My experience was quite similar to what you are describing.
I live just outside of Boston, Massachusetts and the meetings here are atrocious. When I first went to meetings, sometime around 1990, it was because I was referred to a detox by my employee assistance program at work. The people at the detox told me that I had an incurable disease, and like diabetes, I had to take a daily regiment of "medicine" which consisted of AA meetings. So I went to AA meetings and learned all about AA's 12 step program. (The same 12 step program is used in the UK and USA.)
As a result of my drinking I was suffering from a variety of life problems from difficulty paying the bills, to actually hearing voices that were not really there. AA promised to help me to recover from these difficulties as well as my alcoholism if I was willing to take a few simple suggestions and work the 12 step program.
So I committed myself to these things and began to immerse myself in both the 12 step program and the culture surrounding it. Initially, I had no problem with the religious aspects of the program, as I had been involved with both the Pentecostal and Baptist churches. Religion just seemed to be a perfectly natural solution to the problems that I was facing. I did not question the efficacy, or sincerity of AA's program... I just went with the flow and did as I was told. I was told to get on my knees at the beginning of my day and ask God to help me through the day without a drink. And, I was told to get on my knees at the end of my day and ask God to remove my so-called character defects (sins)
There is really so much more to it that this, but it would take an entire novel to explain it all. Most of the things I was told to do revolved around building and maintaining a personal relationship with God. I didn't realize at the time that my relationship with God had nothing to do with my drinking problem, and that I had been ambushed into joining a religious cult. Anyway... Over the course of the next 18 years or so I would find myself bouncing in and out of rehabs and mental hospitals for a total of around 16 times. I remember crying and begging God to relieve me of the desire to drink, but God never showed up to help.
As far as the serious life problems I was facing were concerned, AA members were no help at all... In fact they blamed me and said that the reason AA was not working for me was that I was unwilling to work the program the way it was laid out... It was always my fault. No one ever suggested that I should try another method. I was always sent back to the same old nonsense... Call your sponsor every day... confess... turn my life and my will over to God. None of this was helpful at all, and none of this really had anything to do with my drinking problem. And I tried it over and over for 18 years... regurgitated slogans... admitting my deepest faults and secrets to unqualified and untrained wannabe addiction and mental health specialists. The whole thing was quite painful.
Somewhere around 2000 I read a book that challenged AA's dogmatic stance and AA's domination of the addiction treatment industry. That book was "The Small Book" by a gentleman named Jack Trimpey. Suddenly my whole world was turned upside down. It seemed that nearly everything I had learned about recovery from alcoholism was wrong. One slogan I learned in AA was, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Jack Trimpey, rightly, pointed out that, if such were true, the it would be insane for me to persue AA's religious and dogmatic program any further. After 18 years of failure at AA, I set out to learn as much as I could about alternative programs. I felt like I had been set free.
When I told AA members about my decision to find something else they assured me that I would fail and that I was, "too smart for my own good."
It took a few years, but I was finally able to find an answer that worked for me. Again, the methods that I eventually used are too complicated to go into in much detail here without writing a novel on the subject. The short form of it all was that I used a drug called naltrexone in conjunction with something called The Sinclair Method. I also used various methods I learned from groups such as Rational Recovery and SMART Recovery. It's been well over five years since my last drink and I have absolutely no desire to drink to this day.