Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult
Scorecard, Answers 81 to 90.
by A. Orange

(To go back and forth between the questions and the answers for Alcoholics Anonymous, click on the numbers of the questions and answers.)


81. Hypocrisy
A.A. scores a 10.

A.A. is extremely hypocritical.

  • A.A. claims that it is only a spiritual program, not a religion, and then...

  • A.A. claims that it is a "spiritual" program of "rigorous honesty" while it:
    • lies (with qualifiers) about its failure rate: "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path."
    • tells members to "Act As If" and "Fake It Until You Make It."
    • routinely pulls a large number of bait-and-switch stunts on new members.
    • lies about what it is and what it does. (See the file on The 12 Biggest Falsehoods of A.A. for the details.)
    • practices deceptive recruiting and lies to newcomers about what membership in the program really entails.
    • lies about its history, and covers up every fault and shortcoming of the organization and its founders.
    • And now Susan Cheever reports that the A.A. headquarters staff is even excising embarrasing information about Bill Wilson's philandering from the official A.A. historical archives. (Destroying the evidence.)

  • Bill Wilson talked constantly about "moral inventories", "rigorous honesty", "spirituality", and "unselfish, constructive action", while Bill's behavior was the extreme of unethical, immoral, and selfish:

  • Likewise, even today, the Alcoholics Anonymous organization will not tell the truth about its history, or Bill Wilson. It keeps the archives of historical documents locked and sealed, and not available to any investigators. They wouldn't even let ABC News or NBC News look at the archives. That is the official A.A. idea of "rigorous honesty".

  • Speaking of "rigorous honesty", the leaders of A.A. at Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. have committed perjury in the courts of both Mexico and Germany to stop other A.A. members from printing and giving away (or selling extremely inexpensively) copies of the old out-of-copyright editions of the Big Book. See the write-ups of the story.

  • And then Bill Wilson criticized alcoholics who rationalize and minimize their drinking by writing:
    If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the attention of an alcoholic, he will laugh it off, or become irritated and refuse to talk.
    The A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 2, "There Is A Solution", page 23.

    But Bill didn't bother to mention that A.A. members act that way whenever you point out the flaws of Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • The most amusing example of Bill Wilson's hypocritical "rigorous honesty" has to be his lecture in the Big Book that tells us good old boys how to cheat on your wife and not tell her about it. Bill declared that:

    The husband begins to feel lonely, sorry for himself. He commences to look around in night clubs, or their equivalent, for something more than liquor. Perhaps he is having a secret and exciting affair with "the girl who understands."   ...
          If we are sure our wife does not know, should we tell her? Not always, we think.   ...
          Our design for living is not a one-way street. It is as good for the wife as for the husband. If we can forget, so can she.
    The A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, pages 81-82.

    ("Yeh, honey, you should just forget about whats-her-name. I already have — I'm not screwing her any more. I've got two other cuties now.")

    And right after that, on the next page, he wrote:

    "The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it. ... We should not talk incessantly to them about spiritual matters. They will change in time. Our behavior will convince them more than our words."
    The A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 83.

    "Yes, eventually those nagging wives will learn to be just as spiritual as us philandering, lying, good old boys..."

  • A.A. accuses competing recovery programs of killing alcoholics even though A.A. World Services trustee Prof. George Vaillant found that A.A. actually had the highest death rate of any of the treatment programs that he studied.

  • Bill Wilson constantly lectured A.A. members about "selfishness" and "self-centeredness", and said that they must be rid of it.

    Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.   ...
    Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 62.

    The talk about getting rid of selfishness is hypocritical. A.A. is actually an enormously selfish program. Everything in the A.A. program is about "my sobriety". The Big Book actually teaches A.A. members that wives and families are expendable in the pursuit of sobriety.

    A.A. members go recruiting, getting new converts (which Bill called "helping others"), because they are taught that they will lose their sobriety — they will relapse and die drunk — if they don't spend all of their spare time recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. So they are doing it for themselves. In the Big Book, Bill taught the recruiters:

    Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, Working With Others, page 94.

    Recent research has even shown that to be true — that the sponsors benefited from being in a sponsor-sponsee relationship, while the sponsored newcomers did not. So the sponsorship system was only helping the old-timers.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition Eleven says,
    "Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films."
    But A.A. has always been conducting a promotion campaign, since the very first days. In the book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, Bill Wilson calls missionary work to distant cities and countries "pioneering", and says:

    Pioneering in A.A. of course has not stopped. I hope it never will.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 80.

    The worst promotion of A.A. is the coercive recruiting. A.A. routinely encourages judges, parole officers, counselors and therapists to force people to go to A.A. meeings to "to get help." (Often, the counselors and therapists are themselves members of A.A. or N.A..) And then the A.A. boosters deny any responsibility, and say that they don't force anyone to do anything.

    See the cult test item on Aggressive Recruiting for more.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition Eleven also demands anonymity. Bill Wilson told one story of humble anonymity:

    The kind of sacrifice that we shall always need to make is beautifully illustrated by a talk I recently had with a certain Texas lady. Her temptation was extreme because she is in show business and has great national popularity as an entertainer. This is what she told me: "I sing in the best barrooms only, and I have been doing it for fifteen years. Within a year after joining A.A., I lost about ten pounds, the bags came out from under my eyes, and I began to feel like a human being. My manager couldn't figure it out, but at last I told him what had happened to me. At once, he said, 'But aren't you and I going to tell the public about this? Why, this would make terrific publicity, both for A.A. and you too.' 'Well,' I said, 'temporarily I know that it would. Other people have proved that. But, please, not for me. Alcoholics Anonymous has a principle called anonymity — no public big shots allowed. We all know that A.A. can't be run like show business, no matter what the short-term benefits may be. A.A. saved my life and my career. Therefore the future welfare of Alcoholics Anonymous is more important to me than any publicity that I could get as an A.A. member.'" Then a little wistfully she added, "You know, Bill, I often see drunks in my audience and wonder how I can help them. If only I could tell them from the stage that I am in A.A. But that would only be temporary, wouldn't it? In the long run, we'd all be ruined if everybody did it." I looked at the lady from Texas and was glad, very glad.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 135.

    No public big shots allowed, except for Bill Wilson and Marty Mann, who constantly broke their anonymity while promoting Alcoholics Anonymous, which they did for many years. They even went and testified before Congress, identifying themselves as members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill even revealed that he was a cofounder and then bragged about all of the great things that his organization had accomplished with alcoholics. Bill Wilson spent most all of the nineteen-forties on the road, touring the country, grandstanding and promoting Alcoholics Anonymous and breaking his anonymity. By 1944, Bill Wilson was the most famous anonymous person in America.


    Bill's picture was featured in a newspaper article on alcoholism in the August 9, 1942 issue of the Knoxville Journal.
    Chester E. Kirk Collection of the John Hay Library at Brown University

    And yet Bill Wilson wrote,

    We simply could not afford to take the chance of letting self-appointed members present themselves as messiahs representing A.A. before the whole public. The promoter instinct in us might be our undoing. If even one such person publicly got drunk or was lured into using A.A.'s name for his own purposes, the damage might be irreparable. At this altitude (press, radio, films, and television), anonymity — 100 per cent anonymity — was the only possible answer. Here principles would have to come before personalities, without exception.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 134.

    100 per cent anonymity, without exception, except for Bill Wilson, of course...
    That way, there could be no leader besides Bill Wilson. No one else could grow in fame and influence and come to rival Bill's leadership role (which Henry Parkhurst called "The Grand Poohbah of Alcoholics Anonymous").

  • And, speaking of traditions, Tradition Nine says,
    "A.A., as such, ought never be organized...",
    but A.A. is completely organized, with a national headquarters, a Board of Trustees, Executives, committees, a national Council, and it is legally incorporated into two corporations — the G.S.O. and A.A.W.S., and they have several million dollars stashed away in the bank. They are even committing felony perjury in the courts of Germany and Mexico to make more money.

    That is in spite of Bill Wilson's statement that:

    Then our Trustees wrote a bright page of A.A. history. They declared for the principle that A.A. must always stay poor. Reasonable running expenses plus a prudent reserve would henceforth be the Foundation's financial policy.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 114.

  • The Seventh Tradition says that every A.A. group ought to be self-supporting, declining outside contributions, but Bill Wilson gleefully took an outside contribution — a stipend from John D. Rockefeller Jr. — to support himself.

  • And Bill Wilson wrote of himself:

    Because I myself have always had strong tendencies toward the pursuit of prestige, wealth, and power, all of A.A.'s Traditions have borne down on me with great force. You will remember the episode back in our living room on Clinton Street. That was the time when my group told me I could never become an A.A. professional. With nearly every Tradition much the same thing has happened. At first, I obeyed because I had to; I would have lost my standing in A.A. if I had not. After a while I began to obey because I saw that the Traditions were wise and right.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 135-136.

    Everything beyond Bill's confession that he compulsively pursued prestige, wealth, and power is lies:

    • Bill Wilson was nothing but an A.A. professional —
      1. Bill lived off of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he was a professional A.A. promoter. Alcoholics Anonymous supported Bill in comfort for the rest of his life, and he never worked a straight job again. A.A. even bought Bill a house in the country and a Cadillac car.
      2. And Bill died rich because of the royalites that he got from the Big Book and his other books published by AAWS.
      3. The Traditions didn't stop Bill from coldly using A.A. for his pursuit of fame, prestige, power, sex, and wealth.
    • And the Traditions didn't stop Bill from breaking his anonymity constantly. Bill didn't obey the Traditions at all.
    • And Bill did not lose his standing in A.A., either.

    And note the funny reversal of reality: "At first, I obeyed because I had to... With nearly every Tradition... I saw that the Traditions were wise and right."
    That is just the opposite of the truth. Bill wrote those traditions, and then he spent years selling them to the other A.A. members, who didn't want them and voted against them at first. And then Bill made it sound like the Traditions had somehow just been dropped on him from Heaven or Mars or somewhere, and Bill declared that he was amazed to see how "right and wise" they were...

  • Finally, A.A. propaganda says:

    Honesty, Openness, and Willingness
    Alcoholics Anonymous can only be effective if the individual is committed to working the program in the spirit of honesty, openness, and willingness.
    Alcoholic Thinking: Language, Culture, and Belief in Alcoholics Anonymous, Danny M. Wilcox, page 95.

Alcoholics Anonymous is immensely, outrageously, hypocritical.

Oh, and just to put the frosting on the cake, Hazelden gives us this meditation thought for the day:

I will remember to guard myself against irrational compliance.
July 5, The Promise of a New Day: A Book of Daily Meditations, Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg, Hazelden.


82. Lying. Denial of the truth. Reversal of reality. Rationalization and Denial.
A.A. scores a 10.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous says "A.A. is the best, 'the time-tested and proven', way to recovery", when A.A. actually has effectively a 100% failure rate.

  • A.A. says that it is a "spiritual" program that teaches "rigorous honesty" (Big Book page 58), but it actually teaches just the opposite. A.A. teaches people to be evasive and dishonest:
    1. A.A. practices deceptive recruiting, coercive recruiting, and pulls many bait-and-switch stunts on the newcomers.
    2. Also, A.A. is extremely dishonest and lies about many things: its success rate, its history, its religious dogma, and even its current behavior.
    3. A.A. keeps its historical archives locked and sealed, and will not allow access to anyone except a few very pro-A.A. writers. Basically, anyone who will tell the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous cannot see the archives. That includes the NBC and ABC news teams.
    4. A.A. true believers actually act like you are being unfair if you tell the truth about the Alcoholics Anonymous failure rate, dropout rate, suicide rate, or fascist cult religion history.

  • A.A. claims that it frees people from guilt, but it actually induces even more guilt by making people list and confess all of their sins, wrongs, "defects of character", and moral shortcomings in Steps 4 and 5. Then A.A. does it again with Steps 8 and 9 where people must list all of the people they ever wronged, hurt or offended, and go "make amends" to them.

  • Then A.A. teaches people to ignore and deny their own feelings. The slogan is, "Feelings aren't facts!"

  • A.A. enthusiasts claim that the A.A. program gets rid of ego and self-seeking, but A.A. is actually enormously egotistical. A.A. members imagine that they get miracles from God and have God waiting on them hand and foot (like, God makes them quit drinking and doping, and takes care of their wills and their lives for them), even though God ignores other people who are desperate for a miracle, like the people who were trapped at the top of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. They were certainly praying for a miracle, but they didn't get one, did they?
    So what makes God care so much about alcoholics?
    Why do the alcoholics rate so much higher in God's Great Plan than other people?
    (Ego, ego, ego.)

  • Likewise, while A.A. claims to be a "spiritual" organization, the A.A. leaders commit perjury in the courts of Mexico and Germany to put innocent A.A. members in prison for the "crime" of printing and giving away or selling very cheaply copies of the old, out-of-copyright first edition of the Big Book to poor alcoholics, including those in prison.

  • And everybody is reenacting The Emperor's New Clothes — pretending to be getting great spiritual benefits from working the program — just doing the Fake It Until You Make It and Act As If routines.

  • A.A. claims that it is just a nice little neighborhood self-help group, while it actually practices coercive recruiting, using the criminal justice system to force more people to attend the church services that it calls "meetings".

  • A.A. claims to have the best knowledge and information about alcoholism and recovery, but the A.A. "recovery program" is really nothing but a recycled old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties — the Oxford Group:

    Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
    The Language of the Heart, William G. Wilson, page 298, published posthumously in 1988.

    If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 44.

    There is no disease recognized by either the American Medical Association, or the American Psychiatric Association, which "only a spiritual experience will conquer." But this is the dogma, one of the core beliefs, upon which Alcoholics Anonymous is based. A.A. teaches that you can't just quit drinking. You must join A.A., do the Twelve Steps, and have a "spiritual experience", in order to quit drinking.

    Remember that we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, pages 58-59.

    Actually, most of the alcoholics who successfully quit drinking do it without the aid of Alcoholics Anonymous or its "Higher Power", so alcohol is not too much for them.

  • Bill Wilson demanded that his followers give up their rational, thinking minds, human intelligence, and 'Reason', and just 'have faith'. And his grandiose proclamations about alcoholism, A.A., and God that he wrote in the Big Book and "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" are totally irrational. And Bill was seriously mentally ill, and under the care of a psychiatrist. And yet, Bill Wilson accused all other alcoholics of being irrational and insane. (That's psychological projection, again.)

          Few indeed are the practicing alcoholics who have any idea how irrational they are, or seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. Some will be willing to term themselves "problem drinkers," but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill. ... no alcoholic ... can claim 'soundness of mind' for himself.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.

    Well, Bill Wilson certainly couldn't claim any 'soundness of mind' for himself, but not all alcoholics are in such bad shape.

  • Bill Wilson's psychiatrist, Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, who was the first psychiatrist to become an enthusiastic promoter of Alcoholics Anonymous, wrote this reversal of reality:

    Unconcerned with causes and not bewitched by dogma, the A.A. program was designed to get the individual to stop drinking, and really nothing else.
    == Harry M. Tiebout, M.D., in DIRECT TREATMENT OF A SYMPTOM

    Dr. Tiebout wrote that nonsense in spite of his patient Bill Wilson constantly raving about God and spirituality and declaring that Alcoholics Anonymous was an "acquire faith" program, and that all atheists and agnostics had to start believing in Bill's religion, and that the real result of the Alcholics Anonymous program was to make the newcomers "love God and call Him by name", and that "Our real purpose is to make ourselves of maximum use to God". (The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, page 77.)

    Furthermore, Alcoholics Anonymous was not "designed" at all. Bill Wilson, Dr. Robert Smith, and Clarence Snyder simply stole the alcoholics' branch of Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult religion and renamed it to "Alcoholics Anonymous". A.A. is what Dr. Frank Buchman made it — an oppressive arrogant guilt-inducing cult religion that is very preoccupied with dogma.

  • In chapter four of the Big Book, Bill Wilson's sermons about faith versus logic and human intelligence were a reversal of reality — rational thinking, reason, skepticism, and agnosticism were labeled illogical, perverse, cynical, vain, biased, mushy, and unreasoningly prejudiced, while blind faith in Bill Wilson's religious beliefs was described as logical, intelligent, reasonable, sane, honest, and open-minded:

    Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
          We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. ... People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 49.

    Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and did not like to lose our support.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Page 53.

    Hence we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe than not to believe, why we say our former thinking was soft and mushy when we threw up our hands in doubt and said, "We don't know."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Page 53.

  • An official A.A. history book quoted A.A. co-founder Doctor Bob as saying:

    He said, "Duke, I think this A.A. program will appeal to you, because it's psychologically sound and religiously sane."
    Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980, page 253.

    That statement is the exact opposite of the truth:

    • A.A. is not psychologically sound at all. It is not based on psychology or any science at all. A.A. is based on superstitions — the Oxford Group cult religion, and gross misconceptions about how the human mind and alcoholism actually work. A.A. is completely irrational and unscientific, and even brags about it.
    • And A.A. is religiously insane — it is just Frank Buchman's discredited old fascist cult religion with a new coat of paint on it.
    • As you have just seen in the quotes above, the A.A. founder Bill Wilson exhorted newcomers to give up their rational, thinking minds and become mindless giggling insane fools who just "had faith" in Bill Wilson and his religion.

    And still, A.A. prints and distributes large quantities of propaganda that claims just the opposite. That's the Big Lie technique.

  • A.A. pretends to offer newcomers complete religious freedom, when in fact the Twelve-Step program cannot work unless God conforms to the A.A. standards. You cannot just choose any old "Higher Power" of your liking and still expect the Twelve Steps to work. Your "Higher Power" must be a meddling, micro-managing, wish-granting servant who waits on you hand and foot and delivers miracles on demand. In A.A., your Higher Power must do the following for you:

    1. Restore you to sanity in Step Two, or else you stay insane.
    2. Take care of your will and your life for you in Step Three, or else your unmanageable life stays unmanaged.
    3. Listen to your confessions in Step Five, and soften His vindictive attitude towards you, or else God will continue to torture you with alcoholism.
    4. Remove all of your sins, moral shortcomings, and defects of character, especially your desire to drink alcohol, in Step Seven, or else you continue to drink.
    5. Talk to you and teach you in Step Eleven while you conduct a séance and "channel" your Higher Power, and then give you work orders and the power to go do the work, or else you remain ignorant and don't know what to do with yourself.

    If your Higher Power isn't the kind of deity who will work for you and do all of that stuff for you then the Twelve Steps cannot possibly work correctly. So much for "any Higher Power of your choosing."

  • A.A. boosters denounce the regular mainstream religions for being "shame-based" and guilt-inducing, when that is actually the way that Alcoholics Anonymous works:

          I Truly do believe that the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous could be viewed as the most important single event of the Twentieth Century. That is because the twelve step recovery program has not only proven such a literal life saver for millions of people, but it also provided a formula for countless individuals to learn how to live life based upon spiritual principles that align with the metaphysical laws that actually govern the experience of being human — instead of the twisted black and white beliefs of shame based organized religion.
    Robert Burney, "Codependency", page 2, http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/codependency_recovery/113703/2

    But it is Alcoholics Anonymous that tells people to make long lists of every sin and crime that they ever committed, and to confess it all to Man and God in Steps 4 and 5. Not even the Catholic Church does that. And in the Catholic Church, confessions are made to an ordained Priest who is sworn to secrecy in a sacred oath. In Alcoholics Anonymous, sponsors are free to blab Fifth-Step confessions (and they do).

    There are also two other obvious reversals of reality there:

    1. The writer claims that A.A. has a great program that has saved the lives of millions of people, when in fact the program doesn't work at all, and "The Program" has saved very few, if any, lives. A.A. has a higher death rate than success rate. A.A. kills more people than it saves. The "founding" of that harmful quackery is hardly "the most important single event of the Twentieth Century".

    2. The writer claims that A.A. gives people "spiritual principles", when in fact it only gives them the occult practices of an old cult religion.

  • The A.A. cult proselytizer Terence Gorski likewise reverses reality here:

    In most Twelve Step literature, the addictive self is called the "ego." Whenever I hear or read the word ego, I substitute the words addictive self.
          The goal of a Fourth Step is to deflate the ego — or, in other words, to deflate the addictive self. The addictive self is marked by grandiosity (addicted people feel that they are more than or better than everyone else) and self-centeredness (they believe that they are the center of the universe and there is little room left for anyone or anything else).
    Understanding the Twelve Steps, Terence T. Gorski, page 81.

    Alcoholics do not all exhibit grandiosity and think that they are the center of the Universe. Cult members do, when they declare that God is answering their prayers and granting their wishes because they are so "spiritual" and "in constant contact with God".

  • See the web page on The Bait-And-Switch Con Game for many more reversals of reality.

  • See the web page on Propaganda Techniques for more examples of minimization and denial.

  • And see Bill Wilson's grandiose claims that thousands of alcoholics would have died if Bill had grandstanded and been a publicity-hound megalomaniac and broken his anonymity (like he did).


83. Seeing Through Tinted Lenses
A.A. scores a 10.

A.A. true believers have a bad case of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, or some kind of strange color of lens:

  • They see relapsers as proof that failure to work the 12 steps correctly will result in relapse. They never see relapsers as proof of the fact that the 12 steps don't actually work.

  • A.A. judges people on the basis of their drug and alcohol consumption or abstention, and, essentially, declares that the worth of a man can be measured in sober time. Visiting old-timers with 20 years or more of sobriety are treated like royalty.

  • A.A. judges people on how well they parrot the standard dogma and beliefs (in spite of their claims of being non-judgemental and offering newcomers complete acceptance).

  • One blatant example of seeing through tinted lenses is this story:

          An A.A. sponsor was hitting on a newcomer, trying to get another sponsee. They discussed how the newcomer had quit drinking. The newcomer explained that he had not gone into D.T.'s when he quit drinking because he had been slowly tapered off of alcohol — being so sick, broke, unemployed, down and out, that he could buy neither food nor much alcohol for months.
          The sponsor remarked, "Isn't it wonderful how our Higher Power arranges things like that?"

    That sponsor could not see the obvious truth that there are easier and healthier ways to detox than months of starvation and malnutrition (which creates a great danger of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome), and that a "Higher Power" who really wishes to arrange events to make life easier for us could have just not made us born alcoholics in the first place.


84. You can't make it without the group.
A.A. scores a 10.

This is obvious. A.A. flat-out says that you won't be able to stay clean and sober without A.A. or another 12-Step organization like Narcotics Anonymous. They say that you will relapse if you don't continue going to meetings for the rest of your life. They say that your choice is A.A. forever or dying drunk in a gutter. (They use the Either/Or propaganda trick a lot.)

  • The Alcoholics Anonymous "First Tradition" declares that the A.A. group is more important than the individual people because the A.A. members will die without the cult:

    Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.
    That double-talk is just like "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." (That is of course, George Orwell's Animal Farm.)

  • It's Alcoholics Anonymous — or else!
    The A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 378.

  • None of us in Alcoholics Anonymous is normal. Our abnormality compels us to go to AA... We all go because we need to. Because the alternative is drastic, either A.A. or death.
    Delirium Tremens, Stories of Suffering and Transcendence, Ignacio Solares, Hazelden, page 27.

  • "To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 44.
    (Actually, they are not alternatives at all. There is a third choice: quit drinking without a cult religion, and live a healthy, happy, and sane life.)

  • If you leave, you'll come back on your knees.
    — A.A. slogan

  • Either work a strong program, or your fate is Jails, Institutions, or Death.
    — A.A. slogan

  • It's Our Way or the Die Way.
    — A.A. slogan

  • Work the Steps, Or Die!
    — A.A. slogan

  • If you don't work a Fourth you'll drink a fifth.
    — A.A. slogan

  • Keep Coming Back... It Works If You Work It, You Die If You Don't.
    — A.A. slogan

  • You must find time for A.A. — it's as necessary as inhaling and exhaling.
    Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 216.

  • Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

A.A. literature even goes so far as to say that you can't get close to God without joining the A.A. group and confessing all of your sins and shortcomings to the group:

HEALING HEART AND MIND
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 55

Since it is true that God comes to me through people, I can see that by keeping people at a distance I also keep God at a distance. God is nearer to me than I think and I can experience Him by loving people and allowing people to love me. But I can neither love nor be loved if I allow my secrets to get in the way.
Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, May 1.


85. Enemy-making and Devaluing the Outsider
A.A. scores a 10.

In the Big Book, an A.A. member says of a non-member:

"You poor guy. I feel so sorry for you. You're not an alcoholic. You can never know the pure joy of recovering within the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous."
The A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 334.

Devaluing the outsider includes name-calling. A.A. members often call outsiders things like "normies", "flatlanders", "pigeons", and "A.A.-bashers".

A.A. has a bad case of the "Us versus Them" mindset:

  • "Normies" don't understand.
  • "Regular people" don't know.
  • "They" are just "A.A.-bashers", and "A.A.-bashers" don't tell the truth.
  • "They" don't have a working recovery program.
  • "They" aren't in recovery.
  • "They" don't have Bill Wilson's doctrines or wisdom.
  • "They" aren't "spiritual".
  • "They" have resentments.
  • "They" don't know how to recover.
  • "They" drink.
  • "They" aren't doing the Twelve Steps.
  • "They" don't believe.
  • "They" don't have faith.
  • "They" don't know what it's like.
  • "They" haven't been to Hell and back.
  • "They" aren't part of The Fellowship.
  • "They" aren't one of us.
  • "They" aren't Friends Of Bill Wilson.
  • "They" aren't "our kind of people".
  • "They" aren't part of "The Recovery Movement".
  • "They" aren't Working The Program.
  • "They" aren't dealing with their issues.
  • "They" are "enablers".
  • "They" will make you drink.
  • "They" will "trigger you".
  • "They" will make alcoholics relapse.
  • "They" will make you relapse.
  • "They" will kill you with bad advice.
  • "They" have too much self-will.
  • "They" don't want to know God.
  • "They" aren't doing the Will Of God.
  • "They" hate God.
  • "They" are atheists.
  • "They" are luring vulnerable alcoholics to their deaths by telling them that they can quit drinking without A.A. and the Twelve Steps.
  • "They" are leading people away from recovery.
  • "They" have bad motives — they are only in it for the money.
  • "They" have bad motives — they want to destroy A.A.
  • "They" have bad motives — they are atheists who hate spiritual programs.
  • And those who leave the group become pariahs to be shunned, because "they might make someone relapse", and "they are probably drinking again."

Part of the reason for the devaluation of the outsider is of course fear — fear of criticism for being an alcoholic, fear of disapproval, fear that the outsider will not "understand" — "Only another A.A. member understands." Outsiders are dangerous and you can't trust them, but you will be safe inside the cult.

There is also another secret fear: Fear that the critic might be right. That thought makes the true believers very uncomfortable.

The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book even says that A.A. comes before family, with this rationalization:

"I decided I must place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition — Chapter B10, He Sold Himself Short, page 293.

And a rehash of the Big Book that is intended for youths tells a story of a supposedly-successful recovery where...

Even after she remarries, she doesn't lose sight of her priorities. She places God first and A.A. second. Her husband is never more than the third most important aspect of her life.
Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, John R., page 107.


86. The group wants to own you.
A.A. scores a 10.

A.A. wants you to Keep Coming Back to their meetings for the rest of your life. They say that you must practice the Twelve Steps for the rest of your life, and you must go recruiting for A.A. as if your life depends on it. Then, once you become an old-timer, you are supposed to act as a sponsor, and train and indoctrinate the newcomers.

Bill Wilson wrote that when "Father" discovers Alcoholics Anonymous:

Father feels he has struck something better than gold. For a time he may try to hug the new treasure to himself. He may not see at once that he has barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay dividends only if he mines it for the rest of his life and insists on giving away the entire product.
The A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, "The Family Afterward", pages 128-129.

So "Father" must work the A.A. program and recruit new members for the rest of his life.

Bill Wilson actually wrote that he wants everyone to abandon their intelligence, "Reason", and logical, thinking minds, and just "have faith" in his teachings. Bill claimed that his A.A. program offers complete religious freedom to members, but then he claimed the right to dictate everybody else's thoughts and beliefs. Bill even wrote that you don't have the right to decide all by yourself just what you will do and what you will think.

William G. Wilson
William G. Wilson
How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.   ...
  ...   We are certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in. This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds good in the speaking, but it still has to meet this acid test: how well does it actually work? One good look in the mirror ought to be answer enough for any alcoholic.
      ... The philosophy of self-sufficiency is not paying off. Plainly enough, it is a bone-crushing juggernaut whose final achievement is ruin.
      Therefore, we who are alcoholics can consider ourselves fortunate indeed.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 36-37.

So you are supposedly "fortunate" if alcohol rots your brain and you have to depend on A.A. to do your thinking for you.

Bill Wilson went so far as to plant the suggestion that newly recovered people should not bother to get jobs; they should continue to neglect their families and just concentrate all of their attention on working the A.A. program and recruiting new members for A.A. (like Bill Wilson did):

We think it dangerous if he rushes headlong at his economic problem.
...
For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, The Family Afterwards, pages 126-127.

In Bill Wilson's mind, "spiritual progress" meant doing A.A. activities, particularly recruiting.

Though the family does not fully agree with dad's spiritual activities, they should let him have his head. Even if he displays a certain amount of neglect and irresponsibility towards the family, it is well to let him go as far as he likes in helping other alcoholics. During those first days of convalescence, this will do more to insure his sobriety than anything else. Though some of his manifestations are alarming and disagreeable, we think dad will be on a firmer foundation than the man who is placing business or professional success ahead of spiritual development. He will be less likely to drink again, and anything is preferable to that.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, The Family Afterwards, pages 129-130.

Letting him "go as far as he likes in helping other alcoholics" really means letting him spend all of his time recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Note the threat: EITHER let him waste all of his time on Alcoholics Anonymous, OR ELSE he might drink again, and "anything is preferable to that." That cleverly combines four propaganda tricks:

"If you don't do what I want, then something really terrible might happen."

Alcoholics Anonymous claims that it must come before everything else in a member's life, including his or her job, marriage, and children:

"I decided I must place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition — Chapter B10, He Sold Himself Short, page 293.

We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, Henry "Hank" Parkhurst, Chapter 10, To Employers, page 143.

Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.   ...
Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.

And a rehash of the Big Book that is targeted at youths tells this story of an allegedly-successful recovery, where the spouse gets third place in the A.A. member's life:

Even after she remarries, she doesn't lose sight of her priorities. She places God first and A.A. second. Her husband is never more than the third most important aspect of her life.
Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, John R., page 107.

But the "God" that she is supposedly placing before A.A. is really just the meddling dictatorial "God" that A.A. defines, so she isn't really placing anything before the A.A. "program".


87. Channelling or other occult, unchallengeable, sources of information.
A.A. scores a 10.

Essentially, Step Eleven demands that the A.A. follower "channel" God. (Yes, channelling, just like Shirley MacLaine taught.) The A.A. member is supposed to just sit quietly, "seeking Guidance" "through prayer and meditation", and wait for God to talk to him. Then he assumes that his own internal mental noise, the voices in his head, are The Voice of God, talking to him and giving him religious instruction and marching orders:

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

(Note the contradiction here: The standard A.A. dogma says that you can use anything you wish for your "Higher Power" — a doorknob, a teddy bear, a bedpan, a motorcycle, or your A.A. group itself. But when you practice Step Eleven, and pray to your Higher Power, your bedpan doesn't talk back to you, "God" does.)


The whole Buchmanite family participates in the Quiet Time.
They sit quietly with notebooks in hand, ready to write down the messages that they receive from God.

Bill Wilson learned this particular technique from the notorious fascist cult leader Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, whose Oxford Groups would sit silently during the "Quiet Hour", listening for God to give them messages. (Apparently, God told Frank that Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler were really wonderful fellows.)

On awakening, let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking...
...
Here we ask God for inspiration...
...
What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely on it.
      We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be...
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 86 to 87.

So, if we practice the Twelve Steps enough, we will supposedly end up in a state of mind where we are in constant conscious contact with God, and God is just always guiding us and telling us what to do, all day long. We may get into trouble by doing all kinds of absurd things and believing all kinds of absurd ideas because we think that God is telling us to do it; we may, in fact, become totally delusional and insane, but nevertheless, Bill Wilson says that "We come to rely on it."

See The Heresy of the Twelve Steps for a much longer discussion of channelling.


88. They Make You Dependent On The Group.
A.A. scores a 10, and deserves far more.
A.A. is just a substitute addiction, and just another dependency, and Bill Wilson plainly declared that members were supposed to become dependent upon Alcoholics Anonymous.

His lone courage and unaided will cannot do it. Surely he must now depend upon Somebody or Something else.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 39.

  • Step One demands that we confess — "admit" — that we are "powerless over alcohol."

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
    The other half of Step One, which says that "our lives had become unmanageable", leads some people to believe that they shouldn't even try to manage their own lives.

    In professional 12-Step counselor newspeak, they call it "Inability to maintain sobriety."

  • Step Two is just as bad: it teaches people that they are insane, and that only a Supernatural Being can restore them to sanity — which means that they are helpless, and cannot heal themselves. (So why bother trying?)

    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  • Then Step Three teaches a lifestyle of passive dependency, where A.A. members turn control of their wills and their lives over to "the care of God as we understood Him", and they expect God to run their lives and solve all their problems for them from then on...

    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

  • The Big Book specifically states that A.A. is a substitute for an alcohol addiction, as well as a substitute lifestyle:

    • You say, "...I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"
            Yes, there is a substitute, and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
      A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 11, A Vision For You, page 152.

    • We admitted we couldn't lick alcohol with our own remaining resources, and so we accepted the further fact that dependence upon a Higher Power (if only our A.A. group) could do this hitherto impossible job.   ...
      Our whole treasured philosophy of self-sufficiency had to be cast aside.
      The Grapevine, William G. Wilson, March 1962, quoted in The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill, page 109.

    • When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Page 52.

    • Job or no job — wife or no wife — we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God.
      A.A. Big Book, Chapter 7, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 98.

  • A.A. slogans declare:
    • I Can't Handle It. God, You Take Over.
      -- A.A. slogan

    • I Can't... God Can... I Think I'll Let Him.
      -- A.A. slogan

    • I Can't Handle It, God. I'll Give It To You.
      -- A.A. slogan

  • Failure to admit powerlessness is considered a major moral failing, one that will doom you to relapse.

  • And if you "take your will back", that is supposedly another major moral failing that will doom you to relapse.

  • Then they construct their whole religion around the idea that we are incapable of quitting drinking, drugging, smoking, or over-eating without having God to do the quitting for us, because we are powerless over alcohol, our addictions, nicotine, and food. (That's Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous, and Over-eaters Anonymous.) And they say that we must have a sponsor and "Higher Power" running our lives for us, because we are mentally incompetent, and cannot do it ourselves.

  • Remember the slogan: "I pray to God every day that I never get the idea that I can run my own life."

  • Bill Wilson even equated "self-reliance" with stubborn willfulness — He considered it doing one's own will rather than the Will of God. Bill denounced taking care of yourself and managing your own life as "playing God". As Bill saw it, only God has the right to tell you what to do. You don't have the right to decide for yourself.

  • Thus, the properly-behaved A.A. member constantly confesses that he is powerless over alcohol and is incapable of running his own life, and needs his sponsor and A.A. to do his thinking for him, and says that he has no will power of his own because he gave his will away. So much for having any "inner strength".

  • But dependence upon an A.A. group or Higher Power hasn't produced any baleful results.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 38.

    A lot of people will disagree with that statement. Many of them are dead. Others are asking how many years it takes to deprogram from A.A. indoctrination. And after 10 years of "working the steps" and raving about God, Bill Wilson went into an 11-year-long period of deep, crippling clinical depression (which A.A. kept secret for 30 years).


Bill Wilson declared that self-reliance was bad, very bad, and that dependency was good. According to Bill, self-confidence and will power are terrible things:

We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, it was a total liability. Our sponsors declared that we were the victims of a mental obsession so subtly powerful that no amount of human willpower could break it.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 22.

In the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous, there is no difference between self-reliance — using your own intelligence to manage your life and take care of yourself — and stubborn willfulness, deliberately disobeying the orders that come down from God.

The book "The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill" is a collection of the writings of Bill Wilson on every subject, published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.. It has an index in the front of the book. The entry for "self-reliance", on page viii reads:

Self-Reliance; see Will

Then the entry for "Will" lists 26 items, all of which tell us what is wrong with having a will, or being willful. In Bill Wilson's crazy theology, anybody who had a will of his own was in direct conflict with the Will of God. The only acceptable morality was to be a grovelling slave of "Higher Power" or "God, as Bill Wilson understood Him", depending on "Him" to tell us what to do with our lives:

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, page 60.

See the next item, Demands For Compliance, for more on this.


Bill Wilson's second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, adds this Orwellian double-think:

Therefore dependence, as A.A. practices it, is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 36.

[Big Brother says, "Freedom is Slavery! Slavery is Freedom!"]

And Bill Wilson declared:

... By so accepting our dependence on this marvel of science [electricity], we find ourselves more independent personally.   ...
      But the moment our mental or emotional independence is in question, how differently we behave. How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.   ...   We are certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in. This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds good in the speaking, but it still has to meet this acid test: how well does it actually work? One good look in the mirror ought to be answer enough for any alcoholic.
      ... The philosophy of self-sufficiency is not paying off. Plainly enough, it is a bone-crushing juggernaut whose final achievement is ruin.
      Therefore, we who are alcoholics can consider ourselves fortunate indeed.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 37.

["So, because I depend on electricity to do things for me, I shouldn't mind depending on Alcoholics Anonymous and my sponsor to tell me what to think and what to do. I'm 'fortunate' that alcohol destroyed my brain, because it saves me from the pain of trying to think for myself..."
"After all, I don't really have the right to decide all by myself just what I shall do with my life and just what I shall think, do I? That would be 'playing God', wouldn't it?"]

A.A. tells the newly-sober people that they must put their "sobriety" (meaning: A.A.) before everything else, and come to depend upon A.A. to run their lives for them. Absolutely nothing must come between themselves and their "sobriety". That includes wife, children, job, career, everything. The Big Book actually teaches that wives and families are expendable in the selfish pursuit of "sobriety" and "spirituality." The new A.A. member must spend all of his spare time going to meetings, preferably 90 Meetings In 90 Days, and must get a sponsor who will supervise his indoctrination and keep him busy with reading the Big Book and making lists of personal defects.

Such "treatment" of the so-called "disease" of alcoholism is the antithesis of good medical treatment. No attempt is made to actually cure the patient of the disease. Just the opposite: the object is to addict the patient to the so-called "treatment program", to make him psychologically dependent upon A.A., and to keep him coming back to meetings for the rest of his life.

A.A. says that you must remain in A.A. for the rest of your life, and you must continue going to meetings forever. A.A. says that you are powerless over alcohol, and will never be able to maintain sobriety without depending on your "support group". That isn't 'recovery'. That's addiction to the cult.

Even Marc Galanter, who is an enthusiastic booster of Alcoholics Anonymous, reported in his book:

AA generates an intense personal involvement in the group, one comparable to the members' previous dependency on alcohol, and thus provides them with "an alternative dependency." Over 80% of members invite fellow members to their homes, outside the meeting format. In his studies of the life histories of alcoholics, George Vaillant has found that recovery from alcoholism most commonly happens when an alternative dependency is substituted.
      The emotional impact of this dependency on AA is apparent in the experience of many members whose equanimity is closely tied to their stable relationship to the group. One of my patients, a successful lawyer who regularly attended AA meetings, spoke of his irritability in dealing with his wife and partners after returning from a long business trip.
Missing meetings while I was away was a big problem. I didn't get to one for five days last week and I just couldn't take to that old "button-pushing." I kept barking at Jennie and was unpleasant at work. I knew something was unsteady inside of me that was making me more irritable at every turn. But getting back to a meeting made me feel like my old self again. I'll have to make a meeting every day on the next trip.
Cults; Faith, Healing, and Coercion, Marc Galanter, page 220.


89. Demands For Compliance With The Group
A.A. scores a 10.

This one is also pretty obvious. In the theology of Bill Wilson, everyone is supposed to be a slave of God. A.A. demands that newcomers just shut up and work the program, which includes "Seeking and Doing the Will of God". No questioning of the program is allowed. Newcomers must work all of the Steps and do whatever their sponsor says. Dissenting opinions are not welcome. The slogan is "Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth."

Bill Wilson wrote that

We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 88.

[A.A. members are] impersonally and severely disciplined from without.
(A personal letter from Bill Wilson to Dr. Harry Tiebout, 9 Nov 1950, quoted in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 129.)

In the Big Book, one member says:

Since I gave my will over to A.A., whatever A.A. has wanted of me I've tried to do to the best of my ability.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 340.

Yes, she has completely surrendered, and become a regular passive dependent, just doing whatever she is told to do.

And other A.A. members wrote in their Big Book stories:

A willingness to do whatever I was told to do simplified the program for me.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 381.

I was beginning to see that I would require implicit faith, like a small child, if I was going to get anywhere.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, The News Hawk by Jim Scott, Page 259. (Titled Traveler, Editor, Scholar in the first edition.)

In Bill Wilson's theology, you are a good person only if you are obeying a 'Higher-Powered' dictator:

Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, page 100.

In fact, Bill Wilson even praised dictatorships, and bragged that Alcoholics Anonymous had "all of the advantages of the modern dictatorship".

"Then, too we have a dictatorship — and how! God constantly says to us, 'I trust you will find and do my will.' John Barleycorn, always at our elbow, says, 'If you don't conform, I'll kill you or drive you mad.' So we have all the advantages and more, of the modern dictatorship."
Bill Wilson, quoted by his secretary in Grateful To Have Been There, Nell Wing, page 22.

Therefore we [AA] have the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today but none of their liabilities.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 105—106.
The full benefits of murderous dictatorships? What benefits? Benefits for whom? And what liabilities of murderous dictatorships does Alcoholics Anonymous not have?

And when Bill Wilson talked about "the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today", was he talking about the benefits of Adolf Hitler's murderous dictatorship, or the benefits of Joseph Stalin's murderous dictatorship?

Bill continued to insist that people should be slaves:

We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, page 68.

First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 62.

The notion that we would still live our own lives, God helping a little now and then, began to evaporate.   ...
"Of myself I am nothing, the Father doeth the works"...
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 75.

... newcomers ... have experienced nothing but constant deflation and a growing conviction that human will is of no value whatsoever.   ...
      It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that we begin to use it rightly.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 40.

Thy will, not mine, be done.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 41.

Bill Wilson's Third Step Prayer says:

God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 63.

And of course there is Bill Wilson's classic death threat:

Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion].
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.


Three of the "Twelve Traditions" also demand conformity and obedience to the group's will:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
    (What is "A.A. unity", besides conformity?)

    [Long Form]
    Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.

  2. For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as he may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
    (What is "a group conscience"? Who gets to say what the "group conscience" says?)

    [Long Form]
    For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

  1. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
    (Their "principles" come before yours.)

    [Long Form]
    And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 129, 132, 184, 189 and 192.

  • The first tradition induces fears and phobias, and tells alcoholics that they will die without the A.A. cult. And it says that alcoholics must not "break the unity" of the group, which can only mean that he must conform to the group.

  • Then the second tradition sets up the cult as the authority to be obeyed. Ostensibly, members are obeying the Will of God "as He may express Himself in our group conscience", but it is really the will of the elders as they voice it in the meetings. It is absurd to imagine that every time one of the old-timers opens his mouth, God's opinion comes out.

  • And Tradition Twelve tells you that their "principles" come before your "personality". So you must be subordinate to them, just like you must be "genuinely humble" and subordinate to "Him who presides over us all."

    Bill Wilson liked to talk about "spiritual principles" a lot, but Tradition Twelve and Step Twelve do not actually refer to any "spiritual principles" when it says that we are to "practice these principles in all our affairs." Step Twelve really refers to some cult practices that Bill Wilson borrowed from Frank Buchman's Oxford Groups cult, which are embodied in the preceding eleven steps, not to principles.


90. Newcomers Need Fixing.
A.A. scores a 10, obviously, and deserves about a hundred.

Fixing newcomers is what A.A. is all about. They even brag about it. The whole premise of A.A. is that newcomers are dying of alcoholism, and the A.A. old-timers have the answer to that problem, and will fix the newcomers.

Now for sure, people who drink too much alcohol need to stop doing it. But Alcoholics Anonymous has an additional, hidden, agenda — converting the newcomers to the A.A. religious beliefs, and converting the newcomers into faithful, loyal A.A. members who will Keep Coming Back forever.

A.A. says that newcomers are insane, that they are immoral, that they have no faith, and that their thinking is "alcoholic" and they cannot be trusted to think for themselves. A.A. and Bill Wilson say that newcomers are selfish, egotistical, manipulative, and dishonest. And A.A. claims to have the cure for all of that: change the newcomers and make them believe in the A.A. religion with its "Higher Power" and its "spiritual experiences", and get them busy confessing their sins.

Bill Wilson wrote of alcoholics:

Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.   ...
... the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 62.

In A.A., I have had to be torn down and then put back together differently.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 420.

Here I am, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons, a diplomate of one of the great specialty boards in these United States, a member of the American Psychiatric Society, and I have to go to the butcher, the baker, and the carpenter to help make a man out of me!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 348.

"... no alcoholic ... can claim 'soundness of mind' for himself."
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 33.

By now the newcomer has probably arrived at the following conclusions: that his character defects, representing instincts gone astray, have been the primary cause of his drinking and his failure at life...
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 50.

See the file "Us Stupid Drunks" for a very long list of the defects that Bill Wilson wanted to fix in everybody else. (Bill didn't bother to fix his own problems with natural desires, like the urge to sexually exploit every pretty woman who came to an A.A. meeting seeking help for a drinking problem.)

Bill Wilson also says that newcomers don't really know God, but they will, if they do his Twelve Steps enough:

Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
      We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. ... People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 49.

In Step Eleven we saw that if a Higher Power had restored us to sanity and had enabled us to live with some peace of mind in a sorely troubled world, then such a Higher Power was worth knowing better, by as direct contact as possible. The persistent use of meditation and prayer, we found, did open the channel so that where there had been a trickle, there now was a river which led to sure power and safe guidance from God as we were increasingly better able to understand Him.
      So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.

Again, Bill Wilson tells us that the A.A. religious-conversion program works on the newcomers without their even realizing it... until later.

And Bill Wilson says that newcomers don't believe in the right God, either. Even though A.A. tells newcomers that they can believe in any God or "Higher Power" they choose, that is just another deceptive recruiting trick. Eventually, the newcomers will learn that they must believe in the A.A. version of God. A book called the "Serenity Bible" describes that theistic bait-and-switch process precisely:

We may start out as agnostics. We may then come to view the group or recovery process as our higher power, looking to other people for strength. Gradually, we accept a vague notion of god, which grows to a more specific monotheistic god. We may even begin to pray to and dialogue with this god. Eventually we come to know the one true God.
Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, Complete with New Testament Psalms & Proverbs, Dr. Robert Hemfelt and Dr. Richard Fowler, page 78.

So, no matter what you believe to start with, A.A. will fix your thinking and fix your beliefs, and you will eventually come to believe in the correct "one true God" of Alcoholics Anonymous — a "God" Who wants everybody to be His grovelling slave.



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Last updated 14 December 2017.
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