I just can't resist: This is a searching and fearless
moral inventory of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It doesn't work.
We can do better than this. This is
the year 2013, and we can come up
with a better answer to alcoholism than "It's hopeless, so abandon yourself to
an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.
Not only does the A.A. 12-Step "treatment" not work, but
it kills as many people as it appears to save. That is a very strong
damnation, but the numbers back it up.
There are always lots of A.A. defenders who will swear that
A.A. saved their lives, and lots of A.A. boosters who claim that A.A.
is keeping millions of alcoholics sober, but all
objective, fair tests of A.A. that have ever been done show
no better success rate
than no treatment at all.
The only possible mathematical
explanation is that A.A. kills one patient
for each one that it appears to save, thus making the effective success rate balance out at zero.
And that is, in fact, actually believable, given just how bad the
so-called "treatment program" really is, and how high the
A.A. failure rate and the
A.A. death rate really are. Read on.
Bill Wilson actually bragged about that problem at the memorial service
for Dr. Bob. Bill described the early days of A.A. this way:
You have no conception these days of how much failure we had.
You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful
to take the bait. Bill Wilson, at the memorial service
for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952;
file available here.
If you have to cull hundreds of drunks to get a few success
stories, then that sounds like a one or two percent success rate.
But wait! That is only the gullible victims who "take the bait",
as Bill Wilson called it, just
the ones who believe Bill Wilson's religious ravings and
join Alcoholics Anonymous.
How many of those joiners actually stay sober for any
appreciable length of time, like several years? Even less, for sure.
At first nearly every alcoholic we approached
began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all. Others would stay dry six
months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine
catastrophe. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957),
The old-timers in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous brag
about all of their friends that they have buried. They talk like they
are the last survivor of the Lost Patrol — which many of them really are.
They don't seem to be able to recognize the fact that if the 12-Step
program actually worked, then they wouldn't need to be burying
all of their friends.
It's a Big Lie.
A.A. repeats the same lies over and over, using the same propaganda technique
as Adolf Hitler with his
Big Lie about the evil nature of the Jews.
The single most important issue about Alcoholics Anonymous is
the question of how well
it works to save people from alcoholism, and A.A. habitually, routinely,
lies about its success rate, and
A.A. tells everyone who will listen that it
has the only treatment
program for alcoholism — that it is the only
"proven", method of recovery — but their Twelve-Step program
not work. Rather than
even concede that the program might have some problems, the A.A.
true believers just shove the
program on every victim they can find,
using therapists, counselors, judges, and parole officers
as their enforcers, while simultaneously
avoiding any and all scientific testing
of the effectiveness of the Twelve-Step program. When some
testing does occur, like in
and gives results that they don't like, they just deny and
ignore the results of the test.
A.A. shills and hidden propagandists routinely plant
untrue articles and stories in the press and media to sell their
Big Lie, articles which push strange ideas like:
"AA and the sobering strength of myth",
which actually sells the idea that if you fool alcoholics into
thinking that the cult-religion "spiritual"
A.A. program will work for them, then it will work for them. (Which implies that if someone breaks the
spell by telling the truth, he will kill a bunch of gullible
A "placebo effect" will heal alcoholics:
George Vaillant likes to sell the idea of:
Just play mind games on the
patients and fool them into believing that "faith-healing
group-ritual conversion experiences" will work, and
hey presto! — the program will work.
A.A. habitually lies about
rate. They begin every
meeting by reading Bill Wilson's lie,
"RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who
has thoroughly followed our path."
"Rarely fails" really means "fails at least 95 or 98 percent of
the time, maybe even 100 percent of the time."
Alcoholics Anonymous has a death rate that is comparable to the Bataan Death March.
And so does its sister organization, Narcotics Anonymous.
It is bad religion.
Any theologian will tell you that this is one very bad religion,
just loaded with heresies.
It is surprising that so many Christian churches allow A.A. to meet in
their buildings. I suspect that they haven't examined the theology very closely,
and they just think that getting the drunkards praying is a good thing.
A.A. gives newcomers a lot of bad advice and misinformation about alcoholism
A.A.'s dogma is based on myths and superstitions about how the
human mind and body works, not facts. For example,
the Big Book says, "Alcohol is
cunning, baffling, and powerful." No,
it isn't. Ethyl alcohol is a clear liquid, a hydrocarbon
solvent, and it has no brain. It cannot think at
all, never mind be cunning, baffling, and powerful.
Another example: "He took his will back." The goofy
dogma of A.A. has us
surrendering our wills to God,
and then taking
them back, then surrendering them, then taking them back,
in an endless tug-of-war,
as if they were coins or tokens that could be grabbed and
yanked back and forth at will.
Our will is part of our mind, and we can't just give it away.
And we sure can't "take our will back" if we have no will to do so.
Another really bad fallacy is Bill Wilson's declaration that alcoholics
cannot recover from alcoholism until they "hit bottom".
Bill Wilson found that ordinary, relatively-sane people wouldn't
join his cult religion or believe in his brain-damaged superstitious nonsense.
Only the really sick, frightened, dying people who were desperately
grabbing at anything that might save their lives would swallow Wilson's
So Wilson made up a story about how alcoholics can't really quit
drinking and start to recover until they hit bottom and
"the lash of alcoholism drives them to A.A."
(see: Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson,
A.A. members have been spreading that little piece of misinformation
for the last 60 years, and now, everybody who thinks he knows something
about alcoholism repeats it. But it is still untrue.
And maybe the worst example is, "Alcoholism is a progressive disease
that is caused by spiritual deficiencies, defects of character, moral
shortcomings, and sin."
If alcoholism is really caused by immorality,
then it isn't a disease at all. It's a behavior problem.
Giving people misinformation doesn't help them
stay sober. Teaching people that they are powerless over
alcohol, and cannot resist temptation and
cravings, is very damaging, and
relapses and binges.
Teaching people to expect God to take
away their desire to drink is self-defeating and also guarantees
plenty of failures.
Any competent doctor will tell you that a one-size-fits-all
medical treatment program is a good
way to kill a lot of patients. And voodoo medicine administered
by amateur witch doctors is even worse.
The cult-like atmosphere drives away moderate help
More than 90% of all of the
people who walk in the door looking for help turn right around
and walk right back out the door when
they discover just how bad the religion is, and what kind of
fanatics they are dealing with. This
phenomenon is so well known that it is called the "revolving
door effect." Some people are so
appalled by the bombastic, grandiose religiosity that they decide
they would rather risk drinking
themselves to death than take the A.A. cure.
It is harmful to converts.
No good comes of getting people to believe in a bunch of
falsehoods, and do a bunch of ridiculous busywork that just
wastes their time and energy.
Twelve-Step "treatment" is psychologically harmful
— especially the self-criticism, and wallowing in shame and guilt
— to the point of driving some believers to suicide.
The strange theology dooms people to relapses, because God
doesn't fix all of the members' problems.
Teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol is
self-defeating, and guarantees big problems.
controlled study revealed that people who were sent to A.A. and
taught to believe that they were powerless over alcohol did five
times as much uncontrolled binge drinking as other alcoholics who received no
such "education" in powerlessness.
And the A.A. group did nine times as much binge drinking as another group of
alcoholics who got Rational Behavioral Therapy, where they were taught that
they were powerful and could control their drinking.
A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics.
Prof. and Dr. George E. Vaillant,
who loves A.A. so much that he became a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World
Services, Inc., tried for 8 years to make A.A. look good in clinical
tests, but in the end was forced to admit that A.A. had not helped
the alcoholics at all — it was completely ineffective — and it
an "appalling" death rate, a death rate that was higher
than any other treatment program that Dr. Vaillant examined.
Teaching people to
makes them feel like failures when it doesn't happen, or it drives
them to become delusional, proclaiming that every little sentimental
experience, or every intense emotion, is a spiritual experience.
People get tired, they get run down, their energy and enthusiasm
gets depleted, they can become depressed, after they fail many times
because God still hasn't taken away all of their defects of character,
moral shortcomings, or "the drinking problem." Some people
will just give up, and resign themselves to drinking forever or
Telling newcomers to quit taking their doctor-prescribed
medications, and just rely on the Twelve Steps for healing, is
A.A. is harmful to drop-outs.
Even those who refuse religious conversion and leave A.A. are often
harmed by the A.A. dogma. The most obvious example of that is convincing people
that one drink will make them spin out of control, and they will go
on a huge drinking binge, because they are "powerless over alcohol."
When people decide that they would rather
drink than be religious maniacs, they all too often then proceed
to fulfill the A.A. prediction. After one or two drinks, they think,
"Oh well, I've already blown it. I've lost all of my clean and
sober time now. One drink, one drunk. Might as well go ahead and
really enjoy it now, since I don't have anything left to lose..."
The few studies that have tracked various treatment programs'
drop-outs and failures have found that A.A. "treatment"
was worse than no treatment at all for those people.
The A.A. drop-outs
had worse relapses and binges than the people who never got any A.A.
indoctrination, "education", or "treatment".
A.A. encourages people to be illogical, superstitious, and
This irrational example is a doctor, explaining in The Big Book how
it is some kind of a miracle that wounds heal after he stitches them closed:
For myself, I have an absolute proof of the existence of God.
What healed those tissues, those tissues that I closed, what healed
them? I didn't. This to me is the proof of the existence of a Somethingness
greater than I am. I couldn't practice medicine without the Great Physician.
All I do in a very simple way, is to help Him cure my patients.
The Big Book,
story "Physician, Heal Thyself!",
3rd Edition pages 350-351,
4th Edition pages 306-307.
Apparently, this poor doctor (not Doctor Bob, but some other doctor,)
drank so much alcohol, and damaged his poor brain so much,
that he was no longer able to comprehend how the
body could heal itself, how it scabs over and heals up wounds all by itself,
quite routinely. This doctor actually thought that God had to get into
every single wound on every living creature on the face of the Earth
and make it heal?
That kind of bizarre delusional thinking is sadly indicative of a
mental disorder. What did Bill Wilson do,
go collect all of the mentally-ill, delusional, alcoholics
that he could get?
(Hint: the answer is "YES.")
Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D. (who later became a member of the Board of Trustees
of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services) did a study of A.A. members where
he heard very similar testimony:
My first impression of the spiritual part of the program was that
it was complete nonsense. At first, I didn't turn my will and life over
to the care of God. I just used the "24 hours at a time"
[approach to not drinking]. After a while, I started realizing that "something"
was keeping me sober. After about 6 months in the program, I came
to realize that it is not "me" that keeps my heart beating,
not "me" that keeps my brain functioning. There has to be some other
power than "I" to keep my body alive. The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up View For Professionals,
Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., page 82.
First off, the speaker was assuming a lot when he imagined that some God
or "Higher Power" was keeping his brain functioning.
His brain appears to have gone on vacation.
The speaker was obviously incapable of understanding that our nervous
systems are divided into voluntary and involuntary systems, and that the base
brain manages the involuntary functions like heartbeat, breathing, and blood pressure
without any conscious effort on our part.
We don't need any Higher Power poking his fingers into our chests to keep us
alive any more than do the frogs, dogs, rats, or cats.
Dr. Milton Maxwell had a Ph.D., but it was obviously not in a medical field.
For that A.A. member to assume that his ignorance of the workings of the human
body proves the existence of a Higher Power is just as stupid as assuming that
his ignorance of how
thunder and lightning happen proves the existence of the Thunder God Thor.
If some Higher Power were really making us live by micro-managing our
breathing and heartbeats, then that introduces a very nasty question:
that same Higher Power bother to take good care of all of the starving children in
Biafra, Bengladesh, and Ethiopia while He is so worried about the alcoholics'
heartbeats? How can Higher Power be so uncaring about all of those
(Turning their wills and their lives over His care
didn't do them much good, did it?)
Notice how the speaker was slowly converted to the standard A.A.
religious beliefs by prolonged exposure to the A.A. "program".
In the beginning, he thought that the A.A. "spirituality" was complete nonsense.
Nevertheless, after six months in A.A., he started yammering
illogical platitudes about some "Higher Power" keeping his heart beating
and making his brain function. What this story really teaches us is that
A.A. indoctrination is hard for newcomers to resist.
Trying to be scientific about to [sic.] alcoholism is like trying
to nail Jell-O to a wall. But that's OK. A.A. isn't trying to be
... those who are able to remain sober are the members who are able
to behave as though they believed.
[Boldface in the original.] Northern Illinois Area Ltd., Area 20 Service Letter,
Volume XXIV, No. 1, Spring, 2000, Page 10.
It never ceases to amaze me how they can so blind themselves
to the obvious contradiction
between Bill Wilson's Big Book statement that A.A. requires
"grasping and developing a manner of living which demands
(Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 58),
and the constantly-parroted instructions to
"Act As If", and
"Fake It Until You Make It", and
"Behave as though you believe."
Alcoholics Anonymous is anti-intellectual and encourages people to be stupid.
Just the vicious condescending slogans alone tell you all you need to know:
Quit your stinkin' thinkin'.
Your best thinking got you here.
Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.
Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Sit down, shut up, and learn something.
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Nobody is too stupid to get the program, but some people are too intelligent.
He is suffering from terminal uniqueness.
Utilize, Don't Analyze!
Bill Wilson just oozed condescension and superiority when he criticized
those people who chose to think for themselves:
To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman many A.A.'s can say,
"Yes, we were like you — far too smart for our own good.
... Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks
on brain power alone." As Bill Sees It,
quotes from William G. Wilson, published by A.A.W.S., page 60.
And of course the A.A. members love to congratulate themselves and
imply that alcoholism and A.A. is much better than a college education.
Here was a book that said that I could do something that all
these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd
been going to for years couldn't do!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition,
story "Promoted To Chronic", page 473.
Here is a doctor describing going to his first A.A. meeting to
fix his alcoholism, and finding that the local butcher, baker, and
carpenter were members:
"Here I am, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons,
a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons, a diplomate of one
of the great
specialty boards in these United States, a member of the American
Psychiatric Society, and I have to go to the butcher, the baker, and
the carpenter to help make a man out of me!"
The A.A. Big Book, page 348.
Yes, Doctor, if you really wanted to get an education, you should have
skipped college and medical school,
and just hung out in the back alleys with the
winos... They are always good at "making a man
out of you."
Along the same lines, the Northern Illinois Area Service Newsletter
gave us this sneering piece of anti-intellectual propaganda
that tells us that an ordinary A.A. sponsor is much better
than a professional therapist:
Twelve Ways to Tell the Difference Between Your Sponsor and Your Therapist.
1. Your sponsor isn't all that interested in the "reasons" you drank.
2. Your therapist thinks your root problem is your lack of self-esteem,
negative self-image, and your poor self-concept. Your sponsor thinks
your problem is a 3-letter word with no hyphens.
3. Your therapist wants you to pamper your "inner child." Your sponsor
thinks he ought to be spanked.
4. Your sponsor thinks your inventory should be about you, not your parents.
5. Speaking of your parents, your sponsor tells you not to confront them,
but to apologize to them.
6. The only time your sponsor uses the word "closure," is before the
7. Your sponsor thinks "boundaries" are things you need to take down not
8. Your therapist wants you to love yourself first, your sponsor wants
you to love others first.
9. Your therapist prescribes caretaking and medication. Your sponsor
prescribes prayer-making and meditation.
10. Your sponsor thinks "anger management skills" are numbered 1-2-3... 12.
11. Now that you haven't had a drink in six months, your therapist thinks
you should make a list of your goals and objectives for the next five
years, starting with finishing up that college degree. Your sponsor
thinks you should start today by cleaning the coffee pots and helping
him carry a heavy box of literature to the jail.
12. Your sponsor won't lose his license if he talks about God.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS AREA LTD.
AREA 20 SERVICE LETTER
VOLUME XXIV , NO.1
Note the attacks on you:
In item 2, your therapist will diagnose you as
lacking self-esteem and having a negative self-image,
but A.A. says that you are egotistical, and need to be put down
Item 3 says that your inner child needs a spanking,
and item 5 says that you need to go apologize to your parents,
and then the rest of the items try to make you feel
even worse about yourself...
They really want to burden you with guilt and self-doubts.
And see how they want to keep you down and in the cult.
Item 11 says that you should not think about finishing college
— you should just spend your time on A.A. busy-work like cleaning
the coffee pots, and proselytizing and recruiting at the local jail.
Heaven Forbid you should go off to college; you might get smart and
really recover and not come back to the cult.
(But you know that if you don't go get that college degree, that you
will probably be working for minimum wage, or for very low wages,
for the rest of your life. And then your job might be outsourced to India or China.
What kind of a future is A.A. really offering you? Just a life of poverty-stricken
slavery in the cult. Misery loves company, and they want you to stay and
keep them company.)
Also notice how the sarcastic sponsor in that sneering piece of propaganda
does not want to know why you drank. (Item 1.) But if you don't figure that out,
and fix what's broken, then you will probably relapse. They are increasing
the failure rate by their refusal to look at the causes of drinking.
But this has to be the crown jewel: After yet another relapse, one A.A. member
who was a chronic relapser declared:
When I came into A.A. the first time, I just had no feeling
for the spiritual and paid no attention to it. But this last time in,
I not only recognized that there is something which distinguishes me from a tree
but that it is something special that I have to look after, and pay attention
to, as I am learning to care for myself. The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up View For Professionals,
Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., page 86.
What?! You mean I'm not a tree?!
Right. The dead give-away is the color of your leaves. The tree's are green,
and yours are pink.
A.A. plays Blame-The-Victim with alcoholics.
You don't get more than five minutes into any Alcoholics Anonymous
meeting before someone is reading a canned statement,
the beginning paragraphs of Chapter Five of the Big Book,
that says that anyone for whom the A.A. program doesn't work
is "constitutionally incapable of being honest."
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.
At some of these [steps] we balked. We thought we could find a softer,
easier way. But we could not. With
all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to
be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of
us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result
was nil until we let go absolutely." Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson,
Chapter Five, "How It Works", page 58.
A.A. always plays blame-the-victim when the program fails
to sober somebody up or keep somebody sober:
They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way."
(That is a good example of Bill Wilson's
When he says that it isn't their fault, he is really saying that it
IS their fault because they were "born that way" — born dishonest.
The failure was certainly not the fault of Bill Wilson's wonderful "spiritual
program" that never fails.)
A.A. recruiters, promoters and proselytizers (like the counselors and
therapists who work in treatment centers) never,
not for a minute, honestly consider the possibility
that maybe A.A. and the Twelve Steps aren't right for
many people — never mind the fact that A.A. is wrong for most
people, or that
the A.A. 12-Step program doesn't really work at all.
Notice the two veiled statements in the last paragraph of that quote,
where Bill Wilson underhandedly implied that the Twelve Steps actually do work:
"The members couldn't find any easier, softer, way,
but the A.A. steps worked...",
"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result
was nil until we let go absolutely."
Both of those statements are lies. That is
the Big Lie propaganda technique, used once again.
The 12 Steps didn't work. They have never worked.
The "results" were always "nil".
Even as Bill Wilson was writing those words,
his fledgeling New York Alcoholics Anonymous group was experiencing
a terrible relapse rate.
Very few of Bill Wilson's followers actually
maintained sobriety. Bill and Dr. Bob themselves actually calculated
their success rate to be
a mere five percent,
but that is not what Bill Wilson
wrote in the Big Book. He lied and
said that 75% recovered.
(75% of those who "really tried". That is the propaganda trick of
Lying With Qualifiers.
Notice that A.A. is a "heads I win, tails you lose"
kind of con game:
If you quit drinking and stay quit, then "the A.A. program"
gets all of the credit.
But if you relapse and die drunk, then you get all of the blame.
A.A. is perfect; you're a loser.
When a doctor prescribes penicillin, and it fails to clear up an
infection, the doctor switches to using something else, perhaps streptomycin or Keflex
or dicloxacillin. The doctor does not just claim that the
reason the penicillin isn't working is because the patient is immoral,
and insist that the patient just take more penicillin and pray more.
But that's how A.A. treats alcoholism with the Twelve Steps.
Again, A.A. claims that a magical "spiritual"
one-size-fits-all fix, the Twelve-Step Program,
is the answer to everything. And even more outrageously,
the "fix" is to turn people into religiomaniacs
— religious fanatics. And, again, the real A.A. failure
rate is 95 or 98 or
and A.A. arrogantly claims that
they all fail because they are all
"constitutionally incapable of being honest,"
and they were
"born that way"
"will not completely give themselves to this simple program." "The program never fails anyone; people just fail the program."
To use A.A. terminology, A.A. is in denial about its true nature: A.A. is constitutionally incapable of being honest with itself.
And: A.A. is "naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of
living which demands rigorous honesty."
And: A.A. members seek a narcissistic easier, softer way by
attempting to return to infancy where they laid helplessly on
their back sides and waited for Mommy or Daddy to take care of them
and satisfy all of their demands. Now they want to declare powerlessness
and demand that God take care of them
and solve all of their problems for them.
And: A.A. members seek an easier, softer way by demanding a
simplistic solution to all of their problems — a magical 12-Step
cure-all where God removes the desire to drink alcohol, and
God also takes care of their wills and their lives for them.
Where they previously thought that alcohol was the solution to all of
their problems, they now think that 12 simple "spiritual"
steps are the solution to everything: "Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles
would solve all my problems."
(The Big Book, Chapter 3, page 42.)
Alcoholics Anonymous was just born that way.
Alcoholics Anonymous stereotypes alcoholics.
Not only does A.A. stereotype alcoholics and try to shove them all into the same mold,
A.A. uses an extremely negative stereotype of "the alcoholic".
Bill Wilson and A.A. say that alcoholics are all dishonest and in denial,
and selfish and self-seeking and manipulative, and too stupid to ever
be able to figure out how to quit drinking by themselves.
And they are all suffering from a "spiritual disease" because
they aren't holy enough.
A.A., along with all of the other 12-Step recovery groups,
is not only apolitical, it is downright anti-political.
This, combined with the anti-intellectualism listed
above, makes the A.A. organization a corrupt politician's dream
come true — those people just will not
do anything to rock the boat or threaten the status quo. It is
no surprise that fascist dictators like having A.A.
in their countries, and Latin America is one of the biggest
growth areas for A.A..
The only apparent exception to the rule of ignoring the
societal causes of alcoholism is that A.A. recognizes
that past child abuse, being an Adult Child Of Alcoholics, contributes
to alcoholism. And the fix is: Join ACOA, do the Twelve Steps,
read the Book, go to lots of meetings, confess everything, etc... And make amends
apologizing for being angry
about getting beaten or molested.
And for other family members, the answer is to
join Al-Anon or Alateen, and
do the Twelve Steps, go to lots of meetings, confess everything, etc...
It is a headstrong organization that does whatever it can to block
research and progress in the treatment of alcoholism.
A.A. refuses to allow any research into other treatments for
alcoholism, some of which might actually work, just for a change.
AA has taken pains to ensure that it's the only game in town. AA members have set up
"educational" and "medical" front groups to promote AA and its ideology (especially
the 12 steps and the disease concept of alcoholism). In addition to promoting AA and
its concepts, the hidden AA members (in "professional" guise) in these front groups
have repeatedly and viciously attacked critics of AA and researchers who've
published findings contrary to AA dogma. They have also attempted to suppress
alternative alcoholism treatment approaches — and to a great extent they've succeeded.
== From Chas. Bufe's AA: Cult or Cure, Preface to Second Edition
Again: We can do better than this.
This is the year 2013, and we can come up with a better answer to
alcoholism and drug addiction than "abandon yourself
to God." (Or to "Higher Power", or whatever it is...)
A.A. illegally and immorally coerces people into
joining the A.A. religion.
The organization has a vast network of "counselors",
"therapists", and other treatment professionals who
all patients to A.A. as a standard part of the treatment program.
A.A. also uses judges and parole officers to coerce people into A.A..
11. By telling the A.A. story to clergy members, doctors, judges,
educators, employers, or police officials if we know them well
enough to further the A.A. cause, or to help out a fellow member. The Little Red Book, Hazelden, page 128.
And Hazelden is merely echoing Bill Wilson's instructions.
In a 1939 letter from Bill to Earl T., a founding member of the
Chicago A.A. group, Bill wrote:
By educating doctors, hospitals, ministers along this line,
you will surely pick up some strong prospects after a bit. PASS IT ON,
The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world,
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pages 225-226.
Every American court that has ruled on the issue of compulsory
A.A. attendance has ruled that A.A. is a religion, or engages in
"religious activities, as defined in constitutional law,"
including the Federal District Court for Southern New York,
the Federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, the New York and
Tennessee state Supreme Courts, and the Federal 7th Circuit
Court in Wisconsin.
Today, because of the judges' rulings, the coercion is often
performed by deception: People are told that they must go to
a certain number of recovery group meetings per week, or else,
and they are handed a list of acceptable meetings, a list which
contains only A.A. and N.A. 12-Step groups. What they are not told
is that they can also choose to go to Rational Recovery, SMART,
SOS, WFS, MFS, or any other secular recovery group meetings that they can
find. So, by default, almost everyone ends up at the twelve-step
meetings, unaware of the fact that they have a choice in the matter.
The counselors are taking full advantage of people's confusion
and mental disorientation during the early phases of detoxing and recovery.
If asked about it, the counselors will rationalize their actions
"Well, those groups are what works.
Twelve-Step treatment is the proven successful program.
It's how we all recovered."
— Thus repeating the standard party line and
the Big Lie one more time,
and revealing that the counselors are sending the patients to the
counselors' own religion.
Alcoholics Anonymous is dishonest.
A.A. is grossly dishonest, and lies like a rug. A.A. lies about:
A.A. says that it is not a religion, and is not a religious
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization.
The Big Book, Forward to the 2nd Edition,
William G. Wilson, page XX (of the 3rd edition).
But the state and Federal judges say that it is, and that A.A.'s denials
don't count. That is simple enough to understand:
If a parrot says that it is an eagle,
insists for years that it is an eagle, screams to everyone who will
listen that it is really an eagle, does that make it an eagle? No.
It's still just a crazy parrot.
If A.A. says that it is only a "spiritual fellowship",
just a wonderful spiritual quit-drinking self-help group, and not a cult
religion, and says it for years, for decades, does that make it so? No.
It's still just a crazy cult religion.
A.A. says that it is a program of attraction, not promotion
— that's Tradition Eleven.
A.A. pretends to be just another self-help group that
doesn't want to get involved in "outside issues"
or "public controversy" — that's Tradition Ten.
But A.A. uses counselors, therapists, parole
officers, judges and doctors to coerce people into A.A.,
and A.A. uses hidden members and front groups like ASAM and NCADD to
promote A.A., 12-Step "treatment", and A.A. beliefs about
In addition, A.A. uses organizations like Hazelden as publishing
fronts, to print large amounts of
dogmatic pro-A.A. propaganda, and if someone criticizes
the ridiculous P.R. that
Hazelden cranks out, A.A. can deny any responsibility for
what Hazelden is doing or saying.
In that way, A.A. can have its cake and eat it too; it can benefit
the propaganda, but
it can't be criticized for it, no matter
how dishonest, medically inaccurate, blatantly stupid,
religiously bigoted, dogmatic, or just plain wrong it is.
Likewise, A.A. benefits from the actions of those hidden members and
front groups, but cannot be faulted for their actions either,
because supposedly, "No one speaks for A.A., and A.A.
isn't responsible for the actions of those people."
And lest you believe that the connection between Hazelden and
AAWS is loose or tenuous, consider: Hazelden is the single
largest buyer of AAWS books that there
Hazelden buys the books from AAWS and "gives" them
to its resident patients after it collects
$15,000 from them for a 28-day stay there. Hazelden also redistributes
AAWS books all over the country.
So the true believers at Hazelden have a
lot of "pull" in dictating policy at AAWS.
Likewise, AAWS has a representative on the Board of Trustees
of the Hazelden Foundation.
And above all, they are all fellow members of, and true believers in,
Bill Wilson's Twelve-Step version of
Frank Buchman's weird
So they are all very much in bed together.
And AAWS does not tell Hazelden to quit printing that fanatical,
stupid pro-A.A. propaganda that tells people to
just dump their
own religions and only believe in Alcoholics Anonymous and the teachings
of Bill Wilson to get the A.A. style of "spirituality"...
And then A.A. even advertises itself on television, trolling for
more members. And script writers who are hidden members of Alcoholics
Anonymous routinely plant plugs for the 12-Step cult in programs like
ER, The West Wing, and Hill Street Blues.
They have no intentions of following
their declared "Twelve Traditions".
Their behavior is completely hypocritical.
On another issue, the national leadership of A.A.,
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), has been
perjury and causing grievous harm to foreign A.A. members for the
"crime" of making cheap copies of old, copyright-expired
versions of the Big Book available to poor people in foreign countries like Mexico,
Germany, and Sweden.
got an innocent man
— another A.A. member! — sentenced to prison for a year.
In Germany, they shut down a pro-A.A. web site, and sued for enough of
a fortune to destroy the A.A. member who was carrying the message, as well
as banning the member from ever giving away another A.A. book to anyone.
And now that German A.A. member is facing paying a fine of 2.75 Million Euros
or going to prison...
(The final verdict was supposed to be issued August 5, 2003, but the case is
still dragging on.)
AAWS did that just to protect its own profits.
The A.A. headquarters currently has $6,000,000 of cash reserves
in the bank (as of their 2002 financial statement),
but AAWS seems to want even more, and they are willing
to even put innocent people, including A.A. members, in prison to get it.
So much for their "rigorous honesty" and
"unselfish, constructive action."
In the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-Steps, Anthony of the U.K.
said it eloquently:
The issue I have isn't with alcoholics squabbling; I take that as a
given. The issue I have is with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services
presenting, in two different courts, false evidence. False evidence
which in both cases had very severe consequences for the individuals
To clarify, in Germany, Alcoholics Anonymous claimed that Bill Wilson
was the *sole author* of _Alcoholics_Anonymous_, which clearly isn't
true. In Mexico, Alcoholics Anonymous claimed that one Wayne Parks
was the sole author of _Alcoholics_Anonymous_ , an individual who
in all likelihood hadn't been born when the book was written.
I realise that your concept of morals and ethics is very different to
mine. Suffice to say I believe that lying in court under oath is one
of the most serious offences one can commit, since it is an attack on
justice itself. There is a reason why, in almost all courts in almost
all countries, one is asked to swear an oath on a Holy Book, be it the
Bible or similar work of religious significance, to tell "the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God".
AA, at its highest organisational level, broke that vow. That, in my
view, puts AA as an organised body quite beyond the pale.
I believe that more and more
recovering alcoholics of good character are walking away from AA in an
organised sense, no longer wishing to be part of such an organisation.
All people of conscience have to make such decisions, however painful
they may seem. The lies, the obfuscation, the flexibility and
dishonesty in matters of law, morals and ethics fall way short of the
ideals laid down by our founders.
[Now a dead link.]
[Local copy of document
29 July 2001.
Please note that Mitchell K. was present in Germany, witnessing the
courtroom proceedings. Also note that Mitchell is an old, faithful,
member of A.A., who has written a lot of history of A.A., including
a biography of
And see a pamphlet that A.A.
members have been circulating, denouncing the dishonesty of the A.A. leaders.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a haven for fanatics and religiomaniacs.
It is routine for the true believers to dominate the meetings, bragging
about the amount of "quality knee time" that they rack up each day
(praying on their knees), or delivering well-practiced sermons that
declare that A.A. with the Twelve Steps is the only way to
survive alcoholism, and that Bill Wilson was just the greatest genius
in the world, who
was so brilliant to have made up twelve such perfect steps that will solve all
of the world's problems... And there is no way to get those nuts and
fools to shut up. Sure, you can walk out and go to a
different meeting, but it will usually be the same thing over there.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a haven for sexual predators and other
Once such people get (or can claim to have) enough sober time to become
sponsors, they can collect a harem or circle of sponsees,
and run the sponsees' lives and get pretty much whatever they want.
And some blood-sucking insects really do that.
Some sponsors have the reputation of getting every pretty
young woman who joins the group,
and there is even a slang name for such behavior,
the girl. At the gay and lesbian meetings,
the victims are of the same sex,
There are also financial predators who "sponsor" newcomers, and then "borrow" money from them,
and get them working for free or for very low wages, doing anything from house-cleaning and
mowing the lawn to doing free carpentry.
And there are sequential bigamists who marry lonely older women whom they find at A.A. meetings,
and then they empty the woman's bank account, and take her life savings, and max out her credit
cards, and take out a loan on her house, and then disappear with the money, only to show up
at another A.A. meeting in another city with a new name, to do it all again.
And again, the A.A. rules provide no
simple way to get rid of such predators, because the only
requirement for A.A. membership is a desire
to stop drinking. The group can ask a victimizer to leave after
he has become intolerably harmful to
too many people, but he can just go to a different group. The
anonymity of A.A. helps to hide the criminals.
In addition, it can be very difficult, or even impossible for
the group to know what a sponsor is doing with a sponsee.
The sponsor does not have to
turn in any progress reports, or report the status of the sponsee's
recovery, or answer to anyone for anything. There is no system
of accountability. If the sponsee does not report to the group
what the sponsor has done, then no one will ever know.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of brutal victimization.
A.A. wants people to hit bottom so that they will
be easy to convert to the A.A. religion. A.A. people often say that
alcoholics aren't much good for anything until they hit bottom,
and can be made to surrender. Hard-ass sponsors will even say to
refuse religious conversion
as a condition of quitting drinking,
"Maybe you should go back out and do some more research on the
Any doctor will tell you that waiting for
someone to hit bottom maximizes the damage to the liver, kidneys,
and brain, and is the worst possible way to handle alcoholism.
In addition, the people who show the best recovery rates are the people
who have not 'hit bottom' and lost everything. The people who still
have something left to lose are more motivated to recover, so that they
don't lose it all. The people who have really hit bottom and lost it
all don't have anything left to come back to — they have no house, possessions,
career or marriage left to save, or to return to.
Many of them feel like their lives are over, and they are less motivated to recover.
In the Big Book, Bill Wilson lectured recruiters about an alcoholic who didn't
want to join Bill's religion:
If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to
act only as a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse
for his sprees, you may have to drop him until he changes his
mind. This he may do after he gets hurt some more.
Big Book, page 95.
So Bill Wilson says that you should just "drop him" and send him out to get
hurt some more.
Why doesn't Mr. William Wilson recommend a "middle road,"
where you don't loan the alcoholic any money, and you don't let him take
advantage of you, but you don't just drop him because he
isn't interested in your "spiritual solution"?
Could it be that
Mr. Wilson has no use
for anyone who will not surrender to him,
and join his religious cult, and believe what Bill says, and obey his orders?
Again, Wilson wrote that if you won't accept his statements on
faith alone, then you need to be beaten into submission:
Besides a seeming inability to accept much on
faith, we found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy,
sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us
have been so touchy that even casual reference to
spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This
sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of
us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside
such feelings. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we
soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as
we tried to be on other questions. In this respect
alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a
state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious
process; we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as
long as some of us were.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
Pages 47 and 48.
Note that you are "prejudiced" if you disagree with Bill Wilson's
preaching, and you need to get "beaten into a state of reasonableness".
Wilson repeated that idea in his later book, Twelve Steps and
Why all this insistence that every A.A. member must hit bottom first?
The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A.
program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing A.A.'s remaining
eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost
no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. Who wishes to
be rigorously honest and tolerant? ...
Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A. ...
Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and
as willing to listen as the dying can be. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson,
"Who would want to sincerely try a cult religion?"
Normal relatively sane people will not believe in William Wilson's
delusions, or join his cult religion, or follow his orders.
Only truly desperate, dying people can be so
Anything you say can end up on the streets, or
in a court of law. You can be blackmailed with what you say.
A.A. meetings are a gossip-monger's dream come true.
Some A.A. members have been horrified to find that their
innermost dirty little secrets became common knowledge all
over town shortly after confessing them in a meeting
or to their sponsor...
One of the stories in Rebecca Fransway's book
AA Horror Stories reports a vindictive sponsor, who, after
being fired by her sponsee, got her revenge by blabbing all of the sponsee's
Fifth Step confessions all over town.
Remember that sponsors are not Catholic Priests, sworn to secrecy by sacred
oaths on the Bible. You just hope that sponsors and other A.A. members will
keep their mouths shut.
Professional people, like politicians,
doctors, and lawyers, are noticeably absent from the A.A. meetings — it
would be professional suicide for those people to publicly declare that
they have an alcohol or drug problem.
A.A. is arrogant, smug, and self-congratulatory.
Alcoholics Anonymous arrogates to itself the role of defining alcoholism
as well as its cure.
Bill Wilson declared that alcoholism was "an illness which only
a spiritual experience will conquer", and then Bill claimed that
practicing the Twelve Steps that he copied from the Oxford Group cult
could produce that spiritual experience.
A.A. members imagine that they actually talk to God, and get their
orders from God, while doing Step Eleven.
It is the height of egotism and conceit for someone to maintain that he
knows what God's Will really is, because God talks to him,
and tells him, every day — and then imagining that
ordinary people are not so religious, and don't follow God's Will,
because they don't do Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps.
Likewise, Bill Wilson's books declare that A.A. members will
actually become more spiritual or enlightened than they ever
would have if they had not been lucky enough to be alcoholics.
When someone talks to God, that is called prayer.
When someone hears God talking back and telling him what to do,
that is called schizophrenia, or delusions of grandeur,
or a messianic complex...
And A.A. is terribly smug, sanctimonious, and self-congratulatory.
The Big Book yields such jewels as:
"You poor guy. I feel so sorry for you. You're not an alcoholic.
You can never know the pure joy of recovering within the Fellowship of
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 334.
It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and
useful once more. How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and
hopelessness? The practical answer is that since these things have
happened among us, they can happen with you. Should you wish them above
all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they
will come. The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
A Vision For You, page 153.
I saw in these people a quality of peace and serenity that I knew
I must have for myself.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 310.
They had that certain something that seemed to glow, a peace
and a serenity combined with happiness.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 290.
This wasn't "religion" — this was freedom!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 228.
What is this power that A.A. possesses? This curative power? I
don't know what it is. I suppose the doctor might say, "This is
psychosomatic medicine." I suppose the psychiatrist might say,
"This is benevolent interpersonal relations." I suppose
others would say, "This is group psychotherapy."
To me it is God.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 352.
I know the biggest word for me in A.A. is "honesty."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 482.
I owe everything to A.A.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 344.
I am grateful to A.A. for my sobriety...
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 383.
Why am I alive, free, a respected member of my community?
Because A.A. really works for me!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 421.
I had been brought up to believe in God, but I know that until I
found this A.A. program, I had never found or known faith in the
reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with me in
everything I do.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 341.
In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the
Keys to the Kingdom.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 312.
I feel that there is no situation too difficult, none too
desperate, no unhappiness too great to be overcome in this
great fellowship — Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 395.
And then there is...
I always believed in God, but could never put that belief
meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous,
I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him...
Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members,
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, January 1, page 9.
May I never lose the sense of wonder I experienced on that
first evening with A.A., the greatest event of my entire life.
Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members,
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, October 19, page 301.
"God in His wisdom has selected a group of men to be the purveyors of
His goodness. In selecting them through whom to bring about this
phenomenon He went not to the proud, the mighty, the famous or the
brilliant. He went to the humble, to the sick, to the unfortunate
— he went to the drunkard, the so-called weakling of the world.
Well might He have said to us: 'Into your weak and feeble hands I
have entrusted a Power beyond estimate. To you has been given that
which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to
scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my
priests and ministers have I given this gift of healing other
alcoholics, which I entrust to you.'"
Judge John T., speaking at the Fourth Anniversary of the
founding of the
Chicago Alcoholics Anonymous Group, October 5, 1943.
"... there are times, oh so many times, when I wish I had been an alcoholic. The reason is
that I consider the AA people to be the most charming in the world. ...
They have found a power greater than themselves which they serve diligently.
And that gives them a charm that never was elsewhere on land and sea. It makes you
know that God Himself is really charming, because the AA people reflect His
mercy and His forgiveness.
... when they have found their restoration, their sense of humor
finds a blessed freedom, and they are able to reach a god-like state..." Where Did Everybody Go?, Paul Molloy,
Mulder, on The X-Files, has a poster that
says "I Want To Believe." That should be the motto of
A.A.. Far too many people are in the position
of just wanting to believe that it works, in spite of all
evidence to the contrary, including the shrinking
circle of friends and the mounting stack of dead bodies. Then
they tell all of the newcomers
"Keep coming back, it works!"
(and attack anyone who points to the stack of dead bodies and questions
whether it really works). Thus, A.A. also aids and abets a
monomaniacal obsession with a single
panacea, a twelve-step program.
Just because you want to believe doesn't mean that you
should believe, any more than the fact
that you want to take a drink means that you should take a
Wanting to believe is perhaps the most powerful dynamic initiating and sustaining
cult-like behavior. The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in
Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., page 137.
Too many things about A.A. are irrational and crazy,
so irrational that the A.A. believers even revere the
teachings of a madman, William G. Wilson,
who openly demanded that people abandon Reason, logic,
and human intelligence, and just
blind faith in his religious beliefs as the answer
to all of their problems.
So now we have a country full of certified drug and alcohol
counselors who swear that the ravings of this lunatic are the
answer to this country's drug and alcohol problems. No wonder
the "treatment" fails so much.
It's a pretend church.
People who never made it through the seminary now get to play
priest and lead the congregation in prayers. Unfortunately, they
also get to lead the newcomers in
everything else in their lives too, and play wise know-it-all
spiritual teacher even if they are stupid
jerks or cruel fools. And they don't even need much seniority to do it.
Six months or a year of sober time is plenty for someone to start lecturing
the newcomers as if he were an old pro, a successful abstainer, and a wise guru.
And that's part of the fun of A.A. and N.A.:
stick around for a while, and pretty soon,
you too can start passing yourself off as an old-timer, one of the great ones,
a big frog in a small pond, admired and respected by the young.
It's also pretend medicine.
People with no medical qualifications or training whatsoever
get to play both doctor and psychiatrist, sometimes with
disastrous results, like when they decide to
tell sponsees not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.
It is a culture of sickness.
Members are expected to spend the rest of their lives going
to meetings with a bunch of alcoholics, drug addicts, street
criminals, convicts, and dogmatic religious believers, all of
whom complain that they are powerless over their addictions,
and that their lives have become unmanageable, and that they
can't ever recover. And they even brag,
"Quitting isn't an option for addicts like us."
Do you really want to have some loser alcoholic or drug addict
who has failed to run his own life and who is now addicted to
12-Step meetings and cult religion, to be your sponsor, your advisor and
teacher and spiritual guru, giving you orders and determining the rest
of your life?
A far better treatment plan is to just quit drinking forever
— not "one day at a time" — forever — and then
get out of the meetings, and go hang out with a bunch of healthy,
successful people. Forget the
"nobody understands us alcoholics but another alcoholic"
nonsense. Do you want to be understood by an old drunkard, or do you want to live happily?
I am still noticing what a joy it is to talk to an attractive
young woman about drug or alcohol problems, and hear her respond,
"Oh, I don't do that kind of stuff. I think it would just mess
me up..." Then we are free to talk about other stuff, like
art, music, computers, children, or whatever... Anything but
more stories of misery. Anything but more stories of
drug and alcohol problems.
It is unnecessary.
More people recover from alcoholism without Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps
than do it with them,
several times over.
More people recover without any
support group of any kind than with one. A.A. won't
tell you that; that's one of the biggest dirty little secrets that A.A. has.
The A.A. dogma says, "Nobody can do it alone." The truth is, most
successful people do it that way.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health,
performed the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related
Conditions. For it, they interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol
dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:
"About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do
so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab)
programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever
receive specialty alcohol treatment."
The Harvard Mental Health Letter, from The Harvard Medical
School, stated quite plainly:
On their own
There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts,
treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts
break the habit in an average of 11 years.
Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free
themselves although only 10% are ever treated.
One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover
for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully
treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was
interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad
for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems,
accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit.
Others used such phrases as "Things were building up"
or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband
or wife was important in sustaining the resolution. Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III,
The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4,
October 1995, page 3.
(See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)
When the vast majority of the successful people recover without Alcoholics Anonymous, and
most all of the people who go to A.A. don't get sober in A.A., then you
know that it isn't A.A. that is making people get sober.
Alcoholics Anonymous is unnecessary.
Nobody is responsible.
When something goes wrong, and somebody is badly abused,
misguided, or harmed in some way, there is no one to answer for
anything. Nobody is really in
charge. Every group is independent, and has no connection to any
other, even if they are all doing
the same thing. "No one speaks for A.A.", they say, so
nobody can answer criticisms. But because nobody is
responsible for anything, and nobody is in charge,
nobody can fix anything, either.
Also, when a member relapses and dies, or commits suicide,
nobody is responsible. A.A. blames the victim: The
victim was just morally inferior and "constitutionally dishonest
with himself", or "he wasn't ready", or "he hadn't hit
bottom yet", or maybe "he held something back in his Fifth Step".
It was not the sponsor's fault, they say. No matter what the
sponsor did to the guy, like tell him to stop taking his medications,
the sponsor isn't responsible for anything.
It's all the victim's fault.
No way will A.A. accept even the tiniest bit of responsibility
for the failures and the deaths, even though it gleefully claims all of the
credit for the successes.
The applicable A.A. slogan is, "Some must die so that others can live."
This also means that no one does any post-mortems.
No one is accumulating any data on failures,
in order to improve the "treatment" program,
and avoid making the same mistakes again and again.
Real doctors study all of their successes and failures,
in order to learn from experience. But not A.A. or N.A..
They don't learn.
That alone is a giant tragedy — it means
that the program will never get any better.
The dogma is frozen.
The current crop of true believers smugly declare that they have all
of the answers to alcoholism in the teachings of Bill W. and
Doctor Bob, and that there is nothing more to discuss.
They won't even look at new alcoholism treatments.
That is not how Bill W. and Doctor Bob worked.
They were very inquisitive and
inclusive, not exclusive. Both of them learned everything they
could about alcoholism from Dr.
Silkworth, and they consulted with whatever other experts they
could find, on a wide variety of
subjects. Bill experimented with using megavitamin doses to
treat alcoholism, and even tried LSD
for the same reason. He never stopped looking for new answers.
Alas, that isn't how the current high
priests behave at all. They don't know the meanings of the words
"investigate" or "experiment."
They just arrogantly declare that their Twelve-Step program is
the infallible answer to all of the
world's ills. — Not just the answer to alcoholism, but
to all of the world's ills.
Also, because of the cultish worship of Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob Smith,
nothing new can be added to the A.A. scriptures. No one compares in
holiness or wisdom to those two, so no one can dare to update or change the
dogma, even when it is
The first 164 pages of the
Big Book are considered sacred, inviolate, and cannot be changed.
And they weren't either. Now the Fourth Edition of the Big Book
is out, and the first 164 pages remain untouched. Only other people's
autobiographical stories were changed. And Clarence Snyder's story
("Home Brewmeister") was removed from the book because
Snyder dared to criticize Bill Wilson's
when he was alive.
A.A. uses fear, guilt, and lies to manipulate people.
This is not a positive, life-affirming
program. It is very negative to keep telling people that they
will relapse and die unless they do
And there is a lot to do right: not just the
Twelve Steps with all of the self-criticism
and guilt induction, but also attending lots of meetings, and
complying with all of the accumulated
"wisdom" like "you can't have any
resentments", "stuff your feelings", and "do
what your sponsor says."
People become neurotic and depressed, they become mentally ill, if
they spend too much of their time in states of fear and guilt. And
A.A. tells a lot of lies, myths, untruths, and fairy tales, to keep
people trapped in fear and guilt.
Remember that we are dealing with alcohol — cunning,
baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us.
But there is One who has all power — that One is God.
May you find Him now!
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5,
How It Works, pages 58-59.
John Barleycorn promises us jails, institutions, or death.
Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3,
More About Alcoholism, page 33.
We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are
in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable
period we get worse, never better.
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3,
More About Alcoholism, page 30.
I now remembered what my alcoholic friends had told me,
how they had prophesied that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time
and place would come — I would drink again. They had said that though
I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason
for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had
learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all. I knew from that moment
that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self-knowledge
would not help in those strange mental blank spots. I had never been
able to understand people who said that a problem had them hopelessly
defeated. I knew then. It was a crushing blow.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3,
More About Alcoholism, pages 41-42.
If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
chapter 6, Into Action, page 72.
Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our
suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his
own death warrant. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.
The term "cross-talk" means
saying something in response to something
somebody else said. That is forbidden at meetings. The original
idea was to prevent put-downs or
criticism of what someone said, to allow people to be as open and
honest as possible. But now it just
means that nobody gets any responses to anything they say. Hence
there is no way to give anyone
any feedback in a meeting. You can't tell people that they are
going off the deep end, or babbling
crazy nonsense, or mindlessly embracing cult dogma.
Everybody is just talking to a blank wall,
and gets no answers or comments back. Thus there is no brake to
keep people from going off on a tangent. They can say lots of
crazy things and everybody just sits there and silently accepts it.
In any ordinary group, people cannot talk crazy for very long before
somebody else will call them on it, and say, "Oh yeh? That
sounds really goofy. Can you explain
that? Can you prove that statement? Where did you hear
that? Who told you that?" In A.A. meetings, they won't ever
get called on anything. They will never get a reality check.
Also, no one can shut up the nuts who rave on and on about
how wonderful the organization is, and how it gave them a life,
and the organization is their new life, and
how the Twelve Steps are the answer to everything — a brilliant
solution to all of the problems of the world...
It is throw-away therapy for throw-away people.
All of the city, state, and federal
governments want to do "something" about the drug and
alcohol problem, but they don't want to do
much. So they just give a contract for drug and alcohol
treatment to the lowest bidder, and ignore
the problem for the rest of the year. And if the lowest bidder's
therapy doesn't really work, well, what
can you expect for so little money? To get something better
would cost more, wouldn't it?
And, of course, the cheapest "treatment programs" are
based on free A.A. and N.A. meetings.
A.A. claims that it is the only way.
Beginners are told that the Twelve-Step
program is the only way to achieve sobriety, and that nothing
else works. If the student
believes that, then there is no reason to do anything
else, or to study anything else, to help
oneself, other than just do the Twelve Steps
and do whatever the sponsor says. When the Twelve Steps don't
work, the student has no other
techniques or knowledge to use to prevent a relapse,
or to recover from a relapse, so he relapses and
sometimes dies drunk out in the streets.
A.A. is quick to accuse all competing groups and recovery
methods of killing patients, but maintains its own innocence.
A.A. claims that it does not kill and could never kill patients.
But I don't know what else to call it when they just give people
a lot of misinformation, and then play blame-the-victim
when the program fails and those people die.
Professor George E. Vaillant,
who is a member of the Board
of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., did an 8-year-long
test of A.A. treatment of alcoholics, and found that the A.A. program
the highest death rate
of any kind of alcoholism treatment that he studied.)
The authoritive literature is vague, imprecise,
bombastic, and grandiose.
Too much of the organization's
defining literature, like the Big Book, Alcoholics
Anonymous, is written in a euphemistic style where words mean
whatever someone wants them to mean:
"We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in
hand with the Spirit of the Universe."
(The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
Chapter 6, page 75.)
"Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge
of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the
promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh
courage to flagging spirits."
(The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 53.)
"We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve
contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day
is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our
(The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson,
Chapter 6, Into Action, page 85.)
(Just where did that "vision" come from? Prayer, meditation,
delusions of grandeur?)
"We have come to believe He would like us to keep
our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to
be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers
are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the
realities for us. We have found nothing incompatible between
a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy
(The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
Chapter 9, page 130.)
"He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love."
(The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
Chapter 4, page 56.)
"Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of
God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe
that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and
the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us,
(The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
Chapter 4, page 49.)
Uh, Hello? I just came here to get some advice on quitting drinking.
Hello? Does anybody here speak English?
It is voodoo medicine and cult religion masquerading as medical
And when the "spiritual" treatment fails, their
answer is to switch from 3 to 7 meetings
per week, or even to 3 meetings per day.
It is also voodoo medicine in another sense: It is completely
unscientific, and uses superstition instead of facts.
A.A. claims that alcoholism is a "spiritual disease,"
without ever defining
what a spiritual disease is, or explaining how spirits can get sick.
And then A.A. says that the "spiritual treatment" for this
"spiritual disease" is going to A.A. meetings, doing the
Twelve Steps, and recruiting more group members.
Bill Wilson called that
They start off by telling you that A.A. is a loose, easy-going
fellowship, where the Twelve Steps are
only a suggested program
for recovery. Later, they will tell you that
you will die
if you don't follow the Steps correctly, and perform all of the Steps
to the best of your ability.
They will tell you that you can "Take what you want,
and leave the rest." Then they will tell you that you
can't ever leave, and that your brain is too damaged for you to be
able to choose what is right for you.
Finally, they will tell you that you do not even have
"the right to
decide all by yourself just what you shall think."
(Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
William Wilson, pages 36-37.)
Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum
service to God... Big Book, page 77.
Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently
live in a new and wonderful world... Big Book, page 100.
They start off by telling you that alcoholism is a progressive
disease over which you are powerless, but they end up telling you
that you are guilty of sins, "defects of character",
and "moral shortcomings" —
that you have a moral problem more than a medical problem.
In Step One, you have a disease, which is
a moral stigma."
But by Step Four,
they have you busy doing a "searching and fearless
moral inventory", not a thorough medical examination.
And even worse, they will tell you that it's a moral problem that
can only be repaired by confessing all of your defects and
shortcomings to man and God. Then they will tell you that you
can't ever recover, and that you must spend the rest of your life
going to their church services ("meetings") and confessing.
Those of us who are not atheists or agnostics, who do believe
in a "Higher Power" or God of some kind,
and who try to be sane and reasonable in our religious beliefs,
get tired of the constantly-parroted bizarre A.A. theology that
makes God into a cruel, heartless, arbitrary, authoritarian,
dictatorial, wish-granting, patriarchal monster
Who micro-manages the world, and does a very poor job of it.
And the same goes for the gross misuse and misinterpretation of
spiritual concepts like ego loss, surrender to God, or "spiritual
A "spiritual experience" to me meant attending meetings,
seeing a group of people, all there for the purpose of helping each other;
hearing the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions read at a meeting,
and hearing the Lord's Prayer, which in an A.A. meeting has such great
meaning — "Thy will be done, not mine."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition,
"It Might Have Been Worse", page 381.
("Yeh, don't you just get all choked up when you hear the Twelve
Steps read out loud? That's a real spiritual experience, for sure...")
And those of us who try to be sane and reasonable in our religious beliefs
get really tired of the moronic, superstitious, childish
Santa Claus spirituality of the
the A.A. true believers who think that they can get whatever
they want just by praying for it —
"Just incant the name of your favorite Higher Power three times, loudly,
and then read your Christmas wish list out loud, and Santa Claus will soon bring you
all of the goodies."
I have no other explanation for the many good things that have
happened to me since I have been in A.A. — they came to me
from a Greater Power.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition,
Rum, Radio, and Rebellion, page 367.
(Those good things couldn't have been caused by quitting drinking?
They couldn't have been caused by no longer constantly shooting yourself
in the foot by always being drunk at the wrong times?
They couldn't possibly have been caused by being clear-headed, healthy,
and able to work and get stuff done — just for a change)?
A.A. features questionable advisors and counselors.
The biggest losers are the best advisors, or so the story goes.
The people with the worst war stories and drunkalogues have made
the biggest recoveries, so they are the best teachers. Or are they?
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Or does it?
What if it leads to the palace of brain damage and insanity?
What if the biggest losers were that way for a reason, like that they
had big mental problems even before their alcoholism or drug addictions,
problems that they vainly tried to fix by self-medicating with
drugs and alcohol?
Or, what if the biggest losers were horrible vicious criminals
even before they ever started drinking and drugging to excess?
Do they automatically become sane, wise, kindly advisors,
knowledgeable priests and ministers, and competent
recovery counselors, just because they quit drinking alcohol
and taking drugs, and attended a bunch of A.A. meetings, and started
"seeking and doing the will of God"? Not likely.
The simple fact of the matter is, healthy, wealthy, and wise people do
not join Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, so your odds of
getting a wise, intelligent sponsor to guide you through your recovery are
Then it gets worse. There are many A.A. and N.A. groups that are notorious
for existing to supply the elders with young girls, money, and slavish
followers. The sponsors are not wise counselors — they are sexual
predators and energy-sucking vampires.
See the "Midtown Group" in Washington DC,
"the Pacific Group" in California, for starters.
check out YPAA — Young People's A.A. — which is a happy hunting ground for pedophiles.
A.A. pushes a one-size-fits-all treatment program.
It doesn't matter what someone's personal history or psychiatric condition
is, every newcomer gets prescribed that same 12-Step cure-all.
"The answer to all problems is 'Do the Twelve Steps, Get a sponsor,
and Read the Big Book.'"
the 12-Step program aims to fix the "character defects" and
"moral shortcomings" of
one specific stereotypical alcoholic — someone who is very
egotistical, manipulative, arrogant, selfish, inconsiderate, grandiose,
dishonest, and resentful. In other words,
the A.A. founder Bill Wilson.
The meetings are a joke.
All too often, the meetings are just a stupid ritual that everybody
does because they think they have to do it.
The formula is always the same.
After everybody is done incanting all of the
standard plastic-laminated dogma at the start of the meeting,
people go through the motions of
"sharing", which follows this formula:
Hi, my name is fill-in-the-blank, and I am an alcoholic.
I am stupid.
A.A. is wonderful.
I lived a life of crime and misery until wonderful A.A.
miraculously saved me.
Here is a list of my favorite sins and crimes that I like to
My life is blessed with Serenity and Gratitude now because I do
the Twelve wonderful Steps that the saintly genius Bill Wilson invented.
My thinking is all screwed up, and I can't manage my own life,
but my sponsor is clear-headed
and qualified to run my life for me, in spite of the fact that he recites
the same speech and says that his thinking is fucked, but
his sponsor is really clear-headed, in spite of the fact that his sponsor
also gives the same speech, and says that his thinking is also
really fucked, etc...
A.A. is a substitute addiction, and just another dependency.
The Big Book specifically states that A.A. is a substitute for
an alcohol addiction, as well as a substitute lifestyle:
You say, "...I know I must get along without liquor,
but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"
Yes, there is a substitute, and it is
vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous.
There you will find release from care,
boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean
something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie
ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 11,
A Vision For You, page 152.
Bill Wilson's second book,
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, adds this Orwellian
Therefore dependence, as A.A. practices it, is really a means of gaining
true independence of the spirit. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
William G. Wilson, page 36.
A.A. is terribly self-absorbed — the cult is the most important
thing in the lives of many cult members.
A.A. tells the newly-sober people that they must put their "sobriety"
(meaning: the A.A. program) before
everything else, and come to depend upon A.A. to run their lives for them.
Absolutely nothing must come between themselves and
their "sobriety". That includes wife, children, job, career, everything.
The Big Book actually teaches that wives and families are expendable
in the selfish pursuit of "sobriety" and "spirituality."
The new A.A. member must spend all of his spare time going to meetings, preferably
90 Meetings In 90 Days, and must get a sponsor who will supervise his
indoctrination and keep him busy with reading the Big Book and
making lists of personal defects.
A.A. becomes such an obsession for some members that they attend from one to three
meetings per day.
After the husband joins A.A., the wife may become discontented, even
highly resentful that Alcoholics Anonymous has done the very thing that all
her years of devotion had failed to do.
Her husband may become so wrapped up in A.A. and his new friends
that he is inconsiderately away from home more than when he drank. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
William G. Wilson, page 118.
Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery.
A kindly act once in a while isn't enough.
You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.
Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson,
Working With Others, page 97.
Note that "helping others" is a euphemism for recruiting
new cult members.
"I decided I must
place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I
did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition,
Chapter B10, He Sold Himself Short, page 293.
In addition, Doctors Donald Gerard, Gerhart Saenger,
and Renee Wile described the phenomenon of
people who succeeded in quitting drinking but who became addicted to
Alcoholics Anonymous, and had no life outside of A.A.:
AA Successes... It is evident that they are as dependent on AA
as they were before on alcohol. They are very active in AA. Some of
them spend all or practically all of their free time at AA or
in 12-Step work. Conversely, they have little or no social life
apart from AA....
"The Abstinent Alcoholic," by Donald Gerard, Gerhart Saenger,
and Renee Wile. Archives of General Psychiatry, Volume 6, 1962,
It is a secret conspiracy.
I am not a conspiracy
theorist, and I don't like to find secret
conspiracies everywhere, but this is one. It has taken control
of our nation's drug and alcohol
treatment facilities and institutions, and is using part of the
billions of dollars that our
government and the health insurance industry spends on drug and
alcohol rehabilitation each year to
further its own secret agenda, which includes coercing the
patients into becoming members of the A.A.
and N.A. 12-Step religion.
A.A. members can easily hide their A.A. membership, because it's
all confidential and anonymous,
by definition. Hidden members have worked
themselves into positions of power
where they control the future of our nation's drug and alcohol
treatment programs. A.A. uses its
entrenched position to prevent any other treatment modalities
from encroaching on what it considers
to be its territory, and its money. A cult religion with an
ineffective treatment program has no
business running our nation's drug and alcohol treatment programs
and lying about what it is doing.
Personally, I could hardly care less what a bunch of crazy
cultists want to believe. It's their
lives, and they can do pretty much anything they want to with them. I get
leafletted and hit on by the Hari
Krishnas and the Scientologists often, and it
doesn't matter. I don't care if a bunch
of feeble-minded alcoholic burn-outs want to cluster together
in church basements and convince each other that they are
God's special children, and
The Chosen People.
It doesn't matter.
But it does matter when a cult uses City, State and Federal tax
money, as well as State, Federal, and private health insurance money,
to promote its own religion while pretending to provide
medical treatment for a deadly disease. That is unacceptable and unjustifiable
(and felony fraud, too).
It does matter when a cult uses parole officers, judges, and
therapists to force more people to join the cult. That is
It matters when people who are sick, desperate, confused,
and going through a real crisis, are deceived and lied to and
fed a crackpot cult religion as the universal cure for all drug
and alcohol problems, by people who are supposed to be
therapists, but who are really just proselytizing
religious nut-cases. That is not acceptable.
To force the insane, bizarre, and superstitious practices of
a cult religion on people
who are supposed to be receiving medical treatment for a
deadly disease is a crime so monstrous, so evil, and so sick,
that it is basically unbelievable.
That is how groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and
Narcotics Anonymous are getting away with it.
People can't believe that it is really happening.
The other people, that is — the people
to whom it is not being done.
Kurtz, in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1991, page 281, says that one large treatment
agency accounts for two thirds of the outside sales of A.A.W.S. literature.
Without a doubt, that one treatment agency is Hazelden.
They so aggressively redistribute A.A. literature that the California
Supreme Court ordered all Hazelden and A.A. literature removed from
the California schools on the grounds that Hazelden was promoting a religion.
The Bataan Death March itself had a death rate of about 16 or 17%.
Then that many more died during the following four years
of imprisonment in a prisoner-of-war camp where the prisoners were
starved, beaten, infected with diseases, and subjected to summary
The total death rate from the march and the following four years
of imprisonment was about one third. Half of
the total deaths occurred on the Death March, and the other half in the
prison camp. Professor George E. Vaillant
that his A.A.-based alcoholism treatment program had a 29% death rate after 8 years of treating
the patients with Alcoholics Anonymous. So yes, A.A. has a
death rate that is comparable to the Bataan Death March.