Below is the letter and my response.
I can see that a lot of people think it's a theist/non-theist issue, just as much as churches seem to assume that it's good if it includes 'God'; in fact, it's just an "AA lies" issue.
I spent so much time trying to admit that I was powerless, hopeless, insane, defective, with predictable results (increased bottom-seeking behavior, feelings of going insane, doubt of simple moral beliefs and values, etc). AA nearly killed me, and I feel like a fool for not trusting my conscience. AA helped me become a shameless drunk.
There are many books shoe-horning Buddhism into the Twelve Steps, and I was misled by those as well. Buddhist teachings never, never, never would tell you that you're powerless, and Buddhism certainly does NOT say that you can't think or choose not to drink, or that the alternative is jails, institutions, and death.
I voluntarily entered into 'recovery' (thinking that 'recovery' is the solution) and have spiraled into several years of repeated and more and more intense referrals and coercion into 12-step programs and more and more problems with my family and alcohol. When I told people that it was not working, I was told that I was in denial. I noticed that instead of seeking any alternative approach, I would say things like "I just can't seem to get past Step One", which led everyone to think that I just wasn't getting it yet.
There was no escape. When I found alternatives like SMART, I was very hopeful that they were 'empowering' me, but found that those programs did not work either. I've come to believe that this was due to a couple crucial factors: First of all, AA's negative impact is not easy to shake unless directly confronted. Second, SMART has a policy of not criticizing AA.
In fact, actively confronting these wrong ideas, realizing that I'm a normal human being, and seeing how pervasive and always-implied the destructive 12-step concepts are, is a crucial part of my ability to get well. It was only after finding the Orange Papers last summer and consciously rejecting AA's 'powerlessness' that I had my longest ever success, but I kept going to AA because I was afraid to leave and wanted 'support'. Then I fell back into the disease concept and the rehab culture, and it took a few months to realize what had happened. AA was the addictive voice itself.
The amount of work I've had to do to deprogram myself (and to even realize the possibility that AA might just be completely inappropriate to try to resolve with my beliefs) and reassert my ability to choose between right and wrong with regard to my health has been against all odds, precisely because of AA's ubiquity and programmatic denial of facts.
I agree with you, that it's not acceptable to just say "it didn't work for me", without exposing the truth that these ideas are harmful by nature, and that it only coincidentally 'works' for anyone.
I want to tell every one of these churches whose basements I've been in what's going on. I wish more people cared to see what's going on here.
Thank you for the encouragement. Most churches today do seem to assume that anything is good if it includes “God”. However, there are still a relatively small number of churches that realize that AA is anti-Christianity. And it is a fact that AA outright lies and it could be proven in a court of law.
You’re also right about AA taking away shame when shame is a good thing when it comes to moral issues like being a drunk.
AA helped me become a shameless drunk. Sand the reason that some books are shoe-horning Buddhism (and Christianity) into the Twelve Steps is because 12-step religion is going to be the religion of the New World Order that George Bush Sr. and other have spoken openly about. So it’s also an issue of religious freedom.
And SMART is like most churches today. They don’t want to criticize AA because it’s so widely accepted and they don’t want to look like bad guys who are putting down a program that so many people think is wonderful.
Most churches in the USA today are not even real Christian churches. That’s the reason that most of them allow AA to meet on their property. The other reason is that some real Christian churches are just plain careless. They don’t take a close look at what AA is teaching. And although I don’t agree with all of the teachings of Buddhism, at least Buddhism isn’t lying so it can get into church basements and into the church system so that people can be forced to attend Buddhist meetings. AA is the only religion (or should I say cult) that is lying in order to use the property of other religions to hold their meetings and to trick our judicial system and employers into forcing people into their brainwashing cult. Like you, I wish more people cared to see what's going on here but most don’t (and never will) because the public has been brainwashed by AA too. Thank you again for the encouragement.