wishes granted; God isn't getting His wishes granted; nobody is happy. It looks like The Creative Spirit Of The Universe really screwed up this time.

    Bill continued his attack on the stereotypical alcoholics:

    Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.   ...
    ... the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 62.

    Since defective relations with other human beings have nearly always been the immediate cause of our woes, including our alcoholism, no field of investigation could yield more satisfying and valuable rewards than this one.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 81.

    So now alcoholism is caused by "defective relations"? Earlier, Bill Wilson declared that our self-destructive drinking was caused by our sins, moral shortcomings, defects of character, resentments, instincts run wild, instinct gone astray, self-will run riot, self-seeking, selfishness, desires that far exceed their intended purpose, and failure to practice religious precepts properly. What will it be next?

    People do not drink too much because they have big puffed-up strutting-peacock egos, or because they think they are the center of the Universe, or because they think they are too big and too good to need God, like Bill Wilson said.

    And people do not drink too much because they are examples of instincts run wild, or self-will run riot, or because they are sinners with moral shortcomings and character defects, like Bill Wilson said.

    People usually drink too much because they feel bad and are trying to feel good. They are often miserable, and just trying to "have fun."

    Just because alcoholics and drug addicts have brains that are deficient in L-dopamine or beta endorphins doesn't mean that they are all selfish, immoral, and unspiritual, like Bill Wilson said.

    Forty percent of all alcoholics and drug addicts were abused children who are now just trying to cope with their mangled emotional lives, damaged personalities, and shriveled cerebellar vermises. In addition, many more alcoholics and drug addicts suffer from emotional or mental illnesses that they are trying to fix by self-medicating. And there are even more people who are sick and in pain from physical illnesses, and they are just trying to kill their pain with drugs and alcohol. And last but not least, there are alcoholics who smoke and drink to kill the pain of being very sick from having drunk too much alcohol and smoked too many cigarettes for far too long.

    The numbers look like this:

    • Forty percent of all alcoholics and junkies were abused children. Sometimes the parents were alcoholics, sometimes dopers, sometimes just insane. Sometimes insane vicious religious nuts, or insane cruel alcoholic military sergeant fathers. Sometimes insane first, and then they used alcohol or dope to kill the pain of their insanity. Often, those abusive parents had been abused children themselves, and they were just passing it on. For whatever reason, they then abused their children, physically, or mentally, or both, and the children responded by using alcohol or dope to kill their own pain.
    • And, in addition, at least half of the people in prison for violent crimes were also abused children. Perhaps it's much worse than that — according to one survey, 85% of all violent prison inmates were abused in childhood.
    • Two-thirds of all teenage mothers were raped or sexually abused as children or teenagers.
    • Rape victims are ten times more likely than other women to use drugs and alcohol to excess.
    • In the U.S., at least one in ten women have been raped, almost two-thirds before the age of eighteen.
    • A recent survey reports that one-sixth of all rape victims reported to police are under the age of 12. (And this is the category of rape least likely to be reported.) One-fifth of these girls were raped by their fathers. They have been betrayed.

    Trying to make those people quit drinking or drugging by crushing their egos and making them feel guilty doesn't work, and usually does more harm than good. (They will just get stoned again, trying to obliterate the feelings of guilt and get back to feeling good. It is neither an accident nor a coincidence that involvement with Alcoholics Anonymous was seen to increase, not reduce, binge drinking.)

  12. There is no simple one-size-fits-all cure for alcoholism.

    There is no panacea. There is no magic bullet. Mere sobriety will not solve all of your problems and give you boundless happiness. It will solve one huge problem, but you will still have lots of other smaller problems, because real life isn't so simple or so easy.

    Ebby Thacher caught Bill Wilson at a weak, vulnerable moment in the hospital, while Bill was detoxing and totally out of his head from alcohol withdrawal and hallucinogenic drugs, and convinced Bill that Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult had a simple program that would be the answer to all of his problems.

    My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, page 13.

    Alas, it ain't necessarily so. There is no simple panacea that will solve all of your problems. Bill's insistence that twelve simple steps are the answer to all of your problems is childishly simplistic thinking, outright lunacy:

    "Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems."
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, page 42.

    Nevertheless, in spite of all sanity and common sense, Bill Wilson insisted that his version of Frank Buchman's cult religion was The Big Answer to all of an alcoholic's problems:

    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.
          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!
    See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
          Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
          May God bless you and keep you — until then.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William Wilson, Chapter 11, A Vision For You, pages 152,153,164.

    And just what is the magic ingredient in Bill Wilson's cure for alcoholism? It is to confess your sins, all of your sins, every last little detail, to "God and another human being":

    We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 75.

    Bill Wilson was delusional.

  13. You can't just make up any kind of a "Higher Power" or "god" you want, and then worship it like some Golden Calf, and expect it to perform miracles for you and grant all of your wishes, including making you quit drinking. That is the worst kind of superstition and idolatry.

    Nevertheless, that is just what Bill Wilson preached:

    Despite the living example of my friend [a sober Ebby Thacher] there remained in me the vestiges of my old prejudice. The word God still aroused a certain antipathy. When the thought was expressed that there might be a God personal to me this feeling was intensified. I didn't like the idea. I could go for such conceptions as Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind or Spirit of Nature but I resisted the thought of a Czar of the Heavens, however loving His sway might be. I have since talked with scores of men who felt the same way.
          My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"
          That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.
          It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!
          Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view.
    Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, "Bill's Story", Page 12.

    "I can choose any conception of God I wish.
    I can make God in my own image.
    It is only necessary that I believe whatever I wish to believe.
    Upon that simple beginning, I can build a whole new theology.
    Will it work? Of course it will, because I wish it to!
    Oh happy day! The scales are falling from my eyes. My prejudices are gone! I can see The Promised Land clearly now!
    I am convinced that God will be concerned about me, and take care of me, and grant all of my wishes, because I want Him to."

    Yes, Bill Wilson was stone crazy.

    And Bill was lying when he talked about his "icy intellectual mountain". That was just another phony act that Bill Wilson put on. Bill Wilson was a superstitious flunk-out, not an icy intellectual.

    Lastly, claiming that you are going to "Turn It Over To God" and "Let Go and Let God" is just a cop-out that makes matters worse. Abdicating personal responsibility for your actions, and just "Depending on a Higher Power" to solve your problems for you guarantees failure, because "God" is not going to do your work for you. And neither will Santa Claus or Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. And that is just one more of A.A.'s dirty little secrets.


1) Four or five of the Ten Commandments mention God: Which it is depends on the "Honor thy mother and father" commandment. That wording doesn't mention God. But the original text in the Bible, in the book of Exodus, chapter 20, does. The modern translation reads: "Respect your father and your mother, and you will live a long time in the land I am giving you." The speaker is God, so that commandment indirectly refers to God.

2) See "Relapse Prevention with Substance Abusers: Clinical Issues and Myths", by Dennis Daley. Social Work, March-April 1987, page 140.


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
(written by William G. Wilson, published as 'anonymous'.)
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2000.
ISBN 0-916856-06-2
Dewey: 362.2928 T969 1965

For the standard party line about everything, see "The Big Book", really:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous, Third Edition, 1976.
    (written by William G. Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, and 40 or so others; published as 'anonymous.')
    Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 1976.
    ISBN 0-916856-00-3
    Dewey: 362.29 A347 1976

  • Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, 2001,     published as "anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, Joe Worth, and many other people.
    Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2001.
    ISBN: 1-893007-16-2
    Dewey: 362.29 A347 2001

  • Note that the earlier editions of the A.A. book are available for free on the Internet. It seems that somebody was too 'sober' to remember to renew the copyrights...

The Alcoholics Anonymous web site is:

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age     published as "anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1957, 1986.
Harper, New York, 1957.
ISBN: 0-91-685602-X
LC: HV5278 .A78A4
Dewey: 178.1 A1c
This is Bill Wilson's version of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. It suspiciously differs from known history here and there.

'PASS IT ON'; The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world     'anonymous'
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984.
ISBN 0-916856-12-7
LC: HV5032 .W19P37x 1984
LCCN: 84-072766
Dewey: 362.29/286/O92
This is the official, council-approved version of the history of A.A.. Strangely enough, there is some very interesting stuff in here, including chapter 16, which describes Bill's spook sessions and séances, talking with the spirits of the dead, and communicating with spirits through spirit rapping and the Ouija board. See pages 275 to 285.

Language Of The Heart     William G. Wilson
A.A. Grapevine, New York, 1988.
ISBN 0-933-68516-5
LC: HV5278 .W15 1988
LCCN: 88-71930
This is a collection of Bill's writings, speeches, and letters, assembled after his death.

Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson     Francis Hartigan
Thomas Dunne Books, An imprint of St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, 2000.
ISBN 0-312-20056-0
Dewey: B W11h 2000
This biography was written by Lois Wilson's private secretary, Francis Hartigan.

Bill W.     Robert Thomsen
Harper & Rowe, New York, 1975.
ISBN 0-06-014267-7
Dewey call number 362.29 W112t
This is a good biography of William G. Wilson, even if it is very positively slanted towards Mr. Wilson, because the author knew Mr. Wilson and worked beside him for the last 12 years of Mr. Wilson's life. And rumor has it that this book was prepared from autobiographical tapes that Bill Wilson made before he died. So expect it to praise Mr. Wilson a lot. Still, this book will also tell you about some of Bill Wilson's warts, his fat ego, his publicity-hound behavior, and his years-long "dry drunks"...

Bill W. My First 40 Years     'An Autobiography By The Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous'
(This is Bill Wilson's alleged 'autobiography', supposedly published anonymously.)
Hazelden, Center City, Minnesota 55012-0176, 2000.
ISBN 1-56838-373-8
Dewey call number B W11w 2000
This book was reputedly assembled by ghost writers at Hazelden from the same set of autobiographical tapes of Bill Wilson that Robert Thomsen used for his book.

Bill W. and Mr. Wilson — The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder     Matthew J. Raphael
University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass., 2000.
ISBN 1-55849-245-3
Dewey: B W11r 2000
This book was written by another stepper — the name 'Matthew Raphael' is a pen name — and it generally praises Bill Wilson and recites the party line about most things, but it also contains a bunch of surprises, like detailing Bill's sexual infidelities, his and Bob's spook sessions — talking to the 'spirits' in séances through the use of Ouija boards, spirit rapping, clairvoyance, and channeling, LSD use, and publicity-hound megalomania.

Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous     Ernest Kurtz
Hazelden Educational Foundation, Center City, MN, 1979.
ISBN 0-899-486065-8 or ISBN 0-89486-065-8 (pbk.)
LC: HV5278
LCCN: 79-88264
Dewey: 362.2/9286 or 362.29286 K87 1979
This is a very pro-A.A., toe-the-party-line history of Alcoholics Anonymous, but it is still a valuable resource for a wealth of historical facts and details.

Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous     Nan Robertson
William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1988.
ISBN 0-688-06869-3
LC: HV5278.R59 1988
LCCN: 87-31153
Dewey: 362.2'9286--dc19 or 362.2928 R651g
Another very standard, sanitized, history of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease     Herbert Fingarette
University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1988.
ISBN 0-520-06290-6
LC: HV5292 .F56 1988

Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?     Charles Bufe, 1998.
See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731
ISBN 1-884365-12-4
Dewey: 362.29286 B929a 1998
(This is the second edition; it has noticeably more information than the first edition. The first edition is: ISBN 0-9613289-3-2, printed in 1991.)

The Recovery Book     Al J. Mooney, M.D., Arlene Eisenberg, Howard Eisenberg
Workman Publishing, New York, 1992.
ISBN 1-56305-084-6 (pbk.)
LC: HV5275.M56 1992
LCCN: 92-50284
Dewey: 613.81 M00
The book is a veiled AA-pusher. It purports to be a fair, balanced, general-purpose recovery book, but it keeps coming back to saying that A.A., Al-Anon, and the Twelve Steps are the answer.

Also see the complete bibliography here.

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Last updated 13 July 2014.
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