WHY are you leaving AA? Is it a cult- What is brainwashing- What are key red flags that make a group a toxic group, organization or…yes … a cult?


Early on in my work, I was still in AA and I did not think AA was a cult. Haters on Stink-thinkin.com   www.stinkin-thinkin.com were giving me crap for trying to make things safer in AA.” ( 2009 -2010)    ” Leave” — they said.    “You are brainwashed” —-they said.

It took a few years of blogging, two years as a GSR, (General

Service Rep) that I began to see and hear in meetings things I had never noticed before. Finally after reading many books like , Addiction Proof Your Child by Stanton Peele, The workbook from SMART Recovery,  AMY Lee Coys  book FROM DEATH DO I PART,  http://www.amazon.com/Death-Do-Part-Myself-Addiction/dp/069200971X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 I began filling my head with Non AA rhetoric. Here is a list of books I recommend http://leavingaa.com/recommended-books/

Last July I met a screenwriter who introduced me to Rachel Bernstein   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery/2016/02/09/rachel-bernstein-cult-deprogramming-expert–therapist and has been interviewed on my radio show .She is an expert in Cult awareness and deprogramming and with help getting a loved one out of a cult, or an abusive one on one relationship.

All cults have control tactics.

1. AA says ” only we can help you ” —RED FLAG—- there is not such thing as “ONLY WE CAN HELP YOU”

2. AA says- :you must come to meetings forever or you will die, go to jail or go insane ” Really— who are they????? How would they know this—–are they GOD—- are they psychic? NO…they are not.

As time passed and continued my www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery I realized that in ripping up the big Book, I saw that AA , and the big book , when it was written has never – I mean Never been vetted, researched or updated.

3. AA says- GOD COULD AND WOULD IF HE WERE SOUGHT….sought about what?

If it were a disease ( which it is not ) why would you being going to a church basement for help for a BRIAN DISEASE, by praying a , talking and asking strangers who are not Doctors for advice. To top it off, its not scientific, or medical advice. Its quasi cult arm chair psychobabble.

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38 thoughts on “WHY are you leaving AA? Is it a cult- What is brainwashing- What are key red flags that make a group a toxic group, organization or…yes … a cult?

  1. Yeah I wish I would have left after I gave birth to my son. I wasn’t eating or sleeping and hadn’t healed from the birth. I was still in a lot of pain. And my Dr wanted to put me on mild pain medication and something to help me sleep. My sponsor said no, she would not sponsor a zombie. She said good would heal me when it was time and God would let me sleep when he felt it was time and to just keep praying. She was my God I did whatever she said.

    I started getting suicidal and my family had my Dr come to our house after hours. I told him what my sponsor said. He said that sometimes God sends us a parachute and he was mine. I started taking the meds. I only needed the pain med for like 3 days. It felt so good to start sleeping again. I finally got the courage to tell my sponsor. She fired me and said I WILL NOT SPONSOR A ZOMBIE!!! I quit taking the sleep med and insomnia returned. It was a hard choice but I chose sleep over her. I was so lost…

    The way they play Dr is so scary!

      • I know but I was so brainwashed and so young. I was only 19 when I was forced into AA bc of a dui charge and was pregnant at 20. My sponsor was my God. I was just so young and naive. I had been a partier but I had not been around the kinds of ppl I met in AA. Most were twice my age and I did find a young ppls group but most of them were in their early 30s. So still a lot older than me. Oh yeah AA was a horrible experience for me. I was in hardcore from 19-26, started questioning it at 26 met a therapist that helped me leave but I went back on and off till I was 30. So I’ve been completely out for 11 yrs now. But I really want it exposed so badly….

        I’m really grateful Monica has done all that she has. Very grateful.

  2. In order to protect people from being indoctrinated by any type of cults, there is an app called Leegle.
    It detects subliminal manipulation attempts in any text or speech.

  3. When they chant “Science hasn’t done so yet” they don’t want to know that science has with the Sinclair Method which is way more effective than AA’s success rate. The brain-washing is astounding and sadly very powerful in that looney cult. btw Massive so sorry to hear about your medical situation, I am rooting for you.

  4. I understand and have sympathy for people who took their own lifes because of that cult. Sitting in a room with sick people harping on about the past would kill anybody. The feeling I got in my time in the rooms was that LIFE was over due to the constant sharing about the past and the boring lonely lifestyles 99% of these people now lived. Again it’s another black/white cult mindfuck that it can induce in people. Harping on about the past all the time is not good for anyone but the cult members think it will lead to a better life. I come across members a lot of the time here in LA and they are in the same place they were mentally & physically since I knew them 17 years ago, if anything they get deeper into their own heads and can’t come out of it due to the brainwashing in the cult. I go to a coffee shop sometimes in the morning where they have a meeting in another room, we can hear every share and it’s the same crap these people sprout. I am almost deaf with trying to drown them out with my headphones!! It’s a depressing & sick place to be in those rooms year after year.

    • I’m so sorry for your AA experience. AA saved my life. I am now a decade plus sober. The AA I know is the one, of acceptance and gratitude. That I need to accept that only me can make me drink, only me can make me happy, that if I need to blame anyone I need to go no further than the mirror. May you find happiness with whatever path you choose. kindest thoughts for you

      • Equally sorry for your AA experience. It seems that there is a lot of ism left in you but then you blame yourself and use a mirror to realise this blame. Sometimes things aren’t your fault that really is very selfish. Odd behaviour and glad I got out when I did. Thanks for the reminder. Best wishes to you too but it might be a waste of time proselytizing here.

        • Lol im a decade sober and after walking away from the rooms i found my true recovery began 9 years ago . Aa worjs for 5 percent of people so good for you who are the 5 percent . I am my own god and i have created the best life i could ever hope for. Rise above and trust your higer self

          • HI Riza – welcome . So how many years did you attend? Its not clear how long you have been gone ? and lastly — what was the last straw that made you walk away if anything special?

      • Hi Ken- I’m glad for you that you are fine and not in the bottom /gutter of your choosing. Right…..right.

        But —you saved you. To believe that a room full of drunks changed your life is a form of being brainwashed and giving “your Power” away to others.

        What has become of Americans anyway? Always giving their success’s way to some other group or HP or a cult? I think this is why Trump , not to get political, is so popular. btw I am not voting for him.

        There is no group of people on any planet that keeps a person from drinking.

        It’s your arm, your mouth, your driving to the store, buying the booze….I have recently learned it takes only 1 hour to be brainwashed. Read The Orange _ Papers ( Not the forum ) and old Stinkin- thininkin pages of WHY we left AA.

        Read Rachel Bernsteins site. She is a specialist in Deprogramming.

        This is not a pro AA blog. We are here for those who have left and want help LEAVING…..I said LEAVING! We don’t like AA anymore.

  5. Hi Bitter- Its so true. I have a friend from my childhood visiting me and she went to one – two meetings 10 years ago. Her description was spot on with yours. I wish we could meet but I respect your privacy. We both live in LA.

    Maybe I already know you but don’t know your alias…

    Will you reveal the name of the coffee shop ?

    • Hi massive, the coffee shop is called UnUrban Coffee House, it’s on pico blvd in santa monica. It’s an ok place to hang out but they have AA meetings there every morning at 7am & 8.15 am. Yeah it would be nice to hook up for a coffee sometime, I may be going back east in 2 to 3 weeks so maybe before then. ps anywhere but a meeting lol.

  6. bitter- oh yes I know the place. Meetings daily. I liked it before they had meetings there. I have surgery on Tuesday. So lets see how I do then yes lets meet for a coffee.

  7. Massive:

    We need more people to start challenging the status quo in this world. I’ve been giving it a hard thought after constructing my own ideas following much of your blog, seeing your film. I think I want to go back to school earn my Phd and contribute to this research because it is obvious there is very few out there trying to make a shift with all this outdated one size fits all, labeling, government controlled research. Dr. Adi Jaffe along with few others seem to be alone going against a giant! Thanks for your work and direction Massive.

    • Bobe- great idea. There are some other Doctors and PhD’s who are in agreement wuth us . I think I will do a blog post about it. But yes we have to have more out there with a non 12 step approach as well as Clinics like The Goodman Centers with Naltrexone and Vivitrol and Harm Reduction concepts available along with no 12 step religion fake 1930’s addiction treatment ( which we know it fails 95 % who go ) and really makes it worse who are forced there.

      Also- Like Adi Jaffe and Dr Kern @ Alternatives, Tom Horvath @Practical Recovery , they ask….the client…what do you want to do?

      Thank you for your post. Please do that. We need it.

  8. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees this. I have been to them on and off. To me, the sponsors are like “God” to many, they chant a bunch of psychobabble bull shit, they all sound alike, and they constantly rehash the past, as if it’s going to solve or make the future better. I have always thought it was crazy. The choice to use alcohol or drugs, is up to us. I will never endorse a program that will not support individual thinking and coloring outside of the lines. I also think that the negativity is overbearing. The thought that one”will never recover ” is what helped me to get out before they could break me down and brainwash me. I’m really glad I’m not the only one who sees this! Best of luck to all ❤️

    • HI Ashley — welcome ! NIce to hear that people are seeing the truth much faster. The internet does help and movies that expose other cults as well.

  9. I started going to AA a month ago and now I’m running for the hills. The first thing that creeped me out was the ‘birthday’. people referring to themselves as ‘5’, for how many years sober they were, as though they were born again when they quit alcohol. And the chanting of ‘keep coming back’, the chips with the same slogan. All of the slogans! All of the catchphrases– the first big red flag for me was when I was in a meeting and I realized I was starting to use the terminology. I was starting to talk like them, talking about turning it over to god and being ‘joyous, happy and free’. I also noticed that people who have been in the program for years still refer to their ‘character defects’ and constantly refer to being in recovery. A lot of these people have been in the program since the seventies or eigthies and it was forced on them when they were very young, hardly even old enough to have had any life experiences. I also found that most of the ‘old timers’ had been brought into the fold through court-mandated attendance. Any recovery program that works should be able to be completed after a period of time. There is so much science- based knowledge out there on how to more effectively treat Alcohol use disorder, and yet AA continues to be the number one program. Hopefully this is beginning to change. I know any program that allows people who are not doctors to be involved in my personal life is certainly not for me.

    • Grace @Any recovery program that works should be able to be completed after a period of time. There is so much science- based knowledge out there on how to more effectively treat Alcohol use disorder, and yet AA continues to be the number one program.

      These are really valid points you are making about the failure of the Ancient AA program. Nice to see you here.

      • I have been an avid AAer for 1.5 years and I’m done. If anything people in these groups make me want to drink more! I am a semi successful entrepreneur and I feel like people are attracted to me to use and drain me. Then my “then”sponsor Justify their behavior by telling me that I owed it to them as service work. I am emotionally drained and depleted. My friends in AA will no longer maintain relationships with me. It’s like being exiled from a cult for not buying into their bullshit and letting them abuse me. I’m done giving people rides, I’m done with the guilt trips I’m done with feeling like I owe them something because of my personal success. AA IS NOT REALITY. Please let me know if there are any groups, Facebook, online sites that I can follow with others that share a similar experience. Thank you!

        • Hi Stephanie- welcome ! Yes we have a few groups that are anti AA- or support for other ways –

          Leaving AA, Deprogramming from AA or any 12 step group. Expose AA – for starters- you will have to ask to join and answer the questions. There are about 1000 people in the deprogramming.

  10. I am beginning to think I am brainwashed by people in AA. I was 12th stepped in by my Alanon sponsor (friends and family of alcoholics. I stopped all drugs 30 yrs ago on my own (coke, valium, qualudes etc) when I got a good job. Went to college for 8 yrs as an older student, did not drink. Yes my graduation party I was wild as all heck, not stopping drinking till all was gone. Had a friend’s bottle in my house for 3 yrs didn’t touch it. I date, I drink. I relate to the feelings people share in AA. I have had crazy sponsors & dang I thought I was the crazy one. So confused right now!

    • HI ANNIE- How are you and why are you confused? Or should I say what are you confused about ? I left after 36 years.

      Congrats on all your college work !!!

  11. There are individuals go to AA meetings who are pathetic liars without healthy lives. These persons dwell in AA meetings seeking friendships not having a clue about the 12 steps or traditions. A black and white mind fuck and ‘cliche. Have these alcoholics left the bar, honestly, AA is a joke especially if truly want to experience recovery through the 12 steps.

  12. I was in AA hardcore the first 2 years of my sobriety I was GSR and treasurer and I was completely terrified to stop going even though I wanted to after the first year . Honestly AA helped me gain some tools to use and for the first 6 months it helped me but after that it harmed me I took so much time away from my family and newborn daughter, I missed job opportunities because my sponser said it wasn’t the right time I was honestly so scared to leave or else I would drink and die ! Well let me tell you that is not true in the slightest I finally left AA for good 1 year ago and haven’t looked back ! I’m so happy and free now and able to enjoy my sobriety and not held back by the AA brainwashing! I can actually live life thank gift:)

    • hi Matt- Welcome 1 Glad you got out !!! Such wasted time – I know – We have some FACEBOOK groups for people who left . Let me know if you want to join them. Best, Massive.

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