Fortunately, there are a number of people who have escaped the grip of Alcoholics Anonymous, and have gained sobriety in spite of our experiences with them. We hope this blog can be a gathering place for these people, and for those who happen to be in AA and are being manipulated into thinking that something is wrong with them beyond their addiction — something that only AA can cure. If you are reading this blog because you are in AA, and that voice of reason is telling you that something is amiss, and that sobriety, and not a cult religion, is what you signed up for; or, if you are looking for relief, not repentance – then you can find solace in knowing that you can get and remain sober without the mind control tactics of AA. Maybe this blog can help you along the way, and maybe we have some fun in the process.

– MA

85 Responses to “Welcome”

  1. tom bailey Says:

    thank you this is realy helpful

    1. oogie Says:

      bravo, i am a better drunk than i ever was sober in AA, in fact, i was never an alcoholic until the sold me on it!!

  2. Jen Says:

    Just wanted to say I am glad to see your blog here, more and more people all over are finally getting it, that AA does not work for everybody.

    I was only in AA for about 3 mos- it kept me busy for sure, and fortunately (or unfortunately) I was a BB thumper which gave me a REAL view of what A really is., probably scaring me sooner than if I’d just been a regular ‘meeting maker’ lol

    I feel for people who stayed for years and years, and really have a hard time re-learning to trust in themselves.

    Anyway, just wanted to thank you for this great site 🙂


  3. friendthegirl Says:

    Thank you so much, Jen! And welcome to the blog. I’m so glad to hear that it only took you 3 months to really “get it.” 🙂 We look forward to hearing your take on all these issues.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I am a Member of AA , I am really happy that you guys have found something that works for you. AA is not the program of recovery, it is the suggested one. I am in total support of anything thing that helps get someone sober who could not or would not in Alcoholics Anonymous,

    god bless. Matt S.

  5. Jane Says:

    Thanks for creating this blog for us heretics and apostates who don’t buy the BS.

    I briefly dated an AA Sloganeer (he seemed to be unable to verbalize a thought without using an AA slogan) who, when I told him I quit going after the 90-meetings-in-90-days indoctrination period that it’s because I wasn’t a “real alcoholic.”

    So only someone who stays and “works the program” can be called a “real alcoholic.”

    Complete and utter BULL.

    Love your site.

    1. friendthegirl Says:

      Welcome, Jane! Oh my gosh, that maddening infinite mind loop: “AA will work for you if you’re a real alcoholic”… Trying to make sense of that will short out someone’s brain. I am so glad you found us. –ftg

      1. Mykeru Says:

        Well, of course AA will work for everyone…

        Except, of course, those people who are “incapable of honesty” who were “born that way” and who, unknown to them as they work the steps and pick up their chips, are utterly doomed.

        I was at a “Big Book” meeting where “How it Works” was read. I voiced my concerns with how nasty, even evil, that passage was, aside from it being a blatant attempt to explain away failure so that “The program never fails anyone, people fail the program”.

        I’ve even given people (after the meeting, of course) examples of this twisted logic, claiming I could turn my Zippo lighter into gold if they really believed I could, and that my failure to do so was caused by their lack of faith, rather than the obvious answer: That I can’t turn Zippo lighters into gold.

        To a person, everyone interpreted this as either concern for the doomed, or showed a complete inability to read the passage for what it was, and couldn’t get that it was just a laughably crude attempt at preemptive ad hoc rationalization with extra bonus nasty “victim blaming” up to an including pissing on people graves.

        1. friendthegirl Says:

          Hi Mykeru,

          Ha, having faith that you can turn your lighter into gold is just weeeeerd. But believing that there’s some micromanaging, alcohol god, who will remove your character defects, is just plain straight-up common sense, son.


          1. Mykeru Says:

            Oh, see, you big cynic, you just don’t “get it” (“Get it” is a copyrighted trademark of AA World Services, all rights reserved, public domain notwithstanding)

            It wasn’t MY fault no one in the rooms had the faith necessary for me to turn my lighter into gold.

            Of course, it’s not their fault. They were born that way.

          2. violet Says:

            i am reading the responses here…particularly the laughable, “don’t quit before the miracle,” and really, though it is funny, it makes me sick. at age 22, (ages ago, really) i was MISERABLE In AA and i kept thinking, oh but wait, i will not quit before the miracle. i was not a decided idiot, i was basically being conned. i was vulnerable and was hearing this BS from people with years of sobriety who were my parents age. makes me so sick.

        2. murray Says:

          Ok Im going to pull the “some people are just to smart for aa” card.

          Hey presto you will now here
          “its a simple program”

          I to love the covering of bases written into the great big bloody book.

          1. Gary Says:

            Simple program….yep, that just about sums it up

          2. M A Says:

            Simple program….yep, that just about sums it up

            Hi, Gary. I really like your artwork. Very nice.

          3. murray Says:

            Then: “It works if you work it”

            “Dont leave before the miracle”

            Its like the donkey with the carrot dangling in front of it.
            got sold a bmw and found out they put a toyota engine in it

  6. Matt Says:

    This blog is an excellent resource for those of us who are coming to our senses about 12-step programs.

    One thing I would recommend, that has been helpful to me, is to get out and participate in activities with normal people to replace the meetings. I think the biggest challenge, once you recognize the BS for what it is, is to fill the social needs that meetings readily provide. Go volunteer at a soup kitchen, join a book club, there are a lot of healthy alternatives that don’t require you to conform and think in a prescribed way.

    1. M A Says:

      Great advice, Matt.

  7. steve Says:

    Is it not a fact that millions of people are sober and like to go to AA. As no one is or can be forced to go (at least by AA).
    If it didn’t work for you fine. Go somewhere else. It obviously works for others. Why the need to try and trash it?

    1. friendthegirl Says:

      Steve, You’re clearly not actually reading the blog. The answers to your questions have been answered many times over here, including “Why the need to trash it?” and, specifically, “What the fuck are you talking about?” So, why don’t you look up the answers yourself, instead of asking us to spoonfeed it to you? If you’re not really interested, then don’t demand that we waste our time answering you. But if you actually are interested, read the blog, and if you still have questions after that, feel free to ask.

    2. Susan Says:

      I am so deeply sorry to see AA bashed…because it has literally helped millions around the globe. It has fine, fine principles and has helped many, many save their lives. I believe that you “take what you want and leave the rest”…we all have choices…BUT Let it be known what a fine organization Alcoholics Anonymous is. It has saved many of my family members, friends…PLEASE don’t bash AA, as it might be a LIFE SAVER for someone that needs what is has to offer…This is a matter of life and death, REALLY, when it comes to booze…If you have “been there”…you totally know it. Please rethink your message…That is, don’t be so black and white about it. To tell you the truth, my child could possibly die if he doesn’t give AA a chance. Please, please hear me on this. This is a heartfelt and valid plea. Thanks.

      1. Klare Says:

        AA helps around 2% of people who make contact with it. AA fosters a sense of sickness, not recovery. I do not attend any self help group, and I am abstinent from all substances, yet I recently have observed several people who attend meetings everyday and associate only with AA/NA members, and yet repeated bust.
        I considered myself “recovered.” It is a healthier and more positive way to live, rather than believing one is diseased and doomed to failure.

    3. scarylarry Says:

      Steve: I trash AA because in my opinion it is trash. Many others feel the same way. If it works, it works only coincidentally for people. Bill W. didn’t know anything about psychology or healing–anything he knew he got from “personal experience” or through the Oxford Group. Bill was a troll, who damaged many people under the guise of helping them. Your savior is a monster. Many good but misguided people have studied the “big book” as though it contained hidden wisdom. The bb is just another poorly written book.

      Furthermore, AA refuses to change for the better. It’s forced on us by court systems and counselors. Until we get alternative therapy/counseling you can expect more of the same. People need help, not AA lies.

  8. frunobulax57 Says:

    Fantastic Site. I hope you can persuade as many people as you can who do not need AA to leave. It is way too top-heavy with ETOH-abusing non-alkie meeting addicted zombiess. That would leave it for the real alcoholics to get well and recover. Keep up the good work.


    Danny S – RLRA
    Real Live Recovered Alcoholic

    1. friendthegirl Says:

      Hi Danny, Thank you for leaving a note. I spent some time reading around your formidable (awesomely written! holy shit) blog a couple weeks ago, and so am very happy to see you here. (I landed on your blog by following a link you left in a comment the New York Times alcohol blog.)

      Anyway, if you’re talking about the very zombies we’re talking about, you probably know quite well that we don’t have the remotest chance of persuading them of anything, most especially of leaving AA. Sorry. There’s just no talking to some people, so we’re not. And they’re not listening. So it all shakes out.

      We’re talking to the people who are blinking into the light; people who are questioning their involvement in AA and need some righteous, funny validation; people who don’t know what their options are or even that there are options; people who are on the same page we are and are doing their part to keep the conversation active; and we’re muckracking (in the proper sense of the term) the treatment industry, which, to use your term, is top heavy.

      Since we started this blog, we’ve learned that we seem to share some common ground with AAs like you — the strictly-by-the-Big Book guys, who have no truck with the present incarnation of AA. It’s kind of funny. We have some visitors (like Jim, if he’s still around) who, I think, would really appreciate your blog. So I want to give it another plug for them:

      Thanks again for dropping in with a note.


      1. jim Says:

        Hey ftg,

        Yes, I am still around. I peek in here once in a while, but haven’t felt moved to say anything.

        I am familiar with Danny’s blog. In fact I consider Danny a friend of mine. How have you you been Danny?

        For all practical purposes I have left AA, or at least AA as it is known by most, the kind Danny so aptly describes.

    2. BusBozo Says:

      Have you ever considered starting a new Org.? AA will never return to the days you long for. Just think, your picture hung on walls, being look on as a Saviour of sorts, people hulking around in meetings reading as “Danny see It” I’m talking immortality here baby!
      Perhaps the ‘alcohol’ gene will soon be identified, and you could administer DNA tests. That would keep the non real alcoholics out, and let you guys do your thing. Just a thought!

      1. violet Says:

        awesome response.

    3. sharron Says:

      when I went to AA i was told By AA members steppers long term sober members that i was an alcoholic and would die if i didnt go and stay in AA. (The descriptions of an alcohlic in there books, leaflets also fitted me at that time.
      It was drummned into me that i was an alkie.
      – if i tired to leave at times -men members who said they worked the full programme would turn up at my door shouting at me acuseing me of hateing AA and tell me i would die.At times walk into my home univited.
      (haveing been a victim of domestic violence which they knew this kind of thing caused panic attacks in me.
      (thanks to outside help,help of professional people non AA-i am not longer a victim).

      After leaveing AA -because i felt very stressed out triggered by bad treatment from some members, head games played on me, lack of support especially from the women-
      and lots of other things i found wrong with AA -(and most of all didnt want to get rid of my children and grandchildren
      who cause me no harm whatsoever)-on there suggestion (it was being suggested all the time)
      and also beacuse no matter how hard i worked the 12 step programme which i went through all 12 steps-
      i continued to use weed and drink at times while i worked it as best i could.

      -in the time several months now of being away from AA) I have only drank once-they now tell me im not an alcoholic-they also told me while there that i was to blame at fault all my own doing for the sevaral times i was sexually and verbally abused and intimadated by aa members. they blame me for every abuse that ever happend to me including being sexaully molested as an infant and child-
      me i dont blame anyone -life is too short for hatred and blameing resenting such as i saw in AA members
      i cant stop them blameing hateing and resenitng me
      but i dont feel same way about them-there have been times i did they sort of rubbed off on me started to act like them- but im now getting back to who i once was getting my own identity back-

      i know they are very sick malajusted people and at there own admission say how sick twisted and warped they are-so i dont blame or hate them there programme teaches there are no victims and victims even children are at fault if they are raped molested or batterd-so aa members are only following what is taught to them.

      i lilke to enjoy my life
      and be at peace with myself and others
      not hate resent

      or blame
      little children for being abused
      but rather help victims to see
      how it was not there fault-
      and to put abuse behind them
      and get on with liveing.

      this is my life now i do what i want with it.

      AA taught me to hate myself
      since leaving i have learned to love myself

      -however without balmeing AA

      if AA members dont want people in AA who are not alcohloics to go to AA-
      why did they insist i was one
      that AA was the only way
      and i would die without it.
      tell me drum it into me i was
      and tell me i would die if i didnt go there and keep going there?

      I’m thankfull for the blogs and sites i have found where i can talk with people like myself who were harmed by
      particapating in AA or felt harmed by its members
      just as you and others in AA are thankfull for AA.

      -the people on this and others similar web sites are the people who have helpd and suported me and probably saved me from drinking myself to death in a false belive that AA put into my head that i was powerless-

      they also saved me from ending my own life by suiside triggered by the way i fet inside through
      the things i had went through in AA-

      I’m no longer mixed up confused depressed or stressed partly due to haveing found other folk who had left AA and who could emapthise with my plight-

      If AA dont want non alcoholics in AA then AA may need to do its own inventory see its own part in this instead of blameing and resenting people such as myself.

    4. a. anonymous no more Says:

      zAAmbieland-is still zAAmbieland.

      abuser vs alcoholic vs drinking problem-c’mon you don’t have to disconnect anymore because you’ve worked the steps which are the magic formula for living and being “rocketed into the fourth dimension.” As a recovered alcoholic should you be here? Shouldn’t you be in a circle of folks smiling, holding hans and chanting- think think think.

      Or maybe it doesn’t even work for you either?

  9. frunobulax57 Says:

    Thanks ftg. The cool thing about the “spiritual awakening” that occurs from the Twelve Step – this is MY experience now, not just an opinion about something I haven’t lived through or just read about – is that when it occurs it frees one, not only from alcoholic obsession, but from the Big Book and the people in AA. I sometimes erp up into my own mouth when I hear people in meetings talk about how “YOU PEOPLE keep me sober.”


    The truth is that “you people” are some of the sickest most self absorbed sons of bitches I have ever met in my life and aren’t keeping THIS alkie sober for one freakin second, let alone for the rest of ‘today’ or the rest of my life.


    Danny S – RLRA
    Real Live Recovered Alcoholic

    1. scarylarry Says:

      It’s not our job to keep you sober Danny. Besides, you had the spiritual awakening if you’re doing the steps right. That’s how the AA superstition works I thought.

  10. Todd Quinn Says:

    This is turning into quite a movement.
    More and more people are speaking out against the mind melt and recruiting tactics of the worlds most dishonest religion…(Alcoholics Anonymous).

    I was a disorganized, fall down drunk alcoholic for over 25 years. When I was sure that I had a problem (was an alcoholic) I checked into a local hospital and was indoctrinated. I spent the last 15 years of my addiction heavily drinking, and heavily involved with AA.

    AA did much more damage than good.
    Before I was finished, I had been through 10 detoxes and 4 dual diagnosis wards. I was a complete mess.
    AA taught me that I was powerless over my own actions… I was unable to think for myself… was inherently dishonest… I was a failure… and that I needed to examine every thought and action and be constantly vigilant against myself.

    If there were no character defects to be found, I was taught to adopt the defects of others and so I labeled myself a liar, cheat and a thief. I did what I was told because when I was sent to AA I was all mixed up and vulnerable to the subtle indoctrination process.

    After many years of relapse I decided to explore other options. I read The Small Book by Jack Trimpey and became aware that I had been misled. I then found the orange-papers. org, (both excellent deprogramming tools) Lifering and finally Chris Prentiss’ book The Alcoholism Addiction Cure.These resources helped me to believe that it is possible to get sober and stay that way without joining a dangerous mind control cult.

    It’s a good thing to see that more and more people are getting together to warn others about Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope that together we can save some folks the confusion and years of wasted effort working a program that has no scientific evidence to back it up and simply does not work. And perhaps we can have some fun doing it.

    Thanks for this well organized effort.
    Please count me in as one who is willing to help spread the word.

    1. sharron Says:

      thankyou for your post-it help me
      my heart go out to you what you been through
      take good care x

  11. Stephie Says:

    Thank you so much for this site. I was first introduced to AA about 10 years ago when I entered my first rehab. While I was in rehab I felt that AA would help me to remain sober. Once I came out, and started going to AA in my city and just felt horrible in the meetings. When I questioned the old-timers I was told to take the cotton out of my ears and put it in my mouth. Skip ahead 10 years…$20000.00 treatment centre where once again I was told that the only way that I would stay sober was to attend AA meetings daily. I attended meetings daily and became more and more depressed and suicidal. I felt that the program wanted me to blame myself for past abuse, for a current anxiety disorder, and when my panic attacks became worse and worse I was told that I was not working the program and that I was a dry drunk.
    The guilt that I felt for not being able to work the program, or the steps was overwhelming! I was told that my anger would kill me, and that if I quit going to meetings I would die of my disease. I was very vulnerable at the time and believed it. So I kept going, and I kept sinking deeper and deeper into a depression. I was told to join a Big Book study group, which I did. I felt like I was in some sort of cult that would not listen to reason, or would not allow me to question the BB. In fact, I was told NOT to ask questions.
    I have not been to AA in about a year, and I am happy to say that I still have not drank; however now I’m spending 1000.00’s of dollars trying to work through the pain that AA caused me. I feel that the program brainwashes people, and that independent thinkers are pretty much blacklisted and labeled “difficult, and dry”
    So to know that there are others that have gone through the pain of being judged and abused by AAs, is somewhat healing.
    I have so much anger at the mental health field for their continuous pushing of this program! Oh, and my anger is justified and healthy and will not lead me to relapse!

    1. sharron Says:

      thankyou for your post-
      same things happen to me-
      lots of love to you tears in my eyes now
      cant read no more posts make me cry
      all the pain AA put folk through
      take care.x

      1. H Says:

        sharron — I am glad that you are out of it. AA is a good place to leave.

  12. hiiamanalcoholic Says:

    I am new to recovery (less then 60 days into it). Since completing an outpatient program I have not attended any AA meetings. At times I feel extremely guilty for not doing so. I think its cause I was made to feel that I will fail no matter what I do unless I become a member of AA and get a sponsor.

    I am still not sure what my sober future has in the cards for me. But, for now I really dont WANT to go to AA meetings. They make me uncomfortable frankly.

    Anyways.. Im just rambling now. Im looking forward to checking out your site more :0)

    1. speedy0314 Says:

      it made me uncomfortable just about every day of the six years i gave it.

      i wish i would have paid closer attention to that feeling a lot earlier. just an opinion, but if you’re feeling apprehensive about AA this early in the game (it took about six months for the scales to even start shaking themselves loose from my eyes) then i don’t think you’re on the road to a “spiritual awakening”.

      you can stay sober, though. and you can build community & meaning in your life while doing so. as the posts & (most) of the replies here can attest, there’s plenty of life & community outside of AA’s absurd, insulated world-view. hang on, keep reaching out, & get yourself involved in your life as well as the life of your community.

      the only thing that’s assured in anyone’s future is we ain’t getting out of here alive. start building meaning in your life & you’ll soon see that f**king [yourself] up will completely run out of steam.

      good luck & keep checking in!


  13. andrew Says:

    I am writing this on a computer thats faulty that was sold to me by an aa member..I was vulnerable at the time and was manipulated into it..a woman I met in aa told me she was raped by an old-timer..
    I spent 20 years in and out of aa..
    I never felt ok in there but blamed myself for it..
    I feel sick now when I think of the meetings..
    the sickest most self-obbsessed manipulative people I ever met in my life were in aa..
    It frightens me to think that organisations such as the samaritans direct people there..

    1. Will Says:

      “I am writing this on a computer thats faulty that was sold to me by an aa member. a woman I met in aa told me she was raped by an old-timer.”

      Are you kidding me? (Laughing my complete ass off…)

      What is next? AA took my family farm and shot my dog?

      You people need to get a life. A happy bunch you are. Thank God I am sober and I am most definitely not one of you.

      1. H Says:

        Will, go to hell and by the shortest road.

      2. mikeblamedenial Says:

        How can a half-ass like you claim to laugh a complete one off? If you can’t be honest about that, how can we believe anything you say? The next thing you will be telling us is that the sex was consensual, and that the computer worked fine when you sold it to the guy.

      3. will Says:

        You guys have quite the little hate site going. Do you dress up in white sheets on the weekend, burn things, and scare people as well? Publish said email address against my wishes and you will be spending quite a bit of quality time with your attorney.

        Much bigger warning and a promise.

        Oh, and God bless.


        1. speedy0314 Says:



          that’s very stern and scary rhetoric. i must’ve missed the big book passage that advises ‘sobriety’ gives you the liberty to insult people, associate them with the KKK, and then threaten them with litigation. very serene stuff, indeed.

          read up some on intellectual property before coming to shower us with god’s blessings again. then go ask your own attorney his or her hourly rate for representing you in fighting a lengthy, losing case initiated by your own initial submission of inflammatory & libelous commentary.

          and, really, isn’t it just you southern boys that dress up in the white sheets and do all that other wonderfully hateful stuff?

          let’s do lunch,


          1. H Says:

            Will, you made your point. Now, go about your business. Good bye Will

          2. will Says:

            Wow…and now we just “remove” posts. You really do have your own agenda. Quid pro Quo…

            Enjoy your party.


          3. Cuda Says:

            “i must’ve missed the big book passage that advises ’sobriety’ gives you the liberty to insult people,

            You must have picked it up from somewhere since it seems to be the mainstay of any post you can muster up.

          4. speedy0314 Says:


            is that the ‘real AA’ equivalent of, “i’m a rubberband & you’re glue”?

            god bless. service. yada yada yada.

            you guys are like bobble-head dolls — fun for a bit, then just plain tedious. i expect you to wear out your welcome here soon enough.

            until that day,


          5. H Says:

            cuda, go about your business.

          6. speedy0314 Says:


            sadly, this is his business.

            love & service,


          7. H Says:

            Speedy, I do not own that problem.

        2. LAAME Says:

          The KKK is so outdated. I personally carry a big book, practice mind control, and use AA as a social, business, and dating network. But don’t do what I do, this is just my experience.

          1. speedy0314 Says:


            that’s hilarious. and, come to think of it, the KKK is kind of passé.

            steppers have such limited imaginations. they can’t even insult you with any degree of originality.


  14. andrew Says:

    I’m still geting over the dependency that aa fostered in me..

  15. Lindsay Lohan Says:

    I have been in and out of AA for 20 years. I have strung together some sober time with or without AA and have been in rehab twice, bothe 12 step based. I have worked the steps several times. Bottom line: AA has not kept me sober yet AArs have shamed and guilted me into telling me I have not worked the steps properly and have not been willing enough. I have been sober for over 6 months this times and have been through the steps again with a female sponsor ( I am a woman) who was attracted to me and denied it and I finally had to fire her and another sponsor who was a complete control freak. I am completely manipulated and shamed continously. I feel I am fihally “free” for the first time in my life due to a counselor I am working with, not to AA. I can’t take it anymore, yet they have me so afraid, I am afraid to walk on my own. Frankly, I feel a hell of a lot healthier and “sober” than either of my sponsors or those manipulative cult people.

    savethefreethinkers(Please do not post under lbakes)

  16. H Says:

    Do not get near those people. They are poison.
    AA does not keep anyone sober. AA cannot keep itself sober. I am glad that you found a good counselor.

    You are healthier than any ofthose people; and, your health will improve.

  17. anonymous Says:

    Since leaving AA my whole life is open. I can’t believe I wasted so much time at those meetings. I missed my daughters childhood. Both counselors and members tried to get my wife in bed. Women asked me for sex (trust me, they wanted a whole lot more). I was stalked at my business by those that wanted a piece of the action. I was attacked physically at meetings twice. I became sort of a life coach for people who held me accountable for their problems. I gave total losers money for rent. I told sociopaths the truth. I over shared personal information in private and in public that was used against me. I got hugged by total freaks. Members called my wife and told her what I shared. People gossip about you in AA, you have no secrets. The psychiatric community will try to give you drugs, they are even worse than AA. I was told that I had bi-polar, fast cycling manic depressive disorder and ADD. That was 15 years ago, I never took the treatment. Those I know that did take the treatment are completely fucked up. I would never go to a counselor that recommended AA.

    The funny thing now is that I thought I was doing something good at the time and shrugged it off as a job well done.

  18. Take what you need and leave the rest, was told to me over 30 years ago. I have been sober 27 years and still attend meetings. AA saved my life it is one of the greatest social movements of the 20 th century. People are people they will try to screw you at the bus stop. If you don’t like one meeting go to another or start your own. It has worked since 1935 take alcohol out of the twelve – steps and you have a good way to live life in general . Its attraction not promotion thats why it’s anonymous. Unless you have your own control issues. Yes AA it’s not for everybody nor does it have all the answers. Some meetings are run like cults and qualify as one. It was ten miles into the woods and be ten miles out regardless of how you choose to address your alcohol problem – good luck

    1. Littlebuddy Says:

      “Take what you need and leave the rest, was told to me over 30 years ago.”

      I lasted for several years by ‘taking what I needed’ too, but unfortunately, that never made ‘the rest’ disappear. That saying is a handy device for mitigating cognitive dissonance, but it doesn’t change that pesky thing called reality.
      Personally, I got sick of giving credit for my accomplishments where it wasn’t due, and no matter how much I chanted ‘it works’, the observable reality I was surrounded by told a very different story. Granted, some groups are better than others, and you might find some that are fairly tolerable, but they all represent the same organization and the same belief system.
      You can close your eyes and pretend the world disappears, and it appears that’s worked well for you, based on your snarky inclusion of lobotomies with alternative therapies. (you claim ‘whatever works’ is OK, but can’t resist a little condescending dig at alternatives while you’re here.)
      AA has always promoted itself, and always will. Those alternatives you mention will never be allowed to send missionaries into jails or treatment centers.
      Congratulations on your twenty seven years, I realize that makes you a real high-status healer within your church, and that’s fine. For me personally, your dogmatic allegiance and blind rationalizations are simply reminders of the attitudes the program instills, and also the very things I wanted no part of…

  19. You can try SMART or RR or DBT or a frontal lobotomy.

    1. H Says:

      All three are an improvement over AA.

    2. LAAME Says:

      Dear Mark A. Melley M.Ed LPC,
      Are you a bit angry?
      Perhaps you need a meeting.
      Or better yet, try harm Reduction.

      Don’t be such a wanna-be doctor drew…
      No one likes that guy, especially the AA community.

  20. NoFriendOfBill911 Says:

    Hello All,

    I am very glad I stumbled upon this site, ironically looking for a 4th step inventory packet online. We just did the 5th step yesterday and I am more convinced now more than ever that AA is detrimental to almost anyone who tries to put their brain in neutral and follow their suggestions which are strangely, also requirements for long term sobriety according to them. We dug up each and every “resentment” and I drudged up all kinds of old issues and hurts so I could somehow put it in the past and move on. All I can say is that made things much worse…some things need to stay dead and buried in your past. No matter how we were ever treated in the past somehow we are at fault for even the worst transgressions against us. With AA I have been told to end a great relationship with a wonderful and supportive woman who did more for me than all the guys at the rehab where I was forced to stay did put together. In fact, the people I have known in recovery centers and half-way houses were hands-down some of the most back-stabbing, untrustworthy and jealous people I have ever met. The House Manager took a liking to my GF at the time and while telling me to stay out of a relationship, he was trying to get in touch with her as a “friend” and ended up sharing all kinds of personal and confidential information about me and my medications etc. with her to scare her off. I worked at the rehab for no pay, just room and board b/c the director wanted free help w/ websites, email, phone, reports etc. The rehab director used to ask me to falsify documents and if I refused told me he have me thrown in jail because I was there on bond and getting kicked out meant bond revocation and jail. I’m rambling I’m just so relieved to find a site with like-minded folks and I could write pages and pages of information on how AA has helped me go from bad to worse…how one sponsor told me my mothers breast cancer was the result of her holding in resentments her whole life or how my dad and brother can’t truly be happy b/c they just quit drinking without AA on their own. Dad is 22 years without a drink and about as happy as I think a man can be! Thanks for letting me share! lol

  21. Jon Says:

    This is fascinating – I’ve been in AA and CA for 14 months – I go to meetings pretty regularly – I found some very good friends there who are atheists/heathens/skeptics and we hang together and grin alot at the zombies – it works for us

    I value the support of these new found friends and the fact that together we stay sober and ulitize AA to hook up and share our desire to stay sober and the absurdities as well as the obvious benefits of ‘the programme’

    1. Klare Says:

      That’s great! A support group within a support group! You are lucky to have found each other – I was all alone at NA/AA – you try and be the only one out of hundreds (thousands?) who doesn’t ID as an “addict” or “alcoholic,” doesn’t count clean time, doesn’t have a sponsor, do the steps and is an atheist! I left of course. And very happy I did. But if these groups were simply straight-up support groups and not dens of indoctrination, maybe I would have stayed. Anyway, I don’t use substances now, because I don’t want to. Recovered thanks very much!

  22. Dick B. Says:

    The Specific, Original, Christian Program Bill W. and Dr. Bob Developed

    Here are the actual principles and practices of the Akron Christian Fellowship during the period from June 10, 1935, to the publishing of the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book”) in the spring of 1939:

    1. Qualifying the newcomer. Newcomers were interviewed by Dr. Bob to determine if they had conceded that they had an alcoholism problem; if they had shown a desire to quit permanently; and if they had committed themselves to go to any length to stay sober.

    2. Hospitalization was a must. Newcomers were hospitalized for a period of some five to seven days. During this time, Dr. Bob would visit extensively each day, other sober alcoholics would tell the newcomer their stories, the Bible was the only reading material allowed, and Dr. Bob would offer the newcomer the opportunity to “surrender” before release.

    3. “Surrender” by the newcomer during his five-to-seven-day stay at the hospital. Before the newcomer was discharged from the hospital, Dr. Bob would conduct his final visit and require that the newcomer profess a belief in God—not “a” God, but God. Then the newcomer would get out of his bed, get down on his knees, and pray with Dr. Bob, accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in the process.

    4. Upon leaving the hospital, in the case of Clarence Snyder at least, Clarence was taken to his first Oxford Group meeting at T. Henry’s house, given a Bible by Dr. Bob, and told by Dr. Bob to “go out and fix drunks as an avocation.”

    5. Most went to live in the Smith residence or in the residences of other Akron people like Wally Gillam and Tom Lucas. They stayed as long as needed in order to get steady in their path.

    6. There were Christian fellowship meetings every day, with Dr. Bob, Anne Smith, and Henrietta Seiberling, which included group Bible study, prayer, and Quiet Time observances.

    7. In addition, each morning, alcoholics and their family members gathered at the Smith home for a Quiet Time conducted by Anne Smith, with prayer, Bible reading, seeking guidance, and discussion of portions of Anne Smith’s personal journal.

    8. There was one “Oxford Group” meeting each Wednesday at the home of T. Henry Williams. These meetings, however, scarcely resembled conventional Oxford Group meetings. They were called a “sort of a clandestine lodge of the Oxford Group,” and actually took on the form of “a regular old fashioned prayer meeting.” Some called the group, “the alcoholic squad.” Frank Amos referred to the group as the “self-styled Alcoholic Group of Akron, Ohio.” Dr. Bob called the group a “Christian Fellowship.” Frank Amos declared, “Members did not want the movement connected directly or indirectly with any religious movement or cult; they stressed the point that they had no connection whatever with any so-called orthodox religious denomination, or with the Oxford Movement. (Obviously, Amos meant the Oxford Group).” Bob E. stated:

    Dr. Bob and T. Henry “teamed” the meeting; T. Henry took care of the prayers with which the meeting was opened and closed. “There were only a half dozen in the Oxford Group. We [the alcoholics] had more than that. Sometimes, we’d go downstairs and have our meeting, and the Oxford Group would have theirs in the sitting room.”

    And at these weekly meetings, there was a time in which newcomers were required to make a “real surrender” with Dr. Bob and one or two others upstairs. There the newcomer, on his knees, accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, asked that alcohol be taken out of his life, and asked strength and guidance to live according to cardinal Christian teachings. The elders prayed with him after the manner of James 5:16.

    9. There was extensive reading of Christian devotionals and literature provided by Dr. Bob and distributed at meetings.

    10. There was particular stress on study of the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13.

    11. Meetings concluded with invitations to reach out to newcomers in the hospital and elsewhere, and then closed with the Lord’s Prayer.

    12. There was frequent socializing in the homes, particularly on Saturday evenings.

    13. Members knew each other well. They phoned and visited each other. And they kept little address books with the names, phone numbers, and street addresses of the pioneers. Also, this data was listed on some of the rosters which they kept and which are discussed next.

    14. In addition, rosters of the names and addresses, sobriety dates, and relapses, if any, were kept and still exist today. Richard K. of Massachusetts—author of four major works on early A.A. history, including studies of the “First 40” cures, early articles about A.A., and statistics relating to A.A.—has discussed these rosters. Richard spent several months with me in Maui reviewing the rosters and materials I had, as well as materials he obtained from A.A. General Services in New York. He carefully examined photocopies of original documents, newspaper accounts, and extant lists of the early A.A. members and their sobriety records. His work is the most important study of early A.A. successes, cures, and announcements written to date. There are also my own copies of the pioneer member rosters which were acquired by me from several A.A. historians such as Earl Husband, George Trotter, Sue Smith Windows, and Ray Grumney. Their value became particularly significant when other evidence was reviewed and clearly disclosed that early AAs commonly kept address books—many of which contained names, addresses, phone numbers, sobriety information, and relapse and death notations. As a group, these rosters enable an accurate evaluation of the successes of the original 40 pioneers surveyed by Bill and Bob in November 1937. And they provide important evidence relating to the 75% and 93% successes rates (overall, and in Cleveland, respectively) early A.A. claimed.

    1. mikeblamedenial Says:

      Dick, we are utterly convinced that early AA vetted its early indoctrinees in an attempt to drive up success rates (what about the contemporary source which indicates that at least 38 of the original 49 alcholic contributors the bigbook subsequently drank?). We are also certain that early AA’s were lapsed Christians finding their way back to Jesus. We also know about the statistics, based on vetting and dismissal of all who didn’t “really try” which you site as “proof”. For the first time, ever, I am with McGowdog. What, exactly, is your message here?

      One other thing I have to ask you-what were you thinking when you agreed to appear on Penn and Teller?

      1. mcgowdog Says:

        Dog wags his tail… =)

        Why does anybody watch Penn & Teller? For for the brief moment of tits, right?

        I’m just getting sick of seeing yet one more A.A. appologist who says, “You’re doing it wrong. You’re gonna get drunk if you don’t act, talk, think, be… just like me. Here I am. I have all the Power. If you want some Power, come over here, under my thumb, where I will mete out some crumbs for you scurvy dogs to eat.”

        I just see too many assholes out there taking themselves way too serious.

  23. McGowdog Says:

    So, Dick B. How well does the books 164 pages and 12 pages of roman numerals and Dr. Bob’s Nightmare explain the exact “program of action” that they followed back there in Akron, Cleveland, and New York? Is it sufficient?

    What about Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. that want to get sober in the A.A. program? Is A.A. a Christian Organization? Is A.A. a religion?

    What exactly is your message here … an antiA.A. blog… summed up in a few short sentences?

    1. raysny Says:

      Dick B is at least consistent and honest about AA’s religious roots.

  24. mcgowdog Says:

    I was told that there was one book and that the A.A. program via the Title page to 164 is in and of itself sufficient.

    I like a little hell-fire and brimstone myself, but I know scores of people who will not allow anybody to cram God up their ass in any shape or form.

    I’m not a big crammer myself either. If that does something for you, get down with your bad self.

  25. Jonathan Riley Says:

    Fantastic website.
    I have to confess, AA heped get me sober. I don’t know whether I could have done this without a support network so I’ll never know the answer to this question.
    I find increasingly the members of AA I see have nothing in common with myself. I wanted to return to a “normal” existence without alcohol, and to a degree I have. I am very active in my work and sporting life though I can’t say recovery has been a bed of roses. However, much of what I have read here is true and certainly AA doesn’t have many of the answers to my real life problems. The one thing I think it does give the alcoholic is access to some people that have achieved their goals in sobriety and still use AA. That is why I go and that is why I chair a meeting. To give hope to others as others did to me. I am not a big book fan at all and I do question anybody with any intelligence believing it forms the foundation of recovery. It’s like reading the bible……..Jesus really did part the Red Sea and turn water into wine. It’s nonesense, but sick people will believe anything in desperation.

    1. cannae1 Says:

      Jonathon — that sounds OK to me.

    2. madeline819 Says:

      Hi Jonathan…aa never has the answers to real life problems…other than “turn it over” and “you are right where you are suppose to be.” You are right when you say that aa does provide access to people in a similar situation…support can help but in aa it comes with a price. It was only after I left aa that my life returned to normal…I don’t drink and I didn’t die. Quite the opposite of what I was told would happen.

  26. Jonathan Riley Says:

    I love this site and read as much as I can. Everytime I do so, I feel obliged almost to share my experiences, because that’s what AA has taught me.
    I knew all along that AA didn’t have all the answers for me but was scared that it was the only known cure for my condition or…………face a life of misery. Well, my slant now is that undoubtedly step one saved me but the rest is going to prevent me from recovering further. I don’t knock those who believe the steps provide every answer and that’s up to them but much of what occurs as a result is purely coincidence and nothing more.
    Keep the comments coming !!!

    1. M A Says:

      Thanks, Jonathan.

  27. Still kickin Says:

    Hi to all and sundry,

    I spent 25 years recovering and relapsing, nobody’s fault but a result of my own choices,attended both AA and NA, got thoroughly indoctrinated as we do, and now simply suffer shame and regret for my dogmatic rants that may or may not have impacted on others.
    After being threatened with harm of a terminal nature by some of the more criminally inclined I decided, in the interests of self preservation, to abandon meetings and members regardless of the outcome telling myself anything has got to be better than this.
    I guess the only thing that truly saddens me is that a sponsor I had for many years and who I considered a real friend has completely abandoned me and although I have tried to contact him has studiously ignored me,
    I surmise this is true of many cultist organizations, “Play by our rules or we aint playing”
    All things considered, I still think Fellowship played a big part in assisting me to reclaim my life, which I have to say is now the kind of life I always wanted for myself,same job for a decade, same friends for the same period,a realization that my Higher Self is my greatest asset, and freedom from dogma is true freedom,
    Wishing you all the Same

  28. Gary Says:

    Wow..what a breath of fresh air this site is!..I have been sober 18 months, after jumping on a plane from London to Florida to get clean..I did loads of AA meetings in Florida and when I came back to London, continued to do meetings…I don’t do the whole “God” thing and rarely talk to people at the meetings..I just sit back, listen and observe.
    Lately i am thinking what i’m getting out of these meetings and thinking “Has AA kept me sober or have I kept me sober?”…I have read a lot since being sober, “The art of war” ( to fight the enemy that is alcohol / my will power etc) – “The Odyssey ( for the journey ahead fighting demons etc) I also taught myself to play basketball, 4 months everyday on an outside court in winter in London, yes it sounds crazy, but got me fit and made me spend time with myself SOBER.
    I also listened to lots and lots of Miles Davis!
    All I know, is all of this, the basketball, the reading, the music has kept me sober…I feel the meetings are just something I should do because i’m an alcoholic.
    I have seen a lot at meetings, the people constantly “going back out”, only to come back and receive hugs, sympathy,etc. The 13 stepping ( I know a guy who is constantly turning up with newcomers, leaving early and turning up the next week with someone new), also the members eyeing each other up, I have had women make a beeline for me on a few occasions.
    Also the cliques, politics, silent cross talking, gossiping etc
    But most of all I get really depressed after a meeting, when i do my own thing i feel positive, so it’s nice to find a site like this that doesn’t preach “do or die” or ram God down my throat!
    I may be leaving AA soon, so it’s good to find a community that thinks differently.
    Keep up the good work

    1. M A Says:

      Hi, Gary.

      One thing I found when I quit drinking was a huge amount of free time. It is amazing how much time drinking takes up – not just the literal drinking, but hangover time, prep time, thinking time. I think filling that void with positive and productive things is key. Looks like you know this already.

      Welcome aboard!

  29. Gary Says:

    Thanks M A. This is my commercial work, aiming at a particular target market (pays the bills) but my own work is a bit more abstract, glad you like it though

  30. Recovering from Recovery in CO Says:

    I am so darn glad I am here!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. a. anonymous no more Says:

    Great renovations to the site folks – it’s been about 6 months and I am feeling great. I didn’t realize among other things – that I was tired of being “sold” at nearly every mtg. Thanks again and y’all are doing great job!
    Keep it up, please!

    1. friendthegirl Says:

      Hi a.a.n.m, Thanks! So glad to hear you’re doing well. 🙂

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