Welcome to “Leaving AA” Alcoholics Anonymous

     Whatever may be your story, we understand. Many of us were in “the rooms” months, years and decades. We know. Welcome to a site and a community that tolerates no AA bullshit! You are free now. You are amongst hopefully mostly sane individuals that have walked the walk and have “fled the insanity and dogma” of 12 step culture and it’s meetings.

      Years of horror. Years of being belittled, harassed, and told what to do by some member who knew less then us and still was unemployed and insane after decades in AA. We sat in smoky rooms, cleaned coffee cups when we didn’t even drink coffee, experiencing abusive crazy batshit 13 stepping older creepy men and women for far too long. We understand, whatever brought you here, whatever you googled, it’s okay. You found us. You found me, you have found tens of hundreds of us who never felt a part of AA or who NOW no longer feel a part of the 12 step culture.

We are all here for many reasons. But one we can most surely agree on. That is if we hear Chapter 5 read one more time…surely, we would blow our brains out. Figuratively.

It’s not your fault. No….your skirt was not too short. You did not dress too sexily. Its them. It’s not 13 stepping. Its called Sexual Harassment in the “Real World” Oh, but AA isn’t the real world is it? It’s some crazy made up religious type 1936 cult thing or, not.  But wait, isn’t this 2011? So why is our government sending people in droves to 12 step. Why are 90 % of Rehabs and Treatment Centers AA/NA based? Is it that one feeds the other? Is it that for many years there wasn’t anything else? Maybe. But that has not been the case for over 25 years. So why don’t  the Courts and lawyers and Judges send DUI’s and problem drinkers to the many alternatives that have been around for over two decades.

Why did I not even know till three years ago that any alternatives to 12 step even existed? Why so many questions. Why is this such a big secret? Hmmmm Money. Profits. Maybe. This is a shame. A praying God forsaking shame. 25 million people are suppose to be suffering from addiction and 1.8 million, maybe, are in AA. And AA is declining. I know this to be true because … many peopIe know and myself have left this year. Yes it’s true, we left… running out the door never to return.

Here are some positive self healing approaches: Some of us ran to (Smart Recovery) some to (Rational Recovery) around over 20 years by Founder Jack Trimpy. Some of us ran to (Women for Sobriety) and some to SOS (Secular for Sobriety), while some preferred a place that abstinence was not the way like HAMS Harm Reduction by Kenneth Anderson. Some wrote books like Amy Lee Coy and Hank Hayes and Dee-dee Stout, Stanton Peele and Albert Ellis. The list is longer and soon I will have a resource page as I have been reading all of these books for the past three years undoing the damage AA did to me for over three decades.  Now let’s compare these with the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I think this book is a joke. I studied it in and out and after giving it a good 36 years study, I’d rather sleep zzzzzzzz. Actually I think it’s dangerous if taken over zealously and I think many people feel it needs to be revamped and rewritten.

Some are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore.

Some of us will not tolerate being bullied… especially AA bullies. So let me tell you right here right now as an x AA member, I know those true believing fools and what they are like. I once was a “true believer” of sorts. I see thorough it all. So if you decide to blog here as an AA troll, only some things will be tolerated. Please Rules of the road:

No sexual harassment, no bullying, no homophobic slurs, no threats allowed ever. Please blog here, start your own blog and let’s hang until Stinkin- thinkin returns as I pray to the gods it will :)

1936 powerless

2011 EMPOWERED!

you choose…

1,575 thoughts on “Welcome to “Leaving AA” Alcoholics Anonymous

    • HI Ryan. Thanks for calling in today. We will do on AA and suicide next week. Stay well, keep talking and tell your parents I am so sorry for their loss as well.

      • Hi,
        Thanks you all for posting. I’ll be brief. I have been clean and sober now for a year and sixty-five days, most of that in conjunction with attendance of the local AA club here in town. This has been one of the more…confusing, I don’t even have the words…year in quitte some time.
        I have been drinking to get drunk sine Iwas a teenager which started in conjunction with a suicide attempt because of a failed romance, which in turn was the climax of the pain of my parent’ divorce when I was ten.
        I have every street drug you can think, with serious problems with meth and a 6 month bout w/heroin in my mid twenties. There has been trouble with law (four arrests, one a drug possesion felony in 99).
        My life has just never came together (never married, no kids,seriously underemployed, living with mom for the last twelve years, a real loser, in my mind). This has made me unhappy. Very depressed at times. Though now I finally have a decent job (it required a degree, go figure). I;m in student loan debt up to my ears.
        Sorry, looks like this isn’t going to be brief. Last year, after stopping drinking for a month I went to the meeting I currently attend now. I fucking hate it at times. Okay most times. I want AA and sobriety to help I see the men in AA and many of them are single. Ugh. I see very few wedding bands on their fingers. They just don’t have what I want.
        I am a funny, creative guy, with an active mind, who loves to read and study on everything. I like to delve into pop culture, and I am at home in the Bohemian set. I have never felt so …Stifled…before. I am currently looking at a book on Greek migration in the Age of Homer, and I can’t even start it because I need to read the BOOK more, over and over.
        I drank and drugged …well….for many reasons. Mostly to feel better, less akward, more secure, because I really do have real esteem troubles (I’m actually an attractive man and have no girlfriend. Have been “around” a lot, but nothing ever serious or lasting). Yes, sometimes I drank, excessively…to party and have a good time with others.
        AA is not the best friends I’ve had. My friendships came in my early, mid twenties with an artistic crowd in a bohemian neigborhood in the city I live in. I stil talk to them (some), and recent;y attended the funeral of one of our fall
        en.
        My life seems to be getting better in sobriety. I finally have found my first decent job (benifits, 36k, tough work in sales type position though)
        Today my co-workers asked me if I would join them for drinks after work, and I wanted to go. I might have been fun, and I seem to get along with them. I don’t want to be completley sober.
        AA is weird. the thought of being alone (thouugh clean and sober!), and going to endless meetings for the rest of my life, makes me want to scream.
        I am waiting for my life. I desperatley want what a thirty eight year man should have in American society, and I hoped getting sober and doing AA, would be the ways and means to achieve that. I want so much to grow. A real relationship is paramount to me. I want to read something good again. Sometimes I think that this is the right thing to do (Sobriety, though maybe not Aa). I got the job. I got and am using the gym membership. Maybe there is a God that wnts me to SURVIVE. Waiting for my real life to begin.

        What do I do? Any suggestions would be very welcome. Thanks for letting me get this out. Oh, Idon’t wnat to marry into AA. Iwant to get married to a woman, not to Alcoholics Anonymous.

        • hi Travis. Welcome. I have much to comment on your post but I am on the road and no real access to computer. Please hang in there.
          I will be back tonight!
          google Alternatives to AA…is a possible suggestion.

          • I have been involved with AA for the last 11 years.

            It is the most mixed up mess of all of us that can be imagined – Sensation Seekers to the Maximum!

            My message: AA. Either avoid it or investigate it. Just don’t lie around somewhere in between. Step 2.

            You’re Done. That Simple. You Stepped. No need to read on. Really! That’s all! Good bye!!!!! Words don’t work in AA any ways. They are all over the place in AA and can be useless. You are done with Step 2.
            *************************************************

            Uh Oh!!!!!! If that was OK with you, read on.

            Bottom line: If you treat AA as being a cult like what is is frequently suggested, I must agree, at this point, a cult experience is exactly what a person will receive. Some members will be glad to help you have a cult experience and control your thoughts for you if they could and if you let them. You will have an uneasy experience in AA and not grow.

            Oh No!!!! You made a decision to read on????????
            You followed a suggestion??????????? Why?
            Step 3.

            Otherwise, Regarding your uneasiness (a step 4 thing):

            God forbid we, if you are like me and should have to deal with personal handicaps or be uneasy in life. If you cling to AA for answers to feeling uneasy, it is an over dependance on others. Feelings are not actual but they have a purpose. Ok….., maybe you received an answer to your problem. Glad to be helpful, if I was!!! Goodbye!!!!!

            Otherwise Persist with step 4: Ready? Here it Goes!!!

            Some people have huge butts. I know that sounds crazy, out of nowhere???? It makes them uneasy in social situations that they must proceed in life with a big butt. So how is that relevant to our common problem? Big Butts come in all shapes? I don’t know the answer to your problems. My perception is still somehow I notice big butts from little ones.

            In my case, another personal handicap if that is how you see it is that a self felt possibility exists to investigate AA (no matter how we arrived in AA, forced or not) and it involved determining whether a personal desire to not drink even exists or not. I did not know whether I had this personal desire when first considering AA. I just did stuff. No body forced crap down my throat and nobody, absolutely nobody, especially not sponsors could make me or you not drink, again. I did not like the conditioning that was going on in step 5 at the time and thought otherwise. I wasn’t gett’n it. I became a victim of other AAer convictions if that is also your choice of perception. Sometimes, I felt forced to learn or do by guilt or other means.

            I did not understand that traditions supported these notions. I was allowed to have and experience feelings in my first few years in AA. It took deep stuff that others happen to not choose to grow through. I don’t blame those who do not make my choice to further investigate AA. It is true that I was roped into all kinds of self serving venues while investigating this. You are allowed to experience frustration. Remember that in AA or not – I guess this is the right thing to say.

            AA has the most complicated material I’ve ever been involved with and there is just more words on top of words to be had that are no different than this rant you chose to read. If someone is all together so intelligent as to judge AA, try understanding 12 Concepts in AA. It was a bitch! There is more than enough material – no control – and is evidence that there is no full comprehension to be had in AA – at all. LET GO! It might be a good thing.

            For all the effort, you might exert in AA there may be nothing to receive except that an acquired thinking is to be had and if nothing else that it is a good thing to be Just Nuts, sometimes!!!!!!! I’d rather do things in and out of AA. Not just sit around thinking.

            Personally, I don’t knock AA and can understand why others avoid it. However, not a single soul in AA or out of AA is what is being referenced to search for in that program “as best as I can tell” .

            There is all kinds of experiences in life to have, good and bad and can be had in AA, as well. The growth to be had by the way is an individual thing and some of us choose in AA words to call it God Consciousness.

            The experience I had in AA could have been a delusion. None the less, I did not let others choose it. I did not understand this the first time acting through each step. I was done with the other world outside of AA and would just as soon flip it, if you get what I mean.

            If somebody is foolish or lucky enough to listen to the bullshit I am spewing right now or even worse consider that “a door knob can be your higher power” – it might be a symptom that only a halfhearted attempt is being made at understanding these certain others in AA that you ran into. That is my belief only. This investigation is about you.

            I, personally, did not choose to hang around the door knob bunch. Some areas are sadly sickened compared to others and have, in my perception, a poor interpretation of the dreaded program we try to comprehend fully. Screw the program, there is more important things at stake here.

            I can quote the Big Book, thumping it like the masters and better than most. It got me no where. I could brag about 30 yrs of AA, if I had that much self knowledge, and then wrap it all around your ears if that is entertaining to yours and my time. The ego of doing that would only temporarily help me to feel better. I’m no longer impressed. AA gets frustrating for me sometimes, too. Everything is an experience if we choose to have it and then we must question: to what extent am I being helpful to others in AA or not. Screw the AA thinking. Sooner or later it has to be me or you saying these thoughts. If taken, it only suggests, you might have just taken one of the most important steps – a 6th step. Question: in whose eyes? Yours? Your sponsors? God?

            I could suggest that a cult symptom is when you choose to hang around “only” people of a certain nature. I could suggest you learn how to live in the “outer world” as you mentioned with peers that are even drinking, comfortably – no hiding yourself in AA.
            I could suggest helping others because intrinsically it happens to be the true person you mean to be. I could suggest being discerning in AA as anywhere you have ever been. It is an environment where you took an action that might support change. I thought I needed a Nazi sponsor and received something else. This is Randy talking to Travis, if it is helpful. Not AA. Investigate what goes on in AA using your brain with your perception for right purposes. AA’s words are that some of us choose to call this God Consciousness – A Spiritual Experience, Appendix.

            Don’t let anyone spoil a journey to do or not do, especially not other sick AAers. My delusion is that I’m not sick. Best Regards.

          • Hahahahahah this is madness if u don’t like the AA THEN DONT GO TI IT!!!!! If u have a way to stay sober then go for it and pass it on, by slating AA u just look like a bitter wee boy, hahahahahah get over it man God bless the AA and God help u ur hatred and sobriety is not one bit attractive I can only quess ur drunk again God bless

              • I love the flow and the ending. In the intellectually inbred world of AA, the biggest insult and put down relates to someone drinking. In this case, ” I can only guess that ur drunk again.” The AA hammer, boom ! In their world it completely negates all other arguments – no matter how cogent.

                So, the major insult is hurled and then a very disingenuous “God Bless” and for what? Seriously, what is that shit?

                • spj just goes to show the arrogance of AA once again..left my critical faculties at the door earlier but thats okay as thinking allowed..Kenny keenly overlooking once again the belief/confirmation bias that is so prevalent amongst AA members. So if anyone reading these statements wishes to become like our Kenny here go ahead and post away your inane chunterings…helps me realise why the heck I got of there.
                  Sad that gestalt psychology has largely been questioned in this day and age as not really effective anymore, but seized upon idiots like yourself, so you crack on with being jealous..I’m off for a beer because I can lol.

                  • ..also Kenny your spelling and grammar is atrocious..It is quite sad really.

                    best wishes with your recovery 😉

            • I quit AA after 26.5 years 1 month ago. I have never been drunk. I enjoy an adult beverage (one) daily. Nothing bad happens. I do not have blackouts or repeat any of the wild behavior of my youth. I am glad to leave the people in AA/NA behind because I found most of them to be ritualistic cult like chanting weirdos. I did quit drinking and now I drink normally so I guess the job is done. If I find myself not drinking like a lady CH 3 I will seek out harm reduction. Thanks.

        • Hi Travis,
          1) You don’t have to stay in AA to stay sober.
          2) You don’t have to be completely sober to have a life.
          3) Despite it all, sometimes the loneliness can be crushing. I feel you there.

          • I felt more lonely in AA in the end. When I left I felt connected with bloggers and new friends I made on the blogs.

            ALthough some live in different states, something I learned in AA that works for me, is I pick up the phone and call people when I need to talk.

              • eva- HI and welcome!!! WOW 25 years..you are like me…..

                How are you feeling? I felt really sad and mad that i was so fooled and was such a sucker, a stepper and brainwashed …after a year I felt this huge shift….

                Maybe you can tell us your story.

                • well its been a journey these last few weeks, I have felt everything from extreme elation to sadness, fear and some isolation, I still know deep inside me that this was/is the right thing to do.

                  • Some of the difficulties that I have experienced over the last while are: Talking to my husband of 34+ years about my reasons for leaving the program, he is an avid group go-er and has a lot of fear around my leaving. It also has become our social life to a great extent, although I have friends outside of the recovery program he doesn’t and that is proving somewhat challenging. I am missing the social aspect for sure however my goal is to real identify myself outside of a group setting. I am so much more than someone who doesn’t drink. I am looking to connect with others that have been through the same. I live in a small community in Northern BC so there is probably only one of me right now. I am ok with that right now but have definitely felt a few minor panic attacks. (I can be a bit dramatic). Probably more of a feeling of discomfort than anything.

                  • Hi, I just found this website – and although its a few months old, your comment Eva jumped out – re the extreme mixed emotions when leaving AA. My expierience too after 11 years and mostly unhappy within English world of AA. I really hope you have grown into the leaving expierience. I have found it hard and did actually drink this year – 2 years after leaving. I’m not recomending it and it would have happened even if I stayed. Currently I’m ‘choosing’ not to use because emotionally I still need to work on myself and AA was never going to help me in the areas that made me unhappy in the first place.

                    • Rich

                      Good to hear you. I am in the UK too and I have a little blog, whyileftaauk.wordpress.com

                      If you comment there I will have your email address and we can talk if you like. There are a few of us in the UK. I am in the midlands but I am in London a lot and we were talking about having a coffee or something as leaving is hard.

                      Blog here, it’s safe and there is an active community, it has really helped me.

                      GS

              • what made me leave? well an accumulation of things,
                1. I don’t believe in GOD Higher Power or any other kind of magic
                2. I was saying what I heard not what I believed
                3. It was time to move on before I lost respect for myself
                4. I am an okay person and I don’t need to keep identifying myself in a negative way, I don’t really want to be working on myself all the time either
                5. after 25 years clean and sober I started to wonder if my step 1 “story” was really my story or bits and pieces of everyone else’s story. It is hard for me to remember. That’s my top 5. More later

                • So you don’t care about the new people coming in?
                  Leave that job for other eh?
                  Take it all and give nothing back – not very spiritual eh?

                  • Actually, I don’t PRETEND to know how to take care of other people who have addiction problems. I am not arrogant. It should be left up to professionals – not ppl off the street.

                  • DD were not IN AA anymore. Have you even read what this site is about. I suggest you take your arrogant ass off my site and go back to your meeting in buudhist lovely ass Thailand and talk about this “AWFUL ” Leaving AA site so we can educate more of you steppers who are still so seriously brainwashed.

                    Good Day

                    NAMASTE!

                  • HI JOHN M REID…you care about prostilatizing your AA religion but see we are gone from AA and we don’t have to do that anymore. Who are you to judge who is spiritual. What you are doing is not religious , spiritual and lacks any manners as well. Oh thats right ….you are an AA member , so you are a rude ARSE> :)

                • Yes – I’ve been sober & clean now 30+ years and have noticed that most members ask themselves at 5, 10, 15 (on the 5’s) etc. a)what is left b) I know what I need to do c) I heard it all d) I don’t even listen when they read the 5th Chapter etc etc & etc.
                  I travelled to Cuba for almost 10 years taking books and literature to groups in the country
                  Started a website for Cuban AA Meetings and answered e-mails from member-tourists going to Cuba.
                  Started a AA Meeting Website for my AA District in 1995 when sites were costly to run.
                  The old story is, you have to be in a meeting to hear the stories of those who quit going to meetings and went back drinking and using and are now back in the rooms.
                  I have yet to hear from someone coming back that has a story that everything was Rosy & Beautiful – and they are living great but just wanted to stop in. (Sorry well typing this, I remember a Sponsee that turned up at our Christmas 24 Hour Meeting stoned and drunk who got up on the stage to tell the members what a bad Sponsor I was to him)

                  • Well we all have left and most I talk to are much happier gone from AA .

                    And many imbibe normally now without a hitch. AA crapola in the BB and predicting doom and gloom was never vetted or researched.

                    Many never come back because you guys are such arseholes when people drink 1 bottle of wine after 5 years…oh my god …god forbid….you guys make people start all over with their time, and shame them and call people who are NOT even dependent on alcoholic , alcoholic.

                    AA is seriously outdate, punitive and judgmental group of people who are stuck in a time warp from the 1930-the 1950’s . I get Millions of hits here with people leaving AA. Its dying from within.

              • I’M THINKING OF LEAVING AA BECAUSE I HATE BEING BORED,LONELY,AND NEVER HAVE ANY FUN.

                I SEE PEOPLE DRINKING AND HAVING A GOOD TIME .I FEEL LEFT OUT.

                I’AM THINKING OF GOING TO GET A 5TH OF WILD TURKEY AND HAVE A BLAST.

                EVER SINCE I STARTED GOING TO AA MY LIFE HAS BEEN VERY BORING NOW THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE.

                • Hi. Maybe deprogram first. Not a good Idea to ingest a fifth of booze with a head full of AA.

                  Also turn your cap button off. It looks like your yelling in Blog etiquette.

                  But besides that…Welcome !

                  • I have already started drinking again.I feel better because now I don’t have all the AA bullshit in my face.

                    AA has told me to stop playing pool and go to more meetings.I don’t agree with that.They want me to change my life and friends.That is not right.

                • Go for it – It says in the BB, if you think you can handle it – “Belly up to the bar”, but I would say, think it through from buying the stuff, drinking the stuff, the (fun or trouble) you will have and how you will feel the next day.

                  • You are not here to get help or leave AA….you are here to act like steppers do in AA meetings. Yes …many us are fine… thank you ….now be on your way.

            • Me to after 24 I have now 26, after all the insanity in AA, its good to have a drama free life. But I also think we stayed because we just were not done yet. Than there was nothing left for me to want there.

            • I have done the same thing after 23 years. I am embarrassed that I stayed so long honestly.

              There are two things that made me leave:

              1: Lack of Alcoholics in AA, most people 75% in our area a street drug addicts (this is common all over the USA now). Can not help them, they can’t help me. We lost 2 heroin addict in my home group this spring to OD’s. By telling them they belonged in AA our group is in some respects responsible for their deaths.

              2: Cult “group-think” pressure to conform to the way of our “self appointed leaders”. I have been to AA meetings in over 20 states and 3 countries – I get the Grapevine and read everything AA has published. Yet most people in AA believe whatever bullshit is said in the room by the “spiritual giants” in the rooms. It is utter lies, at beast and destructive advice at worst. Since most people won’t open any of the AA literature other than the BB, they are highly threatened by any dissenting information (though it is in the other AA literature). Having been branded a heretic you are then shunned by the “real sober people”.

              I woke up after 20 years of this nonsense, stayed a few more years, lost all my AA friends because I wouldn’t chant the magic words with them any more. Then I left, I have a new life, very very sober, many new interests and I may even participate in the next Winter Olympics too.

              AA was a place to start, but if you stay too long it turns into cancer.

              • I just left AA for good yesterday. I was an avid attendee of the meetings for 1 and ½ years ( that was many years ago). Even though I left I always had this feeling that I was wrong for leaving. I felt that, as I was told over and over again, if I did not attend AA meetings that I would get drunk and stay drunk or that I would become “dry” and be miserable. I did, over the years, return to my ex-home group but I wouldn’t stay very long. Once when I returned I was asked where I had been. I said that I had been going to church and I was shunned because the thinking in AA is that AA has the ultimate authority on sobriety. I was lead to believe that AA was the only way to stay sober. I didn’t even know what I was believing in until last night when I did about 5 hours of research into AA. I remember, that early on in AA, that first question I asked myself was why it was required of me, in order to get sober and stay sober, that I had to constantly have a mind set that I had to degrade my thinking, that my thinking was continuously wrong; that is what is called ’Mind Control ‘ – independent thinking is not allowed, according to AA members. One must follow the groups thinking or suffer the wrath of alcohol abuse. If I complained about sexual harassment I was told to be patient (just take it) because that person was a new comer to AA or that that person just wasn’t working the AA program. In order to “fit in” I was told that I had to take an inventory of my actions because “after all you (me) were a part of the problem”. Part of my inventory required me, at a later time, to apologize to a person that had abused me as a child, as a teenager and as a young adult. The reasoning for the apology, as I was told, was necessary because I had a resentment against that person and that a resentment was the number 1 reason why I would return to alcohol; that all people are spiritually sick. So what I was really being told is that I’m to take responsibility for my actions and that others were excused from their actions. Fear was instilled in me in many forms. One way that fear was brought to me was that I was told by the AA members that If I did not strictly adhere to the principles of AA that I was signing my own death warrant ( it is written in the BB). There is a lot more to my story. In a nut shell, I suffered for 16 years at the hands of the AA members. I am so glad that I now know the truth and that I have no desire to ever return to AA. I wont waste my time trying to explain myself to any of the members as to the why I left AA. Their phone numbers are no longer in my contacts and if any of the members call me I will ignore their phone calls. I am very glad that I found this web site.

              • Thank you Massive!! I am also ashamed of myself for not only being there so long 20 years but taking the abusive from these MORONS! In many ways it changed my life for the worse. I am just starting to rebuild my life again. Massive the one thing you hit on the head was it is like a cancer if you stay too long. I never could understand how you reread a book over and over and over and over again!! To me it is just INSANITY!! And if you read the literature and the big book it does not say any of this nonsense slogans!! It does not say 90 meetings in 90 days! I believe that AA started out with good intentions and than started tasting the MONEY! I believe that is why they want no one to leave AA and to do meetings everyday. A dollar in the basket every day times millions of people equals MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in there pockets!!! It’s all a SCAM! There is even a story about an Indian on a reservation and he stayed sober by reading the big book and he did not go to meetings. There is so much Hypocrisy in the rooms filled by a lot of weak, mentally ill, perverts!! Thank god for this site!! A place you can detox from the abuse of AA!

                • There was an interesting presentation by the founder of HAMS where he was talking about going back to moderate drinking. He had one line on a powerpoint that essentially said those that went to AA would have the hardest time moderating. That is a pretty big claim and it points to how people subjected to AA are changed. Now, what other changes does AA instill in the individual? I’m serious as hell here. What other shit does AA inject in people’s brains to mess them up beyond the subject of drinking? Magical thinking is certainly one area where I know I have been affected by being told to rely on some supernatural skydadday, but I wonder what else? If anyone has pointers to good sources that talk about this specific aspect ( not general deprogramming, but specific cognitive and behavioral effects of AA indoctrination) I would be much obliged. And I think it is bigger and more influential than we realize.

                  • spj, This remains an understudied area in addiction research because studies that support long term efficacy do not include people that have left and reasons why. You are right, it is much bigger and more influential that we realize.

              • Totally agree I been in an out for 6 years an sober now for over 2 years an realized I was seeking approval from others in these rooms. thought the rest of the people outside of AA didn’t understand am very happy that I got out at 34years old an can now enjoy the rest of my life which I have worked hard for an shouldn’t feel any need for shame or regret or negative thoughts or any of that other stuff people that have ruined their lives an still stayed sober can put on you in there. Goodluck to everyone who is making a new start with their lives we all deserve it.

              • Hi There,
                I got 2 & 1/2 years sobriety in A.A. and want to leave because of the gossip from ensuing from the sexual harassment I barked about at the beginning, the homophobia, the sexism, and for the last 1&1/2 my uterus and it’s functions have been the source of gossip and pain. I don’t feel i’m practicing a program of honesty, when i’m putting up with my boundaries being violated, because i’m “defiant” or “taking my will back” i’m so scared of relapse, because I was in bad shape, but I can’t take the insanity anymore. please help?

                • Yep, defiance and talking back are not allowed in AA. You must learn to tow the party line and be a good little stepper for people to leave you alone. Try some other meeting type, like SMART meetings or online or any of the other online venues. The sober world does not revolve around AA, there are a bunch of options where they even value divergent viewpoints and seek them out to some degree.

              • will be 19 yrs clean and sober on 18th of June……and no i don’t have to worry(1 day at a time horseshit) about whether i am gonna drink between now and then…..what a crock of shit…..sad to say that i just quit going to AA meetings couple nights ago…..should have quit 18.5 yrs ago….no shit…..i am probably a bit different than some of the people on here who left AA in that i do believe in a spiritual approach to happiness and a productive life after quiting drinking……the important word being “After.”…..was my experience that i woke up one day at age of 29 and decided that life as i had been drinking it wasn’t working anymore and actually wanted to be clean and sober….was not about trying to skate on consequences…..had a sincere desire to be physically sober…said a prayer to Jesus to lift me from the place i was emotionally and have never had another drink or drug since that day…..have only wanted to honestly drink 3 times since then….only to repeat the same prayer and have the thought removed…..i do believe in making amends to be you harmed behind your drinking…..part of wiping the slate clean for a fresh and honest start on a new life…..and i bleive in prayer……i do not on other hand believe in any of the group bullshit of AA……the group shit of AA, and the creepy characters who populate AA are just that ….really creepy and extremely dishonest…lots of sociopaths and some outright psychopaths……many people use the date they got sober as there Higher Power ….they are the sickest creepiest control freak slime balls you could ever meet in life…..yeah the creepy 13th step shit goes on too and lots of other disgusting behavior……1 guy i knew froma meeting up in Northern California was a want a be Charlie Manson Jim Jones David Koeresh type…..no foolin……really sick depraved degenerate control freak who i am pretty sure was also a rapist in his drinking time….threatened to burn down an AA haul while a meeting was in progress because the people wouldnt allow him to control them……not makin that up…..was really the sort of creep that attends and is involved in so called “Service Work.”……my suggestion to someone who honestly wants to stop drinking to go to a licensed therapist for some counseling and maybe give some spiritual approach …possibly meditation at try….DONT GO TO AA!!!!!

                • I could’t agree with you more on your overall post and most especially on your take of the folks that populate AA/NA. I have a theory as to why so many scary folks are in evidence in AA these days – I wonder if it’s due to background checks for almost all jobs now? Many of these people have had brushes with the law and can no longer work so they may be hanging out at AA looking for newbies to scam and con….just a thought.

                • HI JOHN- Welcome. Glad you have the inner strength you needed to make the changes you wanted. I agree. I think AA has become a very strange place. The court ordering and extortion must be stopped.

                  • I have always thought AA was a bunch of crying bullcrap. Too much on demands made by others on a person, and too many wanting confessions of guilty things a person has supposedly done in the past, and the worse, the better. I am now being forced to attend all these things in order to prove that I am taking care of my “alcohol problem” to get my son back from his fat over-eating father, who I was never married to. It has been a 2.5 year joke. I am so glad I found your blog. Thanks for being here.

            • Hi,

              I just found this site and am delighted to meet kindred spirits!! I too am sober, and had to leave AA in order to stay that way! This blog is nice, but can anyone tell me if there is a live chat somewhere for people like us?
              Thanks

            • You ungrateful bastards!

              No only joking – I’d hate to be in the USA where non alkies are sent to meetings and bible thumpers take over the meetings.

              I live in Thailand where people are Buddhist and I love the AA meetings.

            • hi this is all new
              to me I have been a member of aa and na for a long time 2004 went to rehab 2005 I have been sober for eight years im thinking about leaving aa and na but i am frightened of relapse i don’t knowif that is in my head or has i have been brainwashed im very confused sickof the bullying and brainwashing that goes on in there,

              • Hi Ross, the decision to leave aa and na is huge. Simple as that. May i suggest that you begin the transition slowly? Hunt down the non aa/na alternatives and go to those meetings while you still attend aa/na then when you find one that you are comfortable with…. slowly whitle down the 12 step mtngs. Dont just jump ship and run, be safe and thoughtful about it. Leaving a 12 step program does not just affect you- it will affect your loves ones opinion of you depending on how indoctrinated they are in in their belief that aa is the only way to stay clean and sober.

                Some of us have run into real difficulty with family members/ fellow steppers and feelings of anxiety due to fear of drinking when we left.

                You will get support here but telling family and friends that you are fed up with aa/ na bulls*t might produce suspician that you are getting ready to walk back into your old life. It is best to transition slowly.

                In my humble opinion.

                librarian

                • Librarian- Great advice. His Ross and welcome! I did it slowly over 6 months while I went to Smart Recovery Meetings and 1 SOS meetings while blogging and talking to others who had left over the phone. Do you have a family that is brainwashed around your investment in AA? DO some think its a cult?

            • Well here goes….everything I guess as my life depends on getting free. 72 year-old retiree, 27 year AA coin, I MADE IT MY LIFE. Now I too join ranks of ex-steppers. Lot to lose (friends, great AA meeting house, even my “Higher Power” logo stained coffee cup etc.). Know I’m gambling
              sanity/sobriety, but self-esteem and
              freedom on the line. Life’s shorter
              now. First posting….HANG ON FOR
              THE RIDE. HOPE MY BROAD SHOULDERS N THICK SKIN ARE
              ENUFF…………LOVE TO ALL.

                  • Surprise! Coming out of aa to “home group” wasn’t so bad. Still expect shock and awe from others in town but it feels great ! not to have to go to meetings daily. Love ya’ll…

                    • Go Larry! Yay! have you got some books to read, this can help calm any doubts along the way. Lance Dodes, Stanton Peele, Hank Hayes, Ken Ragge etc?

                      Keep blogging!

                  • Hey John

                    Welcome. If you go to ‘Why I left AA stories’ and then scroll right to the bottom, why don’t you post your story there, and then we can welcome you properly, otherwise the conversation gets really bitty and threads get bumped off the bottom of the list before people have had a chance to answer.

                    great to have you here, look forward to hearing more.

                    Girlscout
                    x

                  • Back again I left AA around may I think.I started drinking very heavy again.my family said I need to go to AA.I gave it another try to shut them up.All that did is make me want to drink more.I have now left again and I don’t think I will go back.All AA does is cause me problems.

          • Hi guys, Travis here a few years later. Just came across my post from 2012 quite by accident. I am still completely abstinent from liquor and smoke a little grass (I live in Colorado, lol) with my buddies at the Dungeons and Dragons group I co founded (yes, I am a loud and proud nerd) on very rare occasions. I t has no importance or priority. I still have no woman in my life, however, the anxiety surrounding that has lessened considerably. I found the joys of Running in 2013 and have run three 13.1 mile races (finishing dead middle, lol), and am contemplating the big 26.2 Marathon this Autumn. My newly founded business also keeps me very busy. I am happier. not completely, and yet I feel on my way. All this without Alcoholics Anonymous. I haven’t been to a meeting in maybe three years. Thanks for your replies and hope y’all are doing well. Gratis.

            • Travis !!! HI and so nice to see you post here again. Glad to hear all is going well…really…so happy for you.

              If I had not made a film about exposing AA I too would not be so involved still. But until then….I am trying to have some rest after along 4 years of work.

              Again happy to here how well you are doing. My sons play that game still sometimes. :)

        • Travis,
          Look into Smart, they are just one of the alternatives you could try to help you staying sober and enable you to live the life you wish. Use google and as massive said “alternatives to AA” and “non 12 step” are good places to start. Keep looking until you find what you feel comfortable. What feels right for one doesnt mean for all in my . Keep positve

        • Hey congtratulations, YOU got the job and YOU got the gym membership! Not AA, Not God, Not your sponsor, YOU did these things. And YOU can do more, keep on improving you and your life as you see fit, and don’t feel like AA is the only way, believe me, it’s not, it’s not even close

          • I webt to Acoa years ago looking for support for parents with mental illness. I had a close friend who was going due to her drink boyfriend. She was the crazy one. It was not what I needed, you have to be an addict or drunk to belong. And it was so cultish. Never felt right. My friend got sucked into the group think and her life. Ecame aa. That was the end of our friendship. I do not have fond memories of these self absorbed people who speak in slogans and drink bad coffee. Ugh.

            • Lol.. I always laugh when I hear from one who figured it out way faster than I. But of course I was a child when I got involved.

              First thing these folk tell someone is to dump all their friends.

              it is one of the most cult like features of the wierd group.

              • yes oddness- we sure were in there a long time. Its not like I envy those who see it right away for what it is…but I guess Im a little bit jealous…I wish I saw it for what it was a left at age 24 when I was 6 years sober and never went back. But I didn’t. :(

                You are really lucky Barb. Glad you found us and welcome !!!

                • Last night I had a long conversation chat with a newbie at a Hams meeting. It was so funny how they saw right through the nonsense of AA. But then again I was only 19 when I caught caught up in it.

                  Also, I was reading a post I think you wrote a while back about leaving AA. You mentioned getting a puppy, I just did this a few months back, and must say, It is a grand way to get the stupid anger out of you.

                  I am considering using the pages from my old recovery literature page by page to pick up her craps, video taping each one and putting it on youtube.

                  I just hate to throw them out as I had before. I think it is a better use, as books are normally not recycleable, from what I hear.

                  But the garbage is where they belong.

          • Hi guys, Travis here a few years later. Just came across my post from 2012 quite by accident. I am still completely abstinent from liquor and smoke a little grass (I live in Colorado, lol) with my buddies at the Dungeons and Dragons group I co founded (yes, I am a loud and proud nerd) on very rare occasions. I t has no importance or priority. I still have no woman in my life, however, the anxiety surrounding that has lessened considerably. I found the joys of Running in 2013 and have run three 13.1 mile races (finishing dead middle, lol), and am contemplating the big 26.2 Marathon this Autumn. My newly founded business also keeps me very busy. I am happier. not completely, and yet I feel on my way. All this without Alcoholics Anonymous. I haven’t been to a meeting in maybe three years. Thanks for your replies and hope y’all are doing well. Gratis.

        • Hi Travis-

          Sorry I got so busy, but try going with your co workers and drinking a virgin something. You can make an excuse if you want like” Im driving, next time, …But I say go with them. I missed out on many things in my early years alawys afraid to go when I first came to Hollywood.

          Im sorry I didn’t go and drink a non alcoholic beer or even a coke. Who cares. I can have so much fun sober. ….sorry I hate that word now.

          ALso no one will judge you here if you have one drink. This is not AA anymore. Your a grown up ….you do what you want.

        • I went to AA for a long time on and off..My brother did to and quit but he also quit going to AA…He told me something that EVERY AA person needs to understand but is never told.,,,not this way anyway…It worked for me Im sober 11 years he was about 15 or so before he died of pulminary fibrosis.. anyway this is how you can stop going.
          .ask yourself..
          Why are you going? to stop drinking ,,thats part of it…the other part is to LEARN how to stop drinking… those crazy people in there Need it to stay because they never learned the how. ..they have never taken the time to understand HOW to stop. the steps are there to release the past and through the higher power you Believe it can be beat…thats Part of it . the other part is listening to the others on how they handled situations that trigger you to drink..when you LEARN how to stop the triggers ..you learn how to stop drinking and wont need AA no more..You go to AA to LEARN how to stop drinking.
          It really comes down to the higher power at first …you allow it to take control over you ..you are powerless, then in time you learn to take back the power through the meetings Of learning.
          I know say I went to AA to learn how to stop drinking ..once i learned I left..and have never looked back…I understand that One drink will destroy me…I trully believe it too be an alergic reaction…Its a switch ..one drink and its turned on.
          But I dont even think about it ..ever..

          • One more thing..i used the higher power ALLOT..I still do..as Im a believer in the ol mighty.(take God out of the human race and then look around) . And do believe he took it from me..But I was the people teaching me how to handle the situations that let me leave.
            i learned how to stop drinking ..its that easy.

        • Listen to Abraham Hicks Youtube videos on addiction. Addiction (no matter the outlet i.e., food, alcohol, coke, shopping, sex, drugs, etc) is about alignment with yourself.

          Give yourself a break. Much love to you.

          Kimba

          • I know their tapes very well. Listening to them when I went through a divorce was helpful. Years later they sounded a little kooky, but they helped me through that rough stuff and I even saw them live in LA for a weekend. Back then I tried everything. I had lots of AA “time” too but but we all know how little that whole 12 step things doesn’t work for real problems.

        • thank you! I’ve been waiting for others to feel this way. Attended my first meeting in 1982 I was 17 years old and am still attending the bullshit. I’m finally after years finding alternatives after many battles. AA just made me want to drink or get stoned after a fews years attendance each time. I am trying to get my drivers license back from 1995 ouil 3rd offence. Wish there was another way years ago I might not have kept going back out drink and drugging and getting in more trouble . I also feel like they are bullies in AA. they say trusted servants not leaders bullshit they try to run a lot in AA. there is a treasurer where I attend who thinks he is the one who signs the sheets but my sheet says chair person not treasurer besides sometimes I may chair and it used to look good for those of us who chaired, it let the powers that be know we were being part of the group. I would like to be a big shot like them to where is their humility. I wanted friendship but AA’s is conditional. Now days one can feel the tension around the tables like they are just ready to get in to it with someone. I would just as soon have them chump me in that way I could get a couple swings in towards the ones who say they are right but yet are clearly hateful. I now attend a group called DRA dual recovery anonymous. We deal and talk about our mental illnesses and addictions which is what our addictions were in the first place a mental disorder.

          • Yes there are bullies, I have seen it and experienced it. Some of the emotional bullying is very damaging, those relationships are based on: “If you do as I say and follow my program we can be friends, if you stay sober I am a good sponsor, if you get drunk it’s your fault.” and so on it goes. There are some wonderful people in the program but what happens when you step away? I think most of the rhetoric is based on fear and a whole lot of peer pressure/group think.

            • good post I agree. you can do it on your own an in life sometimes you got to. some people that speak loud an prominent in AA maybe financially secure am not have the stress of a low end drunk on the street. of real struggles as well as achieving sobriety everyone’s are different. I came from the gutter got out AA helped for a bit to learn some stuff but I am truly now free of the guilt shame an remorse that I have left the meetings & without going back to the addictive habits which troubled me before. the hard thing is that when you are in AA or another 12 step program you believe it all to be true an the only way because you only get one point of view.

        • I am currently in AA. No booze in almost in almost 10 years
          My sister got sober in AA we had given her up for dead.She is 40 years sober now.
          My question is : What can we do to improve AA : !

          Yes I know about ” 13th stepping” etc…If know about it the person will be more or less …shunned
          We can Not kick people out of AA..
          That is part of the deal….
          About all the other craziness in AA..Well I have been around a while
          And…let us be honest… people in AA start out VERY SICK!
          we try to get better through the step process…yes I know about the grumpy old men etc.
          The truth is … even people with years of sobriety ca be ,,Crazy as fuck !..
          You will be able to identify them
          after after a while..basically you have to know who is really sober serene and has a great outlook on life.
          NOT all in AA do…We are trying to get better . Do Not judge us all by a few. I could go on..but if AA is Not for you ..That is Cool!
          People get sober in many ways.
          Yes I go to meeting and sometimes I hear a Lot of bullshit!
          When I it ..after a certain point , it is my job to correct them.
          I once almost hit an older guy with over 20 years sobriety because he told a new comer that when he got cravings ….to ” eat some sweets”…yea it is in the book but…
          That is Not the Way to have Happy sobriety…some old timers
          think they are ” Deacons”…Bullshit !
          We all the same trying stay sober and live a happy productive life.
          You have to know who to listen to ..
          and who Not to listen to..
          As for the Big Book.. It needs to be “translated for you..actually”
          It is deceptive..there are parts that seem archaic etc..my sister will Not read ” To wives”..she rejects that” Patriarchal bullshit ” as she call is.
          Fine
          Almost every meeting I go to .. I will listen someone who does not have a clue. It is a process and…some people with long term sobriety are still very ..sick.. and unhappy.
          It does Not have to be that way.
          Any way good luck and I would appreciate any feedback.

          Sid H.

          • Sid

            Thanks for your message, we get a lot of AAs on here who just tell us where we are going wrong so thanks for not doing that.

            I don’t think there is much you can do to improve AA because of the way the organisation is structured and also the fundamentalist like zeal with which a significant proportion of members view the infallible programme and book. Changes will never get voted in as fundamentalists have now taken over.

            I had 12 years continuous “sobriety” in AA and in the end decided it was a hokey faith healing cult and left. I have never felt better.

            The 12 steps are not a treatment for anything and in fact cause more problems than they solve around self esteem, guilt etc, neurosis, anxiety, passivity. Also I don’t believe alcoholism is a disease (and neither does science) … I also don’t believe telling people that they are powerless is a solution to anything.

            AA has a less than 5% success rate, and a higher suicide rate than no treatment at all. It’s rife with problems. The only thing AAs do more successfully than not drink, is binge drink worse than ever before.

            Also, whilst I hear you are coming from a good place, your version of ‘correction’ is not the same as someone else’s so it creates a very confusing picture for new and vulnerable members.

            I think AA is anti intellectual and leaves out social and political factors too and AA membership renders members passive and not engaged in social change to tackle the things which causes alcohol abuse in the first place. Contrary to AA belief, alcohol dependence is NOT an equal opportunities disease, it is vastly and unfairly concentrated in those groups without economic or social power. AA membership however is more middle class and white… instead of sitting in a room telling myself I’m spiritually sick and the cause of my own issues, I could be out there making the world a better place.

            Also, frankly, sexual and financial predators need to be more than ‘shunned’ – they need to be reported to the police and barred membership as they would in any other modern organisation (including, finally, the catholic church). AA has a sexual abuse problem (in a large number of cases, organised, systematic abuse) that would rival the catholic church. AA is one organisation and much like Catholics said, ‘but we have a good priest in our parish’ you cannot separate the global actions of the organisation, from the personal experience. If you are in, you are in the global cult of AA.

            The AA programme is also anti-women – the whole book is a bunch of patriarchal bullshit in my opinion, and places far too much responsibility for abuse on the victim’s shoulders, asking them to look at their part in it. It is also hard for minorities – whether by race or sexual orientation or religious belief – as the programme is geared to white, middle class power driving men. The majority of people’s issues is NOT too much ego, but quite the opposite. The programme just retraumatises these people unfairly (again).

            I think a lot of people in AA aren’t even alcoholics – they might have issues for sure, they might be abusing alcohol, but they are not ‘addicts’ – I think this is a major issue too, and this whole thing of ‘self diagnosis’ is dangerous, in that other issues are not being treated and the steps just repress a lot of emotional stuff that needs to be dealt with. Particularly anger, I’ve never met an angrier bunch of people than at an AA meeting. Being angry is not unspiritual, it’s very necessary a lot of the time.

            AA members always insist that the it is just the actions of the few that are causing issues, but in my view, the whole organisation is complicit in the problems – it is the organisation itself that is the problem.

            If you want to improve AA I’d suggest you leave, find another way to stay sober or moderate (whatever is best for you) and devote your precious time to something more worthwhile.

            Best wishes

            Rebecca

            • It is here after reading what 20 blogs on how A.A. is so horrible, for one reason or another, that I stop to blog.
              I am a memIber of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am a gratefull and thankful member of A.A.
              I am 23 years as an active member. I do regularly attend open meetings and closed discussion meetings. I have worked and still do work the 12 steps, in my life.
              I read these negative comments about A.A. and I have also read the Orange Papers, and after reading them I am so glad I am in A.A.
              Why? Well, I did find this site because I get disillusioned with A.A. meetings now and again. What I am disillusioned about is that recovery from alcoholism needs a Spiritual answer, not a self help answer, or a socialist answer, or a self esteem/self sufficiiency answer. Alcoholics Anonymous has a common solution found through our fellowship, yet also through our Program of Recovery. This is the Spiritual answer to alcoholism. The Fellowship and the Program of Recovery. With only one of these I will not recover from Alcoholism.
              So, what is disillusioning me about A.A.? Well, it is the meetings. The idea that recovery is easy. That to just chant certain readings together in the room, be an answer to recovery from alcoholism, the disease of Alcoholism! Well meaning, but misguided souls, relying on the fellowship to recover, never reading or studying the 12 steps nor taking the 12 steps, to have a Spiritual Awakening, and to pass on, as a result of the 11 steps before that they took, the message of recovery, to another sick alcoholic. That is what I see at A.A. meetings where the people there rely on the fellowship alone. Also, there are the ones who do try to carry the message of recovery to another alcoholic yet never opens the Book, and takes the steps, but relies on the fellowship and what they have learned, through the fellowship, to pass this on (whatever this is) to the next alcoholic who does not even know the difference, and takes what this person says as Gospel, even though his Sponsor is not recovered through taking the steps himself.
              Those are the things which disillusion me about A.A. They always have. Not before I took the steps, but after, when I could see it more clearly. That was over 20 years ago though. You get tired of hearing it. You don’t argue with the ones I have just described. You don’t judge them. You watch them. You let them do what they do. What are you going to do? After a while you realize that they are doing the best they can do, and you don’t try to change them. You get to the point that you don’t really care about what they are doing, as by then, you know you cannot change anything that anyone does anyway. So, you change yourself. With a Higher Power of your own understanding you try to do what you can do to help another alcoholic. That is practicing the 12th step of A.A. Do that and you don’t worry about the 2 steppers. (the ones who work the first part of the first step, and the last part of the 12th step). You let them be. When someone wants help with the Program, you can help them, because you have taken the 12 steps of Recovery, and you try to carry that message on to the one willing to accept it.
              When this is done in my life, practicing the 12 steps, carrying the message of recovery to another alcoholic who wants it, going to A.A. on a regular basis, giving back to Alcoholics Anonymous also by doing Service jobs, then I am doing the healthy things one does to stay Spiritually healthy.
              Also, and most importantly, doing these things, not perfectly, nor all the time 24 hours a day, every day, but doing them knowing that by doing them I get the benefit of getting out of myself, my selfishness-self centredness, and my life benefits because of it.
              Of course, A.A. does not say it is the only way to recover from Alcoholism. It does say that it is a way that works, but does not say it is the only way!
              23 years ago I was 25 years old, and came into A.A. beaten by Alcohol and drugs. I may not like everything I see or hear about in A.A. but there are so many other organizations, corporations, religions, etc of which I may not like everthing I see or hear about them, as well.

              • @Aiden_
                Thank you for reminding me why I left AA.

                Your words:
                ” You get to the point that you don’t really care about what they are doing, as by then, you know you cannot change anything that anyone does anyway. So, you change yourself.”

                My response: And so I did change myself…..I left AA and am all the better for it! :)

              • Wow, a fully indoctrinated real life stepper. He used some form of the word “step” 13 times in a single post !! I’m quite sure that is a record.

                I think that qualifies Aiden as a true believer and devout follower of the Bill Wilson Circus and Mental Contortion Emporium.

                If he is not careful and reads his stepper indoctrinated post through a new pair of glasses, he will be amazed at how brainwashed he is before he is half way through.

              • Wowzers

                I’m sorry you lost 23 years of your life to this nonsense – you’ve got it bad, one of the worst cases I’ve seen. 25 is no age to be slapping a label on yourself that you are sick and morally defective and can never get better unless you practice a programme that a crazy man MADE UP! He just made that shit up!

                It’s all made up, it’s like scientology or the Moonies.

                I feel sorry for you, but not so sorry that I can’t ask ‘why are you here?’ on a site entitled LEAVING AA?

                This site is for people leaving AA, not people who don’t know what AA is, it’s not for people who were in AA and didn’t do the programme …It’s not for people who don’t know AA upside down and inside out. We all do, we used to be like you, spout the same stuff you did. And then we had a moment of clarity and took the 12 steps to the door.

                I find your post very patronising, I know what AA is, and what AA says about ‘alcoholism’ and it being a ‘spiritual disease; and what it ;recommends as the ‘solution’ i.e. indoctrinate more people into the group. And I don’t believe any of it and I REJECT ALL OF IT.

                Did you pray to your higher power before you came here to set us all straight?? Is it God’s will that you read all those blogs about leaving AA? Wonder why you did that? Maybe you are in DENIAL? A bit like cruising the booze aisle but not buying, maybe you are cruising the leaving aisle and your post is your way of convincing yourself you are ‘only looking’?

                Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake right, according to your view? So you are either incredibly arrogant and believe you have a special relationship with God that we don’t have and you are here doing his work (me and God are just fine and dandy thanks) or God led you to those leaving AA sites and you need to take the cotton wool out of your ears and put it in your mouth?

                Thanks for reminding me why I left… Ring your sponsor and do a 10th and leave us alone.

                Girlscout.

              • What makes you believe so completely in the rightness of the Big Book and the 12-steps? I would imagine you would not fully support the promotion of proven methods of recovery being offered as equal to AA?

                I felt exactly like you for about 18 years before I realized that the “steps” had only reinforced my negative thinking. I still don’t drink because my life is so much better without alcohol.

                For me AA was the only like of thinking that would get me out of a bad and dangerous life situation I was in at the time. Through buying into the steps I got a place to live for a while so I could get back up on my feet and out of danger. I will always appreciate the PEOPLE who helped me. It was people who helped me get sober and my life to improve. I realize that now, but the 12-steps were a condition for getting help and support. I don’t think an old, unproven, drawn from a cult “program” needs to continue as the only method for someone who is in trouble with alcohol or drugs to get fellowship and a hand-up. I think scientifically proven methods can be used with these other helping strategies.

          • Thank you Sid. For reminding me why I left,

            “You have to know who to listen to ..
            and who Not to listen to..
            As for the Big Book.. It needs to be “translated for you..actually”
            It is deceptive..there are parts that seem archaic etc..my sister will Not read ” To wives”..she rejects that” Patriarchal bullshit ” as she call is.
            Fine
            Almost every meeting I go to .. I will listen someone who does not have a clue. It is a process and…some people with long term sobriety are still very ..sick.. and unhappy.
            It does Not have to be that way.”

            I have attended many non 12 step recovery groups. And this does not occur. Ever.

            The problems with AA are built into AA in places. They cannot be changed. I have no doubt of your honesty. Because it perfectly encapsilated my experience. However, looking at that I had to ask myself, “Why the hell do I support this crap?”

            I remember so many newcomers I tried to convince with wishy washy reasoning, to turn them from what they saw correct at a glance. But I had been brainwashed. Most of that selfemposed due mainly to phobias instilled in the literature.

            Which were all distortions of reality. Even the concepts of “Alcoholism”, it being a “Disease”, and certainly “Powerlessness”. Were actually keeping me sick. And promoting a “Faith healing” cure, for a simple problem.

            It has been only through going to other non-12step based groups. That you see how truely wrong the culture that has developed arround the religon of Bill W. truely is.

            Learning about what alcohol problems are really all about. All that stuff AA leaves out. And I was way to occupied with AA work to go and find out.

            AA cannot be changed for the better. I have read many a post lately from an stepper who was trying to get sexual harrassment issues solved in the 12 programs. Many of us have been trying to get this acchived for decades. I started in 15 years ago, in the rooms. And was shunned. For fighting 13th steppers. It is the only part of your post I dissagree with. More often I see the victims or those who stand up to try to protect get shunned.

            The other non 12 step groups all have strict sexual harrassment guidelines. I have never seen it even come up.

            If I were you I would go check out some other groups. If you like the religous angle. Go with a religous group. But be honest about what it is. AA is a religon, and it is a contentious place. Full of infighting and conflict. I do not see how sending folk there is in any way wise or compassionate.

            I translate “spirituality” to mean “Deceptively Religous” post AA.

            I would rather live an honest life, and a decent one.

              • Hmmm and your comment isn’t?

                You know Chuck when insane, sick, crazy, ‘here but not all there’ 12 step members share in meetings about cruising the booze aisle but not buying?

                Isn’t that a bit like crusing the leaving AA aisle and telling yourself you are ‘only looking?’. Better yet you can justify this piece of immense self deception as ‘setting us all straight’ … clever, Chuck, clever. I mean, I’d hardly have guessed (except we’ve seen it a million times before) that your immense 12 step neurosis has just had a good poke in the eye by what it’s read here and Geez! your whole psyche nearly collapsed in on itself, and wow, the only recourse you had left was to … *sigh* … get angry. Even better, when you confess it to your sponsor, you can have a little chat about the bummer that is ‘justified anger’. Nice move man, you must be one of those AAs that’s ‘recovered’.

                Naturally you handed your will over before you took to Google, so obviously this is the Will of the Father of Light presiding over you, you remember, that higher powered moment where you called us self serving mendacious purveyors of bullshit. Eloquent! Spiritual! [cue cake and a medallion and some claps and hugs].

                This is a leaving AA site …you strike me as a person whose lips move when they try to read, but if you spend a while having a read around here, you will find we are and this site is neither bullshit or self serving.

                No f**k off back to you nearest meeting and say your prayers. And you’d want to watch that resentment there Chuck, you’ll be shitfaced by lunchtime if you carry on with your vitriolic, arrogant, stepper voodoo.

                It’s not too late chuck, quick do a step 10 before John Barleycorn gets you! BOO!

                You people are a joke. Seriously if you want an argument you are REALLY going to have to do better than that.

          • hi SID- you don’t really want to know what one can do to improve AA. Do you?

            We tried. We did what we could. The push back was insane.

            I heard woman saying we needed to take out all the “he” pronouns. OMG they yelled….You can’t change the BB. Its Inspired by GOD!

            No its not. You probably found your way here because I posted on Facebook recently somewhere new.

            You are not interested in Leaving AA nor do you need help leaving. I don’t care how many years you or your sister has. Im not impressed. Most people I know who have that much time are out of their F**king minds are have some real “issues” that AA will just make you sicker.

            I had 36 years of “time” in that stupid cult. Its such Bullshit I don’t care to get into it. I have blogged for too long , since 2009 as a process when I left AA.

            We …me…created a Make AA Safer Pamphlet. It is now being used all over the world.

            AA needs to throw away its BB.
            Stop Sponsorship
            Stop counting time which really hurts people when they drink 1 drink or one bottle ..they lose all their time.
            (SMART RECOVERY has a smarter approach.)
            They need to tell the courts they can not send sex offenders, pedophiles and violent offenders to AA. They need to create their own special meeting downtown.

            They need a hot line for those who have been harmed to file a report. Then AA in NY needs to send someone out there to shut it down.

            There are people in Los Angeles who are getting murdered by Spanish speaking AA members who are tieing them up to detox them and they are killing them at a rate of 5-10 a year since 2005. I spoke to a detective who is working the case.

            AA should not allow just anyone to start a meeting and use its name.

            They need to read a safety statement. They need to re write the preamble its filled with lies.

            They need to re write the 12 traditions ..they are also so full of shit its not funny.

            This is not a debating blog like Orange papers. If you want to go there and be an AA lover and debate how can one improve ..

            I was so in the thick of General Service AA I know how Stubborn and Ridged they are …There is no changing them.
            And they are embedded everywhere in our Culture and Courts, and medicine, the FAA, TV and FILM and on and on. What I now know…could make a 6 part mini series on MSNBC. Thats how f**ked up AA is and involved with my Government, NIDA, NCADD, on and on Drug court, Rehabs, SAMSA, …its really really bad. Drinking alcohol is NOT A BRAIN Disease Either. Its not a “spiritual Malady” that is NUTS!

            AA is not science.

            AA is a 1935 outdated , religious, cultish modality that needs to be exposed at every level. People need to know what really goes on in AA and that it is against our 1 st amendment rights to be court or even sent there by your employer .

            I can’t wait till someone sues Coca Cola or United Airlines for being forced to a religious organization for drinking a beverage and acting badly or screwing up on the john. Its not 1970’s anymore. Nixon got impeached too! Drug laws went nuts and they locked up everyone with a little bit of pot. Those were the years that AA got in and got its foot hold EVERYWHERE! Well there are millions of us who are pissed off. And things are going to change and they are changing.

            • I LOVE the hotline idea! If (good luck with this as we all know how resistant AA is to any kind of change whatsoever) this could be implemented – it might (?) keep meeting behavior in check. Maybe. If there were actual consequences for predatory/illegal behavior in the rooms due to reported behavior.

        • Hey – I hope it goes well for you. I’ve in AA for 17 years, and have great friends, am finishing up my Master’s degree, and I live abroad.

          I’ve never been happier. The great thing about AA – or NA, which I attend here, are the people I meet. Where else can I go where people understand what it’s like to kill someone accidentally while in a blackout? Who else knows what it means to be 51/50’d? Go to jail, crave alcohol and drugs, do all that crazy, obsessive stuff?

          So it’s the people as well as the program. I don’t know why this guy – who’s on the road and so is unable to respond fully – is so upset with AA. But I guess some people are. However, there are millions – millions! who are not, like me. I’m not a robot, no gross guy is 13th stepping me, nobody’s telling me what to do.

          It’s just given me a set of principles to live by. I hope you find your peace, wherever it is. If you don’t want AA, no one will keep you. Good luck to you.
          Lisa

          • Lisa- said “Where else can I go where people understand what it’s like to kill someone accidentally while in a blackout? Who else knows what it means to be 51/50’d? Go to jail, crave alcohol and drugs, do all that crazy, obsessive stuff?”

            Really…this is your idea of a good time? Be my guest and go sit with the scum of the earth. This is not an AA …pro AA blog. I will be removing your post after a time so people here can read it.

            How much Time do you have? Give it 30 years and come back and tell us how you are still loving the rat race in your head, the circular thinking, the negative self thoughts…

            Bye, bye LIsa. This is a blog for those harmed or in need of help leaving.

            • When they try to convince us of the greatness of “the program”, they seem really to be trying to convince themselves. They are desperately trying to live with the dissonance of the replicating and internally inconsistent virus known as AA. Tragedy and comedy juxtaposed…

            • Her comment is very telling in its own way. There is a spectrum of problem drinking and drugging and that spectrum has various experiences from their involvement with booze and drugs. I would guess the vast majority of “problem drinkers” have not killed someone in a blackout, been 5150’d and have no desire to hang out with people who have. She forget to mention the rapists, pedophiles, wife, child and dog beaters and various criminal elements and predators that frequent the roomz of AA and NA. The insane piece is how she is a lala lander who has a view of AA/NA that is simply fantasy. I have been thinking about the degree of indoctrination and magical thinking and make believe that is required to be an XA member and swallow the religious nonsense hook, line and sinker. It is substantial. And all supporters of AA demonstrate their refusal to recognize reality with their posts.

              It would be a fascinating psychological study. First, there is a profile for the types of people that get sucked in to the cult. Then there is a belief system that needs to be maintained and “managed” so they don’t see the degree of nonsense of their environment and just get out of the cult. In my experience, anyone who does even minimal outside research of the AA or NA secret society of which they are a member, begins to distance themselves from that environment and eventually leaves. For the rational mind, leaving is the only outcome that is supported by real evidence. To stay requires flights of fancy and magical thinking that overcome the reality of their situation.

      • As you know Massive I’ve left AA and my suicidal thoughts went away after a talk with my phsyciTrist and he upped my meds. Then I got out my studio and with as I used instrumental Beatles Help , I sang it ( with my granny glasses ) to my autistic son , as my symbolic way to leaving AA. Now my own songs I’m in more tune but of course my cover of Help will never match up with J.l.’s voice. My son rolled his eyes back like “dad don’t even”! But I did and he laughed. But I’ve been doing alot of research on SOS. I like it. I know I got off to a rocky start on here but that’s past now. I need to be around healthy people . I need to feel safe. I’m already deAling with a narcissistic ex my sons mom who kept my son from me for a few months. But I won in court who held her accountable for being in contempt. And after foot surgery I went back to work and the owner of the company and I had words. I almost collapsed at work and when I asked for help he got mean. And as everybody knows I will stand (or limp ) my case and not back down. So not only is AA bad but where I work is almost cult like too. Almost Scientology bad . And I went to a meeting Friday to get or feel safe and on Vietnam vet off his meds tried to get attitude ish and I ripped into him. That was my turning point. And of course he was cross talking to a young married woman and she was laughing looking at me. ( looks like 13ting stepping to me). And I wAlked up to both of them and said ” you got something to sAy say it to my face!!” And she approached me later and said ” Bob he’s my friend and you’re my friend ” . And I said ” I just say hi and bye to you”. You are married , how dare you laugh with an older guy at my expense. And every time I walk by you you poke me on the side”. You are Married!! ” and I have a girlfriend OUTSIDE AA. So I filed a complaint and drove Away never to return!

          • awaywego- Right here on this thread. However, if a crime was committed we suggest go to the police, file all complaints at every level. That meaning if you were preyed on file a complaint with Ny GS AA and please keep a paper trail for that. If you need help doing that contact us at makeaasafer@gmail . After you email us we can connect by phone if you want to talk.

            • Thank you for your response on this, Massive. Notifying the AA NY office! is a stroke of genius. I never considerred it before. Since some 13 stepping and bulllying is not exactly illegal and the police can’t do anything, other forms should surely be reported to the central offices, they should be kept informed by the “silent majority”!

              • if you make a complaint do send it to the GSO also post it where ever you can along with their response. Which will be a denial in every case.
                Because just like the catholic scandal, and the scouts. They protect the criminal. Not the victims.

                Just FYI

      • Monica:
        Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you are doing to expose AA. I’m from a small rural town in Northern New Mexico where AA is prevalent and one of the “only games in town” so to speak.
        Apart from my own story, I have one to share about my beautififul niece (who is now serving 13 years time for a ‘drug induced crime). Prior to that, with my encouragement and that of an inpatient treatment center (Turquoise Lodge in NM 2006) she attempted at maintaining her abstinence from Heroin by going to NA and AA. In short, she was hit on by every old timer at one of the established AA meetings which caused a lot of disruption. One ‘old timer’ in particular would purse her and when this guy’s girlfriend (also a stepper-and who was 13th stepped by this guy as well) became insanely jealous and my niece eventually felt ostracized by the entire group. My niece had enough sense to understand what was going on and resisted this guys advances. I did confront these 13th step bullies and I was told that addicts of her type were just manipulating. My niece had absolutely no reason to lie to me. Besides, I had observed this type of behavior before, but it became much more magnified because it was now my family, my niece, who I love very much.
        But sadly, we did not know of any althernatives that would help to address her addiction (she was court ordered) and we thought (until now) that there were no or zero alternatives for her. In short, she landed up in prison for 8 years and will be getting out soon. I was appointed by the courts to provide guardianship for her children.

        This type of selfish behavior (not selfless) is always dismissed by these guys because after all “they have a disease”. I think that this is a crock of dog doo.

        I also have been 13th stepped by a woman with multiple years in the AA program. I was so ashamed to talk any of the men about this. The one old timer that I talked to laughed and alluded to the situation as a right of passage. I believe that what triggered that shame was that I was sexually assaulted when I used to dance for bachlorette parties in my early 20’s. You see, in my culture, this was seen as a “woo hoo” and a “right on” type of situation for men. Men do not get raped or sexually assaulted. This AA woman, had no sense of this and she crossed a boundary that I hadn’t learned to manage as of yet.

        I want to get deprogrammed and I’m having a difficult time. With perseverance, I know I can do it. What makes it odd is that I work for an outpatient substance abuse treatment program that introduces 12 step work through the Matrix Model Curriculum. I work diligently (behind the scences) to introduce people that want help to althernatives.

        Thank you again for the work you are doing. I believe that there are a whole bunch of us that are suffering from “post traumatic AA disorder”.(tee hee).

        I joined expaa.org and my name is Marchon on that blog. I posted my bio on there.
        May the paradigmn shift continue! GB you and yours Monica.

        • MarkL- Thank you so much for this post. WOW….Im sorry. That is very sad to hear about your niece and you. Welcome and you to can deprogram. I think reading the non 12 step books help, blogging where its moderated ….Would either of you care to talk with me on the phone…please email me first at makeaasafer@gmail.com There are finally a few serious horror stories about 13 stepping that will be in my film called The 13th Step.
          Its so entrenched everywhere. Its very very bad. But this year will be a good one to take AA down a notch.

          Please blog all you want here and tell your niece about us too. People are traumatized for years form this stuff. They are getting away with it at a criminal level.

          I will soon have page of all my recommend books.

          My radio show I hear helps deprogram as well. Its free and can be found here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery and on iTunes for downloading for free.

      • I just left AA for good yesterday. I was an avid attendee of the meetings for 1 and ½ years ( that was many years ago). Even though I left I always had this feeling that I was wrong for leaving. I felt that, as I was told over and over again, if I did not attend AA meetings that I would get drunk and stay drunk or that I would become “dry” and be miserable. I did, over the years, return to my ex-home group but I wouldn’t stay very long. Once when I returned I was asked where I had been. I said that I had been going to church and I was shunned because the thinking in AA is that AA has the ultimate authority on sobriety. I was lead to believe that AA was the only way to stay sober. I didn’t even know what I was believing in until last night when I did about 5 hours of research into AA. I remember, that early on in AA, that first question I asked myself was why it was required of me, in order to get sober and stay sober, that I had to constantly have a mind set that I had to degrade my thinking, that my thinking was continuously wrong; that is what is called ’Mind Control ‘ – independent thinking is not allowed, according to AA members. One must follow the groups thinking or suffer the wrath of alcohol abuse. If I complained about sexual harassment I was told to be patient (just take it) because that person was a new comer to AA or that that person just wasn’t working the AA program. In order to “fit in” I was told that I had to take an inventory of my actions because “after all you (me) were a part of the problem”. Part of my inventory required me, at a later time, to apologize to a person that had abused me as a child, as a teenager and as a young adult. The reasoning for the apology, as I was told, was necessary because I had a resentment against that person and that a resentment was the number 1 reason why I would return to alcohol; that all people are spiritually sick. So what I was really being told is that I’m to take responsibility for my actions and that others were excused from their actions. Fear was instilled in me in many forms. One way that fear was brought to me was that I was told by the AA members that If I did not strictly adhere to the principles of AA that I was signing my own death warrant ( it is written in the BB). There is a lot more to my story. In a nut shell, I suffered for 16 years at the hands of the AA members. I am so glad that I now know the truth and that I have no desire to ever return to AA. I wont waste my time trying to explain myself to any of the members as to the why I left AA. Their phone numbers are no longer in my contacts and if any of the members call me I will ignore their phone calls. I am very glad that I found this web site.

        • That is very, very much the way I experienced AA. It has taken me a while to stop automatically negating my own thoughts and taking the blame for the actions of others.
          But it did slowly change.

          • My experience too. I remember being told to: “trust the process” of course never having anyone ‘explain’ what the magical mysterious process was. In essence it was the same as saying my own “stinking thinking” was at fault and the process like the promises would come if I would doubt my own instincts and feelings and just go along to get along. Well I nearly disappeared into the despairing nothingness of severe depression. Since leaving AA my life is manageable, I trust myself and not some indiscernible “process” and I live a happy and joyous life.

        • I like this – ” the thinking in AA is that AA has the ultimate authority on sobriety”. That is soooo true and the root of many problems in and around AA. Arrogant and righteous without reason comes to mind.

      • “Oh my Massive. I just read your letter for the very first time. I returned to AA about 2 months ago. I returned to my now ex-group. There was a man there, a “new comer”. Every meeting that I saw him at he would remark on the clothes I was wearing ( especially when I wore a dress). I expressed to some other men in this group that I was very uncomfortable with this mans remarks. I was told “hes a new comer” just give him a break. Then this man followed me to my car. I started going to a different AA group and I told this particular man that I was not interested in being around him that I just came to work my AA program. I thought that would settle it until he to followed me to my car and kept repeating himself “ I really need to make amends to you” over and over again, all the while it was perfectly clear that I was trying to get away from him. I then went to a different AA meeting in which a woman fell down and when she got up a man told her (in front of everyone) that she fell because she “ is top heavy” and some people laughed. And yes I then headed to another different AA meeting. This time it seemed as though everyone left in a hurry. It is an 8 a.m. meeting so many needed to get to work. I got blocked from leaving by a man that calls himself John. Every time I tried to leave he would step in front of me. He was talking very fast and continuously. He said that he used to think that intimacy was him and woman lying in bed naked. And he kept repeating “ I don’t want to detain you. I just want to keep you for the rest of my life and control you”. He also would talk allot of AA jargon but he would add in “ I don’t want to detain you. I just want to keep for the rest of my life and control you”. It took me 30 minutes of staying very calm and mostly quite to feel safe enough to tell him that I needed to go. He also said that he wanted to put his arms around me. I told one of the woman from this group what happened to me and that I think that this man “ John” is very dangerous. As it turns out he had done this to 3 other woman in this group. I also told this woman that I would not return to that group until he was gone. She suggested that I not let this man push out of the group, that this man “John would be told to stop or to leave the group. Really!! But that is acceptable behavior in AA because after all “ we are all spiritually sick”. Also in this group – my first meeting there were members that were introducing themselves to me after the meeting. There was a man who calls himself “Sonny” that I was introduced to. When saying my good byes I went to shake Sonny’s hand. He took my hand to his mouth and kissed my hand. Now I am absolutely certain that I never gave him or any other man permission to kiss me anywhere on my body. When I brought this to the attention of a woman in this group and told her that I did not appreciate what Sonny had done I was told by her that Sonny’s behavior was a term of endearment. My ass it was. This man even asked me if I would cook him dinner. I never once gave any of these men any cues whatsoever that I would be interested in them in any way. It is and has been my experience in AA that sexual harassment is acceptable and the men in AA know that it is acceptable. They know that “ no one” can be kicked out of AA.

        • This all sounds so typical of every AA group I have ever been too. OK, the one about the dangerous guy was not the typical but the others were. I particularly like how you added how you were pressured into accepting this with the statement ‘She suggested that I do not let this man push out me of the group’. I have heard this a million times. I’ve had it said to me and heard it said to both men and women.

          I went to a SMART RECOVERY meeting today and it was absolutely amazing. Sooo much better than AA and…. it had a proper paid facilitator who ran the meeting, and ‘yes’ he did gently intervene when some people tried to dominate the room. Whether it be with the amount they talked or with what they said.

          The majority of the room was filled with ex-aaers who had had enough.

        • I wish we could change the text size here I would just write “ickky” and make it as large as the screen.

          I have whitnessed so much of this garbage. And the reality is that no one there really cares a lick. If you complain to much, you become the problem…… that is the way it goes.

          “ I don’t want to detain you. I just want to keep you for the rest of my life and control you”.

          That is just sick.

      • i was moved reading this. Unfortunately i am in the same boat. now that i am clean and have some sanity i just want a loving relationship with my god and a man. I am debating leaving NA….but it’s what brought me spirituality and my sponsor is my best friend in the world, i dont want to lose her. As for some other people in the rooms well lets just say my personal life is a popular topic, even in a big city.i went to jail for some long overdue fines, of course no one believes that was why. I am disabled with reiters syndrome and in extreme pain often. i would have a year clean today but in juanuary i told my sponsor i had taken PRESCRIBED painkillers and i had to call it a relapse. i dont feel i relapsed, im currently thinking of a minor painkiller at a small dose, to better my quality of life, but i will either have to lie or leave. I think the reason treatment centers use AA/NA is because of the statistics, but its probably one of the monthly treatment options that has had long term studies done. i’m confused and i would love to hear about any other options to recovery, I’m praying that someone responds…..im not even sure if im writing this or posting correctly I’ve never chatted online like this. I feel like my life may be on the line here. I loved reading everyone’s posts…..I have been brainwashed into thinking that anyone who leaves the rooms is getting high. thank you for giving me a voice……ginamae

    • So far looking at your efforts, I am impressed. I have been in, out and around the many 12 step programs for more than 34 years. I do believe that there are benefits to these programs. The real issue is an old issue “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. AA, NA and other programs and religions denies that any program but thier own can lead to a path of enlightenment. I just happen to feel that there are many paths and many teachers. So, I applaud you for beginning this open conversation.

      • chandra- glad you like the open dialogue. 12 step is a super antiquated modality that is filled with lies in Chapter 5 , the 12 & 12 , the traditions and the preamble. They need ALL NEW LITERATURE LOL!!

      • It is a conversation that is almost not permitted in our society. I have huge issues with that. Thank heavens for the internet, I had no idea anyone saw problems with the 12 step modality until I started searching online, I thought I was alone and therefor I really was sick for having the thoughts I was having. We do indeed need this conversation. Supression of thought is NEVER constructive. History has proven that.

    • I was “shoved” into this 12 step model for behavior modification when I was 17 years old. no nonono nooo…..I was “USED” by sexual predators for years! THEY tried to convince me that I was “taking out my “father or brother issues” on them!!!!!!!! These men stole cash from me and “had sex”( worked out mommy issues ) WITH ME. ….ooooh do I sound “self-centered” when i say MEEEEEE. fucking narcissist hate to give attention to someone dying of cancer cause it’s “not about them”…..

    • The need for this site and the message it espouses is essential. Chemical dependency is not a religious issue, and AA must be relegated to the fringes where it belongs.

      That said, leaving your copy so full of grammatical errors, expletives, and poorly constructed thoughts does a great disservice to the entire enterprise. Please fix this.

      • Thanks Dan.. it seems to be a blog of the people, for the people – warts, grammatical errors, incomplete thoughts, complete thoughts, CAPS, and not. Here in the unpaid trenches, we do what we can. I will gladly post professionally written material for money.

        You are right about AA needing to be pushed to the fringes of religious groups.

    • I would like to share my story.
      Do you have any way to contact monica at leaving AA can’t figure out to register and need info on the blogtalk radio schedule.
      I could tell you guys stories that would curl your hair!

    • Okay it has been awhile. I have been struggling but have signed on for a program that is non-AA and trauma based after I finish my working life. Relieved and happy with the people I am dealing with.

    • I have not visited for awhile. I have been struggling and surviving. Now I am retiring and want to enjoy a full life. I am going through an anniversary of an AA based treatment program. I still get angry of the sexism, and the crap I went through in group particularly to deal with the sexism. And I did it voluntarily because it was the only option given through the employee health program. I was not mandated by employer or court system. I come from Canada and we need choices! Even if a program says it is not AA-based, they take you to AA based meetings for outings. Such an insidious programme. I am taking myself with my resources to a program that deals only with alcohol with the added trauma based help. This will happen in Oct or Nov. I can post to, at, during and after the treatment, as they do not seize your computer or phone or any contact with the outside world.

    • Sounds like somebody’s a little butt hurt. You haven’t done your homework judging by the issues stated in your “testimony”. These are not the droids your looking for..weak minded fools.

    • I left my 12 step fellowship. It actually would make me not sober if I were there. I’d be living in sickness of acting out and only thinking about triggers. But I miss the comradery (spelling?). I think maybe I needed it in the beginning but now G-d no! I go a little bit to SMART Recovery. I do think I learned some stuff in the program. Its sad I had to go there to learn it.

    • saved my life. why turn your bad experience into a never to be chance that could save someone’s life. In all of your years, did you ever hear of the word open mindedness? Nothing is perfect. But it is a good fellowship and I am sorry it did not work for you. I am sorry you are angry and resentful

      • WOW, so good to be enlightened by an intellectually inbred stepper. Yeah, its all my fault that AA kills people and is religious, faith-healing nonsense. Oh, and “open mindedness” is actually two words.

        I think there is a profile for people that stay involved in long term AA indoctrination –

        Desperate
        Vulnerable
        Confused
        Gullible
        Superstitious
        Lower intelligence
        Low self-esteem

        Many of those characteristic are from long term alcohol intake and pressure to not drink from family or the law. Many improve quickly from not drinking and leave AA and do just fine. Those that stay long term become righteous and judgmental and end up on sites that help people leave AA and post their dipshit nonsense to try and defend an ineffective and outmoded “treatment” for alcoholism.

        • recent studies show that almost 100% of people with a substance use issue suffer mental illness. 12 step groups seem to me to be dominated with boderline personality people. It is basically halfway to a psychopath. I think that is what the BB is speaking to.

          Similar traits.

      • Jan,

        Dont you think that its rather judgmental of you to accuse others of being angry and resentful; just because they dont have the respect for AA that you do. Many feel that it was more psychologically harmful than helpful.

        Maybe you should work on being more open minded..hmmmm.

      • Jan,

        You sound really angry and really resentful. I do not see how you can twist your limited good experience and risk harming someone innocent. You should become openminded enough to see that there are far better alternatives available these days, the world moves on… 12 step is outdated and dangerous, due to its traditions. I’m sorry you are too self centered to see that.

  1. Hello everybody, thanks Massive for giving us another forum to exchange ideas and share 12 step nightmares. I too, needed the S.T. Community. Hopefully, we can pick up back up here on this new site and get it going.

  2. Frank- your welcome! I am busy building this site up so that it can catch us all and give us a place to communicate till we have ST back.

  3. Hello all, I want in on this. This A.A – Alanon divide and conquer method used by uncaring rehab / treatment centers needs to be exposed for what it is, a Scam. The blame the victim methods. He/she was just “unwilling” or didn’t goto enough meetings. The catastraphising of the familys ” its cheaper than a funeral ” . Interventions which if you look up the methods have a disclaimer, not for people with a heart condition… This EMOTIONAL ABUSE method not recommmended and dangerouse.

  4. The Alcoholics Anonymous survivors movement is a loose coalition of people who, united by the resentment that they have been harmed or betrayed by Alcoholics Anonymous,The “A.A survivors” advocate in favor of alcohol treatment alternatives, or just the right to freedom from the system, for those diagnosed with (or simply accused of being afflicted) with alcoholism.

    We need A Name. The “A.A survivors”

    • WHy don’t you start another blog called that. I have often thought of support groups called that and laughed about it but I think its funny and a good idea.

  5. Massive – THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for getting this blog up!! Just started posting on ST (after months of just reading) and soooo glad there’s some place to go and feel part of a community of folks who also believe that the 12 step model is not only CRAZY but DANGEROUS!!

    Many thanks, again!!!!

  6. Massive,
    Thank you so much for getting this set up for us. I like the Courage quote-very fitting. Them me know if I can do anything to help.

  7. At the risk of appearing pedantic, I wouldn’t describe SMART, Rational Recovery, Steven Slate, the Sinclair Method, et al as ‘alternatives’ to AA.

    ‘Alternatives’ to AA are the Moonies, the Scientologists, the Children of God and the Peoples’ Temple’. SMART etc are approaches to alcohol abuse that might have a chance of actually working. I think that ftg called them, ‘Recovery Resources’, but even the word, ‘recovery’ gets my hackles up. Recovery from what? A fictional disease?

    • I know. I hate calling them that. Recovery Resources….good idea. Although many put alternatives to AA into google I want them to find them.

      • Yes I now hate the word Recovery…what else can we call them

        Healing Resources for Issues around drugs & alcohol?

        How’s that? ….leaving out the words addiction and I never use the word alcoholism since I left AA. even before I left I stopped using it . Its such a bullshit word.

    • I’ll second this notion !!!

      If you want to be taken seriously, the first thing that needs to go is the “alternative” stuff. This is Steptalk, pure and simple, suggesting that AA/NA is the one true way, and everything else is “not like the original.”

      • Jonny Quest nice to see you here. I agree. Im busy so it will take me a few days to comb thru the site and change most of it. people google alternative for…so I need to leave it in a few places for the search engines.

    • Thanks ept, Ive been in a seminar all weekend till Sunday night OMG does it rock but Im a coming to see you. Is the snow bad still? And when I am done with it I am going to be on fire with passion…well, I think I already have the passion, I just needed a strategy and focus and a team!!!!

        • violet, sorry I just saw this post. It was a Tony Robbins Unleash your power within. WE had to walk on fire coals. It was really fantastic. You know what is so weird. I ran into a few AA pp from LA there , especially one guy from the local service meetings. WE just faked smiled at each other and I walked on. I later thought to myself. Maybe he got feed up too with their BS. Maybe not. I don’t know and I don’t care. They were so mean it was horrible. Im so glad to be gone!

  8. I want to be on the team :) So glad you are still coming here! The weather is better, snow is gone for now. Let me know how I can help.

    • there was a guy named Jim Bock who threatened Ilse aka ftg he posted her personal info and called her at home at 6am, because two bloggers who weren’t reg bloggers on ST called him a pedophile. At the same time Mark & isle were tired of all the crap of running a blog and ftg wanted to go write her book. When the Jim B story happened and btw one of his buddys came on my radio show and acted like an ass too. If you go to http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com the whole story is there. I was so down when it went away that Isle asked me to create something to catch us all and give us a place to blog. SI did it out of a need I felt for myself as well. I still miss ST and I hope it returns with comments open, but until then there are a few more blogs that have gotten created because of ST being gone.

      orange has a forum where some of us go. Expose aa was created by Gunthar 2000. Stepping on Suicide is another new one and There is another one about exposing rehabs. Also A VET named Walter also just created one to expose what happened to him and there is another new one. Too tired. I cant remember the name.
      But welcome , nice to see you here.

  9. Massive,
    Have you done a show on “sober living” yet?

    A sober house with less than seven clients is considered the same as a single-family house. Each person pays $800/month to share a bedroom in a house in a stable residential family neighborhood near schools and parks. The families are chastised for lack of compassion if they object to living next to a bunch of random people rapid-cycling through the rooms next door.

    A $4800/month revolving door is not a family. It is a business that needs to be regulated. It does affect the stability and quality of life for adjacent homeowners. They should have the right to know where these businesses are and the right to hearings on whether the business location is appropriate.

  10. Massive,

    Do you know what time the show will be on Tuesday.

    I checked out a sober living house a couple years ago in a very affluent beach area and it was $750.00 a month, (subject to an increase to $800.00) to share a room and 1 bath with 3 other girls. Very close quarters and I believe she housed approx 8 girls at a time. Buy your own food, shared kitchen privileges. I wont get into the rest right now. I remember thinking; “OMG, I would loose my mind in that room after living alone. Also, quite expensive for someone who in many cases is having financial problems.

    A couple months later, one of the girls I met there shared at a meeting that she had a slip and was either thrown out or in danger of being thrown out. Cant remember which.
    After the meeting she told me she was upset about the ex not allowing her to see her children one night. Went to dinner, had “one” glass of wine. One of the girls smelled it on her breath.
    The manager/owner of the home told her she would be holding a meeting with the other residents and let them Vote as to whether she could stay or not and then let her know. She was very upset and frightened of the unknown. I dont know what anyone else thinks but I thought that was pretty damned degrading. Needless to say; I was extremely grateful that I did not go there.

    • Amy, a couple years ago when I was having a bad time, I went to rehab and two different sober living houses (after leaving one).

      Having everyone vote on whether or not a relapser stays is very common, and occurred in my first house. They actually voted on me, because I relapsed. They voted that I could stay (the two girls I went “out” with were kicked out after the house manager discovered by talking to them that they brought drugs into the house and I only became involved once they were offered to me. It was nice that they told the truth and didn’t try to throw me under the bus), but I chose to leave because I didn’t want to stay there without my friend who was getting kicked out.

      The second house was much smaller, but when someone relapsed, there was a house meeting and everyone was told.

      Therefore, I am lead to believe that this is a very common practice.

      • Ironic,

        Voting may be a common practice but I still see it as very degrading. With my personality, I know that I would have been very offended by the “residents” determining my punishment. The way I see it is; should the alcoholics be making such important decisions. After all; there best thinking got them their, “Right”. Little sarcasm.

        Some of the free places I looked into, did not allow you to have a car. I guess they would be govt. paid? Plus, you had to stay for a minimum of like 6 months. If you had any money, they held it in a safe. Just some of the things I remember.

        After checking many facilities out, I did not have to go to sober living and for that I am very grateful. I lived alone my whole life and never even had room mates. l knew that environment would be very difficult for me. Im sure some dont mind.

        Very nice that your friends did not throw you under the bus.

  11. Massive, it depends when on Tuesday as I have to work. I’ll contact you with further.

    Meanwhile, here are things I’d like to say to the board for public consumption:

    1) If you are running a short-term boarding house, we next ot you have the right to know that you’re doing that. Your six boarders plus “house parent” (I know the vernacular changes constantly for compliance) aren’t equivalent to a black or brown family moving in.

    2) You seek out our neighborhoods BECAUSE we won’t be cool with your sticking your group home next door. So you don’t tell anyone, but in a neighborhood of 40-year residents, people who cycle in and out after 2 months become obvious.

    3) We, your neighbors, want to know who we’re living next to. We enjoy no privacy, having dared to buy our homes and pay properry taxes. So just tell us who these people are. If their privacy is so sacred, get the fuck off the block.

    • smsm-what city is this going on in? West Covina has alot of sober living and they can usually be find if you call code enforcement in your city.
      COde enforcement is key . Just keep calling and complaining about them.

      I was going to do a show at 5PM is that good? Normally I do a show at 6 PM but Im either going to a Smart Meetings or something else.

    • smsm- I can do a special show with you in the New Year at a different time and day so we can discuss this.

      Cheers! Happy Holidays to all.:)

  12. Amy:
    That is VERY degrading.
    People who own these sober houses think that’s the way to keep people in line and keep neighbors from being pissed off.
    No, people are pissed off at the chronic overcrowding, turnover and what happens to people living in a rigid, overpriced, shitty environment.

    • smsm said;

      No, people are pissed off at the chronic overcrowding, turnover and what happens to people living in a rigid, overpriced, shitty environment.

      Well Said; I’ll never forget the site of that room. Four beds in a square, almost head to toe and if you got home from work earlly, you weren’t even allowed to watch the tube in the living room until after 5:00 pm. Then you all have to agree on the same show. Guess you take a vote on that too.

      • I forgot to mention; this woman had another sober living house. Let’s just say; in many ways she appeared very well groomed. Also, very respected in the program for “Being of Service”.

    • What really happened when I lived in an Oxford House is that the two senior members got to live beyond their means. I was fined $25.00 once for running in the front door, shutting it but not locking it behind me, and running up the stairs to take a shower. And fined once for forgetting a cup of tea in the microwave one morning when we we were all up and moving around. It was all so petty, and so Nazi!

  13. Amy,
    Dolllars to donuts the sober operator doesn’t live at either one.

    These “sober-living” operators quibble about whether they can get away with $10/hour for the “house parent,” or “lead” or whatever the new term is.
    They don’t have meetings at the house, for the most part, because 1) meetings are supposed to be public and 2) meetings might be considered “treatment.” You can’t offer “treatment” at an unlicensed house, which is just supposed to be a “family.”

    Now I’m even more pissed off.

    What the hell are are they doing for the people there? Becides cramming them 4 to a room at $800 apiece? Driving them insane? Because that happens, frequently. The people end up wandering outside aimlessly or passing out across the street, Neighbors call PD. The sober operator steps up the house rules, maybe fires the $10/lead for another fungible one, posts more openings on craigslist that only show the living room.

    My question: Are people paying $800/month out of pocket or is this some sort of SSI scam?

  14. First of all, I know she does not live there. I dont know if they have a house parent and they do have meetings at the house daily and people from the outside can attend once a week. It’s even listed in the meeting directory. Im sure I could find out more. At that time, I heard all I wanted to hear. Yes, they pay out of pocket. I dont know that it matters whate the source of the income is. One girl living there had a relative paying her rent.

    Only one person with the most sobriety time has a room of their own, maybe thats the house parent. Dont know. Then there is one or two ??? rooms where two girls share the room. In other words as you get more sober time and people come and go, you are eligible to have more privacy. The day I was there; one was moving out and two moving in. One washing her car outside. Lots of activity. Very nice home but that cramming 4 girls in one room really bothered me, among other things. Like the book at the front door for signing in and out and logging your meetings. Of course your required to attend a set amt of meetings. A lot more if you dont work.

    I’ll find out the name through a connection and do some more checking on the internet.

    • Call the IRS on her. SHe is running a business and there are laws she has to comply with. ALso she needs a business tax license in her city as well. Report her to her local City. There are all sorts of ways to make it hard for them to run these shady businesses. ANd why do you need to live with 8 other sober people to get and stay sober. Its such BS.
      Money, money , and more money.

      Boy those AA types are so spiritual aren’t they?

    • I think it does matter what the source of funding is. “problem drinkers” are enticed to hold onto their problem forever through the lax SSI money pushing on these people. The rest of us pay for these people to stay “sick” forever. Sure, it’s ok for awhile, til they get on their feet, but when it drags on for years or lifetimes even, it’s unhealthy for everyone!

  15. Now you got me thinking. Actually, I did quite a bit research and the less the rent was in any of the places, the conditions got worse and worse. That was the only one that I actually visited. Ive always lived in nice area. Unfortunately, very high rent areas. However, I figured for that price, I’ll move to less attractive are. A singles with bars on the windows sounded better than that prison. I was in a difficult position but I never wanted to go to a sober living house. It was recommended by someone in a meeting. I forgot, you also pay a deposit of one months rent. As I recall, you could pay that in installments.

  16. Massive,

    She may have a license. It’s in a city close to me (you know where I live) and Im sure I could find out more when I have time.

  17. Here, this ain’t too far away.

    http://www.law.stanford.edu/program/centers/scjc/workingpapers/BSingerman-wp2_05.pdf

    One type of an parolee group home is a so-called “sober-living” home. In a sober living home, six or fewer parolees live together and agree not to use. A sober-living home is a non licensed cooperative living arrangement. It is not a residential care facility under the law, is not required or eligible to be licensed by the sate, and is not subject to state Department of Alcohol and Drug Program oversight or regulatory requirements.

    Translation: They can do what they want.

  18. Massive, check this out:

    Ike says in http://chatsworth.patch.com/articles/when-group-homes-locate-in-single-family-neighborhoods:

    “The attitude of the gentalman’s response above proves the blindness of those opposed to recovering peoples existance.
    “Since when are people recovering from addiction/alcoholism handicaped, since 1966 when the American Medical Association declared it a disease. Then again 1988 when the Fair Housing Act explicitly included people in recovery as handicaped people
    “Maybe you don’t care about the thousands that die from this disease every year, but when the time comes and it is you or someone you love who is about to die from this disease, then you may see the light and wish there was a sober living home to help.”

    Oh, no! A disease! We all must help someone be “of service” and profit.

    First, it doesn’t matter if it’s a disease, or a disorder, or even an allergy. What matters is that an unlicensed boarding house is being run due to the loopholes that have so elegantly been pointed out.
    Second, don’t lecture your neighbors until you personally share that $1500/month house in Laguna Beach, or that $500/month share in Riverside, or at least some of that slave handyman labor you’re enjoying from people who have no rights to tenancy and can be thrown out at any time.
    Third, if you say you’re helping, then say how you help. Example: “We will house you four to a room and encourage each of you to tattle on each other while making you do a couple hours of illegal slave labor. Daily. If you don’t do this, we will throw you out and keep your rent.” See, that’s honest, Ike. That’s a hell of a lot better than the “caring,sharing, you may see the light and wish there was a sober living home to help” attitude.

    I have had problems. I don’t force problems on my neighbors as a result. Because it’s their right not to be bothered.

    Your forcing people “to help” isn’t compassion. It’s coercion.

    • The Rent Stabilization Board has real rules and laws for tenants. I owned a triplex in Hollywood and I learned alot about this stuff then. Can these same laws pertain to them? They need to know their rights. They cant just trow them out and keep their money. Have them ask a lawyer, don’t you think?

  19. “ANd why do you need to live with 8 other sober people to get and stay sober.”

    I always wondered why diagnosed schizophenics (another brain disease) aren’t “suggested” to surround themselves with predominately schizophrenic people in order to “recover.”

  20. I just want to say that I know for a fact that many who go to sober living have no choice. They dont feel they need to be around sober people to get sober but cant afford an apartment and these places are costly but the free places are very unpleasant and they work you to deathe. EX. Salvation Army. I did quit a bit of research a couple of years ago. Personally I ran into very few people that were happy in sober living unless they were in a payed rent facility, with the most sober time, which entitles you to a room of your own. Just what I learned from my research.

    One of the girls I met was just out of prison and her relatives were paying her rent. Im in a hurry but I wanted to add that to the discussion.

  21. From my experience in a “sober living” facility, the rent was cheap and the rules pretty lax: weekly chores and house meetings. Not a bad idea but the concept it was founded upon was fundamentally flawed. All those required AA meetings, “getting honest,” and sponsorship sure didn’t help to convince anybody they were not powerless over their behavior and in possesion of a grave “spiritual malady.” I’ve seen people stay and make some impressive life improvements for a couple years then one day hop in the car, drive to the nearest bar, and get plastered. These same people were very compliant and some even highly regarded in the local AA community for the “quality of their sobriety.” Many checked themselves back into detox to be told once more that they had a “powerful disease” and had better “get humble or die.” So were they happy while abstinent residents? Very many were for quite some time. But AA dogma always wins in the end.

    • Ryan said re; sober living;

      “I’ve seen people stay and make some impressive life improvements for a couple years then one day hop in the car, drive to the nearest bar, and get plastered.”

      I use to hear these stories (while attending AA) about people who had been sober a long time and think; “why did they get plastered and or much worse, tragically commit suicide. Honestly, I’d say to myself; “I’ll bet this place drove them to it. How sad.

      I believe this happens (only an opinion) because feeling powless does not resolve a lot of peoples drinking problems. Powerlessness in life fueled my drinking. This became clear to me after reading one book in particular, which gave me the push I needed to leave AA. The book cleared up most of the confusion created in my mind by AA dogma and validated why I was so uncomfortable about the whole program.

      • @Amy,

        What book if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve been reading a lot myself but am having trouble finding much validation. Especially with the literature for “alternative treatments for alcoholism” (Smart, SOS, RR, etc…). Though I would not argue that they are probably superior to AA (and have nice “fellowships” themselves) they still seem to be sympathetic to the cult and advocate abstinence (which is essentialy no different than Prohibition and will most likely prove just as effective). As “treatment” programs, they can’t help but re-iterate the temperate message and “disease concept” (however much they deny it) that has created the problem to begin with (along with various social policies). Next, I tried reading some anti-cult literature like the Guru Papers which was quite insightful though was written by a couple Gurus. So I am coming to question a lot of what I would have accepted at face value before, even when it seems to be rational or validating. Albert Ellis for instance wrote an alternative to AA (which contains some interesting ideas) but even he couldn’t help but resort to confrontational therapeutic tactics as “treatment” (i.e. “Your lazy!). Hasn’t society at large been playing that card to no avail for like ever?

        • Hi Ryan

          Her is information on the book;

          http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Heart_of_Addiction.html?id=Do_jqXDd61YC

          I was at a point where I was so depressed after meetings that I had feelings of suicide. I was not interested in any alternative groups for some of the reasons you stated. I went to the book store for something else and found this book by accident. (My higher power stepped in) Some of the basic important questions/suspicions that I had been struggling with for decades were covered in the book. He does not bash AA but he sure lets you know that if you think you can go there and “take what you want and leave the rest”, thats not going to happen. I wont expand on it here but by reading your comments, I think the book will help you a lot. After reading it, I knew I was done. That was 15 months ago. It wasnt easy after leaving because I did not have any support until I found ST a couple months later and a therapist through the county. I never missed AA, fear was what I experienced. Also, a couple of close friends of mine who read the book (one being a retired RN and the other a crisis hot line counselor) who validated my feelings. Both of these individuals have seen AA pushed on people for years ant they “get it”. Plus I stay in contact with friends, through email, that i have met while blogging.

          I recently found a way to contact the author and intend to thank him for helping me.

  22. I live at a Sober Living in Mar Vista / Marina del Rey. It is a member of the Sober Living Coalition, whose primary aims are to prevent any regulation of these facilities. It is disingenuous to say that because I am a member of a protected class (addicts being recognized as disabled), that no regulation of these facilities is the right way to go. The home that I live in is simply an investment by the current president of the Sober Living Coaliton’s board. All he had to do to open the facility was buy a house, call it a Sober Living, and begin renting out beds at between $1350 and upwards of $4,000. No permit, no oversight. A group of addicts, many whom have to live at a sober living as a condition of court supervision, paying his mortgage and a substantial salary. He is unethical, applies rules randomly, and the only recourse is in court making use of housing laws. As it stands, the lodger’s agreement reads that anyone can be evicted at any time, “for any reason”, and lose both his security deposit and the rent he has paid for that month. To be sure, there are many good facilities, well run, and with true concern motivating there operators. But when, as here, boarders are sucked in by the SLC’s “seal of approval”, lay down substantial sums, and then find the owner skimping on costs by diluting the soap, not providing promised services, letting anything go for some folks while asking those in low paying beds to leave on a frequent and capricious business, the fact the SLC has found the place clean is a nonstarter. Of course there should be city oversight. The SLC project director suggests that facilities that are nuisances be forced to join his trade association is as close to the fox guarding the hen house as I can imagine.

    What are well-run Sober Living’s afraid of? Why not submit to city overight and inspection for a modest annual permit fee? This would allow social service workers the data to confidently refer those in need to places that walk the walk of evidence-based sobriety principles. It would allow law enforcement to know where facilities are and collect data on how these homes affect crime rates. Any treatment facility for addicts has to be licensed. That is not discriminatory. Allowing a group of Sober Living owners to monitor themselves is self-serving, provides incentives to skimp on the work of providing a transitional living space for those in need, and flies in the face of common sense.

    By the logic that these Sober Living owners are trained in at coalition meetings, hospitals would be exempt from regulation because the serve the disabled. Let’s get real.

    http://www.topix.com/forum/county/los-angeles-ca/TBSOA4PK4GQ9L0NSL

  23. smsm= wow that’s alot of money to charge and no regulations. There are so many issues to address. if you want we can talk makeaasafer@gmail.com . I think you have a point and I should discuss on radio show. There needs to be some sort of regulations. I agree 100%.

  24. I’ll try to contact you. To make clear I’m not the OP in the last post. However, the post I cited, and Ryan, and Amy had a point:

    Sober living is a mixed bag at best from the renter’s point of view.

    My point is that they ARE renters. Renters. Who are individuals, not part of some “family” bound magically by landlord “being of service.”

    SLE operators all say renters are “guests” who “happen” to be users who don’t use now. As “ex-users,” “guests” have federal rights as disabled people — the “family” can “vote” to kick out someone that someone thinks they smelled wine on, allegedly.

    On the spot.

    SLE operators: We are on to the scam. Don’t deflect by saying how much you were “of service” with basically an unlicensed boarding house, the type that no one had a choice but to go to.

    Hypocrites.

  25. This is a template for the actual house rules.

    You give up all rights as a tenant. You agree to give “management” the right to kick you out for any reason whatsoever and to keep your “sobriety fee” for the month. You agree to tattle on anyone so you can “save their life.” You agree to let an ex-junkie with no RN, no LPN, not even a vet tech certification be of service by surrendering to them your controlled medications for dispensing.

    That’s what it says, in the boilerplate below.
    Merry Christmas, you guys.

    Code of Conduct and House Rules. These must be followed at all times: Code of Conduct:

    1.RELAPSE: There is a zero-tolerance policy towards drug and alcohol use on or off the premises, and such will result in the guest’s immediate dismissal from the house (see Relapse Code Rule 9 for requirements to return to house). Guests may be asked to submit to drug and or alcohol tests at any time. Refusal to submit to a test will be treated as a positive test result.
    2.VIOLENCE: No form of aggression, from yelling to any sort of physical contact or damaging house property will be tolerated in any way, shape or form and may result in immediate dismissal from the house. No weapons or knives of any sort are permitted to be in your possession at any time while you are a guest.
    3.CLEANLINESS: Guests are expected to keep their rooms neat, tabletops clear, laundry stowed appropriately and beds made up in the morning. Maintaining good personal hygiene, washing laundry and bed linens at least weekly are examples of what is expected of guests. Guests must pull their own weight when it comes to daily chores in the house and cleaning up after themselves. Bathroom articles must be kept in a toilet kit or zip-lock bag in rooms.
    4.BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOR: Guests must be “good neighbors”. We must be considerate as well as friendly and responsive to a neighbor’s needs. Shouting or any loud noise, swearing, where we park our cars, toss cigarettes etc. should be minded acutely. This is important because while communities agree sober livings provide an important and necessary service, most people when surveyed said they would be unnerved by having a sober living next door. Let’s help people reverse this old way of thinking and be better than any average neighbors.
    5.ADVANCING ONE’S RECOVERY: Every guest must submit a written goal statement (attached) which also details his/her daily plans for the coming weeks or months ahead. Examples of advancing one’s recovery or program might include an outpatient day program at a treatment facility, returning to or looking for work, volunteering and being of service in any way by an organization needing help, family therapy, 3-7 AA meetings per week, working at a job– these sorts of actions indicating progress is what we want to see.

    Guest Agreement – Continued

    Code 6: RULES AROUND THE HOUSE:

    1) You give consent to be drug/alcohol tested 24/7 and to remain sober while you are an XYZ guest. You agree to not engage in any unlawful or disruptive activities on or off the property.

    2) You give consent to management to search your room and personal belongings if management feels this is necessary.

    3) You agree to not use abusive language, not to show aggressive or violent behavior or act in a threatening manner to any house mates. Bring any grievances to a manager and we will work things out with you.

    4) Rough-housing, arguing, yelling and such are unacceptable behaviors. Aggression will not be tolerated and will punch a quick ticket to exit the house.

    5) You agree to respect house rules and other guests. If you believe another guest has made an unreasonable request related to your personal habits, bring the situation up with management.

    6) You agree to adhere to stated curfews and “overnight outs” terms: 11pm weekdays; 12am weekends (one hour earlier for those with less than 30 days of sobriety). Plan overnights so you can request them in advance. A call at 10pm requesting same for that night won’t be approved.

    7) You will be expected to meet your goals and daily plan (attached). Sleeping all day, watching TV all day and “drifting” won’t be tolerated and can result in dismissal.

    8) There must be a high degree of mutual sexual respect for members of the opposite sex AND the same sex in this house, and bedrooms of one sex are TOTALLY OFF LIMITS to members of the opposite sex. Sexual interplay shall not be tolerated within the house, and especially in our COED houses nothing but respect will be tolerated. Men “hitting on” women so that a woman may be at all uncomfortable and complains to management is grounds for immediate dismissal for the offender. Sexual urges can be a part of recovery just as they are a part of life, but there is no place for them in this house or in this neighborhood, and that includes viewing pornography of any sort. This is a rule that will be strictly enforced so please help management out and do not even allow the issue to come up on our radar. We expect all of our guests to be mature enough to recognize the potential problems involved with making a housemate uncomfortable, so JUST DON’T DO IT please. Gay or straight behavior is obviously subject to this rule.

    Code Rule 7: INFORMING MANAGEMENT ABOUT A GUEST WHO HAS RELAPSED

    You will alert management immediately should you discover that another guest has relapsed and is using drugs or alcohol. Some clients feel this is “ratting” and hesitate to do it. The fact is you could be saving a life by alerting management about somebody using, as you don’t know what their medical status is. Even if it is just drinking, the next seizure could be their last. Pass that burden to management so we can handle it as a medical issue and you are not put in a situation where you could feel someone’s death is on your hands. You don’t need that. You are not “ratting” on anybody because this agreement to inform us as management supersedes any “promise to keep this a secret” request your friend in relapse has made, no matter how good you imagine your friendship to be. A true friend will put the wheels of rescue in motion by talking to management.

    Code Rule 8: RESPONSIBILITY OF DISCUSSING MEDICATIONS WITH MANAGEMENT

    You are responsible for managing your own medications and keeping them in a safe place. You can request they be kept under lock and key and dispensed to you in weekly amounts by a manager if you are worried about their safety. You agree that XYZ HOMES CAN NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF YOU ABUSE YOUR MEDICATIONS, WHICH OBVIOUSLY CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS AND EVEN DEATH. YOU MUST CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT ALL ISSUES AND SIDE EFFECTS RELATED TO YOUR MEDICATIONS. Keep your medications safe and if any of them have potential to be abused this should be discussed upon check-in to see if this raises any issues with management, and if so, how to handle the situation. If you are discovered to be using abusable drugs later, after you have moved into the house, this may result in an immediate dismissal because you have put everybody in the house at risk and you never discussed your abusable drugs upon moving in to the house, as this Code requires. Suboxone, benzodiazepams of any sort, and any ADD or ADHD meds are all obviously included in prescription medication types that need to be reviewed and discussed with management.

    Code Rule 9: RELAPSE POLICY

    If you relapse and are caught using or test “dirty” you are subject to immediate dismissal from the house. If it is your first violation, providing the house agrees you have been trying and your attitude has been good, you must leave the house immediately and detox at a recognized detox facility and be checked out by staff (no leaving AMA). If and only if house management agrees you can return to the house, you may return. You must continue to pay your Sobriety Fee and keep it current when you are in detox. Any future relapses dramatically increase the chances you will NOT be allowed to return, and at any time you are asked not to return you forfeit whatever is left of your Sobriety Fee for that month. A Sobriety Fee can not be requested while you are in detox if the house does not allow you to return. You are not a tenant and have no tenant-landlord rights. If management decides you are not a candidate for re-entry, you may not return to the house. A decision will be made in your absence. You must pack your belongings immediately upon testing dirty and be ready to leave the premises immediately. Hanging around and arguing will only lead to management calling the police and having you escorted off the premises or arrested if need be. Stepping back on the premises will be considered trespassing if you are banned from the house. We will call a taxicab for you if management can not give you a ride to the detox center or out of the neighborhood where someone can pick you up at a designated hotel or bus stop. You will have 30 minutes to pack your things and be out the door before the police will be called and told you are not welcome on the property. Depending on the police they may be advised to take you to lock-up if you are being difficult, or get argumentative or violent.

    Code Rule 10: YOU ARE NOT A TENANT UNDER XYZ STATE LAW

    YOU RECOGNIZE AND ADMIT THAT AS FAR AS OUR ABILITY TO REQUEST THAT YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE FOR ANY REASON WE DEEM NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN THE HOUSE ATMOSPHERE AS ONE CONDUCIVE TO SOBRIETY, THAT YOU ARE NOT LEGALLY A TENANT INSOFAR AS TRADITIONAL LANDLORD-TENANT RELATIONSHIPS GO. This effectively means that you have no recourse under the law protecting your housing rights as they would normally apply to a traditional tenant under a typical lease agreement. You are giving management total discretion to dictate whether you may continue to remain at the house or not, and for any reason management feels at their discretion it is necessary for you to leave the house, you must obey their final decision on this matter. Any lawsuits or retaliatory legal efforts on your part will be deemed frivolous and if a case ever makes it to court or arbitration, you will be responsible for the legal fees the house must pay to defend itself. There is a good reason that the fee you pay to stay at such a house is called a Sobriety Fee, and not rent.

    By signing below you signify you have reviewed this Code of Conduct and all associated rules with management, have been given ample opportunity to ask questions, and you understand and agree with the Code and rules herein, and agree to abide by same:

    http://www.soberlivingsearch.com/blog/sober-living-ruleshalfway-house-rules-and-guest-agreement-code-of-conduct-rules-relapse-policy-worksheet/

  26. smsm

    Well, they certainly have their bases covered, giving the residents no rights. Unbelievable that what you pay to live there is not even considered rent but a “Sobriety Fee”.

    If someone relapses; is resident voting, as to whether or not the person stay’s, also a common practice there. Beacause they state the following in there house rules.

    “Pass that burden to management so we can handle it as a medical issue and you are not put in a situation where you could feel someone’s death is on your hands.”

  27. From my knowledge, yes the “sobriety” deposit is withheld and immediate eviction imposed on the member if abstinence broken, following group vote of fellow residents. I believe residence can only be re-applied for following minimum 28 day inpatient 12 Step “treatment” and/or identical amount of continuous sobriety and increased AA involvement. Police usually enforce this House rule if called upon, even if the substance used was legal like alcohol. Drug tests are administered randomly. This is against the law. Sure you might not want someone getting drunk in your household but as far as I know, so long as he or she doesn’t threaten other housemates or steal property, they cannot legally be evicted, providing they continue to pay rent. I think such organizations work around this by renting property from private owners who then permit the organization to admit tenants on agreement to abide by their arbitrary code of conduct before being granted occupancy. Not surprisingly, turn-over is remarkably high at such facilities and the true beneficiaries are only the owners and the organizational authorities they’ve made an agreement with. And because “relapse” is so common in such places as well as the presence of other local disenfranchized Steppers, there is a constant supply of replacement tenants so the money continues to flow in.

  28. A case would of course not hold up in court as a result of having signed the contract. But isn’t the contract itself a violation of ethical practices? Probably, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a loophole has already been written into the law to allow such obvious ethical violations (perhaps by AAWS Inc. lobbyists?).

  29. What a lousy example the people who own and run these places are to the residents. I only researched sober living and observed some obvious unscrupulous practices. As far as ethical violations, Im sure they have their buts covered. I think I may know of the facility that smsm is referring to and they have been there at least 10 yrs, I think.
    If it is the one I am thinking of; a lot of big companys pay for their employees to go there. I know of two guys that had to go in order to keep their jobs. Once again, Im grateful that I did not have to go and I have no idea what can be done about it.

  30. I am overwhelmed by what I am reading, here and on the orange papers forum. WE need a conference room, some money and an executive assistant, a research analyst, money to pay them and about 8 solid board members that meet weekly.

    WE need a weekly talk show on TV to discuss all that we are discovering. So we can let the public in on the big secret that AA is not a GOLDEN CHILD.
    WE need a good HBO series that understands all of this and writes a great show exposing it as a sub plot.
    We need to form support groups, face to face in every city for ex steppers that want to just meet up with other anti aa folks.
    Sorry for my rant but there might be some ideas worth implementing here.
    my hubby is sick I am got the sniffles again.

      • Get on board Chris! We really do need as many volunteers and people with input, possible connections to help us in our cause to raise awareness and to enforce existing laws that we already have.

        Any ideas on the stopping of co-mingling minors and violent felons and sexual offenders? Who cares about this stuff? Does anyone?

  31. Massive,
    We need a page that says: “If you’re thinking about sober living, here’s what a sober living search engine with 8,000 houses on it recommends (see link above):

    1) You can be kicked out FOR ANY REASON. ANY REASON means they can kick you out even if YOU ARE SOBER. Read the rules.

    2) You agree to download your entire private life to people who are encouraged to tattle on you rather than “be responsible.” Read the rules (along with Steps 4, 5 and 9).

    3) Your possessions and your body can be searched at any time, 24/7. You better not be jacking off. Even watching TV for a day is against the rules. Read them.

    4) You’re obligated not to yell, not to step into some girl/boy’s room, to clean someone else’s house. Who feeds you, by the way? There’s nothing spelled out about food here, let alone who pays for the 28-day inpatient treatment that can be immediately demanded. Nothing is said about the other party’s obligations in these rules. There are none.

  32. Ryan, the loophole is that ex addicts are disabled under ADA, . Under fair housing, 6 or fewer disabled people living together without treatment can’t be discriminated against. Current/suspect relapsers lose their disabled status, so whatever the house does to them, they can.

    For those who are left, it seems cyanide permeates the entire sober house template. The patrionizing, the solid breaking of HIPAA rules, the coercion…I wonder how it’s not discriminating against a protected class.

    Did you find the sober living of value in any way?

    • Ha! I would rather live with sex offenders. They are easier to get along with. So, what I am saying is, the women are sometimes sicker than the men!

    • The way alcoholics/drug addicts are taken advantage of by predators has at times made me wonder why they are not a protected class.

  33. I found it of value only economically. However, due to the coercions, constant surveillance, gaslighting, labeling, sanctimony, and abject absense of any rational or truly supportive/open-minded conversations or relationships, the financial convenience became insignificant to me. The whole 2 year experience was hell. I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody. Psychological torment would be an understatement. Always wear a smile and pretend like nothing’s wrong. Be grateful and get off the pity pot junky! So sick. Now I get squemish when I hear or read of anything that credits in any way AA. The heartlessness and carefully hidden insolence that characterizes that environment is sickening, along with any and all institutionalized “treatments” for behaviors. Authorities in such places are public enemies #1. I agree Massive. The importance all these places place on “following direction” of whatever quack “recovery” guru in charge, vanishes in light of the fact that many of those same people later smoke crack, rape somebody, or kill themselves. I learned the hard way to never put anybody (especially if they have an abbreviation after their name or really like the number 12) on a pedastool. “Programs” are for Plays, TV’s, and computers!

  34. Massive, yeah we need video and audio of what goes on on those places. Personal testimonies, documents, etc… Track the “gurus” and catch them in “unspiritual” acts. We might have to distribute the evidence from an offshore base. Kind of like Wikileaks. :)

  35. My anger drove me to listen to more of Thomas Szasz on youtube where I stumbled across this gem of his that helped to quell the resentment before needing to do a 4th Step and find my part: “Anyone who seeks power to “tell the truth” is ipso facto a liar. You don’t need power to tell the truth.” Too many more to enumerate here. But definitely drives home that an anti-treatment movement can be judged as sincere insofar as it is indistiguishable from the human rights movement. Explains why I find myself so opposed to instituting “alternatives.” The same system will simply coerce the same individuals to another one-size-fits-all model intrinsically ineffective. Not to mention, the underlying failed morality of prohibition, arguably the ultimate cause of it all, would be left unhindered. Essentially, nothing would really change…I feel validated again :)

  36. Ryan, you’re a strong individual to have lasted two years.
    How did this contract work in real life?

    Were people provided meals? Did they buy their own food or was sharing and cooking food part of the mandate?

    Could people have friends over? Or have pets?

    How did people getting kicked out react? Where did they go? How were other tenants expected to react? Could anyone keep being friends with them?

    What made you stay, and what made you go?

    • @ smsm,

      Sorry for the delayed response. Been quite busy lately so have stayed off the blogs.

      At the first “residential treatment facility” clients cooked their own meals. 2 were assigned by “senior residents” (elected by the counselors) to cook each day monday to friday. The facility had its own van which would be driven by clients selected by the counselors to the grocery store every monday at an arbtrary hour, subject to the caprice of the counselor. Every client had to be dressed and present for a 15 minute dinner at 5:00. The two hours prior were used for food preparation, usually under the watchful gaze of the counselor, who frequently inspected quality of food preparation before communal consumption. *A note on the counselors* before I continue answering your questions: There were three counselors who would show-up at the facility pretty much whenever they wanted. Ostensibly it was a 9 to 5 job. But, usually they would leave early or come in late, unexpected. I know they were paid salary, of which a government grant supplied in part (other sources of income included donations from local philantropists or other national non-profit agencies). One especially venerated counselor was in the position of executive, and the other two ostensibly worked under his lead, though one of them was especially agressive and arrogant and always had the final word (taking note or even expressing recognizition of his ultimate authority was strictly forbidden- either another client or the counselor himself would intimidate one into silence…I’ve seen several clients leave because of his belligerent and threatening attitude. He would harass physically, psychologically, and emotionally several of the “weaker” clients, as well as his fellow counselor (replacement of a prior couselor who “left” curiously following a quite visible, also unmentionable, extra-marital affair with the facility’s secretary).

      Some resident’s were court mandated other’s were voluntary, though 12 step rehab admittance was usually required before even being considered as a candidate for residency. Exceptions, of course, were clients with family member’s associated with the corporate board of director’s (also with its own executive head (local AA member), elected by fellow board member’s), also anyone who came across as especially vulnerable or malleable was immediately granted admittance. Some had to wait (for questionable reasons) for a couple weeks or more. Others were asked to sell houses or cars and leave jobs before becoming clients. The board was mainly in charge of appropriating operational funding and also general property maintance (which in most cases however, was performed by clients, on clandestine threat of discharge).

      As far as being kicked out, many, if not the majority of clients were for various reasons including, but not limited to, having unapproved relationships, suspicion of one, acting on “self will” (which could be anything from working out at unapproved times or locations to using narcotics or alcohol on or off the premises), or “not getting honest” (a couple were intimitaded (“told”) to leave for reason’s beyond my comprehension). Clients were frequently ordered into an office and confronted against their will, on threat of discharge and accompaning risk of jails, institutions, and death. While I’m on the topic, I’ll mention one client hung himself in the facility a few years back. I tried looking for mention of his death in the local obituaries online but saw no listing that included the words “died suddenly” and the location of the facility….sorry if I’m jumping around a little but your question’s stirred a lot of memories. Client’s who left pre-competion or official dismissal usually encountered ridicule and widespread ostracisation and shame. Some would leave in the middle of the night to avoid this inevitable response. Afterwards, remaining clients would be ordered into a group setting where said disbander’s “disease” and “self-will” were analyzed collectively to generate additional tension and fear, hopefully some of a person’s belongings would show up missing, so his putative theft would prove his escape was not inspired in any way by the intolerable and inadequate politics and methodology of “treatment.” Others completed and “relapsed” afterwards (one suicide I know of). One older resident in particular was denied opportunity to solicit for social security for post completion income and housing (even though he over-qualified due to numerous personal health issues). He was only permitted to work at a local home improvement store, to and from which he had to walk several miles when the bus was not available. He was also forced to live in a local halfway house where he was routinely harrased by the several fellow residents many years his junior. The last I know he had locked himself in a hotel room determined to drink himself to death-this is after over a year of compliant and honorary obediency to his counselor’s capricious and stringent “directions” at one of the “best teatment centers in the country.” Many other horror stories I care not to recall for now. Also, I have to run but will try to keep a little more of a presense on the blogs now and again as it seems that the more I try to forget my experience and move on, the more I tend to idealize it and ignore the uncalled for devastating effect it had on me and many others.

      • Ryan,
        I see these men waiting for the bus or riding old bicycles, walking two-by-two sometimes, the rigid postures, the look in their eyes, the fear.
        Their houses are run by an organization that’s exactly as you describe. The houses are meticulously kept up and generally quiet. Most people thus see no problem.
        But I see these guys. I hear your words. And I have a real problem with how much they are not helping.

        • One night a possum crashed our meeting in the garage and my immmediate roommate drowned it. I was not there. But these are some sick, disgusting people.

  37. In the first one, I was there for a year. No visitors or pets allowed, along with a host of other prohibitions. All activities had to be approved by a counselor (paraprofessional bully). Food was purchased and cooked by residents (also under counselor discretion) and consumed at mandated hours. Funds for food were supplied by a pool of EBT cards residents were required to obtain upon admittance. This (though convenient) is a against the law. The counselor forcibly retained and managed every card. No residential internet access. Books and media too were regulated by counselors. “Unapproved” material had to be returned to the local library. People were kicked-out here regularly. A few cases I remember: one had been privately taking muscle relaxers, another was involved in a romantic relationship, many more left on their own accord though before being “officially” ousted for violating some arbitrary staff rule or other (this procedure was performed by a private conference of the paraprofessionals).
    The second year was spent at a far less regulated facility. No counselors at this one but might as well have been. Anything “suspicious” (i.e. not taking lint out of the dryer, leaving a dish out, “slacking” on chore) was reported at a weekly tenant meeting, often accompanied by a brief “intervention.” Though survival and success here did require a greater exertion of autonomy, many former exemplary residents were kicked-out after substantial periods of abstinence and “recovery” for ingesting alcohol or scheduled narcotics. All non-dietary chemical consumption had to be reported at the weekly meetings. If someone was found to have “relapsed” they were expelled by whomever had been elected as President. And of course had to immediately vacate the premises. Belongings left behind could only be retrieved with another 2 residents present and within 2 weeks of expulsion (or were dealt with at the caprice of the house which had the “right” to dispose of them). Reactions were strong amongst the booted rule violators. Police were either contacted or close to being contacted at such times. While association with the wayward ex-client was permitted, it was unanimously frowned-upon by remaining clients. This behavior was undoubtedly largely influenced by AA dogma.
    Lastly, at both facilities, AA participation was mandatory and an essential condition (along with abstinence) of maintaining one’s (perceived) residency.

  38. Ryan,

    In the first facility you were in, how much was the rent (or sobriety fee) and did anyone work. How did they pay their rent? Did “everyone” get monthly food stamp benefits (ebt). Im curios because I know that your rent and total income are major factors in receiving benefits. Did the person in charge of the cards have access to everyones personal pin number or did the residents always purchase the food. If im understanding the situation correctly, then everyone received food stamp benefits and maybe some got cash or other benefits on top of that; which would be included in the ebt benefit card ??? I had a need to apply for food stamp benefits for a period of time and I had to take a letter from my landlord, bank statement and more. I was interviewed for an hour. The whole process was not easy.

  39. Clients did not pay rent. Everyone did get EBT cards. I hadn’t heared of a person applying and not getting one. Accepted as a client, you become legally homeless, explained in a “letter of residency” written and signed by a counselor and presented to social services when applying. Relatively easy then, though things might be changing due to a declining economy and availablity of public services. What’s not explained is that a condition of residency is surrendering governenment issued personal property to the landlords. Sure the law probably permits it. But, by using the term “resident” to describe occupancy, the organization is being purposefully deceptive for the sole reason of preserving their status and income . Said “resident’ is not in any way residing there, he or she is being granted a basic human need of shelter on the contingency of surrending numerous constitutional rights to perceived authorities who are unlawfully practicing medicine without a liscence. The claim could be made that they are entitled to such practices on the basis of not charging rent, but, though rent is not being paid in currency, I would argue that the landlords are, in effect, “getting paid” in psychological submission to them as “more moral” or “more wise” people. Many other unscrupulous practices were and still are carried out there (I’m sure an entire volume could be filled) but such ethical deviations are so pervasive already in society that challenging them would most likely be futile and potentially even dangerous.

  40. I also believe the unusual ease of obtaining social services such as EBT cards was almost entirely due to the high reputation the facility had in the local community.

  41. Im in a hurry and have to go to work but if Im understanding it correctly; all assets of the resident are turned over to the landlord. If so, that means they are being hidden from social services and your required by law to inform them of any assets you have. I’ll read it again when I get home. I have bad cold and my brains a bit foggy.

  42. Yes. In fact the facility was notorious for rejecting real homeless people as “not willing to go to any lengths.” I won’t even get into the prejudice and snobbery inherent in that practice. I, for instance, had a car in my name at the time and probably some other assets. However, upon admittance into the facility, as a condition of being under their “care,” I was supposedly exempt from obeying the law in this instance as you described. Not to mention, as I was a diagnosed “alcoholic” (a diagnosis assigned me in the absence of any medical authorities by the way) it was assumed I was incapable of making my own informed decisions as I had a “mental illness.” The majority of people, unfortunately, would agree on this point (including me at the time). Also the food purchased with my card was not for the sole provision of myself and my family. We were sent to the store with a random batch of cards. None of the individual cardholders were petitioned for consent to use their assest to feed other clients before such trips. More later.

    Hope you feel better :(

  43. I don’t remember exactly unfortunately but I know a lot of the information anyone else would have to provide and the tedious procedures required (such as providing a copy of the pink slip to one’s car), we, as “clients,” were exempt from. This is a double standard on behalf of social services and fraud on behalf of the organization. I do know some applicants were told they needed to sell their cars, houses, or other sizeable assests before they would be eligible for admittance.

  44. Ryan, said;

    “Some applicants were told they needed to sell their cars, houses, or other sizeable assests before they would be eligible for admittance.”

    So now they have money from the sale of the assets. Guess they could hide that by giving it to a relative or friend to hold but what if they cant.

    When you were sent to the store with a batch of ebt cards, you would have to have the private pin numbers in order to use them, right? Wow, the more I learn about this, I have no respect for the whole system. Social Services has to be aware of the unscrupulous loop holes that sober living houses are using.

    I needed help long before I applied and I have never taken advantage of any govt benefit including unemployment. I was treated like a criminal trying to get something I didn’t deserve. I was working member of society, paying rent but needed money for food. I almost walked out a couple of times. Im sure glad I didnt after learning all of this. What they put me through and how easy it is for others, pisses me off.

    Thanks for the well wishes!!!
    It was a huge help and I deserved it.

  45. We all felt very entitled, after all we were all “miracles” in “recovery” working our “programs” (like there’s more than one to work). I’m ashamed to have been a part of it. Sophmoric, childish behavior all in the name of “spirituality” and “sobriety.” One of the most revered counselors had a very visible affair with the Secratary. This was never discussed of course. He works across the street now where he continues to lie to people. Now that’s a “spiritual giant!”

  46. Ryan,

    I share all the AA insanity with a good friend; including all of the disturbing facts about the sober living subject the last couple of days. Her comment tonight was; “So their heroes have feet of Clay”.

    Dont feel ashamed; I’d say you did what you thought was right at the time. I was just lucky enough to find something at the last minute and not be forced into that environment to have a roof over my head. Renting in a home owned by a stepper is far from perfect but it was better than dealing with sober living. This experience has really been an AA eye opener and thats a positive thing.

  47. There’s nothing shameful about living in a sober environment, be it by yourself or with roommates.
    There’s everything shameful about coercing people with few other options to hide assets to get welfare or to turn over assets to the group. Cults do that.
    One thing we can do is encourage people who have been there to tell the story of what these places are like. How they affect people. Who they are run by. I know of one such “intake counselor.” Her quals were getting pregnant by someone she didn’t know, giving birth to an addicted kid who got taken away, having another one. Now she uses guys instead of heroin.
    That’s supposed to be a success story.

    • smsm- there were no sober living places in the 70’s in Hawaii. They had Halfway houses.
      There were houses we shared with other sober pp. Lots of sickness went on there.
      Very bad sexual preying on younger newer people.

  48. SMSM sounds like a really swell place! This sober living thing is really odd. Have you posted a discussion about it on orange papers forum?

  49. Here come the cops and paramedics down the block to the unlicensed sober house down the street.
    Jails, institutions, death, or join the Alcothon Human Centipede.

  50. Thank you. I look forward to speaking to you about the issues that I am currently having with one of the organzined CA meetings.

  51. Massive, thanks so much for starting this site! I was a frequent lurker over on ST and miss it too. Massive, I am interested in hearing your radio program so if you could provide me with details, I’d appreciate it.

    This whole discussion of sober living houses has been a real eye opener to me. Wow! I’m so glad I don’t live in one of those places.

  52. de- Welcome!
    Thanks…what was your handle on ST?

    I still miss http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com btw to any person reading this this site is still up as an encyclopedia.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery

    you can get to it live on Tuesdays usually at 4PM PST
    or call in from any phone 818-475-9211 to listen or call in.

    Or you can listen live from a computer.
    You can listen to all the shows on the website of blog talk radio or all the shows are now on itunes and be downloaded for free under “podcasts” .

    Tomorrow I am interviewing Donna Cornett who is all about Moderation not abstinence. http://www.drinklinkmoderation.com is her site. She has 3 great books as well.

  53. Hello All

    I have been Reading this site for a good 6 Months. Without boring anyone I am still a member of AA. However since my last relapse almost two years ago My perceptions of the fellowship changed because of a few incidents. (I have been in AA since July 2006) (Stayed sober till Jan 2010 went one night came back next day) (Had a few drinks May 2010 memorial day just got buzzed) First time I went out everyone welcomed me back (even Oldtimers). Second time I came back went to meetings I noticed Nobody welcomed me back like last time (love and tolerance Found it on a milk carton) A few oldtimers came up to me and proceeded to call me a F*@k up but keep coming back. I was degraded by people that had less time then me (now more since I “Relapsed”) It seemed that alot of the stuff I believed came crashing down around me I was told to look in my part of being degraded and threatened. My part was just being there and not putting the cotton back into my ears. I have heard and listened to Massives shows and blogs, Read the Orange papers, stinkin thinkin and everything on the internet about AA and It’s founders.
    My dilemma with the fellowship/Grievances are:

    Too Many Cliques in the groups (AA says those perceptions are all in my head)
    Length of sobriety the more time you have the better a person you are(why are most of these oldtimers some of the most miserable people I have ever met?)
    The obsession to drink for the most part is gone (but I feel more like drinking and tying a few on after a meetings this has been going on for a few months. My sponsor says I need to do more service. Sorry that makes me want to drink too)

    I want to talk to people on sites like these because I am having difficulty leaving AA a good part of my friends are here. I know once I leave they won’t be friends any more. I am trying to build new friendships/hobbies/interests outside of AA
    My eyes have been opened I don’t see myself in the rooms for the rest of my life
    Look forward to hearing and talking to you guys/gals.

    • Pat C

      hi. and Welcome.

      Im going to bed now but I will get back to you ASAP tomorrow. I have some ideas I want to pass on to you.

      (why are most of these oldtimers some of the most miserable people I have ever met?) SO TRUE! I really saw this the last year.

      goodnight. “) hang in http://www.drinklinkmoderation.com she has a really good book. Donna Cornett

    • Welcome Pat C,

      The secret to staying off booz is really simple: know that its poison and when the thought of a drink occurs relate it to drinking any other poison (I typically use gasoline.) The thought of drinking occurs to everyone, not just people who drank too much at some point in their lives because alcohol companies pay a lot of money to plant those thoughts.

      That being said, I have had some interesting revelations recently
      1) I think back to my far too many years in AA and every time I think back to the people I knew, I come up with negative experiences. In fact the negative experiences outweigh the positive by about 4 to 1. At any given point in over 20 years in recovery, I has some brush with an asshole who made life unhappy. What’s comforting is that now that I am away from that environment, I don’t have those conflicts and my stress level has declined noticeably.

      Still there is a lot of pain from those experiences- and more than a little real harm too. I now have only 1 friend from AA left who calls me and that’s because he’s a real Christian, so he has standards on how to behave and be a good guy- AA doesn’t much offer those standards. But there are plenty of other good folks in the world, at work, and at church, and in my family. What is odd is that I now don’t miss the people in AA who I knew- because the vast majority (like 99%) weren’t friends at all but “fellows” (what ever that is) who showed up at the same meetings.

      None of them are worth my time. My goal is to join new organizations and do fun things. I love the idea of joining a fishing club for example.

      Life is too short for whining at an AA meeting every day.

    • HI Pat C.

      OKay, Im back.

      There is a new site called Recovering from Recovery created so we can talk to each other without trolls.
      I really needed to blog when I was leaving, then I left and I still love blogging.

      But truthfully , most in my old home group never call me. It’s a fake sense of intimacy. It’s not real. It can’t be real. There are a few good peeps. But 90% ….

      It ttakes time to deprogram

      • Thanks everyone for the wonderfull comments. I Know there are still some decent people in AA I know of one in church that is a true friend. My goal for recovery is to not drink. My drinking before I got to AA was pretty bad. However the isolation and loneliness. went away after I joined AA. My New 2 year anniversary will be June 1. Right now I still go to some meetings but avoid the ones where the serentity Hornets and “Happy, Joyous & Free” old timers hang out. Knowledge is power. I will check out recovering from recovery. Thank heavens for these forums. Most of the people in the rooms would tell me to do more service, look at my part in it and to keep coming back. The volume of people on Stinkin thinkin, Leaving AA and Orange Papers shows that this is not all in my head Like they say in the rooms. Thanks again for the space to vent. If you know a veteran thank him or her. While this country has it’s problems it still is the best on the planet. Have a great memorial day everyone.

        • PAT C – sorry I just saw this post. Glad you found us. I know …when I found Stinkin thinkin I was blown away. I was not alone anymore.

    • hello pat c,
      am sorry they are cold shouldering you now.
      And tryed to pull you down for haveing a few drinks.
      you stayed off drink for 4 years but thats forgotton
      if you relpase.4 years or 20 years -dont go for anything to them.

      I went AA 2001 – got off pills weed drink
      picked a sponsor who took me supposedly thru
      first 3 steps and put me onto my 4th-
      after about 2 weeks of her shouting at me
      when i phoned she said i was to call her regular
      her shouting at me in meetings “You dont talk you shut up i just speak”
      her pulling me around like i was a rag doll
      her demanding i go stay with her
      at her home-
      (I had and still have my own home.)
      anway after her and others and meetings
      and detoxing i drank-
      and when i did it was the worse drunk i ever had.

      i stayed out for a couple of weeks-
      when i went back my first sponsor said why did you drink
      why didnt you phone me-
      i told her the truth i said i didnt want to phone you and i wanted to drink.
      she banged a cup down on the counter and marched off-
      i followed her and said i dont want you to sponsor me-she shouted
      i was going to say that to you i was
      to get rid of you.
      After the meeting i sat alone drinking a cuppa-
      she stood
      with the other women and she pointed and wagged her finger
      (She had been doing that a lot in my face before i drank)
      she shouted “shes no fucking good her no fucking good”
      Not many spoke to me after that the women kept well away.
      I been in and out of AA/NA for 12 years now-
      i managed to get periods off one time for 4 years.
      I also put myself through further education did 7 years vol work sat degrees and NVQ
      got a job with mental health-
      also got other jobs –
      none of that counted with AA-
      infact they pulled me down for going into further education-
      doing vol work and doing payed work-
      my 4 years straight sober years didnt go for nothing nor
      any of my periods of clean sober time-
      nor did any good things i did or all the step work i did.
      I was continually treated as someone who didnt have it
      didnt get it wasnt doing it-
      yet each time i went back i tryed my best-
      First few years I was shunned by most everyone
      bar a few who gave me a few mins
      of there time -in or out of AA.
      One sponsor always talked –
      today i know that was for his
      selfish reasons-he was fishing me in -he told me he was my mate
      and would be all my life-but i know he wasnt a mate-but
      a stepper recruting.
      times i relapsed i would get one tx from him at times asking if i was okay
      i would say yes and that be that-
      if i bumped into him he would talk-
      So he did more than most there for me-
      as years went by
      oh yeh my aa friends did visit me at times-
      some men came to harrass me get at me
      one tryed to sexually abuse me
      sometimes they
      were drunk and sometimes sober-
      friendships for me in AA were nothing like friendships.
      the last time i went AA i asked that none of them speak to me again.
      So far i have walked right by the few i have bumped into-
      i looked straight through them like they werent there-
      (and those few didnt stop me or speak)
      i dont miss anyone from AA not one single person
      and i liked some of them.
      i never felt close to no one there.
      I have my children grandchildren and a couple of good old
      drinking mates from pre aa-
      they are better friends to me than anyone from aa ever was.
      im going to find some vol work to do (cant work no more)
      am also okay being alone-AA did teach me that -how to be alone
      LOL.
      I became cleabate after i went to AA (did nine years-wheres my sober badge
      for that one LOL)
      I like liveing alone now since aa taught me how to be a recluse-

      am really sorry for whats happening to you in there.
      They stay away from people who relapse
      incase it effects them-

      I dont care to be around any of them now incase they effect me.
      I do drink sometimes but
      dont drink anywhere near like i did 12 years ago-
      i go out to pub ocassionally
      infact i rekon i will stop altogether if i havent already-
      been a while since i did have a drink.

      hope things go okay for you.
      dont let them get to you.

  54. Massive, I recently found you and Orange Papers and all of the people I’ve been looking for. I am so happy that there are so many like-minded, free-thinking individuals. Peace to you.

  55. dont know if they have these houses in UK
    however when attedening NA and at over 1 yr abstinant
    of everything-
    They told me i didnt have the progrmme and would relapse and die if i didnt go
    into a womens dry house-
    this ment looseing my council home putting my child (she is an adult now)
    into care and giveing away my dog-moveing away from my family –
    i used weed after the meeting when i was told-
    relapsed-
    As it was i didnt go to this womens home and still live in my council house-
    that was around 10 yrs ago-
    if i had have went i may well have been evicted like some of the
    people in the posts were-
    then i would have been made homeless and lost my family sober-
    because i went to a womens dry house when i was over a year abstinant-
    these people take the piss or what!

  56. Hi, it’s great to read your site and others like it!!
    While the social aspect did help me briefly, there were too many things that gave me the willies.
    A sponsor who wanted me to come over and make her breakfast, who called me practically every day and wanted to advise me on my entire life.
    The whole repetition of the preamble, how it works, etc. before every meeting.
    I went to plenty of different meetings looking for one that fit. Made coffee, was a greeter, really gave it a shot.
    But I ended up feeling like “what am I DOING?!”.
    Their whole general attitude, the powerlessness aspect, the condescension, the insistence that any issues were MY problem, the 13th steppers, the old timers sniping at each other, my sponsor telling me my husband was bad….in fact that’s what really did it. She kept making disparaging remarks about my husband. For no reason that I could see other than the obvious; to drive a wedge between us. Well that ain’t happenin’. So, I quit going one day and have not been back.
    Thanks.

  57. Hi lem! Welcome. A sponsor who wanted me to come over and make her breakfast, who called me practically every day and wanted to advise me on my entire life.

    WOW. thats creepy and super controlling. Glad to hear you got away.
    I stayed drinking the koolaid for way too many years. But thanks to a family member I saw it all in a flash for the way it really was.

    I heard the preamble and said to myself. “thats all bullshit!”

    Then I listened to Chapter 5 with new ears and said to myself. ” OMG this is such bullshit too” AND OMG this is so damaging to hear this over and over again like a broken negative rat wheel. AND for the love of GOD… Bill was nuts and AA never did nor did Bill ever do any research.

    Yet they read the book outloud like it’s oh so special. GLad to hear you got away. Many kill themselves.

    PLease feel free to blog away and tell your story on the thread Why I left AA if you want.

    • Thanks massive, I will post over there!!
      Chapter 5, “How It Works”. I know, what a joke.
      Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who cannot and will not be completely honest with themselves and admit that AA is perfect and they are fucking losers who just don’t “get it” are doomed. LOL.
      It’s very sad that anyone would kill themselves over that bunch of nonsense. :( I had already read the Orange Papers and stuff before I went. I think whenever a person is court mandated to attend AA they should also be required to read the Orange Papers and “AA; Cult or Cure?” before attending.

      • Len,
        Good Idea. I have met some lawyers recently and I plan to go to the courts to talk to judges.

        If you click on tools here you can see my postcard that you can print that says “Is 12 step not working for you?”

        Gunthar and I did a radio show on Chapter 5 . Its very funny.

        http://www.blogtalkradio.com/safrecovery

        • Hi massive,

          I listened to your show on Chapter 5, great stuff!!
          Definitely people need to know that there are alternatives to AA out there if they want support in their endeavors to quit a substance abuse lifestyle, or alternatives for the referrals from the courts.
          The way the courts automatically sentence people to AA/NA meetings is counterproductive to say the least. When the stack of court slips to be signed is an inch thick and more than half those in attendance are just marking time, checking their cell phones and talking to their friends, we have to ask ourselves, WTF!!?? Also it brings a dangerous element into meetings such as the guy who ranted about how he just got out of prison and related to us about his crimes of violence….what this has to do with me ? NOTHING. That guy should not have been there. And it was one of the “nicer” city meetings. That’s the exception rather than the rule, most I have seen are on probation for alcohol and drug related charges but there’s always the odd few who really should NOT be there….so good for you, do you have a petition going about this, I’ll sign it.

          BTW I never did make that breakfast, in fact never set foot in her apartment again. :)

          • …..and I think if the 12 step commercial side of the house – those jails and institutions the book talks about LOL – needs to have the courts providing them with fodder for their bullshit mill then they should set up meetings that are strictly for those who are court ordered.

    • That’s a great question! I heard he asked for a drink at the end of his life too. Frankly, having watched him on video basically recounting the Big Book, with Lois, drinking coffee in his kitchen, he didn’t look too impressive. But he could recount the Big Book almost word for word. And he did look like a depressed intellectual. I keep coming back to the same conclusion: AA is helpful for newly sober people (IF they don’t fall afoul of the predators in AA) but once a person goes 1 year without craving a drink, they need to get out. For me that happened in year 5. If people stay, they eventually get hurt by AA predators AND they get depressed from “over programming” that is SOOO negative.

      • what is the video called ?
        would like to watch it.
        I didnt fall to the predators as such-
        in other words i didnt get raped or get into any sexual relationship
        while going to AA.
        However i was sexually abused first weeks there-
        and at other times.
        and had harrasment and stalking
        ( i would say an old timer grabbing me at bus station
        and as i shouted NO slapped his lips on mine
        and i had to struggle to get loose from his grip-and then constant bombardment of phone calls -takeing no notice of me asking for no more calls -ignoring me when i said dont call again-
        13 in one day-and five post cards through door in a day-is harrasment)
        was told by others and some of them women i did it i caused it.
        Dont take it seriously-
        tried to make light of it jokes said “YEH am surprised he still had it in him
        at his age.” he was older than me i was about 46 then
        he was about 75.
        It was my fault-everything was my fault.
        i gave him my number and went in his company-

        An old timer woman asked me to help this man-
        i was 10 months clean. sober.
        she said no one else understands his accent (he was Northern Irish)
        am a celt Scottish had Irish relatives-
        help this man this old timer with (9 years )
        as he is here from Ireland to make ammends to his
        family-
        help him find the meetings ect-
        so i gave him my number so he could contact to meet up to go meetings
        and before the instances i related started -he asked for my address as he
        was returning home and would like to send a
        post card to me to say thanks
        so i gave him that-
        he grabbed me later at bus station.
        I ran away-then calls and cards came.
        If he had been drunk i would have understood
        -maby doing this in blackout.
        If i had gave some indacation that i wanted this-but i really didnt.
        dont matter now it was a long time ago-
        am glad i dont go AA any more-
        i know things like this or worse can also happen outside of AA-
        but see i find it diffrent when i am drunk and someone else is
        to when am sober and someone else is-
        for one thing i feel the stronge fear-panic-
        also when people are very drunk- not that it makes it right
        but they dont know what they doing.
        Also this man had 9 years of supposedly working on his defects and behaviours and spirituality
        i wasnt new to AA at that time-
        but that was the first time in AA
        i had managed to get to 10 months clean
        and i hadnt did as much work on myself as he had-
        thats what i dont GET

  58. Leaving AA has been the best decision for me. I do a lot of thinking in my garden, and this feeling came over me yesterday… I kinda saw myself opening up a set of white french doors wide open — the sun is bright and almost-blinding, birds are chirping…and I’m walking outside, and suddenly I’m breathing the freshest, most fragrant air I have ever breathed and smelled in a long time. The scent of the air today pleases my senses in a way that is almost indescribable. It is nirvana, freedom, a whole new World for me! I never knew I could feel the way I have been feeling…

    I am finally my own person again.

    • Yay! I’m discovering how beautiful the fall is without being overcome with guilt from not being able to “get” the AA program. It’s very peaceful. I listen to good music, walk, clean my house and even had a pumpkin latte. I am implementing some of the mindfulness techniques I got in IOP and cleaning my mental house from the stupid AA stuff. Thank GOD I am away from the mindless endlessly smoking program people. Sometimes I feel lonely, but that’s when I pull out my knitting or get busy in the house. I am not working right now (struggling a bit with RA) but I think I am coping well with deprogramming. I’ve been out of the program for about 9 days. Glad I found this site :)

      • hi SG- I m glad you found us as well.:) Many of my new friends are bloggers all over the country, some in the UK as well.

        sg said “Out of the program 9 days!” It’s new for you to be gone then. I felt really really free then. Now Im just really grateful to be gone.

        I went out today as well and I enjoyed the fresh cooler air. It rained , then cleared up and the air was really beautiful. I have had some issues lately that have kept me not as free to move about as usual. But I am getting better. I love these blogs. I miss rfr and st. :( still….will they ever return….

  59. I can definitely relate when the writer mentioned you are filled with people chain smoking (gross) creepy old guys imposing on you and clearly mentally unstable people trying to give you advice. I want to be sober and recover and that is the reason why I choose to go to AA. The program I went to were filled with people who looked crazy, told me that I should attend multiple programs a day and felt like when I spoke or talked about my truth, they weren’t even listening to me.

  60. Hello–I work for an organization that does the complete opposite of AA and do not believe addiction is a disease. I was wondering how I can start blogging or even have people read our blog. We have tons of information on the damage done in AA and truly want to educate people that they can make empowering choices. I’d appreciate any tips on this! Ciao!

    • Yay Melissa! Welcome! Went to the site and found some very interesting things. Thank you for the link! I left 3+ months ago and have never felt so FREE. It’s nice to know the anti-aa sites are growing and multiplying. Hopefully aa will finally implode soon & folks will see it for the abusive cult it is.

  61. Hi Melissa. Welcome! Welcome! PLease put you link in here and tell us all about your help. Where you are , location address phone number. We want to help others connect to non 12 step help.

    you can also contact us directly at http://www.info@mysaferecovery.com …you will reach me privately there.

    Do you help people get over trauma caused by AA?

    • Melissa,

      Welcome! I would love to see the link and Im sure many others would. Good news!! Thank you.

      I left AA 2 yrs ago and know how difficult it can be. Many here have recently left or are in the process. Im sure they will be grateful for another site where there are individuals they can relate too.

    • Our organization is called Saint Jude Retreats with 3 locations in NY and 1 in Manhattan. Our website can be found at http://www.soberforever.net and the number is 1-888-424-2626

      Here is our blog: http://www.soberforever.net/addictionblog/

      Yes, we do help people overcome alcohol and drugs but not by providing treatment and we are NON-12 step. Our founders who had both been attending AA decided to do an extensive 10 year research project on AA and from this wanted to create an opposite program due to AA’s lackluster success rates, thus we were created. What we do is amazing and we don’t label, don’t judge we just help by encouraging people to make better choices in their life and we try to break down the walls of AA such as the “Addict for life.” But I would love to write a piece on it for your site because our Chairman has many stories about the dangers of AA. Also, I went to your site and it just says godaddy.com Thanks so much!!

      • i heard about st. judes and the clean slate guy before finding here. thats awsome what you guys are doing. thanks for posting and helping others to get out.

      • Hi there Melissa and thanks for posting the link to St. Judes, I heard the guy that set up the clean slate (don’t remember his name off the top of my head) on Massive’s radio show, he talked a lot of sense.

        I really got a lot out of this blog:
        http://soberforever.net/addictionblog/index.php/are-there-really-underlying-causes-for-addiction

        I always felt that there was somehow something that MADE me use as chaotically as I did. It got to the point in a 12 step rehab where I considered making something up as everyone else seemed to have been sexually abused, had miscarriages or some other hugely traumatic event that they pin pointed as the start of their “addiction”.

        I started drinking and drugging as a social thing, simple as that. My mates did it, i did it, some of them stopped, some didn’t, I didn’t stop. No trauma, no massive life event, no underlying issues (that has ever been identified by myself or any of the army of professionals that have been involved in my life). I seriously felt like some kind of misfit (as if I needed to feel anymore like that than I did already!) because I was missing this addiction igniting trauma, doh!

        It’s so refreshing to read stuff like this, thanks :)

        • HI Neiko! :) SO nice to see you here. It was great talking to you when I was at Gunthar’s. Where are you blogging these days?

        • Neiko- Steven Slate really speaks this message. I think it’s an important dialogue that must be had. I use to believe that it was an underlying issue. I had no other perspective. But Even before leaving AA I found it so refreshing to here this point of view. Especially from many men.

        • Thanks Nieko and ill , at the end of the day we really want to help more and more people, we got a terrible voicemail from I guess an AA woman, screaming in the phone, she said if we don’t change our advertising people will start dying and bad things will begin happening. I think she missed the point in our program which is to instill hope and empowerment. Sad:( Anyway sorry I did not respond sooner I didn’t realize I had any comments glad you enjoyed the blog nieko!!

    • Trauma. Yeah. I am seeing a new therapist. I told my meds Dr that I did NOT want to talk to ANY 12-stepping therapist, so I had to talk to the Director of Mental Health who is more medical/science-based. How refreshing! So at the last session a month ago, I guess, he asked why I wanted to see HIM, and so I told I left AA & that I also need to resolve some nagging things I’ve got inside about my mom & my childhood. And ya know what he said?? “So, we’re going to be talking about Trauma issues, right? From both AA and your mom?” And then it hit me. Yeah, AA was very traumatic with all it’s dogma, inconsistencies, LIES, pressure, you name it. I’m taking CBT sessions next month, and I look forward to speaking to a non-stepping therapist! Wheee!!! Be Freeeeeeee! Peace out, friends! :)

      • WOW Rainbow-

        You sound great. Interesting how we carry our message about how bad AA has gotten. SO many dont know. This weekend I had a friend over for a party and he was mentioning how his dad just went to AA. I should him my binder 2 inches think with news stories about AA and sex criminals and financial predators.

        He was shocked. But I told him to warn his dad. I was in AA too long. It’s taking me years to deprogram.

        • maybe any organization has the people you mentioned, the predators, the perverts, the ones who take advantage over others. Why then should A.A. be any different than any other.
          Also, what would it do to tell this to the father who wants to get help for drinking? What does telling him about the predators have to do with him possibly going to get help for Alcoholism

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  63. Hi!
    This is the first time I’ve ever posted anything ever anywhere.
    I actually did “stumble” across this site…eventually.
    About a month or so ago, I decided to type “bad experiences in A.A.” In the URL and see what happens. I got “A.A. Horror Stories”. From there I linked up w/ Orange Papers, then to Stinking Thinking and then here. Long story short.
    I’ve basically had experience w/ A.A. since high school. Was sent there through an out patient program after getting caught smoking pot at school.
    Only went to a few meetings. I came around again for about 3 mos. in 1999 and about 6 mos. in 2001. After that I was on a methadone program for about 9 years straight. I decided to walk off that in the spring of 2009 w/ the temporary help of Suboxone for 2 mos. to taper off the methadone.
    There’s way more to all this but basically I ended up going back to my first A.A. meeting in about 9 years because I had to go pee. I was near the Alano Club here and I figured that was as good a place as any. When I finally made it there the door was locked and the fella that answered told me they were closed after the morning meetings but they did open back up be for the noon ones. Huh. I pissed elsewhere.
    I ended up going back later anyway and I never forget sitting there and thinking “this is a delicate situation, it seems like more can go wrong here than right”. People complementing each other on their honesty and humility and at the same time honestly humiliating themselves. I sorta just went up there just to watch, like T.V.. I knew it was serious, shit I was coming off methadone and Xanax and….I’d been through a lot but I couldn’t help but see it as theatre. I hope I don’t offend anyone. I’ve shared that at A.A. meetings and they’d laugh but it’s the truth!
    I went almost every day, got a sponsor, got into “the book” and the steps, made coffee, chaired meetings…..”continued” in steps 10, 11 and 12…etc..
    I began to have some doubts just listening to the people in meetings “…go to meetings…or else, get a sponsor…or else, do the steps…or else… Then, “we’ll love you until you love yourself.” Then, “you need a check-up from the neck-up!”…
    It was like being in the presence of a parental figure who tells you they love you then slaps you across the room. Rinse, repeat.
    I was lucky that I’d been around in the past so I just asked someone I halfway trusted to take me through the steps out of the book, no bullshit. He didn’t seem too interested in becoming my new father figure and I didn’t have a phone to call him anyways (cell or otherwise). Basically, he heard a fifth step. And no, I didn’t “feel the nearness of my creator” afterword either. I can identify w/ the people I’ve read on here that tell about feeling they were not doing enough or not doing it right.
    I began to get concerned when I was getting more resentful than less and then feel guilty about it. Especially since most of it was directed at others in the “program”. Then feeling guilty about that! Uggggh!
    I personally haven’t had the sorta terrible experiences that I’ve read here but I’ve witnessed it.
    What really began to get to me was when a few others began to call me (I eventually got a phone) and tell me they were scared of their sponsor. Basically, from what they told me, they were being interrogated by this guy. Being told they were pathological liars and crap like that. It really disturbed me to hear that. It’s funny, the 12×12 talks about getting someone who’s apprehensive about a 4th step to do it. For the “prideful type” it suggests one “…finds a chink in their armor to let the light of reason shine through” and for the “depressive type” that they build them up and let them know they’re not as bad as they think they are. What I often ended up seeing was
    the “prideful type” finding the “depressive type” and finding a chink in their armor to let the light of reason shine through! Huh, group dynamics wins again. And that’s the thing, group dynamics in a group like that? Well, like I said, a whole lot more wrong can happen than right.
    I feel embarrassed that I parroted the B.B. in meetings and walked away knowing deep down it was bullshit. When I was honest w/ myself I knew that all I was really doing was looking for was acceptance and approval. Period-paragraph. As I sit here I’m thinking “who’s fault is that? Didn’t I put myself in a position to get hurt?” It’s gonna take me awhile to get this guilt complex out of my head. I remember one of those guys w/ the dick sponsor said one night on the phone that he didn’t even know who he was anymore. That really tore at me.
    I ended up drinking after 21 mos. and I thought a lot about that. I felt like a fool. If I really said what I wanted to say in those meetings they’d run me out of there w/ torches and pitchforks! …or some well meaning advice. uggggh! I guess this is a good place to do that. Honesty isn’t allowed in A.A..
    I will hopefully share more of my experiences down the road.
    In reading Stinking Thinking I came across a Wikipedia link on “cognitive dissonance”. That began to explain my dilemma. I was going against my own truth. ME!!! No wonder I felt so nervous and self conscious.
    Self examination? I remember reading “Cutting Through Spiritualism” by Chogyam Trungpa. In it he talks about self analysis. He likened it to a monkey in its cage, climbing on the bars, examining them trying to get a better definition of its own captivity. I read that and realized I needed to put the whip down…the steps!
    I have plenty more to say but I’m beginning to feel like I’m in a meeting and I’m just “rambling on”, as they say.
    I feel like there’s some like minded people here. I’ve never posted anything anywhere before so this is all new to me.
    I’m also going to a SMART meeting tomorrow to see what that’s about.
    Spiritual teachings helped bring me out of where I was at, but I don’t want A.A.’s spiritual solution. I’d rather go to a non-spiritual meeting and keep my own spiritual practice to my self. Call me “shellfish and self centered” but if the shoe fits and it’s comfortable…well, that’s enough for now.

  64. Andrew,

    Thank you so much for posting. I havent laughed so hard in some time. The sad part is, everything you said is so true. OMG, without a doubt; AA makes life more complicated than it already is.
    The should call it Analysis Anonymous!

    Thanks again, :-)

  65. ANdrew- and tell me they were scared of their sponsor. Basically, from what they told me, they were being interrogated by this guy
    These are the kinds of subtle things happening everywhere at meetings that are not necessarily criminal, yet if he were a therapist he really would be out of line. What I see now is that one could now sue an AA member for practicing medicine and giving that kind o advice. As well as this horrible practice that many AA sponsors do.

    But what I want to say to you is

    this is a really great “share” LOL not kidding, but really you have found a group like yourself right here .

    I am really glad You found us. I hope to hear from you again and if you drink ( we dont use the word slip here :) ) again we don’t judge. Its not my business. You are a grown adult. Not that AA members care about that as they boss each other around and ask nosy questions ad infinitum.

    • Yep, obviously there’s more overt stuff that happens like the 13th stepping, physical assaults and financial scams but to me the subtle psychological aspect of it sets the stage for all the the overt stuff to occur in the first place.
      Scary!

  66. Hey,
    I went to a SMART meeting yesterday and and most of the people there were being mandated for meetings.
    One guy was complaining that at his outpatient treatment center won’t recognize SMART.
    I was quick to point out that they can’t do that.
    I read somewhere in these sites that A.A. has been deemed a religion by some branch of our government.
    Is this true?
    I so, what branch?
    I live in Oregon, so is this one of the states that it’s illegal to mandate speciffically A.A. in?
    If anyone out there knows, that would be nice.
    I liked the meeting. Less structured than A.A.. What a relief!
    Oh, and it was nice to have a halfway “normal” conversation w/ another person that was there afterwards. Again, what a relief!

  67. Hey to all former and now fellow non members of AA, so called fellowship. I am in South Western Ontario Canada. I was going on 10 months sober. I was a member of AA. I am gay , and proud. AA throws it’self out there as being an “honest program, a program of ACTION”. A program that prides it’self on AA the good. ” Get a sponsor, Write down your resentments, the 90 meeting schpiel. and so on” Get active, sponsor says, you can’t get active, work on your steps. Not on my watch are you doing service work, but preaches, service work, you can’t read preamble, but you should get active. I started to cite AA “liturgy” like a complete and utter idiot, I was honestly like a robot. Powerlessness, un managability according to who? Appease? Fark that. Every meeting, I would do as I was TOLD, get a sponsor, stick with the winners, Sponsors I could get honest with to tell my story, and secrets to and my resentments, don’t forget that, we are angry. The gossip runs rampid in AA, fark that, Amends, do these dough brains realize Trauma, Childhood sexual Abuse, along with many other forms of abuse, make amends, we learned to survive and cope. Not crying the blues here. Religion, who are we not remembering in the picture here. ? Here where I am from, we have a large Muslim community, this community as many other non christian communities, have that right to access such groups, But the blatant Christian, evangelical overtones of AA, chases various communities from the rooms. BS, higher power as we understand him. How many relationships are started in AA??? “oh we met in these rooms” I experienced homophobia at it’s best, the rules. Don’t start a relationship in AA the first year in, never the less, not in AA according to your sponsor. I see it all over the place. I was sober 5 years w/o AA. Why I went back, I dont know. If you look good, youu have an advantage, the drunk from the streets, that wants what AA has, gets rude looks, the lady with parkinsons, participates in these meetings, by reading, is mocked. Myself, emails from district office, about starting a gay positive meeting, re starting sorry, emails NOT answered. Women with women, men with men, where is this stated in sponsorship rules. I don’t relate to a hetero sexual woman in her life experiences, they are the first to tell me they are straight, like I care. I only came out, because that is who I am, not going to lie, not going to change she with he, any time soon lol for someone else’s comfort level. I am NOT in those dang rooms to pick up like the 13 steppers are, I WAS THERE TO get SOBER. The hell and tears I went through, with words told to me by the Jesus ,Mary and Josephs of AA. My self esteem went down, friends outside AA who respected my sobriety, saw a change and not for the good, isolating, crying, sadness, feelings af aloneness, saying I Was on the AA dry drunk, bc I asked questions. I spoke up, I didn’t show up, to the groups, I went out and consciously went out, sipping 4 sips of a pint of beer. Cliques, gossip, anonymity being broken, judgement, old timers thinking if I dont get sober through this program I will be in jail, psych wards. OH, GET THE FARK over yourselves, talk about egos and vanity. Cultish BS, I wanna live sober yes, by my own HEALTHY means, I can for sure know what healthy is FOR ME. I don’t need the effing jamoborees, round ups, count downs, etc… to get sober. I am a Social Worker, all the stories recently prior to leaving I have heard, I have the duty to report, it is an anonymous program. And do the stories change, depending on who listens. Predators, non AA’s lurking and trolling vulnerable members, new ones for what ever reason. Damn, I was one of the lucky ones!!

    • Hi Chris! Thanks for the intro. As a social worker what do you think of the sexual predators being mandated to the same rooms as minors? Should this not be of a major concern to child advocate groups and Child Protective Services? I do not understand why NOBODY on a higher is not addressing this.

    • Chris- WOW well said. Welcome again. I just read this. It seems there is a movement with in the real world to leave AA yet our entertaiment and media keep promotinh it like it is osmething new and safe. What a joke. But true AA is very dangerous in more ways then one.

      As you stated here about taking sips and their judgement Im glad you found us. Are there any SMART RECOVERY meetings in your city. There are daily SMART meetings online every day now.

      Maybe one way we can change things is if someone like yourself went on to the Muslim community and Promoted Smart or SOS meetings. This way they can be educated that there is something else besides AA and that also less people to begin with will even go to AA.

  68. I can’t answer to the predator, as a human being, not a social worker, it scares me, very much. As a social worker AA has NO right to be taking on that responsibility or the courts should have NO right being MANDATED into AA, in Canada, I do not beieve that can happen, 12 Step treatment facilities are a wide spread joke, soo AA’s BS about….There are no dues or fees for AA membership, we are self supporting through our own contributions.

    AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes…….AA has foster affiliation to treatment centres. I am talking about people preying on the vulnerable people coming through the doors. As a AWkr, my concern is hearing a story speaker, then prior a few weeks earlier this woman tells me she had zero custody…abuse…I have the duty to report abuse. to the authorities..anonymity is the “spiritual Foundation” of all their affairs….Crock of shit….speakers almost seem like paid tony robbins stuff…….. regurgitated crap sounding like script….telling us (speakers) about getting wealth from the jail cell to the wealth bc he turned his life around, if weren’t for AA this could not have happened. I was at a camp out, my first AA function this summer 2012…I associate campting with drinking, new to sobriety again after years of being out drinking….near Toronto ( 6 mo’s sober at this time) i got triggered, ran to the car packnig up with my partner also an AA ( not any longer,….) ..thinking I was going out to drink…triggered up set …thinking these people were scary nuts……one woman told me ‘ YOU WILL go out be suicidal, end up in a “mental ward”” I was feeling I had escaped..something…had not come to this conclusion about control…….we took off to toronto, ended up at an AA meeting 5 more months in the program, homo phobia, BS, gri reeping stories from speakers….crying and isolating at night…..dreading meetings but going……..I finally got it they are nuts….felt sick to my stomach seeing certain members….ANONYMOUS BF’N S…..GOSSIP< BULLYING<ALONE…..there you go…. I am not here to do anything else but get the F out of this 12 step thinking and mindset…Canada AA oyyyyy

    • Hi CHris welcome! :)
      I will read this tomorrow and get back to you. I was out to dinner with friends and was out all day getting ready for thanksgiving. Og how nice to be free from having to attend AA meetings. Seems like AA in Canada has its problems too.

      Although I am still planning my protesting the movie “FLIGHT” and filming it with murder victims parents. this crap needs to be exposed big time.

      Blog away and know that more will not be revealed here LOL!!!

    • Chris- sorry to hear all this. I had someone I knew well who killed himself last summer. He was in AA for 18 or so years. Abt many of that time. He was gay and hit on 13 stepped many times when he was young and new by mr oldtimer AA guy back when. Then when my freind comes back with mental problems he gives him the cold shoulder and gossip galore.

      But my friend is too brainwashed and beleives that he is powerless and cant get help in other programs cause he doesnt even know they exist until I tell him asa I am learning about the other options besides AA. SMART< LIFERING RATIONAL RECOVERY < SOS< WFS< although now I just promote SMART ANS SOS AND HARM REDUCTION AND doing it on the ingernet while reading a good non AA book.

      I have a radio show that you might like. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery

      I left AA after many years. I am very free now.

  69. AA we use the worls wide office, partner and I just read about the washingtonians and oxfords. Scary shiet. Yep, we identical to US. world wide service, all our stuff came from NYNY

  70. Well the camp thing was like some camp evangelical crusade lol. I knew I wasn;t going to end up in a hospital room, or suicidal, that’s what AA woman told me I would go do if I did. Also, my partner, said maybe they weren’t god for me, better if I were single. Ahh NO…….I don’t take BS, and was realizing I was being played with emotionally, usually I am quicker that….glad to be out and happier….WFS group here talk about New Life Program – 4c’s reading. sounds familiar. Aceptance Statements…lol I dunno…any how cool for me, feel like I am being de programmed. We, my partner and I put all our AA readings and so , in the cat and dog droppings…down the garbage shute

  71. this is not about bashing AA, this is about people being affected from the treatment, and programming , in the negative by AA World Wide. I am not saying these things in all, to make people laugh, some is, but at the time,it may have been, There are others.

    • No. Not in the sense that she is in SOS. I have been to some meetings to see what they were like. If you search in youtube for Los Angeles TImes Puff Piece about AA you will find a video I made.

      Im glad to hear you are doing fine without AA et al!

  72. really, my reason was to share my thoughts about why AA did not serve me well. I am no fan, will not advocate to anyone to go, thus I am doing exactly what step 12 does, RECRUITS. MY thing is, not mentioning. no advertising is the best. I have my own choices to make, abstain, or moderation w/o the so called assistance off AA. It is not serving me after reading responses to continue this ranting on here, But to go out and play tennis, visit friends, wellness activities. What I wrote was my experience, not something to be laughed at. If I want to be laughed at, bullied shit like that, I may as well go to AA, which in my thought, utterly nauseates me, the thought of it…thanks, but no thanks

    • Who was laughing at you, Chris? I think massive simply found your story of dumping AA literature down the chute amusing.

      I’m sorry, but the whole misspelling-rambling post-take offense thing you’ve laid out here has a trollish air to it. I could be wrong, but I have a bit of experience in forums like these.

      Just sayin’

      • The best troll I believe I ever encountered was Mr. AA.(aka Chris on ST, towards the end). He came on like a voice of reason that still enthusiastically support the concept of AA. However when prodded on his beliefs (especially via sarcasm) he became mean as a viper. I almost thought at times that there were two people posting under the same handle. At times he was all Buddhist spiritualism and at others he was Tony J with a run in his stockings.

        It does seem that the trolls have found this site. The pattern appears to be that the same small group of people try to apply a writing style that is not their own, which in turn makes the content of their posts seem even less credible. The best defense is waiting them out. Like all true AA members they lack patience beyond impulses that hover in the region of their nose tip. But they do come back.

    • Chris- Who was laughing at you ? What are you talking about ? Im agreeing with you . It was a really good link. I watched it again. I hadnt seen that in years!

  73. Oh wowzaa! This is the best day of my life, (besides leaving AA of course) finding you guys!! I was in AA for a little over 7 months and I am so f ing glad I am gone! I started noticing I was changing…for the worse, losing self respect, second guessing everything that I was saying, thinking…basically driving me insane with the cult BS! But now the real work begins… I just celebrated my 23 birthday last Wednesday my first glass of wine since going to AA, it was fabulous, but I still have the cult sayings in my head… how did you guys deal with it… I do have to say though, those “AA Old timers” really think they are something, I had to deal with too many creeps in there. A few of them “went back out” because of me. Geez Im engaged and I have two boys, they are something else….

    Looking forward to this blog!!

    • Kristin- OMG OMG I am so happy to see you here. I went to AA very young 18, but left 19 months ago but who is counting? LOL

      You are so fortunate to realize its a cult so early. We all deprogram in different ways, but its a good idea to read other sane literature like http://www.orange-papers.org http://www.expaa.org and go to the deprogramming page. Also blogging.

      Harm reduction , moderation approaches instead of abstinence based programs like Hams Harm Reduction, http://www.drinklinkmoderation.com Dee Dee Stouts book on Harm REduction, The TRUTH ABOUT ADDICTION and RECOVERY by STANTON PEELE, Ph.D.

      read the pages on the http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com site.

      I blogged for a year and tried to make AA safer from the inside. Finally I left ….they are way too stubborn and arrogant and dangerous.

      Again Welcome.

  74. Yay! A fellow comrade joining the troupes! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Yehaw!!
    Your excitement makes me smile real big! And like massive said — you got out early!!! I left 6 months ago. AA lied. Since leaving, I am happy happy happy today.

    The solution to my problem was real simple — LEAVE AA!!!!

    • hi rainbow!!!! SO nice to see you here!!! Yea she is lucky to have escaped the cult so soon. SHe is smarted then I was. Its okay cause my years makes me able to make my film about the crap going on in AA and exposing it. yea yea yea:)

      Love your pic.

  75. Hello.. My name is Carla. I really want to leave AA and have the best sponsor, friend in the world.. but am afraid of hurting her feelings. I had a drinking problem for about 5 years after I lost my parents. I got introduced to wine from a group of friends.. and they convinced me that I should come out with them and have wine once in a while.. and then told me which ones to buy to have at home etc.. and low and behold.. I was drinking wine daily.. and one day.. decided that I don’t want it anymore and stopped on my own. After the day I stopped.. I went to an AA meeting.. and after about 3 weeks or so.. in AA.. someone convinced me I should get a sponsor. I didn’t accept at first.. and then later accepted when one approached me. I told her I didn’t want to stop having a beer on occasion.. I just wanted to not drink wine again.. (which is what I had the problem with). I have done some control drinking on and off with beer as for years I have had beer before and after a workout and sometimes.. 3 on weekends. Not in a row.. and not to get drunk! I have been in AA for a little over a year now.. and have done 10 steps.. but I really don’t think I want it any more. I do admit that I have had some “spiritual awakenings” during this time and it did feel good to get my amends out of the way. But I don’t want to give up having beer at times.. and am not abusing it or getting out of hand with it. How do I tell my sponsor I no longer want AA after she vested all this time with me without making her upset? Please help. I really don’t want AA any more.. and feel like I am stuck there. I quit the wine on my own.. and just walked in by myself without court orders or being told that is where I needed to be. The choice was mine to join.. and now I want the choice to leave.

  76. I am also worried that because I have been in AA for over a year.. the people I have met will no longer want anything to do with me once I leave. Please help!

  77. Look around the room and decide; do you want to spend 20 years in AA before you figure out that it’s a cult like religious abstinence group? I did and now I drink from time to time; no disease, no relapse, and no segregation from mainstream society. Your sponsor is so nice but won’t have anything to do with you when you leave. What does this tell you? Could this be a love bomb? Could the sponsor be getting something from you, validation, and self importance?
    Go to the Orange Papers and read all about AA. Consider educating yourself and MAKE YOUR OWN BEST DECISION. Also remember that it isn’t a closed ended question. You can educate yourself about the dangers of AA attendance as well as the LIES and generalities the program may push on you and still go. I personally would never join a group and stay without being aware of the drawbacks and potential for danger. But then again, I hate AA because it damaged me as much as it helped.
    Also, if your name is really Carla Fandrich, anyone (or your sponsor) can Google you and read your post.

  78. CARLA. you owe them nothing. I would rather see you leave then do what I did and stay for 3 decades believing I was in a fellowship When really its a cult and AA has become very dangerous. Listen to your gut ! AA will tell you to listen to someone else. Like a sponsor. WHy should you be listening to a stranger tell you how to live your life. Only in a cult would an adult do this.

    Inside you know what to do. I would tell them the truth. Then you will see how not openminded they are , how rigid they are and how its their way or the HIGHWAY!!! Keep Not Coming Back to AA.

    PLease keep us updated how it goes for you.

  79. Happy Holidays to everyone posting here. I found this site through some googling around. I understand where Carla is coming from in a sense. I know that I need to leave AA as well, but it’s under difficult circumstances. Reading sites like this one has helped me so far, but I have decided to finally speak up.

    This isn’t a speaker meeting and this had been a rather tiring
    Christmas so I won’t go into too much detail right now.

    I knew what I was getting into joining the program almost a year ago.
    I grew up in an AA family. I will never know whether alcoholism is really
    genetic or I was just brainwashed through a generation. I’ve considered
    devoting part of my life to answering that question.
    After a couple of years of trying different methods, scaling back,
    moderation, failed abstinence through at-home programs like RR,
    I decided at the age of 25 that they had finally won…I was “an alcoholic”.
    I am 26 now…I went into it with a grain of salt…but that salt has grown to
    into quite the bitter, unhealthy pile.
    I have the usual laundry list of reasons for wanting to leave,
    perhaps I will go into further detail one day but for now I won’t bore you.

    Yet…I find it difficult to leave. Sure I have maintained sobriety
    from alcohol for the longest time through the program, and I’ve
    worked the steps, but I really think it has more to do with the
    initial environment of sober people. I remain a brilliant actor, pushing
    the steps when I am afraid who might be listening, and who
    might judge me. Essentially I am a fraud.
    A sick investigative journalist It’s caused a rift in my
    entire being.
    I was really ready this time…a lust for life has kept me sober,
    a lack of desire to drink. AA caught me in the clutch of that,
    when my mind was too “open” perhaps…sigh…
    If I left and stayed where I am it would cause serious rifts
    in my family, even the community, heads would explode.
    Let alone if I left, continued to not drink, and explained to
    them the reasons why…
    Ever see that movie “Scanners”?
    Courage is one thing but I too, like Carla, am afraid
    of hurting people.
    So I feel stuck in the position of not being able to
    leave until I can travel, or move. For now, websites
    like this give me solace…and hope.
    I do have a sense of wanderlust in me…always have,
    so if anything it will give me extra motivation to get
    the f–k out of here!

    All the best to you and yours this season!

    • Bri- Welcome- Im sorry I didnt see this till now. I was busy during Christmas , Cooking etc , family …lucky me ..I am long gone from AA now 20 months and I was the MOm in AA and now I am a MOM out of AA and my kids ages 22 and 18 say they like me much better not being a wacko stepper mom. LOL

      I can feel your pain across the internet. I hope you can figure it out and be yourself. When I read your post it really looks like a cult. If you could step back and really see your situation objectively ….wow …poor Charlie Sheen. martin Sheen has been in AA a long time and his TV Producer is in AA. WFT …but even Charlie made his escape and he is drinking moderately I hear. (Don’t quote me please).

      All I can say is that I am really sorry you feel so stuck. We had a young 24 year old blogger, Ryan, that came from a stepper family. Both He and his sister committed suicide in one year. Imagine that horror story for a parent. You can hear me interviewing him on my blog talk radio show Safe Recovery http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery The interview took place Nov 1 , 2011, we even had a sick pro stepper call in and on live radio made fun of Ryan’s sister Sarah who had just committed suicide. That part of the story is documented on the front page of the once busiest anti AA blog http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com .
      There you will find over 5000 entries of how and why people are leaving, or have left AA. I even documented my leaving there as I left…..

      I was once a parent who spewed AA rhetoric to my sons. But no more. ALso if you want …you can go to the thread at the top Why I Left AA and find the last post and tell us the whole story there. Trust me…we will not be bored.
      personally I think we should teach all 1st DUI’s and youth about Moderation Management.

      Again glad to see you here and be kind to yourself.

    • Bri- Hi! Sorry to hear all this. I was recovering last year when you wrote this from a serious operation, but I am re reading these posts looking for posts to use in my Documentary. I stopped when reading yours. :( It seems if you were just in a Church you would never be thinking this way…you would simply stop going or change churches. So what does that say about AA, your family and your community…to me it says its a cult. It pretends its something more simple and laid back …but really…its not. I hope you are fine and have moved away and moved on. makeaasafer@gmail is my contact.

  80. p.s. I have never been to an S.O.S. or SMART Rec meeting. The closest SMART is 40 minutes away. As my life comes back together through continually abstaining (regardless as to whether I am an “alcoholic” or have a “disease”, I know alcohol isn’t for me) I hope to be able to make it out there and check it out once a week. A De-Program as I prepare to leave this perhaps dangerous dare-I-say Cult-Program called AA.

  81. Hi thank you so much,I am not alone or destined to die insane if I leave AA.I have spent 12 years of my life in this miserable existance in the AA fog of lies.I took a wee drink and guess what I’m fine,eight years of miserable sobriety listening to endless bullshit storys of negative storys booo hooo.I still can’t get away from them,hey havnt seen you in the meetings are you ok?Yea I’m happy and fine thanks,hmmmm denial he’s sick he’s not on the program.No I aint sick,I’m free of idiots like you,I even went back just to see if I was right and guess what I was misersble again,good bye AA,goodbye forever,run ,run,run.

    • I *smile* a lot more these days when I see one. Doesn’t matter if I’m happy or grumpy. I *want* them to see just how calm, relaxed, happy, and full of LIFE that I am today….without those emotional-vampires. They can’t fathom that we are uber-mega-HAPPY, now that we left them.

  82. Hi IAN! Great post. You make me smile as I read … I agree. Lies, lies , lies …..like ‘first you take the drink, then the drink takes you ”

    really ?

    Another one. ” the disease is progressing even though you quite drinking” so even if you are sober 25 years, if you “pick up alcohol again” you not only dont leave off where you stopp….your disease has been progressing all these years”

    WTF????
    When I first heard this when i was young I thought to myself…..these guys are nuts. I should have ran then. Oh well….I am free now.

    So Ian Welcome!!!!

    • >> your disease has been progressing all these years

      Noooo way. I have argued with folks on this one for decades.
      What’s been really happening since you were 25 or 34 years old, is that your BODY got older and is getting older — and when we’re 42 or 72, of course alcohol might (and does) affect our older bodies in a harder way. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, I told my sponsor. 😉

  83. I (wasted) spent several years in Assholes Anonymous. Fortunately I dwell there no longer…but unfortunatelty, despite the dogma there are many good (naive) people in the rooms. AA dogma is also perpetuated by genuinely good and well intentioned (I’ll be it lost) people; and I stayed long enough to meet someone who I grew to love…but as reality dictates we could not live together apart (from the rooms). It truly makes me sad that I had to let this lady go….when it came down to chosing between her and AA or me, I had to chose me. I would rather be alone than amonst sick people in “recovery”. That is true freedom.

    • Hi Dan,

      I believe you made the best decision for yourself. I couldnt disagree that many in AA are well intentioned. Unfortunately; well intentioned, mislead, narrow minded people in your life can cause you grief. Im sorry for your loss but some of us have a mind of our own.

  84. Dan that’s hard to do , but aa speak makes me crazy now, it’s just so …dumb, I think like sue said, you have made the right decision …you have ur mind u are no longer brainwashed . Again I’m sorry for ur loss!

  85. Can someone comment on whether or not NA is just as bad as AA? I’m recovering from a pill addiciton and of course was instructed to go to 12 step meetings. They tell me in NA that I can never drink again (even though alcohol was never a problem) or I’m not following the program. I get why they say that, but can it really be one size fits all? I really believe that I can eventually drink socially, but they tell me that’s addict-thinking. I’m confused. Also, they tell me that I can also go to AA if I need to “get in a meeting” and it’s the only thing available, but that I have to identify myself as an alcoholic…not an addict. I never drank alcoholically, but I have to identify myself as one? I’m so confused….

    • Kate- Yes NA can be as bad. Are you in a major city? If you are SMART RECOVERY is almost in every city, but if you have just a pill addiction and want to drink normally and probably can, you may wanna check out moderation management or hams Harm Reduction. All three of these programs have daily meetings online.

      After over 3 decades in AA and about 10 years I went to NA in Hawaii for god knows what…I smoked pot as a teen…I would stay away from all 12 step programs. They are not safe. They have become very controlling and culty and maybe in the beginning feel like they help but there is a catch….Nothing is for free ….

      You can go to my older blog http://www.stop13stepinaa.wordpress.com and read the horror stories there about both programs.

      I think NA Service Structure is saner but the program is still based on powerlessness.

      you said . “Also, they tell me that I can also go to AA if I need to “get in a meeting” and it’s the only thing available, but that I have to identify myself as an alcoholic…not an addict. I never drank alcoholically, but I have to identify myself as one? I’m so confused….”

      I say …why would you go to an AA meeting call yourself such a negative thing as an alcoholic when you are clearly not. Why would you lie about yourself like that. AA is filled with predators of all kinds now. And that includes many guru type oldtimers that are so full of shit it nots funny.

      Let us know what works for you ….I wish you well. keep blogging all you want.

      • Kate,
        I think NA and AA can help a person arrest a problem and achieve an abstinent period. 12 step programs are strong social lifelines that can help you obtain initial clean time so you can make decisions not influenced by substance dependence. The problem for me was that I began to abuse the programs and become dependent on the groups. I went into AA dependent on alcohol and departed dependent on AA. Today I work on self reliance with the use of tools, plans, deductive reasoning, science, and whatever else I feel is beneficial. Today I don’t deny myself anything; drinking, an occasional meeting, harm reduction, MM, and the like are all part of my sustainable program.

        The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders breaks harmful alcohol use into two categories; alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.

        I noticed that my alcoholism was characterized by alcohol abuse which became alcohol dependence.

        I now see that my use of AA escalated to AA abuse and eventually turned into AA dependence.

        I would define AA abuse as;
        1. A maladaptive pattern of AA abuse leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one or more of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:
        – Recurrent AA use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations (neglect of children or household).
        – Recurrent AA use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (being exposed to criminals or sexually charged persons, conducting business with other members).
        – Continued AA use despite persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of AA (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of meetings or fraternizations. Sponsor/ sponsee tensions arising out of interpersonal control).

      • Kate,
        You said. “Also, they tell me that I can also go to AA if I need to “get in a meeting” and it’s the only thing available, but that I have to identify myself as an alcoholic…not an addict. I never drank alcoholically, but I have to identify myself as one? I’m so confused….”
        I may drink on Monday and go to a meeting on Tuesday. I identify as having a desire to stop drinking which I do have at that instant. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking, you do not have to be alcoholic, you do not have to stop forever.
        Unfortunately the AA/NA programs are full of narrow absolute “truths” that can be dangerous if adopted. A truly open mind is willing to examine all possibilities. If you do go to AA/NA, remember you are there to use them, do not let them use you to further their cause or otherwise.

        • Anon,

          Wow, two great post/comments. I agree with everything you said. When they say:

          “The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking, you do not have to be alcoholic, you do not have to stop forever.”

          Unfortunately, thats not the case. If you choose not to label yourself; they wont throw you out of the meeting. However, they have a way of making you feel obligated and very uncomfortable if you choose to be private. Anyhow, you covered some very important points.

          • If I go, it’s for me and not them. I am the only one that can “make me feel”, so, when I state that I have a desire to stop drinking, it is sincere. It is they that prescribe to untrue beliefs and AA tradition violations, not I. They are the uncomfortable for they violate their own constitution. Try though they may to turn it around, the truth of the situation derails their attempt.

          • Its true what you say. However, I personally just found it very frustrating to be myself and sincere in those rooms. I experienced a lot of critisism for that; some subtle and some not so subtle. Being outnumbered can wear on you; depending where your at in your life. In my case; eventually it boiled down to: “why am I putting myself through this”.

        • Low benefit High cost! I love it (-:

          Im all for going to a meeting if you feel the need; especially if you are caught up in a daily alcohol abuse cycle and havent learned other tools. Just dont expect to feel all comfy and accepted when/if you dont go with the flow.

  86. Hi Kate… WHEW! I went to my last meeting about a month and a half ago…And all I can say is that AA is a Mix-Master for the Mind…authors of CONFUSION all of them. They will have you Bass Ackward Crazy before you know it if you listen to them too much…

    Try SMART as Massive suggests…

    Makes way more sense…

    Be well.

  87. Haven’t commented in a while. I got one year abs on Jan 9th. No coin, cake, sponsor, steps. I just don’t drink. Still hit a meeting every once in a while. True believers largely ignore me, which is fine with me. AA did help initially but now it’s screwing with my common sense. Most of those folks are freaking nuts. Happy new year.

    • Mike,

      Congratulations on one year! I think it is important that we all do what we feel is necessary at the time. If those choices prove to be wrong in the long run, then we move on. Personally, I believe AA messed with my common sense. Im sorry its that way and I think it could be different; but I dont have the power to change it. Happy New Year to you too!

    • Congrats on the one year mark Mike of abstinence!
      I hope 2013 proves to be a good year for you.

      AA does not make sense, that is why it messes with peoples common sense! It does not compute!

      I heard Charlie Sheen the other night doing an interview with Pierce Morgan that the people who ran two and a half men were AA Nazi’s!

  88. Congrats Mike!

    In NA they say ” we are people in the grips of a disease who must abstain from all drugs in order to recover.”
    But they don’t abstain from nicotine, caffeine and antidepressants. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think they should abstain from those drugs if they don’t want to … But I just feel like they are contradicting themselves….

    • Actually AA does discourage taking meds for mental health. In fact many suicides are attributed to the practice of AA and NA members telling members to go off their meds.

      It is sad about all the smoking in AA and NA. There is much written on the fact that many 12 steppers die early from diseases related from smoking. ALOT!!! many go in as non-smoking then become smokers too.

      • AD . Its true …there are hundreds of suicides in AA because they play Dr and therapist in AA. I know 2 people personally who were also so bullied and made fun of for drinking again and they killed themselves.
        I heard there was a lawsuit in NY 2 -3 years ago for a suicide. It was told to me that AA paid out 2.5 million in an out of court settlement. We can’t find it online, however if you live in NYC and are reading this, you can just walk into the main courthouse there and ask if there are any lawsuits against AA on file.

          • ok wackjob – there are thousands who have killed themselves because of AA 1935 nonsense.

            The AMA is controlled by steppers. AA got into Harvard and Mass General in 1944 when they had no cure. So AA came along and entered a vacuum.
            they never left American Medicine and those Mother fuckers have single handedly stopped good modern medicine from really studying addiction and looking at it in a scientific and or mental health issue. AA has even high jacked that profession. Now get the Fuck off my site. and don’t come back.

      • AD – now that you mention that, I remember going to an AA meeting 5 years ago (I’ve been on this journey for about 13 years now) and in fact, a member of the group came and whispered in my ear before the meeting that only people who were home group members could speak. So I stayed quiet and listened. I heard the members talk about secrets and abstinence and how they had absolutely no secrets from each other. In fact, it was kind of frightening how much emphasis they placed on the secret thing. Anyway, after the meeting, the woman who creepily whispered in my ear came and told me that I could become a home group member only if I was completely clean of all mind-altering substances. I said, “I am – the only thing I take is Prozac.” and she went on to say, “We do not allow our members to take antidepressants, but we’ll help you get off them.” I couldn’t believe my ears….how could they play doctor like that? I reported the meeting to the AA main office, but they kind of blew me off. I was going to AA because people in my city told me AA was stronger than NA here. I am glad I chose not to do that – I for sure would have been suicidal.

        Thank you for the comments. I am really learning a lot here and Massive – LOVE your radio show. I listen to it while I walk my dog in the mornings. I live in Indianapolis, and we have one SMART recovery meeting here on Wednesday evenings that I’m going to check out.

    • kate – Thank you. I’m glad you enjoy the radio show. Its alot of fun to do it. It gives me a place to speak my mind and after 30 something years in AA, I have alot of emptying out to do!:) We don’t want that crap rumbling around in there anymore now do we LOL…

      I agree. It s not a disease. But even Bill Wilson in the forward says . We are a group of 100 women who have “RECOVERED” from a seemingly hopeless disease… not recovery for ever …

      When did this stupid term can coined ” Hey man I’m in recovery …are you? Its so idiotic!
      Now when he said this he was making this up. The alcohol industry wanted people to blame it on the indiviual not The Demon rum. As we know we were coming out of the temperance movement and prohibition, so all the big alcohol distributors loved the idea of AA and Bill blaming alcohol drunkenness on some serious inner spiritual malady. You are broken to the core. WOW …what a snow job.

      The more I see this crap the more I see it all as a ridiculous made up fake religious cult.

      Happy Martin Luther King day.

      And Congrats to our President Obama, in hopes that he reads our petition for Karla Brada.

      • You know that BiIl Wilson didn’t decide it was a disease? That was Dr. Silkworth. And today 95% of Dr.’s believe it is one, and the AMA has labeled it as such.

        I’m sorry, I have tried to be nice in all my replies but honestly…some of you sound so insane! Below you talk about “how dare anyone disagree with a Dr.” But in this post that’s what you are doing? Am I the only one that sees this?

        I’m not a big book thumper. I’m not a manic crazy “AA or die,” type. I take it for what it is and what it’s done for me. Kept me sober and taught me how to live so that I’m a much better, kinder, selfless, relaxed, productive/profitable and generous person than I was before. I go to a couple meetings a week. I talk to my sponsor a couple times a week. And I’ve got friends 50/50 AA – not AA. But it’s saved me, and it taught me how to live with it but at a distance. I’m like a bird and AA nudged me out of the nest and said “you can do it..go on..” And I have.

        The crazy woman below talking about “LOGIC,” & “Reason.” She sounds like such a whack job, and it’s made me realize many of you do. The original blog is thought out and makes sense. But it has deteriorated down here into fanatical mob mentality and people agreeing with each others total nonsense! Like really…a lot of it doesn’t make sense. In the basic form. If I read some of these to my 7 year old she’d ask why I was just saying words in no pattern or thought of what the result of combining them in a row means.

        • The disease “theory” predates Wilson and Silkworth by quite a number of years. Once you have done your homework, perhaps you may wish to return to this site in earnest. You’ll not likely change any minds here, except perhaps your own.

  89. Happy King Day Everyone & Here’s to FREEDOM!

    Especially freedom from hacks giving people deadly advice about medication, metal health or even splinter removal. I’d never let any of them tell me, “Boo!” any more. I’m done! DONE!

    They tell people all the time to either not take or to stop taking doctor prescribed medications. The suits need to be publicized and increased. That will put them on notice that they have no business “suggesting” anything whatsoever in terms of medical or mental health treatment for anyone as they are all self-admittedly INSANE.

    If someone tells us they are insane, full of character defects and horribly addicted for life; we should believe them– THEN RUN!

    I just read the most enlightening and educational article this morning. I LOVED it so much that it actually brought tears to my eyes because it was so splendidly and clinically sound. It was posted by someone here on this blog (Robert or Ryan, I think…) a while ago: http://tinyurl.com/SocialConstructionofLanguage

    As one who has written and taught clients and friends how to use Positive Affirmations, it was wonderful to read about the power and influence of language in mental health and recovery.

    My basic and intuitive sense of this kind of knowlege is why I could never buy into the AA dog-hackery; it goes against EVERYTHING I have learned and shared with others for years about embracing and affirming one’s authentic self as determined by One’s Self.

    I KNEW they were full of bat-shat from the get!

    And as one who is at her core, an enigmatic ball of contradictions, endless curiousity, poetry, drama, passion, love, anger, generousity, spirituality, child-likeness and ART…AA was NEVER a place for me. It was literally KILLING me!

    I think it kills more people than anyone realizes actually.

    By affirming and proclaiming negativity, alcoholism, disease, immorality, insanity, etc. a person embraces and reinforces these things within herself or himself. We literally make ourselves sick (or at least SICKER) by saying & believing that we are.

    This is profoundly POWERFUL. We Are Profoundly POWERFUL–especially determining our own Essential Natures. We decide and create our own states of being.

    God, the ALL has given us POWER of Choice and Free Will! Who the devil is Bill W. or any AA zombie to try to take what God has given us away? Or try to convince us that we must give our will over freely…or DIE.

    They lie.

    It is becoming clearer and clearer to me why I started acting so squirrel-screwing, f-ed up and CRAZY in AA. It didn’t ever make sense. I was trying so hard to make it make sense; but that was like shoving an elephant into a taxi cab. Talk about INSANITY. I was a hot wet mess!

    I like logic!

    Please read this phenomenal article. It is a bit clinical at first, but it smooths out once you get the vibe of the verbosity. I am going to write a more accessible article on this and the use of Positive Affirmations regarding living free from substance over-use at some point.

    I still am working at unclogging the mental dung-ball out of my system that AA rammed into me…

    I never fully accepted it…but I can see now that despite my best efforts at resistance, I have been effected. I drove them crazier…but they did get to me.

    I am different now; in good ways and bad ways…

    >>By God, I’m gonna get it TOGETHER though. Then we gon show they asses who “powerless”— DIG THAT (as my Daddy says) :-)<<

    Reading this article helped to put solid language and research behind what I have just experienced in AA. I feel so RELIEVED! I thank the guy who posted it so MUCH and I encourage others to read it. It's cool stuff!

    Massive the POWER of community is SO at work among us…POWERFUL! Thank you…Anti-Denial, Orange Papers, Expose AA, Dr. Peele for your work….. All of your work is coming together and forming a powerful and liberating Body of Work that people leaving AA can draw on instead of allowing exposure to AA kill some very special people. Here is a quote:

    “The disease model does more harm than good. If someone has a firm belief in it, and finds it helpful, I make no effort to persuade otherwise. However, public policy is better based on facts than dogma. Almost our entire US treatment system is based on treating this ‘disease.’ Individuals with addictive behavior are led to think that the most important question is, am I an alcoholic/addict? Of course, rather than admit this, many just ignore problems until they get worse. A more rational system would encourage earlier problem identification, and present a range of options for responding to problems. When you have a receptive audience, I suggest you present our message of hope: You don't have a disease, you are not powerless. By staying focused on what is most important to you (which might be a higher power, but could be all sorts of things), you can gain full control of your behavior, and learn to lead a wonderful life!” (p.3)

    Just think about what it does to a sensitive human being to say, “I’m an alcoholic…I’m an alcoholic…I’m an alcoholic…” every damned day? You will make yourself very, VERY sick if you were not at the onset; I know I did.

    Here again is a link to the full article:
    http://tinyurl.com/SocialConstructionofLanguage

    The article ends with this BEAUTIFUL statement:

    "Finally free from the chains of the medical and psychological vocabularies, many people would immediately fit into society with a little extra help. Others would blend in immediately into artist studios, universities, and musician & literary communities. 19th century Paris was the mecca for such creative people. Bohemian was the term for the artists and intellectuals that didn’t “fit in.” Avant-garde referred to those who didn’t “fit in” and led the rest of us. Something to think about. "

    • Those negative “affirmations,” are usually about the past.

      And ma’am…you sound very unstable in your post. I’m not even trying to be mean because of what your bad-mouthing. But you do sound on the edge. I hope you can find something that works for you. If you’re not willing to go 100% into being what AA suggests (basically, pretty much what the Big BB says too), then do continue to look. This is a scary post, just the language is like a manic manifesto.

      • I bet this is actually a member of the WSO board of directors. What a sad evil person. Be sure to leave these up as an example to all of what a stepper is and why we left.

        Rotten to the core. In fact there is no core, just a god sized whole filled with Big Book bs. oh the inhumanity! Standard 12 step evil abusive garbage.

  90. I am thankful for this website. I am amazed at how trapped and afflicted I felt during the five years I went to AA. All the information you find on this website are the words and truths that I felt but had no idea existed nor even how to articulate it. What a dread AA can be for many, now I enjoy moderation and am in a counseling graduate program fighting the ignorance around the AA and treatment industries in regard to the harmful effects of AA.

    • Dan is a changed person since he separated himself from AA. I am amazed to see how damaging AA was in his life and how he has now done a complete turnaround and is mentally and emotionally grounded and in control of his life again. It is just befuddling to me how our society has come to accept this dangerous cult as the only way out of addiction.

      • Dan’s mom- Hi and Welcome! I am so happy you and your son have found us and moderation so he can really grow. As a mom I really understand.
        My husband recently left AA…about 8 months ago and even he is now saying how he sees that its actually keeps you from growing. Again welcome. If you and your son would like to be a call in guest on my radio show I think it might be interesting. If you want… If not that s okay too. Again welcome! ANd feel free to share any good resources that are non AA here including non 12 step therapists. Many people have a hard time finding this.

    • Dan- Im so glad you are doing better and found help with moderation. I know my sons are not gonna ever buy the AA crap and have learned good moderation techniques. Its important for a young person to be empowered and not controlled by some AA freaks who are quite possibly losers and sex offenders to boot.

      Last year we had two young suicides in one family. Ryan and his sister Sarah…AA can truly destroy families.

  91. Ok, I am scared. I called my sponsor and told her about the doubts I’m having about the program. She came to my house with another woman in the program and they told me that I was a strong woman who could think for myself, and that if NA is keeping me clean and I’m trying to find bad things about it, then I’m in relapse mode. They told me that if I stop going to meetings I’ll get loaded again. And they told me I’ll never live free without working the steps.

    • You should be scared, if you believe everything everyone tells you then you may be a victim.
      There are many options to arrest a drug or alcohol problem; is AA the only one you are entertaining?
      I used AA as my lifeline, it didn’t work, I educated myself and make my own decisions now.

    • That’s good advice…and a caring sponsor. I don’t mean to be condescending. But what’s so bad? Isn’t it nice to have people that care that much? To show up at your home and not want something from you? It seems this post and the replies are mistaking kindness and caring for something bad? Bizarro world….

  92. I’m not scared because I believe them Anon – I’m scared that they came to my house. Creeps me out and scares me as in “restraining order.”

    • Oh Kate!

      I am so sorry they have backed you up like that. That is horrible to have to feel such fear. Just BREATHE…

      Seriously…take a DEEP breath in…and blow it out. Blow out the stress…

      It would freak me out if they came directly to where I live too. (Fortunately, the ONLY one who knows EXACTLY where I live is my ex sponsor and she is in SHUNNING mode now; so her scanky-acting behind would not dare to show up at my door…)

      I’d be freaked out if she did though.

      I would also tell her and whomever she was with to never show up at my door uninvited again because while I may be in so-called “relapse-mode” they are in “about-to-get-damned-arrested-mode.”

      That will put them on notice!

      Please remember that these folks are cowards at heart. That is why they came together. They likely mean nothing more than to do Service Work and fluck with your head.

      Still, if you continue to feel unsafe, PLEASE…PLEASE do contact law enforcement and let them know. They will politely let you know what to do…and just speaking with the police will make you feel better.

      You deserve to feel better…not be in fear in your own home.

      YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

      YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS.

      They are the fearful ones…really…

      Really…

      Cowardly, bullying lil fart-pigs…coming to bother someone when she is vulnerable…

        • CORRECTION: Oops. Yeah. I’m sorry. That was obscure and immature…

          What’s wrong w/ me?

          I meant to say, “Pig-Farts!”

          And I would LOVE to see them on TV too, but they will be starring at any nearby AA meeting every day and close to every night.

          😉

          Anyway…..Out of all my rambling, I hope you got that you ought to call the cops if you are ever afraid for your safety Kate. Seriously. Though they likely mean you no physical harm. They just want to wash your brain and cleanse your soul…

          That’s all.

          :-]

    • Whew, that’s good news; you did call your sponsor though. Perhaps the culties who came to your house think AA is the only game in town. Maybe you can help them by turning them on to other options. If that don’t work, start talking about Jesus, they’ll be gone before you can say “where’s the meeting?”

  93. Kate- OMG Who do they think they are?
    Here is a great Sheryl Crow song

    run baby run…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CUr0bnDCfM

    There are choices for you like Smart Recovery some 25 meetings a week online. You are not a puppet for them to boss around. You are a full grown woman.

    Who the f####k do they think they are ordering you around and telling you that you will fail. Are they God ? NO!!!!

    Are they psychic? NO!!!!

    Run Kate …run for your life….

  94. I’m getting disillusioned about AA. I just happen to find this site by accident & was reading about the folks that got murdered or raped by AA members. That’s scary!

    But the main thing is that the meetings here (Prescott Valley, Az) are about the same, damn topic, all the damn time. And when the same topic, I had already hear earlier in the week, comes up again I just say, “I just want to listen”. And that sucks, because I love to talk.

    Most of the women here are so self-centered & have mental illnesses (I don’t, thank goodness!). I can’t related to ANY of them, never. I used to make my phone calls & all I ever got was, “Can I call you back later?”…And they never would. This one lady named Crystal did that to me all the damn time I tried calling (I thought she & I were becoming great friends)…Turned out she wasn’t a friend at all & a backstabber (also she wears WAAAYYY too much makeup for my taste of friends).

    It’s just too much. I now have 5 months, but I have NEVER worked the steps. I act like I did at the meetings, but I’m not. How can one live with doing 12 steps? That’s not a damn life! I want my social life back where I don’t have to drink for hours, have a blackout, and/or go every week anymore.

    So, I’m thinking of trying that moderate drinking program (I do miss wine, but I want to learn to drink it in small consumptions & on rare occasions ONLY). That’s how I want to moderate my life. I miss going out dancing (it’s been almost 6 months now). I’m a social butterfly & want to stay like one, but a BETTER one, without heavy consumption of alcohol. That’s all.

    Another thing about AA is that damn coffee & cookies! Here in Prescott Valley, Az. the damn folks are passing around the cookies throughout the meeting & don’t care about listening to the topic of the day. Or they are having their own conversations to one another while the meeting is in progress. It’s really getting irritating for me. And I never drink coffee, but I started becoming addicted to it in the last 5 months!! All that caffeine & sugar is just as bad as lots of alcohol!! They don’t say anything about the importance of exercise & nutrition (okay, they do mention meditation for the mind. That’s all good, but the BODY has to stay healthy as well).

    I’ve decided to leave for good once I get my 6 months in, which is next month. But I’m cutting down to 1 a week (a women’s only group though), until I get my 6 months. Then I want to learn the moderation program.

    • leanna- HI and Welcome! I just saw this post. I dont know how I missed it.

      I do hear you and I understand. I would head on over to http://www.hamsnetwork.org and you can joining night chat meetings and learn about moderation. I don’t recommend drinking again till you are seriously deprogrammed from AA billshit. Or go to http://www.moderation.org for some other great tips. Mainly we feel if you believe the doom and gloom AA projects you might live that self fulfilling prophesy.

      Read the stories and thread call Moderation vs abstinence and maybe get one of the books from the library or buy it. http://www.drinklinkmoderation.com is a great website.

      ALso how many years did you drink heavy.

      The sites I referred you to will help Im sure…. again Im sorry I missed your post till now.

    • In my experience, I am able to do anything I want thanks to the steps. I go to bars, sing karaoke, go to casinos, house parties for holidays, etc. And the idea of drinking myself never enters the equation. I’ll pour my wife glasses of wine, and run to the liquore store for her on the way home from work. I love going through the wine section! I still feel like I’m a wine connoisseur! I miss Malbec sometimes. But not that much.

      Working the steps is what allows all this. I’d get after them immediately. No matter what you end up doing, whether you give AA another chance or not. The inventory and clean up of yoru past and facing the guilt and shame you feel, will have to happen. Almost every counselor, psychiatrist or other groups that offer “sobriety” are based on some version of the 12 steps. Just some are more veiled than others. The 12 steps are the key to the life you want.

      I played in a golf tournament with a buddy in March. We shared a hotel room and he got plastered all weekend! First night, I drove him around to a few bars, then our hotel bar. And then he drank with the others in our foursome all day, and smoked pot. I had a great time with them though, no problem. And that night he bugged me into going to the casino. This is a big casino with dance clubs and many bars. I warned him “if i am ready to go, we go…I may not want to stay that long.” Well about 3am, he’s like “c’mon Matt let’s get out of here…” But I was still having a blast! He told me the next day how impressed he was and he had no idea that the way I acted and that me partying as hard as anyone, just sober was possible.

      Honestly, I didn’t either completely. That kept me out of AA for a long time. I didn’t want to give up fun! I thought life would be over. But thanks to AA and the steps, I do the exact same stuff I used to. Just without the blackouts and the cocaine nose jobs! Man I’ll see a plate of it passed around at a party and that does look fun! But I know how that plays out! So I pass…. AA gave me back my social life.

      • I will add…and this is almost embarrasing. But I was at karaoke one night a couple weeks ago. And a random person said to my wife…’guess you’re driving, he’s the drunkest person here!” Or something like that!

        So yeah, totally sober, I can still resemble the “drunkest person here.” :)

  95. Monica – I usually listen to your radio show a few days after but I’m interested in joining in the chat room this week. Can you tell me how I go about that? Thank you!

    Kate

  96. Here is a letter I’m sending to the doctor that took care of me when I was in the hospital in October after a suicide attempt:

    Dear Dr. Kelly,
    First I want to thank you for all of the care and support you gave me during my stay at (name of hospital) from October 24 through November 8th. You were truly kind and caring, and I would not be on this road to recovery without you. But there is something I wanted you to know. If you remember, my problem is that I became addicted to prescription sleep medications. I attempted suicide when that addiction became overwhelming and consuming. You put me on antidepressants, which completely changed me and how I look at life. They in fact gave me a life. I was never able to feel happy before this. You pushed me to, actually, insisted that I get “hooked up” with a 12 step program and sponsor before you would allow me to be discharged. In fact, during my entire stay, 12 step programs were the only recovery support options mentioned. I wanted to let you know what happened to me after I left the hospital, and why I want you to strongly consider suggesting other recovery options.

    I attended the (name of group) Narcotics Anonymous group on Thursday night at 8pm at (name of church). A woman there told me that she would sponsor me, but that first I would have to get off all mind altering substances. I shared with her the medications I was on – medications that you, Dr. Kelly prescribed for me, and medications that I truly believe have given me back my life! She told me TO GET OFF THOSE MEDICINES. And she said that she would help me. She is not a doctor and has NO medical experience. In fact, she is a factory worker with no medical training whatsoever. These are the types of groups you are sending your patients to! They are undoing all of the good you are doing your patients!

    I would like you to seriously consider this information and think about it. Please visit the site leavingaa.com where you can learn about many other problems within 12 step groups, and also alternative recovery solutuions. I for instance am researcing Smart Recovery. I am not asking you to stop recommending 12 step all together – at least not yet. But I would urge you to consider recommending other secular, non 12-step recovery options. As you know, Narcotics Anonymous is not held responsible by any trained professionals. Had I followed this woman’s advice, I might not have been so lucky this next time in the hospital. You might have been putting a tag on my foot rather than writing me a prescription for an anti depressant that would stabalize my condition.

    Thank you for your time and attention, and thank you again for helping to save my life.

    All the best,
    Katherine

    I really hope I get a reply…

    • Many people in 12 step programs will say exactly what you said happened to you. I don’t like that at all. I’ve shared before that we shouldn’t try to get involved in other people’s business and that anything like that is between a doctor and a patient. It’s about 50/50 on this. I do have friends that would tell you if they sponsor you they don’t want you on them. But if you and your doctor felt you should stay on them, then someone else would sponsor you.

      I’ve been to doctors. And been to AA. Experienced AA’s know much better what works and what doesn’t work for an alcoholic when it comes to sobriety. I’d be fine if doctors just stayed away completely. If you’re not an addict or an alcoholic, theres’ just too much you don’t understand. I may not understand physiology like a Doctor, and neither does a longtime sober person. But if you’ve been sober 20 years. You’ve seen it all and then some. So you’re speaking from personal experience and exposure. A doctor goes to school, many are brilliant. But they’re just people too. When it comes to what puts me in teh best position to stay sober…I’ll ask around and get a consensus of views from old timers that have either been there, or seen others there first hand….many, many times.

  97. Katherine,
    I am so blown away by the fact a DR told you to go to NA. What does he know about NA? Did he attend 1 NA meeting is med school? And why is someone even required to go to a 12 step meeting….omg …this is nuts when you know what is really going on in these meetings.

    I am really glad you have told us this story here. I really want to put some stories like this is my Documentary. But is there room? I don’t know. Are you in the So CAL area?

    Its a great letter. I too hope he writes back to you. I do think he will. PLease let us know….okay….

    One of the things we are working on is a tri fold pamphlet to give out to Dr’s, Lawyers and Judges and DUI’s. We comprised a letter to send to professionals. But seriously with my work load already…

    I think what you are doing is really really important and so is your post. Can I post it on the front page?

    • Of course Massive! I’m so flattered that you think it’s a good letter! Anything I can do to help….by all means. Use it however you need to. Unfortunately I’m all the way in Indiana…BUT…I’m moving back to the Bay Area next year…so maybe I can help you with your next documentary!

      If I get a reply, I will post. This was at an Indianapolis hospital so I don’t know how useful it will be to others, but again, do whatever you need to with it.

      Kate

  98. Pingback: Narcotics Anonymous Member Tells Woman Not TO Take her Psych Medication WHAT ARE THESE Nutjob, Non-professionals THINKING | Leaving AA

  99. Wow, what a breath of fresh air.

    I have just made the decision to leave AA after trying for six years to get sober unsuccessfully, and though I don’t lay all the blame with AA, it certainly contributed to me feeling unaccepted.

    Basically I am a kind, slightly naive guy, who found it hard to believe the idea of thirteenth stepping occurs, because I kind of see everyone as good, especially when they say how great they are, as many in AA seem to do.

    I tend to automatically deflect sexually interested woman because I don’t react to any flirtatious behavior, so that never really presented a problem, but I did (as one friend calls it) feel like a virgin at a vampire party, with so many eager to save me (read: “control me, direct me, tell me what to do, and tell me that basically everything in my life is my fault to some degree or another”).

    After one sponsor dumped me because I drank (gee thanks for punishing me because I was not automatically sober), another stood me up on no fewer than eight occasions that we had arranged so that I could discuss a step one with him (at his suggestion), and then failed to return a DVD player and the entire Rockford files series I lent him when I visited him in hospital when he was ill, not to mention numerous other instances of being singled out for criticism or personal attack after something I said in a meeting, I have decided to leave AA.

    What a blessed relief.

    For years I have not been comfortable with the sponsorship thing that seems to be rammed down one’s throat – it seems to me to be assigning the label of higher power over to some other person who has by some chance not had a drink in some time, but apart from that is unqualified to be handing out advice about life to a recovering person.

    I have been uncomfortable with the rigid, closed minded attitude toward most things in the big book, with often attitudes of non acceptance and criticism toward anyone who dares question any of it.

    I have experienced these words, directed at me, from a speaker in a meeting, with not one person speaking up for me: “I can tell when some people aren’t doing so well, even though they say they are. I don’t judge, but it stands out like a sore thumb, and I just can’t help but notice they’re not going so well as they say” (all this while pointedly staring at me, in a room full of twenty or thirty people).

    I have had people question me about my “time up” in AA, because they liked what I said in a meeting, only to have them severely criticise me when they discover I was only a few months sober (I think this person was embarrassed that he took me for an “older sober member”).

    Which brings me to the whole lionizing and applauding of people due simply to their length of sobriety. To me, this seems to be an area of AA that contributes strongly to egotism, and provides some members with the alibi that allows them the power to exert their personality, opinions, and influence over others. This is not to denigrate long term sobriety, simply to ask whether it is sometimes used as an ego boost?

    The conceited, “I know how this thing works, and if you give me a second I will damn well tell you too” attitude is something I came to despise, and what annoys me most is that when I questioned such things with saner members, they would shrug it off with comments like “let go and let god”, or “some of us are sicker than others”, thereby giving tacit approval to the often dysfunctional and controlling behaviors of these people.

    And one other thing I became slowly aware of in AA was the way many women automatically seemed to not be able to be friendly, as in “hello, how are you?”
    I often felt like I was some sort of sexual deviant if I smiled at someone, but I am basically a joyous and happy person in life anyway, so in new sobriety I felt even happier, so to be often confronted with strange looks, or very reserved almost disapproving or reluctant communications seemed very strange to me, however from what I read I suppose it is not surprising some people are strongly affected by the behavior of some men in AA.

    Once again, if there is behavior in AA that causes such disconnection between members then it is not a place I want to be.

    The labeling that is espoused in how it works whereby anyone who struggles with AA is “incapable of being honest with themselves” I always found ridiculous.

    Much of the rationalization and twisted logic in AA is based around looking for anything that confirms the belief that AA works, and denying any evidence to the contrary. The above statement fits this description, conveniently including anyone who does not get sober as faulty, while AA bears no blame.
    Another example of this logic is the logic that says that anyone who doesn’t stay in AA has “failed” and must be drinking, dead, or in an institution, often backed up with one or two anecdotal stories of those who left, then came back when they realized AA was “the only way”, however what this statement fails to consider is the possibility that some people with a genuine desire for sobriety, and a strong capacity for honesty who leave AA and stay sober, of course don’t come back to tell their story.
    AA only knows about the ones who came back to AA, not those who stayed sober elsewhere.

    I must admit, I have changed a lot in my time in AA, and learned a lot about myself and my behaviors, however most of this stuff was by chance, or by my own efforts, despite AA.

    The number of times I encountered negativity within AA that I did not like, or that affected my self esteem and feelings of worthiness were many, and mostly these occurrences were supported or tolerated by other members, or seen by them as an opportunity for me to practice tolerance toward the offender.

    I would have thought it would be incumbent upon more senior members to practice tolerance of newly sober or vulnerable members, not the other way around.

    To be fair, there were many kind people with healthy boundaries in AA, and I do tend to question things a lot, often in a cynical way, especially when these things are clearly irrational or illogical, which does trigger some people who see AA as the thing that saved them, but I have now finally found enough alternative support and understanding of what I need, to finally leave AA gladly, and not have to continue to try to fight for some sort of acceptance from people whom I mostly don’t want to emulate (other than the non-drinking part)

    Good luck to all, and thank you for this forum.

    Paul

    • HI Paul- Welcome! The window is open and we all crawled out, walked out, some are still looking to leave, but many of us have already left the halls of AA wacko stuff…..You have hit the nail on the head. Lucky for you you did not waste the years I did in AA. I am happy you found us. Maybe some day we will have an ex stepper meet up social! in the mean time I too am working on finding balance in my life and making new friends and other hobbies.

    • HI JIM . Welcome! I had lunch today with Laura Tompkins, writer, therapist, blogger and boy was it refreshing to speak with someone sane and fearless about this AA crap!
      I hope you make some new friends here and in your town.

      Blogging has saved me!!!

    • yea that is right, I like vampires, and the AA asshole community reminds me of the vamps, but!
      vampires have class and they are cool people, and they know what they are, (snip) hey man NO Homophobic slurs here. !!!!!

      AA people allow anyone who calls them selves a alcholic, so that means that any pervert with any Ideas can come there and break the laws of people.
      AA is a corrupted communty.
      vampires are not.

  100. He would browbeat me and talk down to me. Ppl would be verbally abusive calling it “tough love ” which of course is a load of crap. My sponsor verbally abused me for the last time almost five years ago and I got the hell out of there

    • that sounds like my story about having a sponcer, except I would drive my sponsers nuts, by calling them on the phone everyday and telling them all kinds of wild stories, about the bars i went to and the funky religions i would attend I was completely off the wall at meetings, in some ways by reading this board, I think god hates AA and that is why he cursed them with me, attending the meetings, I am a energy vamp so i can drain the energy out of them big book gicks, it seems like i am getting to really know my self on this board

  101. Curious about something. I have been in and out of AA, am currently working the steps, have loved it and despised it, and when I leave although if I meditate everyday I never have a desire to drink. I hear so much bullshit in the meetings and the thing is if you are a free thinking person, you can’t call people on their bullshit. Point out contradictions in people’s sharing and you are the bad guy, you are wrong. They want rigorous honesty if they like what you are saying. My personal favorite is the belief that till the day you die, you will NEVER be able to analyze yourself without someone to watch you and make sure you can “follow directions”. Forget the promise that you will be returned to sanity in the literature they tout as infallible scripture, they conveniently ignore that and demand you get a babysitter. Funny thing about that is that if that WERE true, it would be the blind leading the blind as it often is because if they themselves will NEVER be fully returned to “sanity”, how did their sponsor know if they were analyzing themselves correctly? What I am curious about is that there are parts of it I truly love, I do like the literature when I read it the way I read it(as suggestions, period) and it has helped me in the past. On the flip side, people get on my last nerves and when I leave vowing to never return, I start missing it after about 9 months and then come back only to start feeling those same uneasy feelings after a month or two. I use NLP, mantra chanting, and I make my issues go away. I make resentments go away, what sense does it make to put oneself in the middle of some decent people but a few douche bags you would love to punch in the face(and some of them really need to be punched in the face so they will just shut the fuck up). If one in particular who I heard yell at a newcomer who missed a meeting the previous night, if he comes at me again wanting validation for what he is doing, I probably well tell him to just shut the hell up and get the fuck away from me. If he follows me around I’ll quickly turn my back on him to talk to someone else because someone really needs to put the arrogant cunt in his place(Mr. I’ve got twenty years sober and you need to listen to me because I know better than you type bullshit-he can’t even act his age so what the fuck does he have to offer anyone 50 something year old baby). My question is how does a person successfully leave the culture behind and be satisfied socially?

    • David- Its a big question. I left 2 years ago after 36 years. I planned it. I blogged on anti AA sites for over a year, I attended SMart REcovery, SOS meetings at the same time and talked about them at my AA home meeting.

      I bought tens of non AA literature like Albert Ellis books, Stanton Peeles books Amy Lee COys Book and I ate them up.

      I want to say more but I gotte go to sleep. your in the right place.

      more tomorrow…. WELCOME! :)

    • AA is not the only social venue on earth. Try Lions Club, church, historical societies, dance clubs, etc. The possibilities are endless and the idiots stand out like a sore thumb.

      • I went to tony Robbins EVent when I first left AA. A 3 day event where we walked on hot coals.

        I could see the freaks and predators there. Yes anon they really stood out in a more regular setting. In AA there are so many of them and so many vulnerable its not so apparent.

  102. Don’t know how I got to this site but I’m glad I did. I am 29+ years clean and sober and have never really felt apart of AA, and I have tried, oh boy have I tried. Service work… out the ass – Home Group…you bet ya.- Sponsership…. of course. – Working With Others – 12 Step Calls and running a Half Way House and I’ve had enough. All my friends are in AA and if I told them how I really felt it would be the end of our relationships and they would proably tell me I was a dry drunk. I have been a part of the AA community for so long I don’t know anythig else and it engulfs my whole life but I can’t help feeling that it’s all crap and I’ve felt this way for a very long time. I am so glad that you gave me the opportunity to express my feelings as I really have no one to talk to about this matter. I felt like I was the only one who felt this way.

    • Welcome Bo, I left AA after decades, deprogrammed on sites like this one, and now drink with complete success.
      No disease, no institutions, just freedom.

    • bo- HI …..and welcome. I too was there too long. But its been 2 years about since I left. Life is so much better.

      Best to you!!!

  103. I am in the middle of leaving AA after 20 years of being involved. I have recovered from alcoholism as a result of the 12 steps, however the fellowship won’t create a space for me. If i keep going there I have to live in my past, I cannot share at the level I have grown to and I am exposed over and over to limited beliefs which i used to hold as paramount. The AA thing was good as far as it took me, but once I recovered from alcoholism it doesn’t know what to do with me so it attacks me, alienates me, fears me. I am sad to leave, as it is all I have known for so many years and actually has helped me. What has helped me has become a liability. My only reliance is on God as I personally understand Him.

    • I might add that I don’t blame AA or its members. I completely understand that they are just doing and being what they sense is good and right for them and AA as a whole.Many people are advancing through phases of development. I am left alienated when I share honestly what I have recently learned and found being “recovered”. I am easing into the moving on phase. Visiting here is part of that movement.

      • Personally, I never felt that I could share honesty there; unless I gave the group and the program credit for any changes in my life, that I felt I should take credit for and be commended. There was a time when I said what they wanted to hear because I thought that was what I needed to do to get better. When I look back; I always knew there were conditions to be a part of the group. Over time it became clear to me that if I was honest, I would be shunned. People who really care about you; want you to move on and trust you judgement. I needed to be built up and gain self esteem. I guess some who are long time members find that there. My experience was the opposite. Also, do they feel they are a normal part of society or do they spend their lives separating themselves from the Normies?

        • Sadly, I noticed over the (many)years of exposure to AA that many who refer to anyone outside of AA as normies; self righteously consider themselves to be superior to normies. Is that because they have ‘PROGRAM’

      • it is done- I get it when you say you have recovered. I feel that way too. I recovered when I was about 4 years sober at age 22. Now Im over 50 ….yikes…..

        I think there needs to be a book called Recovered. The LIES AA told me.

        Welcome it is done. I don’t think AA helps so many but you are entitled to your opinion. I think its a very destructive place now.

  104. Hi, I love this site. I am in AA but very aware of the abuses that go on in the organization. I hand out a card to newcomers with my name and phone number and the following statement:

    Newcomer safety note:
    No member of AA should harass a newcomer in any way or approach a newcomer for sex, dates or money.

    That way, they know some of their rights and they have a number to call if they have a bad experience. I only go to women only meetings and I encourage other female newcomers to do the same. Co-ed meetings are rarely safe. Sponsors, regardless of gender, frequently abuse their sponsees. Most of the time it is unintentional, but damaging. I just started questioning AA this winter after 3 years in the program and I am navigating how to stay sober and happy through spirituality and honesty while acknowledging AA’s faults and staying away from cultish people. I wish there was another program centered on spirituality (I’m not religious, so church doesn’t work). I’m sticking with AA for now because the spiritual piece works. I do 5th step stuff with my counselor and she’s very supportive and it’s very beneficial. Frequently, instead of looking for “my part” in things, I look for how I can heal (and that often involves simply learning how to avoid unhealthy people). The steps are good, but I disregard a lot of the big book. I change whatever wording I feel like changing.

    I don’t refer to myself as selfish, dishonest, self-pitying etc, etc like it says in the book. It’s not helpful. And whenever I read the big book, i substitute “she” for “he” and I ask myself whether I believe the passage or not, rather than asking myself whether I am conforming to it or not.

    It’s a fun growing experience and journey, keeping the good parts of the program and rejecting the bad parts and thinking critically about what goes on there.

    Thanks for this blog! There is a lot of positive discussion here about living happily after having a drinking problem.

  105. Also, even though I haven’t left the program, I have experienced a grieving process in losing the social contacts from the co-ed meetings I used to attend and from losing the total trust in the program. I have experienced the five stages of grieving: denial, depression, anger, bargaining and acceptance. The anger flares (big time) when newcomers confide in me their stories of being abused – that anger may eventually drive me away, but I am so happy they have someone to talk to who won’t further traumatize them with comical bs like “what was your part in it?” It makes it worth it to me to be there for them.

    • brillando, may I ask what city you are in? WOW this is a hard process. I went through it.

      Im glad you are there as a sane voice for them. But I just want to say…I hope you encourage them to call the police and sue when they are sexually harassed. WHen I was still in AA I didnt realize that a 13 step begins IN THE MEETING…..with the flirting… or touching. SO if it turns into sexual assault and sex that they are new and vulnerable if there starts to be some lawsuits as civil cases the ground swell will bring hundreds to step forward and also sue the person and AA in NY and the location of the meeting. AA is like the Catholic Church. It is the next big Institution that is gonna get sued and brought into the media and news over the next year.

      ITS ILLEGAL TO SEXUALLY HARASS someone anywhere in the US today. People just need to be educated. a 13 step =sexual harassment in legal terms.

      Its a hard place to be where you are. I eventually left and you can read on the main page here the whole big banana of a story.

      you can reach me at makeaasafer@gmail.com if you want to. There were many oldtimer men and women on stinkin thinkin who helped me leave with their stories. I did make a plan though. Good luck.

      Here’s a question WHY don’t these woman go to the police?

      • Hi Massive! It’s just me in Northern Colorado using a more anonymous name. We talked on the phone a few weeks ago about safety workshops. :) I love this blog. It’s very constructive and supportive.

        • oh HI THERE! Great to see you and talk ….im glad you are doing what you are.The last two years …we made a difference. ANd now you are doing that in Colorado. Woman are being empowered there and eventually someone will sue and kick someones butt…so to speak!

          Thank you. Im glad you like it :)

  106. Hi massive (and all fellow bloggers)! today sucked in AA. I went to 2 women’s meetings to announce that there is going to be a meeting on safety in AA here next week and the reaction was altogether disturbing. Almost everyone laughed and nodded their heads knowingly. I was just caught off guard, thinking “is this a funny topic? Is it just accepted that this stuff goes on?” Maybe their experiences have been annoying but not violent. One woman said she met her husband that way. I was super nervous announcing it, because of my history of being attacked and I felt weird when they laughed. Some women were really thankful that the meeting is taking place and I heard one really sad story of a victim. I came home and cried because I’m still letting go of my attachment to AA. I am making efforts to get to know more friends outside of AA through volunteering and pursuing my hobbies.
    Thanks again for having this blog. I can come on here and feel more supported and less alone anytime

    • Maybe its time to just drop the AA rock? You might want to peer into the future and see what you think you want to accomplish with the safety meetings and then compare that to reality. After the safety meetings you will have a new reputation, and it may not be the heroine you may think it will be. You will be the butt of jokes and many people will shun you. Some will be appreciative, but for most you will be a troublemaker. Now, compare that to working with young cancer patients at a local childrens hospital. The entire world would look favorably on your volunteerism. I only say that to illustrate there are other wonderful things in life that are almost universally appreciated. Why not avoid the AA turmoil altogether and choose to do one of those? There are many. You owe AA nothing and certainly don’t need to take abuse for attempted good deeds when there are so many other ways to contribute to society where you will be appreciated and not ridiculed for your efforts.

    • brillando- I do feel your pain. I did what you are doing from 2009- till may 2011. I went to one more PRAASA March 2012 under the radar to speak at the mic out in the audience in front of 500 super AA GSR geeks like I once was. Truth is at PRASSA I was embraced that year. They rushed me and I gave out 200 pamphlets. There were many sincere people who were fed up and pissed off and at a quandary.

      WHat you are doing you need to do. I understand. Truth is for me, when you face them head on like I did, like you are, it will be very easy to leave AA when you are ready. It won’t be long now…I can tell. You will know. You can call me more often if you need or want to. ALSO there wont be any guilt when you leave. NONE . I had none. I did alot of activism before I left. I still reach out if people are caught in between. But now Im throwing it all into my DOCUMENTARY. The truth is coming out !!! The crying is all a part of it. I cried alot as I left. FOr so many reasons. But mostly that I had been brainwashed. That I had spent too many years in AA. All those early years in my early twenties. WOW, what a fucking waste …..WHAT a fool. Its okay now although I had another sad moment that I was always trying to make friends with them when really…I thought many of them were really weird people. Not all of them of course. Take care of yourself brillando!

      I think they laughed at Kali and I sometimes as we made the announcement. Their mindset is Nuts for sure.

      • Thank you so much. Your support means so much to me.

        That really was weird yesterday. When I made the announcement, both meetings broke into this chaos of people yelling out comments. I guess atleast there was a big reaction so I know it’s relevant to people in some way.

        I volunteered with a totally unrelated community organization today and I forgot about AA and it felt great. I have to get out and create a life for myself. I think altruism is a great help in staying sober – it’s just a great feeling to feel useful. I met a woman a while back who had left AA who said that volunteering in the community was one of the ways she stayed sober.

        I honestly know that bringing up the issue of safety will make me want to leave AA. If I wanted to feel peaceful about AA, I would just go to women’s meetings (less often) and listen, but not really engage socially. By promoting this safety meeting, I am inviting people to reveal unfortunate views that offend me. Hmmm. Kind of masochistic, isn’t it? Inviting people to upset me? I think I need to look closely at my motives. I feel very good and peaceful about giving out safety cards to newcomers. So many women come into AA because they are forced to or they don’t know where else to go.

        Thanks again for your support. Is your blogtalk radio show every Tuesday night?

  107. Not sure I know what I’m doing here (tech dork) but I read about 1/2 of the posts above and before I finish reading I want to make a comment (or 2 or 3). Thank you for the area to discuss problems with AA etc. Luckily I have not myself had horrendous experiences w/AA,NA etc (though I know someone who did-her child was murdered, also suicides are very distressing of course), in fact have real good friends there. BUT a while back I started feeling real uncomfortable in meetings and really didn’t want to go, pulling back. Told my sponsor I would be taking a break. She said “have you told _____(very good friend)?” The feeling I got was she thought maybe he wouldn’t want to “associate” with me. Being a real friend, he said that no matter what he would be there for me. He found out “somehow” and I thought that sucked.

    When I talked about backing off I had several different reasons but in the end, I wasn’t/am not sure I could put my finger on why. I was in a cult decades ago, I think it causes very similar feelings. I just feel I am not being true to myself by being there, a lot of the time. Not that I haven’t gotten some things from “12 step”. But I keep thinking that the steps just don’t make sense to me on the whole. And it’s real clear to me what I’m supposed the think and say and do “in program”. Of course that right there makes me want to rebel. And it takes a real effort to speak and do my truth instead of falling into groupthink. But if I’m not true to myself, I feel like s**t about myself. So why am I hanging out in a group(s) where it’s so hard to be myself?

    My spouse is 100% invested in “program” and I still see program friends when I don’t go to meetings, and you know that people assume you are in relapse if not going to meetings. I wish I didn’t care. Why should I? Also, I do have a current very bothersome issue with compulsive eating and another OCD type behavior. I really want to eat healthy and not be super fat and otherwise crazy, having a hard time making myself stop. I’m going to check out the “alternatives”. I do know about many of them, but need to look into more deeply. Oh, I haven’t seen anything on these sites re: the 16 steps of empowerment, talked about in a book called Many Roads, One Journey by Charlotte Kasl. I really like them. They are from a feminist, diverse, non-hierarchical viewpoint, definately non 12-step. The book is in many ways quite critical of the 12 step program concept.

    Sorry for the long blah blah blah. Looking forward to more discussion.

  108. pan- HI and Welcome! SMART RECOVERY has free face to face meeting over 800 around the world and daily online meetings. You can use SMART for food issues too.

    Take a look around and blog all you want. Also I have done blogtalkradio shows called sage REcovery that are good for deprogramming.

    So you knew someone whose child was murdered by an AA member? OMG another murder, not Karla? not Kristine or Saundra CAss?

    • I’m going back out on a thought limb here to build on the concept of AA actually kills some people. It has been said that suicide is the ultimate act of despair and the powerless and hopeless concepts of the AA religion force some people to take their own life because they have not learned any real life coping skills. They have learned to be helpless victims by the doctrine .. on the other side of the coin, murder and the acts of arson that seem to be so common are acts of extreme dominance or power. Killing someone or burning their house down while they are in it is a total declaration of power over the situation. Again, what is missing is the ability to cope rationally with a life situation. The common thread here is the AA doctrine of powerlessness. Did those people come into AA as murderers and arsonists? That is a key question. If they didn’t, then the transformation to the personality that can commit those heinous crimes happened while in AA. This is not to say AA made them do it, but the resultant belief system from participation in AA provided the altered belief structure for the behavior to occur. Subtle but profound.

      Now, let’s say those people weren’t exposed to AA doctrine and instead went to SMART or another environment where they learned appropriate emotional and thought coping skills. Would they have killed then? The answer is hard to predict, but it makes sense that if they learned real coping skills the likelihood of becoming killers is diminished.

      Once again, they went into AA with a certain behavioral profile and became killers at some point in AA – either of others or themselves. This has happened too many times to be ignored.

      Something is seriously and unequivocally wrong with that dogma and the people that profess it. It can’t get any more wrong than people killing themselves and others. If they went into AA and then started pissing on fire hydrants it would be just funny. But a large number of people go into AA and BECOME suicidal and homicidal. Doesn’t the clear evidence of that reality bother anybody? I mean, what’s it going to take for people to wake up and ask some very fundamental questions around what AA actually does to people. It can’t get any worse than suicide and murder, so, if that doesn’t do it, what will?

      Do I really live in a world where nobody in a position to change this situation gives a shit about preventing suicide and murder ?

      • Let me flog this a bit more.

        So, the evidence is clear that some percentage of people that go into XA end up dead – prematurely. They’re alive, go into XA and then die by their own hand or someone else’s in XA. That obviously translates into a percentage somewhere. For anyone reading this that is in a position of power to change the situation, what is an acceptable percentage? I mean, maybe I’m caring too much. Maybe the official government giving a shit threshold is like 20%. At 21% they get concerned enough to look at the issue. At 19% nobody really cares, so I shouldn’t either. It would be nice to know the give a shit threshold though. That way, when it starts to get close, all of us know when to spring into action because people are getting close to caring about people dying as a direct result of their association with XA and its most noble and honest members.

      • spj- wow—wow — thats right. They are lulled into a trance and they having sat in meetings listening to Chapter 5 wacko speak, think they cant do anything and many feel like shit about themselves with 25 years under their belt.
        great point.

        • Along with the learned helplessness that the idea of powerlessness instills into people the other huge problem right at the beginning is the utterly ridiculous concept of a spiritual disease. The suicides and murders never cross any ‘give a shit thresholds’ because they are attributed to a non existent disease instead of being correctly attributed to the failure of waffly faith healing superstition to even remotely address serious mental health and behavioural disorders.
          If your loved one has cancer and was referred to ‘treatment’ in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Would that not cross someones give a shit threshold?
          If your loved one has diabetes and was prescribed Scientologys billion year contract, would that not cross someones give a shit threshold.
          But not Wilsons scam, it always gets by under the radar,immune to normal scrutiny, the teflon cult. thats what annoys me the most. that they got away with so much bullshit for so long and continue to do so .

          • I agree, and add to that the fact that many people in AA drank to try to cope with depression or some other mental illness, that really IS a disease, but often are told in AA that they aren’t sober if they take their meds, that meds block them from the “sunlight of the spirit”, or that they didn’t have depression, bi-polar, etc… but what they called mental illness was really just alcoholism and that is the only disease that should matter to them.

  109. Hi there,

    Not sure my last post got posted, this is a test! am really interested in this site as leaving AA/NA after 14 years.

    Will wait and see if this gets posted before I type more !

      • Yes it did get posted, I got a bit lost as didn’t realise blogs under all the sections….14 years later here I am free I hope at last…I am not missing the madness, or the glassy eyed loons claiming they know what’s best for me, even tho they don’t know me…!!
        Crazy, scary to realise just how vulnerable I was, and am now hoping to become more empowered. Got to really get on with some stuff, doing volunteer work is good in the community ! Also rebuild my confidence and start to build new healthy relationships with everyday people…great to read other peoples blogs, similar experiences and feelings, I feel a bit alone since leaving it all behind but better in myself…have always wanted to expose all the madness that goes on at meetings, people get lost in it and say if you mention something (oh you need to be more tolerant) how about living in reality, that I am told is what good mental health is about, not magical thinking !!!

  110. I am stalked online and offline by ppl from the program trying to bring me back to the program and talk program. I honestly think they want me to suffer. I hated AA I was miserable in it and I know I came in with a small problem and ended up with a huger problem thanks to some really messed up men. I should have as a woman stayed with the women and kept my side of the street clean, kept it simple, etc. I am sick of the negativity. I don’t understand why the program exists when success rates are dismally low. The Justice System forcing people to go is a joke. All of it is a joke it’s 2013 new theories are needed. I hope so for the kids’ sakes they need a positive uplifting program for addictions in a messed upworld, AA/NA is outdated and truth be said totally screwed up.

  111. Oh my god, I’m reading the Orange Papers ‘characteristics of a cult’ section and I am literally sick to my stomach. I have heard all this weird propaganda in meetings for 3+ years straight, every week and it is sickening to see through it all. I could see through it on my own, but the historical information blows my mind.
    I’m a good person, so I expect good things of people and it is so hard for me to comprehend why someone like Bill W. would waste his whole life making a destructive cult. I guess maybe he was just extremely mentally ill? But a person has to be a genius to be that successful in starting a cult. It’s perplexing to me.

  112. Hi – I left AA physically 2 years ago – mentally 9 years ago – I couldn’t stand it anymore – I have been sober for over 18 years – I am currently 44. I was more damaged in that program than I can even tell you. The heartless sponsors I had, the endless sexual harassment – the crazy slogans – basically that I would never be a productive citizen and could never live without AA. It’s amazing at who I took advice from – angry women, toothless women, women who wouldn’t work or who were perpetually broke all the time, women who couldn’t function in life at all. I was none of these things, but was willing to believe I must be in denial. I never really felt that I fit in – I 4th & 5th myself to death – with no relief.

    I always heard the same beginning story “I drank because I felt broken.” I never heard anyone say “what broke you and how can we fix that.” It never failed that that question was never asked and it progressed into their drunkalogue and the damage that caused.

    I decided for myself to find out “why I felt broken” long before I drank. The drink only dulled these reasons.

    I could write for days and days about this.

    Kim

    • Some of you know that I went back to AA awhile back. Before I went back I was feeling sorta lonely, depressed, and then, well, I got into a relationship with a guy who seemed like an active alkie. The problem was not so much his drinking; it was his controlling and mean behavior. But because I was so scared of the situation—how to deal with it while in it, and then how the fuck to get out, etc.–I reverted back to the 12 step ideology almost immediately. I did what I had learned to do in my early 20s—I went to freaking meetings. Meeting. Meetings. Meetings. (Meeting makers make it—wtf? Ack!) Also, b/c I am super reclusive I needed suppurt, and fast! I did get it. However, I had to (obviously you will not be surprised) weed out some decided creepiness. With this AA support, along with support from (haha) “normies,” I was able to get outta the relationship.

      It is important to note: getting outta the relationship required courage, not blind faith in a made up, watered down HP (higher power) that the 12 step cult has invented. In part, I knew I had this courage in me from leaving AA in the first place. And the most intense , concrete, helpful support I got was not from “da roomz.” Again, from “normies.” After I ended the relationship I continued with AA, mostly because I felt I owed them my attendance. Also, I was using patterning which made me believe that AA= out of the bad relationship; meanwhile, non AA going = getting into the relationship. This is a form of over generalizing, I now realize. I went to maybe a meeting or so a week after I got out of the relationship. After a few months, what a surprise!, I started more. I did not like it. So, instead of stopping with attendance, I tried to do a 90 in 90. Can you believe this? After all the hours I spent talking to ppl. on Stinkin’ Thinkin’, listening to Massive’s show, talking to Massive, talking and listening to Gunther, to Go Go, and to Ilse? There are others, too. It’s OK though; there is not way I am going to beat myself up… Some of you might remember me. You’ll prolly understand that this made me right out of my mind, this 90X90.

      Today: I am taking a big old AA break. And it feels awesome. I would *love* AA if it were just a place where the crazy and the uncrazy went to deal with their addictions. We could just go in there, have five minutes each to talk about how freaking badly we wanted to get loaded. Or maybe we could just discuss how umcomfortable we all are with living the questions instead of the answers (I am not really a believer in God, even a water down version). And then, both the crazies and the uncrazie could hang out and drink coffee or eat ice cream. Why all the spiritualizing of trauma and addiction? Why all the over dependence on meetings and sponsorship? Why can’t we take it down like 5 billion notches? I loved the built in support and admittedly have needed it throughout the years. But the riff raff that comes along with it is exhausting. And I am not so great with boundaries; what I mean by this is: when people have zero boundaries or are creepy around me, well, I pity them in this ridiculously intense way and feel like I cannot just give a “stay away” facial expression. So much garbage gets in when I attend. It is not my job to make these people feel better! And the inauthenticity I feel in my “connections” with people who attend makes me sad. I go in feeling like it is awesome how overly confessional we all are about the crazy shit we did while using, but then I realize, that is the only way we’re connecting. And then, more importantly, would I let these people in my home to watch my son? Not on your fucking life.

      The reason I felt compelled to post after so long away from the “Anti AA” stuff was for this post’s quote:

      “I always heard the same beginning story ‘I drank because I felt broken.’ I never heard anyone say ‘what broke you and how can we fix that?’ It never failed that that question was never asked and it progressed into their drunkalogue and the damage that caused.”

      Thank you so very much, Kim for these words. I go to AA outta desperation. Like using, it sometimes offers a temporary fix. And then get worse. I never become strong in the broken places. Because where it is broken gets ignored. And I am so tired of this. And when I read what you wrote, I imagined what it would be like to enter a room where people actually asked, “What is *wrong*? Can I help you? I am so sorry you are broken. I get it; I feel broken too. This life thing is whacked.” What I imagined felt wonderful, so amazing. And the reality is: AA is *nothing* like this. Nothing at all.

      • Hi Violet, I remember you on ST. I guess going back to AA only to reach the same conclusions as before demonstrates that deprogramming takes time. You sound like you are seeing things clearly.
        You are right it is not your job to make these people feel better. It never was.
        AA is simply not safe for anyone.
        I have never gone back but getting there beliefs out of my head has been a little harder.

        • hi violet- I am sorry you had to go back for whatever reasons…the infesting to the mind in deep. I am glad I was so involved as A GSR and the MAAS stuff cause they got so in my face about it and or so ostracized us. The main thing is your back again, your ok and we have some bloggers who still go for people to hang with but they don’t believe in 99% of the crap.

          Your an adult , a mother , your educated….its your choice. GLad u got away from the bad relationship.

      • Hi Violet,

        I’m so glad you got out of that relationship. I think the social network that people find in AA is the one thing that is powerful in terms of attaining sobriety. My experience was that it was a powerful help in separating me from my drinking friends. Unfortunately, it came at an incredibly high price for my self esteem, my authenticity and my personal safety.

        It is so not your fault that you got sucked back into AA. AA uses extremely powerful mind control techniques to retain it’s members.

        I can relate to the feeling that AA doesn’t look into the root causes for the drinking. When I left, I was floored and scared of relapse because I realized that I hadn’t received any actual treatment for my drinking problem. I was suddenly trying to stay sober without ever having addressed the reasons I drank. Having a good counselor and a cognitive psychology addictions treatment program has helped. I can tell you more about that if you’re interested.

        In terms of social support, let me know if you want to hear about ways that I have started to reach out for new friends and new social support system. It’s good to hear you have support from people outside the program.

        If you try to contact me and I don’t see your post, you can contact massive and she will contact me. :)

        • Hi Violet,
          Your options are limited only by your beliefs about what your options are. Your possibilities for wellness and health are endless.

  113. HI Kim and Welcome! Nice to see you here among a group of sane ex steppers!

    wow 18 years in the AA hood…depressing I know. I was in it for over 3 decades. There were years when my kids were born and little I went very infrequently. Im so glad for that. I hope you find some comfort here. I found new friends and just people I need to talk with on the http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com blog when it was very busy.

    I have a radio show you might like. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery

    What tipped the iceberg for you?

    • The tipping of the iceberg?…. so many things – I had kids and didn’t want all the garbage from in there to get into my home – my sponsor hung up on me when I couldn’t get to a meeting because I was breast feeding (a few years back – she did me such a favor), got tired of hearing people say “hi my name is so-in-so and I’m still just an old drunk, so exhausted by the people, the same topics, and finally, I found a great counselor and when I told her a few months back how I felt about AA – she said it’s okay – that program is meant for people who are interested in just surviving not living – I was so relieved – I cried for days – I knew I hadn’t belonged there for so long. We have since worked on the issues of why drinking masked my feelings and why AA would have never helped with that. She is a lifesaver. I thought if I go to one more meeting, I would kill myself. I was a productive person, worked as a Paralegal, but yet had people who couldn’t hold a job and sleeping with every Tom, Dick and Harry trying to tell me how to live my life.

      Today, I’ve been married to a great man and father for 14 years – he’s not in recovery nor has a drinking problem – I have 2 fab kids – no drama – fabulous friends that I have met outside of AA who lead normal lives – I have a great life.

      It’s weird – I felt guilty for so long about hating being there before I finally went to my last meeting about a year or so ago. I was the only one at an isolated meeting with a newly sober menacing, scary man – that was it.

      I started to work on myself without all the guilt “it must be me….look in the mirror….blah, blah, blah…”

      So thankful – thought about writing a book – I was so young when I came into AA – all the sexual harassing I endured and all the crazy stuff I did thinking this would keep me sober, all the conferences I went to (hating it) and had to bunk with 5 girls in a room because they didn’t have money or jobs and no intention of getting one, quite a few crazy sponsors – I could go on.

      So glad I found this site.

      Kim

      • Until I found your website (searched for “sick of AA”), I thought I was along with these feelings.

        Thanks for your site – reading all the posts has given me so much relief. I’ve thought about staying in AA just to give others like me hope that there is more to life and it’s not the end all, be all of recovery.

        • Kim Turner- Thank you ! Im sorry you were so sexually harassed. I was 13stepped a few times and harassed often.

          I totally get it. When I gave birth to my first son I was 15 years sober , got into AA at 18 years old. But when he was born I was living in Hollywood and soon I too didn’t want to bring my beautiful baby into a meeting. I too was nursing. But my sponsor had died and I luckily has none to tell me I needed more meetings. I went to very few as soon as he was born. But enough of that…I withdrew slowly going to 1 a month and those were at peoples homes for AA couples. So, as I was going to less and less meetings 1990 brought drug courts to Los Angeles. Big F **KING deal. So The AA judges began their onslaught of creeps into AA.

          Kim, Im just glad you found the site. Im happily married too and my sons are older now. They are so glad I left AA. I was a stepper for sure. AA damaged my first married I was such a true believer. Its embarrassing. But …I did escape !!! I am making a Documentary to expose what the hell is going on in AA /NA today. It is criminal.

          AS you say you could write a book…I say write it ….the world needs to know that AA is NOT THE GOLDEN STANDARD that it is proclaimed on Primetime Network TV shows.

      • Kim you’re not alone. I was very sexually harassed too. Even had male treatment counselors trying to sleep with me when I was impatient.

        I’ve been out quite a long time now but so want PREDATORS ANONYMOUS exposed for what it is. I’m so happy massive is making her documentary.

        What made me finally leave was a great therapist and I was tired of the women blaming me for the sick old timers behavior. Bunch of jealous, angry, crazy women in AA.

        Welcome, happy to see u here. :)

        • hi suntime- glad you are getting better. I know you have finally found a good therapist. As always , Im so sorry you were so sexually harassed. I sue your story al the time when I am pitching my film. Boy do they get ” its not an out side issue when I tell the coca cola story “IN a Meeting”

          • Also wanted to say that I found a good one that helped me leave 12 years ago.

            Btw massive, I found out just today that there is a sick man in my local area that has recovery houses. HeHe lives on a ranch. He goes to the local jail and gets the pretty women out and its all on his property. I guess ppl call it the bunny ranch. Supposedly some of the women have complained about him. Let me get u more info and I will email it to you. Maybe you could go down there and talk to these women. Just hope they will come forward bc they are probably court ordered and may not want to. But I guess they are all beautiful…think about it. It’s on his property out in the middle of nowhere. I could only imagine what he’s doing. Makes me so sick.

  114. Hi Kim,

    Welcome to the site. You are definitely not alone in your feelings. I understand so much of what you are talking about.

    It is a really emotional process, first to realize the sad truth of what AA really is (I thought it was the greatest thing ever when I was in it) and then to recover from the damage done. I also have an awesome counselor who validates my feelings. She said recently that she has heard other people talk about AA the way I do (saying that it is a cult). I just wanted cry with relief because, of course, I rarely heard the “C word” uttered in AA. There was one man who “told his story” and he started it out by listing the characteristics of a cult and talking about whether AA is one. But he was joking.

    I’m really sorry about all the sexual harassment you experienced. I know all about that firsthand. I wanted to stay in AA just to talk to new women about their personal safety and sexual harassment (or worse). But the more I separated from AA, the more I started to get nauseated by the slogans and the chanting, etc. I still think about going back to women’s meetings to talk to newcomers, but right now I just can’t take the atmosphere.

    I left AA this winter and suddenly realized that I had received no addictions counseling (like you mentioned about treating the underlying emotional issues). I also realized that I had no life outside of AA. It was scary at first, but now I am pretty excited about developing a new social life, sharing hobbies with new people.

    I totally encourage you in writing a book. Leaving AA is so hard. I am so glad I found blogs like this one. I probably would have devoured a book written by someone who had been through what I was going through. Someone should write a “how to leave AA” manual with examples of how AA hurts and how to heal and how to build a social life outside of AA and a summary of other available treatment programs. Hey, that’s actually a great idea. I wonder if someone has already written it.

    Anyway, it’s great to have you here. It’s healing for me to hear other people’s stories.

  115. Brillando- I did consider writing a deprogramming book. I have started a book and then Im too busy making the film, a nice slim book would and could be a big seller. When we launch the kickstarter we will see how much support we really have out there. I have a suspicion there are thousands of us who have left and been harmed.

    Brillando- Im glad things are improving for you. They are for me too. I have made some new woman friends. I love hearing about them and not their program etc!!!

  116. Pretty cool .. another story of exodus to add to the list.

    I was thinking. If “Alcoholism” is this serious, fatal disease, what other diseases to health care professionals trust to predatory, ex-con, snaggle-toothed, high school dropout wackaloons to provide counseling and give life altering “suggestions” to “arrest” the disease? Seriously. There was a meeting in a dual diagnosis facility where the nurses guided or rolled newbies into a room and closed the door for the meeting. The meeting leader could have been anybody. There were no real requirements, no background checks .. all you had to be was “in the program”. One guy took it over for years and dispensed his brand of advice and behavioral guidance without any medical or counseling background at all. He had supposedly read the gawd inspired Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and that was good enough for the “medical facility”. The second floor was a lockdown for the seriously delirious folks and they even brought those people into the sphere of influence of these non-certified “leaders”. If people knew the extent of all this nonsense, the lawsuits would be huge !! Asks the parent – “Let me get this straight, I brought my now dead child in here to be under your care and you put her in a room with known predators and wackos totally unsupervised? What the hell is wrong with you people?!?”

    For those that think this doesn’t happen, think again.

  117. spj- wow – what a post!

    Asks the parent – “Let me get this straight, I brought my now dead child in here to be under your care and you put her in a room with known predators and wackos totally unsupervised? What the hell is wrong with you people?!?”

    Sometime spj- this insanity makes me cry. It makes me mad. It makes me wanna yell. So I blog, I call parents whose children were murdered by violent offenders sent to AA, I talk to woman who have been raped and assaulted by men they met in AA who they thought were Joe nice guy, I call public officials ,I create petitions and I plan to go to City Hall and tell LA what is going on in AA. I get tired of it all sometimes. But until the public knows who is in charge of AA

    NO ONE! Do you folks know how many people think AA is a government agency?
    How many think AA has trained facilitators in charge?
    How many think sponsors are someone with a degree who is also trained?

    This is the sh**t that the world needs to know that these wack heads are s ex offenders, violent offenders, and nonbody special at all …AA is a rogue society filled with controlling nutbags.

    Thank you spj for your intelligent posts that see thru the BS of AA and 12 step lunacy. Your post along with Brillando and Kim gave me the umff to go on and keep at it.

    Thank you !!! All of you out there in Anti AA blog land.

    • Thanks guys – this is so wonderful. I do think AA has gotten twisted into more of a cult than the original founders intended – there’s so much in the AA book (will not call it the big book) that did help me, but only with the consequences of my drinking not the underlying reasons for drinking. So strange to think about it now.

      All I have heard in there for 18+ years is how to clean your life up from the effects of alcoholism not the underlying reasons of why I started drinking and continued in the face of so many devastating consequences.

      I think the women who get to AA are so broken and the predators just feed on that – I know first hand how it felt to feel so broken and the first guy who told me I was beautiful and sexy – he was 45 and I was 23. I ate it up because I had felt to bad for so long. Before long, I was sort of involved with him and almost got drunk over that…..sad to think about now. He was married with children – didn’t know that – always have wanted to apologize to his wife. He was in a meeting every night. Everybody knew he was married, but nobody told me – so sick.

      My boys are 8 and 10 and only know that mommy doesn’t drink – they have never questioned it. I never wanted to raise them in AA or have them in meetings.

      We have major pool parties at our home where occasionally there is some alcohol – someone in AA told me I would get drunk doing that and I had to show them in the AA book that it’s okay to have alcohol in my home – there were baffled – they had never heard nor read that.

      I really like sharing these stories and hearing yours – I so felt alone – thank you again.

  118. Hello Kim,
    You have been through a lot in AA. So young when you went there.
    I was 42 when i went i had lots of friends,rarely without a partner (Though they were the wrong type of partner).Often worked.Had interests,and a social life.I was attractive and sexy Pre AA But i didnt know i was.
    On entering AA my already bad self image, well any confidence i had was knocked out of me right away.
    I was in and out of AA for 12 years.Went through the steps in variouse ways.
    I slowly became one of the toothless,stressed out,sexless,friendless women. who gave up on work had no interests no spirit no fight,and a few times gave others advice.
    Mostly i was takeing advice.Always looked on as not haveing IT not doing IT
    not getting it, still sick.
    In my mind i believed i was inferior to the rest including the new commers.
    I was forever being got at critasied pulled down , blamed for everything,accused of things i hadnt done,
    shunned some mostly women kept back from me.
    I was always honest about my drinking and canabis use.
    I wasnt one of the secret pot users.
    I was prayed on by old timers and relapsers at times from my first weeks in AA.
    however i remained celabate. I have never had any sexual thing with anyone who attends AA/NA.
    I remained celabate for 9 years then one time while out of AA for 2 years i had a relationship with a man.
    It didnt work out.
    Since leaving AA i have had 2 social dates with 2 men, i didnt have sex with them.
    It went no where.I was harrased and intimadated in AA.
    Im starting to fill my life again.Voluntary work. new friends,rekindling one Pre AA friendship,my interests are comming back.
    My teeth of course will never come back, nor my attractiveness ,sexiness.
    However at my age now im not so bothered about that.
    I doubt if i will ever have a relationship again. I have been sucesful in modarating my drinking since i left AA.
    I’m glad your getting a good life now. I wont give you any advise
    i shall just wish you the very best for your future.

      • Kim,
        I’m not a kind person.Pre AA i belived myself to be a kind person but after some years there they convinced me i was cruel.
        I just try to say what i think is the right thing to say.
        my heart grew cold after some time in AA.
        Every so often i would get a moment of heart felt emotion,.
        But mostly , slowly,i was turned into stone.
        Pre AA i often had heart felt moments most all the time.
        Many years ago and Pre AA, for a period of time in my life,
        I also got turned to stone, for a while.It went away but for a while.
        In the womens refuge where i lived at that time they told me
        I was in an emotional freeze.
        Was it my alcohol and drug use at that time that caused that, or was it the domestic abuse i was faceing every day untill i escaped with the help of an underground womens help movement.
        I do not know.
        I used to think i was kind but i no longer think i am.
        I used to think better about myself more often Pre AA-not all the time at times i could feel bad about myself Pre AA too.
        But since AA ,well “I’m just a piece of shit on someones shoe again-same as i felt in domestic violence.
        Take good care Kim .