[This essay was written and submitted to Stinkin Thinkin by Samuel Ross. – ftg]

Alcoholics Anonymous is Religion

 I want to make clear right now that I am not arguing whether Alcoholics Anonymous has the ability to assist in bringing an alcoholic to sobriety. I am simply saying that AA is a religious organization that persuades its followers to abandon logic and rationality which, like all other religions, is detrimental to the advancement of humanity.

It is stated in the opening literature that AA is not allied with any religious group. This is true. AA is not allied with any religion; AA is its own religion. It certainly meets all the criteria of an organized religious group. Even with the Higher Power aside, there are three elements present in all major religions: repetition, manipulation and fear.

1) Repetition: Each meeting commences with a moment of silence and the reading of the same literature and closes with the same prayer. Before any person speaks in a meeting they say their first name as well as the words “I’m an alcoholic” which is followed by everyone in the meeting saying “hi” and then the speakers name. After the speaker has finished talking the people in the meeting then thank the person in the same manner. Other religions often read from a holy book to procure a subject for a religious gathering. AA often reads from “The Big Book” to acquire a topic for a meeting. Also, like any other religion, AA followers are encouraged to attend as many meetings as possible for the rest of their lives since the path of AA is one that is lifelong.

2) Manipulation: First of all, when a newcomer first arrives in an AA meeting they are probably at a low point in their life and in a vulnerable condition which often has them in an impressionable state of mind. “The Big Book,” “The Twelve Steps” and “The Twelve Traditions” all attempt to persuade a member to believe in a higher power. For the most part a specific God is not proposed but the steps require that each member have faith in something greater than themselves and that they seek the will of that higher power. A member is also told that they can not help themselves and that if they follow the course of AA they will be saved from their alcoholism.

3) Fear: Most other religions tell their followers that if they do not attend regular gatherings and follow their rules they will surely go to hell. AA tells its members that if they do not attend regular meetings and follow it’s path they will surely lose control and their sobriety.

The amazing thing is that the followers of AA don’t even recognize that they are in a fucking religion. People need to wake up and look around at what’s going on here. It is time for a new, simpler and more rational system of recovery in which we can give and seek help to and from others like us and use our collective knowledge, experiences and reasonability to cope with our afflictions.

– Samuel Ross