Why I Left AA Stories

This is a forum for people to write why they left AA stories. (updated March 7, 2012) Updated August 30, 2013.

Free From 12 Step

Let’s begin the new thread.

This picture tells how I felt when I left AA.

Some of you are here for the first time and are wondering why would someone have such a blog.

My name is M and I am NOT an alcoholic. However, I did label myself this stupid word for many years and I did not drink a drop for 37 years. I arrived at AA @ 18 years old.

My blogging name is “massive”

In the summer of 2008, someone very close to me was drinking out of control. So I took him to a young person’s meeting.  To be sure, it was not. It was filled with creepy 50-60 year old men, chain smoking and glaring at the young new hopeful twenty something’s who still had no self esteem. I was horrified.

In the mean time, my estranged DAD shows up back into my life after being gone for 12 years. He was drinking and pill popping  and was showing signs of being mentally sick. He became homeless and lost everything. He once wore a Brooks Brothers suit, worked for Pfizer,  was college educated,  a NY cop, he took us to the Jersey Shore to Surf (awesome) he taught me to swim at age 5.

He brought me to Hawaii in 1975 when my parents divorced and I loved it there.

He turned up at an ER in Las Vegas, and was dying. I flew there to see my Dad and although I had cried buckets of tears for him being lost  after many good years with him, it was hard to see him such a mess. After 8 months I eventually brought him to me in Los Angeles and within 5 days he died.

He is part of my leaving. My DAD hated AA. He hated that I went to it and was caught up in it so radically.

With his death came a realization that what I had, he never wanted. That AA failed my father. In fact, it failed a few other members of my family.

I had many sponsee’s calling me, wanting my attention and I called them all and said I was done sponsoring anyone from now on.  I gave my time, my home, my experience, my soul and friendship and I just wanted to move on. There was something freeing about this. I kept just two woman … They hardly called me.

So my DAD died,  and one of my kids was not doing great… and… a young woman named Kali came to my home group meeting. She was also badly 13 stepped. That means she was preyed on by an older guy with  much more “time” and he knows exactly what he was doing! And I just took the position of GSR (General Service Rep) for my Home Group.

Kali explained to me what happened. Her sponsor said to her,  “what’s your part in it” ?

 I said, “you have no part in it” He is a predator!

I began attending the mixed meetings I no longer attended.

But when I attended the meetings with her at The Marina Center in Culver City, California and The VRC Friday night Meeting at 414 Lincoln, in Venice, CA., I was horrified what I saw. I would not send my son, or my worst enemy there. It appeared that there were men there that were not even alcoholics, trying to get sober hanging out. They were there to pick up women… young new vulnerable women. They looked and acted like sexual predators.

We decided to have a workshop to discuss this. I had been introduced to Paul C. a man who had been an AA trustee and a previous delegate. He shared his 7 page letter he wrote to the AA NYGS Board and it just ripped me apart to read about rape and child molesting stories. Even though I knew a women personally whom her mothers boyfriend  had molested her 35 years ago. She was 5 years old when he, an AA member, who was dating her mom, took her innocence from her in the most horrific way.

I called an old friend Tom, who was a board member in NA for many years and he told me stories about Bill W taking LSD, how Tom Powers called him a sex addict back then and this sent me searching on the web to then find www.orange-papers.com

 I read Orange Papers and attended more horrible meetings that I did not know existed in Los Angeles, CA. For you naysayers… I know there are nice meetings in LA. I’m not talking about those meetings!

I created a workshop with a concerned group of members and the workshops exposed rapes and bad 13 stepping and alot of upset oldtimers confused about how to handle the predators that were taking over their meetings. I thought AA in NY would get on Board and help. This did not happen.

 My group and I had tens of meetings discussing this and we wrote literature called “The Make AA Safer Pamphlet”. It was all good until we went to our West side district. Holy cow…how they responded was like they were trying to cover up something and they wouldn’t give us the time of day. We fought for it and the more we did the more they iced us out. It began to feel like giant, mammoth problem, too big for Kali and I and a few others who really cared.

As the months rolled by, I got a gig singing in a hotel that made me very happy. But even the women in my group began to ice us out. Kali moved back to where she came from and I began to hear the readings with a new light. I felt like I was seeing AA as a new person might see it. AA had changed from when I got sober in Kailua in 1975.

 It was not filled with fresh normal faces. It was not laid back and “take what you like buffet attitude “ had turned into  a more ridged ..”90 meetings and 90 days and what does your sponsor say “ type of rhetoric.

Honestly, I was am independent thinker, a young smart 1970’s hippie. If people said to me then, what they say now to people in AA today,

I would have NEVER!!!!!!! come back to even one meeting!!!!!!

In March of 2010, in Los Angeles, Ca at PRAASA, ( a Pacific Regional Area Service assembly) –( nine states and 15 regions)  after much pushing on our part, the chair gave a late night round table entitled,

“Sexual and Financial Predators in AA.”

130 people packed into a room. Many were turned away because there was no more room.

The stories were heart wrenching. The Spanish contingency sat me down and translated as I talked about what we were doing and trying to expose. Then they told me something I could not believe.

That men with many years, old men, were taking young women, middle aged women, any women, up into the mountains to read them their 5th step. I said,  ”what were they doing up in the mountains?” And the old lady with her heavy accent said, with that look in her eyes like” you know”  

“They make them have sex with them after they read their 5th step!.

In California?  I asked,  ”not Mexico?

Yes she said.

 “Right here…in California.”

I gasped!

 There were even meetings were “they tied people up against their will” they said in Spanish as she translated. I was beyond stunned.

In the workshop at the very end a young spanish speaking woman told how she had a friend

who had recently killed himself because of this 13 stepping. To be sure many of us were crying. I had an earlier version of my pamphlet and we gave them out.

In Sept of 2010 I went to Hawaii for a woman’s AA event to see if I could spread the word.

At dinner with my two closets long time AA friends they told me about

the Murder of Kristine and Saundra Cass ( age 13 ), by a man who was Court ordered to AA even though he was unstable and had mental issues and had violent issues with women.

Fact: Judges are sentencing sex offenders and violent criminals to AA/NA meetings unknown to the general public and also unknown to most 12 step members)

It pushed me over the top. Then Herbert Tracy White was murdered by a couple in downtown Los Angeles, CA., who pretended they wanted help as addicts.  He was such a sweet guy.

I was done. Thomas B., the AA Area chair was not helpful and so was the district chair a … It did seem like a dead end. That the so called AA structure did not work. That in fact, my local government still worked better then AA’s upside down triangle rigamarole!

But then an even stranger thing began to happen. At my lovely little safe women’s meeting I was uncomfortable. As they read the literature from 1935 which is done at every meeting,  I looked around and watched them chanting and nodding their heads up and down.

I saw AA for the first time as a CULT. Wow…I thought.  What am I doing? I don’t belong here anymore.

I attended Smart Recovery and SOS meetings and I loved them. I cried alot over the years I wasted in AA. The years it stole from me. The years I was a fool for believing in such crap.

I made blogging friends from all over the country. Women and men victims alike wrote me harrowing tails of abuse, assault, rape, scamming and controlling mentally ill sponsors type abuse. It seemed people were leaving AA in droves.

 I created a radio show www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery because no one  in the media who I reached out to would tell this story of horrible cover up going on in Alcoholics Anonymous. Every night in every city this s####t is going on.

In closing…I left AA after 36 years because I could not tolerate the lies that were read over and over again with no thought or willingness to change or improve an archaic addiction modality, the turning of the blind eye to the Sexual and Financial Predators, and the lack of accountability with all of the above, from the local groups to The New York Alcoholics Anonymous World Headquarters.

Now, I spend my nights with my family, new normal friends, going to movies, listening to live music at clubs, writing, blogging, cooking, being an activist for victims in AA and watching my favorite TV Crime Shows or Documentaries!

I am busy making my film called The 13th Step to be released hopefully in  December of 2013.

Now you know more about Monica and “massive”. I have learned much about many of you on the phone, emails and skype and private emailing.

 I have learned so much about the judicial system, DUI’s, Court ordering, what are my rights, your rights, how bad the sexual predation is, how bad the controlling sponsor thing is, how ridiculous the free promotion by stars in Hollywood is, how AA is dishonestly depicted in TV and movies…

In January of 2011 I met Dee Dee Stout over the phone because of her appearance in Penn *& Teller Bullshit about AA.  Through her I met author and Journalist Gabrielle Glaser, who recently published a book called “Her Best Kept Secret, why women drink and how they can regain control.”

I am a chapter in her book. All the work I did on the inside of AA trying to make it safer, how much push back we got at every level and how I finally decided to leave AA (may 2011) so I could do more productive work and make a film exposing AA and what the truth is about this Institution that is so highly regarded and so widely used in rehabs.

She tells my whole story and weaved in and out of others who tried to make it safer and others who were 13 stepped.

Then I was on Katie Couric on ABC talking about it with Gabrielle.

So now you know more.

Join me in a movement that is growing, so that millions can find the other free options, the use of science based therapies and medicine such as Naltrexone and stop the madness of using a 75 year old religious conversion laypersons support group for a serious health issue.


Join me and please tell me your story!

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2,124 thoughts on “Why I Left AA Stories

      • I haven’t looked much Im still dealing with the fallout from A.A /Alanon and the Rehab/treatment Centers game of divide and conquer with me and my family. Blame the victom… Just one quick example: I was doing the sober living thing for a few months and did some drinking one day at a resteraunt. Well I realy felt like talking to some people after like 8 beers so I went to A.A looked around to make sure nobody from the sober living was there and “confessed” and got a white chip.It was kinda fun. I then sobered up and went back “home” and was confronted with “we heard you were drinking today”. I said ” from who? !!! ” whats said here stay here… WHO ??!!! looking for who just made me “homeless” to a hotel. Of course this place is expert at blame the victim to my family, catastraphizing them. He drank the sky is going to fall !!!Dont enable, send us a check …
        I drink every month or so now so what ? Hate me ? I failed ? failed what ? Its Insane this whole thing.

              • Shane- Thanks for the laugh: “…work what?” When I told a therapist I was thinking of drinking and leaving AA, she said: “And throw away 14 years?” I had the similar feeling and thought: what would I be throwing away? That maybe was the moment I knew I was leaving. I’d been “sober” for 14 years but I realized I was “following a bunch of stuck people in circles or cycle (step 1 -step12) And then what? People stayed sick, created more drama etc….just to “work” the steps. It’s like a virus that can’t have the host die off. The program and people are set up to drive one crazy and fill up with anxiety and distortions so that we create drama only to “work” the steps. Ugh!!!! So glad to be free.

              • The book lieterally says that it is a program of action, as well as a fellowship.
                It is so unfortunate that AA is so awful in your area. In Brevard county, FL the problem exists but people do something about it. Im sorry for what you have been through, but i will continue to make myself available to men that need help, because it does help me so much. Good luck wuth everything, I hope that you can be happy despite how AA was ruined for you.

                • Hi JIM – so sexual harassment is a problem in your area? How do you handle it . #METOO , AA is the next Hollywood to be exposed. Its coming.

              • so true, here in Los Angeles, CA.. it is very cliquey, and too much back stabbing among women, also favoritism, pecking order (rich vs not rich) and many predators, sexual, or otherwise, very mentally unstable people there! ( not all, but many)

            • So true. There is nothing to work. Just a bunch of BS gibberish or as they say in Britain – rubbish. Lots of words that sound good put together at first but when you try to actually work the steps – there really is nothing to work and they lead nowhere that is positive and healing – just dealing with a sponsor’s interpretation of the steps is enough to drive one to drink……anyone you go to is going to interpret the steps differently, proving to me at least there is no logical, concrete model to follow. It’s all BS. Rob A.

            • I have no idea what the heck they were talking about. I was thinking they meant maybe work the steps but most people were not even working them. So what do you work? no idea

          • I’ve never been to an AA meeting in a basement. If that was meant metaphorically, I’ve never been in a meeting that was oppressive.

            Yea sure Rachel….go back to your boring dull AA life.

            • Be sure to tell your sponsor you are here. In fact, tell everyone you know in AA that you are on a site called LeavingAA and posting to defend the honor of AA against angry, bitter and uninformed morons. Listen closely to their responses. If you learn the lesson well, your activity here will be the beginning of your progression towards freedom from the faith-healing nonsense of AA. Your journey out has begun.

              • Another drive by huh? Sorry I missed it, she sounds like a doody …

                I have really thought about it though, what is the process that goes on when they get on the internet? ARE they in their minds practising a programme, do they really think God has guided them here?

                Here’s my quote of the day for steppers:

                “by some deep instinct, we A.A.’s have known from the very beginning that we must never, no matter what the provocation, publicly take sides in any fight, even a worthy one.”

                I also like the one about no people on earth are less qualified to handle justified anger. They ought to read their own book.

                Incidentally, most fellowships now include social media in their tradition about ‘press’ too …most have added it to the traditions, apart from AA who think if they change a single world, God will strike them down with a thunderbolt because it’s perfect just the way it is…..

              • My experience in AA was question any part of it and find yourself shunned by the members, especially if they have “time”. One time at a meeting that I was feeling sort of positive about I made the mistake of saying the BB dated back to 1939…..maybe it was time for an update? Based on the reactions I got to that, I started seeing AA much clearer for what it really is. Didn’t stick around too much longer after that. Rob A.

                • As I was leaving AA, the last 6 months, I could not sit and listen to Chapter 5 anymore. It was just awful. Such BS and lies.

                  One of My film crew and I and a reporter went to the last PRAASA in San Diego in March. We went to a small workshop one evening about “making AA viable in todays world. Old timers were saying shocking stuff like, “the book needs to be re written” its so outdated” and things like ” we have 20 year old who have got a DUI for blowing a .08 and have no problem, and yet they are thrown into this mix of people” Then there was one women who got up with her 36 years saying” we just need to get back to basics and do more 12 step work…..”

                  Yikes. The good thin I saw there is that the demographic was very old –most over 45 and up in the General Service. Young people are not doing it. It will die inside. AA will collapse into itself.

              • Can you please elaborate, I am leaving and I feel like I have no one to talk to about what is going on with me and how I am feeling,. I wish there was a place to go to with all I am feeling

            • Rachel, if that REALLY is the case, then as the saying goes, you have not been to enough meetings.

              All meetings are oppressive – read ‘to wives’ that’ll give you a flavour …. that’s what you are signed up to.

              • I contend that any organization that uses deceit to manipulate an individual into staying in the organization and doing the organizations bidding makes the organization systemically oppressive. AA is an oppressive system that pretends it isn’t but its own literature exposes the oppression that indoctrinated members say it doesn’t have.

            • Rachel–AA does work for some people, I will never deny that. However, when an organization of ANY sort portrays itself as the ONLY path to sobriety, it sets itself up. If it works for you, awesome, I’m glad for you. Just be aware that for every good person in AA–and they do exist–there’s fifty other sick f**ks who want control and power any way they can get it. Sounds like you lucked out.

                • If people don’t want to be a part of AA then simply leave. There is no cult that will brainwash you to stay. AA has helped so many why all the haters? People are getting sober. Rejoice in their growth..show a little support!

                  • O but people on here have left mary hence the name of this blog. AA does brainwash people with fear that if they leave they will surely die.

                  • oh mary , mary— move along— baby grasshopper. We have no need to explain to any stepper anything. We have had enough.

                    We know.

                    The truth is all over FACEBOOK and these older blogs.

      • There are many things that one can do to ensure success in leaving AA. Perhaps the easist and most immediately important is to break the closed loops making up the language by practicing new associations. In other words, rather than allowing a word or slogan to continue evoking AA associations, one can evoke other, more customary associations until they become automatic and the language loses its power. For example, the phrase “in recovery”, in common usage, implies “getting well.” However, AA usage implies a lifetime committment to AA. “In recovery”, as AA uses it means staying sick forever. “In recovery” means “in a cult”. The word “program” refers to something suitable for a machine, perhaps a computer or robot, not a human being. One can allow other loaded words to evoke new responses. When a grouper asks “are you sober” one can respond “are you speaking english and asking me if I’m not intoxicated or are you speaking Programese and asking me if I’m practicing abstinence?”. If you hear a reference to “emotional sobriety”, you can think of the more unbalanced members of AA, particularly ones with a great deal of Time, including Bill Wilson, with his 11 years of severe depression while in AA. You can then note that AA uses “sobriety” in a sense peculiar to itself as a cult term. You can replace the term “resentment”, which in common usage is not a fatal feeling, with more common and appropriate words like irritation, anger and rage. From The Plight of the Grouper, The Real AA.

          • yeah, this has helped me out a lot as well. most importantly, to me, ive changed “sobriety” to “living”- and whatever that entails..

            • AA helped get me sober. My spiritality will keep me sober. Some meetings remind me the negative side, some I’m able to be of some service to anything body who needs gentle human kindness.

              • “My spirituality will keep me sober”. One of the many religious fantasies of AA. ONLY willpower can keep one from not drinking alcoholic beverages. A supernatural entity does not reach into ones brain and rearrange neurons and synapses or manipulate the physical reality of ones world just so they don’t drink. If one DECIDES not to engage in drinking behavior, the decision and subsequent actions of not drinking are driven by willpower and nothing else. Not drinking based on the maintenance of ones spiritual condition is simply fairy tale bullshit perpetuated by the Oxford Group and hence AA. It is pure brainwashing fantasy and needs to be exposed as such..

          • i love this. I am struggling with shame and horror at what i consider complete betrayal by my family and friends.
            They were so happy to ‘out[ me only for their own personal gain.
            i feel so mentally violated as though i need deprogramming.

          • I don’t know anything about blogging??? but I am so GRATEFUL there are others out there who are scarred from the dogmatic share-a-brain mentality of “suggested” 12 step programs… I commented on the predators with 20 years blog(?) and am eager to explore and hopefully interact with other members of society (not THE society) who REALLY are trying to have an open mind. My experience is that if it is not in compliance with THEIR book/suggestions and doesn’t recruit more potential victims, then I’M THE ONE WITH A CLOSED MIND!!! I’ve tolerated their “suggestions” since 1994 and I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want their conditional love/support anymore. I could never really acquire it even when I tried ’cause if I drink/drank and refuse to give up my God given right/responsibility to think for myself then I’m “not serious” about the “program”. Peer pressure is why I ever took the first one. I gave in to “friends” (not a damned “disease”) even though my conscience told me not to. In “recovery” it’s not called peer pressure or bullying because that would not promote the cause. I get not “enabling” but I am living proof that an “alcoholic” doesn’t have to stay hopeLESS and powerLESS… it’s not the end of the world if a person slips, relapses or (God forbid) learns to moderate. 12 steps never “took away” the “obsession”. Getting non-program outside help and some stability not contingent upon 12 step conformity helped me far more in the end than trying to conform to the image and likeness of Bill Wilson etc. My ADDICTION got so far out of hand that I drank RUBBING ALCOHOL several times over the years. Thankfully I wasn’t suicidal (just desperate for a drink) otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here anymore. I no longer am homeless or living with a dogmatic program junkie. I have flourished tremendously from outside help and relying less upon AA nazis for help. The sky does not fall if I CHOOSE to indulge in an occasional drink and I no longer CRAVE rubbing alcohol. It’s only a big deal when I talk to 12 step and power junkies that my self esteem goes to shit. Thanks so much for what appears to be going on here. Like I said before, this whole blog? thing is new to me so I don’t know the “rules”/etiquette… 🙂

            • “…self esteem goes to shit.” Man can I relate to this. We need more ways to address the common attack approaches such as “he went back out there” or “keep coming back, it works if you work it.”

              • AA is very dangerous to mens ego’s. I have seen it many times. Really great guys with 17 years , successful, funny, smart, but AA after too many years , AA eats away at the core of a good mans healthy ego. With women its something else. Either way its a piece of shit. Glad you guys found us.

                • AA is “dangerous” to men’s egos? I am guessing that continued drinking and subsequent intoxication with consequences such as DUI arrests, job losses, loss of the respect of a man’s family and friends … I am sure that these things do wonders for men’s egos.

                  • Kevin- Get off this site. They is not a debating pro & con AA forum.
                    Its a blog for those who already know or want help leaving AA….see …its called LEAVING AA…..not arguing about whether AA is good or not. We know how f**ked up AA is. I’ll be deleting your stuff.

                    • @massive – Its semmes you are a hateful, angry person who berates any one still in AA. instead of helping them to see your points on why it is a dangerous cult, you insult them. i am not an AA member, I am an alcoholic and i want to quit deoending on drugs and alcohol to get me through each day. i have atteneded a few AA meetings and have felt the cult like atmosphere and teachings just isn’t for me. however if your motive is to help people who truly have ruined their lives by addiction and are obviuosly seeking freedom from addiction why don’t you show empathy and love for these people and suggest a positive venue or form of help instead of being so mean? I’m sure there are abuse of power and predators in any sober organizations just as in religious orgs. and therapists as well. so How are people who are dependant on AA or just still searching for help in overcoming addiction supposed to know where a safe place to get help is? can you guarantee any of the other groups you support and suggest don’t also have predators and their own brainwashing agenda? And what do you say the purpose is of AA in trapping people and abusing them? what do they gain? I would asppreciate some positive advice from you and not to be berated for questioning your harsh responses. There are truly people such as myself who have inherited addiction and need help to stop. please be kind and explain why the other groups you support are better. thank you.

                    • be warned Massive, Orange has booted a few from his forum recently, They nearly succeeded in getting everyone legit to walk away from it. I would wager to guess that these “spiritual” people are now coming here!

                  • Men are not powerless. Men are not stupid and can more from A good therapist, Smart Recovery, SOS or MM or The Perfect Program by Stanton Peele. Or Even using The Sinclair Method.

                • Everybody is too egotistical, to admit that they need the romantic love, of a woman, either at any point in the past, in the present, or at any point, in the future. Everybody says, ‘I’ve got my higher power, I’ve got my sponsor, I’ve got my book, & I’ve got my meeting, & that’s it. No woman! No woman!’

                • Hitler Clancy imislund dictator of AA Nazi pacific group came to west Hollywood log cabin and yelled from his podium-“shave” to handsome bearded men after they complimented on his talk.

              • I’ve been reading through blogs and searching different things online not just today but for now an extensive amount of time and it has for sure been a journey. Man Oh Man!! how I can relate to this “… self esteem goes to shit.” It has now been more than a few months and I have not attended an AA meeting. Where are all my friends!?? There are two that still contact me but I feel confident if they knew I was not interested in the “program” anymore or had a (1) beer with a long term (best friend) over Christmas break, it would be the end of our relationship. I ran into an “old timer” the other day and as expected the first question asked “Still doing the deal?” when I expressed to him I wasn’t too much into the program anymore he simply replied “are you cured now? are you all better?” I will forever! be thankful for AA I don’t know if I’d be where I am if it wasn’t for it (maybe in the same place, maybe not) BUT I refuse to be shamed for being human and stick a label to me that has been and will continue to be a struggle to overcome come for many years I presume. BTW I did not die with that beer nor did I want another one, wake up the next day and thought about drinking or do I feel like drinking my problems away I can continue to use the “tools” I learn to work through every issue I may face in life. I was 24 when I first went into AA (straight out of college) I am now 27 know who I am, have a stable job, a beautiful daughter and am optimistic about my future. I could go on for days but really I just want to thank you for starting this community. It feels good to know I am not alone.

        • Thanks for this! You make me laugh. It’s nice to break free from the B.S. that is AA; it’s nice to feel that the cult-i-ness of AA has been experienced by others, and that AA is definitely the minority. Not the majority. Going to meetings can quickly bring a person to feel a direness and alienation from the real world. Thanks to everyone who posts on this site for giving me back my real world connection!

          • You hit the nail on the head that AA is the minority. 95% of the people that start AA are gone before one year. The only way AA is able to sustain a membership of any significant size is by huge churn through mandated attendence. As a voluntary fellowship, it is a total FAIL!

            • Dead on! It is amazing how AA is a revolving door. I saw so many people come in, stick around for a few meetings or perhaps a month or so, and then bail, never to be seen again. I wish I’d done the same and bailed sooner than I did, but live and learn, I guess.

              There is one thing however, that I am grateful to AA for. One thing I did learn that is positive. Drum roll please, lol. I will never again ignore my gut instincts as I did while I was attending AA. A side offshoot of this is I will also never again ignore red flags serving to tell me to run, run far away as fast as I can. No more do ignore either of these when I encounter them. Rob A.

          • rich glad to hear that. If AA was not a lll over our TV show and Feature films like Sliced bread we could make better head way. The AA propaganda is hue with certain movie stars, producers, and writers. There are some 15 shows on TV right now with an AA/NA thread …pretty sickening. Then we have DUI court ordering . then we have drug diversion programs putting criminals in AA NA… Then we have rehab industry suggesting 12 step is a MUST when you leave and they brainwash the families as well.

            • Just had to comment: I recently saw two big ass billboards promoting Hazelden treatment centers and I wanted to scream endlessly. I am looking forward to the changing tide, when all things bad and distorted about the 12-steps and disease model will be revealed.

              • Yeah, well, Hazelden is a big business with Assets of $220 Million and growing annual revenue. They will morph with the times. As AA becomes obsolete as an organization, Hazelden can just pick up the latest approach and run with it. They are already doing that. So, expect to see far more Hazelden billboard ads in the future. The essence of recovery advertising will not change – getting your life/family back, goodness and apple pie, etc – because that is the end result people want. Just the treatment mechanism is changing. To see how big Hazelden is check out their annual report at http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/about_hazelden.page

                • You speak the sad and terrible truth Spj. It’s a business at its core. I’m surprised it hasn’t “gone public”. Or has it?

                • what does hazelton treatment have to do with AA? really my question is is there people on this blog with any long term sobriety? or is just people who are pissed at AA for not handing them there perfect life in an instant? the latter seems to be the case.

                  • ( what) PLenty- Hazelton is an AA based rehab. It was the first and the richest. Pilots are forced against their wills to go there to the tune of 40K a month.

                    your stupid “sobriety” “time ” is not adored here…nor is it respected. Many with 20 + years are NUTS and need medication or therapy after 20 years of sitting in your stupid meetings.

          • I left AA and all 12 step programs in 2008 after attending for 22 years.
            The word alienation struck me just now. In the BB it speaks of the alienation the alcoholic becomes mired in before reaching AA, it is true at least in my case, the alienation I came to find myself in while attending AA and other 12 step groups. I felt a real sense of “them and us” with “us” being the “weller” part which is so sickening to me now. The BB speaks of the insidiousness of alcohol and yet AA’s cult like teachings are insidious as well. Such as the common meeting statement, “my brain needed washing” followed by a roomful of laughing members, myself included in those years. I am so glad I am part of the real world now. I thank myself for 22 years of researching the affects of growing up in a dysfunctional family which I believe set me up for 12 step. And also contributed to the abuse I received by 12 step members male and female over the years. I know now I was so very traumatized, raw, and vulnerable by the time I got to 12 step, that I was an easy target. In fact I was told early on by an “oldtimer” that I might as well have a neon light on my forehead. Abuse and mistreatment were normal to me so I knew no different. I was 31 years old but emotionally I was still a child, not because of when I started drinking but because of when the trauma started in my childhood. I am so glad Massive started this blog spot, we have emailed to each other before. I am recovered from AA and I will pass it forward.

              • A very good place to start when learning about verbal abuse is Patricia Evans site and books which helped me not only discover the abuse I had grown up with but also the verbal abuse I was subjecting myself to in AA.

                • Jule,

                  Sounds like you are my emotional twin for family verbal and emotional abuse that helped make me a perfect candidate for the verbal and emotional abuse in AA. I left after 12 years of sobriety even though i knew after 7 years I wasn’t an alcoholic. I am going to look up the website you mentioned. I am very thankful for all of the work Massive has done. The truth needs to come out.

                  • HI Kate and welcome! Yes many of us came from broken homes or homes where different types for abuse occurred. Its a total breeding ground for such things. Glad to her you got out.

                  • Jule and Kate

                    Thanks for posting. I was also in AA for 12 years and I also grew up in a ‘dysfunctional’ home (although my view of that has adjusted somewhat now I’m well clear of AA) and I was also a sitting duck for the seductive line of AA ‘we are your new family of choice’.

                    My story took me from the increasing discomfort I was feeling in AA, into Al Anon, into CoDA, into treatment for ‘codependency’ and into OA (and briefly the totally insane hardline food fellowship Greysheeters Anonymous). My brother also went down this road. My parents lost a lot of their savings paying for hokey ‘treatment’ for us, and sat through punitive ‘family weeks’ … it has wreaked real havoc in my family.

                    I think I was set up for AA too. Fortunately I was not 13th stepped (although it came close a few times, creepy men pretending to be all touchy feely around the ‘family stuff’) but I had a gut full of belittling and controlling sponsors, friends who dished out ‘tough love’ and generally I spent way too much time fending off freaks and weirdos who I was told were ‘wise’ …. it was utterly insane.

                    The kicker for me was getting truly sick and trying to manage a very serious health issue whilst in 12 step recovery, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone, alienated or blamed for my own illness, I got tyrannised with a lot of new age guff about ‘physical illness being the manifestation of your inner world’ type crap as peddled by that new age charlatan Louise L Hay. It was absolutely the worst time of my life!!!

                    I’ve also got some of Patricia Evan’s books, they are very good.


        • That’s really good, especially the suggested response to the “are you sober” question…! I am back in therapy now, partially to deal with my confusion around who I really am and what I really think. I was kind of forced into AA at the age of 15 and stayed until I was about 35 and then went out and did a bunch of crazy, insane drinking and the whole time I was going back and forth and back and forth in my head, wondering if I was doing all of that because AA told me I would. That was all about 8 years ago and the voices have gotten weaker, this horrible “You’re bad and close to total destruction because you’re not in AA every day” thing, but it still haunts me. I have no idea any more if I am an alcoholic but I do know I have a hard time fighting off the “you’re bad because you’re not in AA” voices. I am seeking mental health I guess outside of AA and just trying to put together a decent life for myself. I guess that’s all I have to say right now and I’ll continue reading your site, it’s been helpful so far and I just discovered it this morning. Be well and prosper everyone!

          • Yeah, versions of that message probably haunt every ex-AA from time to time.

            The reality is it is very dangerous to self-identify as a “thing” – Addict, Alcoholic, Stupid, Broken, etc. People make mistakes because that is the nature of being human, but to pass total judgment on self and declare internally and externally that above all else, I am a(n) XXXX, could be really harmful.

            That said, I am an Air Breather passes the sniff test ( kinda pun) for self-identification.

            AA and 12 Steps takes people and twists their brains while pretending it is something good for people.

            Convincing people they are broken, powerless and totally dependent on outside resources – supernatural or not – for “successful existence” is actually rather cruel in the final analysis.

      • I went to an Alannon meeting recently. You sound like them. Blame, Blame, Blame. Blah, Blah, Blah. The Big Book hits the nail on the head when it says the resentment is the number one offender. I wonder just how many of these people blasting AA end up drunk the next day or dead. You guys are really sick. And you are certainly ignorant of AAs guiding principles. Many people in AA, as in any large group of people say and do terrible things. Kinda like what you are doing. If there is a God then you need him more than most.


        • Frank,

          If “God can do for you what you can’t do for yourself”, then what is it that AA can do for people that God can’t? (No, I am not an atheist).

          I don’t have a resentment against AA other than the fact that it has perverted the practice of science-based medicine and has trampled on the US constitution by fooling the courts that it is simply a quasi-secular self-help group that is very effective in getting people to stop drinking (it isn’t and it doesn’t).

          Not that “time” really matters, but I haven’t had a drink since 2004. And yourself?

          • Awesome reply. I always caught myself reflecting on the 2nd tradition (lower case ‘t’) during meetings: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”
            I’m college educated, and have taken my share of History courses, and I would always catch myself thinking ‘the section “…as He may express himself in our group conscience…” sounds as fishy as it gets.’ I was raised Catholic – that passage sounds exactly like the philosophy of the Church. I have nothing (no resentment) against the Catholic Church, I just do not believe in the “intermediary philosophy.” I do not, nor will I ever need anyone, priest, AA or members there-of, to intercede between me and my understanding of the Universe and God. My relationship with my spirituality will always be personal. I do not need the group-think that goes on in AA to “guide” me. There, now that I think about it, is definitely great arrogance in AA, as a whole, thinking that they are the only way.

        • “Soberski”, you are very much out of line. If AA is working so well for you, why are you openly hostile, angry, and aggressive to a group of people that are merely trying to heal, make sense of their experiences, and find a way to be happy and functional without AA. Moreover, why are you even on this website or attending alanon meeting? You are clearly a fundamentalist big book thumper, and you have no business on this website or in an alanon meeting. To be quite frank, you sound like a total sociopath–you are seeking out people that may be a little confused and vulnerable as they attempt to come to terms with their decision to leave such a big part of their life. Everyone here is just trying to heal and make the best choices for themselves. Instead of minding your own business and focusing on your own “program of recovery”, you are literally verbally abusing people in online forum. Are you serious? Do you really have nothing better to do? You pretty much confirmed to everyone reading these blogs that they made the right decision by leaving AA. And you do a real disservice to God by lashing out in hostility and judgement in his name. Yeah, you sound like you’re doing real well. I’d rather have a drink that turn out to be such an angry, sanctimonious bully. Thank you for offering us all proof that AA doesn’t work. You can make all the BB references you want, but you you certainly aren’t in the “sunlight of the spirt.”

          • emac- ditto- I am leaving this one post up for that purpose, but I will delete any more postings if he tries.

            We heard enough of this ….in the “rooms” already!

            • Hi, I want to leave AA and try something else! maybe SOS or something -not so cult like.. yesterday was the last straw. I have not had a drink since January of 2010.. I was at this meeting for women (in the West side of Los Angeles area- u may know which one. up in the hills above Santa Monica) This woman I hardly know went ballistic and psycho at me over something very petty! and yes, I told her off. She proceeded to tell me to shut up, stop talking and then screamed at me to “get out of her face” I then told her to seek mental help and to get the stick out of her butt / why should I (or anyone else?) have to put of with this mentally ill/verbally abusive behavior? Oh and of course people defend her! I do not want to deal with these unstable people- They also tell me not to go to these brunches/shows I attend (for fun) because (gasp) they serve alcohol there!These places do not force anyone to drink, and they all know I do not drink and they really do not care! AA is not my whole life and I need to leave and go somewhere where I can meet some stable people,thanks

          • Thank you Emac. I was wondering myself what he was doing here. If we left AA and got on this blog because we felt worse than better after leaving an AA meeting, is because we are looking for an alternative. I felt worse after some meetings instead of better too many times and have known too many others that have felt the same way.

        • Frank- Now take your AA crap Speak to some pro AA site. We hate it , we are gone, some are leaving, some have been harmed , raped, and murdered.

          Now get the … off my site !!!!!!!!!!!Im be banning your butt!

        • AA probably wouldn’t get so much heat if many of its members didn’t misrepresent AA as “The only way.”

          So many say that it’s “AA, jail, or insanity.” I spent 10 years in AA, and I still attend a meeting once in a while, but it wasn’t until I found SMART Recovery that things started clicking for me.

          AA gets itself in trouble when they want to be all things to all people… which is also a form of insanity.

          • I am actively involved in AA, but not blind to its faults. Sometimes I want to quit AA, but I keep going because of the friendships I have made. In many ways it is cult-like, but nobody makes me go. I have never tried to leave, however, so who knows. I must reply to a part of this post. You say AA tries to be all things to all people… My experience has been much different. I just returned from an assembly, and our tradition of “singleness of purpose”was defended with great zeal. The groups I attend and the people I know in the program wholeheartedly believe that is only good for helping people stay sober (in programese this means maintaining abstinence from alcohol lol).

            My beef with AA is not that I have suffered from abuse at the hands of other (on the contrary, those who take delight in manipulating others have unknowingly helped me learn to set healthy boundaries). My beef is that all the assemblies, all of the cliques, all of the Big Book thumping, seems to distract from the spiritual element that attracted me in the first place. In my experience though, it is my responsibility to take my Higher Power wherever I go, including AA. It will only ever be as beneficial as I want it to be. Isn’t this true with anything, though?

            I believe if AA is not for u, that’s fine. In fact, it’s wonderful if u have found a way of living that works for u. For me, right now, that includes AA. It may change in the future. That’s my choice. My Higher Power is bigger than AA, but I am grateful to AA for reintroducing me to a spiritual way of living. I would still be a miserable drunk atheist if it weren’t for the people I have met in AA.

      • Hello all,
        I got out after 16 years which included 5 years or so in Alanon and Coda. I am so glad to be free of the bullies, narcissists, and sychopants and parasites. I always felt that I did not belong and finally after a nasty betrayal by an ex and former AA friends I woke up and listened to my gut and common sense. I don’t bedgive it is a disease, I think it is a severe maladaption to life in my case I had severe trauma in my background. AA is not the place
        I did learn however that I can live without the need to use anything and maintain abstinence by choice. This can be achieved more effectively with empowering programs and good therapy. AA creates fear. It reduces personal efficacy in the process of healing by forging unrealistic ties to a false sense of wellbeing /higher power and reinforce

        AA promotes dependent rather than independent thinking aand IMOn dogma in any language or flavour is dangerous.

        I was bitterly hurt by my experience but glad I finally woke up and got free to become the man I was always meant to be.

        Good luck to all and have fun in your freedom!

        • nell- Hi and welcome. Im sorry I missed this post. Glad to see you found Smart Recovery. When I was on my way out I too felt sane when I went to Smart for a a few months.

        • Neil- I am glad you have left AA. I left after 14 years. It’s been 2 weeks since my decision. I too felt like my soul and ego had been crushed by the same bullies, narcissists, sycophants and parasites types you mentioned. I was more suicidal, depressed and hopeless than I had ever been. I have had drinks since leaving and although I think if I drink all the time I will become dependent and unproductive, it is not a foregone conclusion that I will end up in a jail, institutions or a hospital. There has been no supercharged buffed up “disease” waiting for me. What I found waiting for me was “choice” and empowerment and freedom from fear and despair over feeling helpless. Thank you to everyone who offers support on sites like these.

          • Mary and Neil – Thank you all for posting here as they help me to keep on working on my film.

            Its apparent to me that people are leaving in late numbers not because of sexual predators but because of everything you are saying here. The bullies, the fear mongering, The lies about life and not creating self empowerment.

            I read them all to my husband who doesn’t blog but he left over a year ago and still loves to read your posts about leaving, why you leave and how disempowering is for men.

            • Massive-
              What is your film? You might be interested in a Netflix film: “American Addict”. It’s mostly about Pharma but it touches on the prevalent “disease model” in the US. For me the disease model did more harm than good and I do think there is so much shaming and shunning in AA that is damaging and destructive. The longer I stayed the less I could reconcile that I was not moving forward and nor were the other people around me. I know not everyone is susceptible to disempowerment and learned helplessness as I, and those were the people absent from AA. People who were in longer seemed to be just as neurotic and dysfunctional as when they came in and increasingly so with each year they collected. I was working towards “getting better” and modifying behaviors. I think to “get better in AA means to risk the scorn of the group and that can hold one back as it did me. I own my years in AA as I own my decision to leave. All I know is I feel happier and more hopeful and less crazy.

              • HI Mary, Yes I agree. Its so true. I saw some old timers who got really quirky once they hit that 20 year mark, especially if they never went to therapy.

                Here is my trailer. I have been working on this film for 2 1/2 years. I am almost done with filming. Another 2 months. Then on to editing and I hope to be done by mid July 2014.

                • Hey Massive-
                  Yes I have seen your trailer. Nicely done and congratulations. I am sure it will be thoroughly stunning when you’ve clipped and polished it, that is when you’ve got the editing done. Although it is never really done in the artists eyes.

                  As for the “old timers”, I found that the ones who remain in AA become or are by nature abusive and pathologically need to control and manipulate. Which disorder they operate under I am not sure. All I know is I tend to attract those types but I have a stop gap and resist control and when that happens the abuse starts; subtle, overt, manipulative and cruel. The disease model kept me stuck in thinking I was broken and deserving of “abuse”.
                  I am so glad you have made your film and I think it will lead to more awareness and empower people to resist and avoid abuse dynamics.

            • Thanks to all. A year or so down the track and yep….all is well. Still out of AA, completely deprogrammed, stiill sober by choice and content in my own skin. So glad I spotted this site at a time when I really needed cyber support.

              I think the greatest gift that has been returned to me has been the restoration of my boundaries and my ability to push back without fear of retribution, rhetoric or BS big book sloganism. People in the real world don’t talk in stunted one line circular sentences.

              Freedom to think and act as an individual without fear is one hell of a gift to be treasured.

              I hope everyone is still going strong 🙂

              • HI Neil- Welcome back. Lots going on and I too am enjoying af reed life. Im glad to hear you are doing well too.
                I am glad to have helped in some small way with my site. I hope to provide some therapy for those harmed once I form a non profit.

                I am building a list on true non 12 step therapists.

                Again nice to see you again.

          • ” What I found waiting for me was “choice” and empowerment and freedom from fear and despair over feeling helpless. Thank you to everyone who offers support on sites like these.”

            I “went out” 5/25/14 after 15 months. I am a former drug and alcohol counselor. I was suicidal this winter. I got past it and then made a conscious and deliberate choice to drink. I have continued to go to open AA meetings. I resigned from my service position and the chair of our hotline told other people who told other people who started texting me love. That is all nice (the texts). It upsets me still that she told my story. She “made ammends” and told me who she had told. I talked to one of them last night who acted as if she didn’t know. That hits me in the gut…someone I had admired and really love dearly lied straight up. Very disappointing. Thanks for this site.

            • Barye, as a counselor that saw the truth and got out, your perspective is very valuable to help others here. I hope you stick around and write about your experience’s and decision making. You never know who you might help. Leaving AA and dealing with the betrayal that is so common in that world despite it being an “honest” program, is a huge issue for most of us that left. Especially in the early days of leaving. More perspective on dealing with it would be helpful. Just sayin.

              Glad you got out…Oh, and there are many that believe AA CAUSES suicidal ideation and the psychic change it hopes to create through its brainwashing is unpredictable – at best – and downright dangerous at worst.

              • spj noted that “the psychic change it hopes to create through its brainwashing is unpredictable – at best – and downright dangerous at worst.”

                – A rather intriguing observation that resonates well with my experience (and the oft-quoted but seldom understood Varieties of Religious Experience) both within and without the Program. In my third year the “pink cloud” turned suicidally grey and my sponsor – one of the few good guys – told me it was time to cut back on my meetings and get a life. Four years and one graduate degree later, I stopped going to meetings altogether. That was 30 years ago and life could not be fuller.

                I have occasionally dropped back into the rooms out of curiosity (I wouldn’t recommend it…make a clean break and never look back if you can) and the effect was increasingly maddening. I now wonder how much of what AA members think is holding the beast at bay is actually feeding an addiction that long ago lost any power it had over them. What an insane feedback loop to be trapped in!

                The scholarship agrees that authentic transformational traditions are self-transcending in that they never claim to be more than the boat that gets you from one shore to the next, the vehicle that can be abandoned when you reach your destination.

                Returning to spj’s original comment, any adept worth their salt will tell you that spiritual experiences of any kind cannot be trusted and are not the goal.

                Congratulations to anyone whose koolaid has soured, and good luck on reclaiming your freedom to choose. – And thanks to massive for keeping the fire burning.

                • Thank you for finding my observation interesting. I think there is significant truth to it. AA does something very negative to a percentage of people that enter it. Even Valliant noticed it in his 8 year study where the death rate of people that went through AA was 3 times higher than those who did not. One thing he did not ask is how many people became murderers while in AA? That little statistic would be interesting as well. They became so happy, joyous and free they took a life or lives. Researchers have to look at this stuff to create a statistically accurate picture of AA.

      • I went to AA over 4 weeks and drank more every week I went. I now drink less than I have in many years. As a male sexual assualt survivour they were simply not interested in my story, because they could not make it fit with their propaganda. Felt like I was banging my head against a wall.

        • Wild bill i’m sorry that I missed your post back in May but I was so busy traveling
          I’m glad you find my blog and that you have found that this people who have successfully left AA or trying to leave it,

      • I did try Smart Recovery (after getting fed up with AA) but didnt get on with it as I found the people there still thought (and hoped) they didnt have to abstain. I found them quite deluded as the only belief really I have in common with AA is that alcoholics cannot drink. I dont think we can ever drink moderately – have tried it and it doesnt work.

        • Hey

          I’ve posted a bit further up the thread, but there’s lots of evidence that people can and do moderate … for sure, it’s a personal decision, and all approaches are supported here I’ve found (no one size fits all!) but the scientific evidence disputes that view. If you read Stanton Peele, Lance Dodes, Charles Bufe, Ken Ragge, and look at HAMS and MM you might find something that resonates.

          Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying YOU should drink, but some of us who have left, do now drink and do fine. Others choose not to.

          Most who do try it again spend a lot of time ensuring they have ‘deprogrammed’ from AA first.

          Also there’s plenty of evidence that lots of addicts in fact ‘mature out’ of their over use. They just grow out of it. Others have trauma and PTSD. Others have untreated health or mental health problems. Often, once treated they find their drinking calms right down. Others just get busy with life and realise there are more important priorities. Some people use drugs like Subutex or Naltrexone that prevents them getting high ….

          Like I said earlier, I don’t use the word ‘alcoholic’ any more as it’s so loaded and distorted by AA and I find it does me good to leave it out, and use different words to describe the behaviour of over using or abusing a chemical. Alcoholism brings back too much of that ‘cunning, baffling, powerful’ stuff from AA for me.

          Alcohol is an inanimate substance – it’s a liquid. It’s not cunning or baffling. People can be baffling (even to themselves) but alcohol is just a ‘thing’. Some people drink too much of it, some people drink so much of it over an extended period or in huge quantities (I read recently it typically takes about 20 years) they get dependent on it until they are detoxed … then they are no longer physically dependent on it.

          A lot of what AA tells us about ‘alcoholism’ is not true at all and research show that AAs relapse more frequently and harder (so have bigger binges or benders) and for longer, than people in other treatments or with no treatment … which would suggest that the IDEA of powerlessness, progression, allergy, cravings etc is implanted by the programme and influences behaviour.

          Also the shame associated with relapse in AA and the having to come back and ‘confess’ and start all your time again has a massive impact on people which again drives a lot of feelings and behaviour which is then labelled the ‘disease’ …

          Anyway, just my tuppence worth!


        • caroline- most can drink again. Some choose not to. Many here do drink again moderately and its a no brainer….cause AA is full of shit and lies …nothing in the BB was ever vetted or researched.


      • Hi Massive,
        I have seen many of your comments here and on other sites, and I always sigh a huge relief when reading them. Thank you so much for showing the other side of AA, and allowing others to do so as well. I am over six months sober after being in a holistic (not AA based) rehab in Colorado. I feel pretty good, lost weight and am healthy. I even opened myself up to attending AA meetings. I have never been a fan of AA, although I see the benefit of group support on occasion. It is hard to do it alone. I promised myself I would attend AA meetings when I returned from rehab and I did attend quite a few in the first three months, then in the last three few months, very infrequently. The last meeting I attended was to get my lovely six month chip. I have all the literature and have read it all, so I know the program. I have not worked the steps, nor have a sponsor as I did not feel it, nor saw those steps and sponsors really helping others. I just went to meetings for occasional support. The gist of it is that it all felt really wrong to me. I do not begrudge anyone else attending AA if it helps them. However, for me I felt it was not helpful at all, and I usually felt worse when I left. They all seem brainwashed, although they are very nice brainwashed folks, for the most part! I need to be empowered, as a middle aged strong and resilient woman, and AA meetings and literature made me feel helpless and weak. I need to assert myself and find my true self after years of medicating and am trying to get to the root of why I drank. I do not think examining my character defects ad infinitum will accomplish this goal. I am a good person, I am not perfect, but I am just trying to do the right things in life. I need to build up my strength and courage, not knock it down. Also, many of the folks I see in these meetings seem so stuck, and not getting better. Yes, they are not drinking, and that is good, but they seem miserable despite working the program into infinity! I know just not drinking is not enough, and doesn’t make life suddenly easier and perfect, but it is a start, and things have already gotten better just with that one big move. I do many other things to work on myself, including diet, exercise and therapy. The one thing I miss is really having fun. Now, I need to do it without drinking, and then figure out if I need to do this sobriety thing forever or just for a while to take a break. The folks at the rehab thought for someone like me a year sobriety is a good goal just to get away from the habit, and that is what I am shooting for. I do believe moderation and harm reduction are not unreasonable goals. Anyway, thank you, Massive, for being such a wonderful voice of reason and a beacon of hope for people looking for alternatives to AA in their search for healing and happiness. I think my final attendance at a AA meeting in in the near future, if I go back at all. Thank you!

        • Good story. Thanks. The central theme of AA is powerlessness over a liquid. There are many synonyms for powerless http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/powerless
          and none of them are positive. In essence, the program of AA is about exorcism. Meaning, if you don’t have the power, something else does and whatever it is needs to be exorcised or removed from you. Only gawd can do that according to them. Demon rum must release its grip on you. And the way to salvation is through the 12 Steps of religious faith-healing nonsense. There are better ways to get and stay sober or practice harm reduction.

          I agree the support is valuable, but the “program” is utter nonsense.

        • Hi Robin _ and Welcome ! Nice to have a refreshing post. You are lucky to see it for what it is so quickly. Good for you !.

          I think not doing the steps and not getting a sponsor is part of not buying into it all.

          Come by anytime and we will be here!

          • Thank you! I certainly will! I am only trying to determine if I will attend one last meeting, a women’s meeting that had been suggested to me many times. Just to kind of put closure on it, and put the nail in the coffin, so to speak. I have attended many different kind of meetings, so I may have fleshed it out already. Perhaps I should just let it lie, and not return. I guess I will let my intuition guide me, and let it happen organically. By the way, where can I see your movie in San Francisco? May I buy it online? Thank you so much for this site. Have a wonderful day!

            • Robin- I didn’t just walk away quietly. You can read my whole story here. I made a plan and I went to the last meeting and told them why I was leaving, and how I felt, It was very empowering. As I drove away…I was very ecstatic! Cathartic….Not for everyone, but they all knew how hard I tried to make thing safer…And I didn’t want them to wonder….

        • “I usually felt worse after I left [meetings]”

          Amen. Thank you so much for this. This is a very common feeling for me too after I attend a meeting and I’m glad I’m not alone there.

          • Few people even think about why that is. How is someone supposed to feel after being exposed to depressed and mostly insane people trying to outdo how insane and bizarre they are? No wonder so many of them inject nicotine into their system or have to go to “meetings after the meeting”. It’s because they really feel like shit and they need something to recover from the meeting. AA is a pseudo-placebo with less overall efficacy than real placebos. It’s great in the beginning when you are down and getting booze out of your system. But once you start getting your brain back, it’s like, ” where the hell am I?”

            • I’ve often thought that that song – I think by the Who – Teen Age Wasteland if I remember right? I’ve often thought that this song should be updated and remade into AA Wasteland. Seriously. Once you get your brain back and find yourself at meetings trying to make AA insanity work in your life it really is like finding yourself in AA Wasteland. How I wish they’d read something to this effect at the beginning of meetings to warn folks of the effects of AA on fairly functional minds.

          • I’m still trying to recover over feeling like crap after my last meeting three days ago and have vowed not to go back to meetings anymore.

    • I find it curious people who’ve left AA who then make it their mission to denigrate it. You don’t like it, fair enough. Slagging it seems like nothing more than revenge for time you chose to spend in a program you apparently didn’t like. Whose problem is that?
      You speak of sexual and financial predators as if they are somehow endemic to AA. I guarantee you, whether you know it or not, you have sat near sexual and/or financial predators in your trips to the movies or while occupying LA. That somehow AA should be able to guarantee people freedom from those who would prey on them is as preposterous as schools guaranteeing that children won’t someday encounter a teacher with those same perverted intentions. Every organization does its best to ensure the safety of its members but nobody can guarantee it. Somewhere along the way each individual has to take some responsibility for the choices they make.
      I’ve had my issues with AA but I don’t blame AA for that. In the same way that government, churches, schools, courts and businesses are not perfect, despite their well worded constitutions and missionary manifestos, neither is AA. But to damn it because it isn’t perfect is to damn all humanity. Something has to be said for trying to do something constructive. If it doesn’t work for you then fine, nobody is making you attend. And if the courts are making you attend, then your issue is with the courts.
      Finding fault and lobbing spitballs is the easiest thing in the world to do. Surely you’re more creative than that.

      • You are kidding right?? When was the last time a court ordered a felon to sit next to you on a plane?? If they did assault you; there wouldn’t be “Anonymity” to save his butt.

        So much to say, but I can see it will fall on deaf ears. If you get anything out of this site….be a friend to the women and watch after them. Thank you

        • Carolyn-When was the last time a court ordered a felon to sit next to you on a plane??

          That’s right. ANd if he grabbed your ass you would call the police right on the stop , not told by the stewardess to have a better sense of humor.

          • As I was leaving a meeting, a guy spoke to me who scared me. He kept talking to me until one of my male friends engaged him conversation. My friend hollered for me to wait up for him as I was then almost to my car. He said “that guy just got out of prison today!”

        • If you get anything out of this site….be a friend to the women and watch after them.
          You have to be joking. The women in AA are the predators. I have sat for years and watch them work their way around the room hunting victims. Trying to find lonely men and women that they then demand meet their financial and emotion needs. They hold these men an women as emotional hostages. And use sex as a sadistic tool to separate their victims from their support group by attempting to engage in sexual indiscretion with every one the victim relies on for support. Women seldom recover because they so often believe that their sexuality provides then power over others.

          • really, the women are the predators. I don’t know any women who has raped an AA man. Yes there are cougar women in AA and yes there are insane oldtimer woman control freaks …I know… But the predator ration in AA is more 80-20. I mean 80 % men sexual predator…

            So has this happened to you or are you just hear troll?

        • I appreciate this point. I am a man (gay) with lots of female friends in AA. I will remember what u have said on this blog, and will be more conscientious of the risk women face at AA meetings. As with anywhere else, we have to stay alert if we expect AA groups to be a safe place to go.

      • Brent;

        I dont denigrate AA. I speak the truth, which I was unfairly criticized for by the majority, when I was in the program. Therefore, because it was very uncomfortable; I kept my valid concerns to myself. Fear kept me going back until I overcame that obstacle, and left for good.

        You said:
        “Every organization does its best to ensure the safety of its members but nobody can guarantee it.”

        Please enlighten us; what steps does AA take to insure the safety of its members.

        Personally, I take responsibility for being in AA and Blame No One for that mistake. IMO AA is not constructive and it’s far from perfect. I consider what occurs in the meetings brainwashing and it was about the most destructive, self defeating time of my life.

        You said; “If it doesn’t work for you fine. Thats not the impression I got in the 100’s of meetings I went to over the years. I kept being informed that I did not get it, was not willing and asked if I really wanted to get better.

        Identifying what i believe to be harmful in AA and discussing these issues with my friends on the blog, helps me tremendously. validates my feelings, after being alone in my opinion and out numbered for many years. Until I have worked through these issues, I intend to continue discussing them. If that makes you uncomfortable; you may not want to participate in this forum.

        • One thing I always wondered about AAs who critisize people who talk about problems and “recover.” Isn’t that what AA members do at meetings? Not only is this smuck “recovering” from his “stinkin thinkin” in meetings, he is getting on his computer, google searching “anti AA” or “AA cult” or something or other (maybe saying a quick prayer before that) and waits for his higher power to give him the go-ahead to criicize people who criticize an organization. Hummmmmmm.

          • The idea in AA that maybe you missed or maybe was lacking in the meetings you attended is to talk about the solution not the problem. Yea if you guys sat around reliving the problem I would have got the hell out too. Or read the literature.

            • jesse j- the literature is asinine and 1935 STUPID! and a bunch of lies. GO listen to my radio show Safe Recovery as I tear up the idiotic literature.

              Your on an anti AA site with bloggers who have left AA. Get the hell out of here and go bully your stupid clients and steppers all you want.

            • I am afraid you have it backward. Personally, I need to talk out the problems and issues that I have relating to the program. I stuffed it for way too long and trying to deny these issues caused me quite a bit of suffering. It is wrong for you to use AA language here to try to shame people back into denying things that have harmed them and stuffing emotions.

            • And the way to get around talking about the solution is to ignore the problem. We all know twelve step is ignoring the problem.

            • This moron has actually never heard of “what it was like, what happened and what it is like now” rule for sharing? What it was like and what happened are generally war stories of ugliness and the what it is like now is not always roses and candy. The majority of shares in all the XA’s is generally dark, morbid and disempowering – that is the nature of AA.

        • Kudos, Amy. For the life of me, I just don’t understand why a stepper would believe that the people on this forum are interested in their bull shit. We have already heard what they have to say and sternly rejected it!

          • Frank,

            Thank you. I had forgotten about Brent. Maybe he did not care to debate the issues that I ask him about or just couldn’t. Who knows, possibly he came back hiding under another identity to sling more of his BS.

            Ryan, Good Point!!

          • As a mental health professional. I could only guess that it is because this is sort of like reading a tragic comedy for the 6 or 7 million people who have used 12 step programs to change their miserable lives..

            • AA is a cult, a abusive, assholes what run the cult, they control everyones life, they are mean and they are phoney realationships,
              if you attend AA or NA, do not give them any money,
              they say that the cult is free so they have to live up to there bullshit,
              I agree staying sober does do good I have not drink for many years,
              I attend Assholes anonymous but far as I am concern they can stick there book up there ass

              • Oh God. This last post just made me laugh. Asses Anonymous. I never thought of it that way. Thanks for making me laugh. As I said before, I have felt like crap since my last meeting 3 days ago. And it’s always an oldtimer that has to say something that makes me feel like shit so that I sit there after they have slammed me with a remark to make me feel worse than I already felt as to why the hell did I go there thinking I needed a meeting?.

                • so true! asses! better “assholes anonymous” very cliquey, as if it is high school or something – so tired of trying to be nice to the old timers, and then wish them a happy sober birthday, and they cannot even say Thank you! It is a trip! They act like gurus who are supposed to be worshiped! how can I hear this radio talk? I have had it with all of the immaturity of these people, and the gossip, and the hostility if one will not kiss butt to the old timers or the psychos! and AA has plenty of psychos- they have religious fanatics too !

                  • hope you find respect understanding and decent people – i went to therapy and college and hung with the nerds when i left.

            • and your point is? Jesse Johnson…
              if you are a mental health pro , what are the letters after your name?
              If you are you have a code of ethics you have to abide by ….by law….if you suggest AA and they get raped you could be sued. If you tell them to go to AA .

      • Posting by Massive for JR HARRIS

        I was not aware that movie theaters form “corrections committees”
        for the express purpose of going to jails and prisons looking for
        prospects for Alcoholics Anonymous to bring back to anonymously
        site next to people in Church basements. If I am wrong on this
        fact, please tell me which theater chain it is and I will boycott

        I have never heard of any court of law mandating murders, violent
        criminals and level 3 sex offenders to any movie theater and have a
        probation department check court cards to verify they attended.

        What I have heard is that the courts in 2011 were mandating sex
        offenders to a church right next to a high school in Nutley, New
        Jersey and a court mandated AA attendee shot a pregnant woman in
        the back of the head in Baldwin Park, California who has not been
        found. Then there was the Lewiston, Maine incident where Bob Ryder
        and his Sponsor left from the Twelve Hour Club, an Alano club right
        next to the district attorneys office to allegedly look for
        prostitutes. A young lady was murdered and the Sponsor Floyd Nadeau
        allegedly instructed his Sponcee to purchase baking soda with his
        welfare card to cover up the smell of the decaying body he hid in
        his basement. I believe these are the incidents we are talking
        about. Can you cite any theaters chains that this has happened to
        in 2011?

        Take care,

        JR Harris

        • You make “allegations” and you know whatever fault you want to find with AA you probably can. But that doesn’t change the fact that predators exist in every strata and segment of society – movie theaters included. To somehow be shocked that it occurs in AA is disingenuous. As for the mandating of people to attend AA, that is not an AA problem, it’s a problem with the courts.
          Beyond sentencing criminals to pay for their crimes, I don’t think anybody should be forced to attend anything they don’t philosophically or morally agree with.
          In response to those who’ve had such “horrifying and self defeating experiences” in AA, you have my sympathy. But in years of attending AA I’ve found the kinds of things that get described here to be very much the exception rather than the rule.
          In my case, I have always been circumspect about the people I meet in AA. I’m not immediately friendly beyond saying hello, open to their beliefs or even tolerant of nonsense that I’ve frequently heard spouted. And to that extent I’ve had no trouble with predators, fascist sponsors or the like. In fact I’ve made a few very good friends who go for the same reason I do, to find a community of people who suffer from the same life threatening disorder I do, alcoholism.
          For anybody to walk into a room full of self admitted drunks, addicts, liars, thieves and manipulators and then be surprised that somebody gets drunk, uses drugs; gets lied to, robbed or manipulated is the height of stupidity.
          Everybody has critical faculties and needs to apply those in whatever circumstance they find themselves. To absolve yourself of responsibility when taken in by a con man whether in AA or at a meeting of the Kiwanis Club is to miss the point.

          • Brent- Also , there is no where else, except maybe jail, the nut house, or a rehab, where anyone finds a group who is at their lowest point in their lives and the most sick people all in one place with no rules, policies or procedures for sexual harassment. IN fact even in Jail, there are “rules”.

            I once loved AA, but after I tried to just make it safer I saw how really sick the members were. I would rather hang out with like minded people then the self centered, narcissistic, stubborn, close minded lemmings in AA today. I do have old friends in AA from years ago who are fantastic people. Of course they are not all bad. Just about 90 % are, especially the ones in clubhouses.

          • “Brent” says; (P)redators exist in every strata and segment of society – movie theaters included.

            Funny the only place I’ve ever seen them was in A.A. Must be the XXX theaters you’re talking about. Sure didn’t see them at the local family multiplex. Oh don’t forget them hot backseat lovers at the drive – in. Whoopee!!!

            • do you read the paper. school teachers having babies with 13 year old children. Coaches exchanging nude pictures with 2\35 year olds, Penn state coach raping scholarship candidates, catholic priests, football stars. police officers any of that ring a bell? If not then you are definitely obsessed with you AA resentment or you really have spent to much time with your head buried in AA,

          • Brent- one more thing. IN AA /NA strangers sit s close to each other touching, hold hands at the end of the meetings, oldtimers are reaching out to give hugs to strangers , that mabye are unwanted…This DOES not happen in a PTA meeting or at work, or anywhere else.

            People come to AA/NA is a deep broken, vulnerable state actually looking for help with their drinking or DOC. And instead they met by sexual predators? It needs to be exposed. People need to speak out and WE ARE and the media needs to report on it Nationally.

            Her BEST KEPT SECRET will be release by Simon & Schuster July 3, 2013 and she will get alot of Buzz.

          • “For anybody to walk into a room full of self admitted drunks, addicts, liars, thieves and manipulators and then be surprised that somebody gets drunk, uses drugs; gets lied to, robbed or manipulated is the height of stupidity’

            as is the idea these sorts can come together in a room for the sake of getting better when clearly the only thing they lll get better at is lying manipulating and victimizing and drinking by the very nature of the character of the sorts you descibed intelligent communities will stop supporting it altogether interesting . you didnt mean to make a point for those of us who are intelligent and therefore do not support a a but you clearly did .. its downright stupid to encourage these sorts ccome together at all much less pose as sponsors when clearly more harm is gonna come from it then good.

        • Its worse…AA actually ADVERTISTES AND PROMOTES itself to not only the court system but to mental health professionals too. Check out the AAWS website..there’s a cute little marketing video, memos and I believe informational packets.

      • brent- so why are you here. This is supporting people who left and were hurt and need support.

        FOr all the reasons. You are a bully like so many AA members.

        you said You speak of sexual and financial predators as if they are somehow endemic to AA. I guarantee you, whether you know it or not, you have sat near sexual and/or financial predators in your trips to the movies or while occupying LA.

        Are you kidding me? Comparing AA to a movie theatre. It doesn’t even deserve a response it’ so ridiculous. I gotta run. I have a life but more will be revealed hahahah LOL

        I hate that AA lingo these days.

        Again why are you on a Leaving AA site again?

        • I actually stumbled on this site as there was a link on thefix.com
          So I guess I was just doing my homework. Frankly I have no interest in intruding on your community and will, after this, leave you in peace.
          Best wishes.

          • Brent

            Keep in mind; that when you or anyone else who praises AA, “stumbles upon” a site like this and attempt’s to dissect our facts we will defend our position.

            There is no need to sling insults at us. We are actually a very intelligent, creative bunch. I dont go to pro-AA sites and criticize their opinion because; Im sure of my decision to leave and dont feel the need to defend that. I wasted enough time doing that while there.
            Are you comfortable staying??
            I wish you peace and serenity.

          • Brent,

            You are here for the very reason we are all here. You are just having a difficult time leaving AA. So you fight us. Because deep down inside you know AA is fucked up!!!

            Well still be here when your ready to leave AA.

        • An AA “friend” of mine said you will even meet predators in the Tai Chi group at the local park. How come I never met any predators there, only in AA?

          • Sandra- yes they could be there, and yes many are going to Yoga now an even some Yoga gurus are sexual predators, and cult leader can be a sexual predator…But we both know that people who come to AA are already vulnerable in a low self esteem place in their lives.

            I spoke to a woman who runs a very successful Yoga Studio in LA and she said many NA oldtimers are moving to Yoga and that some are up to the same old tricks there. They use what they learned in NA and AA and are now abusing it in another community. Although most are not as vulnerable and broken, they are too trusting in that community. I was shocked.

      • I would have agreed with your points re the limitations of humanity and refraining from judging AA until about my 15th year sober (6 years ago) when a guy I hired from the local AA clubhouse to work on my boat and house intentionally sabotaged the boat by running the fuel lines over the exhaust manifolds- turning it into a floating bomb. He also waited until I was on retreat with my church and stole my family’s $30,000 coin collection and skipped town. I found out about the sabotage, fortunately before running the boat, after the burglary, when my regular mechanic reviewed the criminal’s work. And my home owner’s insurance covered most of the coin loss. The scum was an A+ rated mechanic at one time so he knew what he was doing. I still have warrants out for him. This guy knew many people from many clubhouses and likely burglarized several people before skipping town. The point: DO NOT invite AAs to your home. I refuse to attend meetings at clubhouses and after the response I got from the groups, I realized that the fellowship is deeply flawed when it comes to security. Further, about half the people who attend AA meetings now are serious druggies, and frankly they are just bad news. AA has become a real hazard for participants, sadly. In Florida, a lot of old timers who are in old age and therefore would make easy victims, only go to private by invite meetings for their own safety.

        • Holy cow, Yo.
          I’d hear stories like yours on ST, but they didn’t seem like MY meetings, in MY area.
          Then came the day in book study when everyone was talking about the guy who on Wednesday shared that he walked up to the door of the house he broke into 15 years ago to make amends to the very elderly couple who lived there. The couple cried in relief as they thought it was their son who ripped up their floorboards.
          The fellowship was full of praise about this completed Ninth Step. No problem with being face-to-face with a home burglar.
          At ST, the story warranted little comment. The stories being told there, and yours, were much worse.
          That fact, too, helped me leave after 30 days.

          • AA saved my life. it taught me new coping skills. I use what I have learned but had to leave. It created a sense of dependency and really preyed on “I am not doing enough” button. It caused me to feel guilty if I did not do all they expected of me. This inturn created another nurosis in me. It took 4 years in AA and of sobriety but I am healthy and happy and have successfully left AA. No guilt. Moving forward helping in other ways and loving God all the same. I am not stuck but gratefully recovered! If the time is right it is ok to leave regardless what they tell you.

            • Hi Renee: It only took four years. I’m jealous of that. It is true that when you know, YOU KNOW. It feels awkward at first, but so incredibly FREEING. My therapist asked me if I miss AA. I said not at all, there is nobody there for me anymore. My good AA oldtimer friends have passed, and the new breed are just dispicable. Time to move one. New chapter. I learned a lot, and now am able to help my children with their issues. They have no desire to use AA, thank GOD.

              • freeatlast- I agree. Many of the good peopel I knew in the 70’s are long gone. A few are left.

                I too left 2 1/2 years ago and I have never felt free er and my kids are not going down the AA cult path either. Praise the LORD!!!

            • I totally agree on the “not doing enough” comment. If you aren’t sponsoring a million people, don’t have a job in your group, don’t go on commitments, etc., you are looked down on and the consensus is that you are going to drink. No one said this to my face, but I could feel people moving away from me when I decided to take my life back. The chanting of the Lord’s prayer at the end of meetings finally did me in. Did I really want to spend my time w/people who only wanted superficial relationships w/me? Who gave me puppy dog sad eyes when I left during the prayer? Oh yes, it’s a spiritual program…then why is it full of Christian dogma?? A higher power of my understanding..then why not a moment of silence at the end of a meeting to show repeat and adherence to that principal?? I feel like a huge weight has been lifted w/my decision to leave AA. It was stultifying and threatened my individualism.

              • HI SALI- Welcome! Oh yea, when you no longer pray with them, they kick you in the back and get in your face in a nasty tone and say” Oh your not gonna get up and pray with us? This happened to us at 2 meetings we went with my crew and a reporter.

                GLad for you and glad you found us too!

              • ah yes, but there is an answer to everything and if you aren’t doing what they “suggest”, well, you are simply destined to drink again and to drink is to die. So, being an individual rather than a sheeple is not allowed. And they even have a two worder to cover that situation – “terminally unique”. See that was easy, a nice little two word put down to shame you and get ya back in line. Keep running Sali, you may not know the extent of the AA goo in your brain, but it will start to show up as you try to live life outside of the cult.

        • Yo,
          WELCOME !

          What an awful story. Thank God your still alive to tell it. I would assume after all of your negative experiences with AA’s, you are no longer in the Program. However, I think that to say “all AA’s” are not to be trusted in your home, is carrying it a bit too far. There are a lot of very honest, good people in the program.
          Surely you have met some over the years.

          • Yes, I had met some good hearted and kind people in the program over the years. HOWEVER, when I started the process of leaving AA..and started sharing some of my new beliefs….such as a statement that I am not powerless…those kind hearted people…turned nasty real fast.

            • And this is exactly why I find myself on this page tonight. I went to a long time friends place on vacation a few weeks ago after several years of continuous sobriety, and I engaged in some “outside issues” (smoked a joint with friends). Well, apparently all this nonsense about “outside issues” is just that, because I told one person, and by the end of the meeting I had a whole room of bullies looking down their noses at me. People I felt were my friends, that I thought I knew, and trusted. But the simple fact that I could smoke a joint, and not become a sleep in the gutter drunk didn’t jive with their philosophy, so I basically got exiled. I’ve thought it over for a couple of weeks, even talked to a guy about having him be my new sponsor, but my heart just isn’t in it. This guy had me get phone numbers of about 20 people last night… I told him “Umm… I’m not new here, and I thought it was up to me and my higher power whether or not I wanted to change my sobriety date” He says “sure sure, get the numbers kid”. Like someone earlier said, PHONY relationships. I already have about 100 numbers of people I have no interest in calling. I actually feel kind of lucky that I chose to smoke up, because if I hadn’t, I may never have seen those closest to me in the rooms turn into rabid bullies, and show their true colors. Thanks for being here everyone, you’re helping.

              • Thanks bobbo.. Strange cult with strange cult behavior. “Live and let live”, “let go and let gawd”, ” love and tolerance is our code”.. all bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. Hypocrisy at its finest.

              • bobbo- Yea they are a fearful group aren’t they? Lucky for you you got out without wasting decades like some of us had. Im glad you ring this site helpful. I needed to blog when I left and I still need to as I make the film.

        • Yo- Dear God what a horrible story! I am so sorry this happened to you. Yes I heard many older seniors have been ripped off. And did you know this… The violent criminals that are being sentenced to AA are really really dangerous. My husband friend Herbert Tracy White http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/12/lapd_body_parts_murder.php was murdered by a couple who pretended to want help with addiction and they murdered him last year Nov 2010. It put my over the top after the other murder, Kristine and Saundra Cass. http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/hawaiinews/20101107_Red_flags_missed.html

          They were murdered in Hawaii in August 2010 by a Chris Conely who was court ordered as part of his sentencing!
          If they did n’t do this they would still be alive. It is so sad.

          I say be very careful or just stay away. Never trust any of them.

        • yo- so have you left AA for good? Also did you file a report on him to the FBI. These guys like to skip from state to state.

          • Hello Folks,

            I did file charges with the local police, but did not file with FBI- a mistake in hindsight, because if za theft over $25k occurs, FBI will take the case. And of course attempted murder is more than enough reason for them to go after this one punk crime wave. As for not inviting AA’s into my home, that is now my policy. Simply put, I have no way of knowing who is honest and reliable and who is not. I just let the AAs stay in AA and I keep my home safe for me and my family. After the burglary, my sponsor told me “well, a sober horse thief is still a horse thief…” He missed the point that there is no way to tell if a fellow AA is a criminal or not. Such a trite slogan in the face of my losses was just adding insult to injury. So I canned him. After 21 years in the program, I have friends who are trusted advisors, but I still draw the line between AA and my home life in concrete. Frankly, my last several sponsors weren’t worth a hill of beans. I recommend hiring a certified counselor for advice and ideas istead of some guy who may not know his ass from a hole in the ground. I think AA has value for new commers who need intensive support getting sober early on, but after 7-10 years the costs outweigh the benefits. At least they have in my case. There is one other thing I want to vent while I am here: The lack of real friendships in AA. The program, by its nature allows people to come and go with no real committment to “friends” made in the fellowship. I feel really sorry for newbies who call the group “family” since they will be in for a rude awakening at some point. The truth is the older the old timer who is deep in “service” usually the more hardened they are, and often the more harmful to those who depend on them. Far too often, such oldtimers are control freaks on a political power trip much more than trusted servants who help others. The president of your local clubhouse (I’ve worked with 5) typically fits this model exactly. Yuk. I recommend avoiding AA clubhouses completely- they are home to outright dangerous people.

        • yo, I am just re reading this post again. Im so sorry this happened to you. Would you tell this story to a reporter?

          • OKay. So I was in the middle of moving from a house I was in 17 years when you posted this. Sorry. IM really reading it now and getting it…

            WOW …I was sober 4 years and had tough times financially with no one helping me when I was 18- then I was 22, so this new comer Korean guy joins my Hawaiian homegroup. I trust him not knowing that he was a real mobster. I had $700. to my name , and worked fuill time in a dress shop. I had no car. He said he could help me buy a used car for that price. I gave him the money and waited for my car.
            He took my money. I called my sponsor #1 who was working with he and his wife. They were locals. She actually said to me that I was stupid for trusting a newcomer. I felt like I was slapped in the face.

            I called sponsor # 2 with 37 years back then and she said hell no, go and tell him you want your money back. SO every time I saw him, I went up to him with two big guys flanking me silently. I said with my hand out, Where’s my money. I did this is front of everyone in the group both in the meeting and in the Coffee shop where we all went.

            Im really sorry. IM glad you got a chance to vent here. It sucks. I got taken again when I was sober 20 years I met a guy through music at a coffeehouse. Even though I didn’t meet him in a meeting when I found out he was in AA I thought he was special and trustworthy. Mistake. He ripped me off financially too.

            I agree with you about them. They are no t real friends. SOme are. But most of them it is very superficial and only if you speak their rhetoric!

          • Hi Massive,

            I think that this is typical of AA and 12 steppers. They are either too stoned, drunk, sick, and crazy to be friends or be trusted, or they are so “programmed” they can’t behave like normal healthy folk either. I’ve had my fill of 12 step stuff. BTW I did some work on Oahu a number of years ago and used to make meetings on Queens Beach- the people in that part of town at the midnight meeting are something! Now all I have to do is watch an episode of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and I get my fill of Hawaii and 12 stepism logic in one program! LOL 🙂

          • I’m chuckling, those coins that got stolen from me would have been worth about $90k at peak market in 2011.

            So I apparently “Gave back what was so freely given” with a lot of fucking interest. I also donated better than $10k over 20 years. Plus thousands of hours that should have put into building a family. Plus dealing with all the nut job personalities- Good Lord what unnecessary stress. And what a waste of my time. AA did help me stop drinking, but everything after year 4 was down hill.

        • that is right when you go to a AA meeting be careful of who you talk too, the meeting is open to the public, a lot of the people there go because they have nothing else for them to do, the only thing what is value in AA is the step one, just stay clean and sober, all the rest of it is just bullshit,
          I have seen more people go out and use and drink after they have a good session or believe in that program, take the program as a joke, just use it as a coffee house or a social club,

          • You are basically right about just sticking with Step 1…of course even Step 1 needs to be adjusted to remove the “powerlessness”.

            The concept of powerlessness can be very damaging for many people who in AA are made to feel that it is due to some defect, lacking or poor prayer on their part if they fail to sincerely admit a sense of “POWERLESSNESS” that they know deep down they do not feel. (But some will FAKE it till they make it as advised…)

            I went to AA for support and education on alcohol dependency–not to have alcohol replaced with meetings, controllers, old books written by dead con artists, emotional abuse and the opportunity to “fellowship” with violent felons and sexual predators.

            Some call this “gutter-gathering” a social club? I do not see it. I would NEVER in a million years socialize with many of the characters I saw sitting at those tables. Some of the people were always angry, shouting and ready to fight. My sponsor told me that some of them even had weapons on them. No, I don’t need such a “social-club”…

            The women’s meetings were better…but they had a few problematic people sprinkled in there as well.

            Now that I do not go to any AA meetings any more I am no longer obsessing over alcohol and following my so-called sponsor’s “suggestions” (a.k.a. COMMANDS) It has been just over a month or so since my last AA meeting…I feel as if a GREAT WEIGHT has been lifted from my soul… I really do!

            I pray that more and more people find their way to this blog and others like it as I did. This is the VALIDATION that many people with nagging internal doubts about The Program need to See that they are not “insane”…”powerless” and in need of AA CONTROL over them.

            • Thank you, I have been drinking up and down, but I “know” my problem, too long to tell, gone back to AA, but after finally getting a sponsor, he is already barking orders. I know there is “50 shades” of Alcohol dependencies. To AA there is never hope only “their” way, or the highway. My drinking came back because “I” want it back. My wife has stage 0 Breast Cancer. I know drinking is my last thing that should be on mind. I know my problems. Medically I know if we have the “gene” why does not the medical world do something like they are with Breast Cancer? Everyone that does not have a drink problem including my Doctor, is AA is the best thing, really? I was reading the “big Book” for the first time, I have been to AA on and off since 2007, and not until October/November 2013 on a weekly basis. But the “Big Book”, I thought it was a “How To” book about “HOW to get yourself BETTER”, but stories? I know I have a drinking problem, but to read other people from the 1950’s? come on!!! We have treat this “desisease”, sorry for misspell, like cancer and everything like that as such, treat it medically so future people like my 12 year old son can be treated. Its like no one wants to be treated and get better. It you “new family” they don’t care about your family. That is why this is a cult. They say it not religious, or Christian, but 99% of the meetings are at churches, they pray, and I look at the “tokens”, looks like the Free Masons, and that is one big cult there. I work for a beer distributors, as a merchandiser, that is not my problem, I have bits of depression and that is why I drink, I never drank that much until after 9/11, when I was in a high rise myself in Boston, then losing jobs, not always due to beer. Here is my problem, I know what I am doing when I drink, but I need a place or talk with people that “have a brain” about how do we all get better. I need that treatment. Thanks everyone.

          • Maybe…however the literature read is really toxic. SO are many of the people and they are “dangerous” ….very dangerous….

      • It doesn’t have to do with creativity, Massive tried very hard to help AA change from the inside, quite creatively in fact, but as I have heard in meetings you can’t do anything about a problem so long as you choose to be in denial that there is a problem. AA is in denial that there is a problem with predators in the fellowship, and that “more has been revealed” about alcoholism since the 1930’s. AA has gone against what it states in the preamble regarding not being “allied with any sect, denomination politics or ORGANIZATION” by going through the back-door of having treatment centers run almost exclusively by 12-stepers with little other qualifications (whose careers depend on no further advancement in the treatment of alcoholism).

        AA needs to look seriously at the “Personalities before Principles” that has risen from the importance granted those on the speaker circuit, and various AAs who run what amounts to their own little kingdoms through “sponsorship lines”. The very essence of what most people feel is, and should be AA has been perverted by a completely hands-off central office who sees dollar signs as the only thing that possibly affects “AA as a whole”.

        But if you see that the Emperor has no clothes you are a hater, someone with a resentment, someone who just isn’t creative enough. It’s the people who want to silence others who aren’t creative because they all sound exactly alike in their talking points.

        • bcm,

          Your always make such good sense of things. I love reading your post and appreciate what you have to say. It use to bother me if pro-AA’s came on these sites and insinuated that we were a hate group. Not any more because I speak the truth from experience. When I was in the program I was treated as an outcast if I attempted to. When you live your life in denial; the truth is disturbing.

          • Thank you, Amy, that is appreciated.

            It has to be fear that the folks that want to attack anyone that critizes AA, that combined with black and white thinking. They’re afraid that if they can’t force others to see that AA is flawless, or dismiss others as being just terrible, angry people; then AA might fail them and leave them drunk. To me that’s really “stinking thinking”, that horrible fear based life.

            • you are absolutely correct that is stinking thinking. I have never understood why people like the ones on this board seek and hang on these type of people like they are gurus and absolutely ignore the individuals with solid drama free recovery, I guess that the recovered individuals are not as exciting as the drama queens. I t seems like one of them slogans you guys might have missed “run with the winners” might have produced a different outcome.

        • BCM- so true. Perfectly stated. I have been moving so I had not read your post or Yo’s second post till now. I too contacted the police in 2 states and the FBI. It all helps.
          I also contacted the police in Cali for 4 cities. I just educate … They need it badly.

          Even the Police force needs an answer. ALot of their guys I hear drink alot. They do not need AA!!!

          • There’s an old saying:

            1) When a social need is perceived, a movement develops to deal with it.
            2) That movement evolves into an organization.
            3) The organization grows and deals with the problem.
            4) As the power of the organization expands, it attracts power hungry leaders.
            5) Then the movement devolves into a racket.

            There is SOME truth to this in AA/NA, but not terribly much given the many years they’ve been around- primarily because groups don’t have much money.

            I think the real rackets are rehabs! The problem with AA is the danger element- it’s too obvious.

            Maybe it has always been there…but maybe 12 Step programs getting some push back from dissatisfied former members will force them to redirect their efforts to a better, more noble result.

            Maybe we could get the law enforcement folks out of the picture and make 12 Step programs back into the private organizations they were supposed to be.

            I don’t know, but I do believe that the “cult” behavior in 12 step programs is becomming too obvious and frankly to burdensome to put up with because sick old timers use groups as a power base, instead of the service opportunity they are supposed to be.

      • By signing the slips, AA and its members are complicit in court-mandated AA attendance. It should be actively discouraged by CSOs as:
        1. Forced attendance should not be tolerated
        2. No individual in AA has any such authority to act on behalf of the group or fellowship.

      • This is not the place for you. You like AA, then fine. Let people find other ways and a safe place to heal. If they want AA, there are many places for them. But stay off of here. People trying to heal and leave AA will feel rage and pain but they can and will get through it and be better off for it. So be off with you…don’t you have a meeting to go to or someone to indoctrinate?

          • I just came off a hard run and tried AA/NA again. No can 15 days clean, and I refuse to sit in a meeting and hear all the absurd mindless dogma that has never worked for me. I was coming from a place of fear when I returned to their meetings. That never works. Now what?

          • rowland- Try online meetings SMart Recovery , Secular for Sobriety, Face to face meetings with Smart, Look up Rational Recovery,

            1. Blog
            2. Develop hobbies
            3.. Read Hank Hayes book ‘You’ve Been Lied too…
            4. Read AMy Lee Coys book “From Death DO I Part”

            GO to the bottom of this thread and post there. Also there are many unhappy steppers on the orange papers forum. http://www.orange-papers.com/forum

          • thanks…love the website…support is crucial while deprogramming yourself…keeping an eye out for the fucknuts.so far so good…good job…information is key…i found a great article on deprogramming from cults…will post it when I get home from work…information on AA to combat the cognitive dissonance is so very helpful and necessary…that is why I highly recommend for anyone who is deprogramming to look at blamethenile videos and orange papers…orange papers alone opened up my mind…and just that tiny bit was enough for me to do the rest…again, thanks for the site…and you will have support if the fucknuts come here. xoxo

      • you are in AA you talk like them.I went to AA after being told by one of its members it would help me i wasnt gave any warning. as soon as i went i was told i was an alcoholic only aa would work do it or die-at the time i was very mentally unwell.and on the vunrable persons list.you dont expect people who tell you they been sober for years worked a programme that has changed there bad behaviours that they are gods people or have a spiritaul way of life are now careing folk there to help the new commer people who say you can trust us and you will have to or you will die-
        to then turn on you verbally abuse you play head games finacially abuse you sexually abuse you intamadate you threaten your life and if you complaine about it be told you did it you caused it you played a part in it its your fault dont blame us-
        those women looked down on me when i went there-
        because i had other drug problems no money no car and had been a battered wife-
        some of the snobs there went with cars and good husbands careers still in tact-
        but in sde i was more decent a person pre AA than they were in it-
        and men who preyed on me with several years soberity-didnt get anywhere
        because i was more decent than them.
        i heard shares from so called spiritual or gods people-
        married men with yrs sober who shared about sexual affairs they were haveing with other members-
        while telling me i was too sick for a relationship-and then would try it on with me.
        i would rather die a drunk than live among them and i will blame them for every thing they did –
        cause they did it not me-
        all i did was go there for help with drink and tryed to be rite with people.

      • i really felt i had no choice but to go there.
        and tryed to leave many times.
        Apart from the times some people from AA/NA
        came to my home or stopped me on the street and cohersed
        through fear and guilt tactics to get me to go back there
        AA had me in invisable yet for me
        very real chains that i has taken years to break free of
        and it was AA that put those chains on me.
        – there are no words -i can use to describe what that means-
        only some people will understand this and dont think your one of them.
        out side of AA criminals of the worst kind lurk everywhere-
        and i had my dealings with them-
        diffrence is in AA im not only blamed if they commit a crime on me-
        am told not to talk of it to hold there hand at the end of a meeting to stay friends with them make them a cuppa and pray for there well being-
        out here someone sexually abuse me steal money from me hit me threaten my life-
        i can kick there arse take them court keep away from them and society at large dont blame me for it
        Also i was never told by anyone out here that in order to keep clean and sober
        i may have to work with a childmolestor or rapeist in the future and that if i didnt and they died it be my fault

      • and also i will slag AA off anytime any where i want to
        infact think i shall go back in there shortly just to slag them off.
        and moan groan and whine about all my problems
        then after that stand in front of the old timer that sexually abused me
        and spit in his face
        (after all that will be his fault now- not mine
        hes the one
        in AA not me.
        And people in AA cause all there own problems )
        i will slag off robie williams as well if i want to.

        • Sally- vent all you want here about AA and how it hurt you. Can you also write the stories down in details and email them to me. I am keeping records of them for the future when I am sure there will be a legal case against AA.

          How long ago was the harm done?

          I too was horrified when Kali came to our meeting telling us how she was 13 stepped in 2009. When I went to the Marina Center in Culver CIty, CA it was absolutely disgusting.
          I had to bring my husband to make the announcement for The Sexual Predation Workshop.
          the meetings were filled with rapists and the creepiest men I had ever seen in AA.

          I had taken AA meetings into men’s prison’s in the mid 70’s in Hawaii and I sat with murderer’s and lifer’s.

          Honestly, the vibe in the meeting was worse then prison. The reason…

          The prison dudes weren’t liars. The were convicted felons and admitted their wrongs openly.
          In The meetings at The Marina Center and the 414 Lincoln were un F####king believable.

          Run RUN from the CULT of AA and write down your story, find a lawyer and sue their asses!!!

          Anyway..we can contacted at makeaasafer@gmail.com

          • just found your post
            i keep trying to post to make aa safer but my e-mails are bouncing back.
            my computers on the blink.
            rekon i have wrote out most of it-
            its been so good to be able to do that
            but think i have taken up enough post space now
            i felt like i was writeing a book there for while
            i shall write it all down and try post it to make aa safer
            if it dont post shall post it on why i left aa.
            Im really sorry about your friend that was badly stepped
            some people have had far more damage done by AA than i have
            but i got a few stories
            you sound like you went through a lot-but also was a careing person in there
            and still care.
            I found that kindness was almost looked down on by some-
            I had a male sponsor for a few years
            for a long time i thought he was a mate and in some ways he was
            but there were things said by him that i just found wrong for me-
            One of those things among others-
            Anyone that can condone what hitler did and make fun of
            hitlers victims has to be a (fashist-is that right spelling)
            i never went into service at the level you have-
            but i did deliver an NA step working guide to a prisoner
            in prison.
            Im not against criminals getting help for addictions-
            (I have commited crimes in my long ago past
            i keep to the law now and was doing so prior to my going to AA)
            there are diffrent levels of crime-rapeists childmolestors violent
            criminals such like are a real danger)
            i am for people who want to go to AA being kept
            and think they should make AA safer-
            at the second last meeting i went to-i said i think AA should look at the abuse that go on in here it scared me away from your meetings)
            i went AA in may 2001-and have been in and out for past 12 years-
            i left in April.
            this time i know i wont be going back-not unless
            it’s to tell them i got clean sober and well without them.

          • massive
            i ujst read your post again its been ages since i read it.i wondered why i was writting everything down a full acount. im still writeing it. i did post a letter of complaint to USA head office but im off to send a bigger one.
            i did find a lawyer who gives legal aid, but she said if it had been a hospital or something like that she could have done something but didnt think she could she was going to look into it more and get back to me but hasnt yet.She also said the laws are diffrent in Uk to USA.

      • nobody’s ‘damning’ it. why so defensive? if its so great, please, we urge you to continue your path toward enrichment. This page is ABOUT people who did not like aa and left for whatever reason. nobody’s going out to aa pages and trying to talk anybody out of it.
        you have no business here and are making yourself an exhibit in our case as to why it did not work for us. We have a right to a non step collaboration.

      • I can be as negative about AA as almost anyone, but that is me speaking from my experience. Others see it differently, and I accept that.

        I haven’t left AA completely, but I certainly don’t ‘practice the principles’ – never have. A true believer would probably say that I have been on a decades-long dry drunk.

        I have been around AA for over 30 years, and concluded in the first few months that AA doctrine was mostly warmed over crypto-christian claptrap.

        Despite that, AA has been a positive experience for me overall. I’m not sure that I would have ever realized what the answer to my alcohol problem was without AA.

        Additionally, AA has been a good venue for social contact. I have met really interesting people, in eight different countries and three different languages, over the decades that I would not otherwise have known.

        For those who have negative feelings about AA initially, I would suggest trying different groups. The zeitgeist in the AA community runs from one extreme to another.

        AA has cultish aspects to it. Some AA groups exude that more than others.

        I have always avoided the groups that have a chief guru. I gather the Pacific group in LA is like that, and the Loyola group in Portland OR is definitely one of those. As distasteful as that type of gathering is to me, I can’t deny that they are well attended and many swear by them.

        Chacq’un a son gout, as the French say.

        • Hello Lech, Please, what was the answer to your alcohol problem? Can / will you state briefly now what you realized then.

          Speaking for myself, I don’t write / think much about alcohol so much as the AA phenom and what IT did to / for me. Strangely, I or IT.

          What supplanted your drinking?

          All the Best going forward.

        • Lech; “No matter where you go A.A. is the same”

          You got that right, full of the same old nuts and idiots stuck in the same surreal insanity that I ran from. You can have them!!! After browsing around this site and the links, I am finally getting some answers and closure to the negative garbage I experienced in “the fellowship” so rest assured that I will “keep coming back”…right here to these pages.

      • Actually if you had done your homework you would find a multitude of credible sources that show has a GIANT problem with predators, sexual and financial.

        I have been in AA for over 20 years and have seen everything to Ponzi scams to pandering prostitution in our local AA. I do agree that people attack AA with a lot more vitriol than it perhaps deserves. However, like many institutions AA historically has tried to cover-up the problem and the anger is a backlash to this behavior. To their credit the Grapevine magazine has run several articles a year concerning predators in the rooms. These articles only started to show up in the Grapevine in the past three years, so maybe things are changing.

        The Washington Post has a wonderful expose on AA predators it ran several years ago. It involves our dear friend Mr Clancy and some of his disciples.


        Mr Wilson according to former GSO board members, and a recent book by Susan Cheevers was notorious for chasing women. If you look at the GSO website there is a statement about archives that are not available to anyone, including GSO board members! I would love to see these.

        So in concluding, AA is in fact full of sex offenders, con artists, personality disorders. I would guess a good 20% at any given meeting fall within this group. (I’m in New York and at any given meeting has a handfull of level 1,2, and 3 offenders, not to mention the skirt chasers).


        • HI Joe- Thanks for posting these links. I have not seen them in a while.

          Great article and good reporting. May I ask …why do you still go?

      • The “spitballs” are well deserved in that Truman Show when you’ve been lied to and lulled asleep by A.A. members because you want and need help for your problem. The steps work, it’s fellowship doesn’t. As far as I’m concerned the axiom “:We are not saints” is a downright cop out and enabling proposition by joining the rest of “the tribe” doing all sorts of unsavory acts for the sake of “belonging”… familiar scenario. Gee I was told to clean up mine AND change my playmates…not a bad idea. When I took the steps and did them out of the Big Book, I woke up and made the biggest amend which was to myself and got out of the unsavory dysfunctional crap. A.A. and N.A. is the garbage dump of the universe and I ant no part of that. As far as I’m concerned, I’m no “worse” than Tori Magoo speaking out against the ranks of Scientology for the garbage going on in there.

      • What you have conveniently ignored in your curious comment is that Hitler was “trying to do something constructive”. So was Josef Stalin and Pol Pot. Under your logic, all these murderous dictators should have “something said for them”, otherwise “to damn it because it isn’t perfect is to damn all humanity”. AA has a 95% failure rate and that is being generous. How many of those died untimely deaths or suffered years of frustration, abuse or depression because they were always assured that AA works if you work it. Or that AA is the only way for a “real alcoholic” to remain abstinent.

        I understand that your “program” requires you to look into your own resentments and determine your part in it, but this blog is not about “revenge” as you suggest. I have found it very helpful in deprogramming myself from a cult that causes harm to many people. Just as your Big book is your message of hope, this blog provides hope to those who believe God gave us a brain to use, and free will to use it. So take what you want and leave the rest Brent, we have just decided that the rest to leave was and is AA.

        Have a creative and thought provoking day!

        • Lee,

          I read your post this morning and wanted to respond but didnt have time. I thought everything you said was very informative. In the past i have experienced depression from being told that “it works if you work it”. Taking what I needed and leaving the rest, didnt work for me in AA; so I moved on. I think its so complex; because many are waiting for it to work and depending on the promises to come through. I believe that creates depression. Fortunately, I realized that life is just not that easy and they may not be right (im being kind). I never missed or regretted a day after leaving for good and have no desire to convince anyone that my way is the answer. I have no tolerance for anyone who attempts to influence me with their way of life. I especially like what you said here and it helped me:

          “I understand that your “program” requires you to look into your own resentments and determine your part in it, but this blog is not about “revenge” as you suggest. I have found it very helpful in deprogramming myself from a cult that causes harm to many people. Just as your Big book is your message of hope, this blog provides hope to those who believe God gave us a brain to use, and free will to use it. So take what you want and leave the rest Brent, we have just decided that the rest to leave was and is AA.”

          Your comment helped me personally because you said; this blog is not about revenge. So many times, I have read another comment that pushed my buttons and I end up unloading “honestly” about my negative experiences in AA and it felt very good at the time. However for some reason; I would feel a bit guilty the next day (fortunately it passes quickly). There was never any malicious intent behind any of my comments. I was simply in the process of deprogramming; while using the brain God gave me. For the most part; I was trying to help someone avoid some of the confusion I experienced.

          In closing; as you said; “I hope pro AA’s who happen upon these sites, take what they need and leave the rest. Wouldnt that be nice. If thats not possible and they cant accept being challenged, then move on as most of us have. Deal with whatever choices you have made at the present time and dont try to influence others. I know I have. I think the blogs are very helpful too. After decades of going in and out of AA and questioning myself; I think im entitled to vent with like minds. Thanks!

      • I find it amazing and hypocritical of you to say we don’t have a right to speak about the TRUTH! Yet in the rooms of AA if you don’t think and act like robots your ridiculed. So shut up and get off the site!! This is our meetings were we get to speak freely..Unlike AA where your all robots.

      • I agree, a lot of people who moan about AA when they leave are just angry that they couldnt get it. You probably still want to drink and as for saying youre not an alcoholic anymore is just rediculous, you will always be one, hopefully without the drink. Why you need to set up blogs to critisize a brilliant way of recovering is sad, i bet you dont get the god thing either. I feel sorry for you and you are all in my prayers, whether you do AA or not.

        • dezmand (alcoholic),

          Funny; I see it the opposite way. I finally recognized the bait and switch and I left.
          You dont get it; so thats why you are still there, using AA as crutch.
          On the other hand, maybe you do get and are in denial and fearful to leave.

          It’s sad but i dont feel sorry for you; because AA has not even taught you to be polite and mind your own frickin business.

        • dexmand-Angry we couldn’t get it. Your kidding….right…

          Some people already drink beverages like normal people after they leave an deprogram. They are no longer alcoholics. Read the abstinence vs moderation thread. Maybe you too could drink again like a normal person. Maybe you are jealous we are free from AA and its wackjob thinking 🙂 WHy would love AA and come to this site. I agree with illbefree….why are you not at a meeting making coffee?

          Its not a brillant way to never recover…see in AA you are told you are broken forever and have to go there forever and be of “service” forever with those creepy assholes.

          Get honest buckwheat….you don’t feel sorry for us and why is it that you steppers are so god awful condescending and tell us you are gonna pray for us. We don’t need your F**king prayers … god loves us like we are already! and Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!

      • The difference in the rooms mate is the vulnerability factor. no doubt you have never been harassed, hit on, riipped off by, manipulated, betrayed bullied or raped by an older member. Lucky you.

        Why are you commenting here?

        Wrong audience mate. Time to go back to your rooms.

      • I’m not sure how it’s curious. It makes perfect sense. People who felt stifled, misled, manipulated, lied to, and often thoroughly disgusted by AA are discussing their frustrations with one another. It’s comforting to know I am not alone in my frustrations with AA, especially after having AA dogma forced down my throat for years and having my concerns dismissed. AA is psychologically forced on people, in the sense they are told they are powerless and can’t survive without AA and if they “don’t work the program, they’ll go back out.” That’s a very cultish threat. This site is no different than people who’ve left a culty religion supporting one another after they escaped it.

    • I went to THE MOST ridiculous begininers AA meeting a few years ago. It focused on the slogans. It had some cutsie name like My Sober Toolbox or something like that. A speaker would talk and it would be laced with many of the slogans and sayings of AA. Everytime he said one, the rest of the meeting participants would repeat it in unison. So he said Learn to listen, listen to learn, everyone chanted back learn to listen, listen to learn, he would say go early, leave late, they repeated after him. Scary glad I left, I have never seen another meeting like this, but I am sure they have them elsewhere, and this was in New York!

      • Hi Scott- Welcome.

        I heard about NY AA meetings that have been infiltrated by The Pacific Group. Sounds like Maybe this meetings was one of these groups.

        They are so nutty. Have you left for good?

      • yes, that AA admonishment to take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth is just a way to get people to listen, listen, listen to the dogma, and don’t fight back. For many years, I thought that was an innocent even wise slogan, but now I see how dangerous and depressing it is.

    • ME TOO! Sorry, you have been the first person to express how I’ve been feeling recently. I’ve been in the program for 7 months now and thats all I feel is anxious about going, about the steps.. Its nice to see I’m not the only one!

    • Me Too!! Oh my gosh thats exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. It really, feels good to know I’m not the only one out there who has experienced this conundrum

    • I moved from Athens, GA. to a small southern town off of Interstate 75.
      I have been to AA meetings all over the USA. I never thought I would be writing a complaint about the quality and spirit of an AA meeting. I have always heard that Southerners attend Church on Sunday and fall on their hands a knees begging for forgiveness and the preacher places his hand on the AA sinner and spouts out” You are forgiven” So, the “forgiven” AA member(s) run off African Americans, Latinos, and Jewish folks.
      The group in my hometown was taken over by force after our elderstatesman with 38 years of sobriety passed away.
      If one questions their autority, these gangs of morally corrupt people will terrorize us by slashing automobile tires, find one of us alone with no wittnesses and beat the daylights out of the true AA member, and spread horrible rumors to run off the best of us.
      Check them out on Facebook. Nancy Owen, Scuba Lentz, Alexis Funfrock, Peggy Pate, Michael Cook, Latrell Deen,

      • I was in a Big Book group called The Log Cabin Group in West Palm Beach Fl that went through a similar ordeal. An ex physics teacher named Erlin Kenlin from Boston took issue with the man that was running the meeting Jim W. God rest his soul about how to do the steps. I saw Kenlin confront Jim one day after a meeting ansd off it went. He started sponsoring men AND women, there were sexual propositions and murder threats from the males if the women opened their mouths. His sponsor golf teacher Dale Carnigie helped himn every inch of the way. I had no idea either that these types of things went on but they apparently do

        • starwanderer- This is so nuts, then when I tell normal people , not in AA about it they shake their heads. They say its a religious cult. They have no idea.

      • @Michael Park.

        Sorry I missed this post till now. SO what you are saying is that the names you have placed at the end of your post are all about of this cluster f**k goings on there?

      • This happened to several women’s meetings in my area. These were old, established, and fair meetings. The women tried hard to be helpful and really sacrificing for newcomers. Some of them then died off, and others were run off by a newer member who is just aggressive. I wondered what the heck was going on with these meetings. Then I realized this newer member is collecting all the donations for these 3 women’s meetings. She has made the meetings huge, and full of status-seeking sheep, nothing like the original attendees, who were genuine and cool. She has been the undisputed chairwomen, secretary, treasurer, etc, and is obviously profiting from the increased donations. We have been having many meeting embezzlers exposed in my area, always men, she is the first woman, and she is a doozy. She has not been exposed yet, to my knowlege, since I am not going anymore, largely due to this woman and what she is doing, and worse, that no one, including my old sponsor seems to see anything wrong here!

        • Unfortunately, AA goers are really malleable for almost any dominating personality. People come in and are vulnerable, desperate and by-in-large lonely and looking for personal affirmation. It is a playground for seasoned manipulators of all kinds.

          The further unfortunate part is if this woman is a thief, nothing will happen to her if she is caught.

    • I was just on one of those AA online meeting chat rooms (I like to screw with them) and there was a new women in AA in there. I private chatted her and warned her about the predators, abuse and cult like mentality. She was so grateful to me because she only had 2 days sober and she said she did see that there but didn’t trust herself. I told her trust your instincts because they are going to try to take that too!! I told her about Smart Recovery and this website. At least I was able to give her a heads up. I hope she is ok. God knows I warned her.

    • “M” is an interesting name. I have never encountered another human being with a name which is comprised of a single letter. That is a very curious thing. I understand people (in general) wanting to remain anonymous, but unless your name is Melisstaflakalakapussyfussywussyshakalakazaka, I don’t think you need to worry about anyone knowing who you are. And if you are so paranoid that you absolutely cannot stand divulging your real name, then make one up. Call yourself Shelly. Or Korn. Take your pick.

    • Monica I find your share interesting and that coming to AA at 18yrs of age means you must have had a very rough childhood with alcohol . Being around AA for so long surely you must know that after powerlessness then comes the steps to find that power .I also assume that like myself you had physical problems with booze as in sickness etc .Not all alcoholics are self diagnosed as for myself after my 2nd hospitalization I was told in know uncertain terms that I was a chronic alcoholic and that having serious liver damage to drink for me was to die -not my words my doctors words-I could see no way out until God and the AA program came into my life .I also know that there are lots of people who go to AA for the wrong reasons and that I too have known many horror stories and also witnessed some to =WE ARE NOT SAINTS= the preamble has most of us tagged and I can only comment on AA in the UK. One of the most disturbing things in your share is that you endorse the drug Naltrexone .Personally I find this astonishing as you having been off alcohol for so long surely must know of the horrendous side effects from such a drug especially on a person who may already have serious liver damage .Monica please when sharing an experience stick to your own as they say in AA -if you’ve not walked the walk don’t try and talk the talk .Also am glad to see now that due to leaving AA that you can now enjoy a normal life like going to the movies etc .I personally have been all over Europe on the most wonderful holidays with my family thanks to AA and my own work .Never once have I felt pressurised into going to an AA meeting and I know that I can take or leave it. As one day at a time my daughters have never seen me drunk in the last 26yrs and I thank God for that I think I will just carry on doing what am doing .It works it really works God Bless and take care.

      • william- No- you are nothing like me. Did you join AA at age 18?

        I drank for 5 years as a teen. Never had liver damage.

        As for the drug Naltrexone see Claudia Christians upcoming Documentary called One Little Pill. It has helped many.

        So you love AA it helped you… can you read….the name of the blog is called LEAVING AA !!!

        • Thanks for correcting my ignorance concerning Naltrexone -M-but honestly would you endorse this drug to someone who had abused themselves with alcohol even if it was only 5 years. As regards my post I now take leave of your blog and hope you have many a good evening watching documentaries. After all you never know what you might learn on one maybe even that Naltrexone is ok to take even with alcohol related liver damage.

          • I would not pretend to be a doctor. Doctors I know prescribe Naltrexone and I refer all that fit that category to Claudia and then they try it. Usually its not someone who drank only for 4-5 years. If someone already has liver damage, they could die from alcohol withdrawal as well.

            Maybe that person is having such bad cravings they can’t stop. Then Naltrexone can be helpful I hear from those that have used it.

      • William,
        Please read the first paragraph of the 3rd Tradition in the 12 x 12. I pray that (and I mean this sincerely) that you or any of your loved ones never, ever get hurt by anyone twisted or violent in the rooms.
        Ms. Massive’s courage is contagious, and she’s held the hands of and listened to many grieving parents and loved ones who’ve been harmed by the INDIFFERNCE to safety perped by ‘AA as a Whole’.
        Please let us continue to heal in our own way and in our own time.
        Thanks Massive.

        • Marchon all I was trying to state is that unfortunately we live in a big bad World and bad things happen. Its impossible not to be around humans for any length of time and not to witness the bad as well as the good. God Bless.

          • william- stop it. AA is nothing like anywhere on the planet. OK…yes there are bad people everywhere. But no where ease are they coerced and sent their for a violent crime…like AA…and no one has warned anyone they are doing this. Thats all I want. AND I I want them to stop doing it. I want a Federal Law that stats they can’t do it anymore.

            • Monica sorry if I upset you in any way it was not my intention I agree with you that no one should be sent to AA as you describe .To my knowledge it doesn’t happen in the UK -although I have heard people say that in a court case they have said that they now recognise they have a problem and are going to go and seek help -hoping the Judge will be lenient on them .This to is wrong anyhow sorry for being sarcastic although I don’t apologise for my views on Naltrexone take care and what ever works for you use it .I also know of the predators that go or hang around AA and once I was threatened with my life this was from a man who already had done 12yrs jail term for Culpable Homocide so just to let you know I have had bad experiences as well .Take care and God Bless.

              • William

                We do not have court mandating in the UK but we do have probation service CHIT system, which is must like the system in the USA, where probationers must prove their attendance. Sponsors regularly also appear in court with defendants (often naive sponsors and cunning defendants) to verify they have ‘turned over a new leaf’ and are trying to get clean.

                As for your claim that AA ‘really works’ – that’s not true either, it doesn’t work. Its success rates are about 3-5% which is the same as no treatment at all …

                You are right about predators, even AAs own members are very concerned about what is going on in AA , look up Paul Cleary’s letter to the Board and AA Cult Watch.

                • Well don’t think there is much to discuss with you as you seem like an expert when an expert comes on the telly my first thought is I wonder what shit they are going to talk .You just proved my point.

                  • Now William,

                    How on earth did we go from my reply when I answered your points, to yours?

                    The sunlight of the spirit is clearly pouring down on you. And you are clearly serene, calm and tolerant of views other than your own.

                    Alas, you are typical of all ‘drive by’ steppers on this blog, you make blanket assertions, we disprove them, and you then throw all your toys out of the pram.

                    Quel Surprise comme les dit en France

        • Marchon- Some days are hard. Today I was sad from some of the nasty comments on the Santa Clarita Tribune towards Karla. I fight with them but today when Jaro called me…There are no words sometimes. I found myself getting so mad at another poster on my stop13stepin aa. She is comparing herself to Karla. Im like ” your alive you idiot….Karla Is dead!” no you know nothing of what her parents are feeling just because you are a victim of domestic violence. I just needed to vent. and Thanks Marchon for your kind words.

          • Massive

            That girl who posted on the stop 13th step blog is a rapid stepper, she really is a piece of work. I confess i also felt a bit of despair when I read what they write, they are so adamant they are right, it’s really quite scary. It must be terrible for the family to read such libel about their daughter (do you have libel laws in the USA, they are quite strict in the UK?)


    • I left a.a because of the many hypocrises and contradictions of it and the fact that people want to bash my catholic religion. Also the whole uselessness of the 12 steps and the powerless idea. I dont harbour any ill-will towards other religions but have respect for whatever people believe in even the people in a.a. But what was happening was role reversal it aint my fault religion was rammed down your throat when you were growing up so dont ram it down mine thats a bit hypocritical of them I think. Also during my stint there I never talked about my GOD because I aint the type to force my beliefs on anyone but they did it to me. SO FUCK EM also the smart arse condescending comments that you get from them my response FUCK OFF WASNT SO LONG AGO YOU WERE LYING IN YER PISS. I don’t like high & mighty types. I’m just a bloke who aint a drunk now. I just grew up 🙂


    • Holly crap, Let me first say thank you to Massive for the site. and all who have the courage to admit to themselves and others here exactly how sick AA/NA has become. I was first introduced to both by a drug/alcohol counselor in 1988. From my first meeting I thought this is a damn cult, and it has taken me all these years to realize I have been lied to and my instincts were right all along. I have spent the past 27 years -wholly @##$$- IN and OUT of the rooms. Today I Know why. It never rang true for me. Very divisive now that I hear it in a different forum ie. in the program , or he went back OUT. all the fucking absolutes man. wow all the shit I was taught not to do. they do regularly. The judgment, the ridule for a simple relapse. the exaggerating my story to fit in. the parroting and regurgitation I have done makes me quite ill. those are real mental health issues. approval seeking and not getting. but what really gets me is the false friendships. All those years and not 1 real friend . some these people know my innermost darkest thoughts ,feelings, and behavior. I lay on the floor and grieve all those lost years and what I have done perpetuating it.fuck!

      • C12- Hi and welcome ! – Oh yes …I know. Many decades I was brainwashed . Not 100 % but enough to pass on the lies told in AA to my own children. Lucky me I got out 4 years ago…so my kids love me….otherwise they would be gone and AA member s would be telling me they were my family. F**k that…

      • exactly..no real friendships..phony..the 1 person i thought was a friend in AA ..turned out to be phoney..just another asshole after his leg over.

    • We have 2 girls and 3 boys, our eldest daughter has been sober for 3 years now, but I hate the way her personality has changed, she dictates to everyone. To me AA is the pits. She says she has to go to a meeting all the time, and preaches to others.

      I do not like what she has become, AA is the pits.


      • “She dictates to everyone”

        This seems to happen to people in the AA cult. There is an infused righteousness about everything in life – whether they are real experts in a subject or not. Clarabelle/Janus/Susan on various forums is one shining example of how bossy, righteous and judgmental a person can become from AA involvement.

        An interesting aspect is they can’t see they are doing it and actually deny they are that way. They can’t see how they act or what they have become. There is a psycho/social study there just waiting to happen because the concept is so common amongst AA cult members. And it seems to begin in earnest somewhere between 18 and 24 months of involvement with the AA cult. It isn’t immediate, it takes time to develop and take hold.

    • I agree. I’ve never had as much anxiety as I do now. I’ve been in and out of AA for a few months now, I feel guilty when I don’t go to meetings, guilty when I do because I’m not a robot, I don’t want to have to state that I’m an alcoholic everyday. This life is not black and white for me. But I am having a really hard time getting back to where I used to be, a kind, loving, carefree woman, even my attitude towards men have changed because of it. Its sad, there are better ways, I’m sure of it. But I don’t have anyone to talk to about it, no one I know has ever left AA.

      • Hey Bekki,
        You are not alone! I know that feeling all too well. How long where you in the rooms before you started the in & outs? Just like w/ everything it will get easier your life is programed to be, feel & think that way now but it will get better. I found that after a few months all those thing shifted and I started feeling human again.
        That feeling of not having anyone to talk about it w/… god all mighty is it tuff to shake but think of anyone that was there for you before… perhaps some of those people you love who you “had to make amends to” I have a strong feeling some of those people might be willing to listen you out. They have been for me and to my surprise are supportive & HAPPY I am out.
        Finding Massive’s blog has really helped me too and orange papers is a wealth of information that solidified my decision to stick to my original choice of leaving!
        One last thing having stop state you are an alcoholic everyday IS not healthy and sets you up for failure. (is my thought!)
        Best of luck hope to see you around here!

    • I have been in AA sober since 3-2-1976. Yes some go to AA and to church too and to stores that have bad in them. I was age 15 when AA saved my life and some AA friends are murders or sex offenders but would you rather they got sober than meet them drunk at church or grocery store or you kids? AA works for me 42 years now I did not leave sorry if you failed come back you can sit next to me

  1. I left AA after seven years during my late twenties. I did this because I am a logical and rational human being that just couldn’t take it anymore.

    If you are going to diagnose someone with a lifelong and terminal disease – you had better have some idea of what the f*ck you are talking about.

    Keep NOT coming back! 😉

    … K.

    • K. If you are going to diagnose someone with a lifelong and terminal disease – you had better have some idea of what the f*ck you are talking about.

      I so agree. AFter 36 years, getting there at 18 I left! That’s it. Over a three year time the veil of lies lifted and I saw AA, it’s books and it’s members for who they really were.

    • I left after 7 years too, I was in my 30’s.

      I went to a relative’s funeral recently – he had been in the rooms. And while I was greeted by some of my old friends, I was totally blanked by others, presumably for daring to leave.

      Keep not coming back indeed 🙂

      • EM hi Welcome! SO TRUE>

        They show their true colors. Its there way or the highway.

        They are the most judgmental people I have ever known.

      • Hi Em,

        I bumped into a woman I knew from the local club at a supermarket this week. She had over 20 years and was always very neurotic.

        I felt for her, but I liked her because she did have a godly view.

        When I said hello she did too and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife! I don’t even know if she remembered who I was, or was taken aback by seeing someone she used to know from AA who was happy and pleasant. 🙂

        • they forget you quick..they get over people in a day ..some in an hour.they detach quickly.they dont like it if an x member is ok happy getting on with there lifes.and be carefull getting too close to any of them..even if they seemed ok when you were among them.
          i just did that ..and its cost me a fair bit financially..and caused me a fair bit of stress anxiety and confusion.
          turned out the AA i got bit too close to was not a real friend but someone who was out to use me if i had let him.i have let it wash over me..
          however i will be extra carefull from now on ..and dont trust any of them

    • I have been in AA sober since 3-2-1976. Yes some go to AA and to church too and to stores that have bad in them. I was age 15 when AA saved my life and some AA friends are murders or sex offenders but would you rather they got sober than meet them drunk at church or grocery store or you kids? AA works for me 42 years now I did not leave sorry if you failed come back you can sit next to me not f…k does not make you correct get it

  2. I stopped going because in 4 intense months, during which I went to meetings in 12 separate venues, I thought it was a dodgy, creepy set-up. I read the BB, spoke little, never shared, didn’t get a sponsor, didn’t do the Steps, didn’t do any service, didn’t get a ‘homegroup’, got mildly shunned, got 13 Stepped and was very pleased to have got away relatively lightly. The single entertaining person announced early on that he would be leaving, due to work commitments, on 17 April. I made that my leaving date and watched and listened until then. And started looking out or anyone else who shared my views….

  3. The reason I left steppism is because of the absurdity of the whole thing. I attended meetings for aprox 4 years. During that time I remained clean from all drugs. I was attending 5-6 meetings a week, sometimes even more. I basically realized one day that I couldn’t tolerate the majority of the people that attended. The same boring stories, the pointless dribble, the rigid attitudes, it was making me want to use again. Finally I relapsed about a year ago for one weekend. The guilt was awful, I felt lower than whale crap for about 2-3 weeks. Then one night I was heading to an N.A. meeting, I was starting to feel better and one smart ass w/ 20 yrs clean asked me how I was doing and then proceeded to tell me that it was about time for me to “go back out” again. Just what I needed to hear, right? I realized right then and there if I had to depend on this stupidity I was doomed. That night was the beginning of the end of all their crazy stuff. I started researching anti A.A and came up on Orange. Here I am more than a year later, clean, NO meetings, no more cults, and not wanting to use. I really dislike the entire 12 step industry, yes industry.

    • FRank I just fully read your post. OMG That guy actually said that to you? What an idiot. What city is he in. Lets go there and tell him about real serenity. Imagine a group of going around to these places together.
      Asking them to step outside. There we are, KAM, Massive, Anti d, FTG, MA, Jr H, Gunthar, C & E, Sue, Sally, AMY, disclosure, Jill , WSS. WE circle the bastard and ask him WHAT DID YOU SAY/ Like in an old 1950’s WESTERN.
      Then the guy or oldtimer Woman dressed in her Morman dress is shaking in their boots freaked out. WE tell them a thing or too. Like AA is a bunch of crap and we have moved on and are still sober without their stupid program of action…..
      Then we head to the coffee shop that they all go to. We sit down next to them.
      We start bad mouthing AA really loudly. Then we get up and leave laughing. IMagination! Such a wonderful thing!

      • You know Massive, I think his stupidity says it all. I realized, the reason I didn’t like these people is because they are all frauds, following a fraudulent program. None of their beliefs are real. They have the compassion of a stone.

        • Frank, I really do still know AA/NA friends that are really great people are they are still my friends. Although Many are in Hawaii and I have know them for over 3 decades.

          i love that I have left. Yes many in LA are so full of shit.

      • Hi Massive,

        I agree that AA is not “fixable” from within. That’s why fragmentation groups sprout up and private meetings are held. I once got elected to the board of a local clubhouse, back before I knew any better, and found out that the president of the club was straight up insane. I mean this woman played every wack job power strategy imaginable- and I am convinced she didn’t even know why she was doing it. The model fit the WebMD.com definition of a true narcissist power driver. I resigned from the board in one month- having been a senior management consultant for over 10 years I could see there was no working with people like that. Despite a year of good works for the club prior to my election, I was not surprised to find that the board attacked me vociferously. In dysfunctional organizations and when workig with dysfunctional people, no good deed goes unpunished. That’s when I gave up on club houses. When I gave up attending clubhouse meetings and refused to engage in program discussions with AA’s I knew outside of meetings I just plain felt better! I don’t need to know everybody’s pet peeve, or why they “relapsed”, of be the target of their ire for whatever their issues are. I get healthier when I keep company with healthy people, and being around the sick rubs off too. I am a big fan of going back to church these days. Frankly, my church just won’t tolerate what AA tolerates and has a specific, defined, moral code that is uplifting.

      • DAMN IT MAN I WANT IN ON THIS!!! If it wasn’t such a self-defeating statement I’d say Y’all got what I want The real truth is it’s already there I just have to develope some intestinal fortitude and continue to know I GET TO BE PART OF – NOT PROPERTY OF aa out!!!

        • weaver- I read your lost above and there was no place there for me to reply. SO Im doing it here.

          GLad to see you are free and not drinking rubbing alcohol 🙂 and so much of your post I get. I spend way too much time in AA too. It feels great to be free from a cult.

  4. I was at an A.A meeting and the topic was step 4 . At this meeting everyone is seated in a big circle like 30 people. It gets to me and I talk of resentments and a quick quote to get it over with fast. Everyone takes there turn in this competition for the best share. When it gets to my friend from the sober living who just quit drinking 5 weeks ago at age 27 after 10 years daily drinking, He trys to share and uses the word Ya-know alot. Ya know. Drinking realy hurt this guy, Ya-know. He doesn’t realy know much about step 4 yet, Ya-know. There are women there at this competion Ya-know. This guys nervouse embarasment could take the paint off the walls, Ya-know. I said to him dont worry about this dumb shit, Ya-know. He later drinks and gets thrown out of sober living Ya-know. Ya-know. He adds some drugs to the mix Ya-know. He ends up in the hospital, Ya-know.
    He should have gone to some more meetings, Ya-know .

      • A Warning: In or out of AA, don’t tell people about it.

        Got pinned down last week while walking the dog by some guy who was clearly was a nut. He told me he was a diagnosed manic depressive – and by his behavior he was on his manic cycle. I got every half assed crazy opinion he could spout in the 10 minutes he dumped his views of the world on me- including all the problems he had with his drunk wife and the fact that he got arrested for domestic battery on her!

        So I redirected him in the manner that has worked for soooo many nut jobs I have met in AA and got away from him. I’ve learned hanging around with nuts who admit to violence is just bad news and an unacceptable risk.

        When walking the dog past his apartment this week (he’s always sitting on the porch) I simply ignored him on several occassions. Well, that pissed him off and he attacked me verbally today. The mistake I made was telling him that I had quit drinking over 20 years earlier through AA, and suggested his wife look into getting counseling/rehab. Apparently that was not an option, but yelling at me about my being sober and “prideful” from his front porch was just ok.

        What an asshole.

        He would have fit in PERFECTLY with all the loons at AA clubhouses around the country. I should have known better than to tell him personal information in a wasted effort to help his wife. Bottom line: I am fed up with nut jobs- I just will not be around them in OR out of the rooms- and I surely will not talk about things of a personal nature with strangers anymore.

        I’ve had enough. Fortunately that jerk doesn’t know my last name, address, or any other personal information. But what little he did know he attacked with- typical of crazy people I’ve known IN AA.

        I should have known better. after all of these years

        • yo- OMG what a nutjob. The crazy’s I talk to are homeless in SA MO or NYC homeless and I tell them to stay away from AA and I tell them about SMART AND SOS…but I don’t talk about myself. I ask them if they know anyone with a problem and tell them outright to stay away from 12 step an why.

          Sorry that happened to you. it could happen to anyone.

  5. Anouther friend at the first sober living or half way house aptartments what ever was way out scatter brained, but the smart scatter-brained type, I liked him. Of course every people dynamic needs the scape goat figure along with the clown mascot do-no-wronger ect. I was kind of the scapegoat figure when I first got there cause I was so skinny and weak from drinking and not eating at the end but after 2 months at the gym and major eating that turned around. My buddy was always leaving coffee cups on the table outside SoFingWhat who cares. 18 dudes in this place with “my roomate keeps leaving dishes in the sink ? kinda Dumb sh** arguements. I tryed to protect him cause he had a severe back injury and was a target. This is in an “upscale place” In terms of $ If my words are making it look otherwise. The people who ran the place and the clients were all “Good 12 step A.A people”. When he (the scape-goat who leaves coffee cups on the table) leaves to drink and use at a hotel we are told to stay away “he’s bad for your sobriety”. Brain washed fools, they needed the bed cause the 28 day part place was full and if this guy comes back or is “saved” its bad for business. They had a bottle neck. And Look what happends if you leave, lets see how sick he gets…
    Stay away from him .

  6. Apologies for its length but I think relevant here. I hope it does not bore you all 🙂 It does me good to read it again from time to time to remind myself of why I challenge AA.

    Three extracts I like:

    “The simple answer to that is the fact that A.A. is effectively untouchable. This is because of the principle of anonymity and the fact it has no leaders. If you wanted to go after A.A., if you wanted to go to the top of A.A. and thus get some answers, or attempt to bring it down, you couldn’t. There are no leaders. If you phoned the helpline and asked to speak to whoever runs A.A., they could not put you through to anyone. Where would you start? If you imagine a pyramid of power in a normal organisation with the boss at the top, and the workers below him, A.A. is in effect an upside down one. A.A. is literally run by its members reducing it to anarchist rule. There is no power structure in A.A., which ironically gives it its power. In order to remove it you would have to remove every member, but this coupled with anonymity, renders that virtually impossible.”


    “The more you drink, the more you need A.A. – in fact once you accept A.A.’s step one, all you have to do to need A.A. is breathe. If you drink, you need it, if you don’t you need it. ”


    “It then dawned on me that A.A. does not make money, but that does not mean other organisations don’t make money out of A.A. The obvious example is of course, treatment centres. Without A.A., which is what they sell, they would have no product. A.A is the product. Treatment centres are the primary feeder for A.A. groups, because they rely on A.A.to survive.”

    Good work Monica. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

    Jimmy (B l A m E)

    PS It was written 6 years ago.

    “Dear Dad,

    This is probably the most important email I will ever send you. Don’t just skim over that sentence – read it again. If you are in a rush or busy come back to it; it will wait. What is contained amongst these words will be extremely disturbing, whether you agree with them or not. The repercussions for society as a whole are massive, but for now all I can consider are the repercussions for me. If we are to get through this we need to unlearn and ‘forget’ all we think we know about alcoholism and addiction. We have invested a lot of time, effort and money into trying to deal with my addiction and because of that we will try to persuade ourselves that what we have done is the right thing. At this stage I cannot afford to make too many judgements, but I will add this – you have all without exception been there for me and there is no doubt in my mind that you have all acted in good faith, and with my best interests at heart. No one, not even A.A. will ever make me doubt that. For some time now I have had my doubts about A.A., and some very serious concerns. During this time it occurred to me that there was very little I could do about these doubts, except investigate them alone. It has been the most exhausting three months of my life; I have had to leave myself at the door of every room I have walked into, having to wear the mask of A.A. Why did I not air these concerns? The answer to this follows, but it is so complicated, complex and my beliefs have been built on such a shaky foundation, that the process of explanation is exhausting in itself. As you read this I beg of you not to consider that I might be wrong, in teaching with A.A. dogma, but to consider that I maybe right; if you do it the other way round, the mere realisation of the consequences of me being wrong will end any chance of a reasonable and rational look at this. Again, I ask you to reread that sentence and only to continue once you have truly understood what that means. (Before you read on I have been publishing extracts of this anonymously on an Internet blog (Blamedenial) as my only form of release, and as such, I may refer to ‘the family’ when I mean you.)

    I have decided to write this because I feel as though my experience needs to be expressed. It has been a very difficult decision to reach as Alcoholics Anonymous and many 12 step fellowships have ‘helped’ many people. However they have also hindered as many, if not more people. My fundamental objection to Alcoholics Anonymous is in its unwritten but very apparent doctrine that it is the only way in which to achieve sobriety. Using this belief it renders its program as unquestionable and closes the door on any scrutiny. Any institution that does not allow its members to ask questions of its validity is dangerous in my opinion. In this I shall relate my personal experience of the 12 steps, and AA meetings, both past and present. I have decided to continue to attend these meetings and practice one of AA’s most encouraged virtues, honesty. I shall share my experience with my groups and I shall openly criticise AA and its program of recovery, raising my concerns and issues with it. One of the slogans often quoted ‘in the rooms’ is, ‘you know nothing, the program knows everything.’ In the past when I have dared to suggest any shortcomings in the program I have been accused of being sick, a dry drunk and constitutionally incapable of being honest. If honesty in the eyes of AA is hiding ones doubts of the program, then I am indeed incapable of being honest. I am still very much confused, and ask you to forgive me of any obvious inconsistencies in this, although please feel free to point them out to me. My head is suffering from a divided will; on the one hand it is telling me to investigate my doubts, but on the other, it is quick to remind me that if I don’t follow this program, I am going to die of drinking, or worse, end up in jail or an institution. If this is not clear, it will become clearer as you read this. I have been indoctrinated with a belief system that tells me when I do what I want ‘I screw everything up’ and to that end I have had to consider the consequences of questioning A.A.. In this instance the personal consequences could be dire. As soon as I begin to question this program my fear is that I will be labelled a ‘dry drunk’ by all my ‘friends’ in AA. The family and my friends, or ‘earth people’ as they are known ‘in the rooms,’ will start suggesting I go back to treatment for aftercare, talk to my sponsor, and get to a meeting. They will do that because that is what I have sworn by for so long now, and what they have come to see as the solution to my problems. If I do not do these things the likelihood is they will doubt me until I do, forever suspicious of my ‘wellness.’ Even they have become indoctrinated by this stuff, and most frighteningly not by AA, but by myself. Within the structure of the 12 steps I have been coerced into making ‘false’ confessions about my past not only to myself, but to the family. I have had to admit all my wrongdoings and I have had to make amends for these failings. In doing so, the people closest tome have been duped into believing that I need this program even more than I have been duped into believing it. The knee-jerk reaction will be not to trust me because of the many lies I told (and admitted to in my amends) when I was drinking or to see this as an attempt to drink again; as a means of manipulation. It is none of those things, I simply want myself back, although at the moment I have no idea what that is. If I am to do that and keep the family and friends outside of AA then I am going to have to prove my doubts, prove that my concerns are founded. To do this I will draw on a wide range of literature; no one should trust my word alone, that I am sure of at the moment. Just because I have these grave concerns about AA, that does not mean I am wonderful, and thus ok. I am a very mixed up and puzzled person at the moment. By writing this I hope to reach some clarity.

    There is only one thing more evil than pure evil, and that is evil being masqueraded as good. That is how I would describe Alcoholics Anonymous. That revelation will both shock and unsettle you. Knowing where to start in proving this is extremely hard. I am not convinced it will ever be entirely possible.

    As an ‘alcoholic’ when I reached my rock bottom and had no option but to turn around and ask for help, I was reintroduced to the 12 steps. Eight years earlier I had been in sobriety for 9 months until one evening in treatment I decided to have a drink. I was asked to leave the rehabilitation centre and given 20 minutes to pack my bags. At the time I felt it was a fair reaction, after all we cannot have people drinking or taking drugs in a rehab. But if I take the time to think about what had happened in those nine months, it is amazing that I managed to survive 8 years ‘out there.’ I put that in inverted commas because that is how ‘alcoholics’ refer to their drinking days. I assume this is in reference to not being ‘in the rooms.’ Being ‘in the rooms’ constitutes being a sober ‘alcoholic’; ‘working’ the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and attending meetings. You might be confused because I had been admitted into treatment for heroin addiction, but I left an ‘alcoholic’ despite the fact I had hardly ever drunk. Very early on in my treatment I was told I could never drink safely again because I was a heroin addict, and ‘it’s all the same stuff.’ I began to adopt this approach and belief until eventually I started identifying myself as an ‘alcoholic’/addict. 8 years later, having been thrown out of rehab for drinking, I returned to treatment for what was now my realised alcoholism. Initially my reaction was to surrender to the program, and the counsellors as they had been right all along; I was an ‘alcoholic’ after all. The following extract gives an explanation as to why this may have been the case…

    Unfortunately, many non-religious alcoholics do drink themselves to death after investigating AA and rejecting it because of its religiosity. In all too many cases, that appears to be the result of their acceptance of the AA myth that alcoholics who reject AA are doomed to an alcoholic hell. This belief frequently becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If those too honest to “fake it until [they] make it” believe that their only choice is between abandoning their integrity (by embracing AA and participating in an endless series of dreary religious meetings) or continuing to drink, it’s little wonder that a great many eventually do drink themselves to death. (Bufe retrieved here.)

    So what happened in those 9 months 8 years ago? Exactly what’s happened in the last year I have been sober. Let’s start at the basics, an addict’s first meeting. Mine was at The ***** Hospital in ******* on the 3 rd of July 1997. I was 19 years old. I cannot remember much except for one very important ‘fact’ being aired in the room. This so-called ‘fact’ was that Alcoholics Anonymous was the only proven way to stay sober and those who don’t surrender to its principles will drink. To the average temperate drinker that might not seem overly significant until we consider the other subtle messages coming from the people in that room. AA instils a belief in its members early on that as ‘alcoholics’ to drink is to die. No one ‘in the rooms’ says if you don’t work the steps you will die, but many say if you do not work the steps you will drink in one sentence, and then in another they will say, if you drink you’ll die, but they never say those two things together. In chapter 5 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it does go as far as to say,

    It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feeling we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, todrink is to die. (Note this paragraph starts with a reasonable statement about resentment, but somehow ends in equating resentment to death. J.G.)

    In that meeting they made me feel very special and labelled me the newcomer and with that the most important person in the room. They reassured me that everything in AA is suggested and that there are no rules. I remember feeling that these were very friendly people who would go to any lengths to help me. And thus my initiation into AA was complete.

    The ***** adopts what is called the Minnesota model of recovery which combines the 12 steps with conventional therapy. Attendance at meetings is mandatory as is an acceptance of the 12 steps as the only form of recovery available to addicts. On top of meetings patients are required to attend workshops, all meals, one to one and group therapy sessions. I remember the head of the ATD telling us (the addicts and alcoholics) that we were not to eat with the other patients in the hospital, and any contact with them should be minimal. Patients rarely question the goings on. No one ends up in treatment on a winning streak, and we arrive there with some hope for the first time in a long while, and for many of us that hope is all we have. We go there in the belief we will be helped to sort out our problems, and most of us are desperate to do just that. We assume we are in the hands of experts in the field of the solution to our problem, the treatment of addiction. For all these reasons coupled with the fact we want to get well, we trust these experts. When we walk through the doors we are effectively saying I cannot manage, can you show me how? It did not occur to me to question anything, or anyone. Acceptance of AA came very easily to me. I am not sure acceptance is the right word. Let me explain. When I arrived in treatment, and thus the rooms of AA, everyone in my life was angry with me and I felt very alone and very isolated. I soon realised these people would give me the one thing I craved which of course was acceptance from people but at a cost. In order to be accepted by them I had to accept ‘the program.’ My addiction has forced me into the role of people pleaser. In other words I would do almost anything to be liked by anyone. I started saying things I did not even believe, and quoting passages from AA literature and preaching to the other people in treatment. I wanted approval from the only authority in my life at that time, the counsellors. It is important to note the majority of these were members of 12 step fellowships.

    Step One – The War on Self.

    We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

    As I have said I am still very confused as my mind has so many voices screaming at me as soon as I look at this step. I cannot over emphasis how pivotal this step has been in the foundation of not only my recovery, but also my beliefs, over the last year. But any examination of this step would be incomplete without acknowledging the point at which it became a sacred and central belief. I first admitted that I was powerless over alcohol when I was 19. I had been a heroin addict for 1 and a half years, and as such I did not drink while using heroin for obvious reasons. I left boarding school at 18, where we were not allowed to drink. It does not take a statistician to deduce from these facts that I had not drunk a tremendous amount up to that point. I believe this step creates ‘alcoholics’, rather than helping them. Of course there are people who have drunk to such an extent that a conclusion of powerlessness would make sense, but I am not convinced a teenager falls into that bracket. I need to write that again because it is an epiphany to me – an admission of powerlessness over alcohol creates ‘alcoholics.’ This is a serious allegation; if you can call it that (I am not sure who the allegation would be against – see tradition 11). The foundation of every ‘recovering’ alcoholic, addict, gambler, adult child of alcoholic, overeater, co-dependent, etc is built on a belief of personal powerlessness over the object of their problem. I want to put it to you that this step does not state the problem, it creates it, and in doing so has the desired effect of producing a dependence on Alcoholics Anonymous. If we take my experience, I left treatment at 20believing I was an ‘alcoholic’, despite the fact I was not, and as soon as I picked up a drink it felt like a total failure. I had spent the previous 9 months day in day out telling people in treatment and in meetings, that I was an ‘alcoholic’ and going into great detail about my limited consequences of drink. The belief I was an ‘alcoholic’ was very deep routed in me after that. Why would I admit to something that was so clearly untrue? Being told you are in denial by your counsellor and 20 patients starts to grate after a while. That coupled with subtle slogans like, ‘your best thinking got you here’ and ‘ D.E.N.I.A.L. Didn’t Even Notice I Am lying,’ all helped instil the ‘alcoholic’ belief in me. They had not broken down my defences to get to the problem; they had broken me down and prepared me toreceive the problem. When I was thrown out of treatment for drinking, no alternative suggestion for a solution was offered to me because to have done so would have been in direct conflict with the other dangerous belief they instilled in me, that A.A. was the only way. I continued to drink with few consequences, but each negative experience with alcohol, no matter how small, fed the belief that I was an ‘alcoholic’, until eventually I became one. By the end of my drinking I would not even consider stopping because I assumed I was powerless over alcohol – I absolutely believed that I could not stop without A.A. and going to meetings, so I did not even try. I would think I am powerless over this, and this is how it is. If I want to stop I have to suffer enough to want to go to A.A., because A.A. is the only way. When the consequences of this self-fulfilling ‘alcoholic’ prophecy began to get worse, I told myself that A.A. had been right after all, everything they had said had happened, and so I went back to them believing I had now suffered enough to work their program. But before I did that I took heroin again, which I had not done for 8 years – I believed I had become an ‘alcoholic’, and when I realised that I could not separate it from being a heroin addict, which was in direct teaching with A.A. and N.A. If that is not shocking enough, imagine the power of this step when alcohol is replaced with people, places and things, which is common practice. When something bad has happened to someone, they often turn around and say, ‘Oh well, I’m powerless’, as if this is an acceptable explanation, and state of mind. An admission of powerlessness over any person, place or thing, is encouraged in A.A. and is seen as a strength. As I wrote that I looked up in disbelief. I feel so desperately foolish and silly for having been duped. I am a 28 year old man, I am not small either, and I have been through some very hard times in my life, but since questioning A.A for the first time, I have started crying for no apparent reason at any given moment. I am just so confused, so deflated by it all. When I reached the ultimate truth surrounding step 1 I felt my soul literally drop out of me. The other slogans that help create the ‘alcoholic’ belief in people include, ‘no one ends up in A.A. by accident,’ and ‘if you drunk enough to come to A.A., you’ve drunk enough.’ I am sitting here wondering what would happen if someone who wanted to stop drinking for a medical condition went to A.A. (A medical condition that was not brought on by alcohol, but rather is worsened by it.) That person would be allowed to attend meetings in keeping with Tradition 3, ‘The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.’

    Step 2 – The ‘solution.’

    We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house. ( A.A. Big Book.)

    The war on self continues in this step. We are admitting we are insane, the opposite of sanity. A slogan used for this step is, ‘came, came to, came to believe.’ Quite clever really, but entirely false in my opinion. In step one we are reduced to nothing, or put another way, induced into being receptive to the ‘solution,’ which is God, despite the fact God is not mentioned. (See Step 3) In the rooms they will tell you that you can believe in anything, as long as it is outside of yourself. For many, including myself, it was A.A. itself, as is suggested by many old timers. On the surface this belief in A.A. seems both healthy and rational. But like everything in this program, the good half is branded around and put in a slogan, whilst the bad and negative attributes are hushed and silenced. It is not what A.A. says that we should be concerned about, it is what it does not say we should really look out for.

    Step 3 – Dependence on the ‘solution.’

    We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    In essence I put it to you that whether you choose God or A.A. as your ‘Higher Power’, we are essentially preparing ourselves for Step 3 in the previous step. If you believe in God, you believe he works through the rooms, and if you don’t, you believe in the rooms – the beliefs might be rooted in different areas, but the outcome is the same. Agnostics, atheists and even believers, turn their wills over to A.A. A.A. believes that alcoholics carry the message of God’s will for one another. You are expected to share in meetings and take on the suggestions of your sponsor as there are no rules in A.A. just suggestions, but as is often said, ‘if you jump out of an aeroplane it is suggested you wear a parachute.’ If you come to believe in this step the final nail in the coffin for alcoholics goes in; the dependence on alcohol is replaced with an absolute dependence on A.A., regardless of creed or beliefs.

    The rest of the steps need little explanation simply because once you have accepted step 1 – 3, and thus handed you will and your life over to A.A., you are committed to working the rest of the steps as they are effectively A.A. But the war on self continues through confession in Steps 4 and 5, which instil guilt and shame and thus increase dependency on A.A. In Steps 6 and 7 we ask God to remove our defects of character – leading to a heightened self consciousness but not of our strengths, but rather our weaknesses, again reinforcing our need on A.A. to remove them. In 8 – 9 we confess our sins to those we have hurt and in doing so indoctrinate them with the belief that we need A.A. Step 10 is like the loop line in a computer program and gets us to practice steps 4 – 9 on a daily basis, there by ensuring we can never ‘graduate’ from the program. 11 is discussed later, and 12 encourages us to practice these principles in all our affairs, and to carry this message to other alcoholics, effectively reducing us to salesman for the program. This is a very basic summary of the steps, and they obviously have some good aspects to them, but if they didn’t, no one would fall for them. If they were so obviously bad then that would be better, but as they are, it is the good that they do that is in fact what makes them so dangerous.

    My suspicions began to arise over Christmas when I was increasingly feeling pressured by A.A. to see the family as ‘sick.’ No one came out and said it but the ‘suggestions’ subtly being delivered to me were quite clear. I cannot prove this [1], but for now it is irrelevant because it is what it led to that is of most significance – a questioning of the program. Someone had suggested to me that the problem for me was the fact that I constantly ran to the problem in search of the solution, the problem in this instance being the family. I took this on board, because I had never questioned anything in A.A., it just does not happen. As individuals we are ‘sick’ and A.A. is all powerful, all knowledgeable and always right. A.A. used its most classic ‘bait and switch’ trick. That is, it states a problem seemingly reasonably, and rationally, but then once it has you accepting the problem, it then offers an entirely irrational solution, but where it crosses the line is very murky. (See the process of Step 1 – 3 bearing in mind that in Step 12 we agreed ‘…to practice these principles in all our affairs.’) The problem always inevitably is an assault on the self, instilling guilt and shame, and the solution always involves an increased dependence on A.A. In this example, the problem was the family but it was my choice to be with them. The solution was to limit contact with them, there by weakening my relationship with them, and increasing my dependence on A.A. Perhaps this needs further clarification. The family is the problem, I turn to God, or A.A. as stated in step 3 for direction as to what to do. The people in A.A. remind me of Step One, insisting that I am powerless over people, places and things. The solution is to limit contact with them, and go to meetings, in effect reducing self-empowerment, and instilling a greater dependence on A.A. Each time you practice steps 1 -3 your dependence on A.A. increases. If you show any sign of dissent and a desire to question this process, you are reminded that if you do not practice the steps you will drink, and if you drink you will die. Classic ‘bait and switch’ again.

    I went along with this for a while and began to plan my withdrawal from the family. However there was a renewed urgency in my life. Somewhere inside me I felt this was wrong, despite meeting after meeting. I came home one evening, sat at my computer and realised I was being asked to choose sobriety or my connection with the family. I felt virtuous for a moment as I was willing to place my sobriety even above the family, reinforcing how important my sobriety was to me and how far I had come. Then the realisation of what I was being asked to do dawned on me and I asked myself, what if this/they is wrong? No matter how hard I tried to dispel these thoughts, they always returned. I would say to myself, you can’t doubt this or you will die. Your family want you to be sober, this is what they want you todo because they don’t want you to die. However those words kept repeating in my head, ‘…the problem is that you run to the problem for the solution.’ I said to myself I don’t run to anything anymore other than A.A. BANG! A light bulb went off in my head. Could it be the case that the problem I was running to was A.A? This was a terrifying moment. Everything I had built my sobriety on and with my mindset at the time, my life, was dependent on A.A. I considered what I would have without A.A. The answer was even more devastating. I had to then make a choice to ignore these thoughts and accept A.A. as it was better to have A.A. rather than nothing, or would I question this and reach the truth. Bear in mind I did not know whether I was right or not at the time. I did not take this decision lightly because one thing I knew was if I was to investigate this program, I would have to do it alone and in isolation. It was during this time I stumbled across the following quote in the A.A. Big Book…

    There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation. (Herbert Spencer)

    I asked myself what was the principle of admiration prior to investigation? Was that not an equally ignorant mindset? Bill Wilson aimed that towards those alcoholics who had decided A.A. was not for them despite having never been to a meeting. But what of those ‘alcoholics’ like myself who had been to A.A. and never really investigated it? I had done everything suggested, and in that sense I had investigated it, but I had never investigated its principles. Whenever I asked any ‘difficult’ questions my sponsor would turn around tome and use the most quoted slogan in A.A., ‘Keep it simple, stupid.’ I would be accused of over intellectualising, of analysis paralysis, and for a while I put my thoughts down to these things. I soon realised I could not air my concerns in A.A. and that to do so may even be dangerous, as they cut down my arguments before I had even finished talking, suggesting I was in denial and that if I did not regain my belief in this program I would drink, and therefore die. So who else could I turn to with these concerns? I could not turn to the familyand friends because I had told them clearly that my life was mortgaged to A.A. and if I started to question A.A. in front of them, their fears would kick in surrounding relapse and death and they too would tell me to raise these concerns within my group, talk to my sponsor or go back to aftercare, or basically, turn to A.A. But that question kept coming back, what if A.A. was indeed the problem I kept running to? It did not take me long to acknowledge that there was no one alive I could question this program with openly because the instant response would be to go back to what I was increasingly becoming aware was the problem, A.A. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, and the severity of the problem suddenly became immediately obvious when I decided I had to get out of A.A. because I realised I couldn’t. I would lose everything. I had become more dependent on A.A. than I had ever been on alcohol or drugs; frightening. I made a decision to conduct this investigation, but to continue to go to meetings and fulfil my commitments – I decided to fake it to make it, but this time not to make it in A.A., but to make it out of A.A. I have to be honest my resolve to do this was very small because to prove myself right was more frightening than proving myself wrong. To begin with I was almost frantic and desperate in my attempts to prove myself wrong but the seed was planted. If this program could not withstand some scrutiny, then perhaps it was not worth anything, and perhaps it did not work – that was my rational to persevere with my own questions. My fear was steeped in my belief that I would drink if I did not adhere to the principles set out in A.A. but I knew that if I drank (not that I have wanted to) that would only serve to reinforce my dependence on A.A., which was infinitely more terrifying. Thus I had ceased to stay sober because of A.A., I had begun to stay sober in spite of A.A.

    But the problem still remained; I had been completely isolated from both A.A. and the family, and my friends outside of A.A . For days I deliberated with how I would broach this issue. The prospect seemed too daunting. I anticipated being stopped before I could finish explaining these things, of people preparing conditioned responses in their head before I had finished explaining, and thus not listening. Where would I start, who would I tell first? Would anyone believe me, would they think I am mad, would it all back fire and would my biggest fear be realised, an ultimatum to return to A.A. or else? I felt like a fraud, but in the interests of self-preservation, I kept quiet and continued to research late into the evening on my own. I have trawled the Internet, read all the A.A. literature again, as well as investigating A.A. I have investigated alternative treatments and therapies. I absolutely had to find some evidence that did not come from my own personal experience to seal this argument, because to attempt to prove this half-heartedly would be even more consequential than making no attempt at all. Then one evening I stumbled across a fact that is often hidden in the rooms, although I have heard murmurings of it before, the fact that A.A.’s success rate is put at 5%, and most surprisingly by itself! Success by A.A.’s own benchmark is 5 years or more of sobriety. Alone that is a shocking statistic, and begs the question, why is it regarded as the most effective treatment by 95% of the field?

    The truth is people rarely succeed when following the path of those in AA. As stated previously, 95% of the existing treatment centers (sic) in the United States adhere to the 12 Step philosophies. Not surprising, the success rate of treatment is no different from the success rate of AA: 3%. (Retrieved here.)

    For the purposes of this I will give A.A. the benefit of the doubt and not use the 3% success rate offered by the above extract, but rather use 5%. On the surface, worrying enough, especially if you believe A.A.s ‘fact’ that to drink is to die. Could it possibly be that 95% of the alcoholics who do not work the program die? I sincerely doubt it, and due to the anonymous nature of this program, something we will never know. Of course a rational human mind could argue that all humans die regardless of whether they drink or not, so to suggest that if an alcoholic drinks he will die, is as accurate as saying if he does not drink he will die. To clarify, if you work the program you will die is as true as saying if you drink you will die.

    Then I made a connection – A.A. has an investment in relapse, but not only A.A. but any 12 step treatment centre. Remember I stated that if I was to drink now, despite everything I know, it would only serve to reinforce my dependence on A.A.? That is true whether I believed in the program or not. The more you drink, the more you need A.A. – in fact once you accept A.A.’s step one, all you have to do to need A.A. is breathe. If you drink, you need it, if you don’t you need it. Where is the choice? I will discuss a possible motive for why AA is still considered ‘effective’ later but for now I want to stick to the facts.

    So armed with this knowledge the last thing I had to do for myself was go to a meeting and share exactly how I felt. I had to do this to prove to myself that AA was not tolerant of any form of criticism in an open meeting, even from one of its own members. It was the most unpleasant aspect of this whole ordeal. With 15 minutes to go I raised my voice in keeping with the protocol of the meeting and I began to share back to the speaker. I started identifying with him, because out of sheer fear I physically could not bring myself to openly air my concerns. But for some reason I suddenly came out with…

    I don’t believe that at all. I have serious doubts over this whole thing, and I am sorry if that makes anyone uncomfortable, but this is an honest program and this is how I feel right now. What worries me most of all is the fact that I cannot leave A.A., even if I had a drink, you can’t even complete this program. I am more dependent on A.A than I ever have been on alcohol. I need to say these things regardless of the newcomer; surely we all know that censorship of any sort in here is more dangerous than anything it pretends to protect us from. (That is a factually true representation of what I said although I may have not used those precise words – but I had prepared it for almost 5 hours before the meeting.)

    I felt 70 murderous eyes on me (although that is irrational, that is what it felt like) and half way through my share people began shuffling, moving their chairs and rattling keys – they can’t force you to do anything, but they can make you feel very uncomfortable. At the end of my share I challenged anyone feeling strong in their recovery to approach me for a chat. It should be noted that a belief is instilled in us that if we share against the program we could be contributing to someone’s relapse – hidden meaning, criticism of the program is tantamount to murder – to drink is to die. The meeting ended and we all got in a circle and said the serenity prayer, chanting ‘it works if you work it!’ I am sure, being rational human beings, you will have some idea of how uncomfortable that was for me. I am finding it desperately hard not to get too angry as I write this but it is difficult not to.

    One man came up to me at the end and asked to speak to me outside. I am not sure why it had to be outside, probably something to do with power. (I have to be honest in this, and I never felt physically threatened – I do not want to paint an inaccurate picture of the situation, even if it would bolster my argument – I have been committed to the truth from the outset of this research.) He told me I needed to look at step 2, which is code for, you need to find God. I told him I had come to A.A. to get sober, not to find God. He informed me it was part of the program, to which I replied, ‘and if I don’t work the program I will drink, right?’ He nodded. I then added, ‘and if I drink I will die?’ He nodded. I ended the conversation with this…

    So you are saying that if I do not believe in God, I can’t work this program, If I don’t work this program, I will drink, and if I drink I will die? If I believed that I’d rather die! Don’t you think that is a dangerous message to give vulnerable people?

    At this point he began to turn around, and I put my hand out to shake his, after all he had come to talk to me. He shook it, and I wished him luck. That was the last time I went to a meeting, which was Thursday (16 th March) last week.

    What of the argument that you can believe in anything as long as it is a power greater than yourself? It just does not wash because in Step 11 it is ‘suggested’ that we ‘improve our conscious contact with God as we understand him, praying only for knowledge of his will and the power to carry that out.’ If we put that in context, remembering that A.A. is the suggested Higher Power for a lot of members, how would you pray to A.A.?

    If reaching this conclusion was not enough, I am left with the question of what to do now. As I have stated I am very confused, but my desire to drink has not returned. I think I am alcophobic if there is such a thing, but that does not mean I am ok. I no longer see staying sober as the be all and end all – it is not the benchmark on which I base my quality of life. Please do not see that as an admission of a desire to drink, because it is not. I have had to be incredibly disciplined over the last month in terms of mind management, and the process of unlearning this program is well underway, but to acknowledge these things is not enough. They are so deeply instilled in me, I am not sure that I will ever be safely able to drink again, despite all this. I want to seek informed professional advice on this matter. Being in isolation for the last three months has allowed me to consider for the first time what I want, what I think the issue is, instead of being told what it is, which is what has happened since I was 19. Sadly I have been under this ‘spell’ since that time, and not only when I have been attending meetings, but for all the time I have believed in the myth of step one. It is devastating to reach these conclusions, but surprisingly not as hopeless as I imagined it might feel. Being in my room crying alone on several evenings over the last 3 months, considering the sacrifices we have made as a family in our belief of this program, and the prospect of realising these losses, and the fact that we have been exploited, is terrible. To sit here and recall all the conversations I have had with you about alcohol, life and A.A. is humiliating. I do not know how you will take this, and whether you will believe it or not, I don’t know very much at the moment, except that I want myself back. That is all. Where do I start? I don’t know. Where do I look? I don’t know. Can I do it? Yes, and I will. Damn, from the age of 10 I have given myself a hard time, and now that has to stop. It is not about powerlessness, it is about self-empowerment. It is not about dependence on A.A. or anything – living alone over the last three months I have learned one thing, I am a resilient person. I don’t think I have ever been insane. Have I been foolish? Yes. Have I indulged in folly? Yes. Am I fool? No. It is time we bring into perspective what I have done, and not imagine what I might do, filling us with fear, the very fear that feeds our reliance on A.A. I am more likely to die in a car, than I ever am of heroin or alcohol. Fact. We need to face the truth in order to remove these irrational fears. I can only say these things because that is what I have had to use to survive the last few months. If there is one thing that has given me the strength to get through the past few months, it has been being true to myself. It’s such a cliché, but it is so right.

    I want to add now some thoughts I have had that I cannot prove because I want to be sure to cover everything in this, as I believe it is critical that I do not go back there. I have been so rigorous in this whole process, doubting my own sanity at times, and even believing that I am paranoid – I am not. The most obvious question has to be why is this allowed to go on? The simple answer to that is the fact that A.A. is effectively untouchable. This is because of the principle of anonymity and the fact it has no leaders. If you wanted to go after A.A., if you wanted to go to the top of A.A. and thus get some answers, or attempt to bring it down, you couldn’t. There are no leaders. If you phoned the helpline and asked to speak to whoever runs A.A., they could not put you through to anyone. Where would you start? If you imagine a pyramid of power in a normal organisation with the boss at the top, and the workers below him, A.A. is in effect an upside down one. A.A. is literally run by its members reducing it to anarchist rule. There is no power structure in A.A., which ironically gives it its power. In order to remove it you would have to remove every member, but this coupled with anonymity, renders that virtually impossible. Another reason A.A. gets away with so much is because of the myth that it has helped some people. I am not going to mince my words here; I believe it is a cult, based on one simple criteria, the barriers to exit, which my own experience has proved are huge. Even when I wanted to leave I had to stay and go to exhaustive lengths to prove I do not belong there. My fist clenches when I consider most of the people I know in A.A. would not be able to put this kind of argument together; they’d be too scared, not have the motivation, would not be brave enough to essentially destroy themselves, not have the insight to gain the hope to persevere, would not have the knowledge to get the information I have got, etc. If you think being in a cult is better than being a drunk, then A.A. has done some good. No one wants to be the person who brings down an institution that is hailed as saving so many lives and restoring so many hopeless people to sanity. But with that figure being no more than 5%, you have to ask, does it do more harm than good? Does it create more alcoholics, than it recovers? If you believe my interpretation of step one, then the answer has to be yes.

    Throughout this whole process the one question that has been excruciatingly hard to answer is the question of motive. What does A.A. get out of this? A.A. makes no profit, so it can’t be money, or is it? If you were to look at A.A. you would have to deduce that the likelihood is that in truth it makes very little money, and any money it does make is put back into it. Due to the lack of a power structure and central rule, any fraud would have to be petite, if at all. Any treasurers in A.A. are replaced every two years, in keeping with its internal rules. You may ask how this is enforced with no leaders, but it is stringently adhered to and is enforced by its members. Once I realised that I ceased to investigate financial reward as a possible motive. But a thorough investigation, and a much closer inspection revealed that I had been looking in the wrong place. There is more to A.A. than its meetings. Whilst searching the Internet I came across an article titled, ‘The Business of Addiction.’ It then dawned on me that A.A. does not make money, but that does not mean other organisations don’t make money out of A.A. The obvious example is of course, treatment centres. Without A.A., which is what they sell, they would have no product. A.A is the product. Treatment centres are the primary feeder for A.A. groups, because they rely on A.A.to survive. This is where I want to bring back to the fray my suspicion that A.A. has an investment in relapse. A.A.’s investment is that relapse increases dependence, but for a 12 step treatment centre, relapse (or relapsers) may as well be called what normal businesses would call a repeat customer. Again this leads to the question, but if people relapse, why do they go back? Well The **** did not ‘cure’ mum, it did not ‘cure’ me, and yet I almost went back there. ****** ***** did not ‘cure’ me, but I still went back there. This is because its not that the program did not work, it’s that I did not work it, or so they sell it to us. And what is the first message they tell you when you arrive? A.A. is the only way, so as soon as you relapse you go back to them in belief of this, blaming yourself for not working the program. The majority of people in treatment with me had been in treatment at least once before. I cannot find the statistic, but somewhere it states that the more expensive the treatment the less effective it is. In other words, it pays to fail in the business of addiction. And what is the criteria of a relapse? It is the use of any chemical. The rules are unrealistic, but failure feeds this whole beast, and our failure is their success.

    All in all very scary stuff – but not unfounded. The things contained in this have such huge repercussions that most people would never consider them, especially those indoctrinated with a belief in the A.A. program. Your initial reaction I suspect was to be very suspicious, but somehow I think you will come to see that this makes much more sense than a program that expects people to believe it is good on the bases that it places God at the head of its organisation. One reason perhaps that A.A. is able to go on, is the fact that alcoholics have very little credibility through the consequences of their drinking, and societies acceptance of the ‘principles’ of A.A.. It takes a lot of courage, more than I can ever ever ever put into words, to challenge this thing, simply because the chances are someone will remind you where you came from and that you are nothing but a drunk. I don’t buy that shit anymore. Treatment centres should be called alcoholic factories, because that is what they produce. I am not even sure as a society we have any idea what constitutes a true alcoholic anymore. In treatment if you have a problem that might be caused by alcohol, you’re an alcoholic. End of share, no compromise. You reach what feels like a rational defence to these accusations as I did when I was 19, my defence being I had not really drunk, queue denial. This is a dangerous precedent, no, to borrow a word from A.A., it is a lethal precedent. How many people have drunk themselves to death believing they were alcoholics? And what can we do about it? For now that is not my concern, but one day I will come back to this, and I will get some answers. The urgency of now is for me to replace my dependence on A.A. with something healthy, and to remain sober for the time being. Ironically, staying sober is the one thing that has allowed me to escape from all this.

    [The rest is too personal to post]”

    Thanks for reading this.


    • What a great post. I enjoyed reading this. As you might know, I mentioned earlier on ST that I needed to basically stop the madness of blogging anti aa all the time, but I could not not post. Great blog, Massive, and thanks for yer story Jimmy. It is weird that we can no longer look back @ all of our old past posts, esp. the “why we left” posts. That was my favorite part of st. able to go back to read all of our stories any more which does make me pretty sad. xo to all.

      • violet- Thanks I had fun making it and learning as fast as I could…I hear ftg and ma will put it back up for us to read! Thanks and I agree, what a story Jimmy about your son.
        Jimmy, this is the time for huge social changes with alcohol dependency problems and addiction. See ,I refuse to use the word “alcoholism” anymore!

      • Violet,

        Thanks for your comments – they mean a lot to me. If you have read my site, Blamedenial.co.uk, you’ll see that letter forms the backbone of many of the sections particularly the one on treatment and my old page on the Steps.

        I agree with you on the importance of why we left AA stories.

        Fond regards,


    • Hi Jimmy,
      Thank you. What a great and thorough investigation you conducted…..and all your conclusions are spot on. How sad that AA is so destructive and negative that it actually replaces an addiction as your #1 problem in life.
      I am court ordered to continue to attend until March. Fortunately, I was suspicious when I went in and haven’t participated at all. I educated myself and found support (you and others on stinkin thinkin). STILL-The futility and unhappiness caused by AA has made me resentful. I feel that I am not myself, and wonder…
      are you “whole” now?

      • Jill,

        I am feel more whole, how’s that? I was very angry when I left the rooms and hence I set up Blamedenial and got really involved in the anti AA movement – this eventually led to the Youtube channel and other things. I have backed off a bit of late. These days I am trying my best to promote alternatives and to educate people about the pitfalls of AA.

        Bet you can’t wait until March!


        • Thankyou..you’re making my life easier -Thank you.
          I luv your youtubes. About “The Closure of ST”
          The first time I saw it, I accidentally had my volume on “zero”. Well, I just sat there and stared back in silence and thought it perfect. It captured my sense of loss, disbelief, and the feeling I’d been punched in the stomach.

      • “How sad that AA is so destructive and negative that it actually replaces an addiction as your #1 problem in life.”

        Wow, that encapsulates so many of my experiences in AA. That should be a slogan on bumper stickers…

    • Jimmy, That was amazing what you did for you and your family. The letter was very articulate, well reached and you expressed your feelings beautifully. It was very compelling not only as a story (your life) but as a tool to help other skeptical AA members on the fence or questioning the program themselves. I have always wanted to write about my experience, however, it lacked the vulnerable side we all have experienced that you captured on paper; let alone all the research you did for not only you but your Dad. I was very moved and appreciative you shared it. WOW!!!

    • Wow. I kept this browser window open for two days to read & reread that. I don’t think I’ve ever read such honesty about the nature of this program written so well and succinctly. That just summed up so much for me, the double binds, the same feelings of triumphing over it all and the intense stress of it all. Another wow. Thanks for posting that.

      • That is high praise indeed – and, again, it means a lot to me. I always feel a little uneasy posting that letter as it was initially intended only for my family to read, but comments like yours remind me of how some people find it useful.

        Take care,


    • Great post. My family believed AA was a crock of shit from the get go and have completely supported by break from it. I basically forced my mom to go to an Alanon meeting and afterward she asked me “why can’t we just talk and ask questions”… “why do we go around the room like that?”. Good question mom.

    • Thank you, Jimmy.. for posting this letter! It has done more to help me ‘see the other side’ of the very “mess” I’ve been trying to get sorted out, for a few years. I appreciate you helping me with that, through sharing your heart in this letter to your dad. Most of what I’ve heard has come from the mind.. and hasn’t gotten to “the heart of the matter” but you did, with this. TY!

      This might seem strange coming from me (as I’ve not left) but the observations you made show a keen sense of perception.. of things that are NOT the way they ought to be, in this ‘outfit’ I belong to. So many are “deaf and blind” to this though.. so I’ve ran into a few problems myself trying to get the point across.

      For myself I’ve had to differentiate between “the heart” and “the body” when it comes to A.A. Lots of ailments in the body.. but the heart is still beating; only often not felt as the body has grown huge and the heart weak. I am genuinely sorry you had such a distressing experience and did not find open ears, to share what you could plainly see and feel. On behalf of the insensitives you encountered I will, and want to, ask your forgiveness, in their place.. seems to me someone needs to.

      Wish we could have sat down to coffee over these matters but *waving* across the fence will have to do. TY for taking time to read. Wish you well and hope your future will be brighter than the ‘doomsayers’ told you it would be.

      Lioness herself (not hi-jacked)

      [For what it’s worth: my nic was simba for a long time, as in: the lion king cub who ran away, head hung in shame, being taught to say: “Hakuna Matada.” When cub grew up the mess in the village was waiting… incidentally the same mess you saw. Only this “lion” feels her place is IN the village.. to see what can be done about the mess from within. That’s my ‘mission’ if you will.. not to fight others who can see it.]

      • Lioness “Simba”,
        If you truly mean what you say, I wish you luck. The problem is you have to have the majority listening to you for change to be implemented. I and MANY OTHERS have tried from the inside only to be ostracized! If you find the magic fairy dust to accomplish this seemingly illusive feat, please do share your success.

    • Unfortunately you have your facts wrong. A brief sample.
      You say that the program suggests that if you don’t practice it you will die, end up in hospital or go to jail. In actual fact it says, if you’re alcoholic and continue to drink, one of those things will happen.
      Apparently your investigation of AA wasn’t quite as thorough as it could have been.

      • Brett,

        Would you not agree that AA preaches; if a member is “considered” an alcoholic and leaves the program that they will drink. Therefore leading to Jails, institutions or death, as you stated above.

        If you agree; dont you think that by the program suggesting that, you instill “fear” in the members to leave and do you think that is the right thing to do.

      • Amy, Good going!

        Brett my fellow airplane compadre,

        You are right the bb states that, BUT the SPONSORS AND OTHER AA MEMBERS CHANT……if you stop going to meetings you will end up in jail etc, etc. It’s amazing how many people stray from the BB!

        Being in the rooms and experiencing AA for decades is research enough on how IT DOESN”T WORK and how SPONSORS AND FELLOW MEMBERS DO WORK.

        Maybe you should get your head out of the book, take the rose colored glasses off and actually listen to what is being said to members in your castle.

        Why are you even on this site. It’s not a SEX or PORN site….it is “Stop13steppinaa” a blog to support people who have been harmed by/in your precious program. Find someone else to lash out with the anger you are not allowed to possess in AA and use your grandiose personality to convert other blogs. Now your words will fall on deaf ears.

        Finally, If you don’t like what we say, don’t read it or come here. Have a good evening.

    • Wow jimmy, thanks for that it’s really helpful. I just couldn’t believe I was powerless, I just got hooked on heroin which is simple receptor science as I understand it…

      I skimmed quickly over some of the comments but you may have been onto something when you started trying to follow the money.

      • If you’re wanting to look into the money I’m not sure about AA as I haven’t really looked into it’s structure. However, move to the sister/daughter fellowship of NA and from what I understand NA nearly fell apart over their money management – or lack of.

        I’m not great on the traditions but one of them is about XA service centres may employ special workers. If you look on certainly NA literature the ‘service centres’ are not NA they are NAWS inc – AA may be the same, I’m not sure. The ‘special workers’ do not necessarily identify themselves as addicts or having/having had a drug problem.

        NAWS took NA to court in the 80s I think and NA members started printing their own version of the NA basic text. There are still massive problems with the NA service structure and still business people running World Services.

        I can add some links as I find them, it’s certainly more food for thought 🙂

        • neiko- thanks…I would love to see the links. I had no idea. I know NA was sued a few times and lost for slip and falls but not about this.

          • http://lakeportna.homestead.com/JodyR.html
            Thanks for this link. This is most interesting & weird… Lakeport is in Lake County — right next to us here in Mendocino County. About 2-4 months ago I heard in a mtg here that AA & NA members in Lake County had made a group conscience decision to stop signing court cards. They sent letters to the judges in Lake County telling them so. I thought — YAY — Good for them!! So then I stopped signing court cards at the mtgs I secretaried here in Ukiah. I brought the issue up at our next business meeting & told the others that I stopped signing cards. It did not go over well with the others at all. They told me I stopped signing cards because I have a resentment towards the courts. I thought about contacting a couple of stompers I know over in Lake County but never did. I know there’s gotta be other heretics, heathens & hellraisers around here somewhere who have left AA/NA. I’m not alone here, I can’t be. Interesting. “This just keeps getting more curious-er & curious-er,” said Alice to the White Rabbit.

            • Rainbow- I really relate. you might find another person. But its a lonely ride till I found Stinkin-thinkin which seems to be down right now, and my new friends on the blogs from my stop13stepinaa is how I met many.

              I never signed court cards but that would be great if all meetings starting that approach. Maybe your meet someone on here who will be from your area. There is one blogger here who lives near me.

              I look forward to speaking to you again on the phone. makeaasafer@gmail.com

              ABout the rabbit hole. OMG this whole thing with AA is a serious rabbit hole. Everywhere I turn there is a stepper! I live in LA. Oh well.

  7. Jimmy= This post is a good example of what is wrong with AA.

    I want to say just a few things though. There are leaders. There are 12 paid employees as well. There are many who get a pension THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. We can and we will hold them accountable. Its not the truth. No one has ever tried to. People call and complain and the AA Headqueaters workers say the most stupid shit to people like “keeper” whose son was raped and Murdered by his AA Sponsor! It will take someone who understands the concepts and the structure. We do. A good Civil Rights Attorney who is pro our cause as well.

    But Jimmy AA is a real non profit corporation like the KKK. It doesn’t matter how they word their “traditions” The traditions are not the Law. Phyllis Halliday is The General Manager/ President of AA on the tax return. The board is responsible -all 30 members. The groups are responsible. The area is. The Districts are responsible.

    In Larger groups and cities they have Insurance to cover liability. People just need to be empowered and start suing at every level. If you have been harmed. Take action.

    File with the State Attorney General in Every State. Start with NY. If you need help, contact us and we will help you fill out the 2 page complaint form. Then print, and snail mail it!

    • what kind of things can someone who has left AA
      sue AA for. And how would they go about doing that in the UK-
      I feel like i want to sue them if i can.

      • Hi sally- Welcome! How have you or someone you know been harmed. I would begin there.

        Were you sexually harassed, grabbed, touched in meetings. How have you been harmed? PLease contact me directly if you want at makeaasafer@gmail.com

        Or tell us what happened. Fraud, and neglect is one that comes to mind.

        In 2000 the News Paper in the UK printed a story addressing predatory behavior in AA meetings and its culture. AA headquarters In NYC knows that women are being raped and not only do they do nothing but they do not warn members and new people about this behavior that has been going on forever. Neglect.

        IN 2001, a young people’s group in Southern California put together a memorandum addressing young people in AA and they wanted literature written for parents of teen agers. They NY Alcoholics ANonymous Headquarters rejected it.

        In October of 2010 I wrote a 9 page letter addressing the sexually predatory behavior activities goings on to AA world Service Headquarters. Non One called me. I sent the letter to most of all the AA world Board Members that are actually responsible for keeping the fellowship safe. No one except Robin Bromley who was the then Editor of the Grapevine called me. EVEn though my letter addresses counts of rape and child molestations by AA men to AA members and their children.

        I began to see the true picture. AA in NY prefers to pay it’s employee’s $ 3-$400,000.00 dollars a year. I think they are the custodians of the AA Traditions.

        Also another member names Paul wrote another 7 page letter long before I came along. They AA board made him wait 1 year to just read the letter.

        Contact me and we can talk!

  8. Monica,

    Thanks for pointing those things out. As I said I wrote the letter even before I had left AA and it was a personal letter to my family. In fact it was written 6 years ago; I have learned much since. The purpose of posting it was to highlight why I left AA – nothing else. Further, there is the point that someone on AA’s board was paid over $200,000 a few years back… That is revealing.

    Thanks for reading it nonetheless.


    I made a new video in an attempt to bring your Blog to the attention of a few more people:


    • WOW 6 years ago. How long you have waited for this movement to grow. I’m sorry it has been so long . I can feel the sadness in your post. Is your son okay now? I hope I pray? Does the AA BOard get paid in the UK
      Not in the USA. The Board is a non paying 4 year term!! I hear it’s hell from a few previous Board members.

      Thanks for plugging my blog!

      • Massive that was the letter I wrote to my father – I do not have a son – well not that I know of anyway 😉

        As for the $200,000 I saw it in a tax return filed by AA to the IRS – that is what you call it in the US, right?

        Thanks for reading.

        Jimmy aka B l A m E

        • Jimmy- Sorry for misunderstanding this most sincere letter. I know we spoke but reading this again I see I missed the point. Again…so sorry.

    • BIAmE that was a Good video and It does make you think for the so called innocent ones in the program, however, whose lives have they altered severely by their total devotion to AA. They may seem fine and innocent enough, but there are family members on the outside suffering. Because of my experience in AA with the sexual assaults, lack of help (on every level), being lied to, trying to get me committed for fighting for my rights and my sponsor ruining my relationship with my daughter; I can’t find any good in this program-someone is being harmed or neglected somewhere down the line. Good view points.

      • BIAmE,
        I hope you didn’t take my comment wrong. I give you kudos for looking past all the harm (lies), crap, bullying, degrading comments, powerlessness and see that some people actually are civil human beings with a conscience whom actually benefited from this program. I see the ugly side, I live(d) it and take calls from raped victims etc. I went in sober with an independently functioning brain and have had and seen nothing but the worse side of this program. I will never be able to see any positive, because once you lie to me to prove your case-you and your program has lost all credibility with me. The individuals who call or write me for help are consistent with their stories and the destruction and harm AA has done to them. I believe them, because I lived it. I have heard the lies from GSO themselves down to my x group to the Pastor. A lie negates ones credibility or existence with me. I’m too busy to that them walk away with any of my peace or part of me. Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!!

    • The guy you are talking about was called Thomas jasper. He was an attorney and it’s his name that appears on all of the official documents concerning the Mexico copyright case. An AA member(Xavier?) got a year in prison because AAWS falsified documents stating that Wayne Parks wrote the BB. They had no copyright in Mexico, and Mexican law states the author has to be alive for copyright to be granted. Bill W was already dead – Wayne Parks was the then GM of AAWS.

      Thomas Jasper mysteriously disappeared from the board of AA – no explanation – one minute he was there, the next gone. The year after he received $469850 for “special consultancy”. Could it have been a pay-off because he knew of the fraud in the Mexican case?

      • btnben- wow- some story. How did this get so covered up. Do you know alot more?

        can you provide any links? DOes orange have a section on this?

        Sorry too many questions…but thanks for telling me this. I had no idea. I knew AA had sued someone in Germany regarding printing the BB but not in Mexico.

  9. These accounts are a lot of reason why we should encourage the use of hidden cams in meetings, and additionally with the interaction with AA evangelists and the stupidity they promote.

    As far as I am concerned, anyone who is coerced to attend or participate in AA is NOT bound by the confidentiality ‘suggestion’. The idea that U.S. courts are sentencing people to ‘secret societies’ with NO accountability is appalling to me.

    We need video of people being counseled to stop taking legit medication, and video of the sexual stalking of persons in AA. Uploaded videos of this madness need to be mirrored on youtube. The world needs to see this.

    • Decon,
      Wire me up with that hidden camera! As a court ordered attendee until March, I can tell you I feel no obligation to keep my mouth shut. I didn’t sign a confidentiality agreement. While I have no interest in “outing” the average Joe, I don’t think court employees (my probation officer and very possibly my judge) should have anonymity when there is such a conflict of interest. Is sentencing people to AA meetings really “helping people” , or are they practicing their 12th step and recruiting?

      • Jill, I looked into using audio recording equipment and it was not that expensive at all. I could link to what I found but I am sure you can find it yourself. I just decided to stop going to meetings because we were leafleting their cars and I thought that my face would get noticed.

        Could you procure a burka? I really fancied getting a burka and going to meetings and recording the suicide comments and general insanity without fear of being recognised. Could they object to this? It hardly indicates a desire to drink. And you could smirk and squirm in your own privacy. It can’t be against the terms of your enforced cult attendance, can it?
        (they are mushrooms) WSSxx

        • man, wss, the idea of you in a burka, secretly taking notes is going to have me in stitches all day long. what an idea. 🙂 how very sex and the city part II of you. miss you, wss. 🙂 xo

        • What were you going to do with your recordings,WSS?
          What was on your leaflets -a list of alternative cults and a list of Real treatments?
          Sheeeeee-it, I’d knit! myself a burka if it wouldn’t weigh 10 kilos.

        • Make sure that it is at an open meeting when you record.
          That is stating they are opening themselves up to the public and anyone can come.

          I think it could be helpful to also show that they are meetings that are very religious indeed.

          • Mass, I could do it if…..
            JR and Anti, I’m not breaking laws (I am on probation, afterall ; ) ) …and….
            I wonder about an audio recorder that would work at a meeting without a mic? Separately, the disguised audio and video recorders are not that expensive. When I first started attending, I really felt like I was watching myself in a documentary of a cult. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing court reporter type sketches.

          • On the recording a meeting topic, just a word of warning – I have recorded a meeting before but online, see the link below:


            The law is sketchy on this. I got away with it because this meeting was conducted in an online chat room so there was no reasonable expectation for privacy as it was being broadcast anyway. I am not sure the same would apply to a physical meeting.

            The press seem to get away with conduct like this as they can prove publishing any recording would be in the public interest.

            If you are on probation you should have a lawyer, why not ask them before proceeding? Attorney client privilege and all that.


  10. Thank you Blame, that was brilliant. I came across the orange papers due to reading a discussion on Molly’s, after you had left.
    ‘an admission of powerlessness over alcohol creates alcoholics’
    ‘I could not turn to family and friends because I had told them clearly that my life was mortgaged to AA’.
    Beautifully put.

    • I vaguely remember the dispute on Molly’s. I think I got booted in the end? I can’t remember – that was before I think I made my first video? That was years ago – about 6, if I am correct? Is that board still around? If so I might go back and have a look ha ha

      Hope you are well.


      • It was years and years ago, but is interesting that I only realised that I was not the only person doubting this bs by reading Montoduna, etc slagging yiou off. Does a mention of the ops and st etc get instantly deleted? I was wondering whether to print small orange stickers and post them on every poster by the escalators on the tube? To put the ops into peoples’ consciousness?

        • I just watched the movie Boot Camp with Mila Kunis! WOW it was intense. Horrible to think that there are some of these out there.

          Can’t wait to see the full documentary Surviving Scared Straight! do you know when it will be coming out?

  11. I mean that I came across the ops because I read people on Molly’s discussing why JG had left and whether the ops should be allowed to be mentioned.

  12. B l A m E,

    Thanks so much for your post. I left A.A. a month ago after coming to a lot of the same conclusions. I too went through a year-long 12 step treatment center. I left there scared and frightened. I was not validated for any my feelings one second why I was there. I couldn’t get angry or show too much interest in anything other than A.A. On Sept 11 of this year, my sister took her own life. She was such a beautiful and loving girl. She was 25. I am 24. She was in A.A. for over 5 years and married to a Stepper. She divorced him (for very valid reasons which I won’t go into) and was harrased by her old sponsor, “friends,” and even by our family members in A.A. She felt sooooo guilty after this I know. She was going to be a lawyer and used to teach disenfrachized kids in inner-city schools. Before her death, she was not going to meetings. She received so much criticism and verbal abuse from a lot of members. No one wanted to talk to her anymore (and I’m ashamed to say it, including me). She was hurting so bad. I did have some great conversations with her before her death which really opened my mind. Her old A.A. “friends” through a memorial service for her at her old home group. I did not want to go but went anyway. Seeing them cry and talk about how much they missed her made me so sick (but I haven’t told anyone that). I am still grieving. I would love to hear from you. Click on my name and it will take you to my blog on suicide in A.A. I put a couple posts up but had to take a break. There are so many mixed emotions of betrayal and self-doubt that it has been hard for me to work on it. Additionally, I so want to move on with my life. Good luck, thanks again, and hope to hear from you.


    Wow! I am so happy that your site is taking off and sometimes feel like stinkin-thinkin is still here. Thank you again.

    • Ryan,

      Great to hear from you. I am so sorry to hear about your sister. I will have a look at your blog and get in touch. If you would like to contact me you can do so by clicking on my name which will take you through to my website.

      In the meantime, all the best,


      • so sorry to hear about your loss,and i hope you are coping with the trauma of it all.Ilike you are trying to de-program myself from the propaganda of aa speak,and have found smart recovery here in edinburgh scotland,have been sober for 10 years and finding it hard after all the brainwashing and threats of eternal damnation,feel freer and starting to make my own decisions,thanks for your post ,it realy helped,

        • lamy- Welcome!

          Great to see you here. I too have deprogrammed although I was not such a true believing koolaid drinking fool the last 3 years. But I see things in loved ones around me that the AA rhetoric gets in our psyche and the voices of put downs keep a coming. I think it was helpful for me to attend some Smart Recovery Meetings and to read other books that were healthier then AA.

    • Ryan, I’m so glad I got to hear you on the radio, you had so many great things to say. Thank you so much for telling your story and your sister’s, I hope you’re doing alright after it all. I love your CS Lewis quote on the blog, btw, a really great and appropriate quote for this system.

  13. When I was a kid I got the shit kicked out of me a couple of times a week. My mom would make me strip naked and she’d beat me with a plastic belt. She’s tell me that I was getting nine lashes and, “You little bastard, if you even move an inch or make a single peep I’ll cut your balls off and give you another three lashes.”

    I never knew my dad when I was a kid. When I was 8 days old he shot a guy and went to Walpole prison. After 4 years he got out on parole and ran to Canada. I met him a few times in my 20’s, but I soon decided that I’d be better off not getting involved
    I started drinking daily at 13 years of age. That’s also when I ended up in jail for stealing a car. I think I did two weeks at the Brockton YMCA youth detention center… and then another six weeks soon after for violating probation by skipping school.
    At age 14 or so I was placed in foster care. I was in and out of ten foster homes within two years.
    I think when I was around 15 I started going to the Pentecostal church with my friend and his dad. There were times, a week here and a week there, where his dad would let me sleep in the attic. I became moderately involved with the church. I was also using drugs and drinking a lot. I was in conflict with myself. I was heavy into prayer and the concept that I should live the life that God wanted me to live. I remember feeling all mixed up and frustrated… sitting by myself on a brick wall at night with a fifth of Gordon’s gin listening to spiritual hymns sung by Kelly Willard and Mylon Lefevure on My Boom Box. I was shitfaced…. in tears and I asked God to turn me into the person that he wanted me to be.
    I had a concept of God long before I joined AA
    By age 16 I was a runaway living on the streets and drinking in back alleys. I lived under a concrete stairway at the back of Iandolie’s supermarket in Milford Massachusetts for quite a while and sold joints for a living. I remember walking through the dark, after a long day of selling joints, to my concrete home, talking to God and asking if my life was ever going to get any better.
    At 17 I joined the Army for three years and drank like a fish the whole time. While in the Army I received two Army achievement medals and a good conduct medal. I was discharged at the end of my contract honorably.
    When I got out of the Army I sold Pot again for a while and started using cocaine. I was what you might call a garbage head.
    I met the mother of my child when I was 20 years old and soon after we moved in together and had my son. I held a job working third shift for the united paper-workers international union for 11 years. I became a shop steward and drank more than ever.

    When my son was born I promised that I would give him the father that I never had. I cared deeply about my family, but I was never able to live up to my promise. My vision was that someday I’d kick the habit and I’d belong to something that I’d always longed for… That thing I’d been robbed of during childhood… I would build that for myself.

    I robbed myself of that dream also. I simply could not get through a day without getting shitfaced plastered out of my head… and I was ashamed, so I’d go in the next room by myself and drink alone.
    Drinking was an instant escape… I’d take a few drinks and I’d feel it wash over me like the tide of truth. Everything was alive then… I was free to dream again… I’d spend hours planning how I was gonna make everything all right… Tomorrow I’ll love my family and they’ll love me… Tomorrow I’ll be a good daddy.
    I was living in a self-made fantasy.

    I worked at night and drank during the day when my girl was at work… we lived separate lives. I drank mostly alone, and I drank a lot.

    In 1990 I checked into my first detox at Adcare Hospital in Worchester Massachusetts. Over the next ten years I’d find myself going through programs at other hospitals including Edgehill Newport and Norcap at Southwood community hospital I think it was.

    I joined AA… got a sponsor… became involved in the steps and relapsed over and over.

    Through all of my hospitalizations I was taught that the only answer to my alcohol problem was to go to AA and work the twelve step program. If the insurance companies had just given me the money they wasted on cult indoctrination, I could easily afford a beautiful home.

    In 1997, my girlfriend found someone else and suddenly took my son and moved out. I was devastated. That’s when I first attempted suicide.
    Looking back, I can say that I don’t blame her. When she left I felt that the loss was too much for me to handle, so I decided to check out.
    I wanted my life back, but the life I wanted back had only existed in my own mind. I had failed miserably and the only way out of the pain seemed to be suicide.

    When she left me it was apparent that I had failed. I couldn’t eat or sleep more than two hours for weeks on end. I wanted a second chance, and she wasn’t going to give it to me. She said that the staff at Edgehill Newport had advised her to leave me and get on with her life. I went to her house and took 100 Tylenol in front of her to show her how much I cared.

    It was a half-hearted attempt that landed me in my first psyche ward.

    I spent almost ten years in and out of psyche wards… working the steps… relapsing. I did everything they told me to do at AA and none of it worked. It was ten years of confusion and self-doubt. It was ten years of self-defeatism and cult indoctrination. It was ten years of wasted effort… I’d sober up for a couple of weeks… then I’d relapse. Then I’d attempt suicide or just check in to the hospital again.

    The two most serious suicide attempts were… I took 52 Trazadone with a twelve pack of beer and woke up 4 days later in a cardiac unit. I set up a bed made of chairs at the door of a gas oven and made a tent out of duct tape and trash bags… got really drunk… shut the pilot off… and went to sleep. I woke up with trash bags all over the floor and I was still alive.

    I’ve always held a job… most of the time in that last ten years I’d have two or three jobs.

    I was conning psychiatrists into giving me prescriptions for Concerta (time released Ritalin). I’d save it up and go on vodka and Ritalin sprees. I can remember going to work two jobs… coming home… and blasting off… then I’d sleep 3 hours and head back to work again.

    Then I’d hit another hospital… work the steps… and fail.

    I have to laugh when people suggest that I’m not a “real alcoholic.” These people don’t have a clue about what a real alcoholic is.
    I know what it’s like to lose a dream.
    I know what failure is.
    I know what it means to “need” alcohol.
    I know what it’s like to watch your life crumble around you… I’ve done it all of my life.
    I know what it’s like to savor the sweet smell of a half rotten tomato I’ve picked from the dumpster… Tomatoes never tasted so good.
    I know what love is… I’ve watched it pass me by a thousand times and I’ve chased it a thousand miles.
    I know what an alcoholic is.

    People at AA were turning their backs on me.
    I’d had a sponsor that suggested I’d never make a “spiritual connection” if I continued to take psyche meds. I was on Zyprexa at the time and stopped taking it. Soon after that I was in the hospital again. I had sponsors who just stopped answering the phone. One guy met me for lunch and told me that if I kept talking about suicide people would stop talking to me at AA. I had two really nice sponsors who were not qualified to help me. The answer was always, “You are too smart for your own good” or “You are selfish.”… They didn’t understand what I was going through.
    I saw a guy stand up at a big book meeting and tell everyone that he wanted to fuck his mother. I brought my mom to the meeting to introduce her to AA. She was shocked. I’ve been insulted… yelled at… called names… The worst part was when they all turned their backs on me. I was sick and needed help. They just ignored me… and they all did it at once… It was almost like they had decided collectively that I was banished. I was not successful and so I was poison.

    I learned about the INTERNET and started going to the library drunk to get on line. I was looking for a way to stop drinking for good and I was desperate.

    I was in a recovery chat room asking for help one day and someone asked me if I’d ever tried anything besides AA. I didn’t even know that there was anything besides AA. I had been told over and over that I was failing because I was “not willing” or “not working the steps the way they were laid out.” I’d spent almost every waking hour (even when I was drunk) trying to grasp the steps… trying to turn my life over to god… examining every motive… testing every emotion… believing I was selfish.

    And then the time would come when I would become overwhelmed and drink again. I was living on two opposite poles.

    Then this person in a chat room suggested that I should try something else!

    I went to my sponsor and told him that I was going to try something else… I always got the same old stuff, “Selfish, self-centered, ego driven.”
    I was a wreck.
    I had lost the feeling in my toes… I staggered when I walked… I couldn’t breathe… I was losing my breath and breaking out in horrible sweats… My skin had a purple hue… I was hearing voices that screamed in my head…”Kill me five times! Kill me five times!” I was having mild seizures 5 or 6 times a day.

    And here was this person online in a chat room who’d suggested that I might be able to get sober if I tried something else.

    “I don’t want to die a failure because it is possible for me to succeed.” That was an important moment when that sunk in.

    When I felt ready, I decided it was time to stop drinking. I had a big plan in place. It was a nutty plan, but it was my plan and eventually it worked.

    The Jesus Fish 500
    I bought a magnetic Jesus fish at the dollar store… the kind that you put on your bumper. It was clear white in the center, so I could write on it with a magic marker. I took a black sharpie and wrote 500 in the middle of the fish. I got a notebook and gave my plan a title, “THE JESUS FISH 500.” My plan was going to be a five hundred day plan to fix my life. Somewhere in the first four months my plan morphed from a plan of abstinence to a plan about how I was gonna quit for 500 days and save a lot of money and then drink again. I was hitting bottom. I was writing THE JESUS FISH 500 in a cockroach infested boarding house in Woonsocket Rhode Island. Then it hit me in the head like a sledge… “You’re making the same mistake again!”

    I tossed the notebook and started over.
    The new plan was even stranger. Here is how I got sober…

    I decided to walk away from everything in my life except for my family and my job. It was a cleansing experience.

    I returned my pickup truck to Ford Motor Company… Bought some camping equipment… Gave away everything I owned to the lady across the hall, and walked out on the street a free man.

    I read every book I could find about alternative recovery methods and I stopped going to AA. I took bits and pieces of SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery, Chris Prentiss’ suggestions and more, and pieced them together to make a plan that might work for me.

    I took vitamins… exercised… tried to understand philosophy… Made a list of problems associated with each area of my life and gathered a list of resources that would help me solve them… I started setting goals for myself… I started to forgive myself… I started to believe in myself… and most of all… I started to believe that I was never as morally reprehensible as some people in AA had suggested.
    It had nothing to do with being selfish.

    I’d been taking Naltrexone for around 4 months and that also helped to ease cravings.

    It was September and it was starting to get cold. I decided that I would not make a permanent camp. It would be better to struggle for a while. If I was busy setting up camp and walking everywhere I went, I’d have no time to drink.

    Each day I’d tear down my camp and walk to a storage unit I’d rented to use as a command post. I’d drop my gear and head to the local gym to shower, and then I’d head to work.

    When work was done, I’d carry my ass back and set up camp again. I remember trudging through blizzards saying to myself, “I’m doing this because it is possible! Nothing can stop me!”
    I remember poking my head out of my shelter in a snow pack, seeing the bright glistening snow… there I was with nothing but me and my gear, in my toasty cocoon, trying to understand what life is all about.

    During all of my years of AA participation I learned two things… That I was a miserable wretch who didn’t care about anyone besides me me me, and that AA’s 12 steps were the only way I was ever going to get better. I had to unlearn both of these things before I was actually able to walk away from booze and get on with my life.

    I’ve been sober for over five years now. I’ve worked my ass off the build the life that I’ve always wanted. Today I live in a nice apartment. I have new furniture. My family relationships are better than they’ve ever been. I’m surrounded by beautiful guitars and recording equipment. I’ve learned emotion regulation skills that have helped to quiet my depression some. I’ve adopted a new life philosophy that is based on what I think is the truth. I still have a long way to go, but right now I have everything I need. I wouldn’t trade my journey if they offered to let me start all over again.

      • What a journey! Thanks for posting your story Gunther. I felt your strength and determination. You should be very proud. And the steppers would have us believe self will is a bad thing?

    • thanks, g2k for yer story. ii have read it before, but it was awesome to read i again. reading it made me realize why some ppl on the st blog sorta got it (like massive gets it; go go; i think lucy does, too. just to name some examples…) and others did not and seemed (in my opinion) apathetic. i’ve heard stories like yers for years. they do don’t shock me. at all. someone who did not grow up in aa would never get yer story. again, thanks. i am so, so happy yer on this planet. xo

    • Gunthar- your story made me cry. I did not know alot of it. I am so sorry for what happened to you as a child. It s a terrible path you had.
      I am so happy you wrote this. Please keep writing. I saw a movie last night with Amy Lee Coy and we had dinner and laughed and ranted about exposing AA. You are the reason we are friends. Thank you.:)

      I think there is a really good book in you that will help others who AA doesn’t work for. I look forward to meeting you when we come to Boston. You remind me of some of my good AA/NA friends in Hawaii from the 70’s but you are my new community of anti AA’ers.

      Again, this is so so sad. I was touched deeply. Thanks for being there for me when I was leaving AA and I was so sad about the years I wasted. Its getting better. I am using my energy in a different way now and I am not so mad about it today.

    • Im there,…I appreciate what youve written and shared. Im right there…and dont know what to do!
      Reading your site helped me realize others experience the same thing,…
      I need help and dont know how to even help myself

    • Gunthar,

      Wow – that is an amazing and inspiring story.

      I remember speaking with you when I was on Monica’s show – your questions left a real impression with me.

      Thanks for all you do for this cause.


    • Thank you for posting this story. I am still attending meetings, though infrequently. I noticed that my overall mental health has gotten better since I STOPPED going to 4 or 5 meetings a week and now only go to 1! Where do I start- first of all there is so much abuse that happens to many people as children and unresolved psychological problems that AA pretends to address but does not address. What if you are the people pleasing codependent kind of alcoholic who NEVER thinks “only about themselves”? Then you are placed in the snake pit with some of the most no THE most selfish people I have ever seen. Many of whom do not have trauma in their lives that is even close to what you are describing. They prey on the self medicating mentally ill who end up at these meetings because the mentally ill have conditions but not necessarily personality disorders. There’s a big difference in intention to do harm and selfishness between these groups. And add to that the predators who attend these meetings knowing that there is a fresh supply of vulnerable, depressed, people pleasing females. It happened to me, I was preyed upon by a life long criminal who was very good at twisting the principles to suit his needs. I was in the midst of diagnosed symptoms of depression and bipolar, ( I have fully recovered from these). He clearly took advantage of my condition to rape, psychologically and physically abuse me. And his sponsor when confronted with this said, “Why are you telling me, I don’t care”. As did other women, yes women. I think that the problem, honestly, is that there are different kinds of alcoholics, different levels of moral fiber and different mental health conditions all in one room. The bottom feeders will always go for the most vulnerable. I say in all sincerity in my years on this planet, the places I have traveled to, been to , worked at ect. I HAVE NEVER SEEN SUCH A SICK GROUP OF PEOPLE IN ONE PLACE. How is this supposed to help me. I know my perpetrator goes to meetings and is welcomed with open arms. People don’t want to believe that he could do this, so they don’t. People are victimized, everything is not acceptable and that IS RECOVERY FOR SOME OF US. learning THAT WE MATTER AND WE CAN STAND UP FOR OURSELVES……and if I hear one more person talk about how God found them a parking space…..

      • This is just beyond …beyond…. did you do to the police?How long ago did this happen? I am so sorry but he actually sounds very dangerous and you should report him!

          • aig,
            Welcome, I commend you for the courage it took to write about your horrific experience. Are you in contact with Massive concerning your legal ramifications from the abuse inside/out of the rooms? Are you safe at the meeting you are attending now? You are right concerning so many issues you have raised. People use meetings more for ulterior motives than to get sober and that needs to get exposed and abolished!

      • AJG:

        Here here. What you are saying is SOOOO true. AA is filled with criminals, scum, and the worst sorts of people.
        This is another point I disagree with the Big Book on: These types are EVIL and they are sick. Worse, they are able to stick around longer and continue their evil because they no longer drink or use drugs or alcohol, they just victimize the people around them! What healthy person would want to be around that?

        I am personally convinced that cocaine and methamphetamine sociopaths are the worst sort- they literally have permanently burned out their consciences but live on to create hell for others if they stay “sober”. AA was never built to deal with such scum- but now about half the membership is made up of these perps.

    • Gunthar,
      I have been waiting to read your journey uninterrupted. WOW, you bring us right in with you, man. I could feel your sponsors hot air and the freezing cold as you drudged through the snow. Very well written and inspiring to those who think AA is the only way and yet are struggling mercilessly, no matter how hard they try. Massive & Violet are correct, write a book it will help so many others!

      I have seen 5 common denominators with AA members who struggle with the program no matter how hard they try: 1) A chemical imbalance that hasn’t been properly diagnosed 2) Needs therapy; “Alcohol is but a symptom” 3) Many members had severe childhood trauma that hasn’t been addressed 4) Why do we drink, is there an underlining factor/pain 5) AA collectively diagnoses all members as Alcoholics and the treatment plan is the same for everyone. If you fail due to one of the reasons stated above they shame, shun and punish you. AA members turn their back on you collectively as a group instead of rallying around the member to help and support them. Instead, they sacrifice you like a virgin to a volcano. Chapter 5 states that when we fail it’s because we don’t have the capacity to be honest with ourselves, hence the members won’t waste their time or reputation helping one, “Who isn’t trying hard enough or who can’t get it”.

      Gunthar you get it and MORE. You are a true inspiration. Thank you for a very honest account of your journey. I greatly appreciate it.

    • Gunthar,
      thanks for posting your amazing story.. it gave me so much hope.. I have been away from some of the anti-AA stuff since stinkin’thinkin’ went away and have been struggling a bit with depression that is not made better by my moderate drinking.. anyway.. I had this little needling thought that maybe I should try AA again.. your story showed me that it really is possible to be o.k. and somewhat happy without it.. and reminded me that ‘in the rooms’, I was treated marginally and that it actually made me more depressed!! anyway.. you really should write a book!! thanks for saving me from the ‘AA’ clutches again! it came at just the right time.. (I know this is an old post, but I just stumbled on to this site..)

    • Gunther,

      I have been hearing AA stories for over 22 years and that is by far one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard. I am AA free now 1 1/2 years and my life too got better.

      Gunther you should be so proud of yourself because I am and I don’t even know you.

  14. Good on ya– In the big book its says we know only a little, much more will be reveiled. Im really sorry you had a bad experince with AA, but I understand. I moved after 10 yrs of sobrity to a new location. By the grace of God I was given a soild foundation back in southern Maryland to learn a new way of life. I my sponsor was not a beat me up sponsor, we was kind and understanding. In my new location i choose not to go to meeting anymore. Frankly they suck and it sounds like they are much like the assholes where you tried to get sober.
    Im so happy you have found a new way of life of living clean and sober.
    Sounds to me like you are living the steps without the legalistic BS.
    I have never read in the big book about half the makie upie crap some of these folks come with.
    Best of luck and keep doing what your doing it’s working.

    • I may be wrong, but I think the idea here is that the “Big Book” plagiarized by Bill Wilson in 1939, so that he didn’t have to work and was practically given Stepping Stones in Westchester New York by the widow Helen Griffith because his program had failed her husband and died had nothing to offer him. The 12 commandments of Bill Wilson, may work for some people, but not others. Many people regard the “Big Book” as a terrorist manual that should be banned. The anti-AA movement is gaining momentum and the truth will be revealed…….

    • 20 AA Sober- Welcome! I think you are open minded truly. I think in the UK Minority it talks about a few members with 37 years who no longer go to meetings because of how it changed.

  15. Hi, was getting into ST when it closed and found my way here. I was in AA for a year. When I was there I was told I had to do the 12 steps or I wouldn’t be spiritually fit and would never recover from Alcoholism. I was bullied towards this group of women where one said she would sponsor me. Stupid me was so desparate I just went yes yes yes believing these people knew better. I went through the steps and was made to feel inferior and also that I wasn’t on the pecking order enough to have an opinion or view on anything. This lady said she had years up but truthfully it was less than a year. She made me say some stuff to people in my past and some of it backfired enough that my Brother no longer talks to me (long story). The lady that sponsored me was what I saw in the 12×12 a bleeding deacon and I felt like another notch in her belt. I don’t think she wanted to help me as much as she needed to feel superior. In hindsight I was pretty dumb to believe what they were saying anyway. I didn’t even know these people and I was letting them into my life! Dangerous. How I found out about those in my home group was from dailystrength where I was at for a short time. I met some AA people there and they spoke like my sponsor. it was then I started to see stuff written I didn’t like. AA folks belittling others and carrying on like they were ‘owners’ of AA and ‘qualifiers’ of who was and wasn’t an alcoholic. Who was and wasn’t real. It was just plain nasty. I heard one lady say no one was like her because they weren’t as desperate enough to do the 12 steps. Then she said everyone who didn’t do the 12 steps was spiritually fit. She reminded me a lot of my sponsor and I started to see those in my AA group in a different light and in particular the ‘red dragon’ as my sponsor is now known. The more I read from these AA people in their group the more I felt disgusted at they way they judged others and put themselves on a pedestal. I was ‘sticking with the winners’ and now I look at that quote and believe that they believed everyone else who wasn’t in their AA circle were Losers and that was just sad. I ‘came to believe’ I didn’t need to be around them to belong to them to live in this world. It was almost as though they needed me to belong to them so they could be on that pedestal. I felt like a puppet and a pawn in a game of self-idolization if that’s a word. I left AA and vowed never to go back. Now I’m joyous, happy and free without the bleeding deacons in my life and I want to tell others that they can be too. For the time I was in that group it was like my life had stopped living and I had to attend all these meetings and if I didn’t, I wasn’t spiritually fit. I did go to some good groups or they seemed that way for a short visit, but the one I was a part of made me feel worthless unless I did what they told me to do. I don’t know if this will get posted but thanks for letting me write anyway. Good luck with the new website and I hope to see some of those who wrote in ST tell their stories again. Many I read in the past month helped me to see I truly ‘wasn’t alone’.

    • Somewhere in the Orange Papers it talks about this very problem, a study that found that Sponsorship was only beneficial to the sponsor. I think that you hit the nail on the head when you said it is about some feeling superior to others. I knew a lot of these loons that would gauge their so called recovery by how many sponsees they had. Kinda like miniature trophies, or notches on their belts. Another word I am starting to detest is recovery, recover from what? A made-up disease? I have become more comfortable with referring to the situation as a change of behaviors. I never could get my brain wrapped around this whole sponsorship deal. I wouldn’t want to take suggestions from the majority of the people that attend, would any sane individual? I have actually been to meetings where people would announce that they are “currently accepting sponsees” Can you believe that gaul? I guess they felt that they have arrived or something. What a turn-off! I am just so thankful that I found The Orange Papers, Stinkin-Thinkin, Leaving A.A. and a few others. I am very grateful to be free of all the sick thinking that recovery machine bombards us with.

      • Most sponsors are egotistical control tyrants whose lives ARE unbearable and have to brow beat their sponsees with demands and negative slogans to feel better about themselves.

        • Kan, I think that was an excellent, on point description of Sponsors. It seemed to me like some of these loons would gauge their “recovery” by how many Sponsees that they had. I was at a meeting one time, and a guy actually announced that he was currently accepting Sponsees. Are you kidding me? What a pompous ass!!!! I guess this made him feel real important, it was a real turn-off!

    • Hey, this is one of those times when I hate not being able to say, “Glad you’re here”. I am, though. I sometimes feel that the sponsors, or the worst ones at least, are the ones who lost such control over their own lives, any sense of power, that they can’t help themselves in being able to wield it over someone else in ANY way they can. It is really sick. Like parking attendants. No one seems to like them….unless being nice is what you have to act like to not get a ticket.

      I lost most of my family relationships after they went to nar-anon. Not fun to think about.

      • Hey I agree with you, it’s pretty obvious that a lot these sponsors have heavy emotional issues around control and power. The only explanation I can come up with is that they had real bad, powerless childhoods and have found a “socially acceptable” forum to abuse others.

  16. Hello Philly. It was a bit of a shock when st ended, but totally understandable that the owners needed to put quality of life first. Keep informing yourself; the one thing that cults hate is information. I have to keep reminding myself that most AA members are going to leave when they finally can’t stand the obvious ludicrocity, and the deaths, etc. How did you come across st? (what did you google? I am hoping that every person, on attending their first meeting, gets home, gets on the internet and puts, ‘Does AA work?’ or something similar into their search engine).

    • Good morning.
      Frank I’ve just started reading the Orange papers Wow is all I’ll say.
      wss, ST was mentioned to me when I was talking to an AA member in dailystrength about my feelings on what I was reading from AA stiffs. They found it googling a troll and liked what they read. We started reading ST and talking about the stuff.
      Violet. I am glad I left too and that I have some say in how I live MY LIFE.
      Ryan you said ‘never spoke up’. I feel guilty about that as well. That may be one of the biggest regrets I have not helping others or myself against bullying. I was also told ‘we don’t get involved in outside issues’ all the time whilst some of those poor people who came in were desperate for help. Wouldn’t hurt to have just listened and they didn’t do that. And I took a lot of verbal abuse because I was a ‘newcomer’ who was ‘spiritually unfit’. Now I look back and I know I’m not like them and for THAT I’m grateful for.

  17. Many of you’ve heard my situation, but now that ST is gone, I agree, we need a new place to chronicle our stories. It is not the most succinct piece of writing, but it is the way it happened. Unlike my AA story, it is all true; it is not scripted. Thank Massive for yer new blog.

    It is a difficult to express why I left AA without going into why I entered AA. The two are intensely intertwined, impossible to separate. I got to AA when I was 21. I was insanely depressed, dreaming every night about going completely and wildly insane, dreaming of being stuck in basements, or the “playroom” of my childhood. And the worst dream, the one that still plagues me, is the one where I was in the car with my mother, happily in the front sit chatting, and then there is nobody driving. I am stuck in the back, and it is clear she’s left the car without as much as a thought. This dream represents my mother unlike any other description of her, literal or metaphoric. And with my vulnerable personality type, having this type of mother, who never had the decency to just leave if she was going to leave, has nearly ruined me. She has left me in the back seat of the 70’s Grenada, appearing often not to help drive, or to get me out of this fucked up, deranged car, but to use my son as a prop. It is something I struggle with still, but it now is better, I am older, and so is she. It seems like such a digression to my story about AA, entering and leaving, but it is not; it is the most central piece of this story.

    When I was 21, just about to enter AA, I was living in a basement apt. by myself. I’d dropped outta college, not b/c I was a poor student, but due to depression, anxiety, and decided social awkwardness. I still have this social awkwardness, which has always been such a mystery to me, as I was so popular as a middle schooler (the age of my son, now). Ppl . do not think I am that socially awkward though, when I meet them, but I digress (and I will do so often).

    I was in my basement apt., depressed, few friends, and without many options. Though I was a “drop out, ” I was taking a few classes and could hardly speak to ppl. in my classes. I realize now I needed good therapy. Or, I needed a supportive family member to urge me out of my own way. But I did not have this. After a series of tremendous nightmares, I called my mother, crying.

    My abandoning mother had frequented Alanon (due to her Daddy’s drinking) like a feathered hair slut frequents bars, sent me to the Caron Foundation. The Caron Foundation, briefly, is a sort of retreat Center that is steeped in 12 step ideology and rhetoric. If you’re normal going in, you’ll be a victim of alcoholism or an actual alkie on your way out. An aside to put mymother’s 12 step obsession in perspective: I also had a tooth that was rotten @ this time. I really needed help. My mother (who has an obscene amount of money) decided she would send me to Caron, but at age 21, the rotten tooth was my problem.

    After partying a bit too hard in both high school and college, I sat in AA, knowing on at least some level, that it was bullshit. I knew I was nuts and amazingly unhappy, but I also knew that I was not an alcoholic and that it was even more nuts that I was rotting in “the halls.” Yet I was paralyzed, unable to make any sort of move. I openly discussed this issue about the authenticity of my “disease” to people, old timers, mostly. It was decided, collectively, that I was an “alcoholic of sorts” and that nobody, but nobody winds up in AA by accident. I now realize that there are many, many ppl who are sitting in the halls with imaginary diseases, some who have scarely picked up a drink ever their lives.

    The energy and social way of AA was poison for me from the beginning. Though I have a needy, over dependent side to me, I mostly like to be alone. I like to read, and I like to watch television while crocheting. I like taking long, solitary walks in the woods. I loathe crowds. Bars made and still make me feel ill, not so much b/c of the alcohol, but b/c ppl. compete for conversation that is completely ridiculous and boring. I hate being on teams. The only team I’ve been on that did not leave me feeling suicidal was cross country running. I am at least kind of a misanthrope. And there I was, trying to stay off the edges of AA. And I knew I was was mentally ill, at least a little, but not really an addict. But get this: I became one in AA. I entered AA with a sort of fake alcoholism, constructed by my mother and the Caron foundation. And the school of thought that is the 12 step religion. And I left AA an addict, not of alcohol, but as a narcotic addict. But I am getting ahead of myself as I often due with expressive writing.

    In AA, before I was addict, with my fake fucking disease: I was 13 stepped countless times. I think on some level, I might’ve enjoyed the perverse attention, having always had a lame-as-fuck daddy complex. But I was not getting better in AA and with this creepy attention. Almost immediately, I started living with a street musician (this totally gives me away if anyone ever reads this from my old meetings) who was about 20 years my senior. My parents expressed some concern, but not much. People sort of looked at me weirdly, but he was so in AA, as he was obsessively writing his fourth step in a big book step study. The sponsor I had felt that I wold learn about relationships from this man. I really loved this guy. There is a tiny part of my heart that misses him today; it is like a distant lullaby from my childhood still echoes in a way I can hear, but hardly. A distant music box in a far away room. A tiny dancer that was once in the palm of my hand.

    But, as you’d prolly expect, he was horribly abusive. I was so fucking adorable back then, but he had me believing I was hideous and stupid. He wold read my papers for school and tell me it was like reading scrambled eggs. There was a concretely crazy chick, Bethany, in the rooms who would talk at length about S and M and ritualistic abuse via her parents who then stole her child. She had wild eyes and zero protocol for personal space. She would come upon you and another person after meetings saying huskily and desperately, “Am I interrupting a private convoe? Is this a private convoe!” You’d want to rescue her form her crazy, twisted mess of a brain, but you had to get away from her even faster. He would often tell me, “You’re acting like Bethany, Violet, you’re just like Bethany.” I started seeing her eyes in the mirror. And I was too ashamed to ask anyone what they thought. I hid the Bethany secret in a sick, rusted part of me. I think that part of me was so tiny back then, but then it oxidized quickly. And the longer I stayed in AA it finally becoming the biggest part of me. I worry sometimes about this, as once a car is rusted through it is only destined for the junkyard, no matter how perfectly and accurately the engine is fixed.

    When graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, and he said, “Jesus, so what?” Fucker. I cannot not blame AA completely for this relationship, but I can say this with certainty: I never would have thought this man was normal on any level w/o AA. AA normalized the most insane ppl. on the planet. We’ve talked on the S.T. blog about pedophiles in AA. I think there was a time when I would have opened up my heart to a person of this ilk, as this was/is the AA “way.” For years, I believed that the most sociopathic, mean fuckers could get sober and become good humans b/c of “the grace” they’d receive a la the blessed transmission line. Once, my stepmother (who hated me, btw) expressed some concern, telling me that I was losing perspective, saying, “Violet, seriously, yer meeting the lowest common denominator of people in that place. And how much did you really drink anyway?” It is difficult to look back on this time and see how vulnerable I truly was. AA teaches us we can restart out lives at any time, but I know better now. what ever harm we do to ourselves, and whatever harm other inflict on us, causes injury that is, at least in some way, permanent. Treat yourself, and others, well today. There are no do-overs. There are second chances, but they are always more expensive and more difficult that first chances. I learned this.

    I continued in AA, and after somehow ditching the street musician, I met a former heroin addict. He was abusive ,too, but in a different way. Without digressing to the point of ridiculousness, I am still with him (we’ve had our on and off times), and I will give him this decided credit: I have always been at least in part a borderline anorexic. He is the first man I’ve felt that I could eat around. This man gave me permission to eat. We had a child together. Astoundingly, this child born from insane, misguided fucked-up-edness, is PERFECT. I learned about pills from my husband and doctor shopping. And after a horrendous labor and c-section, I was released with a baby and a bottle of percs. I relapsed. But really, I think now that I am no longer in AA, what I did was not a big deal. Taking a pill or two over what was directed. It is insane and puritanical to feel otherwise. I eventually drank b/c I wanted to make it certain that I was, indeed, on a relapse. One only thinks in this way, this land of black and white “relapse” and “sober” thinking, while in AA. It is a world where minds are permanently shut. The idea of thinking openly is not accepted; it is feared and shunned.

    My marriage to this former heroin addict was crazy, my parenting was less than stellar. My relationship with AA was nuts. I went, and I wanted my life to be all about AA, but it made zero sense. I’d moved out of the middle class, intellectual area where I’d “gotten sober” and into a rural town with lotsa rednecks. I prolly do not need to go into too much detail about what these meetings looked and sounded like. Fitting into that AA scene wrecked me. For years, I drove an hour sometimes to get to a “real meeting,” toddler in tow. It sickens me that I put my son through this. I have just asked him about this, punctuating this writing and he has agreed, saying, “Mom, it was EVERYDAY of my life.” Often, I’d get to a meeting only to play with him and other children out in the hall, as other parents seemed less interested in their kids, and more interested in what their disease was doing to them on that day. Yes, I am making myself sound better than them, but I was and am. I relapsed a lot. Before I’d initially relapsed w/ my c-section, I’d had about four years. But really, four years of what? Being “sober” from a “disease” that I did not initially have?

    I could get into the minutia of the relapses, the lame meetings, the pit my life became. But I will not. Things got worse, and I believe that my membership to AA exacerbated my addiction (I never could shake the desire to be half out of reality on pain pills after the c-section) and my mental health issues. AA made me feel like complete shit about myself. I never believed like I should have and I never felt like “they” said they were feeling. And mostly, ppl really grossed me out. Nobody had what I wanted. Nobody. The loneliness that I eventually felt was noting like I’d experienced out of AA. But in my mind, I believed that there was a perfect life for me, just beyond the horizon, where I’d be “happy, joyous, and free.” In part, I believed that AA was going to be my ticket to this happy world, but at the same time I knew it was bullshit. And then, knowing it was bullshit, I’d want to leave, yet, I feared I would be fucked completely via “jails, institutions, and/or death” as the AA the rhetoric promises you, if you dare think of leaving “the rooms.”

    Years later (now in my early to mid thirties), I was overly extended. The economy, as we all know, was falling apart. The heroin addict husband kept getting laid off. I was in a master’s program I hated and was commuting a million miles away to a job where a boss wanted me GONE. I was out of my mind. I wanted to die. I fantasized about driving off this bridge on my way home from work. I’d try thinking in that trite AA way to assuage my desperation. I was asking that nebulous hp to deliver me from my own thinking, that wretched neighborhood of shit. I realize now that characterizing myself and my thinking as a bad neighborhood is a form of self hatred. You cannot save yourself if you hate yourself.

    This is confession is even more trite, but I think listening to NPR’s “This I Believe” essays in the car during this commute, might’ve been what saved me. My memory delivers: Violet is zooming over those dark, seacoast waters, the idea of veering her little beige car, shiny in its newness (her first new car and could she even afford the payments?) over the edge of the bridge. And from her car’s tinny stereo she hears words from Kay Redfield Jamison: “I believe that curiosity, wonder, and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways less intense emotions can never do.” She thinks, just maybe, she can keep going a teensy bit longer. And she loves that boy of hers, the one who looks just like her, except for his wide, Polish face, moony cheeks. She loves him with every iota of her body, his cells still inside of her, as they will be for as long as she will breathe air. She cannot end her life, as his cells inside her; she cannot do this to him. And then she remembers something, her mother explaining depression to her, what it feels like. It was an idea so foreign to her, at six, seven or eight, that she feels as though it was invented by a famous storyteller, an idea from Grim. She listens to her mother explain that some people would drive their cars off a bridge. And they would do sick things, too, like rip up a picture in their daughter’s backpack. And Violet wonders about her mind then, what is memory, what was her mother’s voice, and what might have actually happened.

    Around this time, the time of dark waters in my mind, I got a call from an old sponsor. It is still unclear if she saved me, or pushed me deep underneath the waves.

    In rehab, they put me on Subutex. This is a drug designed, sort of like Naltrexone, but it is specifically for narcotic addicts. It is kinder, more gentle Methadone. It is a drug that allows addicts to live their lives like normal ppl., as they deserve to do. One can take this prescription@ home, and not in some urine infested, creep zone, littered with con men and hookers and low lifes. A prescription for Subutex is the beginning of a promise that ppl. believe in when they’re young; it is the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the beginning of the ever after.

    I’d heard of this drug from a fellow AA, interestingly and ironically a 13 stepper who I actually slept with in his home while his wife was at work. Another memory delivers: Violet is puking out orange juice into this guy’s wife’s tacky trash can with painted gel flowers while she is naked in his bed, their bed. On the wall above this bed, a thickly made, wooden crucifix. It is not ironic art, but evidence of the way these ppl think or at least pretend to. Weirdly, Violet thinks, they are not Catholics, but misguided born agains, clinging onto a drug store sold idea of Jesus like teen girls would worship Justin Timberlake. This man, who is, in a word, old, is kissing her. Waiting for her to puke, and then kissing her. He empties her trash can and then gives it back to her so she can puke again. She knows he is wondering about how she’ll blow him with the puking, and then he no longer has to wonder.

    They say the thing that saves you can also kill you. And I imagine this works the other way around, too. I stayed on this drug while I divorced my husband, lost my house, and lived, with my son, in a fellow AA’s house. We were controlled in a way that I could never articulate in this tiny space. I add this experience to my many, AA experiences that loose their shape in my shitty memory, but remain, rusty and chafing, creating the person who I am and who I will become.

    It is hard for me to have a lucid handle on AA and how it has truly affected my life. I wish I’d never heard of AA, but w/o it I would not have my son. And I never would have heard of Subutex. But of course, I feel like AA might’ve edged me into the narcotic addiction I did actually develop, the one that made the Subutex necessary. But perhaps, I developed this addiction in the realm of safety, which I would not have had w/o AA. Though my marriage and relationship with my son’s father has been a nightmare, it has also saved me, as I feel this man has kept my addiction manageable. He has done much worse things than I have in terms of using; thus, I can and have experienced these things vicariously through him. But then I wonder, did I become an addict to become closer to him? As Rilke suggests to us, I continue to live these questions. Unlike people in AA, I am growing comfortable with a life that does not demand immediate answers.

    And then there is this: I feel like this Subutex has saved me, as it not only works as a deterrent for using, but as an anti depressant. No other anti depressant has ever worked like this before for me. Subutex made it possible for me to say hello to people, where before I would have looked at my toes. It has allowed me to walk through the woods and notice the treble sound of leaves and the color of moss against soil. I can look at sunlight with out feeling angry.

    I would not characterize myself as a low bottom addict, though I went through the most terrifying times in my twenties and thirties, after entering AA, not before. I blame AA in some ways, but I also blame PTSD from my abandonment issues , and of course, I also blame bad luck. I know that staying in AA would have wrecked me. It made me feel like utter shit about myself. That voice, sing-songy and evil in a way that mirrors an eighties slasher film, I would have heard in my mind, forever, “But where were YOU wrong?” I’ve made mistakes, and I try to hold myself accountable when I can. But mostly, I forgive myself. And try to love that small, still anxious creature that is within me. She deserves comfort.

    I left AA, and thus the 12 step religion, finally, as I ended up having a full-fledged affair with the married 13 stepper who’d introduced me to Subutex. The one with the fucking crucifix bolted to the drywall in his bedroom. I’d known this guy forever. And I was so naïve and stupid and trusting. I actually believed that this guy, older than my mother, loved me. He was @ every meeting that I was. I am not sure if he’s sober today, but he was one of those chronic releasers. I used to feel disdain for these releasers, as an early twenty-something, a not truly addicted young girl fitting awkwardly into AA b/c she had nowhere else to go. Now, I get it. AA fucks you and it turns you into this relapsing person; the cure is worse than the disease and it is designed to make you fail and it is designed to keep you there, hostage to its bullshit. Mostly, these chronic relapsers are junkies who seriously need medical attention. And AA deters you from this, offering you a free “spiritual” solution. The idea that a junkie who is fully, and physically addicted can get squeaky clean through either the steps or life coaching is the fucking lames idea ever. It sickens me to hear about it.

    About this guy, as the “situation” with him is what finally pushed me out the door, or, got me to get up and get the fuck out… This dude was in AA to get his wife to let him stay at home. She said that if he were “trying,” he was ok. He was “trying’ @ AA by hitting on new and vulnerable women. This wife of his, a probation officer, btw, is essentially sicking her creepy old man husband on the women in AA. This funny little Christian, 12 step couple is keeping AA sick. But this is just one little, tiny, sick story out of a ga-zillion. This AA life, especially here in the sticks, has been stranger than fiction.

    I was pretty shaken up by the affair, and about being on a drug as severe as Subutex. I wondered how much being on Subutex defined me; was a different now? I desperately wanted to get my life together. I was from a nice town. My parents were shits, but they were shits who raised me to be a reader and to go to college, and to not say “anyways” as a plural. And getting my shit together while sitting across from a lecherous, old man with a shit eating grin that said, “I FUCKED YOU,” while every woman in the room was not supportive of me, but pist that they did not sleep with him (he was pretty hot) was too, too much. Ppl. seriously spent HOURS trying to help this guy who was and is, I know now, a con artist of epic proportions. There is a part of me that empathizes with him, one addict to another. But there is a decided difference between us; I am not a predator. And I really was trying to get sober.

    This dood kept following me to my car after meetings, trying to “make an amends” in a loud voice for all to hear. I tried to protect myself, but nobody would listen to me. They all insisted, especially the unattractive, over weight women, insisting, and “He is TRYING.” Have you, if yer a chick, heard in AA that the women you meet there are FINALLY yer friends and that when you were drinking, you could never find a chick friend? I heard this millions of times. Yet, I felt like sisterhood was a lot more powerful OUTSIDE Of AA; my female friends in AA being the phoniest, most manipulative bunch of chicks I’d ever met…

    It was not until I spoke with a worker from a domestic violence type place (about a completely separate issue) that told me, “Listen, do not go to those meetings.” I felt like it was my right to go and that he should go to a different meeting; he was the predator. But the woman who spoke with me made an analogy, “Well, if you were being stalked, you prolly would not find it fair to get an unlisted number, but you would for your own safety, right?” And her reasonable voice struck something in me. It awakened the sleeping, smart, little badass in me. I needed to fucking protect myself; I need not worry about my relationship with AA.

    And it became clear to me then in a wild, deep way: it was no fucking wonder that there were not more middle aged, smart women in AA. THEY HAD LEFT TO BE SAFE. THEY DECIDED TO HELP AND SAVE THEMSELVES. They had looked ahead, at the happy life waiting for them just beyond that horizon, the life AA promises you. The looked around and looked towards their future and got up out of AA to find it. It was not fair, but it was how it was. And it sucked for me (and still sorta sucks) that this is not spelled out. Ppl. do not break this down for you. They want you there, in AA. They need to feed off of yer normie blood. And I think they know the truth; they are too sick to leave though, and they do not wanna be stuck there alone.

    And it was then that I left. I have gone back a few times, punctuating sanity with creepiness, but I never wanted to be there again. I’ve missed it sometimes, as I love feeling like I am not the only fucked up person around. But “normies” man, they are fucked up too. However, they aren’t articulating their mental illness that in scripted bullshit. I used to cry when I’d read that part about trudging the road. And I would feel a decided kinship to those “AAIOU” mobiles on the highway. Not anymore. I am a “normie” now. I am still taking Subutex, which sometimes makes me feel weird and vulnerable, but other days I accept it. I have, to be totally honest, drank. I have had like two beers on maybe three occasions. I felt maybe three percent weird about it. I did have a slip of sorts with pills, but it is a nonissue. I am bringing up the drinking and the pills only b/c of the way I was raised in AA to be utterly and unapologetically overly confessional. And b/c I am looking at life in a more open way, and seeing these slips for what they are, not emergencies, but small things to be parenthetically noted, and b/c of this, I feel like I am more glued to this world. That horrible, horrible loneliness I felt predating AA, and felt esp. during AA, I recognize is from being abandoned as a kid. And if I live the truth and accept myself for who I am without equivocation, I am mostly OK.

    Like Kay Redfield Jamison explains about her own life, I “have come to see how important a certain restlessness and discontent can be in one’s life; how important the jagged edges and pain can be in determining the course and force of one’s life.” I keep going, and I keep going for myself and for my little guy. I no longer rely on any dogma, but on my own inner voice. I am trudging, but I am trudging on a different path than I had initially thought. We are all trudging our own road to whatever destiny has either been predetermined or created by our own hard work. I am beginning to hear my own voice after years of speaking in 12 step script. If you are reading this and want to leave AA, you can do it. You are not powerless. I wish you all of the best in this world. You will not meet me in a meeting and I not there, on some level, to help you. I am now walking in the footsteps of that blessed transmission line that you will not see in AA. This is not the line that you met in AA, the one that told you to wonder about your own thinking. I am one of the women who knew we were unsafe in meetings, believing in in 12 step dogma. I got up and got out. You can, too.

    • I feel like I know you a little better after reading this Violet.
      You’ve always been very kind to me… Thanks for the great read.
      Life isn’t easy when you realize you’ve been ambushed into joining a cult. There’s a lot to sort out after you leave the wackos behind and the dust begins to settle… It’s your life now!

    • Violet, wonderful writing. I got your comment, and it inspired me to think of the scariest costume one could actually don for Halloween…..dress up as an “addict”. (Your comment about how horribly addicts are treated). OK, I have a bit of a dark sense of humor, but I had to expound on it a bit. Obviously that’s to scare others. An anti-12 step addict, that would scare the “normies” and steppers alike. Thanks for stopping by over there and for the story here, really.

      • yer welc. i do love your blog, persephone. xo that is an amazing halloween costume idea. i could not find any images of such an idea, but i know this: many ppl. are in fact going as miss winehouse.

        • Violet, That was a very well written descriptive account of your experience with AA, rehab, 13 steppers and how AA fucks up a healthy person to retain them as a long term client, VERY SICK. I like your quotes by: Kay Ray Redfield Jamison they are anti AA for the simple fact they encourage you to be discontent (and sit with it) and ask questions. I’m keeping them in my arsenal of quotes for living and managing life during any circumstance that life throws me. It is so much healthier than stuffing your anger, finding my part in it, having my long gone sponsor tell me what to do (shut up and get to a meeting etc). I always wondered when were they going to address my problem at the meeting…they didn’t. I was to sit there and listen. No problem solving, no one taking care of the most IMPORTANT person in the room…ME (the newcomer). We are all for one (AA) and fuck the rest. Thanks from friend Carolyn-

    • Violet- I am impressed with your writing. Thank you and Gunthar and Ryan for writing such intimate details here. I think your story is also very heartbreaking. I love how you describe the crazy usage of taking pills and slips and the hardcore black & white thinking.

      At 1 year sober after being 13 stepped again by two crazy ass middle age bi sexual freaks I wanted to die. I remember driving over the Pali Highway to go to a meeting in The Oahu Prison to be “of service” I would imagine how the car might fly off the edge and I would crash down below in the valley. If you don’t know the Pali Highway its hard to imagine . Its very steep and very curvy. This was one of my worst times in AA and in my life. I do not think I would have been suicidal if I had not been sexually harassed by these sick men. I was having the shakes and my legs were going numb. I read Bill W’s story that was never approved by NYGSO about how he did Mega Vitamin Therapy so I tried it. I over dosed so to speak on Niacin.

      SO why didnt I leave AA then. Im not ready to write my story like you three have done yet but I will file them all away in real files so we can archive them always.
      The woman who I went to help at Court today was raped by an AA member the first time she went to AA years ago. Does this shit never end. Nope. My stomach flipped as this Judge sentenced someone to 50 AA meetings GOD!!!!!!!!

      IF you are thinking about leaving, please read
      http://www.orange-papers.org and please don’t wait 3 decades to walk away.
      I am currently doing some new exercises I got out of Hank Hayes book. I felt a huge shift. A minor adjustment. But very empowering.
      I hate what AA preaches. I hate that’s it’s embedded in the culture in our courts, in our government and in our healthcare.

      There is much to do, much to change and much to overcome and by God, Buddha we will. I have considered taking a law class. Just so I know what I am talking about.

      Again To Gunthar, Violet and Ryan…thanks for the “real” posts.

    • Thank you so much for ‘sharing’ for real. I have felt so isolated knowing the truth about many of the people in AA but having to keep up the denial. I avoid the meetings where the perp is. It was my experience of being raped that made me realize that it was time to stand up for myself. I have gone to meetings where there are women who sit across from 3 or 4 men they have slept with. And they talk about sex during the meeting as if it’s taking out the garbage. It’s creepy and gross. And you are right, if you say that the women in AA are jealous it’s put back on you. It’s as if you are in this parallel universe whereby everything is blamed on the victim. One woman at a meeting was shot in the leg by her neighbor and was at the meeting a day later talking about “her part”. She doesn’t even own a gun! Violet, I try to not think of how vulnerable I was, a very lonely depressed woman who could barely feed and clean herself, thinking that everything is always her fault, living in fear. The abuse I suffered took me to a place I didn’t know existed, where I felt barely human, he would call me almost every hour to ask me what I was doing, he would rape me and then have me give him a ride to counseling for his issues! The selfishness was un f*cking believable! Into S and M, talking about killing women and raping their dead bodies and laughing like it was a joke. Insulting me all day off and on and then at the end of the day when I was distraught saying “have you taken your meds?” He became the extreme version of “the program” quoting the book to me when he was called on his abuse. Now I realize that the “your Part” thing is a tool for perpetrators. And he is known for this, going from woman to woman to have a place to live, he would be texting his “new ” girlfriend while talking to me. Two phones, no address, a trailer with items in storage that no one can enter, I had no idea. The thing that really kills me is the way the people present themselves vs. the way they really are. When I was down no on cared. I have been in counseling for on year. AA women are so sick they don’t understand the word “rape”. For me this was a temporary chapter in the worst part of my life but for them it’s business as usual. I want better for myself. I never would have been open to someone like him if I was not indoctrinated to AA. I still get angry but am trying to move on with my life. I don’t believe that we rust inside, I think that we just learn and grow. And I know on thing for sure. Perpetrators who don’t get help just rot.

      • @ajg
        I have not even read your whole story cause I have an insanely busy day and I have to keep going I was in a conference for 50 hours , But as I read just your first 4 sentences I began to feel sick to my stomach with horror at what you too have been through. While I know you are speaking about just one group, I know from all the emails that I receive from http://www.stop13stepinaa.wordpress.com that this is going on all over the country, in Canada and in the U.K and Australia where AA/NA have gotten rather large. And we see now that it has become very “rouge” and culty in many areas. Please feel free to contact me directly at makeaasafer@gmail.com.

        We have a group that is doing activist work off the blog to empower victims. I was once a victim but it was too long ago to vindicate this now. It was 36 and 35 years ago when I was 18 & 19 years old and a newcomer.

        We have done a petition that you could sign to Governor Jerry Brown. And we have encourage unhappy ex members with complaints to file a report with the the State Attorney General of NEW YORK. I will put up link and info later.
        It’s very important that if you have a grip, a complaint that we all begin to take serious professiojal against agaist those who have harmed you other wise we are just talking. The Talking, and blogging is essential for our healing as we leave AA. But Criminal behavior needs to be professionally addressed.
        So go ahead and file your complaint anywere it happened.

        PLease feel free to contact me or KAN if you are a serious action taker and activist. I have to begin to really re focus on my Documentary and I do need more help with this complaints and making those who are in responsible place held accountable.

        I will make the complaints form a private place as soon as I can and will compile them for future use in the movement.
        Thank you so much for taking over the blog in a blogging way!!!

          • I just read your story, AJG, thanks for sharing. What a *jackass* this man was. I am so sorry you had to go through it. You know what though, if you can leave AA, man, you can prolly do a lotta things other ppl. can’t, right? Not to “love bomb” but I am so glad you landed here. xo

      • ajg- oh dear god I just read your whole post. WOW, do you have this all written down in detail and can you go to the police now? A rape crisis center?

        He needs to be exposed don’t you think?

      • Hey Violet. I remember you from ST, and I’m glad I got to read your story. You sound like you are a very strong woman.

        I just needed to say something about Subutex. I’m an ex-junkie and I take Sub, and it is what it is, but it isn’t a miracle. If you take more than 2 mg/day, maybe even less, and you need surgery, you will not get pain relief. 1 mg of Sub = ~60 mg morphine. I’m on a very slow taper off of it, about to have major dental work done and very concerned that I will not get pain relief, and I only take .675 mg/day!!! (right now, I’m on a taper)

        So in short, Sub got me out of a deadly IV heroin/oxy addiction, but it is NO miracle. The reason I’m on such a long, slow taper is that the acute withdrawal is awful and can last 2-3 weeks, and the PAWS can last over a year.

        In xA, they say Sub is replacing one addiction with another. That is true. However, it isn’t so horrible like they pretend. I’m functional now and that’s what matters to me and that’s what should matter to you.

        Take care of yourself!

  18. Thanks violet for posting your story. I feel bad for what you had to go through and share you detestation of meetings. I had an AA friend who used to buy a girl liquor so he could have sex with her. He was highly respected in AA. We did a couple commitments together too. I always felt weird about it but of course never spoke up to him out of fear of getting drunk by taking the focus off myself. I even told my old counselor, this guy’s golfing buddy, about him and what he was doing and he really did not seem to care. I too think about some of the people I knew and liked in AA and laughing with them. I miss it sometimes and occasionally allow the guilt to slip back in. I knew a lot of Steppers and can sometimes hear their admonishing voices in my head, if I ever were to speak with them now that I’ve left. But I remind myself, however close our former relationships were, none really want anything to do with me now that I am no longer in AA. How spiritual is that? I too used to have nightmares as a child and used to constantly worry. In AA, I was taught that that was part of my “spiritual malady” and “self-centeredness.” This kills me. Literally, if that’s true I no longer want to live because that’s bullshit. And if lifetime allegiance to AA doctrine is the only way out, I’d rather rot in hell. Long story short, I left AA. I remember at the treatment center I was in, the counselor’s used to watch us and if any person showed too much interest in anything other than recovery (cooking, working out, reading non-AA books…) they would not let you do it anymore. The idea was that whatever we liked was a sober manifestation of our “disease.” I picked up on this and so decided to dive head deep into AA (speaker tapes and literature) as there wasn’t much else to do, figuring I’d be safe. Most of the guys just talked about war stories or sports anyways (I’m not into sports). Believe it or not, the counselors later voiced to me their concern that I was getting a little too into AA-those fuckers. I told them after leaving that I didn’t like my job-they said that sobriety isn’t about your job-those fuckers. We made gratitude lists every night because “a greatful drunk will never drink.” We were told we didn’t know how to manage our lives and that our best thinking got us there. I believed them. We were told those who stayed close to “the house” after leaving were the only ones who were going to stay sober. In other words, I wouldn’t have been able to leave Delaware for the rest of my fucking life because as my sponsor told me: “God brought me there.” Fucking prick. My counselor always told me to “stay out of my head.” When I left, everyone shared their concern with me about my “isolating” and how I “think too much” and was going to get into trouble trying to “figure things out all the time.” I believed them. When my sister passed, my best Stepper friend told me how I would be able to help someone some day because that happened to me. I wanted to stab him. He was essentially telling me it was not o.k. to cry. Everyone wanted me to get back to meetings so I could “help other alcoholics” to keep my mind off things. I now know that the whole “get out of yourself whenever distressed” only works so long before you want to blow your fucking brains out. One of the counselors who ran the show there for several years and was a total dick to me was layed off for banging the secretary. A ton of people relapsed-the same people who used to belittle me and “pull me up on my disease thinking,” which was really me just honestly questioning things. The voice of my old counselor haunts me the most. He took to me. I remember he took me for a ride and told me how “most people never get sober because it’s a powerful disease.” That used to piss me off to no end: Isn’t it your fucking job to help them get sober! When we’d hear of people “picking up” it was because they “had no gratitude, couldn’t follow directions, couldn’t get honest, or just didn’t want it bad enough.” He used to stomp around that house like he owned it shouting something “therapeutic” (usually a slogan) as he passed by clients. He sure had the knack for making people feel so uncomfortable. The other counselor was a little more lenient (though “humane” might be a better word) with us and I know that used to piss ol’ hardass off.
    When you first get there, the other residents encourage you to “let your disease out” while there so the counselors can help you. I hated it everytime I heard that (though, I was very good I hiding my internal dissent from everyone). Maybe because I was smarter than the average bear, but I wondered what kind of qualifications those dudes had for “treating” underlying causes of misbehavior anyhow. NONE. The only qualification to work there was to never question AA or the “disease” concept, being arrogant and loud seemed to help too. That’s it!
    I’m having trouble moving past all this. I wake up in the morning still worried that my disease is going to kill me or put me back on the streets because I’m not in AA. This is the most horrible thing of all that “place that works miracles” did to me. I was brainwashed totally. They didn’t ever want be to be able to trust myself. I do the best I can now to prove those pricks wrong. I since filed a complaint against the state concerning how I left treatment there worse than I went in. I’d be afraid to testify in court but it’s true. No reply yet. I will one day file a complaint with the BBB just to start a paper trail though it may not do too much. It sucks. It helps to write about it. I’m glad you are finding yourself now and really like your Redfield Jamison quote. Good luck with everything and again sorry about the abuse you had to endure in AA. I know the Caron Foundation and visited it while in treatment because the head counselor where I was at was good friends with the Jesus looking crazy dude who ran the rehab you went to. What a loser. Those poor people don’t stand a chance in hell with that nut in charge. And they have the success rate to prove it! I bet he still gets a pay check! A lot of the guys in my group were crying. Yep, the Steppers are a powerful cult that can make even the most virile junky break down in tears to grease the way for the bullshit they then feed him. Not me! Good grief! Sorry for ranting so much 🙂

    • it’s good to rant, i think. i really thought i was fucked for awhile when i left aa. life is still crazy @ times. but i know so many people who are outta aa and they are much better off. and it is *not* a stretch to say this. it *was* a stretch to make gratitude lists in aa. it was like listing a bunch of lies and then saying they were true until i believed them. just remember the old timers and what they were like. man! it is REALLY hard to get that aa stuff outta yer mind though. ilse had an awesome piece about how we are *not* powerless. man, i wish they’d put that shit back up. but when i first got to there blog over a year back, i cried when i read it. btw, r u the guy who was on massive’s show the other night? and you’ve gotta blog, too? if this is you, or if yer someone else, you gotta know this: you are *not* powerless.

    • Thanks Ryan, I am very sorry you went through that psychological hell. You can heal without AA., the craziest thing about AA, the thing that drives me crazy, is the over analysis of absolutely everything. There;s nowhere to run in your mind. You feel you can never be O.K. Like you always have to be thinking of what you are doing wrong. One of the most damaging slogans is the idea that “what’s your motive?’. People are actually far more complex and can have several motives at the same time! And actually, sometimes we really DO want to do something nice for someone else AND THERE IS NO BAD MOTIVE…It’s hard not to be angry, I wish I could stay in AA, that its what its supposed to be, but the truth is I don’t need to be around a bunch of crazy people giving me THEIR DISEASE. And also this idea that we are all exactly the same. No I’m sorry, some, actually many, of the people have profound problems for which they need one on one professional help and they will never get it. Also this idea, if you can call it one, that the loudest most arrogant person must be right just kills me. Its like you are sitting in a room with people who have been screened at the door for a low IQ. I was afraid of this place when I first went to it, Do you know why? Because it is filled with creeps and I could see it right off the bat!

  19. blame, yep. gotta get back into my blogging email though (real email = real name paranoid these days…) and getting ppl organized fer trick or treating. will email 2morrow or later on 2night.

  20. Haha. Yes, Violet. I was on massive’s show last week and will be on this tuesday as well. I’m so glad she has reached out to me and asked me to do it. I hope the stinkin thinkin archive will be available soon. I hardly got the chance to read all the great posts there. AA sure had been a mind fuck and a challenge to undo but rewarding. I am not powerless but they sure did one heck of a job convincing me I was. I think of all the times I’ve introduced myself as an “alcoholic” in meetings and then understand why I still have some residual brainwash (a koolaid hang-over). I’m ashamed to say it but once wanted to be a circuit speaker and a drug and alcohol counselor. That wasn’t that long ago either. That’s why I’m on the blogs so much. I almost dedicated the rest of my life to that crazy cult. WHooohoo!

  21. Gunther, you are an amazing and strong man. Your story needs to be known. Have you thought of writing a book or creating a blog or something to get your amazing story out there? You could give so much hope to people.

    We need treatment professionals who are willing to guide people toward the kind of self-descovery and life affirming progress you found for yourself through plain hard work and the desire to live.

      • I just reread it. Not to “Jes-ify” (like Jesus-ify) Gunther or anything, but read this:

        “I know what it’s like to lose a dream.
        I know what failure is.
        I know what it means to “need” alcohol.
        I know what it’s like to watch your life crumble around you… I’ve done it all of my life.
        I know what it’s like to savor the sweet smell of a half rotten tomato I’ve picked from the dumpster… Tomatoes never tasted so good.
        I know what love is… I’ve watched it pass me by a thousand times and I’ve chased it a thousand miles.
        I know what an alcoholic is.”

        Fucking perfect, more lyrical than I could have written, ever.

  22. Hi; so glad to see everyone back!
    Persephone in Exile, I am loving your blog, but cannot get comments posted: the profile section does not seem to work. So that will be why you are getting 0 comments.

    I wrote to ST awhile ago about leaving AA to have a regular, normal, and enjoyable life. Regular life is just wonderful.
    Also remembered the absolute end for me: A good friend of mine has some stepper friends. He grew up with an alcoholic father. Well, the stepper friends kept pointing out all the characteristics he displays of an “Adult Child…” so he started going to some meetings. This is the thought that popped into my head: ” I wonder how long it will take them to convince him that he is a miserable pathetic loser” – (which he is NOT)

  23. Carolyn asked to post this here for her:

    CAROLYN said, on November 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I had no idea there were going to be dangerous persons in AA meetings. I was told,” I should go to AA if I wanted to STAY sober”. I sobered up on my own, however, was at a very vulnerable spot in my life and believed what I was told. I was 13 stepped the minute I walked into the rooms and it wasn’t more than 4 months before I “BART DAWAHOYA” attacked me from behind (brave man) and sexually assaulted me. I went to my sponsor and many people in the group for help. Not one would help me and the responses ranged from “That wasn’t against the law” to “Play nicely in the sandbox” to “He just likes you a lot” to the final straw of “If you don’t stop talking about this; you are going to be on the outside looking in”. For that last threat I was taken to a Starbucks, threatened and left in the parking lot in the rain about 2.5 miles from my house. I was told, “It would do me some good to walk home in the rain-help me think”. What it made me think is how long is this “RADIOLOGIST” (one threatened me @ Starbucks) going to keep his license after I report him to the AMA and our State Medical Board??? Not to smart DOC.
    There were many, many sexual harassments and assaults during the 2 years and 2 months I attended. “BART DAWAYOHA”, that jumped me from behind, tried it again and I knocked him on his buttocks (he left me alone after that, however, he did sexually attack another girl-still no one did a thing-I tried-she left). I changed meetings and it started up again, “BART DAWAYOHA” somehow ended up there. I had no idea I was dealing with felons, predators etc. All I knew is it was going to stop. I called the police without a witness (of course with anonymity there never was one) it was a he said, she said case. I went to all levels of AA-no help (they flat out lied to me). I met with secretaries of the committees-no help. I was told over and over again not to call the police they (the committee was working on it and trying to figure out how to handle this since there were so many predators; YES SO MANY “PLAYERS” they were affectionately called). Committee made excuses for the behavior, “He’s just a touchy feely kind of guy” or “He is harmless, he’s been here a long time (so he should know better, right?).
    If I knew that I was dealing with predators, I wouldn’t have cared about the groups longevity (it had resided at POP church for 18 years)! I was also told NOT to contact the Pastor of the church for we are hanging by a thread. I listened to them……for a while. After a two week break from POP (to regain emotional sobriety from the attacks), the first week back I was assaulted twice. I came out fighting; ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. It was very evident that no one in a position of authority was going to help me and I was going to do this on my own. The first guy who was trying to force hug me, got 5 long nails curled into his chest (he didn’t succeed) and the second was stopped by my boyfriend and mutual friend (he actually attempted an assault in front of my boyfriend-we were a well known couple). Two in three days, that’s how pervasive it was.
    These attacks mentioned are but a mere few of the many on record.
    It was war! Not one more pervert was going to lay a hand on me or another member. I contacted EVERYONE from Celebrities to News Reporters to World Safety Organization to ABC to STOP 13 STEPPINAA to My Mayor to Attorney General to Gloria Allred to AA helpline to YES THE PASTOR etc. Plus, I sent duplicate texts to members on our phone list citing the last assault……A PAPER TRAIL (to a ton who couldn’t delete my out going records =). MASSIVE WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT WOULD HELP ME, SHE SENT ME POSTERS, PAMPHLETS and SAFETY STATEMENTS. SHE TOLD ME, “I WASN’T A LONE AND GAVE ME HOPE”. She called to make sure I was ok and helped me through my ANGER!!!! I have been fighting this to some degree for 2 years. The Pastor said, “I needed help and was worried about my sobriety”. I told him, “I was worried about the children in the youth group next to these predators attending AA”. He said, “It was his concern and leave it be and he would pray for me”. He had better prayed for himself too.
    Mind you, I just wanted to attend an AA meeting and retain my Civil rights-that’s it! I was contacted by the church through our 2 new secretaries Holly and Heidi whom have been on the job for 7 days and were to “Take care of me”. It’s very important to know that Holly is my boyfriend’s ex-wife who recently inherited millions and doesn’t like me. Co-secretaries: Holly (NURSE & PARALEGAL-relevant later) and Heidi (a PSYCHIATRIC NURSE PRACTITIONER-relevant later) wanted to meet with me; I refused (witch hunt or bitch hunt if you will). Holly starts telling her ex she’s not feeling COMFORTABLE with the kids being around me (manipulation and she has to report back to the Pastor). Grudgingly I agreed. I opened the meeting by stating that the only reason I’m here is because of Holly (I want her to feel more comfortable concerning the kids even though it was a manipulative tactic to fulfill the Pastor’s demand). I had someone takes the minutes for the meeting…….no misunderstandings right???
    I gave them a power point presentation of the offenders what they did etc. Both secretaries agreed that 7 perps on my list were a known problem, however, they learn to tolerate it and had tricks. I told them I was NOT a human pinata for men and the only trick for me was ZERO TOLERANCE. They agreed, but didn’t know what to do. I gave them all of Massive’s safety props, info, the civil and criminal laws for our state. All they had to do was choose a plan. I gave them 5 weeks to get their act together, in the mean time I was doing guess spots on Massive’s radio show, completed my portion of her documentary and have been conferring with the BBB, Gloria Allred, ACLU, other Attorneys etc, etc.
    Massive came out at the end of July to attend my ex meeting where so many civil & criminal laws have been violated and covered up. As soon as I entered the meeting, “BART DAWAYOHA” (who sexually assaulted me) was sitting right there. I pulled Heidi outside and stated he had to be removed. She reused citing that she didn’t want to disrupt the meeting. Between Massive, myself, my boyfriend, Heidi and Holly going in and out and up and down for 20 minutes; I believe that excuse no longer was valid. Yet they refused to remove the criminal, “BART DAWAYOHA”. Being in the medical field, Holly and Heidi not implementing any changes concerning safety, astonished me. I am truly embarrassed to be associated or even mentioned in their same classification as a women.
    The following Sunday, I decided to let the Parishioners of the Church with children decide this meeting’s (POP) fate. I made flyers and placed them on all the cars during church service. Simply stating to watch your children! Many women have been assaulted by sexual predators from the AA meeting across from the Youth Group. That got the Pastors attention and using his detective probing skills sent me an email with such blatantly overt familiarity it had legal alarms flashing all over it. Then he had Heidi (co-sec, Pysch Nurse Pract) try to drill me; “Everyone knows you did it” and my all time favorite “Did you tell your sponsor you were going to place those flyers before you did”? WOW, wasn’t she tricky I almost admitted I didn’t have a sponsor!. I was sent threats from the Church in all forms and various reasons. One including I wasn’t allowed to go to the AA meeting anymore. SHOOT!! Who is going to grab my ass tonight-I may go through with drawls!
    They both took my boyfriends kids on his designated weekend which followed my placing the flyers and they went up North. Holly-$$bags and SHAMED by the Pastor for not “Taking care of me” is hatching up a plan with Heidi (basically a Doctor) to get me back and now out of the scene.
    Holly called my boyfriend said she had to meet him in person….not the way she works…she emails, texts or calls. Something is up. He finally agrees to meet with her and the 2 co-secretaries who represent the AA group, medical and legal professions have DEEMED ME INSANE & UNSTABLE to be around their kids. We live together so her intentions as a good AA member is to lie and hurt other people, because she DIDN’T DO HER JOB and she ran up against person whom wasn’t going to be placated, lied to or assaulted one more time.
    HOLLY’S DEMANDS: 1) I have to have a Psych evaluation 2) Have to have a background check (she approved of me 2 years ago-now she is shamed and out for blood) 3) Can’t blog anymore 4) Can’t be Anti-AA anymore (that is her religion & I will fill her kids full of crap) 5) Claimed that I fabricated all the assaults to sue AA (remember everyone agreed on 7 plus the minutes)
    Not once were the sexual perps or youth group mentioned. It was a vendetta. The flyer was contested but never the contents of sexual predators on campus. I was being nailed (legally) for vandalism-which didn’t fly.
    To make it easy on my boyfriend, I agreed to the psych evaluation only if we got it in writing (this was an illegal act, on her part) we got it and she said in an email, ” That she would set it up with her Attorney”. Her Attorney had to have told her this was illegal, because she called my boyfriend up for a 2nd meeting. Holly skirted the slandering issues she had been throwing around for a week. They met and she started talking lawyer talk, “In my opinion I think Carolyn in unstable because….” She stated that if all the things I am doing including the documentary, radio, lawsuit and blogging stopped……this could all go away. If I stopped what I was doing (helping people & take away my rights) this nightmare would stop. NO FUCKING WAY, I HAVE CIVIL RIGHTS. I’m sorry I made it more difficult for my boyfriend, however, I went as far as I was willing to go with this whakaloon!! Prior, I let him know where I marked the line in the sand, so he wouldn’t be blinded sided. We hit the line. It was all out war for my rights against IMO a crazy mad woman who felt she had the sole ability to relinquish my rights, slander, libel and defame my good name all to preserve her EGO. I DON’T THINK SO-LET’S GO!
    It went to 3 sessions in the Collaborative (teams of lawyers, coaches and therapist) hearing/meetings. No one ever interviewed or evaluated my stability or lack of throughout this 3 1/2 week process. Session 2 ended with a cooling off period where the kids would reside with Holly (Whom IMO has some heavy duty emotional/mental issues that she was projecting on me…again In My Own Opinion). My boyfriend could see the kids when I wasn’t around.
    Finally, the last session, Holly, the stellar member of the legal, medical and AA communities turned in my blogs from STINKIN THINKIN as evidence against my character and mental state. Whenever evidence is submitted it is turned over to the opposing side (called discovery). We got them the night prior to the final session, which is considered late, I went through them and our Miss Millionaires s whom is projecting mental instability with the help of Heidi a PSYCH NURSE PRACTITIONER (who better hold on real tight to that medical license) altered 4 of my posts (she deleted parts, cropped, whited out and added a whole paragraph from one of JR’s post to mine)!!!! And I’m the unstable one; that has fought for myself, others and the children. IMO, you are a pretty sick person to do the illegal activity you have done to calm your shame. Keeping children from a stable loving father and discounting the cry of help from another woman when you are in a position to make a difference and letting the youth group’s children be vulnerable ALL FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR EGO, IS REPREHENSIBLE!!!!! The kids are back over here again on their designated days.
    All this transpired, because I complained and tried to keep myself and the youth group safe and I would do it again in a heartbeat. My story only ends here on paper, it will resume as permitted.

    • This is indeed a very shocking portrayal of members of the medical profession. The fact that both of them lied under oath and in a court of Law is extremely upsetting and now a matter of public record which can be used in other courts of law and licensing boards. If you can’t trust medical professionals to be truthful in court of Law, how can you trust them with medical records? You have proof….

      The nursing board of the state should be notified of this issue. As a member of the medical profession they are held to a larger degree of scrutiny. If they used or mentioned their medical credentials in that court of Law and it is recorded, they should immediately have their nursing licenses suspended until investigated further.

      The facilities that these medical professionals worked at should be notified and asked about their HIPPA policy and if anyone has complained. If there are any medical malpractice lawsuits going on towards these facilities the lawyers handling the cases should be informed that medical professionals at that facility falsify records.

      The insurance companies of the medical facilities these two work at should be asked if the coverage at the facilities are current and what level they are at. Having medical professionals lying under oath employed at these facilities will most likely result in a premium increase.

      Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, remind these two abusive Spiritual and libelous (you may want to sue for libel, you have proof) Alcoholics Anonymous members “You’re only as sick as your secrets” and people are taking your inventory.

    • Oh goody!!! I want to shout out a name here too;






      Club Oasis (HF)
      10859 Prosperity Farms Road
      Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

      Thank You.

      • Great ! Thanks for getting the word out. You can create a yelp account for the oasis club. If its a business and it is I would put it up there. Then people can rate it for the slim pit it is.

  24. Hi Carolyn,
    AA creates a love bomb cult atmosphere; I got to the point where I wouldn’t hug the prettiest girl in the world there. At first I didn’t know why but in time I figured it out. The AA environment was created by a man in the image of a male dominated utopist society. I have been stalked by homosexual men and know the de-humanizing feelings you are reacting to. I hope you stay on the blog and share your thoughts as I have so that you can arrive at your own solution. I hope you find comfort and strength in the truth. When I came here I wanted to drink to wash the AA off me. This was a bad idea under the influence of the AA modified belief system. Instead I went to HAMS harm reduction and found abstinence through an alternative method. This helped me de-program and get some time away from AA.
    Get yourself an alias and start typing…

      Such BS. I do need to go to a meeting or too and say this out loud in a group where many young people go. I will be bringing a secret cam for sure.

  25. carolyn, thanks so much for sharing yer story. i am so sorry this happened to you. yuck. glad you got out and that yer not there trying to figure out: “hmmm, where was *i* wrong?” you were not wrong. you rock a lot, sister.

  26. One of the major reasons I left AA after 36 years was the Murder of Kristine and Saundra Cass ( Murdered in Honolulu August 26, 2010 and Herbert Tracy White that happened in Nov 28, 2010. It just tipped me over the edge I was already falling …OR was it reading Keeper’s story and speaking to her on the phone. Maybe all three incidents and the chilling coldness of many of the AA members responses to these crimes.

    I just returned from the downtown Los Angeles Criminal Courthouse. Tracy White’s pre-trial case where in 3 witnesses gave their witness.

    I am so sad and mad I am fried. I can’t imagine how his Mother and brothers, Uncles & Aunts must feel ( they were all there as well) . I went to support them and understand what happened. It was unbelievable!

    It still is not clear as Tracy is not alive to tell the story. I will refrain from here say and conjecture cause this trial will be going on for many months ahead.

    All I can say is that if the defense goes in the direction of The Killers- have a “drug Problem” and need AA or NA I will illicit the help of all the occupy LA to march to the courthouse with me. I was disgusted and sickened as I saw these two face to face in this small courtroom. Pure evil is all I felt.

    I was glad to meet the head Detective on the case and discuss our movement with him and that 2 Police Officers recently committed suicide as to escape the sentencing of AA meetings. A place where they know criminals are being sent.

    If there is anything I can say here before I go pass out in my backyard is this.
    If you have been hurt, victimized, raped or scammed by AA/NA members, please file reports and complaints IN WRITING everywhere from The NY State Attorney General’s Office about AA Headquarters and TO the police, and to the buildings where the meetings are held. That means if you were attacked or sexually harassed then go after the building owner.
    If you have been bullied then make the complaint at every level in the AA food chain. Blog and start more truthful blogs.
    But please take your hate and anger and write letters, make phones calls and file complaints every where possible.

    I will be formulating another petition soon and will post it here and send it around in email. Always know you can contact me at makeaasafer@gmail.com

    If you pray or chant please do so for the Family of Herbert Tracy White.

    • The more everyone starts to file complaints as this case grows there will need to be a real paper trail. So please if you are unsure how or what to do……. ask me. 🙂 love ya ….opps no love bombing 🙂

      • Names, dates and locations are important for your own records. Make sure you keep them safe and readily available. As for making Alcoholics Anonymous held accountable for its members, it can be done and don’t let people tell you it can’t.

        The first step is to identify the group the person or persons belong too, then the Intergroup above them. From this information you look up the Tax form 990 on them and identify the people that by law must have their and address. Regardless if they are paid or not, legally they can be held responsible to some extent by putting their names on those forms. If you don’t know how to find this information, ask and you will be told.

        Once you Identify the Intergroup, you need to identify the Delegates to the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.identified by GSO,GSB or GSR. This is the corporate entity that is responsible for coordinating all of the Intergroup activities and they have a president and board of directors. With this information you can go to the very Top levels. Don’t let people tell you you can’t, you only can’t if you don’t try.

  27. Remember to report all criminal acts against you to the police department. If they do NOT come out, go to them and file a complaint/report for each infraction. Criminals and many AA members hide behind anonymity, which is really an obstruction of justice! Speak up and as often as it happens!

    Great breakdown of options.

    • “What you hear here, who you see here let it stay here”….is complete bullshit. What are they the FBI, THE CIA?

      I don’t know who started this phrase but it always rubbed me the wrong way when they chanted it! With that said, Any infraction as KAN says…run to the police. Make them fill out a report. Then write letters to all agencies. Easy to find on the web. Intergroup, Districts is in a big city, Local Area….AA …Then write a letter to the local AA delegate and then to State Attorney General..you get the picture!

      Maybe think about it in a new way. We are creating a paper trail all over the country. Im sorry that my complaints thread is not done yet and that I have not created a suicide thread in AA. It could be death and suicide related to AA. Murder as well. Crime in AA Culture thats being suppressed.

    • When contacting the police you may want to be aware of two different types of reports that are generated. Upon first contact an Incident Report is generated that is permanent. It contains the allegations reported and names of victims and witnesses. You will need to know what police officer you reported it too, the date and you can ask for the incident report number. these are public record unless sealed by a judge.

      Once the Incident Report is filed, a Police Report may or may not be made, if the Police officer you reported it too or his superior think the Incident requires further investigation or an arrest is made a Police Report is generated which is also a public record unless sealed. Make sure you follow up on the Incident Report, it is your right to do so.

  28. Hi Carolyn,

    Thanks for sharing these disturbing facts. I am so impressed with your strength through all of this. I have always been one to do everything possible in an attempt to stand up for my self; no mater how difficult it is because I would be miserable if I did nothing. Many people would have walked away from a situation like yours because of feeling powerless over AA and all of the corruption that revolves around it. I really respect what you have accomplished under such difficult circumstances.

    I have not been blogging for a while because between living around someone completely brainwashed by AA and then discussing it constantly; I began to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Im grateful for the interaction because it’s been extremely beneficial and I enjoy sharing my experience in an effort to help others. I intend to stick around, just taking a little break.

  29. Violet,

    I dont care for that image next to my name. Wish I new how to change it. Reminds me of years ago; my two front teeth before I had veneers done. Yuk!

    • Amy, JR, BIAmE, WSS, Gunthar, Ryan, Disclosure, Jill, Limestone, Pers and all I missed;

      I have been posting under KAN since this site’s inception due to the negative circumstances that happened to me while I was exercising my Civil rights on Stinkin Thinkin. I thought I would be able to speak up even more powerfully with a pseudo name. I was wrong, I became cautious with my posts and actually ended up stifling and censoring my passion thoughts and comments. I have never ever hid behind anyone or anything when the going got tough and I’m not about to start now. Massive came up with KAN=Kick Ass Now and I already had the boxing gloves. We thought it was a good safety move. I came into this world fighting and I truly never imagined strife not being a part of my life (I have learned to dance with it). =)

      I thank everyone for their comments concerning the co-psycho AA secretaries and the possible solutions to hold them responsible as citizens and to contact the Nursing Association as well as the Bar Association. Yes, slander, libel and defamation of character are all possibilities as well as child endangerment. I have attorneys working over time.
      Thank you everyone and sorry for misleading you.

      Amy, I’m glad to see you back here. I assume you got my messages through our mutual friend.

      • LOL! KAN told me that Carolyn left me a message on ST! LOL! too funny.. Well, I missed you.
        Now I’m reminded of the phenomenon of someone standing up at an AA meeting and declaring,”MY NAME IS DENISE, and-i-need-apologize-to-the-group-and-reintroduce-myself ” And applause fills the room.????????

        • Jill,
          How long is that scarf?? I loved your Obama bumper sticker idea…….truly a classic! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. I wish I could return the favor and attend a meeting with you. The easier, softer, SANER way to go.

  30. First and foremost, I am an alcoholic. No doubt in my mind, nor of those that are close to me. I could talk about wetting the bed, fights, arguments, relationship and marital breakdowns, penthouse-to-pavement & riches-to-rags stories until I was spent, but I’m probably no different to 10’s, if not 100’s of millions of alcoholics walking this planet. But I’m VERY happy to be sober today.

    I’ve been sober about 10 months. My sobriety beginning when I took the tumultuous decision to get on an aeroplane and leave the country I’d adopted as my ‘home’ and return to live in the country of my birth, leaving behind the wreckage that my alcoholism had caused.

    In my initial 3 months of sobriety this year I attended two AA meetings – having previously been a member of AA for a short period in my previous country, but leaving with more resentments than I entered their ‘rooms’. I visited principally to see the comparison between the way that AA was practised here against there. NOT because I was climbing walls desperate to pick up a drink.

    3 months into this new journey of adventure (adult sobriety), living life quite happily as “a dry drunk” – how wonderfully AA regards those outwith their control with such put downs – I moved apartment and found myself living in an area where I knew no-one.

    Now, I had three choices it seemed. A life of solitude. Going out and about to bars and meeting people. Attending the numerous AA meetings in the area to ‘keep sober company’ and meet potential friends. In retrospect, I’d have been probably wiser choosing the former two options!

    In one of my first meetings here, after the mid-meeting ‘comfort’ break – when NO ONE engaged or spoke with me – I was beckoned out of the meeting room by two police officers. Apparently (at least) one of the members had called the police mid-meeting to inform the police that a notorious sex-offender that had been ‘on the run’ was in the church hall that evening, i.e. ME! Well, once it was established that it was mistaken identity – the offender actually having been captured earlier that day – the police happily apologised to me for the inconvenience, which is a damn sight more than any of the AA members attendant were prepared to do.

    From there it was a downward spiral, as the Program started to to mess with my mind, all the hackneyed cliches posted on walls become worn out, the handshakes given so freely at the meetings seemed curiously incongruous when the same peoples’ heads turned to avoid eye contact when I was seen on the streets and the “God” concept became more of an issue than anyone around seemed to understand – as an atheist I felt pressured to disbelieve my own beliefs and surrender at the altar of Bill Wilson and Dr Bob – many meetings having top tables covered in cloths with the graven imagery of the founders of AA quite literally attached. Rather ‘cultish’ and uncomfortably bizarre

    My head has now reacted. What am I involved in? Some happy-clappy cult that seems to be run by many who have given up the concept of AA being a support network to assist alcoholics lead a sober life for AA becoming an alternative to life? A get-together of people with serious ‘issues’ that seem to be self-medicated by a blind faith belief in a programme of recovery that seems to advocate blind obediance and the stripping of one’s ‘self’? And, of course, the suggestion set out the if you don’t fall on your knees and strip yourself to your soul to your AA peers you are regarded as being ‘morally corrupt and dishonest’. Half the members of AA I’ve met I wouldn’t trust to water my plants, let alone give the opportunity to find out my inner most workings, that’s for a fact.

    Well, I managed my first 3 months of sobriety with no great issues. Indeed, my first 3 months were spent in loads of bars, pubs and clubs as my old friends and relatives that I hadn’t seen for years were happy to have found a willing ‘taxi driver’ to take them out and about. I was happy to be with them once again. I relished my new found sobriety back then. What has followed however has been a roller coaster ride of emotional involvement with a group of people that, in the main, seem madder than many I’ve encountered in ‘normal’ life.

    I wouldn’t deter anyone from trying out AA if they have feel they have issues with alcohol that need addressed. I’m sure AA have saved many lives along the way. However, as they even say, they don’t have a monopoly on sobriety. They certainly no longer have a monopoly on me.

    I’m still an alcoholic. Always will be. Do I want to pick up a bottle and start where I left of however? No. I most certainly don’t. I want to embrace, enjoy and tackle life in a sober manner and have a positive manner of my being. AA never gave me that.


    • Hi Murray,
      I use to think that I was an alcoholic as well, because once that I drank the first drink, all bets were off. I tried for 30 years to drink successfully , never could. It was always going to be different this time, never was. Today I no longer consider myself an alcoholic because I am not willing to take the first one. Are we alcoholics if we are not drinking? I really do not have the answer to that one but I have proved to myself over and over that I can become an alcoholic very easily and quickly, all I have to do is drink the first one. It only took 30 plus years to learn that! Lol. So really all I have to do for myself is not to take the first one, then I never have to sit in meetings, listening to all the bullshit. I personally don’t buy into the disease, powerless bull, it is our own choice. It starts and ends with us. We do hold all the power. We are responsible for our own decisions and we have to pay the consequences for the choices that we make, both good and bad.

      • Precisely my thoughts on the matter too. However had I been either a newcomer to AA or of a weaker personality then given my experience of AA I very much doubt I’d be able to speak coherently

        • Infernal mobile phones!

          … let alone type. I would have today been drunk.

          Accepting that the easy option is not to pick up a drink is, to me, a far easier and favourable solution than subjecting myself to the whims, headtrips and claptrap doled out at the majority of AA meetings.

      • Frank,

        That you finally found that you wanted to be abstinent is great. As for the length of time it took for you to make that choice … That could very well be because of the all-or-nothing dogma in AA. You do not disclose whether you went to AA or not, but for those who have a similar story to yours, AA did them more harm than good. There is much evidence that the all-or-nothing dogma of the program produces more binge drinking – might as well go for it since the Programme says one drink, one drunk … I’ve lost all my time anyway, hand me that bottle, etc, etc, etc. Therefore, I wonder if people in your situation would have sobered up long before they did if they were not listening to the AA Billshit.

        Also, your need to abstain is your individual need. Not everyone must abstain, on the contrary, most people are able to moderate successfully. AA would have everyone believe that anyone who can successfully moderate is not a ‘real’ alcoholic. Rubbish.

  31. Murray- Welcome- happy to see you here. Im glad you wrote your story.
    gotta run – more later after I read it all 🙂

    Again welcome to the blog!!!

  32. My apologies for my disjointed post last night, in reply to Frank’s comments. I guess using a mobile phone to reply and apparently no delete-after-submission option is a fatal combination. I actually CAN type coherently.

    Anyway, joking(?) aside, I’m on a roll … it’s quite telling how the first of the insights into how AA works exonerates them from responsibility of failure and, once again, belittles those who do step back to pick up a drink or leave their doctrines …

    “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.”.

    I AM honest. Honest to those who count. Myself and my nearest and dearest. That’s who counts. Not to rooms filled with still sick puppies who are just as likely to carry the message – my message, or anyone’s message – to the still suffering alcoholic about who they’ve seen or heard. And when that still suffering alcoholic is your next door neighbour …?! There seems to rarely be anonymity displayed when AA is concerned.

    Another concern or at least foible I can raise is the suggestion that fear, resentments, etc. – often cited in AA as being symptomatic of the ‘disease – is a dubious claim. Surely these are simply human characteristics that can affect even the most sober-minded of folk? Or have alcoholics and addicts the monopoly on all negative character defects and those that can indulge in the substances of their choice with control are bereft of all these ‘character faults’ themselves? Lucky people, if so.

    Having read down the lengthy thread of posts here once again, one comment really stands out … from K … “If you are going to diagnose someone with a lifelong and terminal disease – you had better have some idea of what the f*ck you are talking about.”.

    • Murray,
      That’s just it, A.A/N.A. does not have solid footing and does not have the facts when diagnosing someone with a phony disease. It’s all just bullshit. As far as character defects go, I personally everyone alive has them, the only difference is they don’t sit around and dwell on them. I don’t need to be told that I am less than or labeled as an addict for the rest of my life, not healthy. As long as I am not using, am I an addict? Why would a person want to view themselves in a negative light when they no longer participate in the former behavior? The whole program is built on sand, and when we leave, and stay clean on our own, well that just blows them away. We threaten their very existence being able to remain clean on our own, and to me, that is very motivating. When we get right down to it, better decision making is the best program, and we are in charge of that one!

      • And I love the fact that when we stop attending, we seem to fall off the face of the earth to these people. Our so-called best friends in the program seem to vanish. The only thing that these people want to hear from us is that we relapsed. Nothing would give them more pleasure. So much for a loving, kind, cult! Lol

    • They have a huge problem really with people who are very honest. Who are willing to be honest. They either pull a confrontational on you and scream that you’re lying and in “denial” or they start backing away and try to marginalize the honest people.

      That’s one of the biggest points that caused me to run screaming from what was left in my life of these people, the “resentments” thing. The pressure on you to become some passive victim in the face of anything you could face. And what is the basis for this dangerous and contrary to human nature line of thinking again? The damned serenity prayer? No, not good enough! Every normal emotion or behavior somehow morphs into a symptom of “the disease” with these people! It’s like listening to astrologers! “Oh, of course you’d react that way, your moon is in Scorpio”. WHAT?!? SO what?!? I guess you have to do that when all you have to sell is BS.

      lol….sorry, just show my happiness at some comments in a less than happy manner. /rant

  33. Frank- the part about attending meetings till I die…Hmmm I agree with you totally WHen I first attended I never joined any club. I never committed to attending for life. SO when did these slippery f*ckers make me feel like I needed to go to their F*&cking meetings forever, with Sexual Predators and violent criminals and creepy reg AA members all attending in one big happy club…NOT!!!

    And calling myself an alcoholic for life ????it was my sons who were like ah MOM you havent had a drop of Alcohol in 36 years. Your not an alcoholic. The word recovered means to get back. Im not recovering from anything anymore. Its such stupidity. But we need to have our voices heard more then just 2000 bloggers a month. WE need to reach millions. ANd stop Judges from Mandating to AA and NA.

    AS I was saying…It’s like a bate & switch routine. There are trolls on some blogs actually threatening e x steppers and even bloggers who were never steppers.

    They make me sick. Im glad I am free. And about the friends. About 5 % are your friends if even that. So if there are 50 people in the meeting 5 are real. Thats it.

    Its all smoke and mirrors. Where’s the Wizard? I really identified with Dorothy.

  34. Not wishing to draw my OP out too much (and mucho gracias for the replies, by the way).

    On the same evening I posted my original post here, I emailed an copy of my thoughts to my (former) AA ‘sponsor’ …

    His reaction has been quite telling. He has chosen to ignore any reply to my mail.

    I’m a wee bit surprised, however not upset. More vindication, if it were needed, of the shallowness of AA and it’s disdain for those who willingly choose to leave it’s ‘rooms’/’fellowship.

    I hope however, he continues to enjoy a sober life within AA. As I will, I’m sure, outwith …

    • Hi Murray- Nice to see you back. Sorry to hear that. They can be very cold. Their warmth is based on you being on the same page with them drinking the same kool aid.

      I started a group for x steppers. WE had our first meet up last week. It was really nice.

      I hope you find support here as well.


  35. Hi everyone,

    Haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been busy working with my father in preparation for a move to New Mexico (“geographical”). Lots of thoughts still whirling around from my AA programming i.e. “you’re selfish, crazy, you think too much, you are diseased, you are a master manipulator, you’re sick, you’re lazy, yadayadayada.” It sucks. I want to get angry and say something to someone in AA but know they’ll flip it on me. So, for now, just laying low and not talking to anyone. I hold out and just try to work and allow the guilt to pass. It does. Welcome Murray. Hope everyone is well.


  36. Ryan,

    I truly believe that “Silence is Golden” when dealing with AA’s. Im convinced that this approach confuses them. Besides there is no winning when attempting to discuss or debate anything with brainwashed followers of Bill W. Try not to get mad in front of them, they enjoy it.

    Ive learned the hard way that “it is impossible” to have a rational conversation because they will try, in a subtle way, to convince you that you are wrong; by using some of the many slogans that we have been discussing on the other thread. You have no reason to defend yourself. After a year and gaining the confidence that I lost while attending AA, I have no problem running into someone from the program. Actually, I ran into someone today who use to go out of her way to strike up a conversation. She pretended that she did not see me. They can read you when you get to the point where you do not care what they think. It took some time for me.

  37. Ryan,

    After reading your post again, I realize that you know the right approach when running into steppers. Just wanted to add some personal experience that might prevent others from wasting their time. Hope you have a nice holiday with your family.

  38. I just recently left NA and only recently found this site. I may not have had the bad experiences many of you have had, thank god you all made it out, but it was definitely a bizarre 9 months of my life. I, like many people started going because I thought it was something that was going to help, and it did for a short time. I got a sponsor, did all the shit he told me to do, even though I thought a lot of it was a bunch of schlock. Then after about six months when my head cleared I started seeing some really fucked up behavior. I stopped hugging people because I’m a bit of a germophobe and I think its a little odd to just get up and hug someone you don’t know. So I stopped hugging everyone and people started shooting me dirty looks and making the “you can’t do everything on your own” comments and started treating me different than they did when I started going. They acted like they were suspicious of me. All because I started rejecting hugs. Then I started looking around and I was seeing 40 year old men hanging out with women who couldnt have been any older than 21 or 22. Giving them rides on their Harleys and being all clingy and touchy feely on them. Ick. I watched one guy with years give his “girlfriend” a 90 day keytag. Which was creepy enough. But a week or so later he was giving a different “girlfriend” a 90 day keytag. It irked me and I was told “watch your own bobber” and “you’ve only been sober for a couple months, when you get more clean time, then you can judge.” Even though things were starting to weird me out I still worked really close with my sponsor for about the next three months, did the nightly call and all that nonsense. Tried to talk to him about what I was seeing and he either quickly changed the subject or telling me what good people these dirtbags were. Soon I started to find other things to do, like going for bicycle rides, going skateboarding, playing frisbee golf, hanging out with my college friends, playing guitar. Things I neglected when I was getting wasted. There was a point I missed several meetings and went for a week and a half without calling my sponsor. I was just busy living life. I get this text from my sponsor telling me to call him. So I called him and he started drilling me about where I’ve been, who I’ve been hanging out with and what I’ve been doing. He proceeded to ask the proverbial “what have you been doing for your recovery?” question. I told him I was getting back to normal life. I think everyone can pretty much predict what happened next. He went on to say “normal life for you is getting high and drunk everyday and night and you know the only real way out of it, if you’re not going to meetings and not letting people help you, you and I both know whats going to happen.” He went on to blab about god, the steps and all of the other crap. I have to admit I did patronize him a little bit just to get him to shut up. So I went back to a few meetings after having that conversation and after that peoples attitudes towards me started to change big time. I started getting the cold shoulder from people who used to be really nice to me. I would sit in groups and it seemed like every group I sat in someone would bring up how they had to stop fighting, shut up, sit down and listen to make the program work while looking directly at me the whole time. So much for “we’ll love you until you love yourself.” They should add a second part to that slogan “we’ll love you untill you love yourself, but don’t you dare question us.” After a couple months of that I just up and left. I said my goodbyes to the few people who were cool to me and did actually help me. I don’t expect to hear from them anytime soon. As for that sponsor, I ran into him coming out of class the other day, he tried to talk to me in the hall and I just simply said “I don’t want to have anything to do with you, hanging out with you is unhealthy for me, please don’t call, text or talk to me ever again.” He looked a bit shocked. I guess hes just used to people with no backbone or people who can’t deal with a situation in an assertive manner. I’ve been drug and alcohol free for a little over a year now. I admire the strength of many of you who spent years dealing with the crap you’ve had to deal with and still have the will to fight and expose what really goes on behind those doors.

    • Sober in mn,

      Don’t worry, you won’t hear from them. By staying clean without their bullshit you threaten their very existence. In fact, the only thing that they want to hear concerning you is that you are “back out there”. They are a very self centered bunch of dilusional thinkers. Sorry, did I say thinkers?

    • sober-in-mn “we’ll love you until you love yourself.” They should add a second part to that slogan “we’ll love you untill you love yourself, but don’t you dare question us.”

      WOW this is a great one. I’ll have to quote you. SO true. I’m glad you found us. I guess I need to tag this site with leaving NA as well.

      Im sorry this happened to you , I mean the cold shoulder stuff but in a way Im glad for you so you don’t have to waste years in NA.

      You have alot of courage to say what you did! Im glad for you. Im not sure if you know my story but I wasted 3 decades of my life in AA. WEll my life was not wasted but it caused many problems. I Cried alot of tears when I was leaving because I was morning the wasted time and what I could have done. I have worked through it and I guess am still decompressing by making a documentary about it all.

      WElcome . check out http://www.orange-papers.org another good forum and http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com for reading resources. It was just shut down for comments but we all blogged there for 2 years.

      I am actually thinking of going back to a meeting where there are alot young ones and speak how I left why I left and how I believe now. I’ll go with some other x steppers for sure to keep me safe.

  39. Ryan,
    I’m glad to hear you’re ok. I wish the best to you, your Dad and your new life. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. There’s a whole bunch of people here that truly care about you………..kick ass in N.M. =) Or Massive and I will come and kick yours =)

  40. Thank goodness for the fact that you are a bit of a germaphoge, sober in mm. I would echo what massive said, read about this cult and give yourself a pat on the back for getting out when you can. If you read around the subject a bit you will realise how right you were. Orange’s website had a million hits in March, so you are not alone. What a pile of unmitigated bile it is.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone in America!

  41. HI All,

    Happy Thanxgiving to you. Thank God for the non alcathon life I’ve got now. I did have a weird thing where I ran into an old friend from AA the other night. I really liked him; he was a salt of the earth type. Made me miss the place. But I know it’s just nostalgia, not real. I hope everyone had a happy peaceful day. Love to all. 🙂

  42. I left a/a when i realised i’d been taken in by a bunch of hypocrites, i sometimes wonder why i was sooooo naive, at the time i was waiting to go to court for two drink driving offences, the girlfriend had left me and taken our kid(country & western song there? haha), anyway i turned up at this dingy church hall in west london, i was pounced on by this mad eyed jock who kept saying “are you one of us” he kept on at me for weeks untill just to shut him up i said yes,i thought for a while that i had found utopia, that this was the answer to all my problems,how wrong i was, i was brainwashed with the “you’ll drink if you don’t go to meetings” and when i left the cult that’s exactly what i done, you see at the time i thought there was no other way but the a/a way.

    Roll on 20 years or more, i’d found the internet and started to realise that there were other people all over the place who were unable to surrender their lives to a cult like a/a,i was so relieved when i saw that other people had gotten sober and remained sober without a/a,i spent the first few years trying to get sober with online recovery sites (smart & lifering) but i kept going back to drinking, eventually i sort of made up my own way of stopping, i read a lot about my addictive voice in my head and was able to seperate/recognise it and seperate it from my rational thoughts.

    I’m getting finger ache now (one finger typing,haha) so i’ll sum up, basically i was a seven day a weeks drinker who was allways in some kind of trouble, today my life has turned around (5 years sober) no fear from knocks on the door, my life is very productive and i have real happiness not the fake stuff out of a bottle, i know i’ll never drink again because I have control.

    Cheers, Mick.

    • Mick,
      Glad you found us; we are but a few of thousands as you have researched. Country/Western song ha…..if you play the song backwards you get your kid, girlfriend, everything back hahaha.

      It’s great to hear stories like yours. You found what worked for you. Several people here have done it the same way. AA is one sized fits all ASSHOLES and if one doesn’t fit neatly into their herd or question things; your immediately on the outside.

      I personally had to find out why I drank. It wasn’t a disease or allergy it was severe childhood trauma. Of course, my sponsor whom acquired a therapist’s degree by putting a glass down for a couple of years, didn’t feel it was necessary to seek professional help. Once I did and found out I was drinking to cover the pain (to not feel), I knew a drink wouldn’t ever help. Doing the steps doesn’t get you there either, only more messed up and angry! Again welcome!

      • FRank, Carolyn, Amy

        It took 15 years sober for for me to deal with my core issues that I really had. I knew after I did the steps through and through about 3-4 times , new inventory and all that it was a dead path. I knew I needed to look outside. I read many books and listened to all kinds of tapes.

        But when my first son was born. Boom! I had to address my childhood abuse. There is was. ALL the rage. All the saddness! Parents who really weren’t there for me and all. I cried buckets of tears. But in the end it was the beginning of the undoing of AA at it’s rhetoric.
        SO whenever ANYONE talked about ANger and the Brainstorm being for normal men I raised my hand and gave them a piece of my mind that that was such Bullshit! ANd that my experience was… as the years unfolded and I did serious rage work and therapy I saw other things wrong with the philosophy , literature and belief system. But in many areas I still drank the koolaid.

        I am finally really glad it all felt apart for me so I could see AA for what it really is, Orange and Stinkin- thinkin helped so much along with many new blogger friends. I’m less angry about my years wasted in AA and I am extermely grateful that my glasses were ripped off my eyes!
        Thanks Carolyn, Amy , FRank and Isle and J.