Stories of the Midtown Group of Alcoholics Anonymous,
collected by A. Orange
Many of the stories about Mike Q.'s "Midtown Group" of Alcoholics Anonymous
have disappeared from the Internet. Here are archived copies of some of the stories.
Where it says something like, "This message was sent by a concerned friend", that
means that someone sent a story to the FOM (Fall Of Midtown) blog.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
THIS WAS SENT BY A FRIEND OF THE PAGE:
Date: December 12, 2006
Title: To the A.A. Member
Please read the following in regard to our local intergroup, WAIA (Washington Area Intergroup Association):
Until today most of the positions at our local area intergroup are held by members who identify their home group as the Midtown Group.
These included elected positions such as Treasurer, as well as volunteer positions such as group representatives. Each month at our WAIA meeting there were approximately 35 A.A. meetings represented; approximately 15 were directly affiliated with the Midtown Group. Over 2,000 A.A. meetings are currently registered in the Washington, D.C.area as of this date. Less than 2% of these meetings are currently represented at the WAIA level, and of that 2%, roughly 35% belong to the pre-identified 15 Midtown Group meetings (IV.I The "Homegroup" & Its Affiliate Meetings, May 3, 2006, CFG News).
Until today The Midtown Group could easily sway any vote that comes to the floor of WAIA, resulting in a gross misrepresentation of the actual group conscience of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.
"Intergroup is a central A.A. service office that involves partnership among groups in a community", just as A.A. groups themselves are partnerships of individuals. A central office is established to carry out certain functions common to all the groups... "The A.A. Guidelines from the General Service Office (GSO)"
( http://aa.org/en_pdfs/mg-02_centralorinter.pdf )
The Midtown Group is the "home group" to almost 300 young A.A. members in the Washington, D.C. area. As of today, there are approximately15 active meetings that we have reason to believe the Midtown Group considers "Midtown meetings". We have reason to believe that the Midtown Group is like many formed and organized cults. A.A. suggests that members attend "other meetings during a given week but maintain one meeting as their Home Group." — Reprinted from the June 9, 2006 CFG News posting of "IX.I CFG Believes..." (please refer to CFGNEWS@googlegroups.com for more information).
The Midtown Group appears to be a cult-like offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous, touting itself as the strongest A.A. message in the area. The Midtown Group recruits new members via hospitals, institutions, and through the local A.A. hotline, and quickly indoctrinates them into their specific way of thinking. To the best of our knowledge and from personal experience, this thinking includes the belief that there is a leader, and that an A.A. group operating under a hierarchical system is proper. The newcomer comes to believe in this group. Certain members have been and are being told what to do, how to live, with whom to have sexual relations, how to spend their money, and how to run their lives. There is a "leader" of this group and his sponsees, along with their sponsees, create a strong hierarchical system.
In January 2006, a disturbing e-mail was distributed. This e-mail was to the presumed leader of the Midtown Group from one of his grand-sponsees, who happens to be a Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.) and the Treasurer of WAIA, a position that puts him in control of a large amount of local A.A. funds.
The e-mail said that its author, the accountant, had received a $1,522 refund on his credit card for a Midtown Group trip. This was a deposit refund. It did not appear that the author informed the trip-takers that this refund was to be expected. He asked the recipient of the email (the presumed "leader" of Midtown) what to do with it.
In this e-mail the recipient requested to use this money for a trip to France.
It was in black and white.
The misappropriations of this money — handled so selfishly and unethically in this email — by the Treasurer of WAIA, frightened many people.
Regarding WAIA's Money:
WAIA produced a letter in March (see below) responding to questions about how the money is handled. Due to the Treasurer's exposed lack of ethics, many people became aware of the possibility of fraudulent use of funds:
From: The Executive Committee of the Washington Area Intergroup Association (W.A.I.A.)
To: A.A. Members
In the past month, an anonymous person has sent several emails to members of our A.A. community, including local Intergroup and G.S.A. officers; G.S.O. staff at the New York office; and editorial staff of the Grapevine. These emails contain allegations that W.A.I.A.'s funds have been mishandled by local A.A. members. Specifically, one email mentioned a $150,000 Certificate of Deposit held by W.A.I.A. and implied that it was inappropriate and dangerous for W.A.I.A to hold on to such a large amount of money.
Here are some facts which can help clarify the issue:
-W.A.I.A. holds two Certificates of Deposit, one for $100,000; one for $10,000. This money is a "prudent reserve" of six months' worth of operating expenses
-This money has sat in C.D. form for over 10 years
-The money was transferred to a new bank this year in order to get a better interest rate
-The proceeds from the C.D. interest go back into W.A.I.A.'s operating budget as income
-Keeping money in a C.D. prevents it from being spent, except in emergency situations
Normally, the W.A.I.A. board of directors would handle a concern like this by contacting the sender and offering an explanation of our financial "checks and balances" (such as having multiple signers on all accounts). We would also encourage the A.A. member to attend our monthly board meeting, where monthly and yearly budget sheets are always made available. Unfortunately, the individual (or individuals) has chosen to remain anonymous, so no such reconciliation has been possible.
Therefore, we are writing this "open letter" to you, the members of our Board of Directors, to address and confront any potential rumors or gossip that may spread as the result of these emails. W.A.I.A. is able to maintain financial independence and integrity because our finances are visible to anyone who cares to participate. Our monthly and yearly statements are available for all members at monthly board meetings. We maintain a prudent reserve in the form of two Certificates of Deposit. We are initiating another full audit at this time to address the concerns mentioned here.
If local A.A. members, especially newcomers, hear that W.A.I.A. is an untrustworthy organization, we will no longer be effective in serving the groups and carrying A.A.'s message to the suffering alcoholic. If you encounter rumors or gossip about W.A.I.A., please take a minute to speak frankly with those involved and share your experiences with them. Also, encourage members to attend our monthly board meeting to gain an understanding of how their A.A. dollar is spent.
Lastly, please remember the long form of the seventh Tradition, which says: "Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority." We need the hand of A.A. to be there for our children and our children's children, just as it was for us. Please feel free to contact us if there are any concerns or questions.
-Your W.A.I.A. Executive Committee
It has been reported that the auditor found no improprieties. However it is still important members of local A.A. be informed of what is occurring at their intergroup.
What can I do?
First, get involved. Even though many of the positions at WAIA are held by Midtown Group members, other members of A.A. can change that 35% statistic by making sure their own home groups designate a WAIA representative, a service commitment that only requires attendance once per month (see the GSO pamphlet titled " A.A. Guidelines from the General Service Office"). WAIA meets the second Thursday of every month at 8pm in Grace Episcopal Church, Grace Church Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Second, look for Hospitals and Institutions (H&I) commitments. This will provide those in treatment seeking the A.A. way with the voice of many, versus hearing only the Midtown Group way of representing A.A .
Third, make sure that you know how money in your area is handled. You have a RIGHT. No treasury from a meeting, an area, or a region should be secretive. Anything that is secretive is dangerous. It has been reported to us that the Midtown Group has adopted the 12-Step saying, "You are only as sick as your secrets." By their own admission, anything that isn't out in the open is not something that is good for us.
Fourth, discuss this with your home group.
Fifth, if you are new in sobriety, talk to people you trust about this. Stay close to people who care about you, and don't drink. Follow the steps and principles in your life, and, just as important, the traditions in your group.
Today, officers were elected for the 2007 WAIA Executive Committee. Through the dedicated work of committed individuals concerned for the welfare and well being of the future of WAIA and AA in the Washington DC area, Midtown Group members no longer influence and dictate policy at WAIA. An executive committee once dominated by members of a single group is no more. This evening various AA intergroup representatives from meetings not affiliated with the Midtown Group were elected to the Executive Committee.
Thank you for taking the time to read this document.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
One girl's horrific and popular story, concerning a CULT, known as The Midtown Group.
"hi. so basically i hate midtown, he he — 4th step, yes.
i do not want to write this. It is uncomfortrable and i am really putting
myself out there. the only reason i will is becuase i feel bad that i
didnt go to the police back then. i feel bad knowing that if i had gone
to the police, maybe i could have saved some girl from going through
what i went through. maybe i can now.
i was first trying to
get clean when i was 17. i had heard about midtown or Q group becasue i
had been going to meetings since i was 14, and my sister was in and out
too. both of us went to the two pheonix schools. i was warned about it
and the first time i went i just wanted to see what it was like.
they were so nice. they were so pretty, and they all hugged me. thier
explinations on how they were not a cult seemed so logical. i mean,
they were using the big book to back them up. oh, how words can be
manipulated (not that i new that at the time). so i started going more.
my sponcer appointed herself to me, and i was told i had to
start dressing a certain way and to cut off my relationships with
people outside the group, otherwise i wasnt showing i truley wanted to
be clean. a lot of stuff like that happened, but that is not what is
important. that stuff is just what everyone has been saying. it is all
what i am about to tell you is a really messed up
experience i had while i was there. i have been sitting here for
fifteen minutes trying to write this, it is extreemly difficult.i will
just tell two stories, but there are more.
one time i found
myself trapped in a basement with a group of people that i had been
encouraged by my sponcer to hang out with. older guys with a lot of
clean time and a really young girl (14 maybe.) they ganged up and tried
really hard to seduse me. but i was not into it and i could tell the
whole thing had been pre-meditated. they were all in on it. it was
really difficult to get out of. i have always been good at taking care
of myself, and I am not afraid to say no or fight back for my safety.
but they really had me trapped, and they tried every tactic they knew
to get me. they related it to the big book and my willingness to stay
clean soooo much. I just remember thinking that those guys must think i
am an idiot. I got out, and i really remember was being outside in the
yard with my arms crossed while they acted so cold and angry with me.
when i told people in the group it was minimized and blown off, so i
didnt think of it again.
the second experience is the really messed up one. this is what finally
got through to me to get the hell out of there.
was this man Bob, probabbly 60 or something. im sure he is still part
of the group — STAY AWAY! I looked up to him so much. he was just a cool
dude that had some life experience that i enjoyed listening to. he was
my sponcer and her husbands friend, and i was always encouraged to get
rides with him to meetings.
one afternoon i was at his house
because my sponcer told me i should get dropped off there and then he
would bring me to the meeting. We were in the house and he was giving
me a tour. i do remember feeling really uncomfortrable, and worried
about going upstairs, but stupid me didnt listen to my intuition. He
got to his room and pointed to it. i was like, "oh, thats nice" and
turned around to walk downstairs. he called me back excitedly to show
me something he seemed proud of. i went in and he locked the door. it
must have been with a key, becasue i wasnt able to get out. he was big,
i am 5'1, and probably 95 lbs at the time. you can guess what happend.
worst of all he was my ride to the meeting, and i had to get in the car
with him - or his truck, to get to the meeting where i knew i would
find my sponcer and be safe. well, got to the meeting, but when i told
my sponcer and her husband (who is also a midtowner) they turned around
and walked away. no one really liked me after that. not that i was too
fond of them either.
but i left, went to meetings elsewhere,
and finally got clean. in my past. I never really new if all of the
experiences (a lot more than those) only happened to me. I found the
blog on Midtown of that guys page (one of the above friends), and i was
shocked at how everything that was written was part of my experience
there. I am so happy that there is some awareness of the situation. I
feel like a giant weight has been lifted just by knowing that i am not
alone. thanks guys. let me know if there is anything i can do to help
[The Fall of Midtown Myspace moderator replied:]
This is my response to her and all those, that have had to suffer her path.
"I knew the (now) woman that wrote that comment below.
We first met at real AA Young Peoples Meeting. I remember trying
to get a fellow AA member out of that CULT and seeing her there.
As we talked, I found out that they had seriously pressured her into not
taking her prescribed medications. At that time, she was still
immersed in Mike Q's CULT and found little light at the end of the tunnel.
It didn't look good for her and it looked like it was getting worse.
She had wanted to kill herself, more and more, but they forced her to
stop going to therapy as well. I tried to get her to leave, but
you just can't convince an individual to leave a CULT, once that CULT
has been able to condition you. That conditioned individual begins
to believe what he or she if conditioned to believe; that they will not
survive, without the group (CULT).
I fully believe that she was raped. From
my dealings with her, on and off, throughout the years, I have never
known her to falsify the truth, for any end. I have no doubt about it,
in my mind. How many times must someone
read the same damn book, over and over, before believing that the words
are actually on the fucking pages?
Of this, I can
personally guarantee; that no harm will come to her, or any like her,
that have suffered what she has suffered, on my watch. On this site and in my company, I know this to be of sound reason, from which I can and will prevail, for I am always on watch.
So please, come forward, one and all.
You will not be harmed, or judged here.
We need all of you to continue coming forward, either publicly or privately.
is conducting continued correspondence with the FBI, as I write this,
right this moment, which means that bigger guns than us here are right
here, right now.
Mike, you sick fuck; your days are short and numbered.
Oh, and as for those that have committed these crimes along side of him,
we are most definitely coming for you, as well.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Why do we keep calling them "The Midtown Group"?
One of our writers asked: Why do we all keep calling them "The Midtown Group"?
As one manager for Fall of Midtown, I can see her point. The Midtown
meeting (that was on) on P. St (where the Townies used to dominate
court, before their behavior got them thrown out) was there for years
before Mike Q. stopped drinking, much less before he began
contaminating the local AA scene with his personal form of "sober
living" ideology, although he frequently dictates that he started
that meeting. The truth is that his followers, the Q. group, took over
the Midtown meeting, which had served younger alcoholics for years,
after a smoking ban pissed many home group members off and they set out
for more smoke friendly AA meetings.
Here is our writers letter, as written:
"It's come to my attention that we are really make this whole name "Midtown"
an error on our part. The Midtown Group has been around for a VERY long
time. Longer than all of us have been alive. I'm not sure of the exact
date, but if you go to their sunday night meeting it's written on their
My sponsor of 27 years started going to that meeting her
first week sober. All of our forefathers and foremothers of young
people's AA did. Apparantly it was so large that people swung from the
balconies, and were packed to the gunnywalls.
Concurrently Ravensworth Early Starters, and Up the Tubes (the REAL one on Seminary Road) in Northern Virginia
(Still are, by the way — come one come all) were going on, and that is
where young people's of AA started. This is where the Midtown group
Mike Q was one of these young people.
An elderly man by the name of Hugh McGee Sr. was an influential man who
lead a group of younger men and women, including Mike Q. When Mike Q's
sponsor "family" got to be too large, they took over the Midtown
meeting on P St. in Washinton DC. The only reason this meeting was
called Midtown, was its location in the Midtown area of the Dupont District.
My sponsor recalls that the Midtown meeting "went downhill as soon as the
chairs turned towards the stage & all hell broke loose. I stopped
going and I've regretted not doing anything to stop it since". She
cries when I tell her what has become of her old favorite meeting. I
have many friends in AA who also went to that meeting back in the day
who feel the exact same way. Who feel betrayed and cannot figure out
what became of their beloved meeting.
I know this will never happen because we are so used to calling it The Midtown Group. But, I
feel that it is imperetive to start calling them the "Q Group" again.
10 years ago when I first started coming to AA, we all called them the
"Q" or the "Q Group".
I don't know when it turned into "Midtown". There
are certainly way more meetings than just that one sunday night
meeting. Not to mention the BEST point:
That very sunday night Midtown P St. meeting in the Midtown part
of Dupont is now GONE!!!! GONE I SAY!!!!!!
why call them "The Midtown Group" anymore and give them that kind of
respect? They lost that meeting, therefore don't deserve that title.
How about the "Foxhall Group" from now on? Or better yet — "The Foxhole
[The Fall Of Midtown moderator wrote:]
If you would like to be one of our writers,
please email us a letter concerning the subject at hand, and notify us
as to whether or not you wish it to be published. Some supporters of
this site wish to remain anonymous and send us letters asking us to not
publish them. They have every want to help, but wish not to pay as
deerly as Midtown would have them pay, for helping the Newcomer. For
this, and many reasons, we always respect their wishes.
Dec 22 2006 11:59A
The Friends of Bill W. community needs WAIA Intergroup Representatives, for any and all groups w/in area 13, to show up once a month and stand up for Friends of Bill W, or the midtown cult members will take it over again. They realized that they dropped the ball and are re-organizing themselves by making certain that all of their Intergroup Representatives show up from now on and vote on all issues as one, which strongly suggests that they will coordinate their combined efforts to voting as one, on all issues, so that they can manipulate their will on the Friends of Bill W, in Area 13 again. That means that midtown should have no fewer than 18 reps there, every single month, voting as one on what they want to occur (manipulate) in Area 13.
So, call a group conscience in your home group, find out if your home group has a WAIA Intergroup Representative. If not, nominate yourself if you have to and have the group take the nominations/s to a vote. If someone else happens to take the majority of votes, wish her/him well and go to your other home group and repeat this process. Area 13 WAIA meetings should have no less than 150 Intergroup Representatives there, every single month, to conduct an effective meeting. There were less than 45, at the last WAIA meeting... Without an effective meeting, The Q. Group manipulates it's will on Area 13 and the integrity of our life saving program continues to be compromised, all for the financial and sexual gratification of a very few, at the cost of the future Newcomers survival.
Separate individual members, representing different home groups, as Intergroup Representatives, believe that this is the poorest trade of all, and this is where we are making our stand. Please, please come and make your stand here, as well! Don't vote for our groups interests! Don't vote for the Q. Groups interests! Vote as an Intergroup Representative for your home group and make that vote count!
PLEASE REPOST THIS AS BULLETINS AND ON OUR FRIENDS COMMENTS AREA!!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
WHAT RECOVERY MEANS TO ME
THIS WAS SENT BY A GOOD FRIEND OF THE PAGE, JEFF, WHO IS ALSO PUNK FRIENDS IN RECOVERY TOGETHER.
13 years ago i came into the rooms of alcoholics anonymous a beaten and broken man. i was shown hope, love and a new way of life. it hasnt been easy, ive taken my time away a few times and had to learn some powerful leasons through relapse, but i sit here today, sober, with the grace of god and AA.
im writing this because i think that recovery in general and AA specifically needs my undying thanks. there is an awful thing going on in the DC area, especially among young people, and it needs to be exposed. im talking about midtown.
i am going to write what i think good recovery is and the difference between that and what midtown does in the name of "recovery".
i came in lost and you people in good AA meetings embraced me and said that i never have to be alone again. midtown says the same but they wont leave you alone. they micro-manage every aspect of your life, take away any decision making you have and "brainwash you".
young people coming into AA are especially vaulnerable to midtowns "gang" tactics. they swarm, like locusts, on the newcomers when they go to meetings, peppering them with questions and wont give them a second to breathe. once in, they really intrude. they tell you where you can go, where to live, to stop taking life saving medications, to lose any non-member friends you have and any other way they can gain control.
i was told, in early recovery, to find meetings i like, where i can share and if i dont like a meeting, to find another. there are over 2000 meetings a week in the DC area. in midtown, they seem to think there are only 18 or 20 meetings and these are the only ones that the newcomer is allowed to attend.
i was told to find a sponser, of the same sex, one i can relate to, one with experience in the steps. a sponser is one you can confide in, share some pretty dark stuff. theres a trust built up. in midtown your sponser is chosen for you. sponsership is a prestige thing in this group, the more sponsees the higher up you are. they also encourage different sex sponsership. anything you share with your sponser becomes group knowledge, its shared and used against you. ultimately, mike q sponsers everyone in the group. he makes the decisions.
i was taught to work the steps and traditions. theres nothing traditional about midtown, they break every one.
money thats collected in midtown, including chitown, goes to pay for mortgages, vacations and line the pockets of midtowns leaders. money collected in regular goes toward rent for the meeting, chips, books and coffee with the rest usually going to waia and general services, this is important to keep AA running.
midtown is about controling its members, real recovery is about freedom from active alcoholism. ive gotten freedom and i see these kids in midtown being victimized by people in the name of recovery and it makes me sick.
i owe AA so much, my life and it pains me to see anyone hurt, especially on purpose for the benefit of others. midtown uses up people and throws them away. in real AA i am welcome in any meeting. in midtown if you dont conform you are thrown out, ostracized and lied about. recovery dosent throw anybody out, but these people do.
then there are the crimes and preditation inside midtown. statutory rape and other horrors going on inside. it pains me.
this group stands under the AA name. how can that be? how can AA tolerate this horrible wart called midtown? can we not do anything about it?
ive just written a few things i know, there are those who know more. as youve seen on "The Fall of Midtown" page there are those who have been harmed by this group who are now speaking out. not everyone in this group is bad but eventually if you hang around with victimizers long enough, you become one. anyone who has been a member of this group for a period of time, knows whats going on and even if they arent doint the shit, they are just as guilty by doing nothing about it. if i watch a rape happen and do nothing then i, too, am guilty.
PLEASE, STOP THIS SHIT FROM HAPPENING.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
This was first written by The Concerned Friends Group (CFG).
A well written piece that "PseudoName" found, dated 6/6/06.
CFG has reason to believe...
...that the MG is like many formed and organized cults. AA
suggests that members attend many other meetings during a given week
but maintain one meeting as their Home Group. To lump a group of
meetings together and call it the "Midtown Group" violates this
principle. The MG consists of a set of meetings, at least 19 of
which are known to date, which the members are coerced to attend
through peer pressure and sponsor direction.1
It is our
experience that this is accomplished through the member being
ostracized, ignored, and labeled as 'toxic' or 'not sober' if they do
not attend the group sanctioned meetings.2
members isolated is a cult-like tactic to insure members are not
exposed to outside information.3
As a result of this behavior,
most of the members have not had the opportunity to fully experience
Another cult-like aspect of the group is that its members consist of
a leader, his hierarchy, and vulnerable young men, women and children.5
The hierarchy is based on the number of years of sobriety a person has,
the amount of people he/she sponsors, and what financial means he/she
can provide to the group. To the best of our knowledge and from
personal experience, we believe/know certain members of the MG use mind
control to manipulate other members financially, emotionally and
medically in order to keep them mentally bound to the group.6 The MG
defines themselves as an AA group, but practices — as is partially
documented above — cult customs and beliefs. In truth, it is only
the AA Traditions that guide AA meetings. This is true of the
thousands of other AA meetings in the Washington Metropolitan Area, and
in countless others throughout the world.
We have reason to believe that the MG violates AA Traditions in the following ways:
1.) In order to become a member of the MG, a member of the MG must sponsor you.7
2.) In order to vote at a group conscience
meeting, you must be a member of the MG, which means that you must have
a sponsor in the group.8
The Preamble of AA, derived from our Third Tradition, states: "The
only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking."9
states that you are a member of any group of AA when you say you are a
member; having a sponsor in the Home Group is irrelevant.10
To the best of our knowledge and our personal experience, certain
members of the MG believe in sponsor direction, not sponsor guidance.11
Certain members of the MG do not guide individuals; they direct
the individual in a way to control him/her, as is common in cults.12
This is not what is suggested in the AA approved Sponsorship
pamphlet. Furthermore, the "guidance" is not confined to the program of
recovery as outlined in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous, but directs
many aspects of a member's life. Former members of the MG have
experienced the following:
1.) Sponsor direction to stop seeing a psychiatrist and/or a psychologist, resulting in relapses, suicides, and psychiatric episodes.13
2.) Direction to attend a meeting every night of every
week, and, as mentioned earlier, only MG meetings. Attendance is
mandatory and the sponsor must grant permission when a meeting cannot
3.) Direction to withhold child visitation to a spouse who is outside the MG or AA in general.15
4.) Direction to stay away from family, friends, and other AA members and AA meetings.16
5.) Direction on who to be sexually active with and/or who
to get into a personal relationship with, regardless of his/her age.17
6.) Direction to live with others in the MG in MG group homes.18
7.) Sponsorship in the MG is not optional because to
become a member of the MG you must be sponsored by an MG member (as
8.) Sponsor/sponsee confidentiality is violated and
personal information is shared with the leader and others in the
hierarchy regularly. Written 4th Steps (an AA member's very
personal inventory on sensitive issues including sex) have been passed
on from sponsors to members of the hierarchy. To the best of our
knowledge, this information is sometimes revealed openly in front of
others during a meeting. Not only is this unethical, it is
not what is suggested in our literature: "We search our acquaintance
for a closed mouth, understanding friend... It is important that he be
able to keep a confidence."20
9.) As is suggested in the Sponsorship Pamphlet, new
members are strongly encouraged to select a sponsor of the same sex.
In the MG this is frequently violated, resulting in the abuse of
Certain members of the MG direct other members to serve the
leader and his hierarchy. While they do bring meetings into detox
centers, rehabs and jails, it is for the sole purpose of recruiting new
members into their group. Certain members of the MG refer to this
practice as "Outreach". AA, as a whole, is a program of
attraction, not promotion.
AA does not recruit members.
Yet, we have reason to believe that certain members of the MG
recruit others in order to increase the total number of members for the
financial and sexual gratification of the leader and his hierarchy.
Financial support is often disguised as gifts.
Additionally, it is our experience that 'service' includes activities
such as raking a sponsor's lawn, cleaning his/her home, doing his/her
laundry, etc. (This is documented as cult behavior in literature
on the subject and is not considered AA service.)22
To the best of our knowledge, the vast majority of MG members
are not medical professionals; yet former members have had experiences
that lead us to believe that certain MG members have acted as such in
the following ways:
They have directed members to cease seeing their
psychiatrist and/or therapist. (A cult tactic that is described
in literature on the topic.)23
They have directed members to stop taking medication
prescribed to them by a medical professional and based on a diagnosis
and treatment plan.
"AA is not a medical organization, does not give
out medicines or medical advice."24
AA does not discourage members from
seeking qualified help and even encourages it in our primary literature.25
They have directed members to throw away prescribed
medication and to change their sobriety dates — inferring the member
was never sober while taking the medication.
Certain members of the hierarchy have ostracized and
alienated other members and directed sponsees to do the same if those
members are on any medications. Some former members have
experienced being completely ignored when speaking to or approaching
anyone in the group.
Withdrawing from medication can be highly dangerous; in
fact, the unsupervised withdrawal from medication can be fatal.
We have reason to believe that as a result of certain members of
MG giving medical direction regarding medication, several members have
been admitted to inpatient psychiatric wards. To the best of our
knowledge, this has also led to attempted suicides and sadly,
successful suicide attempts. Additionally, it is documented in research
by reputable addiction/alcoholism studies that withdrawal from
medication can result in relapse.26
To the best of our knowledge, this has also occurred.
The MG recruits many young alcoholics, and we have reason to
believe that on at least two or more occasions in the past couple of
months alone, underage sex has occurred within the MG and that many
members have knowledge of this. Statutory rape is defined in
Maryland and the District of Columbia as sex between an adult and
a child under the age of 16. In Virginia, the age of consent is
To the best of our knowledge, certain members of the MG
have condoned underage sex and have never reported it to the
authorities. Former members of the MG are now starting to come
forward and report their experiences to authorities, and the matter is
currently under investigation. As is common among victims of
sexual abuse, especially those who are young, many former members have
been scared to come forward, and many fear retribution by current MG
members. Other crimes involving financial issues are also under
investigation. If any crime is committed, it should be reported
The offender(s) can be prosecuted whether the person or persons are in the MG or not.
Certain members of the MG have been known to act as arbitrators
of other members' sexual conduct. Ex-members of the MG report
that sexual activity is encouraged by justifying it as helping members
stay away from drugs and alcohol and by stating that it is a "true
spiritual experience." By inducing the fear of "drinking and
dying", and by some exploiting the sponsor power position over the
sponsee, the mix is perfect for abuse. "The combination of
seduction and fear is a potent combination suited to distort personal
judgment. One of the best platforms for exploiting this
relationship chemistry is power."28
Finally, the vast majority of MG members date within the group
— dating outside the group is considered dangerous and is generally
forbidden, especially for female members. "Organizational incest is no
different from incest in a family, which in reality is no different
from sexual misconduct by (others). They all take advantage of
the vulnerable, and they result in the dysfunctional attachments we
call trauma bonds."29
The only requirement in AA is a desire to stop drinking,30 but
as is evident from previous assertions in this document, to identify
yourself as an MG member is only allowed if you adhere to the MG
"rules". A person joining the MG is expected to be in attendance
with the rest of the group at every MG meeting with the exception of
"Outreach" or if taking a meeting to an outside facility, and then
only if accompanied by at least one other MG member. The
requirement to attend meetings and socialize with only members of the
MG is a typical characteristic of a cult. It is designed to
ensure members are dependant on the group and will face being shunned
if they do not follow the "rules".31
The MG's assertion that they "hope to be a safe place" for
alcoholics is questionable given the above referenced allegations of
statutory rape and ex-members' reports of 'medication management.'
Cults are not safe places. Being part of a cult and leaving
a cult can result in serious psychological damage.32 The threats
made by certain members of the MG that you will "drink and die" if you
do not follow all their practices to keep its subordinate members in
line are not only aligned with cult practices but seem to be prophetic.
Because certain members of the MG restrict some very sick
alcoholics from the true message of AA, those seeking reprieve
from alcoholism are sheltered from mainstream, traditional AA.
This is harmful and life-threatening.
In our experience/knowledge, the Midtown Group is a dangerous
cult-like group posing as AA. Certain members are participating
in and condoning the egregious acts stated above. Ex-members have
been treated and 'deprogrammed' as a result of the cult-like aspect of
the Midtown Group. There are psychologists and hospitals in the
Washington, DC area that will corroborate this fact.
The Concerned Friends Group is seeking support from Churches,
Hospitals, Schools, Treatment Centers, Detox Centers, Families,
Concerned Citizens, Law Enforcement, and Alcoholics Anonymous. We
ask that institutions which serve as meeting places (such as churches)
or recruitment centers (hospitals, detox centers, treatment centers) no
longer associate with the MG, as doing so legitimizes the group as
actual and authentic AA. The detective we are working with has
been interviewing and investigating allegations made by past and
present members but we would like the assistance of more people whose
lives have been damaged or altered to step forward. We realize
that many just want to put their pain and suffering behind them,
and that is a decision each person will have to make on their own.
We certainly do not want to endanger anyone's sobriety or
 See the AA approved Sponsorship Pamphlet, "What does a sponsor do?", pg. 7
 See website on cult characteristics: http://www.sspx-cult.com/CultCharacteristics.htm.
 See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2.
 See the AA approved Sponsorship Pamphlet, "What does a sponsor do?", pg. 7 (found at website referenced in Footnote #1).
 See AA Traditions, Tradition # 2 http://www.aa.org/en_information_aa.cfm?PageID=2&SubPage=52.
Also see AA Sponsorship Pamphlet, pg. 6, "There is no superior
class or caste of sponsors in AA." (emphasis in literature), and pg.
13, "Can a member sponsor more than one newcomer simultaneously?"
(found at website referenced in Footnote #1).
 See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2. 
Goes against AA Sponsorship Pamphlet, bottom of pg. 2 "What does a
sponsor do?" (found at website referenced in Footnote #1). 
"Group Conscience" refers to what governs AA meetings as related to
positions, format - they are open to anyone who attends the AA meeting
that night, not to specific members (p.43) http://aa.org/en_pdfs/p-16_theaagroup.pdf,
The AA Group pamphlet, The Twelve Traditions in Long Form, "For our
group purpose there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He
may express Himself in our group conscience."  The AA Third Tradition may be found at http://www.aa.org/en_information_aa.cfm?PageID=2&SubPage=52 .  Goes against AA Sponsorship Pamphlet, bottom of pg. 2 (found at website referenced in Footnote #1.  Goes against Sponsorship Pamphlet, also bottom of pg. 2 at website referenced in Footnote #1.  Cult characteristic: see website referenced in Footnote #2. 
See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2, also AA
Sponsorship Pamphlet, pg. 8 "Should a sponsor recommend
hospitalization?" (found at website from Footnote #1).  AA
Sponsorship Pamphlet, pg. 11 "Can a sponsor be overprotective?" and
"How can a sponsor handle an over dependent newcomer?", pg. 11 (found
on website from Footnote #1).  See pg. 7 in Sponsorship
Pamphlet, "What does a sponsor do?", also on pg. 9 "How can a sponsor
work with an alcoholic's family?", and pg. 10 "Should a sponsor
lend money to the newcomer?" (found at website referenced in Footnote
#1)  See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2.  See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2.  See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2.  Goes against AA Sponsorship Pamphlet, bottom of pg. 2 (found at website referenced in Footnote #1). 
Page 74, Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous
World Services, 2001) . Also see website on cult characteristics
referenced in Footnote #2.  See pg. 4 "Should a sponsor and the newcomer be as much alike as possible?" (found at website referenced in Footnote #1). 
See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2 and
Sponsorship Pamphlet, pg 15 "Service Sponsorship" (found on website
referenced in footnote #1).  See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2. 
See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2 and
Sponsorship Pamphlet, pg 15 "Service Sponsorship" (found on website
referenced in footnote #1).  See website on cult characteristics referenced in Footnote #2.  On page 10, http://aa.org/en_pdfs/p-42_abriefguidetoaa.pdf , in A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous
Also, page 133, Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition (NY: Alcoholics
Anonymous World Services, 2001) . Also, please see "The AA
Member: Medication and other Drugs."  The Dual Diagnosis
Recovery Sourcebook: A Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Approach to
Addiction with an Emotional Disorder. pg. 145 & pgs. 224-225.
by Dennis Ortman, Ph.D. (Lincolnwood, IL: Lowell House, 2001).
For information about the prevalence of secondary emotional
illnesses with Alcoholism & Addiction in general, see a full
synopsis of current research articles on the subject at http://www.nida.nih.gov/about/organization/despr/hsr/da-tre/BrownComo....
"My name is [withheld for their protection] and I am a
mental health independent clinical provider in Maryland and a psychotherapist at [name withheld] Hospital in Washington DC. Being
also an individual that was confronted with a serious drug problem
almost two decades ago, I had made the decision in [approximately
20 years ago] to become sober, further my education, create new
associations, and raise a family. I was an active member of the
[writer cites an agency board he/she was on and goes on to
document a lengthy career resume; however all of this is withheld for
I decided to join the ranks of those that took advantage of the 12-step
community and its processes, I remember often frequenting my favorite
meetings known as Rockville
Metro and the Del Ray Club. My 12-step sober friends and I all
knew Mike Quinonis and his group of "13-steppers" that were known for
focusing on "helping" young females through Mike's pre-designed set of
concepts of the 12-step process, which focused primarily on having sex.
Before they ever were called the "Q" group, they were referred
to as 13 steppers, primarily attributable to following concepts that
were beyond the 12-steps. Unfortunately, I do not have any court
admissible hard evidence that Mike and his cronies are currently
committing crimes but it was well known when I knew Mike in 1989 that
he was having sex with females that were certainly under the legal age.
I suppose when one begins a journey which entails emerging from
a lifestyle riddled with drugs and deceit, it is easy to dismiss what
is going on around you. I offer any help I may provide in putting
an end to any level of criminal activity and therefore any such
activities employed by the Q group. It is significantly
surprising that he and his associates have continued to get away with
statutory rape and other criminal activities all these years."
Clinical Social Worker / Therapist
August 8, 2006
One Fall of Midtown's manager's personal response:
Unfortunately, a certain percentage of our Fellowship just doesn't understand, or want to accept, the growing situation at hand. It
reminds me of the surrounding siblings and some other family members
attempting to force the currently and previously molested siblings from
coming forward, in fear that it would put their family in a poor light. Their
fear is that it would portray their family in a negative manner, and
that it wouldn't be fair, mainly because the majority of the family
does not conduct themselves in an incestuous manner.
these unmolested and comfortably protected family members are ignoring,
is that the effects of this continued harm, un-confronted or abated,
will only grow.
In fact if this harm
continues to grow unabated, more of the previously unmolested siblings
will, within time, find themselves molested. In
time, this family, through this process of denial and lack of concern
for its own members, will splinter into factions and wither away.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
One of our readers wrote this to us, "I remember and I want to share"
One of our readers sent this supportive email to us. We believe that his intention is to help as much as possible. Hopefully, some of you will read this. Those that do will be offered a choice on whether they will continue to close their eyes, or whether they will continue to open them. The choice, as always, is theirs.
BEGINNING OF SENT EMAIL
"PLZ PLZ PLZ keep me anonymous. I really dont want any contact with midtown anymore, or anyone for that matter. However, I really admire what you are doing and I thought I could share my experice there with everyone. Maybe you could post this somewhere in the blogs, I would appreciate it
It took me a while to see what was really going on there. At first I thought these people were saints, they came up to me and all introduced themselves and called me to see if I was okay. After a few weeks I smelled something going on. I couldnt put my finger on it but there it was, a blissful ignorance of some kind. Everyone thought everything their sponsor said was taken as the gospel.
The wierdest thing I thought was how everyone seemed to be competing to be "more sober" or "more alcoholic".
Let me explain. Of course the "most sober" title was held by Mike Q, and his pigeons. The title didnt really have any relation to actual sober time, but more with how many people the person sponsored, and how close he or she was in the lineage to Q. This was enhanced by the prohibition on medication, all those who were on meds were essentially shunned. The tactic of shunning those who take meds works for the hierarchy because it keeps anyone on meds from threatening their power, and keeps the newcomers on meds subordinate. If they are taking meds then they are considered "toxic" and are considered not sober at all, even if they havent had any alcohol in many years. The group is based on keeping people subordinate by shaming them.
The "more alcoholic" I have to admit is amusing to me. People compete to seem like they were more desperate and more powerless than others. Let me give you an example. This one guy I knew wanted to change his sobriety date because he was drinking vanilla coke and thought it had vanilla extract in it. He even called the Coca Cola corporation. What a dipshit!
Another guy bragged about being so powerless that he drank Calvin Klein cologne. I dont know much, but I know this; If you drink CK cologne is does not make you an alcoholic............ it makes you a fucktard!!
On a more serious note I witnessed some disturbing things as well. The eerie way how everyone watches Mike, Jack, John etc... at a meeting to see if they are laughing to determine if it is okay to laugh. The way everyone laughs at Mike when he is not anywhere remotely close to funny.
I talked to a man in his 30's who bragged oppenly about having sex the previous night with a 14 year old girl. He seemed to have no shame about it at all. Mike and his pigeons have aquires a taste for underage women, and have succesfully convinced many young impressionable women that sobriety comes from Mike Q's cock and not the Big Book.
I have seen newcomers thrown out on their ass out of houses because they "weren't active enough" — meaning they werent spening every waking moment of their life at an AA function of doing service. These midtown people are sick. Mike runs everything. When that scandal broke last summer about the money laundering I heard people say shit like "Well, its okay for Mike to do stuff like that because he saved everyones life" "I dont care if this is a cult I will follow my Mike into hell". Stuff like that really bothered me.
In closing I would like to say that I do not blame anyone except the hierarchs for the problems there. The majority of people just want to be accepted, they are lost. Its like Shady corporation like Enron. I dont want to fire the employees, but the CEO and management needs to GO!!!!!!
I just wanted to applaud all of you for your determination and your morals. You have balls for doing this and I wish you all well."
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Midtown members write us [FOM] defensive emails after watching video.
These are some of the recent emails that we have received.
It would appear that the Midtown Cult Instructional Video has been viewed...
We have kept the emails as they are, except for the exclusion
of the sender's name, which we have promised to keep anonymous.
BEGINNING OF SENT EMAIL
your all some stupid
fucking idiots and you will always be empty inside with no purpose in
life except to get out of life what you think you need. go get drunk
and save your self some time and effort because thats what your going
to do any way
END OF SENT EMAIL
BEGINNING OF SENT EMAIL
OK FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING VIDEO! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO PROVE ANYWAY? YOU THINK THAT YOUR BETTER THAN US? YOUR NOT. I'M IN MIDTOWN BECAUSE YOU AREN'T BETTER. YOU THINK YOU KNOW US? YOU DON'T! YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR DAMN SELVES! ALL YOU DO IS BITCH ABOUT US BUT YOU ACT LIKE ASSHOLES! YOU THINK THAT'S ATTRACTIVE? YOU
WANNA KNOW WHAT ATREACTED ME TO MIDTOWN IN THE FIRST PLACE? THEY DON'T
TREAT ME LIKE SHIT, MAKE FUN OF ME OR ABUSE ME BECAUSE OF MY WEIGHT
PROBLEM, FOR ONE. WHEN I STARTED OUT AT ST. LUKES ON SUNDAY AND WENDSDAY, YOU FUCKTARDS MADE FUN OF ME ALL THE TIME! WHEN
I PICKED UP MY 6MOTH CHIP, YOU SHITHEADS THREW CHAIRS AT ME AND WHEN
THAT WAS NOT FUCKED UP ENOUGH TO PLEASE YOUR GODS, MATT (OSAMA),
AND TOFO (http://www.myspace.com/topherpela),
YOU RETARDS THREW YOUR SHOES AT ME!! YOU FUCKING THREW YOUR SHOES AT ME!?
ONE HIT ME IN THE FACE AMD OTHERS SHOES HIT ME IN THE BACK AND HEAD!
WHAT THE FUCK!? I LEFT THAT MEETING AND GOT DRUNK AND YOU PIECES OF SHIT
NEVER SAID YOU WERE SORRY! YOU DUMBFUCKS THINK THAT'S AA?!
YOU WANNA KNOW WHY MIDTOWN IS HUGE? ITS BECAUSE OF RETARDS LIKE YOU,
RUNNING TARD GROUPS LIKE ST. LUKES.
EVERYTIME WE COME TO ONE OF YOUR MEETINGS, WE NEVER WANT TO COME BACK!
THE ONCE CHANCE YOU HAD AT WAIA AND YOU DUMBFUCKS GET BUSTED FOR LYING!
DUMBASS BOB GOT REMOVED FROM WAIA AND KICKED OFF THE BOARD FOR LYING
AND YOU WONDER WHY WE HAVE ALL THE POSITIONS!?
HOW HARD IS IT TO GET A INTERGROUP POSITION ANYWAY?
WAS HE TRYING TO SHOW EVERYONE JUST HOW FUCKING STUPID HE REALLY IS?!
THOSE COCKSMOKES HELP NEWCOMERS BY MAKING THEM SETTING SHIT ON FIRE AND
BLOWING UP SOUP CANS IN CAMPFIRES!?
HOW FUCKING RETARED IS THAT?!
GO THERE NEXT WEEK AND YOUL SEE IT FOR YOURSELF.
MIDTOWN HAS ME HELP PEOPLE, NOT THROW SHIT AT NEWCOMERS AND
HAVE THEM SET OTHER PEOPLES STUFF ON FIRE.
IM SOBOR OVER 2 AND A HALF YEARS NOW THANKS TO MIDTOWN.
YOUR YOUNG PEOPLES GROUIPS GOT ME DRUNK! WHY DON'T YOU DO
SOMETHING ABOIUT THEM?
THERE THE ONES FUCKING THE 14-15 YEAR OLDS AND TURNING PEOPLE AWAY FROM AA, NOT US.
END OF SENT EMAIL
BEGINNING OF SENT EMAIL
*NOTE* The Author has informed us that this email is not in response to the video in question and to omit the names that were offered. We apologize for posting them. We thought that the Authors intention was to clear the mentioned individuals of generally known Midtown behaviors. There are several editors here and we all ask for the Authers forgiveness in this oversight.
i am disturbed to see NAME DELETED name in this post...
there ARE many of us in midtown who do not participate in the behaviors that are alleged. not only does NAME DELETED (and his pigeon family... take NAME DELETED for
example... NON-exclusivity at it's finest) not participate in the
alleged behaviors, we are attempting, in our own way, to make a
difference here. we lead by example. we attend a variety of meetings
and in the 3 years i have been sponsored by one of NAME DELETED sponsees
i have never once been given any direction regarding sex, dating,
medications, which meetings to attend or anything else of the sort. i
have never been sponsored by any of the other folks mentioned in any
fallofmidtown or CFG writings. ask NAME DELETED
about me... he knows me and knows that i don't get involved in any of
the crap being discussed. he and i worked a recovery table at a
widespread panic concert in DC right before all the CFG stuff came
about (with full blessing from my sponsor)... does this sound like the
type of pigeon family you are railing against? seriously, NAME DELETED is not your enemy...
our pigeon family attempts to live by principles outlined in the book, not
what you allege to be the heirarchy. please leave NAME DELETED and
our pigeon family out of this, as we're not involved and don't deserve
to be lumped in with those who are being accused...
hopefully i'll hear back from you and hopefully you guys will realize that NAME DELETED has nothing to do with this...
END OF SENT EMAIL
For those of you who haven't seen the video in question, this is it.
Watch and learn, then learn how to say "Thanks but NO thanks!"
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
The tenor of this profile has changed.
Current mood: hopeful
When this profile was first created, our common goal was to establish a frontline of sorts, from which the Midtown Group (MG) and its Cult tactics could not pass ignored any longer. There was no mistaking our intention, the fall of Midtown being the goal, hence the name. We did not expect this many readers or supporters, due to the nature of our mission, which at first glace, doesn't appear to be spiritual in nature, to any measurable degree. We also didn't expect the volume of emails that have been sent to us by individuals who had once been part of a collective that seemingly loved them unconditionally, then as they began to assert their naturally occurring sense of individuality, they were generally used to one degree or another, before being cast out of this engulfing collective.
We had little intention of leading or participating in a spiritual movement, or to be a place of healing, by any means; however spirituality, as it may present itself to those who would be willing to surrender their will to it, offers a path that may not run parallel to one's intended or preplanned agenda.
The tenor of this profile has changed and we as spiritually based, free thinking individuals have to accept that this site, for the time being, will be of greater service, by offering itself as a safe haven for those who have been mislead, abused and abandoned by the MG, so that they can share their stories with a world that cares for them, far more than they know.
We believe that there is a disturbingly large number of them that will not go to AA meetings, in fear that it is another Fellowship meeting turned Cult, and they need everyone here to reach out to them and show them the unconditional love that was previously promised, then rejected, after they became conditioned to become dependent on a lower power, and his hierarch most cruel.
We received this email yesterday. The second section is our response to her. We haven't heard back from her. There were two other emails from different readers, that were sent to us before hers this last week, but we believe that this woman needs to know that the Program of AA is a safe haven, even if some of its Fellowship do not provide for that safety, and her life may depend on her knowing it sooner, rather than later.
From this point on, we will continue to anonymously post emails sent to us, so that the sender's pain can have the chance to be healed by supporters like you. You now have the opportunity to lesson the emotional burden of a fellow traveler that thought that they were safe, within a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, and found out all too clearly, that they were far from safe, within a social gathering of The Midtown Group.
BEGINNING OF RECEIVED EMAIL
From: *NAME WITHHELD BY FOM*
Date: Mar 5, 2007 5:47 PM
i was in midtown, and now i'm not. but i'm drinking. my life, as miserable as my alcoholism makes me sometimes, is much better now than it was with those people.
they would not refund the HUNDREDS of dollars i paid to go to the AA world conference,
only told me i couldn't go because i relapsed. they called it "Project Toronto".
i never got my plane ticket, even if i wanted to go seperately from their group.
nope, they just kept my hard earned money. and that is just one small example.
there were so many other aspects of my life in that period of sobriety that
compromised my own self-image, and i believe, led up to my relapse.
another example... i was given "sponsor direction" to sleep with a
MARRIED man in the group. (his wife was not in the group). things like that just
boil under my skin when i think about how toxic and vulnerable i was....
fragile and broken, trying to get sober and turn my life into something worthwhile,
and these people ruined me.
i have not been able to give any other AA group a chance since then. i have a
suffocating fear that i will be warped permanently from the brainwashing of AA.
if you are seriously saying that midtown is the issue, and not AA in general,
then i would like to talk to someone. please get back to me as soon as you can. thanks.
END OF RECEIVED EMAIL
BEGINNING OF OUR RESPONSIVE EMAIL
Please forgive the wait; however, I would prefer to meditate, before replying on a personal level, to your heartfelt email.
I can safely say, without reservation, that the Program of AA is in the 12 steps, as suggested in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I can prove to you that the Midtown Group, as a whole, doesn't practice the AA Program of Recovery, as suggested in the Big Book.
Would you be interested in discovering the difference between AA's Program of Recovery and the Midtown Groups program of recovery? Maybe then, you would be able to make an objective evaluation as to whether the true Program of AA, and its primary purpose, has any promise, or holds any weight, for you?
END OF OUR RESPONSIVE EMAIL
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
One females experience with the Cult, known as the Midtown / Q. Group.
Current mood: sad
do not want to be associated with this or any other group, simply
because i have friends on both sides, but i wanted to share what i
experienced in Midtown.
I left AA altogether a few months ago.
Midtown was all I really knew of AA except for a few downtown meetings
where i was the only young person and very few people were in recovery.
So I thought that Midtown was the ultimate young people's group. I left
because i had stopped trusting my own head (which is of course what is
supposed to happen, but i couldn't lose myself like that). i'll just
rattle off some specific things:
i went to my first meeting
out of curiosity - just to check it out. a few girls scooped me up and
took me out to eat with them before the meeting which i thought was
really sweet. by the end of the night i was instructed to get a sponsor
cause 'if you're serious about sobriety you'll do anything and
i of course had to erase all of my friends' numbers, couldn't go to prom (well i could've but against sponsor direction)
it came to finding a place to live, i wanted to be in the city close to
school, because i didn't have a car, but my sponsor said that if i
really wanted to stay sober i'd move into a sober house. so i did, of
i think i left mainly because it became too stressful.
i was in my first year of college, lived an hour's commute from school,
had to go to a meeting every night, etc.
i remember being at a
meeting early and studying for a quiz i had the next day, when my
sponsor walked in and reprimanded me for being anti-social. i'm not a
violent person by any means, but all i wanted to do was smack her in
the face. i probably should've just tried switching sponsors, but that
is referred to as 'sponsor-hopping' and is looked down upon.
far as sex/dating is concerned, i was never raped or forced into any
situation, but i was definitely encouraged BY MY SPONSOR to have casual
sex while i was still new, because 'newcomers don't suffer from
'emotional hangovers' as easily'. When i expressed the fact that casual
sex is something i regretted before i was sober, and something i
associate with being drunk, she always said i was 'taking myself too
i don't know - it was just way too much for me. it
took several months for me to track down old friends and apologize for
dropping off the face of the earth. i wasn't supposed to go back home
for christmas without taking someone else from the group with me, i
wasn't allowed to be alone with my little brother because he smoked
one of the most troubling things was how difficult
it was for me to leave. i was still living in the group house when i
stopped going to their meetings. i lost my boyfriend and a lot of other
people who had become my family. i learned that those relationships
were not as strong as i thought. i was labeled 'toxic' and the only
thing i could do was ride it out until i found another place to live.
being, i'm glad i'm not there anymore, but i miss a lot of people and
sometimes i wish i could just stop by and see how they're doing, but
that's pretty much out of the question.
completly understand what this girl went through. I suffered through
many of the same things. I was told that it was a bad idea to go to
Vegas. That I was sure to get messed up. I tried to explain that my
grandfather lived there and I only got to see him every few years, but
I still got the skeptical looks from my sponsor and "pigeon
family". I tried to tell them that my parents were going there
too, but it didn't seem to solve their doubts. The truth is that when I
went to Vegas, I found that they have some of the best meetings that I
have ever attended! Sobriety is strong and thriving there!
for the living situation, I was constantly told that I needed to move
out of my house. When I finally did at 17 years old, my sponsor told me
that the people I was living with (in the program and in Midtown mind
you) weren't people I should move in with because they "don't do what
we do" and were "sure to drink." I must say here that I do not blame
that sponsor in any way. I believe in my heart that she was as I was in
that group... simply brainwashed and misinformed. She was only
following orders and to go against those orders would mean turmoil for
her. Long story short, I moved back in with my mom and dad a month
after leaving them.
I finally decided to leave Midtown altogether, I was ousted. Branded as
a dry drunk and someone who must be very unhappy. I became someone who
didn't want sobriety and who was close to a relapse according to them.
My own friends turned their backs on me, telling a girl that I used to
sponsor who came back to Midtown after I left, that I was not the type
of person that she should hang out with... regardless that I was going
to meetings. Either way, I was "resentful", therefore, I was toxic.
According to them, I would lead her towards a drink. Luckily, this girl
is an amazing friend, and has stood by me and my side of the story. As
I said before, not all of my old Midtown friends were like that.
hurts too. I care for many people in that group and it saddens me to
see that they can not seem to break free of it's grasp. I still talk to
some members of that group, but on rare occasions. I hope that one day,
they can know the true meaning of Happy, Joyous, and Free.
the girl who wrote this story, I am so glad that you got out when you
did. I hope that you get a chance now, to see A.A. for what it can be
and the life it can give you. Not take away.
Posted by ListentomeX3 on
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at
Be Here Now
And this is the reason that we in Love and Service are doing what we are doing. Helping people just like you!!!!!!!!!!!
are countless people like this that have left over the last 25
YEARS!!!! With help from many.. storys like this will hopefully be few
and far between.
Posted by Be Here Now on
Thursday, March 29, 2007 at
of the patterns I'm seeing here is that Midtowner's are taught(or
should I say brainwashed) that their sponsor is there to
dictate YOUR LIFE, and every move you make. From what I understand you
pretty much can't go to the bathroom unless you have permission from
the all mighty midtown sponsor.
This is so sad, this is in no
way shape or form what AA is or what a sponsor is suppose to do in
AA. A sponsor guides you through the steps as a closed mouth friend. A
sponsor is there for you to get advice from regarding recovery
related things that happen in your life. I understand that a sponsor
cares about you, and might have an opinion regarding travel. BUT it is
only their opinion, remember sponsors are alcoholic human beings just
like us. Just because someone has years of soberiety does not make them
GOD or someone who has perfect judgement-they are alcoholics-just not
Midtowner's need to re-exam their
sponsors and the pedestal that they put them on. I've had a sponsor for
almost a year know, I trust him and listen to him. BUT he does not
dictate my every move in my life, he is my closed mouth friend and
someone I can trust.
Dave on Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 6:50 PM
you for sharing your story. I was not part of this group, I can
only share what I saw happen to my daughter who was. Her
experience included much of what your shared here. The
direction to have casual sex, live with the other girls, sponsor
control, not being allowed to go home alone, calling everyone outside
the group "toxic." Unfortunately the problems went much deeper for her,
she took psychiatric medications prescribed by a Dr. I
probably don't have to tell you how the "leaders" felt about that,
they took her meds which caused her to become hospitalized
for many weeks. Then after leaving the hospital (where they told
her not to go back), she found it difficult to to stay away. She
thought she had so many friends there she cared about, so she went back
again where the first thing that happened was, you guessed it, they
told her she wasn't sober if she took her medication and so she stopped
again. Within 3 days, she was psychotic and hospitalized
again, longer this time. Even now after moving back to her
home state, she cares and misses some of the those still there.
The irony, Midtown was the only group to bring a meeting to that
hospital while she was there. That was almost a year ago, she's
doing really well now but takes her medications religiously.
Midtown is not AA, there is no place in AA for the illegal and
unathorized practice of medicine. Some of the Midtown leaders
at the highest level, you know who they are, suffer from illusions of
grandeour and have convinced themselves they are God. Congrats for
being able to trust your instincts because under their control,
they never would have let you. You are not alone. Peace
Friday, March 30, 2007 at 1:43 AM
relate to Kathy's daughter. I just wanted to quickly share
something I witnessed similar to Kathy's daughters experience.
When I was with Midtown there was this very troubled kid whom I tried
to help. I didn't know it at the time, but he was severely
mentally ill and suffered from psychosis of some kind, he seemed
scizophrenic. Anyway of course when he came to the group he was
crazy as it was, and before you knew it he was getting "sponsor
direction" to go off of his anti-psychotic meds. Within a few
weeks he totally lost it. He wasn't even the same person
anymore. I remember he was running across Old Georgetown Road in
Bethesda IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC!!! He could have been killed, a
driver could have been killed. he was talking to people who
werent there, it was seriously like exorcist shit. The poor kid
just wanted to have friends and people to relate to. After being
hospitalized after his mom showed up at a meeting he went back on his
meds. And yeah you guessed right........all those people who
greeted him, picked him up and drove him to meetings, and got his phone
numbers all vanished and wanted nothing to do with him.
The TOWNERS ARE NOT FUCKING DOCTORS!!!! Regardless of what they claim to
know or believe. If they do not want people to take meds than
maybe they should think about not going to institutions to try to
recruit more cult members. They say "to drink is to die", which
is probably true of maybe 10% of their teenie-bopper contingent.
Many people depend on meds for their very lives.......remember that.
Posted by capitalist on Friday, March 30, 2007 at 10:00 AM
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Article in Newsweek: A Struggle Inside AA
A Struggle Inside AA
Recovering alcoholics say a Washington, D.C., group has hijacked the 12-step program's name.
By Nick Summers
photo: Jonathan Torgovnik for Newsweek
Going Public: Ex-members of the Midtown AA group outside the major meeting place
in Washington, D.C.
Newsweek May 7, 2007 issue — By the time May Clancy turned 15 years old, she was well on her way to drinking herself to death. A middle-school student from Potomac, Md., she had been through 11 different psychiatric and alcohol-rehab programs in two years.
Each time, she started drinking again as soon as she got out. Her parents were terrified. "We'd taken her to hospitals — everything possible to get her the best care that we could," says May's father, Mike. "And all these places told us that they didn't think she could make it without Alcoholics Anonymous."
So in November 2005, when May agreed to begin attending meetings at Midtown, one of the oldest and largest AA groups in the Washington, D.C., area, it felt like a miracle. Other AA meetings in the city attracted mostly older men and women; Midtown was known as a place for recovering alcoholics in their teens and 20s.
Some of the group's senior members were older, but there were also dozens of high-school and college kids with stories a lot like hers. From the moment she arrived, they seemed to go out of their way to welcome her.
At first, May was thrilled to find a group of people who accepted her as she was. "When I went there," she says, "I didn't really talk to anybody, didn't trust anybody. And these people would hang out with me even if I didn't say anything, and include me in conversations. I was desperate to be liked at that point."
But something about Midtown was not right. After a few months, the group's embrace of May began to feel like a chokehold. She says the sponsor assigned to give her moral support and help keep her sober pressured her to cut off ties to anyone outside the group. Another member snatched her cell phone and deleted names in the directory. She says she was pressured to stop taking the medication a doctor had prescribed to manage her bipolar disorder: group members told her she couldn't be sober if she was taking any kind of drug. There was a hierarchy to the group. Younger members were sometimes expected to wash cars, clean houses and do other menial chores for more senior members.
May says she was especially uncomfortable with the emphasis on dating within the group and sex between members. She would listen as girls her age compared notes on the men in the group they had been encouraged to sleep with, some of whom were decades older.
Her suspicions were confirmed when she left Midtown and began attending a different AA meeting. She was surpriseds — and relieved — to find that many of Midtown's common practices were exactly the opposite of what Alcoholics Anonymous literature teaches. By design, there are no "leaders" in AA groups who exert control over other members. AA doesn't expect members to ignore doctors' prescriptions. It doesn't tell them to turn their backs on friends and family.
And far from encouraging sex, AA groups overwhelmingly frown on intimate relationships for the first year of sobriety, when a recovering alcoholic is thought to be most vulnerable.
May's story isn't unique. Now 16, she is one of hundreds of recovering alcoholics who are taking sides in a bitter, unprecedented dispute among Alcoholics Anonymous adherents that pits members of Midtown, who insist the organization has saved their lives and kept them sober, against angry former members, who charge it is a coercive, cultlike group that uses the trusted AA name to induce young alcoholics into a radical fringe movement that has little resemblance to traditional AA.
It is a fight that has been largely waged in private. Some of Midtown's most driven critics organized a committee, dubbed the Concerned Friends Group, and created an anonymous MySpace page for ex-members to share stories. They have, unsuccessfully, tried to have Midtown expelled from churches where its meetings are held and have made numerous complaints to the police. (Law-enforcement officials say they have investigated the group but have not found evidence of criminal wrongdoing.) Many of the people involved in the dispute are recovering alcoholics and have been reluctant to go public with their allegations — both because it is a violation of AA's "anonymous" credo, and because they do not want it known that they are alcoholics.
But in dozens of interviews with NEWSWEEK, recovering alcoholics and mental-health professionals describe a group that exerts an unusual amount of control and sometimes seems to put the social desires of some members above the recovery of others.
Despite repeated requests for comment, no current Midtown members agreed to be interviewed on the record, citing AA's tradition of anonymity in the press and their belief that negative publicity scares on-the-fence alcoholics from getting the help they need. But those who spoke or e-mailed without giving their names for publication say that Midtown is a flourishing group that has saved their lives, and that those who criticize it resent their success, have scores to settle or are simply making it all up.
Lauren Dougherty says that doesn't describe her at all. Now 29, she loved all the attention she got when she decided to sober up and join Midtown 11 years ago. A member of her family was an alcoholic, and Dougherty had sat in the back during AA meetings before. But Midtown was different from the meetings she remembered. Her first night, she was introduced to another member of the group and told, "She's your sponsor." Dougherty thought that was odd. AA sponsors are chosen, not assigned. But everyone was so friendly she let it pass.
They gave her specific instructions about which Midtown meeting she should attend each day, and told her to cut off friends from her old life, even the ones who didn't drink. Soon her new circle of friends insisted she get an "AA boyfriend."
Like May, Dougherty says there was pressure to sleep with older group members, which she refused to do. ("They live off of sex," says Meredith, a 19-year-old former member who, like several others, did not want her full name used to avoid being outed as an alcoholic. "I feel like their way of dealing with alcohol addiction is just by having sex with each other. Being in that group made me want to drink more.")
Disgusted, Dougherty tried to quit the group. She says her sponsor was furious. "You can't trust any of your own thoughts," she said. "You can't go into your own head unsupervised."
At first, Dougherty didn't know what to believe, until a rehab counselor told her in no uncertain terms to get out.
Some former members say they too were made to believe that leaving Midtown would doom their recovery. Twenty-six-year-old Kristen spent eight years with the group, shunning family and outside friends. When she applied to go to art school in Richmond, Va., her sponsor, an older man, cursed her out. "You will drink," he told her. "You will fail. You will die." The reaction of her sponsor persuaded her to leave the group once and for all. She began secretly attending other AA meetings in the area. "I was so tired of being afraid all the time," she says. "I'd rather die than be in Midtown again."
Former members claim that Midtown makes it difficult to leave in other ways. About half the group's approximately 300 members rent houses with each other across the D.C. area. Many find work through contacts in the group. For them, exiting Midtown is not just a matter of walking out the door — it means getting evicted, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, and starting a social life from scratch.
photo: Jonathan Torgovnik for Newsweek
Team Leader: 'They start isolating people, getting them away from any feedback other than their own,' says Jay Eubanks, clinic director
The group's practices have raised concerns among some recovery professionals. Jay Eubanks, who oversees the Gaithersburg, Md., branch of the Kolmac Clinic chain of intensive outpatient rehabs, says patients who come to him from Midtown often need "damage control" to unlearn what the group taught them. "They start isolating people, getting them away from any feedback other than their own ... Only go to their meetings, only talk to people in their group. If you're seeing a therapist, stop seeing a therapist; if you're in treatment, stop going to treatment; if you're being medicated, stop seeing a doctor."
Midtown's approach to treatment so concerned Dr. Ellen Dye, a clinical psychologist in Rockville, Md., that she wrote an open letter to the Washington recovery community in August 2006, detailing two patients' experiences with the group. One young woman, she wrote, was "assigned a boyfriend" and pressured to go off antidepressants; she became actively suicidal and was hospitalized. The second was bossed so severely that he is now unwilling to attend any AA meetings, despite his worsening alcoholism.
"At this point," Dye concluded, "I am very apprehensive about referring any clients to AA even if they are severe alcoholics. I think that it is essential that this group be eliminated from AA so that my colleagues and I can feel safe making these referrals again." While most recovery specialists know about Midtown, Dye said, parents and general therapists don't. "We're all saying, 'Go to AA, go to AA,' and we may be sending people into this terrible situation and not realizing it."
Other recovery specialists are more conflicted. Beth Kane-Davidson, director of the addictions center at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., says that the center stopped steering patients to Midtown during the past year. But, she adds, "the flip side is, I know people in the group that have long-term sobriety and are doing great." For some recovering alcoholics, she says, "Midtown has been a real godsend. It's taken them in and structured their activities, and filled the void left because they're not using anymore. But where do you draw the line? Given that the line is so fine, we try to err on the safe side."
David Hanrahan has a similar perspective. He got sober in 1985 while attending some of the meetings that later coalesced into the Midtown network; in his mid-30s, he drifted away when he decided he was more comfortable around recovering alcoholics closer to his own age. Hanrahan says a little disorder and disagreement inside AA isn't necessarily a bad thing — in fact, it almost always works out for the good. "I think AA is a miraculous organization that is run by nobody and controlled by nobody, and is complete, pure anarchy — as long as it's tied to the 12 steps — and I mean that in a good way," he says. "There are meetings all over the world, and anyone can start one, and nobody's in charge of it. That's AA's strength and weakness, right there."
Hanrahan is concerned by the direction Midtown has taken in the past 20 years, but he also fears that its most organized critics care more about harming the group than reforming AA.
Midtown AA Accused Of Sexual Exploitation
Church Removes Meetings Pending Investigation
POSTED: 6:35 pm EDT May 11, 2007
UPDATED: 6:56 pm EDT May 11, 2007
WASHINGTON — Officials of a prominent church in Northwest Washington said the church has barred an Alcoholics Anonymous group from meeting on its property pending the outcome of an investigation.
The group, called Midtown AA, has come under scrutiny for unusual practices in the past.
Many of the former members have described the group as a cult.
One woman, a former member of Midtown AA, claims she was pressured to have sex as a teenager with the leader of an Alcoholics Anonymous group called Midtown.
Kathy* said that at the time she was 17 and the group leader was 56. She said members told her to engage in sex with him because it would increase her chances of being sober, and that she would be more accepted in the group.
An article about Midtown was featured in Newsweek Magazine. The article stated that the group sexually exploited members and pressured them to do unusual tasks.
David* said he was a member of Midtown for about a year.
"I would say that Midtown is a shiny apple with a rotten core," he said.
Laura* said that while she attended meetings there, members advised her not to take her anti-depression medicine. She said she ended up being suicidal.
"Then they still were trying to convince me that I didn't need to be on medication," she said.
"There's a lot of sex stuff, but beyond that there's so much mind control and so much fear. I was constantly under a state of fear," said Kathy.
Midtown AA met in the basement of the Church of the Pilgrims in Northwest Washington for more than a decade, News4's Pat Collins reported. The group would meet on Sunday nights at 8.
Collins said that Midtown was reportedly the largest Alcoholics Anonymous group for young people on the east coast.
Church officials said they launched an investigation into the group's conduct last year after they learned of the allegations.
A short time later, Midtown leaders informed the church the group was leaving, saying the meeting place had gotten too small, officials said.
Midtown moved its meetings to St. Patrick's in Northwest. This week, the church sent a letter to parishioners that said Midtown AA would "no longer meet at St. Patrick's until we complete the appropriate investigation," Collins reported.
The current leader of Midtown did not respond to calls or letters from News4.
D.C. police and the city's prosecutor's office said they are unaware of any active investigation into Midtown. The national office of Alcoholics Anonymous said that each group is autonomous and follows its own conscience.
*News4 has concealed the identities of the former members of Midtown AA because of the nature of this story.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
One FOM supporter (Ex Q. Group Member) writes us an extremely informed email.
I would like to remain anonymous please. Thanks !
leaving the group many, many years ago, I have been contacted by both
local and federal law enforcement agencies regarding information about
the Mid-town group. Specially, the "Chain of Command" and Mike's
"lieutenants." When I asked the authorities how they found me, they
indicated that my name was voluntarily given by a reliable source
(victim) who knew of me from some old photo albums their mentor
(Sponsor) had. The victim shared that I was one of the first to leave
the group and was part of the group in the earlier years and I would be
of some help because of my knowledge of the group in the early days and
had become successful without the group's "adult supervision." In fact,
many in the hierarchy resented me for leaving the group and coming back
sober and successful. I was questioned over and over again, "Who is
running the show, what do you know about the beach house trips to ocean
city and Delaware? Trips concerning Jamaica, Costa Rica? "Where is all
the money going after the dances and New Year's Eve productions play?"
Have you been to Mike's house? Did you know him when he was married
"A"? Did you know his wife?" On and on and on and on.... the authorities
really did there homework. They had concrete and specific examples of
both the behavior of the group and its senior members, where they grew
up, homes they had rented, "Camp Wilson" in N. Va. From Sober camping
trips, skiing, vacation homes. Who was there....
meeting Sunday nights from 8:30 to 9:30 was the place to be. It
originally started at St Margret's just a few blocks away and moved
just southwest off of Q street (How fitting) several years later. It
was a mixer for the entire AA metropolitan area. In the mid 80s, its
population was so big; the fire marshal would regularly attend meetings
to ensure members would not block the steps leading to the exits of the
church basement. Service positions varied from coffee makers to
greeters. There were sponsorship tables, information regarding upcoming
workshops, convention etc.. A room truly filled with love and support.
Passing out chips (Tokens) could easily take 15-20 minutes. "Keep
coming back, Keep coming Back" echoed into the streets. According to
legend, The New York office ranked it as the third largest meeting on
the east coast and the 5th in the nation. However, the population of
youth(Young People) in the meeting was the lowest in its history.
Population, were individuals in their late 30s to mid 50s with 5 to 10
years of sobriety. Ole timers (not so ole back then) like Buck D, Hal
M, Happy H, Garret T, Ernie R, Hugh M, and Fast Eddie were common
With the rise of treatment centers in the 1980s,
Treatment facilities would bus patients to and from area meetings. A
popular treatment center at the time was Arlington hospital, both for
adults and adolescents. A key ingredient in the success of treatment
was to build a support group outside the treatment doors; hence, busing
patients to and from meetings. Upon graduation from treatment (4 weeks)
a patient would easily know where to go for meetings and at least have
a temporary Sponsor and support group. Poplar hang outs in addition to
Mid-Town was Saturday night live, Up the Tubes, Free Spirit, Friday
night Young Peoples meeting at Arlington Hospital. The Alono Club in
Arlington, the Independence club in Annandale and the West Side club in
Georgetown. At the time, the youth in Maryland would stay in Maryland
and the youth in Virginia would stay in Virginia with exceptions of
Mid-town or dances sponsored by the Westside club.
Wednesday night, Up the tubes group next to the NOVA Alexandria campus, was one
of the largest young peoples meeting in Northern Virginia. In fact, a
few Maryland young people would battle the beltway and attend the
meeting. The Speakers/Leaders were strong and confident, former young
people now considered the cool and elite by their mid 20s. Folks Like
Marly, Clyde, Rusty, Kate, Joe, Kerry. Visits from Smiling Jack, Ernie
G,, Box Car Mike, Paul F. were regular visitors. Bonds were beginning
to be established between the two beltways, sober Toga Parties in
Clifton, Sunday football at the NOVA Campus in Annandale, Halloween
parties in Bethesda. Dating, (including sex) was common, nothing out of
the ordinary for young adolescents. Relationships were common and
lasted quite long. You either were in a relationship with someone or
trying to hook up at a dance. Sponsors were people you felt had what
you wanted. Two men were very poplar sponsors to the young men in the
room, Clyde and Walt. Both gentleman had great values and were
excellent sponsors. You wanted what they had, a place of their own,
sober, paying bills and being responsible. Parents loved them. They
attended meetings regularly and were both very supportive of after-care
programs and school attendance. Walt moved on to New York and from what
I understand is doing very well.
Clyde happened to be sponsored by Mike Q. At the time, Mike had a handful of folks he was
truly sponsoring including his future wife "A." A popular member of the
Del Ray club in Maryland, Mike was a respected member of his home group
until he began sponsoring women and specifically his future wife. Mike
was a was a product of an Ole Timer, Hugh M. Hugh was well known in the
area and was responsible for the sobering up of many, many high profile
attorneys and politicians. However, Hugh felt that since he helped so
many people get sober, he thought that have and a job and paying taxes
was optional. (A poor selfish decision that would hold him accountable
later regardless of political ties.) When Hugh died, Mike met Ernie R
at the beach and asked him to be his sponsor. Ernie refused indicating
that he was grateful for having Hugh in his life, but knew of his work
ethic (zero) and that a relationship as a Sponsor with him and Mike
would never work. Ernie believed in having a job and Hugh and Mike did
not. Nevertheless, Clyde fell head over heals for a young lady visiting
from Missouri. He was in his mid 20s, she was in her mid 20s, and they
were young and sober several years. He was torn. He loved his boys and
he loved her. Time with each young man was less and less. Focus on his
relationship was a priority. They moved in together. Mike was upset
with the relationship and told Clyde he had to terminate the
relationship or get a new sponsor. The boys were torn. They had met
with Mike after meetings several times discussing the lack of mentoring
and the counseling they were now missing. Mike shared that Clyde had a
decision to make and he recommended that they get a sponsor that was
committed to helping others grow and develop into strong members of AA.
Someone perhaps like...Gee, I don't know... himself. And so it began. One
by one, they "fired" Clyde and started to call Mike or others that were
sponsored by Mike. By the end of 1991 it was a done deal. Members of
both sides of the beltway were sponsored by Mike or someone from his
little nest. Here's where it gets a little crazy, so stick with me.....
Within a few months, the men were sponsored by Mike and young women were
sponsored by his wife. (The "Q" Family or "Q" Group) Mondays all the
women would go to their house and Thursdays all the men would follow.
Here is the bonus part: Mike had the scoop on which lady liked what.
From insecurities, sexual needs, who liked who, who was going to break
with who. It was like a movie. Typical high school drama with a grown
adult running the show. Mike would recall his days back in Vietnam and
how he was a guy that made things happen. A Pimp, Mr. Hook up guy. He
knew how to make thing happens. Connections, hook ups. He knew how to
manipulate situations to benefit him or others. He chooses a handful of
young men that he would share those skills and information with over
the years. But who to pick??? Lets ponder......
First, someone with the right looks, Handsome devilish son of a gun. Women wanted him,
men wanted to be him. Sponsors men and women; In fact, one of his
girl's gives him a car. Looked good on the outside, but was missing
someone in his life, lacks a father figure. Someone Mike could live
Next, the brains of the operations. Someone who can
think fast on his feet. Loyal to the group and loyal to him. Perhaps a
prospective lawyer that will end up in Oxford U in a few years on an
An older fellow who could be used as an alibi.
Someone who has been with him over the years., an Air Force vet, who
could vouch for his intentions or more importantly his whereabouts.
In addition, a money maker who had the ability to make the quick buck. I
know, lets spill coffee on my lap, sue the fast food joint for serving
hot coffee instead of cold coffee. Yea, that's the ticket. Burn my nuts
and never have to work again...
Slowly 5-6 men were chosen with in the next few years. Mostly young men
and women from their first few
days in recovery to one outsider that migrated from San Diego. All of
them had the same key essential traits: They knew the Big Book inside
and out. They were all excellent public speakers. They were all in jobs
or studding to become highly paid and in respectable careers. (Lawyer,
business owners, computers, Airline Pilot, PA) and they all had money
$$ CHA CHING!
Hit number #1: The first time the group was
split was in 1992. Mike and a young lady sponsored by his wife were
driving on their way to Ocean City, Maryland. Next think you know,
someone's naked and Ya Da Ya Da a sexual connection was made. His wife
found out, they split and all the girls went with her and the guys went
with him. Man.... it was crazy, he said this, and she said that... it really
was crazy. It was better then pay per view. The drama, the fights,
meeting rooms filled with hate and resentments. People walking out of
meetings flicking people off. I can still hear the arguments outside
the Thursday night's meeting at Choir. "If she would have paid more
attention to him he wouldn't have done it!" "If he really loved her, he
wouldn't have done it." People were breaking up left and right. Oh, by
the way, what about the girl?? Yea, they forgot about her. She asked
for help, she never got it....... She later drank and disappeared off the
radar. I still pray for her from time to time.
Leave it to the
power of insecurity and fear of being alone. Within a few months, the
Boys and Girls got lonely. No more attention from their boys. No more
dinner and movie after the meeting. No more sex. By the following year,
most of the girls left his wife and rejoined the group. But this time,
Mike would have total control over both the women and the men. People
dating and Mike or his lieutenants would be sponsoring the couple. For
years Mike would have relationship meetings with just the married
couples in his house, he being the leader and all knowing mentor on how
to have a successful relationship.
He would hand-pick the
girls he would take to Jamaica, expecting sex and attention later. As I
recall, one girl re-fused and slept on the couch the entire visit. She
is now presently married to one of the lieutenants.
The pattern continued for years. Women were hand picked. They had the look,
the body and were willing to put out. Guys were picked. Handsome,
articulate, had a job and willing to be loyal to the group. People were
told who can date whom, who can marry whom, who can sleep with whom.
Those that questioned the idea of sleeping or dating within the first
year were brought aside and were dealt with quickly. "What do you know
that will help you get sober?? All you know is how to drink or drug.."
"Get out of yourself and try to focus on someone else for a change."
The guilt was heavy, I would see the ladies crying in the corner of the
Saturday night Special meeting. To challenge your sponsor or leave the
group, man it sucks to be you. Once folks left, it was over, they were
out. The word was "Hey Suzi doesn't want our help, remind her of what
fellowship is all about." Tell her to go find it somewhere else."
Little Suzi would be gone in minutes.
One lieutenant was
sponsoring a couple and had an affair with his girlfriend for months.
When questioned he admitted to it and told his male sponsor that he was
sorry but he and "Kim" were in love. And this was a God thing and he
had to respect that. He still sponsors him today. The power of fear. Oh
yea, about the girl, they broke up a few months later and she's sober
but lives somewhat outside the group. I could go on and on.
In 1995 the first New Years play was put together. Events like the play,
seats were pre-reserved for Mike and his lieutenants and of course
their ladies. Proceeds from the dances and Plays always ended up
somewhere in Mike's wallet. A cut for the man, the boss, the big
cheese, the trusted servant of the group, the all knowing gum chewing
master Jedi. For years the lieutenants would protect him. From the law,
concerned parents, outsiders. If you were a suspect, had questionable
loyalty, you were targeted. A big fat Bull's-eye on your back. No
service position, regardless who your sponsor was. No dates, no beach
trips. The goal, push you out with lack of attention. When the person
would leave or drink, the group would respond, "Wasn't willing to
follow direction.." "We tried to help"...."
We hope he comes back..." "If he
or she wants what we have, they need show a little willingness."
By the end of 1995, all the heavy hitters, old-timers from mid town were
gone. Eaten up alive by Mike's lieutenants and their followers. It took
years to work their way up in the service positions and finally gain
control of the meeting. And when they did, with one quick swift vote in
a group conscience after the Sunday meeting, it was done. If you are
not sponsored by someone in the group, you can't be a home group
member. As the years passed by, they gained popularity with a west
coast group. Mid-town would mimic the same group and have Mike as the
leader similar to the leader on the west coast side. In fact the format
of the meetings are almost identical.
Hit number #2: In the
late 1990's, Mike felt it was in his best interest to leave the DC area
and move down to Florida. (Feeling the heat Mike?) How would the group
function without him?? Group members would begin to share how they too
have considered moving to Florida. It seemed the ole timers in Florida
were ready for his arrival. Sandy B. was the first to greet him and
asked Mike if his intentions were to sabotage the groups in Florida, to
not unpack and move his ass right back to DC. When Mike arrived, he
knew right away, he was not wanted. He already committed to a lease and
was going to stick it out. He would come back and visit the DC area and
share that it just not the same without the members of midtown. He
would return within a year and take his chances with law.
Hit number #3: The top lieutenant leaves the group with all the knowledge
of the group and Mike's portfolio. Someone feel a little threatened??
Hit number #4. A wedding for one of the women Mike Sponsors... A wonderful
Jewish wedding filled with great food, dancing. Oh yea, Mike's date,
just barley 18?? Little known to Mike, surveillance has already begun.
PG County and Montgomery County P.D. are on to him building their case
thanks to a phone call from a concerned parent.
Young new recruits did mow lawns, do work and servant like chores for Mike
and his lieutenants. It was just part of the deal. You questioned it.
You were out.
Members on medication were questioned and told
to get off the anti-depressants. Not one member of the group do I
recall was a licensed physician. Within a few days, some newcomers were
truly unbalanced and left in a position to hurt themselves and/or
Young girls were preyed upon and targeted for
sex. They loved the game of seduction and head games. In the end, the
girl would be passed around the room like the basket. Both ending up
Webster defines a cult as: In religion and
sociology, a cult is a group of people (often a new religious movement)
devoted to beliefs and goals which may be contradictory to those held
by the majority of society. Its marginal status may come about either
due to its novel belief system or due to idiosyncratic practices that
cause the surrounding culture to regard it as far outside the
I am not an educated man, but what I do know is
this. The group meets some of the prerequisites of the definition
above. If I were a parent to a young man or especially to a young lady
that was trying to get sober in the DC area. I would be very cautious.
Go to the meetings with them, get to know their sponsor and work
together to help your child.
I'm a firm believer that sick
people do sick things. Some people can stop drinking. Stop drinking for
years, but their behavior may never change. Recovery is an inside job.
A spiritual change within; Some people get it, some people don't.
"Sometimes quickly, sometime slowly..."
What can we do...... I do the
same thing today that I did when I left the group, the same direction
my sponsor who was never a part of the group gave me on what I should
do about the group. "Don't drink, Pray, Go to a meeting and help
another human being in or out of the rooms. "
Do I think a lot
of people are emotionally and spiritually damaged because of the group?
Yea, I do. Do I think they have chance to recover? You bet! It will
require some honest work and total detachment from the group. Ask for
help. It's out there... just ask. Tell your new groups what happen and I
guarantee someone will be there....
Do I think they're really a
cult and will all move to Guyana and commit suicide and wait for some
space ship to take them to the road of happy destiny? No. Honestly,
think about it ........ Who would do Mike's Lawn then?
Midtown AA Banned From Another Church
Group Described As Cult
POSTED: 3:41 pm EDT May 14, 2007
UPDATED: 8:59 am EDT May 15, 2007
ROCKVILLE, Md. — An Alcoholics Anonymous group known as Midtown has been barred from meeting at another church, News4 reported Monday.
Leaders of St. Mark's Presbyterian Church on Old Georgetown Road in Rockville said the group could no longer meet there, News4's Pat Collins said.
More Allegations Arise About Midtown AA
Mom Claims Daughter Was Coerced Into Sex
POSTED: 5:50 pm EDT May 16, 2007
UPDATED: 7:35 pm EDT May 16, 2007
WASHINGTON — More controversial allegations have arisen about a Washington Alcoholics Anonymous group.
A mother claims that members of the Midtown Alcoholics Anonymous group coerced her daughter into having sex and took away the girl's prescribed psychiatric medicine.
The mother said she is a member of a traditional AA group, which, she said, is nothing like Midtown.
Because of the nature of this story, News4 has concealed the woman and her daughter's identity, calling her Kate and her daughter Jill.
"(Midtown AA) is coercive, controlling, cult-like," said Katie.
Midtown AA was a focus of a recent Newsweek article that described sexual exploits of some members and a cult-like nature of the group.
Amid the controversy, a number of local churches have barred Midtown from meeting at their facilities.
Kate told News4 on Friday that after an overdose experience in the South, her daughter Jill moved to Washington in February 2005 to turn her life around and joined Midtown AA.
The mother said that when Jill's boyfriend left Midtown AA the following year, her daughter was then pressured to have sex with another man in the group.
"It was a suggestion by one of the leaders that she have sex with someone in the group," said Kate. "She vehemently requested that she not have to do this and she eventually did because she was told if she wanted to remain sober, she would do what she was told."
Kate claims that after the unwanted sex encounter, Jill relapsed and started drinking again.
Jill was later admitted to a psychiatric facility, diagnosed with a mental disorder and prescribed medication, Katie said.
Kate said that after her recovery and release, Jill returned to Midtown AA in July 2006.
"They told her that she would not remain sober if she continued taking the medication," Kate said. "Within three days she had a psychotic episode and was hospitalized again."
Kate said Jill has since returned to her home in the South, and, she said, her daughter harbors no ill will toward the AA group.
* May 15, 2007: Midtown AA Banned From Another Church
* May 11, 2007: Midtown AA Accused Of Sexual Exploitation
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they
regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own
version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very
ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does
corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.
— Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)
the fact that Sen. Goldwater is one of my political heroes, I
think this quote pretty much sums up the recent revelations of
wrongdoing at the Midtown
AA Group in Washington DC. Having been a sober member of AA
for 13 consecutive years (or as my friend Drew G. would ask "in a
row?"), I believe I have to address these allegations by stating
that there are more than a few AA groups like Midtown where this
bullshit of coercion, intimidation, and "13th stepping" (engaging in
sexual relations with newcomer for my non-AA friends out there) has
gone on. While the chicken shits at the AA General Service Office
in New York want to stick their heads in the sand and state the 4th
tradition of group autonomy, this bullshit does affect AA as a
Let me share with you a similar experience I had with a
AA group while I was living in Minneapolis. I was part of a
group called "Foxhall Chapter 7" which met on Thursday nights at a
church in Hopkins, MN. Ironically, the inspiration for the
Foxhall Group (where there are several nationwide) began in Washington
DC like the Midtown Group. At this meeting, there was an
overt air of superiority among the people sponsored by the self
appointed messiah of the group and their descendants known to each
other as "pigeons." Anyway, this "messiah" in his early
sobriety had committed adultery and had an affair with a newcomer woman
who was about 30 days sober and was working as his nanny. But
after all, it was OK for him to commit what I consider to be a sin of
Biblical proportions but a no-no for the newcomers to the
I saw a lot of this hero worship run amok
in this group and my former sponsor and I got caught up in what we now
dub "the dog and pony show" of Minneapolis/St Paul AA. Women and
men sitting together with their sponsor saving their seats and getting
them a cup of coffee and making a big Broadway production out of
it. The men usually wore suits and ties and the women
dressed up to and were instructed to go out and meet newcomers.
The way they approached newcomers was akin to a used car
salesman. Was some of there concern genuine?
Perhaps. I usually felt there was some ulterior motive involved
like a person's desire to control another person and emulate their
sponsor all in the name of "unconditional love" of course. Then
again, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge nutjobs told the Cambodian
people the same thing as they tried to turn their beloved country into
a collectivist agrarian society. (Oh damn, there I go again
on one of my anti-Communist rants again.... fucking Libertarians!)
I seemed to be more interested in the downtrodden looking ones from the
treatment centers and would talk to them about things like football and
the championship ring I was wearing. Why shove a bunch of
useless cliches down their throat that they were already hearing from
the camp commandants when relatable subjects like sports seemed to put
them at ease? That was my theory and still is.
But my "message" was not good enough according to some of these image
hogs. These minions need to call us every night and be at our
every whim whenever we demand it. That fucking Mirmak is an
egomanical jock run amok! How dare he tell these minions that
there is an actual life out there once you sober up?
Believe or not, there is. And to the dickwad at Foxhall
(Chad) that asked me if I was friends with Steve Rosga, the
answer is yes and he is a hell of a lot more fun to be around than
you! (See Steve's profile in a previous blog for an idea of
the company that I keep)
My sponsor at the time pretty much left
me alone to do my thing much to his sponsor's dismay.
Unfortunately, a few years later he ended up moving to Cincinnati
and suggested that I find someone locally. So I met this guy
named Jim S. who moved up from Iowa with his AA wife Jane H. (why they
don't share the same last name is beyond me). Anyway, Jim
and Jane sponsored a gaggle of men and women at the Foxhall groups in
Minnesota and Iowa.
At first, Jim seemed like an
easy going guy and I thought I would ask him since he was sponsoring a
couple friends of mine. Like a Pavlovian dog, Jim licked
his chops and thought to himself that I was going to be a fun prospect
for him. So he tells me that I have an assigned time to call him
once a week just to let him know how I was doing with my program.
As far as I was concerned, my program was to do the 12 steps and
continue to live my life in an ethical manner in all of my affairs.
I guess that wasn't good enough for ol' Jim since I needed to be
involved in every form of AA service known to man and have AA be the
centerpiece of my existence. I went on a few service calls with
him at first, but I thought a day at the gym pumping iron was
more beneficial since I was still playing football at the semipro
level. But according to Jim, that wasn't helping the alcoholic
receive "the message." OK, let's get this straight. I
nearly ruin my college football career with my drinking and have a
chance to redeem myself with my old college coach on this semipro
team. (Keep in mind that I have like 7 years sobriety under my
belt at this time) I think that message of redemption and real hope is
fucking awesome and that is exactly what the newcomer needs to
hear, not a life enslaved to the will of a control freak sponsor.
Like an assinine child, Jim would hear none of it.
The final straw in our relationship was my refusal to sponsor someone who
was a convicted sex offender. In short, this man had
committed some lewd acts with an underage girl. Once he divulged
that information to me, I immediately informed him that I would
not be his sponsor any longer. I didn't have the heart to tell
him that I thought that his crime should be classified as a Federal
capital crime punishable by death. In any case, word got
out that I "fired" this sicko as a "pigeon" and caught all kinds of
holy hell from Jim and some of his sponsor's minions for "saying no to
AA." Never mind that my wife was 7 months pregnant with our
daughter and I was going to become a father. Did I want
this guy potentially around my infant girl? OH HELL NO!!! as my
friends Gerone and Jamel would say. I flat out told Jim my views
on child sex offenders and how the legal system should literally hang
them high. I was told by Jim that my views on this guy's sexual
proclivities towards children were an "outside issue" and I should let
it go. Furthermore, I should reconsider my decision of sponsoring
this guy bcause he is a "still suffering alcoholic." to which I told
him "if you are so concerned about this, then why don't you sponsor
him. Because he may be welcome into your home, but he sure
as hell won't be welcome in mine." With that being
said, I decided to end the sponsorship relationship with Jim and
left Foxhall as a group. I was not about to compromise my
principles and integrity for the sake of letting some sick pervert
become a part of my life in the name of "carrying the message."
As far as I am concerned, a rope around the neck and hung from a
tree for this pervert would have been more apropo.
The My Space page about the Midtown group also talks about some of the
goofy things that these AAers did. I remember Jim's wife Jane was
so concerned about wine being put food like chicken that she refused to
consume such dishes and told her minions that it would lead to a
relapse if they ate a dish made with wine. Did someone tell this
culinary "expert" that the booze is cooked out and evaporates
when they deglaze a pan? That was as comical as the fucktard who
chewed someone out for putting Grey Poupon on their sandwich.
I will close this long blog to address the practice of 13th stepping.
I am proud to say that in all of my years of consecutive sobriety in AA
that I never once participated in this practice.
However, I would see some leecherous men try to fawn themselves
over a lot of the newcomer women while telling their "pigeons" that it
was forbidden for them to do so. One newcomer woman I remember
fondly was named Amber. She was a very beautiful and well figured
young lady. Anyway, a lot of the males in our group were
seeking attention from her. She usually gave them a smile and
said hi but that was usually the extent of her friendliness towards
them. Anyway, she comes up to me one day and asks me "are
all of the men like this in AA." I told her no and asked her why
she asked me. She told me she felt that some of these men had
ulterior motives. I am thinking to myself, "so why is
she asking me?" Maybe she wants me to kick their asses
within an inch of their lives which I felt like doing to a lot of the
13th steppers in our group. She then tells me that I seem pretty
safe. OK, I thought.... she obviously didn't talk to my
college football coach. I looked at her and said "I'll protect
you. Follow me." So I told everyone in the group a lie
that she was my adopted sister and if they tried to fuck with her that
I would fuck them up within an inch of their lives.
Granted, that was an outright lie but I felt she needed to be
assured that AA was a safe place for her. I always looked out
for her like she was my little sister and we used to joke with one
another about being siblings.
As a result, Amber
is still sober and living in Minneapolis. I was fortunate enough
to have her be a part of our wedding when my wife and I wed. She
told me for a rough and tumble kind of dude that I was, she was
happy that I found someone special to spend the rest of my life with in
a committed relationship. She also thanked me for looking out for
her in her early sobriety. Unfortunately, there are other
women who enter the fellowship who weren't or aren't as fortunate.
By letting this practice happen and sticking our heads in the
sand, AA unity will eventually dissolve slowly but surely leaving
this fellowship in the trash heap of history. If this pissed off
and sometimes crabby AAer has anything to say about it, I ain't
going down without a fight to make this organization a safe haven for
all who seek help. May God have mercy on the souls of the
transgressors who seek to tarnish the AA name for their own twisted
agenda because, and be forewarned, I won't. This is the
least I can do for an organization that means a lot to me.
with that being said, I will defer my comments about AAers
practicing medicine without a license for another blog.
However, any person that truly cares about the AA program should
be concerned about the shenanigans going on with the Midtown and
Foxhall Groups. At this point, I will not be silent anymore
because this shit does affect AA as a whole.
In the words of Todd Beamer...... "Let's Roll."
Sunday, June 10, 2007
FOM has, with permission, reposted this Blog from a FOM supporter's site.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Mind Control and other things...
Okay, I think that it's about time that I wrote this blog. This is another one that some of you may like and others will strongly disagree with. That's fine. You are entitled to your opinions, but at the same time, I am entitled to mine and I hope that my friends can respect that. I may loose a few friends off my friends list for this one, but I am sick of tip-toeing around people with my feelings on this matter. So... what is the topic? Midtown.
Well, I have to say first that I have over five years of experience with them (3.5 years of that have been spent completly devoted to that group). I entered that particular homegroup four days after my 16th birthday and fell in love with what I saw. People were friendly, welcoming, and seemed to have tons of fun without drinking and drugging, which at that point in my life, was refeshing to see. Yes, I believed that some of the things that took place there were odd (Sponser direction? Pigeons? Slamming?), but I figured that I'd give it a try anyways. Over that 3.5 years here are the things I observed:
Okay, I think that it's about time that I wrote this blog. This is another one that some of you may like and others will strongly disagree with. That's fine. You are entitled to your opinions, but at the same time, I am entitled to mine and I hope that my friends can respect that. I may loose a few friends off my friends list for this one, but I am sick of tip-toeing around people with my feelings on this matter. So... what is the topic? Midtown.
Well, I have to say first that I have over five years of experience with them (3.5 years of that have been spent completly devoted to that group). I entered that particular homegroup four days after my 16th birthday and fell in love with what I saw. People were friendly, welcoming, and seemed to have tons of fun without drinking and drugging, which at that point in my life, was refeshing to see. Yes, I believed that some of the things that took place there were odd (Sponser direction? Pigeons? Slamming?), but I figured that I'd give it a try anyways. Over that 3.5 years here are the things I observed:
Within my first week there, my sponser was addiment about me getting off of my medications (doctor prescribed, not abused). Within three months, I was off of them, truely believing that I was not sober if I continued to take them. I never detoxed off of any kind of drug or alcohol, but I have to say that I did off of my meds. Why? I pretty much stopped cold turkey and without a doctor montoring or advising me.
After 18 months, I was told that I needed "one clear voice" and that it was unnessecary and a waste of time to continue seeing my therapist. Actually, I was told that earlier, but at 18 months, I finally caved and ceased seeing him. I was also told that my only problem was alcoholism which only working a good program with a good sponser could help. My therapist could do nothing for me and my addiction.
I was never told whom I should sleep with. I do believe the people who have said that they were told this without a shadow of a doubt, but I will say that it never really happened to me. A lot of people would suggest that I should go on dates with certain people who did not interest me, but that was about it in that respect. I was, on the other hand, told who NOT to sleep with. I feared telling my sponser that I had gone out with certain people because I was afraid of being "slammed" and "fired." How many times during piegon meetings was I made to feel like a slut because of something that I had done? Countless. I felt confused because everyone else seemed to be having sex, so why was I being ridiculed by the people I loved and trusted for these actions? What I did notice about the men was that as soon as our "relationship" (if that's what you could call it) was over, they moved on very quickly. Usually to someone new to the program and/or my friends. When I talked to my sponser about how much this hurt me, I again, was told that I was being selfish and that I did not own these men. I kept the feelings of hurt mostly to myself and my closest friends.
The monthly women's meeting... What a sight to see! I dug my heels into the ground for most of my time in Midtown when it came to this particular topic. For my first three years or so, they were held at people's houses and then all of a sudden they moved to the church in Kensington where the Monday and Tuesday night meetings are held. I never quite got a clear-cut answer as to why it moved, so I can only speculate. If I had to guess, I would say that it was because people got sick of having over 100 women in their houses for five hours (two hours before to set up and have "the meeting before the meeting", hour and a half... usually longer for the meeting to actually take place, and at least an hour afterwards for the socializing and cleaning up) late on a Wednesday night. Anyways, as for what went on in these monthly meetings... Pretty much the same people always led them. Brigette, Beth, Barbara, Susan, etc, etc. Occasionally they would switch it up, but never to anyone outside of their homegroup. Always the same old stories. I bet you that I could recite their stories better than my own. Seriously. I don't remember most of them in detail because I did attend a lot of those meetings over 3 years, but topics that stood out on the regular were things like "I am a lousy girlfriend" and "I am self-centered". There is one meeting I recall that absolutly got out of hand. Someone began to talk about their STD, which would have been fine... if it wasn't an A.A. meeting. Soon, almost everyone was talking about it! The topic of alcohol and recovery barely even made an apperance! I had a lot of trouble relating to the things being said because I, well... don't have an STD.
I never really understood all of the crying that went on in the monthly women's meeting either. I wanted too, but I had trouble seeing what the point of a meeting was if all we were going to do was bitch about how bad our lives were and cry about how we were selfish... and believe me, I am a crier and even I felt uncomfortable there. Seating arrangements were practically assigned. There was never enough seats for everyone, so of course, the people who had more "time" were allowed to sit on the couches. Next came the people whom they sponsered who were considered to be the most "in the middle". I think that I may have gotten a seat once or twice in a chair, but I had to get there reeaaaallly early.
The annual Christmas meeting was held at Mike Q's house. Have you seen his house?!?! Well, if not, it is very teeny-tiny. Try cramming over 100 women into a space that is about half the size of your average 7-11. That's what it was like. Mike always led it and talked so quietly that I could hardly hear him, even if I got a seat that was close to him. He rarely picked people to speak during the meeting that raised their hands. Just those who he felt needed to be revealed to everyone as doubters and those who he felt would make him and his homegroup look good. He always handed out zeroxed copies (somehow never enough for everyone) of random passages and quotes. I never did quite understand them, but that's besides the point. I do, however, remember that they were collected at the end of the meeting and I never saw one removed from the house. I am not sure why. When I questioned why Mike always lead the holiday meeting and why not a woman, the answer was always, "That's the way it is. He has the most time in the group." I'm not saying that all women's meetings are bad, because I have since attended a few women's meetings that I found right on topic and a pleasure to be at. What I am saying is that I did not find those women's meetings in the Midtown Group.
WOMEN IN GENERAL:
The women in the group would always ask me how I was doing if we got to talking. To this day, I have trouble telling people what is really going on in my world for fear of being judged and having them give me unsolicited advice. When I would tell someone that I had endured a hard day or that I was stressed, only one thing would come of it. I would be told how to live my life. I was just being "self-centered". I should sponser more people. I got so sick of hearing how it was always my fault if I just had one of those days that didn't seem to go right (I'm sure that we've all had them, so you know which days I speak of), that I just began to give fake, candy-coated answers. When my day really was fine, people tried to pull and pry answers out of me. It was almost as if I had to search for a problem that wasn't there!
I won't lie and say that I liked all of the women in that group either. I'm not going to name names, but there was quite a few bitches that I disliked and still do not want to endure their company to this day. Maybe some of the girls I disliked are nice people or maybe they are just what I think they are... Still, it does not change the fact that even though I did not enjoy their company, I had to pretend I did. Otherwise, I was told that I was being "unprincipled" and that I could be "cutting of the woman who one day saves my life". Some how I always managed to get a mental picture of the bossy girl with bad breath (I told you I wasn't naming names!) pulling me off the edge of a cliff from which I somehow wound up dangling precariously from. Either way, I did as I was told to not piss off my sponser and smiled when the girl handed me what she thought was my inventory. All the time, I wondered how I was ever supposed to ask for help if I felt like drinking from girls who called me selfish all the time.
You may think that my body image was not affected in this group, but it would be far from the truth. I was told early on that I could not wear certain clothes and that I smelled bad. I took a shower daily, but still my sponser told me that when people hugged me, they said that I smelled really bad. Now I can see that these statements were false, but at 16 years old I was humiliated and crushed. I have no idea why she would want to make me insecure except my own speculation of trying to beat me into humility. They say that is very important in their meetings. She told me that I needed to loose weight and that I didn't excersise enough. Where did this lead me throughout sobriety? I would stop eating for long periods of time. At one point, someone close to me caught on, and montiored my food intake. Other than that, nobody noticed much. When I did actually loose weight legitimatly, I was accused of being belimic (anyone who knows me well knows that I am an emetaphobic, so it would be hard for those accusations to be true).
GAY, BLACK, ASIAN, OR ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE NORM:
Another observation about Midtown. There aren't many minorities there. I only recall seeing a few asian people pass through in my whole time there. As for black people, numbers were only slightly higher and usually for sponsership, they were refered to one of the few black people in attendance at the meetings. Gay? Well, for a meeting that was held for so many years in Dupont Circle (which is largely famous for it's acceptance of gay crowds), there was a lot to be said for the fact that I only could tell you the names of two gay guys and a lesbian couple in attendance of a meeting of over 300 people. Pretty odd numbers, isn't it?
I mentioned having to change certain things about the way I dressed earlier. What I did not tell you was that I saw many people come in with hair every color of the rainbow, piercings, tattoos, etc... I was told when I was in that homegroup that I was not allowed to get anymore piercings and a tattoo was out of the question. When people saw my nose ring right before I left that group, the biggest question was if my sponser had okayed it. Are you serious? They accused me of "just trying to be different". I was starting to see that they wanted me to be cookie-cutter images of themselves in order to be accepted. The more I resisted, the more they up-ed the pressure.
I really hate to talk about this part. I can't believe that I let myself be so controlled. I had to ask my sponser's permission to do the stupidest things. Could I date a certain guy? Numerous times, she did not approve. When she did not approve and I went against what she said, I would be get the threats of if I did not end it, I would have to find a new sponser. What did who I date, have to do with my recovery and the 12 steps? When I first asked her to be my sponser, it was because the pressure was on. "Find a sponser now!" they insisted. I didn't know her well at all, but she seemed kind and patient. When I asked, she asked me a question... "Can you follow direction?" What did she mean? I had a very good sense of direction. If she gave me directions on how to get to the meeting I could figure it out easily, but something told me that wasn't what she meant. I answered with, "I think so." Her reply... "That's a yes or no question." The first time I had been in the program several years before, the sponser I had had never asked me that when she began to sponser me. She just told me to write out my story. I said yes anyways and everytime in the future I did not take her advice on something, she reminded me of the verbal contract I had made with her. If I didn't do what she said, I would loose my sponser and when you sponser hop, you get drunk... at least that was what they told me. Early on, her roommates and friends would come to me and ask how I was doing. At first I just thought that they cared and after they would bring up things like fights with my parents and other things, it dawned on me that she was telling them everything I had told her in confidence. I had a few sponsers in Midtown. This seemed to be the case with all of them, but one. That one, is still my friend to this day and to her, I would like to say thank you for not breaking my trust.
I really liked the idea of going to the beach on the weekends in the summer. Infact, I still do think that the whole beach house thing started of as a great idea! People should know that you can still have fun in sobriety! Life doesn't end just because you stop getting fucked up! Still, as everything else in Midtown, this concept seems to have been taken to the extreme. There are strict rules... people with less time sleep on the floors more often than not and couples usually got first dibs on the rooms (just another perk of having a significant other I guess). My first beach weekend, I was told that I was to do what the person I was staying with was doing. I wound up getting very badly burnt on the beach because I was out in the sun too long. Despite my brilliantly red skin, chills, and dizziness (not to mention the ill feeling in my stomach), my pleas to be taken to the emergency care center were ignored. I was told yet again that I was just being self-centered and that a meeting would help. During the meeting, one of the "oldtimers" asked if I had drank with a pitying look on his face. When I gave him an honest answer (No), I could tell that he didn't believe me. Later that night, at a party, my grandsponser preceeded to scream in my face in front of everyone. Why? Because I was being selfish since I was in pain. The next day, she acted as if nothing had happened the night before and asked me if I would like to sit with her on the beach that day. Not before telling my sponser a wharped version of the story first though.
I also noticed that the beach houses seemed to be a prime place for hook-ups. It was similar to high school, which for the first few years went without a second thought for me because I was in high school. It seemed normal. What was not normal was that there were adults involved in the game. Not just running in, but playing too. A few times when I saw Mike Q. at the beach, I noticed that everyone seemed to be the orchestra and he was the conducter. When he moved his chair to face what he thought was the perfect angle for the sun, so did everyone else. They all laughed at what he had to say and furrowed their brows in attempts to look intent when he spoke of more serious matters... but I will speak more on that in a minute.
I love this idea too. Camping trips, Easter Egg Hunts, Scavenger Hunts, Picnics, Dances, "Watches", the list goes on and on... Once more, sobriety should not be boring! But, some of these things were too sketchy for young people (anyone for that matter) to be involved in. I had tons of fun my first camp out, but it seemed like everyone there was having sex. I was assigned to clean up the camp with some other people when the whole thing was over. I can't tell you how many USED condoms I found scattered throughout the campsites. Everybody seemed to talk of the sexcapades like they were nothing. Everyone seemed to have slept with everyone else at some point or another throughout their sobriety and everyone loved comparing notes. The events were fun, but it was pretty much impossible to go on the sleep-away ones if you weren't a homegroup member. Space always was said to be limited and events were over-priced. I eventually did some of the math on the play event. I'm not sure exactly how much it would cost to rent an auditorium like that, but lets just say $3000 for the night and $2000 for the place where the dance is held. And that is an over-exaggeration. All of the food is donated by people, all of the costumes are clothes that the actors brought from home. The DJ volunteers his/her services and is not even given a small donation for gas. Decorations would be about $100 and coffee and soda for the night, about $100. This equals a total cost of $5,200. Over 300 people attend the event at $25 a piece. This is a grand total of $2,300. Where is that extra money going? That question was answered soon after I left Midtown.
SEX WITH MINORS:
I would like to say that I was not one of the girls that was sexually abused by Mike Q. or any of his lieutenants. I do believe the girls that say they were and stand by them 110%. I feel bad for the years they spent with their secret and hope that one day, they can feel safe from what has happened to them. I do know some of the girls who are coming forward and I do know some of those who are afraid. I do feel and always did feel that the sex with underage girls was wrong. I do know it goes on in that group and anyone who knows how to add can see that. I watched it go on for years and to this day, I feel terrible that I didn't speak up with my convictions about it in any more than passing conversations with my sponser (where I was of course told that it was none of my business).
THE MEETINGS THEMSELVES:
There is almost a foreign language being spoken in those rooms. You have already heard me use some of it... Here are the definitions:
"Slammed"- To be told off or scolded by one's sponser. Usually involves yelling.
"Fired"- Their sponser told them that they could not help them and that they could no longer sponser them.
"Pigeon"- A person who is sponsered by someone.
"Pigeon Meetings"- private house meetings where sponsers and sponsees will hold dinner and a meeting once a month (sometimes more, sometimes less).
"Sponser"- In real AA. this is someone who helps you through the 12 steps. In Midtown, they not only help you work the steps, but run every other aspect of your life too.
"Sponser Direction"- The orders a sponser gives you to follow. They are not optional.
"Time"- the amount of sobriety or "clean time" someone has.
"In the middle"- someone is in the middle when they are mimicking the actions of the people in Midtown with time.
"Watches" — this is the celebration that one has when they get one year sober. Just before midnight on the anniversery, everyone gathers at a party or meeting place and literally counts down, watching the person turn one year sober. Great idea, but too much emphasis is put on these parties in the Midtown group.
If you attend a regular meeting, just see how many times someone shares that their sponsers "slammed" them and how they aren't "in the middle" and that will lead them to drink. Usually, people shared how crazy they were. Mike Q. rarely opened his mouth in meetings, but when he did it was usually incoherant and rubish that didn't make sense. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, he never shared about it when I was in the group and I never once saw that man cry or show any other type of emotion. Instead of speaking of A.A. helping them stay sober, people often say "the group helps me stay sober" instead. Can you guess which group they are talking about?
MIKE Q HIMSELF:
I never spoke much with him. I had a question on the traditions once and I was told by my sponser to ask him. Figures. I don't remember much of what he said, but my question was something about having a day where we did a capture the flag event again. His first question to me was, what event does it support? I didn't get it. Why couldn't we just have a sober capture the flag event for fun? Why did there have to be a group sponsering it? He said because all of the money we took in through the event had to go somewhere. What money? I thought. It would only cost a dollar or so a person for the glow necklaces needed... This should have been a red flag, but since I was new to the program, I didn't really understand the traditions too much.
The first time I met Mike was when he came to visit from living in Tampa. It was at a Tuesday or Friday noon meeting. Before the meeting started, he came up, rubbed my back up and down as he said, "Welcome. So glad that you are here." I wrote it off as him just being a nice, friendly old man, but part of me never could shake the creepy grin across his face. When I asked my sponser who he was, she said,
"Oh that's Mike. He has the most time in the group." I knew from that
point on that he was not someone I could disagree with if I wanted to keep my new friends.
Over the years, I watched people worship the ground he walked in. I heard of people
cleaning his house for him, washing his car, raking his leaves, mowing his grass,
picking up his dry cleaning, the list goes on... There were so many chores it was
ridiculous. I never heard anyone talk back to him or challenge what he had to say.
I later found out that his car was paid for by a woman he sponsers to this day.
His cell phone bill was also paid for by his sponsees and on top of that, it was
a secret number in which anyone who wanted to contact him would have to get though
someone who was already worthy enough to have it. Then you would have to make an
appointment to call and the rules were that when you called, you would have to be
alone. Nobody else could hear the call. I questioned this information and sure
enough, my sponser left me. I am grateful for this because it was then and only
then that I was able to gather up the courage to leave that group.
As for where do I stand on all of the controversy? Well, I believe that many people in Midtown are good, well-intentioned people. They just want to be sober and are trying to work what they think are the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (no matter how contorted the steps have been by Mike and his followers). Still, there are those who are so far gone from reality and want nothing more than Mike's comfort and happiness no matter what it takes. The characteristics of Midtown allign perfectly with that of a full-blown cult. If you don't believe me, do what I did. Google a cult check-list and see what you find. Answer the questions on the list HONESTLY and maybe things will be clearer to you.
So, is Midtown a cult? I am not a specialist, but I would have to say YES. It is. Was I once a part of it? YES. Did I leave completly? YES. Am I still sober? YES. Do I still consider myself a member of Alcoholics Anonymous? I AM STILL TRYING TO FIGURE THAT OUT. Do I think that Mike is a sick person who should be put in prision for the remainder of his life? YES. Do I support FOM and L&S? MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. Am I resentful? NO. Do I agree with the people who put their names in the news? YES. Do I think it was a bad idea? NO. MORE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS GROUP. Do I think it violates traditions? YES AND NO. I THINK WHEN THE TRADITIONS WERE ESTABLISHED, THEY NEVER EXPECTED SOMETHING LIKE A CULT TO INFILTRATE THE GROUPS OF AA. Was it neccessary? YES. GSO WOULD NOT DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT THE MEMEBERS OF AA, SO YES, GOING PUBLIC WAS NECCESSARY. Do I judge those who stay in Midtown? NO. I WANT THEM TO DO WHAT MAKES THEM HAPPY, EVEN IF I DISAGREE WITH IT.
I'm sorry if you don't like what I am telling you. I'm even more sorry if it has cost us our friendship. Still, these are my convictions. You can not change my beliefs otherwise. Why am I putting this out there? Because I am tired of hiding and saying things that I don't agree with just because of what others may think. If you disagree, you have that right, but keep in mind that this is MY BLOG and where I value what you have to say, I did not write this blog to start a debate. I wrote it because it's what was on my mind. To those still in Midtown, I hope that you remain happy. To those thinking of leaving, there are those who have done it and remained sober, despite what others have said. To those who have left, enjoy life to the fullest and never let sobriety have a dull moment.
*THE FALL OF MIDTOWN. AKA: THE Q. GROUP*
*Last Updated:* Jun 14, 2007
*Status*: In a Relationship
*City*: Every Place Possible
*State*: Washington DC
*Signup Date*: 12/11/06
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I'm beginning to wonder if we're in the same program of recovery?
Current mood: infuriated
READ THIS BLOG FROM THE BOTTOM, TO THE TOP. THIS IS EXACTLY (OTHER THAN
THE NAME EDITING BECAUSE OF PERSONAL ANONYMITY ISSUES) HOW IT APPEARS IN
OUR SENT/INBOX. HOW CONDITIONED DO YOU THINK THIS PERSON IS? READ IT
FOR YOURSELF AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF. THEN ASK YOURSELF THIS; WHAT CAN
I DO TO HELP THESE NEWCOMERS WHO HAVE BEEN GOING TO AA, YET ARE
COMPLETELY DENIED THE PROGRAM OF RECOVERY BY SOME BLEEDING DEACONS WHO
CANNOT SEE PAST THEIR OWN WANTS?
FALL OF MIDTOWN. AKA: THE Q. GROUP
Date: Jun 13, 2007 8:20 PM
That was fast!!!
Seriously, I'm sorry to have bothered you. This Editor has no wish to
bother anyone. I asked if I could help, here at FOM, so I'm trying to
help. If you ever want help, I'll help you find a male sponsor who will
show you what everyone outside of the Midtown Cult see's. Until then,
I'm going to delete our connection, so that you don't think that we're
spying on you, which is obviously not the truth. Peace be with you. FOM
----------------- Original Message -----------------
Date: Jun 13, 2007 8:13 PM
Okay who told you anything about me?
----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: THE FALL OF MIDTOWN. AKA: THE Q. GROUP
Date: Jun 13, 2007 5:12 PM
I'm sorry to have bothered you. We were informed that you were ready to
listen, but that information was faulty. If you want to deny that you
are being misled by a Cult, disguised as an AA Group... That is your
business. Exposing this Cult and helping people get out of it is FOM's
By the way, 2 of us here are female and only one of here is male and I'm
one of the females, who by chance, isn't that much older than you.
Asking questions would help you discover the truth much easier than
making quick assumptions. Just a thought.
----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: (NAME WITHELD)
Date: Jun 13, 2007 7:58 PM
I've read your whole fuckin' page. And it's all bullshit. Get a fucking
life, stop worry about shit that doesn't concern you. How about you stop
and think for a second... your job is to stalk children. And yes I know
what a fucking cult is, and your page is saying that theres a cult in
Midtown and shit. Shutup. AND ANSWER THIS QUESTION! WHY DID YOU ADD ME?
HOW DID YOU EVEN KNOW MY NAME/ACCOUNT?
----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: THE FALL OF MIDTOWN. AKA: THE Q. GROUP
Date: Jun 13, 2007 4:54 PM
What is a Cult? Do you know what a Cult is? How is The Midtown Group
practices different from a Cult's practices? Think about it for a moment.
----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: (NAME WITHELD)
Date: Jun 13, 2007 7:47 PM
(NAME WITHELD) has posted a new comment about you on MySpace!
According to your privacy settings, all comments must be approved by you
before they appear on your profile.
(NAME WITHELD) Comment:
"We aren't cultists you fuckin' bible hugging bitch. Were just people
who hang out in Midtown, and don't ever let catch you spying on me ya
fuckin queers. Find something better to do than observe children all
* I forgive you *
I comend you on the way that you handled this. Dignity and grace even
when someone was acting like a child. Keep up the good work! Maybe,
hopefully, one day those who have been so blinded will be ready and
willing to listen. Until then, all we can do is share our experience,
strength, and hope!
Posted by * I forgive you *
on Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 1:18 PM
Wow, what an angry, indignant little piglet. Poor thing. I had no idea
the magnitude of the mind control taking place over there. Very, very
sad. Keep up the great work.
Posted by *Stefan*
on Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 4:21 PM
"Let's have a moment of silence for those who are still sick and
suffering, in and out of the rooms."
Believe it or not, I feel sorry for this poor soul. I'll include them in
the prayer I say every day for my fellow alcoholics.
Posted by *Shirley Ann*
on Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 7:31 PM
RE: THE MIDTOWN GROUP/ Q GROUP, A LOCAL CULT-LIKE GROUP
Dear Mr. McCarthy,
I am sending you this letter because I'm concerned about the men,
women, and children being victimized by certain members of the "Midtown
Group" or "Q Group". The Midtown Group is a cult-like organization that
operates under the guise of being a legitimate Alcoholics Anonymous
(AA) group in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area.
You may be aware
of the recent media coverage on this group that began with an article
in Newsweek magazine, dated May 7, 2007
Since this story broke, three local TV networks (Fox, ABC, and NBC)
have also aired stories on the Midtown Group. (Links to 10 informative
news broadcasts are provided below).
I would like to make you aware of some facts about this group:
The Midtown Group is a hierarchy-based cult, with one leader at the
top, directing a descending order of followers. The cult leader
disseminates information and instructions through "sponsorship" lines
that spread throughout the group directly from him.
The Midtown Group is comprised of attractive, young, sober people
looking for direction from an Alcoholics Anonymous group. Joining seems
to be a harmless, helpful, and appealing way of life.
The Midtown Group promotes a belief that medications are
fundamentally contrary to sobriety, encouraging people to immediately
stop taking doctor-prescribed medication.
The Midtown Group lost a member to suicide last summer, a child
who had been on psychiatric medications and then stopped abruptly at
the direction of his Midtown sponsor.
The Midtown Group is the focus of repeated allegations of underage
sex, some in writing. Common among the allegations are reports that
teenagers are directed by their sponsors to perform sexual acts with
elder group members for the purpose of strengthening their sobriety.
The Midtown Group will attempt to control a member's assets,
particularly cash, and use those assets at their discretion for the
"good of the group."
The Midtown Group is currently, and has been, under police
investigation(s). Detective Peter Worden, with the Montgomery County
Elder Crimes Division, (240) 773-5449 and Detective Jonathan Andrews,
with the District of Columbia Child Internet Pornography Division,
(202) 576-5219 have both investigated this group and are available for
victims who choose to come forward with their experiences.
The men and women in Midtown may currently be sober and credit that
sobriety to this group. I don't disagree with that. The challenge that
faces an alcoholic to achieve and maintain sobriety is enormous. It's
important to underscore the fact that some people will do whatever it
takes to overcome that challenge. But, I feel the cost of one's
individual sobriety, when being used to cultivate and perpetuate a
dogma of illegal and dangerous boundaries, is too high a price. This
cult needs to be stopped.
I believe these men, women, and children are in danger. For example,
if your young, attractive daughter were in the Midtown Group, her
sexuality would most likely be controlled. Decisions would be made for
her, typically without her input. She would subordinate her free will
to make choices about her personal relationships, body and life to her
sponsor, who ultimately takes his/her direction from the leader of this
If your son were a member of the Midtown Group, his assets
would likely be immediately inventoried, evaluated and flagged for
future manipulation. He would also be marginalized as an individual
incapable of managing his own affairs and be strongly encouraged to
trust that only his sponsor possessed that capability.
The following events occurred in the wake of the news reports:
On May 9th, 2007, the Midtown Group was suspended from meeting in
St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, as a result of its
unwanted notoriety in the Newsweek and ABC stories. St. Patrick's had hosted Midtown's largest meeting on Sunday nights.
On May 14th, 2007, another meeting of the Midtown Group was banned
from meeting at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church in Rockville, MD as a
result of the many allegations made about this group.
On May 22, 2007, NBC 4 reported that "Midtown is now prohibited from
holding meetings at the Avery Road combined care facility". This was
reported to NBC by an Avery Road official.
This information has been made available to you so that you are
aware of this predatory group and in the hope that you will share it
with your constituents. The information cited above is supported and
researched. You are encouraged to speak with members of local AA —
including those who have left the group as well as current members of
the group — about this matter.
Thank you for your attention to this sensitive matter. I am seeking
your assistance in stopping this group from continuing to harm its
current members and any additional alcoholics attempting to get sober.
____________________________________ Your Signature
lead went over well enough. I was nervous and didn't speak for more
than ten minutes, but I pretty much just shared my story and spoke
briefly about tolerance. I was grateful the meeting was small. There
were a little less than ten women present. They were all very nice and
I even got a few laughs out of my story. Shocking.
I rolled up
to another meeting afterwards. It was fairly large and half the crowd
was young people. I tried to dip out as soon as the meeting was over,
but my friend wanted me to speak with a girl from the program. She was
concerned about my plan to attend a Midtown meeting tonight. I assured
her I was just going to go to see what all the fuss was about and kind
of make fun of them. I had no intention of getting sucked in. I'm not
that vulnerable... I think.
I had been curious about the Midtown meetings ever since Washowillie brought the scandal to
my attention. I got my hands on the Newsweek article and was
immediately intrigued. I wanted to go to a meeting. I had to see this
first hand. Were they really a batshit insane cult or was this all
blown out of proportion? Also, I thought it would be fun to make fun of
a few crazy brainwashed people and provide an entertaining blog post.
Much to my dismay, despite a few long minutes searching the internet, I
couldn't find a listing of the meetings. At a meeting last Saturday,
I introduced myself to a young man I had seen a few times before. We
shared small talk over cigarettes and he mentioned he attended Midtown
meetings. My ears perked up and my eyes lit up. I berated him with
"Oh my god where are they!?"
"What's it like?"
"Are they really brainwashed?"
"Can I get your number? Can you call me next time you go?!"
wasn't scared off by my enthusiasm, thank god. We exchanged numbers and
I contacted him yesterday afternoon and made plans to go up there
Needless to say, I wasn't too happy last night when my
friend had told everyone I was going up to Midtown. I was introduced to
a young woman whose first words out of her mouth post-introduction were:
"You're not going to the Midtown meeting, by the way."
Um... yes I am.
"They're all fucking crazy, man. It's a cult. Everything you read in
is true. You can't just go up there alone. You're a young girl. They'll swarm you the second you walk in."
interest was peaked. Now I really, really wanted to go. She told me she
had gone to Midtown meetings when she first got out of rehab and the
people there were extremely close and clingy. She gave her number to
one girl, who proceeded to call her six times a day. She had to tell
her mom to tell the Midtown girl she killed herself to get her to leave
her alone. She said they're all lame and they laugh too loudly in
unison at unfunny jokes. They likened them to Stepford wives. I told
her I didn't plan on giving my number out to anyone, I just wanted to
make fun of them. She understood and offered to take me there one day
herself. She said the only way you can get out safe is to go in a
group. She'd tell them to fuck off if they tried to swarm me.
A few other people came over and shared what they knew about Midtown. This one guy first started out at Midtown meetings.
"Do not go to Midtown," he said. "Everything in the Newsweek article is true."
told me they assign you a sponsor the moment you walk through the door.
They all get your numbers and call you constantly. They don't let you
go to any other meetings besides Midtown.
"Then... they tell you
who to fuck. They may not come straight out and say 'fuck this guy
right here', but they'll pressure you into seeing him."
could be some 40 or 50 year old guy that thinks you're cute. They'll
try to assign him as your sponsor," The girl interjected.
I was horrified. The guy continued, saying they start to make you all dress the same.
"No!" I said. "I can't believe that. That's too much."
all the girls dress very preppy and have long, straight hair. The guys
all wear a nice button down shirt and pants. The image of the guy from
the Saturday meeting entered my mind. He always wore a button down
shirt, tie and nice pants. Oh my lord. Another girl said they all work
together at this Nordstrom's in Maryland
and they usually pressure you to quit your job to work with them. Apparently a
lot of them live together as well.
original girl told me she was convinced the 3 big heads of the meeting
pocket a lot of the money. They all drive fancy cars, live in big
houses and take multiple vacations to Costa Rica
or someplace like that. She was surprised that didn't get mentioned in the Newsweek article.
was beginning to see that my plan to attend a Midtown meeting with a
Midtowner was not such a great/safe idea. I still want to go to one,
but I'm going to take that girl up on her offer to go with me sometime.
Roll up deep. I don't want any of their crazy cultiness to rub off on
me. And that, my friends, is the VA gossip on Midtown. I hope to do a
future post with some first hand observations.
Now how am I going to back out of the plans I made with Mr. Midtown tonight?
I read the Newsweek article when it first came out and also wondered
whether it was all blown out of proportion. Seems like you have
"straight from the horses mouth" evidence that it wasn't.
I almost wish you'd go just so we'd get the stories, but I'm not crazy enough to actually wish that on anyone. You're busy with Scientology? You're awaiting the return of Hale-Bopp? You cannot afford to take on another cult?
already late in the evening there, it is three hours earlier here on
the left coast. I sent you an email a couple of days ago with the link
to CH4 news there. Three stories have been broadcast on the CH4 news in
the past two weeks about Midtown. Due to allegations like the ones you
wrote about, they have been asked to leave three churches where they
were holding meetings. This is totally unprecedented in AA. No AA group
in the past has ever drawn this sort of controversy. I am appalled, but
I am a bit jaded about AA, years ago any member was on a pedestal to
me, but I have learned, like many have said, if a bank robber gets
sober in AA, you have a sober bank robber. There are still
untrustworthy people in AA even though they are sober. We didn't get
sick overnight and we don't recover overnight. Check out the DC CH4 web
site and read the stories about Midtown. I have yet to see a story in
the Washington Post about them. Glad the meeting went well.
Congratulations on your first lead.
Seeking Recovery, Finding Confusion
AA Group Leads Members Away From Traditions
By Marc Fisher Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 22, 2007; A01
When Kristen was 17 and drinking out of control, her
psychologist referred her to an
group that specialized in helping the youngest drinkers. In the Midtown
Group, members and outsiders agree, young people could find new
friends, constant fellowship, daily meetings, summer-long beach
parties, and a charismatic leader who would steer them through sobriety.
according to more than a dozen young people who structured their lives
around the group, the unusual adaptation of AA that Michael Quinones
created from his home in
became a confusing blend of comfort and crisis. They described a
rigidly insular world of group homes and socializing, in which older
men had sex with teenage girls, ties to family and friends were severed
or strained, and the most vulnerable of alcoholics, some suffering from
emotional problems, were encouraged to stop taking prescribed
Kristen, now 26, said that for eight years, she was
"passed along" from one middle-aged male leader of Midtown to another.
She said her sponsor urged her to have sex with Quinones — widely
known as Mike Q. — as a way to solidify her sobriety and spiritual
revival. Kristen, who spoke on the condition that her last name not be
used in keeping with AA traditions, also recalled helping to persuade
other teenage girls to sleep with older men in the group.
pimped my sponsees out to sponsors," she said, referring to the AA
members who agree to watch over a fellow member's sobriety. "I
encouraged them to sleep with their sponsors because I really believed
that this would help with their sobriety."
Rianne McNair, who
left Midtown in 2005 after three years in the group, said, "Several of
my friends had sex with Mike Q. One of my friends went to the beach
house, and her sponsor assigned her to Mike Q.'s bedroom. The younger
girls looked up to these guys; Mike is idolized, like, 'I got invited
to Mike Q.'s house for dinner tonight. Can you believe it?' "
also known as the Q Group after its leader, has expanded steadily to
about 400 members since Quinones assumed leadership in the 1980s, but
appears to be reaching a turning point. Quinones, a 63-year-old real
estate agent who grew up in
and served in the Army in
is fighting an advanced case of prostate cancer, according to group
members, friends and relatives. He did not respond to repeated requests
In response to questions raised by some parents,
therapists and churches where Midtown held meetings, the group this
spring issued a statement denying improper acts. "We cannot be all
things to all people . . . " the statement said. "We do not condone
underage sex. While we are not the arbiter of other people's sex
conduct, underage sex is illegal and our experience shows that it can
endanger your sobriety.
"We cannot tell you what to do with
regard to taking medications such as anti-depressants, anti-psychotics,
etc. While we have no opinion of medication in general, based on our
personal experience, many members of the Midtown Group do not sponsor
people who take mood-altering medication."
house, young Midtown members who often hang out around the front steps
declined to talk to a reporter. A senior member of the group, who is
close to Quinones and who spoke on condition he not be named because of
AA's tradition of anonymity, said, "Anyone who has anything positive to
say about the group is going to respect AA's policy of dignified
silence in the media."
police said they are looking into allegations of underage sexual
relations. But they said the women who have come forward have told of
relationships that took place when they were 16 or 17;
law considers women 15 and younger to be underage. Many of the
allegations were aired in Montgomery County District Court in a
domestic relations civil suit involving a member of the group.
"We interviewed 15 to 20 people, and they all said he's doing it.
But it was all, 'It wasn't me,' "
police Sgt. Ron Collins of the department's pedophile section.
"Nobody's come forward with anything we could charge him with. The
girls can be 16 or 17, and it's legal."
Controlled by Leaders
eight decades, Alcoholics Anonymous, a pioneer in the support-group
model of treatment, has grown to attract about 2 million members in
more than 100,000 groups.
Despite a stellar reputation and
worldwide brand, it has never been more than a set of bedrock
traditions. It has no firm hierarchy, no official regulations, and
exercises no oversight of individual groups. Disgruntled former Midtown
members discovered this in recent months when they tried to get the
central AA office in
to condemn Midtown's tactics and departures from the traditions,
including a highly unusual practice of assigning older men to sponsor
"The assumption since our founding was that groups
that did not follow the traditions and concepts would fall away," said
a staff member at AA's General Service Office, who spoke on condition
of anonymity "because we are all alcoholics, and that is our policy."
main office does offer "strong suggestions" for how groups should
operate, including how to pair each member with a sponsor who shares
confidences and helps the member stay sober. AA recommends that "it's
best if a man sponsors a man and a woman sponsors a woman, so that
there are not outside distractions," the staffer said.
Midtown, Quinones and several friends, who are also longtime AA
members, have taken on leadership roles that go well beyond the typical
part played by organizers of meetings, according to local therapists,
ministers and AA members. AA tradition suggests that "our leaders are
but trusted servants," the New York staffer said. "They do not govern."
and other senior members have not only run two dozen weekly meetings
across the Washington region but also organized ski trips and summer
beach parties, helped young members find jobs at stores such as
and the old Hecht's, and encouraged young members to live together in group houses in
and Bethesda, members and ex-members said.
"It's like a prepackaged community," said David, 26, a former Midtown member
who initially adored the group but now is highly critical of it.
"You're thinking, okay, maybe I can stay sober for the rest of my life,
but how do I have fun? I went to a different group, and it was
50-year-old men who went bowling on Tuesdays. That wasn't going to do
it for me. At Midtown, everything is there for you. Here are your
women, here are your dances every weekend, ski trip every March."
But some former members describe the Midtown life as overwhelmingly
controlling. McNair said she was pressured to pay $950 for a share in a
three-bedroom summer house in which 20 Midtown members slept, most of
them on air mattresses on the floor. Kristen described being pressed to
pay $1,200 for a summer house share in which she slept on the floor.
Some therapists who used to refer young people to Midtown and some pastors
whose churches have hosted Midtown meetings say they have heard of too
many disturbing practices to maintain a relationship with the group.
Ellen Dye, a clinical psychologist in Rockville, said two of her clients
"suffered significant harm as a result of their involvement with Mike
Q. and his followers." One young woman said she was assigned a
boyfriend and encouraged to go off her antidepressants and cut off
contact with Dye, the psychologist said.
Without her medication,
the woman became acutely suicidal and was hospitalized, Dye said. When
Midtown members learned that the woman was back on medication, she was
ostracized and "was considered to have relapsed," Dye said.
That young woman told
The Washington Post
that her sponsor in Midtown refused to continue as her adviser if the
woman kept taking prescription medications. The sponsor also directed
her to stop seeing a therapist " 'because you need one clear voice —
your sponsor's,' " the woman said.
"These are very needy people
— they're young people who can be looking for a parent figure," Dye
said. "Mike Q. plays that role. Midtown is doctrinaire and controlling.
It's totally against the 'Big Book,' " the written traditions that
guide AA groups. Now, Dye said, she warns clients and colleagues about
Midtown and even has become reluctant to refer clients to any AA group.
After hearing about sexual relationships inside Midtown, Clancy Imislund,
managing director of Midnight Mission, a
nonprofit group that serves the homeless, said he asked senior Midtown
members about the allegations and found that "there probably have been
some excesses, but they have helped more sober alcoholics in Washington
than any other group by far."
Imislund, who speaks frequently to
AA groups across the country, said he concluded that if sexual
relations between older men and young girls "ever did take place, it's
not taking place now. It had been an issue, but wherever you have a lot
of young, neurotic people, they're going to cling to each other."
Imislund portrayed parents of young people in Midtown as "immensely
grateful that this group has managed to get their children sober when
no one else could," other parents said they were appalled to see the
group draw children away from their families.
Barred From Some Churches
McCleskey became alarmed after hearing her daughter and other young
people in Midtown talk about one practice after another that would not
occur in most AA groups: They described being told by Midtown's leaders
to stop taking medication prescribed by a psychiatrist, being permitted
to visit family only in the company of other Midtown members and
regularly cleaning Mike Q.'s house, mowing his lawn and doing his
laundry. Her daughter had a male sponsor.
"On one hand, she was
sober for nine months, and I was so glad that I thought, whatever's
happening with this group is fine by me," McCleskey said. "But then,
after about a year in Midtown, I got a call that she was in a mental
hospital." McCleskey said her daughter remained there for four weeks,
depressed and suicidal. The daughter is now out of Midtown and faring
McCleskey said she tried to get AA's local coordinating
body to look into allegations against Midtown but was told that each
group governs itself.
Parents and former members, armed with a recent
article on the control Midtown exerts over young alcoholics, approached
several area churches this summer to ask them to bar the group from
meeting at their facilities. A meeting held on Sunday evenings for
nearly two decades at the Church of the Pilgrims near
left the church this year after ex-Midtown members provided "detailed
and credible allegations," said the Rev. Ashley Goff, director of
Christian education at the church. Midtown leaders told pastors they
were being criticized unfairly by "disgruntled people who couldn't keep
their act together," Goff recalled.
Even though some church
members said Midtown had saved them from addiction, church leaders
concluded that "this group crossed boundaries in very strong ways,"
Goff said. "Clearly, they were targeting young women who were in their
first rehab program — the most vulnerable people."
the church was "about to make a decision about asking them to leave,"
Goff said, "Midtown came to us and said, 'Oh, our group's gotten too
big, and we're going to leave.' "
Goff added: "Our fellowship hall is huge."
St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville — the site of one of 20 or
so weekly Midtown meetings across the region — the Rev. Roy W. Howard
said that after Midtown leaders refused "to give me an explanation of
the allegations against them, I decided to ask them not to meet" at the
church anymore. St. Mark still provides facilities for six of the
hundreds of Washington area AA groups not connected with Midtown.
at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Northwest Washington, the Rev.
Elizabeth S. McWhorter told congregants in May that although the
allegations against Midtown "would have been difficult to prove or
disprove," the group "will not be returning to St. Patrick's."
United Church of Christ
in Bethesda, the Rev. Allison Smith said she concluded that "there was
really no bite behind the charges," so "we've decided not to ask them
to leave." After meeting with Midtown leaders, Smith said that "maybe
there were some incidents of an older male taking advantage of a
younger woman who was in recovery, and that's terrible. But was it a
systemic policy? We really haven't found anything to back up those
charges at the group that meets here."
When Kristen left Midtown,
she was utterly alone. "Everyone in my cellphone was Midtown," she
said. "I was 24, and I knew literally nobody. I had cut off my ties
with my family at the direction of my sponsor."
"Eight years of my life was wasted," Kristen said.
August 22, 2007 - Wednesday
Today's blog comments on WP article
Current mood: frustrated
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 01:18 AM
Posted by: DCC | August 22, 2007 07:11 AM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 10:04 AM
Posted by: Jane D. | August 22, 2007 10:19 AM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 10:28 AM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 10:33 AM
Posted by: Jane D. | August 22, 2007 10:58 AM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 12:13 PM
Posted by: Jane D. | August 22, 2007 01:17 PM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 01:54 PM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 01:58 PM
Posted by: Jane D. | August 22, 2007 02:20 PM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 02:49 PM
Posted by: Jane D. | August 22, 2007 03:00 PM
Posted by: DCC | August 22, 2007 03:12 PM
Posted by: DCC | August 22, 2007 03:33 PM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 04:28 PM
Posted by: The Miz | August 22, 2007 04:51 PM
Posted by: The Miz | August 22, 2007 05:00 PM
Posted by: Atlanta | August 22, 2007 05:20 PM
Posted by: Jane D. | August 22, 2007 05:25 PM
Posted by: | August 22, 2007 05:33 PM
Posted by: DCC | August 22, 2007 05:51 PM
is my 2 cents, I got sober in 1995 at the VA hospital and I was 21 and
from out of town. I needed a young people group to go to because I
needed people to relate to. I spent a few months just hanging around
the edges going to some of their meeting and some other ones. I finally
got involved and life was great. Even back in 87 and 88 there was all
this talk about Mike Q. I didn't like hime because I thought he was
very arrogant. I stayed around for years and then I left. I came back a
few years later and got involved again and started working on the young
people convention. I later had a talk with Mike and did a 10th step
with him. I had said a lot of bad things about him. I later got him as
a sponsor and did another 5th step with him. Never once did he judge
me. I used to go over to his house on Monday nights for a meeting. He
told me one thing that has helped me out more than anything, he told me
I needed to get a Higher Power and he was not it. Was there sex going
around Midtown "yes". Was I involved 'no'. I had my share of one night
stands in the past and other girlfriends. Anytime you have that many
young people together, it doesn't matter what group it is or where it
is, it will happen. AA does not judge anyone sexual conduct and that is
one reason I left. I was involved in some of the plays, some of the ski
trips and had a lot of fun. Before anyone condemns MIDTOWN check it out
for yourself, however, I would never go to just the meetings they go
to. It is good to see AA all over the DC metro area.
Posted by tom on August 22, 2007 - Wednesday at 10:35 PM
what I've read, it isn't the "sex" in Midtown that is the problem. As
long as both persons are of legal age, have stable sobriety, and know
what they're getting into, there IS no problem. The problem arises when
a) newcomers, and their innate vulnerability, are preyed upon, and/or
b) those who are underage are preyed upon by others who are older.
These people are NOT good examples for others to look up to. They are
predators, pure and simple, and should be in jail and/or shunned. If
people are being victimized, told that sex with ANYONE will help them
stay sober, or otherwise manipulated, it's wrong, pure and simple.
I also agree with the call to look into the group's finances. If
they're collecting money at meetings "for the support of AA", then some
of it should be going to their local district, area, and GSO. Ski trips
and other things are fun, but group money shouldn't be going to fund
them at the expense of support of AA as a whole.
Posted by *Shirley Ann* on August 23, 2007 - Thursday at 12:24 PM
brain is a terrible thing all this stupid shit drama over what go help
some addicts and get some buisness enough already with the stupid blogs
The Q ball is dead everyone knows he was a con and a pimp wake the fuck
up i did when i walked away from that group 23 years ago and so did
most of the people whoe came around him duuhhh
Posted by sligoridealiac on August 22, 2007 - Wednesday at 10:36 PM
have to comment on the comparison made above between the convicted
sexual predator at the Dupont Circle Club (yes, that's the correct way
to spell it) and the controversy surrounding the Midtown Group.
I just want to say that the comparison is between apples and oranges.
The incident which occurred at DCC was isolated and perpetrated by a
single offender. The problems at Midtown appear to be institutionalized
and ingrained into the culture of the group. I think the latter
scenario is far more insidious and detrimental to AA as a whole.
Posted by Raphael on August 23, 2007 - Thursday at 12:23 PM
Punk Friends in Recovery Together... FOREVER!!
MIKE Q. DIED LAST WEEK. HELL GOT A NEW CITIZEN.
Posted by Punk Friends in Recovery Together... FOREVER!! on August 23, 2007 - Thursday at 5:03 PM
August 23, 2007 — Thursday
Message from a friend who shall remain unnamed
Current mood: contemplative
One of our supporters has allowed us to repost this message.
First of all, I have to admit that I was wrong about who created the
Myspace profile, "fallofmidtownlairs". I had assumed that it was
"sickgirl", because she was (at one point) its only friend and
supporter and because of the previous emails that I received from her
that were overtly negative and all too frequent. Although I cannot
understand why anyone in A.A. would accept a friend request by such a
site, I have to make amends to her for calling her out as the creator,
now that it has been proven to me that she is not. I am sorry that I
called you out as the creator of that slanderously fictitious profile
sickgirl. Unfortunately, you allowed yourself to be used by what has
been proven to be a Midtown Group member, to help strengthen Midtown,
at the cost of A.A. as a whole.
The creator of the
"fallofmidtownlairs" Myspace profile is a long term member of the
Midtown Group; a group that has represented itself as a cult, and has
behaved as such, for over 20 years now. The name of its creator is
Shawn. Shawn is a typically weak willed Midtown Group member who has
been conditioned to become and remain completely dependent on the
Midtown Group. I can say this without any reservation for he, himself,
has (publicly) gotten on top of his Midtown soapbox and described how
he couldn't stay dry from alcohol without the Midtown Group, and if
truth be told, he could not and he did not, when he tried. Perhaps, if
he was introduced to A.A.'s program of recovery to begin with, he may
have had a real chance to recover from alcoholism. I cannot say.
with the help of some very concerned and highly agitated friends of
mine were able to track the exact residential address of the
thefallofmidtownliars profile creator (Shawn), by several methods; one
of which was a means of tracking, known as "pinging". I'm not going to
pretend that I understand the exact process, or the small pains that
they took to secure all of the other information involved, but the
result points to one person, and that person is Shawn, who lives in a
typical Midtown Group Home, near Seven Locks Road. Sickgirl obviously
does not live near, or around Seven Locks Road. There are two other
Midtown informational sources that have confirmed that he was the
These helpful individuals were able to discover several
other identities that Shawn currently uses, in order to spread his
Midtown Propaganda. These online identities are, but are not limited to:
And "Easy", also of Myspace, who happens to be thefallofmidtownliars only real friend.
are several other web addresses that are documented, but those show the
exact identity of Shawn. Out of my respect for A.A., I would prefer to
handle this without revealing his full identity. He did not respect my
identity, by any stretch of the imagination, when he posted my full
name on various web addresses, as he stated that I was stalking and 13
stepping my wife when she was 16. What Shawn knows, all too well, is
that she was preyed upon when she was 15/16 with less than two weeks
experience in A.A. A Midtown Group member who was in his 30's preyed
upon her, as he had with numerous 14/15/16 year olds, over a period no
less than 10 years... To suggest that this pedophile was the only one
(in the Midtown Group) who behaved as such, would create a large laugh
throughout many other A.A. groups, as well as within many Midtown
meetings. Every time I hear people saying that that never happens, I
want to spit in their face. To be sure, when I first read Shawn's
shining example of his spiritual program, I and others, wanted to do
worse than that to him.
The truth is that many of these
females that were preyed upon or basically raped, before or after their
16th birthday, have such a level of disgust over what was done to them
(by the Midtown Group-as-a-whole) that many of them choose to walk
forward and attempt to wash themselves of that horrible experience.
Remember, it's usually their sponsorship lineage, and their "closest
Midtown friends" that led them to that (possibly ongoing) horrible
experience, then it was their sponsorship lineage, and their "closest
Midtown friends" that manipulated them to suck it up and hold it deep
inside of them, less they be ostracized from the only higher power that
most of them have been manipulated to become co-dependent on. Don't
even mention the fact that the judicial system is not gentle with those
who have been victimized and want justice. Most of them, and for damn
good reason, have little interest in being victimized twice.
time Shawn emailed me, over a period of 6 months, he used the name
onegoodlookinthemirror. I initially assumed that it was Sickgirl
because she was sending her emails through Myspace, at around the same
time. When I finally blocked him, he began emailing my friends, with
personal information about me, which included pictures of me, and
previous Myspace comments, that I had posted up to six months before he
had emailed me. To suggest that he is overtly obsessed with me would be
a vast understatement. Unfortunately, his obsession didn't stop with
me, nor did the harm stop with him. He has had help from other Midtown
Group members, who have (for the most part) apparently worked
independently of one another, in order to publicly discredit ex midtown
members who have spoken out against the group and the harm that they
provide to A.A.'s vulnerable Newcomers.
Shawn, as well as (at
least) three other (confirmed) Midtown Group members (of whom I will
not identify by name at this time) have continually posted the contents
of previous Midtown Group member's personal 5th steps or intimately
private conversations on the internet, after those that confided in
them were ostracized from the Midtown Group. Need a recent example? On
the internet is a (less than two week old) posting from one of these 4
Midtown Group members who heard, in an extremely intimate and private
conversation, how another (now ostracized) member drank the bath water
of his Guru. This was discussed, at depth, in full confidence that this
Midtown Group member would not disclose that which was meant to be
heard by him and the higher power of the person who was discussing this
with him. Unfortunately, for most of the Midtown Group, the group
itself is their higher power, so the established hierarchy of the group
hears a great many of these 5th steps and extremely intimate and
private conversations . This behavior was first established by Mike,
who encouraged his trusted Lieutenants to tell what was discussed in
their pigeons 5th steps. I remember seeing this when Mike was my grand
sponsor, over 20 years ago. That behavior, as well as others, have only
become more refined since then. What these Midtown Group members have
done, in regards to this behavior (out of many), as it relates to
A.A.'s principles, is criminal.
This is one of the ways that the
Midtown Group attempts to discredit the members who are voluntarily or
involuntarily exiting, as they are being ostracized from the only
higher power that they were motivated to rely upon. You see, if those
exiting members thrived outside of the care of their self made higher
power, then Midtown's hypothesis that anyone who left the group will
drink, would crumble, and as a result, the fear that holds a great many
of them there, would no longer work. Keeping them distracted by sex,
(false) status, (false) security and humorous activities can only keep
the young people there distracted for so long. I cannot even begin to
calculate the amount of harm that these Midtown Group members have
consciously implemented; all so that their self made higher power could
thrive and temporarily relieve them of their thirst for alcohol and
destructive habitual tendencies. What most of them have chosen to
ignore, is the entirely new and destructive set of behaviors that their
new group, as a whole, have helped them to implement.
Here's a little personal information about the thefallofmidtownliars profile that a few Midtown members already knew of.
the date of its conception, Shawn, several other Midtown members, Anna
and I shared a single cabin at a spiritual retreat, hosted by A.A.
members, both inside of and outside of the Midtown Group. These A.A.
members endeavored to create a growing sense of unity throughout our
local fellowship, as our differences continued to rise and climb,
because of the Midtown Group, its philosophy and a great many A.A.
members having difficulty accepting or understanding it. On the second
day of the retreat, while I was conducting an 11 step workshop, Shawn
created thefallofmidtownliars profile. The reality of the situation is
that he was not alone in this creation. Several other Midtown Group
members knew about this at the time, or very soon afterward. Another
reality is that a Midtown Group member called me a couple of days
afterward, and expressed a sincere disgust over what was done to Anna
and me. For this, I thank him. It made me remember that there are
individuals with character left inside of the Midtown Group, and that I
have to remember this fact.
That Saturday night, as a true
musician and I played music together in front of a beautiful fire, I
also made fireplace treats for those sitting around the main musician.
I approached Shawn with one of them and offered it to him
unconditionally. He accepted it without gratitude, as I would have
expected from him, then I continued playing the drums on a true
musician's guitar case. That night, Anna offered him and the other
Midtown group members blankets, because it was getting colder. One of
them accepted a blanket with gratitude, for that person was ill
prepared for the night weather. The next day he stayed physically
inactive in the hectic kitchen as people worked around him, in order to
make breakfast for everyone there. He video taped my (then) fiancée
climbing on the chef's rack (in order to help stabilize the chef's
working environment), hoping that she would fall. When he sarcastically
asked her a fairly stupid question, she chose to ignore him and he
posted that on the internet as well.
When he created that site
and posted various other lies about her and I on other internet web
sites, he knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Anna and I were not
only coming up on our Birthdays in a couple of days, but that we were
to be married in less than a week. As with most alcoholics with
untreated alcoholism, he remains in a state of conscious misery, and as
with most alcoholics who are fixated within this constant and horrible
state, he would prefer that others remain there with him. In a large
way, I do feel sorry for him. To be within his head, alone at night
with his eyes closed and nothing but his misery to distract him from
himself, would be a state of being that I would find unbearable indeed.
In ending, I would like to offer the clearest case of hypocrisy
that I have ever seen in my entire life and I'm offering it up to you,
for your viewing displeasure.
View for yourself, just how
hypocritical and dishonest this Midtown Group member is. Remember, he
is NOT acting alone. On www.doitsober.com (of which he is the
administrator) he wrote this message and then stated that an A.A.
member outside of the Midtown Group wrote it. I highlighted the parts
which are overtly hypocritical and dishonest. In essence, Shawn created
the site to defend the Midtown Group, then wrote a defensive letter to
that site, then stated that it wasn't himself who wrote it. After
which, a couple of months later, he created thefallofmidtownliars. A
greater monument to hypocrisy you will never see.
(BEGINNING OF ADMIN'S —Shawn's- BULLSHIT)
Dear fellow members of Alcoholics Anonymous
Posted March 14th @ 6:36 am by admin
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DC Young People
Date: Mar 14, 2007 12:01 AM
a group of AA's from the DC Metro area, are writing this email because
we are upset by the amount of hateful propaganda that has swarmed Young
People's AA in our area over the past year, specifically via the
internet. The emails and websites created and recklessly sent by a very
small group are by no means representative of the majority of AA's
ideas and/or opinions in the Metro DC area. In fact, the majority of
Young People in AA along with mainstream AA's are quite opposed to the
actions and the methods in which they have been taken. AA's around the
area who are aware of such measures, especially the Young People in AA,
are appalled that sites such as Love & Service, Fall of Midtown,
and Concerned Friends Group continue to operate and gather some measure
of support. A very small few are speaking on behalf of the many who
feel quite opposed. These few are unfortunately the loudest voice
violating Traditions in a contentious, judgmental, and resentful
manner. These sites can only harm AA as a whole using character
assassination and thus totally disregard the importance of Unity as one
of our 3 Legacies of recovery. As active members of Alcoholics
Anonymous the rest of us seek to build up rather than to tear down.
"Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to
achieve sobriety," and we live this principle by practicing attraction
rather than promotion as we carry the message of the program of
recovery found in our Big Book. We believe that our groups should serve
as safe approachable havens for all AA's, most importantly newcomers.
We try to practice patience, love and tolerance of others, as
resentment and judgment are fatal. We live in the constant process of
creating the fellowship we crave with our doors always open to any and
all who wish to recover as every other AA group does. As members
of Alcoholics Anonymous we welcome any AA who stops in for a meeting
that they don't normally attend with open arms and without judgment,
condescension, or resentment. We welcome any AA to any of our groups
and look forward to the opportunity to see the miracle of AA working in
yet another’s life. As members of Alcoholics Anonymous we have no
opinion on any matters outside of those that affect AA as a whole and
we feel that the choice of home group membership is ultimately up to
individuals to decide upon for themselves. In our experience, contempt
prior to investigation goes against the spiritual principles that we
must apply in all of our affairs. What has been written and said
is simply not the voice of AA in the Metro DC area. It is most
certainly not the voice of the Young People in this area. There are
more of us than we could ever count, men and women alike, whose single
purpose is only to be of service to the suffering alcoholic while we
trudge the road of happy destiny, together. We thank you for the time you took to read this and hope that together we all remain happy, joyous, and free." Filed in: Groups, YPAA, History Tags: No Tags ? AA Boosts Sobriety by 30 Percent, Study Says Bill W. and Dr. Bob Final Show ? 4 Comments 1. George May 1, 2007 There is absolute freedom of thought and action in AA. Instead
of defending yourselves maybe it is time for the leadership to rotate
out. AA says if anything the alcoholic is a rebellious non conformist.
So, if there is hell going on in that group, maybe it is the sign of
the rising tide of democracy that Bill W said that occurs in groups
with intrenched leadership. Good luck. 2. admin May 1, 2007 This
post is a copy of an open letter that's not from anyone within Midtown
Group. As far as service within the group and "leadership" goes, it is
open to any and all who would give of themselves in love and service.
Open means that the people who show up are the ones who get the
service. Those who show up again and again tend to become "the
leadership" as you call it by default. The fact is that all are welcome
but few stick around for very long. Most have a lot to critique but are
not willing to actually put away chairs, mop floors, etc. for any
length of time. But they want "the leadership" to change?
I've got a much better idea. It has worked for many in AA for more than 70 years.
Start a new group. Go to that one.
(END OF ADMIN'S —Shawn's- BULLSHIT)
this correspondence, Shawn lies about the "open letter that's not from
anyone within Midtown Group", as well as the "Leadership" within the
Midtown Group. One blatant example of the :Leadership" that exists
there is Mike's example, that has been successfully transmitted to his
first Lieutenants. That example will live on through their sponsorship
lineages. It has been continually proven over the ages that those who
are in power, would have want to remain in power, and few in the DC
area who are really aware of this situation would suggest that that
pattern will not present itself, in regards to Mikes first Lieutenants
and their sponsorship lineages. It has also been proven that those who
have been securely placed within a continued state of unhealthy
co-dependence would do most anything to allow whatever they depended
on, to stay exactly the way it is.
Because of Shawn's actions
and of others within the Midtown Group that have continued the
overwhelming harm to A.A. members both inside and outside of the
Midtown Group, I openly support Love and Service, and The Concerned
Friends Group. Both of these organizations are non profit organizations
dedicated to helping those discover the truth about the Midtown Group
and its Cult activities and practices, while offering professional
psychological services to those who are well assimilated within this
collective, to get out of it and to become well. Although I have never
been an active member of either group, I did go to one of their bi
weekly meetings, just to make sure that it wasn't a resentful 15 year
old with a keyboard. Clearly, it was not. I saw a unified group of
adults, which met in a local church, who, for various reasons, were
focused on exposing the truth and helping conditioned alcoholics out of
the Midtown Group.
Thank you, Love and Service, the Concerned
Friends Group and select Midtown Group members, for taking the time to
discover and document these details for my Anna and me. I will not put
my name on this document in case some reporter from "whatever" will
want to contact me, and I will not even entertain the idea of an
interview. Don't even mention the fact that A.A. has 12 suggested
Traditions in place, which I am asked to respect, for the whole of A.A.
This email is from an A.A. member, to other A.A. members. Everyone,
(including many Midtown Group members) in our area who is concerned
about this matter, knows exactly who I am. Of that, I am certain. I do
not hide behind the concept of anonymity. I endeavor to pay attention,
learn from and respect the concept of humility, which should remain
forever intertwined with the concept of anonymity.
On a personal
note, I wish that everyone involved here would leave the press alone.
From what I can recall, certain Myspace sites which endeavor to shine
some light on, and expose the truth about the Midtown Group, while
helping those that were hurt from the Midtown Group, were created to
inform A.A. members about what was going on, so that we could all
express our ideas and deal with the problem accordingly. We can
continue to heal our fellowship from this ongoing harm, without airing
our differences to China. No one outside of A.A. paid attention to
these Myspace sites before Newsweek came out. So, from now on, let's
try to limit this to ourselves, if at all possible, ok?
while I'm on my soapbox, stop posting full names and pictures of A.A.
members on the internet. I know that a certain Myspace site posted a
Midtown Group members full name and the another site posted pictures of
the Midtown Groups yearly New Year vacation (that was paid for by their
New Years Eve play — a play that was advertised in A.A. meetings and on
a certain A.A. web site...), after Shawn did what he did, but that's no
excuse. The reality is that these Myspace sites are here to help and
not to hurt. We cannot condemn them for hurting our Newcomers while we
go about hurting them in return.
Need a recent example of
this, as well? I had removed all of my personal comments from these
Myspace sites and distanced myself from the ones that ran them, because
a midtown group member (that I deeply cared for) agreed to go through
all 12 steps with me, in a simplistic, 4 session workshop environment.
He was not able to complete all 12 steps for reasons that I will not
disclose. He was also one of those that Anna and I shared a cabin with,
during the retreat. Unfortunately, he was also one of the Midtown Group
members who co signed what Shawn did, when he did it. He had full
knowledge of what had been done to us, and had mislead me from that
truth, over a period of months while he continued to act like my
friend. Do I feel mislead? Yes. Do I feel betrayed? Yes. Do I feel
hurt? Yes. Will I ever speak of what we discussed in his 4th and 8th
step? No. Why? Because behaving as such, is not suggested within A.A.'s
way of life.
I am now going to request a friendship with those
Myspace sites, as a token of my appreciation for what they have done
for my wife and me. I believe that we need to openly discuss what is
happening within our fellowship; where all of us can see the truth.
These sites help to provide that medium, and within a short period of
time, John/Jane Public will not even know that they exist, because they
are not important to him/her. I also believe that those that were, or
are being hurt by this group (as a whole), should have a known port in
the storm, where they can go and be heard. It is their inalienable
right as a human being, to speak out against the harm that has been
done to them and theirs, and it is our responsibility to hear them out,
help them back up and unconditionally help them to honestly recover
from alcoholism, through the teaching and application of our 12 steps,
which are suggested as a program of recovery.
person's action would be unbelievable if it came from any other AA
group. If Just One email@example.com hadn't sent me an
email at my own personal email address, I could assume this person just
had it in for the above poster. In fact, this person sent me several
emails over the last 1 1/2 yrs. Another one from firstname.lastname@example.org
accusing my husband of using drugs. Now this person has never met me or
my husband and lives over 800 miles away from us, so what is he trying
to prove or accomplish? I can only assume its a matter of
intimidation...I can't think of any other reason, but he seems to like
to pick on couples. Now if you search the timparsons2 email address on
Myspace, you'll find the Easy profile. I know b/c I did. Easy's only
friend is Renee who is really Shawn, a long time member of Midtown.
Nuff said? Maybe now that he's exposed he will stop sending me emails
and we can only hope that someone in Midtown with any decency will
"encourage" him to stop. I know there has to be folks in that group who
wouldn't support this kind unsolicited and uncalled for harassment of
my family and the poster as well. Isn't there??????? I think my family
has suffered quite enough from that group.
Posted by CathyMc on August 24, 2007 - Friday at 8:49 PM
Friday, September 07, 2007
Another message from a supporter — money implications
FOM has screened the names below from this supporters messages.
L**i, who is b****a's piegon i think, while mike was dying they put all of mikes money in her acount, i know that she is always with j**k when they go over the money stuff, she is the one who "found" the rec center through her personal contacts, i heard that she just started another business, but my guess is she is the one where they put the money.
----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: THE FALL OF MIDTOWN. AKA: THE Q. GROUP
Date: Sep 7, 2007 4:23 AM
You can trust that we will not post any information you send us without your permission. You can also trust that we will not use your name or identity without your permission on any information you send us.
We understand your question about girls who control the girls. No one has sent us specific information about them that we could post. We are particularly interested in what is happening to the money being collected at meetings. If you let us know specifics about what you see the girls doing who control the girls, or how money is being funnelled, we will be honored to post it anonymously in one of our blogs.
Thank you for contacting us, we appreciate your support.
----------------- Original Message -----------------
Date: Sep 6, 2007 12:53 PM
I have been reading all the stuff you guys have been writing, and am dissappointed that you arent talking about the women who are doing bad stuff.
my friends sponser, L**i the blonde one, works for j**k and a**o she took "care of mike" when he was dying. i dunno if they made her stay there or what but she says she has a business but my sponser says that she really is "funnellinng" j**k's money. She lived with mike in florida and would line up girls for him, she has been doing it for him for years. B*th and Br****t do the same thing, i dont understand why you arent talking about them, they are the ones who controls the girls.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Ex-midtown member shares their story.
This message is being reposted with permission. We did not make any edits.
Here's my story below. Please feel free to make any edits as necessary. I didn't bother to use capitals all the time, proper punctuation or even grammar. Also, there may be references to people you may wish not to include. I'd appreciate it if you would post it anonymously. Thanks!
i've been waiting over ten years for this group to be exposed. everything is true.
in 1997 at age 19 i began attending meetings of this group. at the time the young men were spreading herpes around to all the young women. there was a 15 year old girl who contracted herpes from one of the guys. When I brought up my concerns with my "pigeon-sister" she told me she had herpes too very matter-of-factly — like it was no big deal that herpes was being spread among members of the group.
mike q. had been in a relationship with my sponsor when she was 19. she claimed the reason the relationship ended was completely her fault although she didn't give details. during my time he was dating an 18 year old who was relatively new to the group. The girl's mother who was also new to the group bought mike q. a car!
the men highest up in the hierarchy loved to host sponsor-sponsee/pigeon family meetings in their group homes. during those meetings i was told by B.S. repeatedly that my problem was that i needed to get f***ed!
i was heavily encouraged to date while i was newly sober and from what I remember AA recommends waiting at least a year before attempting an intimate relationship. after all, alcoholics have serious relationship issues. i went out as friends with one guy and apparently he had been prepared for an actual date. when he leaned in to kiss me and i rejected him, he was angry. they had absolutely no respect for the same-sex relationship that i was in at the time. Even though that relationship was unhealthy, they weren't trying to get me out of it so much as they were trying to get me to replace it for a relationship with some loser guy in the group.
i never would have been involved with the group if i had known who they really were. my dad who had been sober for 17 years at the time and was very involved in AA warned me to stay away from the cult-like "Q group". when i joined them i only knew them as the Midtown group so I didn't make the connection for a long time.
they finally just creeped me out. their meetings had never been convenient because i lived in VA when they insisted on going to the same meetings in MD and DC every week. they all worked at Nordstroms-Tysons. they were collectively obsessed with the musical RENT. they all used and sold HerbaLife. i even remember they shared many of the same catch-phrases (beyond the typical AA slogans). some of the most immature people i had ever met. they lived, worked, ate, met and thought together. they told me i would surely go out and drink if I didn't go to their meetings exclusively and become exactly like them. I was told to give up my friendships with ALL my friends, including the non-alcoholic ones. They even attempted to come in between my relationships with my family members.
fortunately i came out of the group relatively unscathed. However, I have been angry for years at the attempts these people made to ruin my life that was already damaged. these pathetic people were the types most wouldn't have partied with. in fact i believe that many of the men may never have been alcoholics in the first place. whatever brought them there is irrelevant. once they realized that it was male-dominated and easy to have sex with vulnerable young women, they most certainly stayed on. Some of the girls I believe were also convinced they were alcoholic when really they just ended up there by chance because they were busted smoking pot by their parents or something minor. A friend of mine who I met in the group never drank but they convinced her she was a drunk. She originally came there because she was caught experimenting with drugs. In her lifetime, she has taken drugs less than a handful of times.
So I left after about 7 months or so. It was very liberating and I talked with a lot of people about my experiences. There was so much more going on at the time. However, I don't remember as much. I hadn't thought about Midtown in a while when my mom showed me the Newsweek article. Well, I hope this helps someone in need relate. Let me know if you have any questions. I wouldn't mind discussing it further to jog my memory. Especially if there are those that were in the group around the time I was. Thanks!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Repost of some of the blogs from WP article
[That is, the FOM blog reposted some comments from the Washington Post article.]
We feel this is important information to share on this website.
I just found out about the whole exposure of what we used to refer to as the "Q group" now called the Midtown group. First, I must say, Crapfully yours, you are the self righteous 15 year sober egomaniac person, how dare you judge that what you are clueless about. We meet the sickest and wellest people in AA, and also the most cunning and manipulative. Then you add to that vulnerable, young, survivors of trauma as most young women and many young men coming into the rooms are, and they do not have a chance against this group of predators. I moved to the DC area when I was sober seven or eight years, and that was twenty two years ago. I was at that time a young person, and found the whole situation beyond belief. The only thing we could do was to try to protect young people and newly sober people against them. You cannot call the police when someone does not know that they are being used and abused by those abusing their power, new people look up to persons with time.
There were times when I had to leave Montgomery County just to have a social life, they have been involved everywhere for years. And to the person who says they are just getting into Virginia, I moved out of the area six years ago, and they were very well already entrenching themselves into Virginia.
I could go on and on about the group. They did not just victimize young people, I watched them do the same to my brother, I finally spoke out to him when they started making him believe he would get drunk if he did not do things that were abusive, including telling him to have sex with the young girls. See, they had a way of turning people against people and making you look bad if you spoke out against them, and of convincing persons that those who were against them were, as full of Crapfully yours says, jealous of them. That makes me want to barf, no one that I know that had a healthy appreciation of sobriety were jeolous of them, mostly we spent time trying to keep their ability to victimize others as minimally as possible.
I personally witnessed plenty, and had plenty of persons, including my own brother disclose many abusive situations, I saw money exchange hands, I saw people attempting to solicite sexual favors of newcomers. Unlike what they represent, I saw many of their victims who were abused and went back out and end up in treatment centers where I worked. To the mother who gives them credit for her son's recovery, you better hope that he does not become a sexual preditor, and he probably already is or he would not last in that group.
For those of you trying to change things, go for it, although some of them are not involved in all the sexual and financial abuse, for any life they helped, it is not worth the lives they destroyed or tried to destroy. Most of the people who got sober, did not need them to get sober, individuals and groups do not get anyone sober. The person who is open to change, the 12 steps and a God of their understanding has the ability to get there without a special group of people.
So, crapfully yours with 15 years, those of us that love AA and have been exposed to this cult, would try to breakup this group out of selflessness and for the preservation of something precious and life saving. I have 30 years, have lived in several areas, and I have never found anything as disgusting as the "Q Group/Midtown group", I hope that God can forgive Mike Q, and it is a good thing that God is in charge of his soul and not me, because I would send it right to the flames of hell forever.
Posted by: used to live in DC area | September 12, 2007 08:38 PM
used to live in DC area
"Most of the people who got sober, did not need them to get sober, individuals and groups do not get anyone sober."
There is a sane person that understands one does not need to be sponsored or have to go to a certain place to go to get sober, A free spirit that knows it begins within. Where there is one or two A.A. can survive and start over.
Posted by: ??????? | September 12, 2007 09:32 PM
"used to live in DC area" dude you seem like a really happy guy.. 22 years and the same resentment.. you are pathetic.. my father molested me when I was six.. the steps really helped me see that being a victim is pointless.. grow a nut and work some steps! Its like the homophobe who is gay.. does taking advantage of others ring a little too close to home for you?
whats up "used to live in DC area" you touching some little wieners when you were drinking? perhaps a little experimentation on your little brother? its classic.. its always what we HATE in others that we can't come to terms to in ourselves.. I'm not saying that people weren't hurt in DC.. but what actions are you taking to make the world a better place? who are you helping with your hate? how much trust do you have in God?
Posted by: sober and happy | September 12, 2007 09:56 PM
'used to live in DC', thank you for your story! The content and tone of your story above is almost exactly what I have heard in person from victims of Midtown Cult.
To other folks who had Midtown experiences, please post them here.
The publication of the personal experiences and devastating damages to people are the means that will ultimately end this parasitic, predatory cult. The ugly and downright inhuman responses of the Midtowners themselves are damning as well.
WashingtonPost.com censor, please, please do not remove the Midtown post as you have removed many of the others. This shows better than anything what this group is like.
One reason that the "Q Group" went on so long is that the decent people in AA (99%+ of the membership) couldn't comprehend just how vicious, degrading, and damaging this cult actually was. They didn't have the means to understand - thankfully, few people do.
The above post together with the Midtown Cult response may well be the single best exemplar on this blog of the magnitude and viciousness of this phenomenon.
No more Midtown Cult victims. This must end now!
Posted by: DCC | September 12, 2007 10:24 PM
Dear Sober and Happy, and obviously a Midtown supporter, I do not have any hate. I do not hold resentment, and I know who I am, it is certainly not a victim, nor did I imply in anyway that I am. I trust very much in God, which is why I said it was a good thing that Mike's fate is up to him and not to me. By the way, most victims of abuse will go out of their way to try to protect others, some becomes perps, sounds like you certainly condone the victimization of others..................
posting here is one very small way I make the world a better place, otherwise I will not stoop to your level to defend your your ridiculous accusations.
Posted by: used to live in DC area | September 12, 2007 10:37 PM
DCC..In all fairness to you, I think you wish that they couldn't comprhend it, however I have 1st hand experience with many young women who have left the group. I am talking about young women starting from 10 yrs ago and to tell you the truth, I have tried for so long to talk to old timers and many people in AA about the behavior and they always said to me that I was being over sensitive and that I should't believe everything i hear, especially from new-comers. I am so sick and tired of trying to defend the women that leave Midtown to a bunch of men in the program. I am still in shock, after all of the media , that anyone in their right mid would would still defend this group. I have lost so much faith in AA..They continue to manipulate everything around the Traditions and the fellowship and Anonimity..It is just a bunch of bull!
I am sober 18 yrs and I now realize that AA is group of drunks that won't stand up for themselves. Sad state of affairs ..My Opinion
Posted by: betsy.tate | September 12, 2007 11:33 PM
Hi Betsy, glad I checked in here before bed.
Yes, I certainly have many of the feelings about our program and members that you do. I have been pretty disgusted by many members who just don't seem to care, or don't want to get involved, or think that that would risk their sobriety, or who make every excuse under the sun, invoking traditions, never getting upset about anything, 'there are no big deals', 'God will take care of it', etc etc. Honestly, I have lost respect for these people.
However, there are many others who wish to become involved and help out, really quite a few. This gives me some hope.
But like you, I have lost a great deal of faith in our program. It just doesn't seem possible to me that this situation could have lasted a month, much less twenty years. I am even at the point where I question that if our fellowship doesn't care that we're being used to facilitate systematic sexual abuse we should exist at all. If we are so concerned with our own personal sobriety that we turn our backs to the mammoth human wreckage facilitated by our name, performed in our name, we are complicit. In that case, can we believe our program is grounded in morality and honesty?
My main motivations at this point are to 1) provide some moral support to the past and current victims to facilitate their recovery and 2) prevent more victims from being created. I think that exposing this situation to the world outside our fellowship, including religious, educational, and professional groups and institutions, and to the general public, will be very productive.
As a non-AA member pointed out here a few weeks ago, people outside our fellowship are not tortured about whether exposing a group of sexual predators violates AA traditions, or whether it's unhealthy for AAs to become upset about this sexual predation, or whether we'll lose our sobriety if we speak up. They simply expect the molestation and predation to be stopped. They believe that's the right outcome here. Obviously, so do I and so do you and so do many others on this blog. And I'm feeling very confident if we do some work here that is going to happen.
But is this discouraging as far as the future of our fellowship goes? You bet.
Posted by: DCC | September 13, 2007 12:10 AM
DCC... discouraging, To say the least! I am disgusted by the response from
people in AA. I am no longer willing to stand up for AA because after
18 yrs of sobriety and a program that has taught me to be honest, I cannot
be dishonest about my morals, values and convictions.
I no longer want to be affiliated with AA. I think it is a big bunch of
people that do not want to recover from not only sobriety but from
emotional damage that Alcoholism has caused. Alcohol is but a symptom.
I am recovered and want nothing to do with a fellowship that allows and
accepts behavior that is morally and spiritually wrong... simply wrong!
I don't want any responses about Traditions, judgement, resentments,
Steps, Sponsorship or any of the AA babble. It is so disturbing to me
that many who are Sober can even entertain this behavior. WAIA, GSO anyone
in AA can even think twice about this. I'm so sick of all of the talk
I do not want to be affiliated with any group like this. I think too
much of myslf to lower myself to this type of group. It is sad because
I was a believer in AA until this. I really thought that something could
be done but now I realize that it is all beauracracy and politics among
WAIA. Just my opinion and very dissappointed.
Posted by: betsy.tate | September 13, 2007 01:01 AM
Some can't see, others don't want to see, while others can't believe it
just might be the institutionalized sponsorship system was what and why
the Traditions were written for as an ought that cannot be live today
because of the system everyone is caught up in and don't have the courage
to change it.
It's a Let go and let your sponsor pony follow-ship show with no Program.
Posted by: | September 13, 2007 02:11 AM
Well, I woke up after sleeping a while and started thinking about this
As I said, I have lost respect for a number of people in the fellowship
but by no means all. Many people want to make the situation change.
But on the whole everything about AA seems to make the fellowship a
sitting duck for this kind of cancer.
I feel the future may not be bright for our fellowship. But I wish that
were not so. Because I really do want the same helping hand that was
there for me when I needed it to be there for others.
Authoritarianism, as practiced in governments, cults, and similar
organizations, will always have followers. To a certain mindset,
it appears to provide security, order, and certainty without drawbacks
or cost. And our fellowship's principal response to a parasitic
authoritarian invasion is...? Denial? Self-Centeredness? Paralysis?
Cowardice? Intentional blindness? Selfishness? Does anyone else have a
more positive spin? Because I'd like to hear one.
I do recall the very oft-repeated slogan
"If nothing changes, nothing changes."
However, again, we can stop the cult. Churches, schools, and hospitals
will not give it access as long as they are aware of it. Civilized
society will not permit it to continue as long as they are continuously
aware of it.
Posted by: DCC | September 13, 2007 02:33 AM
Betsy and DCC, I feel like I am somewhere in between the both of you.
I did not move that far away, just to Baltimore, and I struggle with
maintaining involvement with AA. After thirty years I have seen and
heard of much abuse in AA. But I remember that this program is there
to attrack sick people. And since these people are dealing with alcoholism,
that means many of them have been self medicating lots of "ISSUES".
While many hide behind the traditions to ignore and/or not act upon
abberant, deviant behavior, the 'principles over personalities' has
been helpful for me to separate the actual program 12 steps from these
persons so that my faith in recovery through those principles can
This does not mean I have to condon and/or ignore the behavior, I do not think our Founders meant for us to allow anyone to do anything they want in the name of AA. I do not turn my back on AA, to me that means I am turning my back on me, since I know that left to my own devices, 30 years will go out the window, I can drink again.
For many, this means that emotionally they cannot stomach dealing with the Q Group issues. For others it means that they must. I certainly was one that had to deal with them, and would have loved it if I had been able to get anyone to press charges against them.
Even when the Q Group was not there, I lived places where there were
'13th steppers'. I went face to face with many of them in protection of
the women I sponsored. I was accused of being a man hater, gay, jeolous
and the list goes on by those who wanted me silenced and ignored. (And
now the latest, homophobe and playing with my brother), it will never
end as long as I speak out. There will always be sicko's out there.
It would work until the victim finally realized what was happening,
and then at least they knew where to turn for help in sorting out things
rather than picking up a drink. They knew that somewhere among the zombies
there was that big mouth sacriligious woman had not backed down, had not
been silenced, and that that behavior also represents AA and the possible
recovery path that is different. We are many and varied..........................
Posted by: used to live in the DC area | September 13, 2007 06:44 AM
— Well, I woke up after sleeping a while and started thinking
about this again —
DCC that is called a resentment.
The problem with what you are doing is that A.A. is a place for sick people to get well. For alcoholics to come recover. It is not a place for nice kind folk to become saints.
If you start making behavior rules, which is in essence exactly what you are trying to do, where does it end? Do you really think people are trying to condone illicit behavior?
No, that is not what people are saying. What they are saying is that
"no matter how far down the scale" you have gone, you are
welcome in A.A. If you don't change, well, you won't stick around.
You are welcome to come, but why would you? A.A. is for the sick trying
to get well, and if you aren't interested in getting well, you won't be
around long. That is why the traditions state 'there is no A.A. police'.
Get it? That is why A.A. members — and I live in PA — have a hard time listening to you.
If you start trying to make a list of unacceptable behavior, you are essentially making a list of rules for membership, of which there aren't any and hopefully never will be. I fail to see how you can not comprehend this. Our fellowship can not deny even the most unsavory of individuals. Even in the midst of their lowest points, they are welcome.
And, your behavior is totally unacceptable, and you are losing sleep over it. A resentment is reliving the emotions of events, thinking about what you should have said, what you could do, etc., and that is what you are doing. Even if you were dead nuts on about this group, two wrongs do not make a right here.
I better explain what I mean by this before you interpret and mess it all up. Churches generally try to lend a hand to A.A. groups, let them meet, etc. They do not like controversy, as your merry band of harassers has so cleverly found out. So when you start bothering them, they simply don't want anything to do with A.A. anymore because all they associate is A.A. = problems. They don't care about the specifics, they can't hear when you try to explain that although this meeting is some crazy cult, this other meeting is just fine. They just don't want anything to do with A.A. anymore, and we as a fellowship lose another facility. This has happened before, and that is why more experienced members like myself would like for you to knock it off.
Personally, I think you better find a way to accept that if this midtown group is really as bad as you say, that a HP will take care of them and that you don't have to rent so much of your headspace to them. I have never seen a person stay sober over a long period behaving the way is claimed about this group, but I have watched many a member leave with justified resentments as well.
Posted by: inventory | September 13, 2007 07:12 AM
[Orange here: I just have to comment on this one. This A.A. apologist is actually
trying to argue that there are no rules in Alcoholics Anonymous, and that it is
against "The Traditions" to demand that people behave in a moral manner.
The A.A. "Third Tradition" says,
The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
It does not say that the only RULE that A.A. members must follow
is "a desire to quit drinking". There are still other rules
that are expected of all people: don't rape, don't rob, don't murder...
A.A. does not get to suspend those rules because "We are not saints".
Also, the writer argues that
"If you don't change, you won't be around long."
That isn't true at all. The thieves and rapists in
the Midtown Group
have been around for 20
years, and they show no signs of going away. Why would they quit A.A. when they get money,
power, and sex from running a cult?]
September 28, 2007 - Friday
If you are a Virginia member and wish to register your concern....
If you are a Virginia A.A. member and wish to register your concern about cults in AA and Midtown's moving of meetings to Northern Virginia, please attend a special meeting this Saturday, Sept 29 at noon—2pm at The Falls Church (108 East Fairfax St, Falls Church, fairly near corner of main and Broad St.
Ted K., the Virginia delegate to GS conference, will talk about the recent conference in NYC.
Also, volunteer to be a GSR if your group does not have one, or discuss this matter with your GSR and group.
Just to be clear, this meeting will be about a number of topics.
Actual invite as seen on the Northern VA Intergroup page.
COME ON EVERYBODY
DELEGATE SHARING AND
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2007
FROM 12:00 UNTIL 2:00 p.m.
The Falls Church
108 East Fairfax Street
Falls Church, Virginia 22046
Ted K., the Delegate from Virginia, will tell us about what happened at the General Service Conference in New York City!
Sponsored by Alexandria Districts 1, 45 and 46, Arlington District 2, Fairfax District 5, Falls Church District 6, Mt. Vernon District 11, Mount.
Vernon, and Springfield District 21 and Wilson District 25
Come join us and bring a friend!
I am a GSR and I assure you, I am going to register my concern about this situation.
Do you think it is possible that after an article in Newsweek, a front page article in the Washington Post and numerous stories in the local TV media about the Midtown cult, that this topic is not important and did not come up at the Conference? And if it did not, what does that say about our fellowship and GSO?
Because these are strongly supported allegations that hundreds or more of YOUNG WOMEN, MANY UNDERAGE, were SEXUALLY ABUSED by MUCH OLDER ASSIGNED MALE SPONSORS BY A CULT called MIDTOWN in the NAME OF AA. That many Midtown members have had their prescription medication taken away and subsequently needed hospitalization; some have committed suicide; that many members were pressured to drop psychotherapy. That many members were pressured to give large amounts of money to their sponsors to finance their vacations and other expenditures, manipulated to perform housekeeping and yard work on a regular basis. That members were "encouraged" to live in Midtown-sponsored housing with other members ( more than half do). That members were isolated from their families and needed to have Midtown monitors present when they visited them; that members were discouraged from attending non-Midtown meetings. That sex with other members of Midtown, especially older male "sponsors" was proclaimed part of the AA recovery program. That an AA slogan was "If a woman has a dick in her mouth she can't put a drink in her mouth". That the sex and the economic exploitation, and all the rest, were called "service work", or "selflessness", and were part of "going to any lengths to stay sober".
Midtown has moved its main Sunday night meeting to Northern Va (after being expelled from church of the Pilgrims in DC). It is listed in the WAIA web site (i.e., for DC and Md) but not in the Virginia/Northern Virginia web site. Apparently true of other meetings out here now, as well.
So again, I say that if you are a Virginia member and wish to register your concern about cults in AA and Midtown's moving of meetings to Northern Virginia, please attend a special meeting this Saturday, Sept 29 at noon—2pm at The Falls Church (108 East Fairfax St, Falls Church, fairly near corner of main and Broad Sts).
Ted K., the Virginia delegate to GS conference, will talk about the recent conference in NYC.
Friday, October 26, 2007
THE TRUTH ABOUT MIDTOWN.
This was emailed to FOM by: http://www.myspace.com/punkfriendsinrecovery
here is a blog i wrote about midtown. it is my opinion and i want you to use my name and link my page. if we keep hiding then alot of people wont come forward. i understand that some need to be protected but not me, i will speak publically only. if you feel the need to change anything please let me know before you post the blog. again, i want people to know that this is MY experience with midtown and my opinion. thanks guys. keep up the good work.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MIDTOWN.
What can you actually say about a group of people that hurts and kills others? How about if that group hides behind something as wonderful as Alcoholics Anonymous?
Evil lurks in the DC area and thy name is midtown (I will not capitalize this groups name). Hell got another citizen in August when Mike Q., their founder and leader, died. I know what killed him too; he finally tried to do a 9th step. Mike, may you never rest in peace and get what you deserve.
MIDTOWN SEEKS MAINLY YOUNG, ATTRACTIVE, WELL OFF PEOPLE BUT IF YOU ARE WILLING THEY WILL TAKE MOST PEOPLE... ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE WILLING TO TAKE A FALL FOR THEM. THEY WANT MOSTLY SHEEP, THOSE NOT REALLY ABLE TO STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES BUT THEY WILL TRY TO TEAR DOWN THOSE THAT DO.
I speak as an outsider, I've never been a member of the midtown cult, nor did I ever wish to be. I am a member of recovery and a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and have been coming around for more than 13 years. What I know is from what I see and what I hear from those that manage to escape the clutches of this CULT. The damaged kids that somehow come beaten and broken back into the real rooms of recovery. I have seen a lot of harm done over the years and nothing is being done about it.
YES, MIDTOWN IS A CULT. They have distinctive leaders that are protected by the "lesser" members of the group. They are revered and almost worshiped and they seem untouchable, while the lieutenants take the hits that come their way. When their leader, Mike Q. died they did not call the police, an ambulance or any other authorities right away... they called their members in to pay respects to his dead body. For hours people streamed into his house to say goodbye to this guy before his body was hauled away.
Midtown also practices a type of control over their members, especially newcomers. They are very subtle with this. When a newcomer comes in, they shower them with attention and love. This is very welcome to someone new in recovery. We come in feeling like we are pieces of shit and they surround you telling you that you're not. This is a good thing but they take it too far. They "smother" newcomers. They don't let them be alone, they alienate them from friends and family (even healthy ones) and they keep them in midtown meetings only. They don't allow the newcomer to think for themselves at all. They are told who they can associate with, where they can work and what to do. They are never exposed to real AA. The brainwashing has begun. Once they have you they get to work on you. They give you a girl or boyfriend and teach you the midtown ways. Protect the group is their main thing, not protect the newcomer. Midtown feeds on newcomers, especially young women. Sponsors use sponsees to perform chores and work on their homes, all in the name of "recovery". They also use character defects against their sponsees, another form of control. The sponsers get together from time to time to talk about their sponsees. Fourth steps are openly discussed and ways of using these against you are figured out. When someone does a fifth step with a sponser it is expected to go no further but with midtown that fifth step goes up the chain of command and then rains down on all the members of the group to be used to control undesired behavior.
This group goes so far as to tell members to get off medications, life saving meds. You are told that you are not in recovery even if a doctor is prescribing meds to you. I'm not talking about Xanax or Percocet here, I'm talking about bi-polar meds, anti-depressants, heart medication — what next, are they going to tell diabetics to stop taking insulin? These people are NOT doctors yet they seem to think they can do this. This almost always leads to disaster.
Probably the most cunning form of control is their way of making people do what they desire simply by threat of banishment from the group. Who wants to lose the loving family they have made? This group uses this threat all the time. There are countless ex-midtowners that were thrown out and ostracized. Alcoholics Anonymous throws no one out but this group does. Then they crank up the rumor mill. This causes some to relapse. They do whatever they can to ruin reputations of those that won't obey. A devious mind control device.
The midtown hierarchy survives on the money donated at meetings, fundraisers, dances and other "events." They pass the basket and the majority of the money goes into the leaders pockets. The midtown elders are supported by AA and the donations of the group.
Midtown also keeps track of their members. I have, in my possession, a list of all midtown members. This list was sent to me by someone who will remain anonymous but was once a midtown member. This list has the names of every member of midtown. It also has their address, home, work and cell numbers, email addresses, birth and sober dates and other information. This list was complied by midtown leadership. Nowhere else in AA does a group need or keep this kind of information.
I will only briefly mention the sexual allegations — there is rumor that there is statutory rape going on in this group. This is in fact truth; the unfortunate fact is none of these young ladies wants to come forward because of fear of this group. When you are one young girl and they are over 400 strong, how would you feel? For every accusation that can be levied against them they can produce dozens of "witnesses" that will say it didn't happen. I know that inappropriate sex goes on everywhere but with midtown, it's a matter of accepted practice. I have personally spoken to several young women who were "assigned" older boyfriends when they first came in. I am talking about girls under the age of 17 who were pushed into sexual relationships with men in their 20's, 30's and sometimes even older. These girls are told that this is part of recovery. Parents, concerned people and law enforcement are very eager to talk to anyone who comes forward with proof of actual crimes.
Midtown recruits. They have small groups that take "meetings" into rehabs and other places to ferret out new membership. They send in the most attractive members of the group, even those with little actual recovery time. Their aim is to make midtown attractive to newcomers. They run these meetings tight. They speak the whole time, never giving anyone a chance to share. They then stick around after, telling anyone who will listen to only go to their meetings. Midtown has been banned from many rehabs, institutions and other places, they have even been thrown out of some churches. Midtown controls the Hospitals and Institutions Sub-Committee in our area. They assign who takes what meetings where. Steps are being taken to rectify this.
Some people get fed up with midtown and leave. Some never return to recovery because they think all of recovery is like midtown — some relapse and die. The midtown cult has given young peoples AA in the DC area a very bad name. In fact, all of AA suffers from groups like midtown. They hurt their own members, then these facts get out, and it hurts AA as a whole. Who wants their kid to go somewhere they might get raped? AA suffers from midtown yet will do nothing about them. That's where me and people like me come in. We fight against groups that hurt others on purpose, especially newcomers. We are there when these damaged kids come out of midtown and seek real recovery. If I stand by and watch this than I am just as guilty as those doing these very things. Do you suffer cancer and do nothing about it? Midtown is a malignant cancer in AA and it needs to be removed.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
WAIA needs Intergroup Representatives, for any and all groups w/in area 13
WAIA needs Intergroup Representatives, for any and all groups w/in area 13, to show up once a month and stand up for AA, or the midtown cult members will take it over again in December. They realized that they dropped the ball last December and have been re-organizing themselves by making certain that all of their Intergroup Representatives show up and vote on all issues as one, so that they can manipulate their will on Area 13 again. Midtown has had no fewer than 40-50 reps there, every single month, voting as one on what they want to occur (manipulate) in Area 13. Considering that midtown only has 23 meetings under their control, many midtown group members have taken over the responsibilities of that position for meetings who are too irresponsible to have one.
So, call a group conscience in your home group, find out if your home group has a WAIA Intergroup Representative. If not, nominate yourself if you have to and have the group take the nominations to a vote. If someone else happens to take the majority of votes, wish her/him well and go to your other home group and repeat this process. Area 13 WAIA meetings should have no less than 1000 Intergroup Representatives there, every single month, to conduct an effective meeting. Without an effective meeting, The Q. Group manipulates it's will on Area 13 and the integrity of our life saving program continues to be compromised, all for the financial and sexual gratification of a very few, at the cost of the future Newcomers survival.
Separate individual members, representing different home groups, as Intergroup Representatives, believe that this is the poorest trade of all, and this is where we are making our stand. Please, please come and make your stand here, as well! Don't vote for our groups interests! Don't vote for the Q. Groups interests! Vote as an Intergroup Representative for your home group and make that vote count!
The December elections are a little over a month away. The current non midtown group members are stepping down. They have done what they said they would do. Now, it's your turn. If you do not show up and be able to prove that you are an Intergroup Rep and vote, midtown will have complete control again and you will have to accept that your inactivity helped that to happen.
And then a true believer just had to insert this post into the discussion of
the Mike Quinones' "Midtown A.A. Group" rapists:
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
80's tribute to untreated alcoholism/drug addiction.
In case you were unaware, you can remain dry/clean, and still suffer from untreated alcoholism/drug addiction.
It doesn't matter how many like personalities continually surround you,
nor does it matter if the character defects you display are generally
accepted by those within your social group. In truth, if those within
your social group are cosigning your behavioral reactions to your unchecked
character defects, they are actually cosigning your death warrant.
Our character defects are what block us from the Power that can and
will relieve us of our alcoholism/drug addiction. Untreated alcoholism/drug
addiction is untreated alcoholism/drug addiction. Untreated or treated,
your disease continues to progress; however, when the high of these
social interactions no longer distract you from your disease, drinking
will not only become an option, it will become mandate.
I have to comment on this post. This is one of the purest statements of
A.A. cult dogma around. Every single statement there is untrue, with the only
possible exception being this meaningless truism,
"Untreated alcoholism/drug addiction is untreated alcoholism/drug addiction."
If someone has quit his addictions, then he is not suffering from "untreated alcoholism/drug addiction."
If he has quit drinking and using drugs, then he is not addicted any more.
Notice how they try to change the meanings of the words, like
Addiction means that your body is habitated to getting a regular dose
of a chemical, and that you will suffer from very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you don't
get the dose. Addiction does not mean that you have "character defects",
or emotional problems,
or that you are "unspiritual", or that you are "too far away from God",
or that you "have resentments".
There are actually only two possible treatments for addiction:
Consume more of the chemical to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Quit the habit and go through withdrawal and detox and be done with it.
Notice that joining a cult religion and confessing your sins is not a "treatment for addiction".
"Alcoholism" is not caused by "unchecked character defects".
People who tolerate your behavior are not "cosigning your death warrant."
"Character defects" do not block you from "Power", with a capital 'P'.
(What they mean is, "God won't talk to you, or save you, or give you power,
if you don't do their 12 Steps.")
"Untreated or treated",
alcohol abuse and/or alcohol addiction do not continue to progress
when you are not drinking alcohol.
"Alcoholism" is not a disease. Chronic excessive alcohol consumption is a bad habit.
This statement is also untrue:
"...when the high of these
social interactions no longer distract you from your disease, drinking
will not only become an option, it will become mandate."
Someone does not have to drink alcohol just because the giddy emotional
high that comes from partipation in a cult religion wears off.
And that is why A.A. is a bunch of bull that doesn't help people.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Watch out for idiots. The WAIA nominations are tonight and the elections are coming up fast.
This was sent to FOM:
The WAIA Intergroup Representative meeting is tonight at 8:00 pm. The main topic will be the nominations for next years Executive Committee. As we all know, last year, several A.A. members outside of Midtown, were voted in as Executive Committee Members, when Midtown wanted control of every seat. Throughout the year, Midtown has been gathering its masses to retake, with democratic force, every single seat on the Executive Committee. You can, with active participation, change the outcome of their manipulative gestures and become committed to service work at the Area level.
I am not recommending lip service. I am recommending responsible participation, based on a foundation of love and service. Become a rep, then represent yourself as one. Why am I suggesting this? Well, let's look at what happened last year, and its ongoing aftermath. Last year, one particular and far reaching idiot, ignored a question that was directed at him no less than 4 times. That question was, "are you an Intergroup Representative"? He answered yes (4 times), accepted a nomination and was voted in as an Executive Committee Member by the majority of Intergroup Representatives present. Before the next WAIA Intergroup Representative meeting, he approached the Executive Committee Chair, who is controlled by Midtown, and notified him that he didn't understand the question that was asked (4 times), wasn't a rep, and he didn't believe that the non Midtown A.A. members who were voted in as Executive Committee Members, were Intergroup Representatives either. Before the Intergroup Representative meeting began, he sneaked out of the back door and was never seen there again.
Needless to say, that particular and far reaching idiot has been used as an example of what not to do, or be, ever since. Midtown, as a direct result of this idiot's action, created a position at WAIA, to confront idiots like him and control the vote count during its monthly meetings. That particular idiot gave Midtown all the ammunition they needed to suggest that they are the only young peoples group that's accountable in Area 13 and unfortunately, Midtown had a point. This idiot was with two other idiots and all three of them represented one Sunday night young peoples group; one of these idiots was the Chair Person for that young peoples meeting. All three of them lied about being reps, and all three of them never returned and committed to service through action. They couldn't have made Midtown look more attractive, and other young peoples meetings look less attractive, if they were paid.
The moral of the story? Don't be an idiot. We have enough of them and they have done enough damage to area 13 and A.A. as a whole. Case in point: Throwing shoes, tea bags, water bottles and chairs at newcomers as they're picking up chips, happens at this Sunday night meeting and it has only made Midtown look 1,000 times more attractive to those desperately seeking recovery. Use that group and those who run it, as examples of what not to be and become an Intergroup Representative for your home group. Help your home group to be the best it can be.
We, as A.A. members, have a responsibility to offer newcomers an alternative to a Cult-like meeting, or one that is run by a hierarchy of idiots seeking approval from one another through any and all means of nonconformist behaviors, like taking newcomers into the woods and having them throw bullets and soup cans into camp fires, after vandalizing farmer markets and their venues. Yeah, it's that bad there. That is what they offer those who come into A.A. seeking recovery. Little wonder why Midtown has over 400 members, and they are not attracted to A.A. outside of their group. Members of this young peoples meeting, including the same Chairperson mentioned earlier, are the ones that ran the Del Ray Midnight meeting into the ground before it withered and died. Their behaviors drove the real A.A. members out, then the "meeting" couldn't pay the rent. Selfish people never want to pay for the place they shit on or in. Would you be attracted to A.A. outside of Midtown, if that other young peoples meeting and its hierarchy was your first introduction to A.A.? No, you wouldn't. You would probably buy what Midtown sold to you, hook, line and sinker, if that other group was your first exposure to A.A.
So, don't let a bunch of idiots take your A.A. meeting hostage with inappropriate behaviors, because that is exactly what they will attempt to do, once they run theirs into the ground. Be the best A.A. member you can be and represent your home group well in all matters. It's easier than destroying it, you'll help others to recover from alcoholism and your home group should be represented regardless. Hopefully, I'll see you there tonight.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The WAIA Executive Committee nominations were last Tuesday. Around 200
people showed up. Well over 160 of them were midtown members. At least
20 midtown members nominated themselves. The current midtown member,
who was the only midtown member left on the Executive Committee after
last year's election, was nominated for Chair. This is the same midtown
group member who, on two occasions, has written dictations for the
current Chair to read — for the entire Executive Committee; an act that
is clearly void of moral or ethical accountability. The Vise Chair (who
is not in midtown) was nominated, but declined to run, due to the
extraordinary measures midtown has taken to shut her and her husband
down from further participation in any kind of midtown confrontation.
The two Executive Committee Members who were to receive nominations
could not be there due to sickness and therefore, could not receive
nominations without their participation in the Intergroup
It needs to be noted that for the last several months, fewer
and fewer A.A. members have taken part in the WAIA Intergroup
Representatives meeting. All of the Sub Committees (like the
Hospitals/Institutions and Rules Committee) that hold any level of power
are directly controlled and solely operated by midtown members. If you
wanted to put something on the WAIA website, it's a midtown member that
will decide if it's going to be put up, and it's going to be that same
midtown member who will take it off, without anyone's consent outside of
the midtown group.
How did this happen? Look in the mirror. Every single time
that you and your designated home group WAIA Representative didn't show
up and offer to be of service within one or all of WAIA's Sub
Committees, you and your home group allowed, if not asked for this to
Midtown is an institution onto itself. It has few goals,
other than that of self survival and population growth through
manipulation, dictation and consumption. If anyone has taken time to
read the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, these responses are not
representative of a spiritual awakening.
So, here we are with an institution that behaves and carries
itself quite unlike that of our A.A. fellowship, yet we allow them,
through our inactivity, to be the sole carriers of A.A.'s message of
recovery, within Hospitals and Institutions, through WAIA's Hospitals
and institutions Committee. A clearer example of insanity would be
If you do not show up next month as an Intergroup
Representative and vote for someone outside of the midtown group, the
entire WAIA Executive Committee will be manned, controlled and operated
by the midtown group. Think about that for a moment: One group of
people, who behave in a manner and transmit a message of recovery based
in human control and codependency, characteristics on the polar opposite
of A.A.'s belief structure, dictating the way A.A. is operated within
Montgomery County, Prince Georges County and Washington DC. In case that
escaped you, we're talking about one (seriously) misdirected A.A. group,
playing God and sucking the life out of the other 1500 A.A. groups.
If that makes sense to you, keep doing what you're doing and
don't show up. If that doesn't make sense to you, and it shouldn't;
then show up as an Intergroup Representative and be counted.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Why Midtown needs to be stopped
This message was sent by a concerned friend:
Imagine, if you will, you are a young 14 or 15-year-old girl. For a few years you have been battling addiction — It does not matter to what, just that there has been an internal and external battle with drugs and alcohol. You have been fighting this battle alone and losing it the whole time. Your life has become horrible; perhaps you are doing things for drugs you could not have imagined doing; stealing, selling drugs, selling yourself and everything you can do to get what you need. You have alienated your family and your good friends, you are failing out of school (or even been kicked out) — you may even be looking at serious jail time. You are drained and emotionally dead. You are alone and suicidal. Everything good in your life is gone and you are barely a teenager. You are truly lost. Eventually some sort of intervention comes along whether through your family, yourself, the law or school. You perhaps see a possibility of life becoming good once more, rehab might be an option but almost certainly, AA is needed. Then you are faced with the midtown group.
Ok — this is make or break time. On the outside, midtown looks very good. They are very attractive to newcomers, especially younger newcomers — especially young girls. Midtown is a very cohesive group, they are tight. They are a large group of mostly attractive, young, positive seeming people. They welcome newcomers with open arms and seem very interested in them. They ask a lot of questions and seem to actually want to know more. They pry information out of people. They surround the newcomer and almost smother them. Once the newcomer is theirs, they do not relent. They isolate them from outside friends, meetings and even family — indoctrination has begun.
It is very simple how midtown works: they take a lonely, isolated, scared child and make them feel safe, secure and loved. It's all fake. Little does the child, or their family, know that the harm is about to come.
MIDTOWN IS NOT ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS! They do not follow any of the traditions set down by the founders and in fact seem to go the opposite way to fill their needs. Midtown feeds on young people, especially young girls. Again, on the face midtown looks harmless. This is what they want AA and the public to believe. They are very harmful to people and AA as a whole. Midtown uses up people until they either conform or are tossed out.
This is what you can expect from midtown if you attend their meetings and you are young and seem new: They first surround you with pretty people asking all kinds of questions (How much time do you have? Do you have a sponsor? A home group? They want your number and almost force theirs on you. They then won't leave you alone; they call, they insist on doing everything with you, you are given no free time, you are told that midtown meetings are the only real, good AA meetings. You are then not allowed to go to any meetings but midtown meetings under the threat of being expelled from the midtown group. This is a very important psychological tool; by this very threat, midtown implies that to not do it their way is to be ostracized by the group and to probably return to active addiction. They prey on the weakness and fear of the newcomer of being abandoned by those who seem to love them. This gets the newcomer into an even stronger stranglehold. These kids have come from being fearful and alone in their addictions and some of them are willing to do anything to not return there. Midtown knows this and uses it, after-all it was used on them. Once the fear of being kicked out of the group takes hold, the brainwashing begins. Midtown uses all the dirty tricks; they set you up with a boy/girlfriend (something severely frowned upon in early recovery), they find you work where they want you to work, they assign you a sponsor (sometimes even a sponsor of a different sex, something else also severely frowned upon), they make you feel important to the group and give you face time with their leaders. This is also important, as the leaders are very important to midtown; they are like idols to the group. Those with time in midtown are put on pedestals and their words are midtown law. To be recognized by a midtown elder is a great thing to younger midtowners — to date one is even better. Most of the elders are over 35, mostly men (although there are some women midtown leaders) and have serious time in midtown (usually 15 or more years). One word from a midtown elder could get you raised in the hierarchy or get you expelled from the group. They take their leaders very seriously. Almost any midtown member would do anything for an elder; sex, take the fall when the heat comes down, recruit "dates", give them money, do work/chores for them, etc. In midtown the leaders hold absolute power and suffer little or no consequences for their actions. Recognition from a leader is very important to any midtown member because it might eventually elevate them to a leadership position themselves. There is a lot of ass kissing in this group. The newcomer doesn't have a chance. They must comply with everything because everyone else is "above" them in the group. This is where it gets dangerous. There is a lot of borderline illegal activity in this group; statutory rape comes up a lot. Because they have control they tell you who you can date, it will always be another midtown member and sometimes a young teenage girl is paired up with a 20 or 30-year-old guy. While no one has come forward — yet (there is a lot of fear about making any legal case on these creeps because if one girl comes forward than 20 people from the group will come out and say it did not happen), there have been many testaments against this group for just such activity. In fact, you can find testimony on this very page. Fear keeps these victims quiet. There are also questions about where all the money this group raises in the name of AA goes. Nobody seems to have an answer for that but the leaders seem to take an awful lot of expensive vacations ... hmmm. They also seem to get a lot of beach houses for the summer as well. Nobody says you have to spend the money in any particular way but if you are collecting money in the name of AA it should be spent on recovery. My opinion.
Sponsorship is a very scary thing in midtown. In AA it is recommended that you get a same-sex sponsor — someone you can trust because you are going to be sharing some very secret stuff with them. There is a sponsorship hierarchy in midtown and frequently you are assigned a sponsor of the opposite sex. Your sponsor is also sponsored and so on up to the leaders. It used to be Mike Q. sponsored all the leaders but after his death I am not sure who is running the show. Anyway, anything you share with your sponsor is shared up the leadership ladder and then used against you to further tighten the control over you. You will share your deepest, darkest secrets with your sponsor and in a matter of days everyone in the group will know it all and it will be constantly thrown in your face if you deviate from the midtown norm.
The goal of midtown is control, absolute. It starts with what seems to be love and concern and then becomes tactful and sometimes nasty — any way they can get the reins of control from you. It is all to serve the leaders and the hopes of those who wish to become leaders. It's about money, sex and power over people, especially young people. This group warps the AA message and turns what should be a beautiful thing into something dark, scary and downright dangerous. If you don't comply you are kicked out. If you go to the authorities you are ganged up on and shouted down. If you speak against the group you are threatened and sometimes lied about to others in recovery and the police (false charges have been brought about against someone who dared speak out publically against the group).
This group hurts people, especially kids — young girls. People are coerced to do things they don't want to do by threat of relapse. Some kids who do figure out this group is bad leave recovery, sometimes to never come back. Some go back to active addiction because they think that midtown is what all AA and recovery is about. Some die.
THIS IS NOT AA! AA is about love and caring and helping, not using people. AA was founded on steps and traditions that make it impossible to do what this group regularly does as a matter of policy. Midtown teaches those who rise up in power to act this way. It perpetuates itself and has for more than 25 years now. This group numbers somewhere between 300 and 400 people. They do not represent AA or young people's recovery but they think they do and many people believe them. Just because the leader and founder died doesn't mean midtown died with him. No, it still exists as strong as ever, recruiting more and more young, gullible kids with false promises and evil hopes (midtown is known to go into schools, rehabs, institutions and jails to "recruit" members, they send in their prettiest people and tell clients and patients them that the only good recovery is in midtown.). Midtown grows stronger and gains more control because there are those in recovery feel that if they are untouched by it, it's not their problem. A small minority fights against midtown while most of recovery just ignores the problem and just hopes it will go away and every year midtown claims more victims. What's it going to take, your kid joining the group, before you do something about a very real evil in our midst? Do more kids have to be raped or die because we won't do anything about it? Aren't I as guilty of a crime if I know it's happening and I do nothing about it? Does an actual crime have to be committed before we do anything or is just plain wrongness enough? How much harm does a group have to do to the AA name before something is done? Who will stand and catch these kids when they are expelled from the group and form an opinion that all recovery is like midtown? Who will stay and tell them that there is real recovery out there? Who will reach out? Isn't it all of our responsibility to do these things? To give what we were so freely given. We were given a gift and didn't have to give up our bodies and minds to get it. Should these kids have to do just that? Why don't we stand against this evil instead of sitting by doing our own thing? For shame to anybody out there who knows yet does nothing.
THE MIDTOWN CULT AND ALL OF THEIR POLICIES AND PRACTICES ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG AND VERY HARMFUL TO ANYONE IN RECOVERY AND TO RECOVERY AS A WHOLE.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
A concerned friend writes FOM.
"I am in New York, but I know about the Midtown Group and I think it is sick!!! We have a similar although not quite as intense group here in New York called the Atlantic Group, which has links to the Pacific Group in Los Angeles. Midtown has some loose connection to these groups and the one they call Clancy, the Guru of the Pacific Group. These are very dangerous people. The word is out in the rooms about Midtown and believe me, people do not like it and it does not represent what AA is really about. Unfortunately, the Midtown-types here in New York are making their voice heard at Intergroup and causing lots of problems for some other meetings.
Thank you for your service"
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
We received this message from a friend:
i was just reading the last post and something occured to me- if there are clear connecitons to the pacific group, why not start to address the problem there, too? mike q is gone, but clancy and johnny harris still run the show, so why not go all the way to the top? that way the various affiliated groups in ny and pa and anywhere else will have ot reevaluate there structure, etc. just a thought.
and i'm curious, have you guys figured out how to work against the evil some people are displaying in these meetings without threatening the traditions and the sobriety of the newcomers in these various areas? i'd like to know cause i haven't thought of anything and i'd really like to see some principled and effective methods of dealing with this.
Don't forget Tampa, Florida. Mike and some of his disciples started a satellite Q. group there when he was on the run from his exploits, up here. We've received several updates, and, as is the case here in DC, they are not effected by Mike's death.
I was on a Men's Advance with J. H. recently and people are really sucking up to him. He definitely controls Midtown from Ca. My favorite take of his is that you can't be an alcoholic and a depressive, bi polar, etc. The point being that you are either an alcoholic, or you're a depressive, or you're a schizophrenic. You cannot be both. More important is his stance that if you are on any medications whatsoever for any of these "other conditions", you are not sober. That makes about as much sense as stating that you can't be an alcohol and a diabetic, yet they suck it up like good lap dogs nonetheless.
Pretty shocking that people in this day and age would accept such ill conceived lunacy as fact, however, when you're compromised enough to allow man to become your god, once he has become accustomed to it, he will do just about anything to remain your god. Of course, that will include sacrificing you, so that those who are as compromised as you are will remain within the structured fold and worship him still.
Posted by THE FALL OF MIDTOWN. AKA: THE Q. GROUP on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 at 8:49 PM
I've heard Clancy preach the same shit as a speaker. I don't know how he's gotten away with that for so long or why so many listen. THAT'S NOT AA PEOPLE. Bill W. fought depression many years of his life,
so if you believe J.H., Bill can't be alcoholic.
Posted by CathyMc on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 at 9:03 PM
Monday, April 21, 2008
We received this message about the Tampa YPG from a friend
In keeping with Traditions, FOM has removed the full names from this post and left the initials:
Tampa YPG was formed roughly 6 or 7 years ago by members of Midtown.
Two in particular that I know of, Txxx Cxxxxxxx and Jxxxx who sponsor a
couple pigeons Dxxxx Dxxxxxxxx and Rxxx Axxxx. It is almost a mirror
image of what is going on at the Midtown group. It has increasingly
sickened me beyond belief as to what I have seen and heard going on.
Newcomer women are being sponsored in the group and being encouraged to
sleep with members in the group to get used to having sex in sobriety.
New members have been told to sleep with Txxx and Jxxxx who visit Tampa
quite frequently. STD's are running rampant within the group and I'm
now aware of 1 recent forcible rape as well as at least 2 statutory
rapes in the recent months. For all the people who they help stop
drinking, there are just as many who are permanently scarred from the
forcible sex and mind bullshit going on. Rxxx Axxxx and Dxxxx Dxxxxxxxx
are encouraging all of it as well as their pigeons and getting the
direct direction from Txxx and Jxxxx. If the group were investigated
thoroughly starting today, I would take a guess that there would be at
least 15 to 30 arrests on sexual charges not to mention one of the
members is so I've been told is HIV positive and having sex on a
regular basis with newcomers. I have been a member for almost 6 months
now and I didn't see this when it started, but it is all coming out
now. My sponsor who is outside the group tells me to stay away, but I
still go because of some of the friendships I have there. I have been
told the police are actively investigating them and have been for quite
a while now but haven't seen anything happen yet. It was hard enough
getting sober at 24 and trying to stay sober with all the crap going on
at Tampa YPG. Please keep me anonymous if you repost this. I don't want
to lose some of the friendships I have made. Not all of them are bad.
They are just getting bad direction.
AA Renegade Dies—Whither Midtown?
Michael Quinones, leader of the Midtown Group, the network of local Alcoholics Anonymous chapters that appeal to young people and break with AA's traditions in some very disturbing ways, died last week.
The Midtown Group, the generic name for a cluster of AA groups that meet in Maryland, the District and Virginia and specialize in helping teenaged and other young alcoholics, has been accused of encouraging young female members to have sex with older men in the group, seeking to sever or at least limit members' ties to family and friends, and encouraging members to stop taking prescribed medications.
The passing of Mike Q, as he was known within AA circles, has people talking about whether Midtown will continue to thrive within AA, wither away, or move closer to the practices that protect other AA groups from the kind of controlling leadership, abusive sexual practices and socially exclusive methods that Quinones was accused of putting into practice in Midtown.
As I reported last month, AA has been unable to address the allegations that former members of Midtown have raised because the movement's loose structure prevents it from exercising effective authority over rogue groups. Former members who want to make certain that other young people do not feel pressured to have sex with leaders and older members of Midtown have been trying to get the local Intergroup, the assembly of Washington area AA groups, to take a stand about Midtown's practices. But it's not at all clear what will happen to that effort now that Quinones is gone.
Ex-members expect Quinones' close friends and associates who have been running the network of groups during Mike Q's long illness to continue that work. Some say they would be surprised if there is any substantial change in the character of the group. But others point to Quinones' personal charisma and his studies of the work of George Gurdjieff, — whom Mike Q pointed to as the source for his beliefs about the importance of sexual relationships as a source of healing and strength—and conclude that Midtown was effective and attractive primarily because of the power of Quinones' personality and ideas.
Quinones, who was 63 when he died, lived with other members of the group in a house in North Bethesda that served as a focal point for many young people. Some Midtown members live in group houses in Gaithersburg, Bethesda and other suburban locales, and many of the young people buy shares in summer houses in Rehoboth.
"I guess it will work out fine for the hierarchy," one commenter on an anti-Midtown web site said after learning of Quinones' death. "They will make him a martyr for 'saving all their lives.' Now begins the countdown to the giant picture of him attached to the podium, or the life sized bust...."
Another commenter who said she attended a Midtown meeting Sunday reported that "A moment of silence before the meeting was in place and other than that it went on as usual."
Groups like Midtown often collapse or are radically reshaped after the death of their founding leader, but in this case, there are hundreds of vulnerable young people who rely heavily on the group for emotional support and social structure. Despite AA's longstanding policy of granting all of its groups near-total independence, it behooves members of other local groups to step in and offer alternatives to young people who are caught up in Midtown.
By Marc Fisher | August 22, 2007; 7:56 AM ET
"I do not celebrate the death of anyone but I know that the DC recovery community is better off without Mike Q (real name Edward Quinones, Jr.). If he was such a great man, why did he go by his brother's name?"
And this one is really grim:
i got sober in the dc area almost 20 yrs ago and i watched the reality of the mid town group and what they practised. about 17 yrs ago i met a young lady at a mtg at mont general hospital who had gotten involved with the midtown crowd almost from day 1. she was shaking and crying because "they" had told her that she could no longer take her prescribed meds for her depression and bi-polar disease because if she did, she would be "using" and therefore not sober. she desperately wanted to be sober so....she did as she was told. at about 90 days she found a gun and blew her brains out. what i remember best was a midtown "member" saying...."well, i guess she wasn't ready yet". not a bit of remorse.
EVERYTHING that you have printed about the Q group is the gods honest truth and the only ones who will write defending the group are their own members.
keep up the good work
Posted by: kf hawaii | August 23, 2007 4:47 AM
Also see these stories and lists of links about the Midtown Group: