AN Ex stepper’s take on AA— from FACEBOOK – Leaving AA or any 12 step group

This is posted here with the permission of the writer herself.

Post written by Carrie Lee


So after a year of sporadically making my way through the Orange Papers and being involved here on this forum here’s my take on what’s going on with AA:

1. The premise and dominant philosophies of AA came from the Oxford Groups – a puritanical fundamentalist Christian group started by a nazi sympathiser
2. The program, a mish-mash of poor philosophy and random spirituality, was cobbled together through the ‘inspiration’ of a megalomaniac, womanising, momentarily-physically-sober madman with absolutely no supportive evidence that it could be relevant to alcoholics except the backing of one doctor who was apparently impressed with the idea of peer support (wow, what a concept). The god-stuff was entirely erroneous.
3. The program was given credibility when they lobbied the AMA to call alcoholism a disease so it would be covered by insurance …and so the now billion dollar D&A industry was born to perpetuate the myth
4. The program has always had a heavy confessional component that keeps people focused on their negatives, their self-esteem low and their minds therefore malleable
5. This allows for an environment in which control-freaks and predators can thrive and prey on the vulnerable
6. The program has no greater success rate than the percentage of people giving up naturally in any given year. Further, there are many components of both the program itself and the way people apply it that actively work against a person’s sobriety and well-being from simple ideas like don’t get a partner or job when both are proven to be tremendously helpful to people wishing to get sober, to the harmful such as “it’s a disease, you are powerless and will need us forever”, to the seriously dangerous like “don’t take your meds”
7. While you could forgive it for not being effective, it’s hard to forgive the serious harm done through sexual abuse, mental manipulation, guilt-tripping and humiliation that lead to suicides, binge drinking, premature death, loss of family, friends and support structures and at the very least, many lost years and opportunities
8. The program will never be altered in light of new evidence and proven current support mechanisms.

What’s not to like eh??!?!?!?!?!

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8 thoughts on “AN Ex stepper’s take on AA— from FACEBOOK – Leaving AA or any 12 step group

  1. 40 years continuously sober (and free of drugs) here–Have attended maybe 4 meetings since 1983, after which I tried OA & ACOA periodically for a year or so, not returning because of the over-emphasis on self-blame and on the fact that AA itself says that it is supposed to be “A Bridge Back to Life.” To me this means a bridge back to life outside the 12 step meetings and culture.

    I had also “come to believe,” increasingly, that AA was a cult. I think AA is even more of a cult today from what i’ve read and from the rare meetings I’ve taken a peek into over the past 15 years.

    But it is free and so it will probably continue to be a popular choice for people trying to get sober/clean. That being said, from my experience, women should be exceedingly discerning about their associations in AA, and should not assume that what they say in meetings will remain there or will not come back, possibly years later, in a form possibly wholly unrecognizable to them, but could embarrass or completely mis-characterize who they were or are.

    There may be behaviors you do or have done, that intellectually, you can justify or forgive in others, or even in yourself–but you were drinking/drugging when doing them, so you talk about them in AA. Maybe even ideologically, you do not judge such behaviors, but you yourself would not want to engage in them again. A lot of this happens when drinking and drugging. You could say that you don’t see anything objectively wrong with a behavior, but here’s the rub: You don’t know what the telling of it elicits in someone else in terms of fantasies, fantasies of opportunities to exploit or manipulate you.

    There is a lot of this in AA, especially given what others have reported about the rise in court-mandated AA attendance.

    Resist the temptation to gain acceptance by emphasizing the most gruesome or hurtful or sexual parts of your story to gain acceptance in the group. You should not assume that what is said in the rooms stays in the rooms.

    If you have to go to AA/NA do not make yourself vulnerable. Don’t do it. And try to find solid help from a non-alcoholic psychotherapist, preferably in the Rational-Emotive Therapy realm or other action-oriented modalities.

    • Totally agree AA / NA One in the same Fear Tactics. Meetings I like watching Fox News Damage control. We love everybody everyone is Excepted. Only if your part of the Cult family. #30Yr

    • Absolutely, I try to point this out to people all the time. It became alarmingly clear to me while I sponsored my last two people.

      The sexual inventory is a bizarre thing. The two people could not be further on the spectrum in the extremes, but both insisted on going into gory details against my truthful warnings. Because the workbooks told them to.

      In one case the individuals sexual inventory mostly involved things within their imagination that had no actual bearing on reality, yet they had never acted out upon them…. and to add they were things that were in no way considered deviant in any reasonable way.

      In the other case, these things they did do might have been acceptable in our society. But, they were an immigrant from a country where they could have been killed for the things they told me… and though they were in no way illegal by any reasonable standard, they were a death sentence in their home country. at the time the individual felt secure here. but now in the era of Trump and due to their emigration status, that individual may be in serious danger today.

      it is insanity.

  2. My take on AA these days is that it is way overdue for a fall from grace. Much like the MeToo movement has made some of the previously high and mighty take a huge tumble, AA as a concept is not immune from a tumble, either. I remember a line from the Promises – Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They (the promises) will always materialize if we work for them. I choose to interpret these lines today as hope that AA will indeed take a huge tumble. It seems to have taken a slow one already with more and more people leaving AA – it seems the only way AA can remain the slightest bit relevant is to allow court forced folks into the room with the wide array of problems such folks tend to carry with them. My guess is that sometime in the future there will be a lawsuit or a movement big enough to gather enough attention to not only cause AA to take a huge tumble but also to change the way society views AA. I can’t wait!!!!!

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