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Twelve Things That Alcoholics Anonymous Doesn't Want You to Know

Kenneth Anderson, MA is the founder and CEO of The HAMS Harm Reduction Network and the author of a guidebook on harm reduction for alcohol.

What doesn't Alcoholics Anonymous want you to know?

What doesn't Alcoholics Anonymous want you to know?

1. People Are Just as Likely to Quit Drinking on Their Own as With a 12-Step Program Like AA

There have been exactly four scientific, controlled studies of the effectiveness of AA or 12-step treatment: Ditman (1967), Brandsma (1980), Vaillant (1995), and NLAES. The Ditman (1967) study compared drunk drivers who were court-ordered to attend AA with a control group of drunk drivers who were given no treatment at all.

There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding re-arrest rate or any other variable studied. Brandsma (1980) compared the effect of 12-step inpatient treatment with psychotherapeutic treatments and an untreated control group. Because two-thirds of the patients in the 12-step group dropped out of treatment, it was impossible to compare this group in a meaningful fashion with the other groups.

Only one-third of the other groups dropped out. Vaillant (1995) did an 8-year follow-up study of 12-step-treated and untreated alcoholics and found no significant difference between the two groups—both the treated and the untreated groups had improved just as much.

And the NLAES (The National Longitudinal Alcoholism Epidemiological Survey)—a giant study conducted by the US government—actually found better outcomes among alcoholics who had never been treated than those who had undergone 12-step treatment (Peele, 2000).

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is About Twice as Successful as 12-Step Programs at Helping People to Quit Drinking

As mentioned above, two-thirds of patients assigned to 12-step therapy dropped out of the Brandsma (1980) study. Only one-third of those assigned to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, or the control group dropped out.

Those treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and those treated with Psychodynamic Therapy both did significantly better than the control group at improving their drinking—and the retention rate was twice as good as the 12-step group.

3. Calling Yourself an "Alcoholic" Is Harmful to Your Mental Health

David Burns, MD and a pioneer of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, tells us that labeling ourselves is bad for our mental health. An example of this sort of labeling is when you identify with your shortcomings. Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you tell yourself, "I'm a nerd" or "a loser."

AA asks you to label yourself an "alcoholic" to disempower you as an individual and to empower the AA group instead. This is a classic tactic used by religious cults. Rather than label yourself an "alcoholic," it is much healthier to say that you are a strong and empowered person who does not need to drink.

4. AA Is a Religion by Definition

AA often claims that it is "spiritual, not religious"; however, AA has a divinely-inspired holy book (the Big Book), a congregation (AA members), and inviolable dogmas based on divine revelation but not supported by scientific evidence. AA meets all the criteria for defining a religion.

Moreover, three federal district courts have ruled that coerced participation in AA is a violation of the first amendment of the constitution because AA is a religion. These are: The Ninth Federal District Court (MT, ID, WA, OR, NV, CA, AZ, HI, AK, Inouye v. Kemna, No. 06-15474; Docket No. CV-04-00026-DAE), The Second Federal District Court (NY, VT, CT, Warner v. Orange County Department of Probation, Docket No. 95-7055), and The Seventh Federal District Court (WI, IN, IL, Kerr v. Farrey, No. 95-1843).

In point of fact, AA is a Calvinistic religion which teaches predestination. This is evident from the following AA slogans: "There are no coincidences in God's perfect world" and "No one walks into an AA meeting by accident." Moreover, AA believes in a God that created the 100% fatal disease of alcoholism and let everyone die from it until He decided to give the cure to Bill W. in 1935. This is not my kind of God.

5. Over 10 Billion Dollars Per Year Is Spent Promoting AA

12-step treatment programs were invented by AA members for the purpose of promoting AA to a captive audience. The world's first 12-step treatment program was created in Ohio in 1940 through the collaboration of AA co-founder Dr. Bob Smith and a Catholic nun named Sister Ignatia at St Thomas Hospital (Darrah, 2001).

Shortly after that, several AA members got together in Minnesota to found the Hazelden treatment center in Minnesota (McElrath, 1987). Ninety-five percent of hospitals and treatment centers in the US use the 12-steps not because the 12 steps are effective at treating drinking problems but rather because AA has been highly effective at doing PR to promote AA. AA member Marty Mann founded the National Council on Alcoholism in 1944 for the sole purpose of doing PR for AA; she was eventually fronted millions of dollars by AA member Brinkley Smithers for this purpose (Peele 1997).

According to Stanton Peele (1989), over ten billion dollars a year alone is spent on 12-step treatment programs in the US. Twelve-step treatment programs don't cure drunks, but they do promote AA. This is not to mention the money spent by the National Council on Alcoholism and the fact that every TV show you see these days has an AA character in it. This is clearly a program of "promotion, not attraction."

6. Project MATCH Did Not Study AA

Although the US government spent 35 million dollars on Project MATCH in an attempt to prove the effectiveness of AA, neither AA nor typical 12-step treatment programs were studied. Project MATCH invented something called Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy, which involved one-on-one sessions with a professionally trained counselor and studied this instead of the AA or typically available forms of 12-step group therapy, which had also already been proved ineffective by the studies of Brandsma (1980) and Ditman (1967).

Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy proved about as effective as Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy--it is just far more expensive and unavailable at any treatment center that I am aware of. I am aware that all twelve-step treatment centers use ineffective 12-step group therapy. Since treatment centers have no accountability if their clients die of drugs or alcohol after discharge, there is no financial motivation to use an effective form of therapy. 12-step treatment centers use the cheapest and least effective therapies possible to maximize the profit per client.

7. Many "Alcoholics" Eventually Become Moderate Drinkers

According to Vaillant's (1995) study, about one-third of untreated alcoholics become moderate drinkers and about one-sixth of treated alcoholics become moderate drinkers:

8. There Is No Meaningful Definition of the Word "Alcoholic"

Science has abandoned the word "alcoholism." Today, the correct terms are Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Abuse, which are two distinct and separate psychological conditions.

9. AA Has Not Been Updated Since Its Inception in 1935

Science has discovered a million facts about alcohol problems since 1935, but AA's Big Book and its program remain unchanged. Would you want be treated by a doctor who used a 1935 textbook?

10. AA Founder Bill W. Demanded Whiskey on His Deathbed

According to Susan Cheever's biography, Bill W. demanded whiskey on his deathbed and threatened to punch his nurse in the nose if she did not bring it to him.

11. AA Claims That It Is God

AA slogans like "Make AA your higher power" and "G O D stands for Group Of Drunks" are frightening. They are even more frightening when you look at Step Three: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him" and Step Eleven: "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

This is all about disempowering the individual to empower the group—the hallmark of a cult. Stop and ask yourself, "Did AA create the heavens and the earth?" AA is not God, no matter what it claims.

12. You Can't "Take What You Like and Leave the Rest" in AA

When you go to your first meeting, you will hear that the steps are "merely suggestions" and that you can "take what you like and leave the rest." But once you have been sucked in by declaring that you are powerless and decided to rely on AA as your higher power and the rest, you will soon hear that "This is like suggesting that you put on a parachute before you jump out of a plane." You will also hear what Bill W. wrote in the 12 by 12, "Unless each AA member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant." Nothing in AA is optional.


If you like AA and find that it helps you, then fine, more power to you, keep on going. But if you don't find AA helpful, or if you find it to be harmful, then don't let anyone try to coerce you into going. There are better ways to deal with alcohol problems that have a better proven success rate. Hook up with a cognitive program like SMART if you want to quit, or use a harm reduction program like HAMS if quitting is not your goal. For full disclosure, the author of this article is the CEO and and founder of the HAMS Harm Reduction Network and the author of the book below.



How to Change Your Drinking

Audio: Addiction Treatments That Work

  • Addiction Treatments That Work
    This is a series of interviews with experts in the addictions field with a focus on evidence-based cutting-edge approaches to substance abuse problems such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, pharmacotherapy, harm reduction, and many many more.

Alternatives to AA

  • HAMS--Alcohol Harm Reduction Support
    The HAMS Harm Reduction Network provides information and support for people who wish to reduce the harm in their lives cause by the use of alcohol or drugs. HAMS neither encourages nor condemns alcohol use or alcohol intoxication.
  • SMART Recovery | Self Help for Alcoholism & Addiction
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    Women For Sobriety, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women overcome alcoholism and other addictions. It is, in fact, the first national self-help program for women alcoholics.
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    LifeRing Secular Recovery is an abstinence-based, worldwide network of individuals seeking to live in recovery from addiction to alcohol or to other non-medically indicated drugs.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


B on June 13, 2020:

A.A works if you work it! If ur not alcoholic go and try some controlled drinking. See where you end up.

Bert on April 11, 2019:

Worked AA and i'm 33 years sober

Aa works, Bullshit , you have to work the program and hard work it is

with or without a invisible man in the sky

mikhailv67 on March 05, 2018:

The Christians that have added there critiques show me that my arguments against 12 step for being religious that religious people are the scourge of our society. Quoting the bible at AA to prove it the work of Satan shows what nutcases you people are. I don't like 12 steps cause the are in denial about the religiosity of their program and I don't likechristians because you people are are sick and hypocritical.

T on August 07, 2017:

AA works. Nothing culty about it. No one forces you to do anything. It's free. It's more like a community of people sharing their experiences about alcohol and it's damage to their lives. The 12 steps help to uncover the underlying problems that can cause the desire to drink. It has worked for me (1 year and 4 months sober) although I realize the success rate is pretty low, which is a pity. I respect your data Kenneth. I won't dispute any of it as AA is not the only path to recovery. God bless! ~T

André on March 27, 2016:

Well well well, I am sensing quit a humongous amount of frustration and emotional resentment in your article. You would change your mind if you could open it a bit and talk to old members of this association instead of relying on studies that contradicts the fact that alcoholism IS a sickness like diabet, for exemple. AA had been help by doctors ans scientist in its beginning. And the most important things, you'll never find in AA publications-documentation that it would own the truth about alcoholism. my name is André and I am an alcoholic. Thanks...

Anon on September 16, 2015:

These AA classes are a joke. I feel like (for the most part, the meetings I have attended-not making a blanket statement over every AA group) it's a bunch of ex-addicts and "dry" drunks sitting around smoking cigarettes and swapping war stories instead of saying hey let's get off government assistance and get a job and motivate ourselves instead of relying on a giant book of bullshit. Just my opinion though!

Dennis on August 26, 2015:

I found AA to be very destructive to the self worth to the individual.

It takes no responsibility for ham done to people in those rooms and loves to always blame the victim no matter what. I'ts ideology of powerlessness always and self-deprication is sick. Adding to the fact that

crimminals and low lifes of both sexes have been forced into those rooms makes for a very unsafe environment and gives you the feeling of being in a snake pit. I am a RECOVERED alcoholic despite the sickness of AA. I choose not to drink ON MY OWN and to those who prefer this distorted religious cult, all I can say is "better you than me".

C- on July 15, 2015:

Here's part 3 of 3 of my article:

Bible-believing individuals and churches desperately need to be made aware of the subtle and dangerous doctrines that A.A. teaches—doctrines that are diametrically opposed to the true Christian faith. Christians today should have the same concern for our churches (and for individual believers) that Paul had for the believers in the city of Corinth. He wrote (by the Holy Spirit), " . . . I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Jesus Christ. . . . Satan masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 11:3,14,15).

Because Satan is continuously prowling around "like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8), we must constantly keep our spiritual eyes open in order to be able to discern those people and programs that are masquerading as servants of righteousness.


Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995, 2002, 2003, 2006 & 2007 by [Name Withheld]. Revised 4/28/02, 12/13/03, 10/22/06 and 2/16/07.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

C- on July 15, 2015:

Here's part 2 of 3 of my article:

Of course, Wilson believed that he was getting his "guidance" from "God," but it is obvious from the fact he and Bob Smith were heavily involved in occult activities that any supernatural guidance he was receiving was not from the Holy Spirit, but was rather from Satanic sources. Also, the description in Chapter 5 of ‘Pass It On’ of Bill Wilson’s "experience" with "God" sounds very similar to experiences related by people who are currently, or have previously been, involved in the occult.

If this man who founded A.A., and who wrote the Twelve Steps and two of A.A.’s "textbooks," was heavily involved in the occult, then why are Christians turning to his program for help with matters which are inherently and deeply spiritual in nature? And even if Bill Wilson had not been involved in the occult, the fact that he was not a true Christian should be reason enough in itself for Christians not to turn to him or his program for help with spiritual matters. (Remember, A.A. clearly describes itself as "a spiritual program.")

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 the Lord tells us through the Apostle Paul, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" In James 4:4 we are taught, "You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." And in 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 God tells us, "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."

God’s Word forbids Christians to go to the world and/or Satan for answers to spiritual matters, because the Bible is the one and only source that has the true answers to spiritual problems. In 2 Peter 1:2-3 God tells us through the Apostle Peter, "Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." The Lord tells us through the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Alcohol abuse is inherently and predominantly a spiritual problem. God's Word, the Bible, calls alcohol abuse "drunkenness" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)—which is sin—and gives all the answers for how to deal with it. Alcohol abuse is not an "allergy to alcohol" (another A.A. claim) or a "disease." Pneumonia is a disease, as is influenza, but alcohol abuse is not.

Ironically, in recent years even some secular scientists and other authorities have slowly begun to realize that alcohol abuse is not actually a disease. In the introduction to his book Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease (University of California Press, 1988), Herbert Fingarette, Ph.D., states the following: "Another book on alcoholism? Why? Oddly enough, and despite the many books on the topic, there is an important untold story: Almost everything that the American public believes to be the scientific truth about alcoholism is false. The facts are an open secret. That is, they are quite familiar to scientists and leading researchers in a variety of fields who read the major journals and books addressed to professionals. Indeed, the relevant scientific literature spans several decades of research that roundly contradicts popular beliefs and suggests an entirely new perspective on alcoholism and heavy drinking. And yet the public—including many counselors and para-professionals working in treatment centers—remains in the dark, still holding, and encouraged to hold, beliefs that are forty years out of date."

Interestingly, even though this book was written by a non-Christian, the ideas it put forward clearly had implications for Christians and Christianity, as evidenced by the fact that a review of this book was published in the February 3, 1989 edition of the magazine Christianity Today (pp. 57-58).

Of course, Christians should have known all along that alcohol abuse was not and is not a disease, but rather is a sin. To deal with the sin of alcohol abuse (and all other so-called "dependencies" and "addictive problems") God’s way (that is, according to God's Word, the Bible), a person must first have a true saving relationship with Jesus Christ. As part of true salvation, the person who has had alcohol (etc.) problems will acknowledge and repent of sin, both in the general sense and also specifically. It should be noted that this repentance must include repenting of and putting away the types of sins listed in Scripture passages such as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21—sins which, if practiced habitually, are absolutely not compatible with true saving faith and "inheriting the kingdom of God." It should also be noted that to become truly saved, a person must confess and repent of not only his/her visible, outward sins (such as alcohol abuse, lying, adultery, etc.), but also the sins of the heart (lust, pride, rebellion, selfishness, self-centeredness, and various forms of idolatry) out of which the visible sins come (Matthew 15:19-20).

If a person who professes to be a Christian cannot seem to get free of alcohol abuse, it’s often because he has never (yet) been truly saved. This means, among other things, that he has never yet genuinely repented of his sin(s) (both generally and specifically, including both the outward sins as well as the underlying sins of the heart). When a person is truly saved, he is "set free" from the bondage and power of sin (Romans 6), which means that he has the ability, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, to resist any type of temptation that might come his way (1 Corinthians 10:13). (Temptation does not go away when a person becomes saved; rather, at salvation, the Holy Spirit gives the person the ability to successfully resist temptation.)

Once a person has been truly saved (the first step), he then needs to be taught and encouraged in specific Scriptural principles regarding how to resist and avoid temptation and how to pursue righteousness (holy living). Just a few examples of such Scriptural principles would be the following:

—"renewing the mind" with the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17),

—praying "on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Ephesians 6:18),

—dealing with unbiblical relationships, such as "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14ff; see also 1 Corinthians 5 regarding how to deal with people who profess to be Christians but live like non-Christians), and

—fleeing all forms of idolatry, which includes avoiding and fleeing those particular situations, things, and people that the person knows ahead of time would probably lead him to be strongly tempted to sin (1 Corinthians 10:14).

Of course, a number of other basic Scriptural principles would also need to be covered.

Let me mention that I have come across several professingly "Christian" programs which have taken the A.A. program (the Twelve Steps) and have adapted it/them for Christian use, usually by rewriting the Twelve Steps to some extent, and/or by adding Scripture verses to the Twelve Steps. (Three such programs are Homosexuals Anonymous, Overcomers Outreach, and Rapha Ministries.) Such an approach is simply not biblical. It is biblically wrong for Christians to take a "spiritual program" that originated from non-Christian and even Satanic sources and try to "Christianize" it (i.e. adapt it for Christian use). We as Christians should not look to the world and/or Satan for models for how to help people with spiritual problems (sin)! The one and only answer to sin problems is Jesus Christ—as revealed in the Bible, the Word of God.

C- on July 13, 2015:

Here is as much of my article about A.A. as I could fit into this post.


 The information in this paper about Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and other similar Twelve-Step groups comes from several sources. These sources include the following:

—literature published by Alcoholics Anonymous itself,

—my attending an "open" A.A. meeting with an "alcoholic" acquaintance of mine,

—my talking to several people who are or have been involved in either A.A. or another similar Twelve-Step group, and

—my observing how A.A. and other Twelve-Step groups have spiritually affected several people I know.

Alcoholics Anonymous may help some—perhaps even many—people get "sober," but it absolutely does not point them to Jesus Christ and true salvation. In actuality, A.A. points people away from Jesus Christ. I have seen this happen to several people I know.

The "God" ("Higher Power") of A.A. is not the God of the Bible. In A.A., "God" is whatever each individual person "understands" him (or her or it) to be. There is no mention in A.A. of sin or of Jesus Christ. But the Bible says that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life," and that no one comes to God the Father except through Him (John 14:6). In Acts 4:12 we read that salvation is found in no one else except for Jesus Christ, and that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved. Thus, to speak of "God" without including Jesus Christ—and all that the Bible teaches about Christ—is to invent a false "God" and a false way to God—which is a false gospel. And this is exactly what A.A. does.

Instead of pointing and encouraging people to genuine salvation through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, Alcoholics Anonymous points people to an "awareness" that they are "powerless" over their "disease" without the help of their "Higher Power." In contrast, the Bible teaches that people are powerless over sin apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

Instead of pointing people to the Bible as the verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible written Word of God, A.A. points people to the A.A. "Big Book" (Alcoholics Anonymous) and the other A.A. "textbooks"—none of which are the Bible. Instead of encouraging people to Bible study, prayer, and regular fellowship with other true Christians (ideally, in the context of a Bible-believing local church), A.A. encourages people to a commitment to the Alcoholics Anonymous program with its Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and multiple A.A. meetings.

Perhaps one of the more subtle aspects of the false gospel of A.A. is the A.A. idea of humility. A.A. claims that it encourages people to humility, but the "humility" that A.A. engenders is a false humility that actually serves as a camouflage for pride and selfishness. The other people at the A.A. meetings may see the "humble" side of the person, but the person’s family members, close friends, and co-workers may see something quite different.

Instead of encouraging people to true humility, denial of self, and dependence upon and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, A.A. actually—though very subtly—fosters selfishness, pride, and idolatry. Idolatry is dependence upon and worship of anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ. Pride is self-idolatry. Both idolatry and pride, which lead to selfishness and self-centeredness, represent rebellion against God. But these problems are not easily recognized in A.A., because A.A.’s emphases on "sobriety," "service" and "unity" seem like such noble and worthwhile Christian virtues.

Many people both with and without the "help" of the A.A. program have broken their dependence on alcohol by the power of pride and idolatry. Satan is perfectly happy to help someone "get off" alcohol if, in the process, that person is going to become more dependent on someone or something else other than Jesus Christ (such as himself, another person, and/or the A.A. program/group). There are plenty of "sober" and other outwardly "moral" people who are going to end up in hell. It also happens to be true that, once a person becomes sober without Jesus Christ, he is not nearly as likely to see his true sinful nature—and with it, his real and desperate need for Jesus Christ—as he was when he was still a drunkard.

Instead of encouraging people to worship and become dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ, Alcoholics Anonymous encourages people (indirectly) to become dependent upon—and thus to worship—themselves (self) and the A.A. program and group. Thus, A.A. is a religion that leads people astray from the one true God.

The A.A. organization describes itself as "a spiritual program, not a religious one." By using the terms "spiritual" and "religious" in this way, A.A. is trying to convince people of two things at the same time: (1) that A.A. is not a religion, and (2) that A.A. is "spiritual" and offers spiritual benefits. In this way A.A. tries to appeal to everyone without offending anyone. But the truth is that A.A. is very definitely a religion. A religion is any system of belief that attempts to tell man how he can be reconciled to God, and this is exactly what A.A. does.

The A.A. program is nothing less than a false gospel. The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8-9, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned. As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned."

According to the Bible, false gospels must be firmly and strongly resisted because they lead people away from Jesus Christ and the Word of God by distorting the true gospel message. An example of the false gospel that A.A. promotes can be seen in the commemorative coin that they give to those A.A. participants who reach their one-year anniversary of sobriety. Around the border of one side of the coin is the saying "To thine own self be true," and in the center of the coin is a triangle (the A.A. symbol) with the word "I" inside it.

Another example of the many problems with A.A. is the fact that they give alcohol abuse the name "alcoholism" and label it a "disease" or "sickness" or "illness." Notice that they use the words "disease," "sickness" and "illness" literally, not figuratively. In contrast, the Bible calls alcohol abuse "drunkenness" and labels it "sin." Christians may sometimes speak figuratively about sin in general being the "great sickness" of mankind, but we must be extremely careful not to begin describing specific sins as literal physical sicknesses or diseases.

The Bible truly has the answer for alcohol abuse. It also has the answer for drug abuse, food abuse, gambling, homosexuality, "co-dependency," and any other types of so-called "dependencies" and "addictive behaviors." Each of these problems is sin, and sin is a spiritual issue. The one and only place to which we should go for answers to spiritual matters is the Bible, the Word of God.

The person who started Alcoholics Anonymous and wrote the Twelve Steps was a man named Bill Wilson ("Bill W."), who supposedly had "an experience" with "God." But it is clear from the official A.A. book ‘Pass It On’: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World that this "experience" was not Christian salvation and that Bill Wilson was not a true follower of Jesus Christ. In addition, both Bill Wilson and Bob Smith ("Dr. Bob," the other founder of A.A.) were—according to Chapter 16 of ‘Pass It On’—deeply involved in psychic and spiritist activities. In simple terms, this means that they were heavily involved in the occult. As Christians should be aware, the Bible clearly forbids and strongly condemns any such activity, whether or not the persons involved are aware of the actual nature of these activities.

Regarding Bill Wilson’s occult involvement, there is even strong evidence to support the idea that he may have actually written the first edition of the Twelve Steps through the occult practice known as automatic writing. (See ‘Pass It On’, Chapter 11, pp. 197 and 198.)

C- on July 13, 2015:

I am certainly NOT a fan of Alcoholics Anonymous.  In fact, I've written an article entitled "A Biblical Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous" in which I show how the "God"/"Higher Power" of A.A. is NOT the one, true God--the God of the Bible.  And while some A.A. people may believe in their own notion of what you have called "predestination," their notion of predestination is certainly  NOT the true and biblical teaching about predestination.

I know that A.A. basically tells atheists and agnostics that they don't have to believe in a supreme spiritual being to be involved in A.A., and that they can have the A.A. group be their "higher power."  But because A.A. emphasizes the idea of a "Higher Power"/"God" so much, one wonders why any firmly committed atheist would want to get involved in something like A.A.  Of course, most of the people in A.A. do believe in the existence of some sort of supreme spiritual being and, not surprisingly, they want other people to believe exactly like they do.  But because they are not willing to admit that fact to the atheists who come to them, they are eventually shown to be fundamentally deceptive and underhanded people.

Remember, the "God" of A.A. is NOT the God of the Bible.  The "God" of A.A. is a false god, while the God of the Bible is the one true God.  And TRUE Christians--while they are certainly not perfect people--are nevertheless fundamentally honest people who are NOT going to lead you to believe at one point that it's okay for someone to be an atheist, only to later turn the tables on you.  It is never okay to be an atheist.  In fact, it's never okay to believe in any other notion of a supreme spiritual being other than what the one true God reveals about Himself in His Word, the Bible.

Silver Damsen on July 03, 2015:

I love this article. It is jam packed with references to court cases (very helpful) and the few actually well-conducted studies on the effectiveness of AA. I've asked people repeatedly.... "What again were the names of those studies on AA that actually had a good "control" population?" and people couldn't remember. I'm so glad that someone re-posted this older article. It is also horrifying in that clearly it has been over 5 years since it became illegal to legally coerce AA attendance, but yet so many are still not aware of this.

Dennis on June 12, 2015:

I never had great sobriety until I left AA. It is a dangerous cult that has killed many people. I saw that for myself.

Zephyr on April 28, 2015:

I tried N.A. I really threw myself into it, following all their suggestions, meetings and working the steps. However something felt wrong.....very wrong. They wanted me to believe I was utterly powerless over drugs, and that without regular meetings and step work for -the rest of my life-, I would be dead. They said I would always be an addict, until the day I died. I would always need N.A. I could not rely on myself, ''after all'' (they said), ''look at how you ended up here (at NA)''.

I felt more worthless than ever. Totally disempowered, In fear for my life, and now clinging on the N.A as my (supposedly) one and only saviour.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when I went online, to the official N.A chatroom. I began talking about how I got hooked on opiates to deal with severe physical pain, but I had now found that acupuncture offered significant (although temporary) relief. When other chatroom users told me that they too struggled with physical pain, I mentioned that acupuncture had helped me to at least reduce my opiate dose (instead of continuously increasing it).

I was told by the chatroom mods that I was not allowed to speak of acupuncture to those suffering physical pain, because that was ''not the N.A message''. I had to encourage them to attend a meeting, because that was (according to them) the solution to their -physical- pain.

Every single problem that people shared, the response was always the same, go to a meeting. Not working? Keep going. Keep on going until it works. (And presumably if it still doesn't work, well keep quiet about it and pee off!).

Again, I (politely and rationally) questioned this thinking, and I was told by the head of the chatroom that I was ''poison to NA'' and that I was now permanently banned.

I wasn't too upset because....not long before I got banned, a few of the nicer members private messaged me, and shared how it was common knowledge that, actually, quite a few N.A members secretly take opiates for pain relief, because (surprise surprise) they found that attending meetings and working the steps did not cure them of their physical pain.

Others have white knuckled it with no pain relief at all, and when things got too much, they committed suicide. At their funeral, the NA members said ''Oh but at least they died clean''. Yeah...that's all that matters eh?

Last but not least, I have a nephew who attends NA. He is prepared to question nothing, and claims it's working well for him.

At first I accepted what he said and was genuinely happy for him that it was (seemingly) working out for him.

Then I asked him about his drug use. I compared it to mine. Turns out, he has had the same number of relapses as I have had (with no treatment). His relapses were massive binges. Mine were one offs (one small additional dose of oral opiates). Still a relapse of course but not a downright dangerous, liver wrecking, money blowing binge).

Yet he maintains that NA is working well for him and that I must rejoin asap! I don't think I will.

porkchoptze (author) from New York, NY on March 21, 2015:

Heinz 57

Your statement is perfect proof that AA is a sick and twisted religious cult. What you are saying is that everyone who quits drinking without AA is somehow not "sober" and not as worthy as the wonderful members of your cult. That is why I am so happy to be free of your 12 step cult and not addicted to AA.

heinz 57 on March 20, 2015:

There is an enormous difference between being sober and just not drinking. Sobriety is an attitude you must change the things you used to use as an excuse to get drunk.

There are 10,000 excuses for a person to drink,not one good REASON.

John Godwin from Athens, Georgia USA on January 06, 2015:

I can speak from experience from being involved with involuntary AA/ forced or coerced AA treatment that these 12 things are definitely true and really only scratch the surface of the things this organization hides or doesn't want you to know.

Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD from New York, NY on January 03, 2015:

Very interesting hub. I am particularly impressed with the case law you provided on this issue. I'm not going to argue whether or not AA is a religion, because I'm guessing that depends on one's definition of the word "religion."

However, the courts have at the very least found that AA has enough of a "substantial religious component" to make a determination that mandating a subject to AA or NA is civil rights violation (First Amendment - the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States).

Voted this hub up and interesting. Wishing you much continued success in your writing. May the new year bring you wonderful things.

Noel Anthony (Tony) Martin from Northam Western Australia on December 30, 2014:

AA Has a 5-10% success rate. Baclofen is the only molecule proven to cut down all addictive behaviours in rats. I've been using alcohol as a medication for nearly 30 years. I started taking this pill; and within 2 days I was indifferent to alcohol. I can take it or leave it.

More info @

Jimmie Speed on December 21, 2014:

Thank you for sharing your version of truth. For me I've been in AA for 15 years and out of 5 male sibling 3 of us are in AA and have very successful and productive lives outside the rooms.

Man I have lived in 3 different states and AA is awesome. I have been back to school and I definitely know that the Physical addiction is alcohol can be explained scientifically with the Oxidization of alcohol to Acetaaldehyde and Acetic Acid with creates a dependency.

Thats common knowledge so I don't quite understand your info but as long as you do then I guess it's fine.

To all here to AA doesn't work then just know it not for everyone and never stated that it was.

it works very well for me however and for that I'm grateful..

Jimmie Speed

John Godwin from Athens, Georgia USA on November 19, 2014:

This is by far one of my favorite hubs I have read. As a victim of an AA rehab treatment facility in Statesboro, Georgia called Willingway, I can attest that these 12 things are very accurate and are just the tip of the iceberg. When I tell people that I lived in a cult for a year, they look at me with disbelief. It's either that they don't beleive me, or they are so freaked out that they no longer want to be around me.

However, when I have the time (and I would need days) to tell them exactly what I went through with specific examples of the daily fear mongering, psychological abuse and torture, etc. they have a very different perception of Willingway. Now, I know that Willingway is defiinitely an AA cult rehab, but it is just one of thousands in this country that masquerade as "medical hospitals". What other medical hospital demands payment upfront? That's right, as soon as you walk in the doors at Willingway you have to write a 40,000 dollar check before you are even admitted, and the first thing that is given to you is a Big Book (the AA cult Bible) and the Twelve and Twelve (The AA cult study guide to the 12 steps). I was welcomed by the nicest people, who promised me that everything in my life was about to become miraculously better. Of course, I had my doubts.

I thought what's the worst that could happen? I had already destroyed my entire career and life. Well, after the initial six weeks of in-patient "hospitilization", I was then transferred to one of their "extended treatments". After almost a year of dealing with the daily psychological abuse, then getting kicked out on the streets because I was said to be "too smart", "uncooperative", and simply "too sick" for help. Well, I found out worse things could definitely happen, and they did!

So, there was something wrong with me! That's what I had been told for a year, and that is what everyone on the outside believed as well. No, there was never anything wrong with me. What was wrong was the program of AA, and these quack doctors diagnosing everyone with the same disorder, alcohol and/or substance abuse disorders.

So, here is the problem. Everyone has the same disorder, and everyone gets the exact same "treatment", which is AA indoctrination followed by forced AA attendance, and "counseling". I finally realized that this "counseling" was just an AA leader within the cult checking to see how well the brainwashing was going. They kicked me out because I wasn't able to be brainwashed, and I was threatening the cults very existence by questioning their "treatment" methods. The things they forced me to do are illegal and highly unethical.

So, after a year of being isolated within this cult community, I finally escaped (they kicked me out on the streets). I didn't want to speak or see anyone for almost a year. I had fears, phobias, anxieties that I had never had before. I had a fear of going outside or in public because I didn't want anyone to be able to see my face. I had no desires or dreams, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror without having a panic attack. I had no personality, no feelings, I just wanted to die. What had they done to me? This wasn't me. Well, what happened was I was initially depressed and had been diagnosed with an anxiety disoder fifteen years earlier. I had my depression and anxiety under control with the use of modern medicine, and my life was going well. Until, something traumatic happened, and I became very depressed again. So, I self-medicated by taking more of a prescription pill that I was prescribed.

Did I have a substance abuse disorder? No, I was suffering from depression and anxiety and I was self-medicating. AA had only made it worse, by not only taking away any and all medication, but then blaming me for my depression. As if the only reason someone becomes depressed is because they want to be depressed. Really? That doesn't make any sense now does it? Well, none of AA makes sense!

I knew there was something really strange going on at this place, but could never pin point exactly what it was. I guess I just assumed that cults didn't exist in the modern first world. What AA doesn't tell you is this "God of your understanding" is not the God you may believe in or once believed in as a child. This "God" is a new God, and it's the AA group, and AA is your religion.

This is what happens in the United States in the twenty-first century, and is called "medical" help! It is time that AA and AA treatment facilities are exposed for exactly what they are. Thank you, Kenneth for the work you are doing!

Jon S on October 28, 2014:

Formerly a "big book basher" I left AA with over a decade of sobriety when I was 13th stepped by an AA groupie who eventually ended up with one of my sponsees.

Truth is there is no safeguarding in AA, and even someone with a lot of time in the rooms who is working the steps can be vulnerable to abuse.

The steps won't ever change, of course, meaning that despite AA's public successes, media endorsement, and popular acceptance it is simply no longer a suitable or up-to-date methodology.

I've blogged about my experiences at "Leaving AA, Staying Sober" which is available at

Lots of post-AAs such as myself find it useful to be in touch online and there are several links to sites that can help others in my blog. Hopefully it will help others in a similar situation.

Thanks for a great article. All very true.

Jon S

Hilary on September 19, 2014:

Thank you all for your posts and good intentions. Just taking the time to share your experiences with others to hopefully benefit them in some way is great! I have heard some things that I would like to comment on solely based from my experience in aa, in a treament center and as a person who has used dbt therapy. I will try to be brief. 1) I went to a rehab and it was 12 step based. We were exposed to aa, na, ca ect. I did not believe in organized religion and was extremely weary and offended with my first impressions. I later understood that there is a big difference between organized religion and working the 12 steps. I believe the program is effective with or without a higher power. Ps it can be anything as previously commented. Although 12 step based the treatment center had group counseling, individual counseling, doctors and a psychiatrist. I believe I benefitted from all of those equally. 2) I have been through cbt and it helped to a degree. After rehab it was recommended that I seek out dbt, I also had some emdr. The dbt is very similar to the principles u learn in big book. One major thing is called radical acceptance. Dbt teaches you how to cope with extreme emotions. The reason many people use substances is to cope with or deal with strong emotions. In the teachings of dbt they offer the serenity prayer as one of the ways to practice radical acceptance. The bb also tells you the emotions, resentments, fears are all very dangerous. The idea of dbt is to help you go from an emotional mind to a logical mind. Another thing it teaches you is distraction. Some of the various suggestions for distraction is helping someone else. That gets you out of the emotion by distracting you and makes you feel good. The 12th step is helping others. Another thing dbt focuses on is awareness throughout the day. Awareness of your thoughts and emotions, taking a look at situations from a non judgemental viewpoint. It's kind of moving closer to seeing the reality of the situation, recognizing your part, what you can change or accept. That is very similar to the 4th and 10th step. You go through your life and with focus and by writing it down you start to see other sides and it becomes less intense. The 5th step, talking about this w someone you trust. Well that's what we do in the program and what we do in therapy. I hear in meetings all the time how much the serenity prayer helps people and more often than not when people share about their relapses it was because they could not handle their emotions, they lacked coping skills. The bb states it does not have a monopoly on sobriety, they just state this is what worked for us. They also make it clear that seeking out doctors and other professionals is helpful.

Dr. Gary L. Sidley from Lancashire, England on August 21, 2014:

Scholarly and thought-provoking. I totally agree that labeling oneself as an "alcoholic" can be disempowering and stigmatizing. If I had an alcohol problem I suspect that AA would not be for me, and the harm-reduction/CBT route would be more compelling. After saying this, I'm sure some people find find benefit from the peer support inherent in the AA approach, and I respect each person's decision to follow a route they believe to be most appropriate.

And in response to one of your respondents, alcohol dependence is not a 'brain disease' and there are multiple problems associated with labeling it as such.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on June 09, 2014:

I've known several people who have been helped by AA. I think the flaw in the study that you mentioned is that the subjects were court mandated to attend meetings. There was no choice. Many such people show up to meetings with a chip on their shoulder. Success in AA would depend on a personal choice, not a forced court mandate.

dershwitz on June 02, 2014:

I am being forced to attend Two AA meetings a week for a year by my employer Candian Pacific Railway.I have met all requirements by my Fed mandated S.A.P. Advisior but I guess the company can force me to go to cult based group,The only thing I feel powerless against is AA.Gos against every thing they preach to force some one to attend but yet the courts and companys still do.Shame on you AA you disgust me for allowing this but wait how would you get all those new recruits.

Suezi on May 21, 2014:

I"ve heard it works for many people. The reason why could partly be the support from like minded people. If I had an addiction maybe I"d want to be around ppl like me so I'd feel less horrible and more like I can do it.

I know back in the day I wanted a support group for shy folks and there surely wasn't one. I really wanted to feel better & would have loved to know I wasn't the only person who felt shy.

Shmoopie on June 26, 2013:

After working many years as a substance abuse counselor, I think AA is a huge load of crap. It does label people; it makes them "apologize" to people who may not deserve an apology (fearless and moral inventory, blah, blah blah). Most of us are "powerless" over many things in this world. We go on. If we don't need a higher power, so be it. I feel AA is as much an addiction as any other maladaptive behavior. If your best friend jumped off a building, would you do it too? I rest my case.

Counselor chick on December 12, 2012:

Great post. AA is a dangerous religious cult. Thanks for helping to spread the truth rather than perpetuate the lies.

progree on May 14, 2012:

hetuahin}} AA is very much not a religion. Outside Canada atheist, agnostic and humanist groups are recognized by AA. There are two agnostic/atheist AA websites. There are written versions of the twelve-step program designed for atheists and agnostics that some members use.{{

There are dozens of agnostic/atheist AA websites. But none of them are official AA websites. As for "written versions of the twelve-step program designed for atheists and agnostics that some members use" - again they are not condoned by A.A. GSO. The GSO told to take down its secular version of the 12 steps, and they complied (that puts the lie to your point #7 too, by the way, that there are no leaders nor any power structure. Bollock).

As for "AA is very much not a religion" -- Though they might not require belief in God; the whole program, Steps, and literature is proselytization about a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity, one who will restore us to sanity, remove our shortcomings, manage our lives, care for us, love us, listen to our prayers, give us power, and guide our groups (this list from the 12 Steps and Tradition 2),

and who in Step 11 you pray to for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out - the same God that you turned your will and life over to in Step 3.

They pressure you to work the 12 steps -- AA's literature tells you that "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" .

And whose Big Book spends a whole chapter (Chapter 4 "We Agnostics") demeaning non-believers as rather vain, foolish, prejudiced, perverse, and obstinant.

For these and many other reasons, four Federal Courts of Appeals (Second, Third, Seventh, and Ninth circuits) and Two State Supreme Courts (New York and Tennessee) have ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are religious and that nobody can be coerced by government authority into attending these organizations (as that would violate the First Amendment's prohibition against the state establishment of religion). No Federal Court of Appeals and no State Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. To date, the United States Supreme Court has declined to consider any of these rulings, thus letting these ruling stand.

Here is a Duke Law Journal article that discusses the religious aspects of A.A. and the definition of religion for constitutional purposes (first amendment establishment clause).

AntiDenial on May 08, 2012:

AA and NA have become very dangerous with the felons being court mandated. We discuss this at

porkchoptze (author) from New York, NY on May 08, 2012:

I am not Orange, but Orange is a friend of mine.

dondi (again) on May 07, 2012:

I was talking about AA when I wrote in the message above:

"I stopped going there 10 times a week. I have been nagged into going at least once a week. I have to drag myself to it. But I won't be for long."

I wasn't talking about my garden :)

dondi on May 07, 2012:

I feel like I have just been punched in the gut & slapped in the face.

#12. You can't "take what you like and leave the rest" in AA: When you go to your first meeting you will hear that the steps are "merely suggestions" and that you can "take what you like and leave the rest". But once you have been sucked in by declaring that you are powerless and decided to rely on AA as your higher power and the rest--you will soon hear that --- "This is like suggesting that you put on a parachute before you jump out of a plane".

I WAS TOLD THAT YESTERDAY by my sponsor!!!! OMGosh -- I'm almost numb from that. Blown away. Orange? I started reading your site about a year & a half ago because I started "questioning" this "program of recovery" that, if you don't do what they say, the name calling begins (dry drunk) & the pressure & the coercion to confess my sins, write down how defective I am (which I'm not, thank you very much!!) When I started questioning things & investigating other avenues of recovery, I was told that "only AA" can help me, that I was sure to go back out to the bottle & drugs & that I was signing my death warrant. They looked so sad when they said it.

About 5 years ago I was doing EBT & DBT with a counselor and 1 other student. I loved it. It was logical & taught me coping skills. That was what I needed -- coping skills & education about addiction & how to abstain for good. Guess what? I didn't go looking for a bottle or drugs, I haven't drank & I'm not dead.

So, I finally came out of the closet yesterday, so to speak, and told both my sponsor/friend & my boyfriend that I didn't believe AA anymore. It just doesn't make sense. I also told them I don't believe in their God - I don't know what God is & I'm tired of trying to make one up & Fake it til I make it. I thought about making my garden my HP, because when I'm there (all day practically) playing in dirt & mud & flowers & touching worms -- I am in such peace and energized with incredible energy. I stopped going there 10 times a week. I have been nagged into going at least once a week. I have to drag myself to it. But I won't be for long.

Ya know? When I was a kid, I was forced to go to Catholic church (age 6-14) and it made no sense to me so I began questioning it. Amazing -- I was told not to ask questions ever. Deja vu.

AA/NA works for some. They did help me when I was desperate & afraid & fresh out of rehab. They told me it was the last house on the block.

I don't want to be a Stepford Wife Zombie!!

About a year ago, I told my sponsor that I thought AA was a cult. She replied, "So what if it's a cult -- it works!!" I rest my case. I know the truth now.

Thank you again, Orange. Great job you have done!

hetuahin on March 03, 2012:

Thanks for your reply.

It is possible to be sane and rational and supportive of AA.

I think that if you take the religion out of the twelve steps and the serenity prayer you are left with a brilliant piece of psychology, just what serious alcoholics need for recovery. And AA is a wonderful organization making available the experience and fellowship of millions of other recovering alcoholics. All for free.

Wishing you serenity.

porkchoptze (author) from New York, NY on March 03, 2012:

Although I am critical of AA, many of my colleagues who work in harm reduction programs such as needle exchange are members of AA or NA and I totally respect their right to follow the program which works for them. I can also greatly respect the sane and rational way in which you have disagreed with me. My best to you.

hetuahin on March 03, 2012:

You are right that there is no established data on a recovery among seriously dependent subjects. My claim is based on anecdotal evidence. Vaillant does make a similar claim to mine in the Natural History book, though. You can check it on Wiki.

There is one respect in which AA is not religious, which I explained in my post: it does allow secular groups and members - apart from In Canada, where they obviously don't understand tradition 3. Of course the original literature, the steps and the traditions are riddled with God talk. But you don't have to believe it to participiate in AA.

porkchoptze (author) from New York, NY on March 02, 2012:

Your statement that severely alcohol dependent individuals do not recover on their own requires a source. From all the evidence that I have seen published including Vaillant and others, people recover on their own regardless of the degree of severity of alcohol dependence.

Moreover, the fact that AA denies that it is a religion does not mean that it is not a religion. The simple fact that AA's founder claims that the 12 steps were revealed to him by God is enough to qualify the program as a religion.

hetuahin on March 02, 2012:

1. Severely alcohol dependent subjects do not quit on their own.

2. No studies of the efficacy of AA have distinguished between membership of AA and those who work the twelve-step treatment program of AA. The former requires only a desire to stop drinking and a claim that you are a member of AA. The latter requires hard work on recovery on a daily basis for life. Studies indicate that being a member of AA is about as effective as participation in other treatment program. It is reasonable to suppose that recovery rates among those who actually work the program are much better. AA is free, and mmbership is for as long as you wish. It is also available worldwide.

3. Alcoholism is recognized as a brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol seeking and use by NIDA and NIAAA, and alcohol dependence syndrome is recognized as a psychiatric disorder by The World Health Organization. It is one of the biggest killer diseases in the world right now.

4. AA is very much not a religion. Outside Canada atheist, agnostic and humanist groups are recognized by AA. There are two agnostic/atheist AA websites. There are written versions of the twelve-step program designed for atheists and agnostics that some members use.

5. Each member chooses a Higher Power to suit himself. It could be God, or AA, but it could be anything else, such as other people, AA fellows, family, friends, doctors, counsellors, therapists. Or it could be something abstract like Good Orderly Direction.

It is indeed possible to read some of the AA literature and slogans as disempowering. But the real point is that severely alcohol dependent subjects have their heads all screwed up by their condition and need to be willing to seek help, accept that others are likely to know more about their condition than they do and are able to offer unbiased advice.

6. You can take or leave what you like from AA. It is quite true that Bill W thought that if you don't follow the steps you will probably be doomed to succumb to alcoholism. But that doesn't mean that any member of AA has to believe that. If you join AA it would be sensible to do the twelve steps. But you can do them in your own way, with the help of a sponsor of your choice.

7. There are no dues or fees for membership of AA. It has no leaders, nor any power structure. It is just a group of recovering alcoholics trying to help each other, with the help of the wisdom of the founding literature and the collective wisdom of past and present members.

8. Alcoholism is often progressive. If you think you may have signs of alcohol dependence, then I'd suggest you see your doctor, you attend a few AA meetings, and you do some research on the net - check out NIDA, NIAAA and WHO websites.

DrMikeFitzpatrick from Sandpoint, Idaho on December 08, 2010:

great hub!