Twelve-Step Snake Oil
by A. Orange

For every complicated problem there is a simple and wrong solution.
== H. L. Mencken

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of Al-Anon

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our food compulsion, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other overeaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of Nicotine Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over nicotine, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other nicotine users, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our dual illness of chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illness — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others who experience dual disorders and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over the fact that we acquired HCV — that our lives had the potential to become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we prepare ourselves through faith. We will try to carry this message to others and demonstrate these principles in all areas of our lives.

(We prepare ourselves for what, death? Well, yes. You don't really imagine that the 12 steps actually cure or treat Hep C, do you?)

The Twelve Steps of Diabetes Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over diabetes — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other diabetics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over sex and love addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sex and love addicts, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.

(Note that SLAA people don't get to practice "these principles" in all of their "affairs".)

Because the Twelve Steps are not a program for quitting drinking, it is easy to change them into something else that is not a program for getting off of drugs, or not a program for avoiding over-eating, or not a program for quitting gambling, or not a program for fixing whatever else you don't like. Just edit Step One, and change the words "powerless over alcohol" to "powerless over our addiction", or "powerless over our food compulsion", or whatever else you want to be powerless over, and then edit Step Twelve, and change the word "alcoholics" to "addicts", or "overeaters", or whatever, and Hey Presto! you have a new "spiritual" program for unsuccessfully treating some other problem or "spiritual disease." I hear that there are now over two hundred of these clone twelve-step programs, intended to cure (or not cure, but "treat") just about everything imaginable. Some of them sound pretty wild, like Artists in Recovery, or Partners of Sexaholics.

(I just can't help but wonder, is that last group complaining or bragging?)

(And in my wild imagination, I can see an Artists in Recovery meeting where a dozen crazy paint-stained guys with berets and only one ear talk about how they really have to stop drinking that absinthe...)

The last time we had a universal medicine that would cure so many different ailments, it was the snake oil sold by the traveling medicine shows.

The rest of the program, besides those words in Steps One and Twelve, is always the same. In fact, in most all of the 12-Step programs, Steps Two through Eleven are word-for-word identical to the Alcoholics Anonymous steps.

  • "Admit that you are powerless" over your problem, and that your life has become "unmanageable".

  • "Come to believe" that only "A Power greater than yourself" (God) can save you — "restore you to sanity."

  • Surrender your will and your life to the control of the group's old-timers and 'God' as you misunderstand Him.

  • Perform a "searching and fearless moral inventory" to find and list all of your "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings", and then confess the "exact nature of your wrongs" to your sponsor and to God.

  • Ask God to perform soul surgery on you, and fix you, by removing all of your "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings".

  • Make amends to all whom you have harmed.

  • Repeat the above steps endlessly, for the rest of your life, and always promptly admit when you are wrong.

  • "Seek, through prayer and meditation, to make conscious contact with God." That is, conduct a séance where you sit quietly and listen for the Voice of God to talk to you and dictate your work orders to you. Pray for the power to carry out those orders. Go do whatever the voices in your head tell you to do. (That is not a joke.)

  • Claim that you have gotten a "spiritual experience" or a "spiritual awakening" from doing the previous eleven steps. "Carry the message" to anyone else who will listen — make religious converts out of everyone else that you can — and somehow practice the above so-called "principles" in all of your affairs.

Snake Oil

Some of the twelve-step groups are absurd. There are groups for an amazing number of "spiritual diseases". Just the short list of the common ones includes:
  1. AA — Alcoholics Anonymous
  2. Abusive Parents Anonymous
  3. ACOA — Adult Children Of Alcoholics
  4. ADD — Attention Deficit Disorder Anonymous
  5. Al-Anon
  6. Alateen
  7. Alcoholics Victorious of the Institute for Christian Living
  8. ARTS — Anonymous (Artists Recovering through the Twelve Steps)
  9. Augustine Fellowship: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
  10. CA — Cocaine/Crack Anonymous
  11. Calix (a Catholic semi-12-Step-based recovery organization. Description here.)
  12. CDA — Chemically Dependent Anonymous
  13. CEA — Compulsive Eaters Anonymous
  14. CMA — Crystal Meth Anonymous
  15. Chronic Illness
  16. CLA — Clutterers Anonymous
  17. CLA — Clutterers Anonymous (alternate URL)
  18. CODA — Codependents Anonymous
  19. COSA — Codependents of Sex Addicts
  20. Compulsive Eaters Anonymous
  21. Compulsive Shopping
  22. Debtors Anonymous
  23. Diabetics Anonymous
  24. Divorce Recovery
  25. Dual Diagnosis Anonymous
  26. Drug-Anon Focus
  27. Dual Disorders Anonymous
  28. DRA — Dual Recovery Anonymous
  29. EAA — Eating addictions anonymous
  30. EA — Emotions Anonymous
  31. EDA — Eating Disorders Anonymous
  32. EAA — Eating Addictions Anonymous
  33. Emotional Health Anonymous
  34. Ethics Anonymous
  35. FA — Families Anonymous
  36. FA — Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
  37. GA — Gamblers Anonymous
  38. GamAnon — families of gamblers
  39. Gangs Anonymous
  40. Gangsters Anonymous
  41. Hoarders Anonymous
  42. HCVA — Hepatitis C Virus Anonymous
  43. High blood pressure
  44. ISA — Incest Survivors Anonymous
  45. Marijuana Anonymous
  46. Methadone Anonymous
  47. Messies Anonymous
  48. MTC — Make Today Count (for someone with a terminal disease)
  49. NA — Narcotics Anonymous
  50. Nar-Anon — families of addicts
  51. Nick-a-teen Anonymous
  52. Nicotine Anonymous
  53. Obsessive-Compulsive Anonymous
  54. Offenders Anonymous — for convicts
  55. ODAT — One Day At a Time — pagan recovery
  56. Overcomers Outreach
  57. OE — Overeaters Anonymous
  58. PIR — Pagans In Recovery
  59. Pagan Sanctum Recovery
  60. Parents Anonymous
  61. Partners and Friends of Incest Survivors Anonymous
  62. Pill Addicts Anonymous
  63. Pills Anonymous
  64. Prostitutes Anonymous
  65. Recovering Couples Anonymous
  66. RSA — Rape Survivors Anonymous
  67. S/A — Schizophrenics Anonymous
  68. S/A — Schizophrenics Anonymous (alternate URL)
  69. Self-Mutilators Anonymous
  70. SA — Sexaholics Anonymous
  71. SAA — Sex Addicts Anonymous
  72. SAA — Sex Addicts Anonymous (alternate URL)
  73. S-Anon — family groups of sex-addicts
  74. SCA — Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
  75. S-Anon International Family Groups
  76. SLAA — Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
  77. Sexual Recovery Anonymous
  78. SIA — Survivors of Incest Anonymous
  79. Tough Love
  80. TOWMA — The Other Woman/Man Anonymous
  81. UA — Underearners Anonymous
  82. WA — Workaholics Anonymous

Some of these groups offer their own minor variations on the twelve steps, but all have the same spiritual-religious orientation.

Notice the funny mix of so-called "spiritual diseases" there: you can "cure" some of them just by changing your behavior, like alcoholism, narcotics, smoking, over-eating, sex addiction, gambling, cocaine, or being a compulsive shopper or a clutterer. But the others are not what we might call "voluntary" diseases. You cannot just voluntarily quit having high blood pressure, diabetes, hepatitis C, chronic illness, dual disorder (i.e.: having both mental and drug or alcohol problems) or schizophrenia, so I really want to hear how listing and confessing all of your sins, "moral shortcomings", and "defects of character" will cure those so-called "diseases".

Someone would have to be pretty crazy to think that doing the Twelve Steps — performing a searching and fearless moral inventory and confessing all of his sins — is going to cure mental illnesses like schizophrenia and compulsive-obessive disorders.

But, come to think of it, that's just how the game works, isn't it? Go find sick, vulnerable people who are suffering, whose minds aren't too clear, and exploit their weaknesses and talk them into joining a cult religion while telling them that this magical 12-Step program will heal what ails them.

Last night I joined Gamblers Anonymous. They gave me two to one I don't make it.
== Rodney Dangerfield

Dumb Question: Why are there three "Dual" recovery groups that appear to treat the same mental problems — Dual Diagnosis, Dual Disorder, and Dual Recovery?

Dumb Answer: So that the people who have Multiple Personality Disorder4 can send each of their personalities to a different group, so that they don't run into each other at the meetings...

If Workaholics Anonymous people do 90 meetings in 90 days, are they still being compulsive workaholics?

Shouldn't 180 meetings in 90 days fix the problem?

And the oddest ones have to be "divorce recovery," "parents," "emotions," and "families." They are neither bad habits like alcohol and drug consumption, nor diseases like Hepatitis C and diabetes.

  • Is making lists of all of your "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings", and confessing them, really going to fix the heartbreak of divorce?
  • Or is the goal to wreck your ego, destroy your self-respect, and convince yourself that you really are a worthless piece of dirt, and your partner was right to have dumped you?

I cannot help but think that group therapy sessions, where divorced people get together and talk about their common problems and suffering, could be a very good thing, but the Twelve Steps are totally inappropriate for such a healing process.

The children's groups are strange, too. They are the groups like Al-Anon, Alateen, and ACOA — Adult Children of Alcoholics. Those groups teach that because someone was born to alcoholic parents, he should spend the rest of his life doing the Twelve Steps. Didn't Alcoholics Anonymous say that the Twelve Steps were a program for quitting drinking? Those children don't drink, and never have.

And just when you think you've heard it all, it gets even worse.

Ann W. Smith, M.S., C.A.C., has written a "recovery" book for "Adult Grandchildren of Alcoholics""Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency". Now you can waste your life in meetings, work Bill's 12 Steps, and confess everything to strangers because Grandpa liked his moonshine.

A book that is popularly known as "The Serenity Bible" tells us:

That you have picked up Serenity® probably means that you or someone you love is already involved in or considering joining a Twelve Step program of recovery. We embark on recovery as a means of seeking freedom from any one or more of a number of addictive agents. Addictive agents are those persons or things on which we form an excessive dependency. The catalog of addictive agents includes:
  1. Alcohol or drugs
  2. Work, achievement, and success
  3. Money addictions, such as overspending, gambling, hoarding
  4. Control addictions, especially if they surface in personal, sexual, family, and business relationships
  5. Food addictions
  6. Sexual addictions
  7. Approval dependency (the need to please people)
  8. Rescuing patterns toward other persons
  9. Dependency on toxic relationships (relationships that are damaging and hurtful)
  10. Physical illness (hypochondria)
  11. Exercise and physical conditioning
  12. Cosmetics, clothes, cosmetic surgery, trying to look good on the outside
  13. Academic pursuits and excessive intellectualizing
  14. Religiosity or religious legalism (preoccupation with the form and the rules and regulations of religion, rather than benefiting from the real spiritual message)
  15. General perfectionism
  16. Cleaning and avoiding contamination and other obsessive-compulsive symptoms
  17. Organizing, structuring (the need always to have everything in its place)
  18. Materialism
Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, Complete with New Testament Psalms & Proverbs, Dr. Robert Hemfelt and Dr. Richard Fowler, pages 13-14.

That list of so-called "addictions" is, of course, absurd, and even insane. According to the authors, just about everything, good or bad, is an addiction. And they apparently don't even know the difference between real physical illnesses and hypochondria (item 10). They use the title of doctor, but they surely are not medical doctors. (One is a psychologist and the other runs "a Christian counselling clinic in Dallas, Texas".) But no matter — they will prescribe the same 12-Step quack cure no matter what your ailment may be.

But for sheer goofy wackyness, it's hard to beat Clutterers Anonymous:

...chapters of Clutterers Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program for compulsive accumulators, are also springing up all over the country. There are now groups in 50 cities in 17 states, including two chapters in Pennsylvania, where participants learn the self-help, growth and healing principles that have proven so successful in programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Clutterers Anonymous, or CLA, was formed in 1989 in Simi Valley, Calif., after several women who were doing work in Overeater's Anonymous learned that they were also either pack-rats, or married to one, according to Christy B., of the CLA World Service Organization. As with other 12-step groups, the members don't reveal their last names.

The 12 steps embody a set of principles that promote inner change, she says. "We're not about teaching organizational skills, housecleaning tips or time management," she says. "We focus on the tools of recovery that address and free us from the underlying causes of clutter." The process has worked wonders for Ruth S., a licensed professional addictions counselor in Montgomery County, who discovered the program through group workshops.

Through attending meetings and workshops and working closely with her own sponsor or "clutter buddy," Ruth says she has been able to understand the kind of behavior that has led her to be constantly surrounded by physical and emotional chaos.

"It helped me to see my home as a sacred space, and to understand how removing clutter from my life — internally and externally — has really helped me gain clarity and control," she says.

For more information on Clutterers Anonymous, visit the Web site at, which provides links to information about the program, chapters, and meetings.

Clutter begone — Don't let guilt keep you from culling through your possessions; Linda Harbrecht, Allentown Morning Call, 01-15-2006



You may think that getting involved in an affair is something one chooses to do. But according to a new group called TOWMA (The Other Woman/Man Anonymous), it is a "painful and devastating addiction." (Step number one down the road to victimhood: Deny the exercise of free will and renounce all responsibility; claim an addiction.)

Modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, this new 12-Step program is "open to anyone struggling with confusion, frustration, anger, or loneliness that comes with being in or have [sic] been in a relationship with a married person," says founder Elissa Gough of Huntington Beach, California. Gough contends that "the spurred [sic] partner or wayward spouse can find comfort in family and friends," but not so "the third side of the triangle — the other woman or man. We face a secret hell."

Sounds like sour grapes to us.

Psychology Today, Nov/Dec 1993, Vol. 26, Issue 6, p22.

It begins to look like the real purpose of these twelve-step groups is to practice the twelve steps and to expand the 12-Step religion, not to cure anything.

Of course. That has always been the objective.

(Starry-eyed A.A. faithful have even been quoted as saying things like, "The Twelve Steps are so wonderful that there needs to be another Twelve-Step group, one for all of the people who aren't alcoholics, so they can do the Twelve Steps, too.")

The real purpose of the Twelve-Step "self-help groups"3 is to get everybody to practice Frank Buchman's cult religion — "The Oxford Groups" — by "Working The Steps" and "Seeking and Doing the Will of God". Bill Wilson even said so, very clearly:

Six months earlier, the broker [Bill Wilson] had been relieved of his drink obsession by a sudden spiritual experience, following a meeting with an alcoholic friend who had been in contact with the Oxford Groups of that day.   ...   Though he could not accept all the tenets of the Oxford Groups, he was convinced of the need for moral inventory, confession of personality defects, restitution to those harmed, helpfulness to others, and the necessity of belief in and dependence upon God.
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, pages xv and xvi of the Foreword.

(In other words, he did accept all of the tenets of the Oxford Groups, but he didn't want to admit that his so-called "sobriety program" was just a copy of Frank Buchman's cult religion.)

To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasize the spiritual feature on our first approach. We might prejudice them. At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God...
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 77.

Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world...
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 100.

Then Bill Wilson schemed to recruit the alcoholics' entire families into his cult religion:

Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them. The family should be offered your way of life. Should they accept and practice spiritual principles, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover. And even though he continues to drink, the family will find life more bearable.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.

Notice how Bill suddenly changed the advertised effect of his "spiritual" Twelve-Step program from making alcoholics quit drinking to just making the family's life "more bearable". Are the 12 steps really a program for recovery from alcoholic drinking, or are they really something else?
Well, the truth is that the Steps are really a religion for the whole family, just like the Oxford Group was.

And lastly, Bill wrote in the Foreword to the Big Book that:

We think this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all.
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, in the Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii of the 3rd edition.

"And besides, it will be wonderful if we can convert everybody in the world to our religion, to 'our way of living', and have all of them under 'God-control', following the dictates of a Higher Power, doing the Twelve Steps, and seeking and doing the Will of God as we understand it..."

And Bill's followers have tried hard to make that ambition a reality, cloning the Twelve-Step program into a couple of hundred other groups that will supposedly treat an absurdly large and all-inclusive list of ailments, which makes everyone in the world a candidate for twelve-step salvation, in one guise or another, for some disease or other, real or imagined.

  • The first clone was Al-Anon, for the wives and children of alcoholics.
  • And then there was Alateen, just for the teenagers.
  • Then there was ACOA, Adult Children of Alcoholics, where you can confess your miserable choice of parents.
  • Then they started 12-Step groups for drug addicts and compulsive gamblers — Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.
  • Then it got really ridiculous, with groups that are downright bizarre, groups to "treat but not cure" high blood pressure, Hepatitis C, diabetes, chronic illness, compulsive shopping, over-eating, schizophrenia, and being the partner of a sex addict, all by doing the Twelve Steps and confessing all of your sins, defects of character, and moral shortcomings, and then surrendering your mind and your will...

Morphine, Opium, Cured Free

Europeans regard that routine as pretty silly. Something that the 12-Step true believers will never tell you is that Europe manages to handle its drug and alcohol problems without the Twelve Steps. Oh, the 12-Step organizations have branches over there, of course, but they are not nearly as popular as in the USA, and they do not dominate their nations' treatment programs like the Steppers do in the USA.

Twelve-Step recovery is a distinctly American phenomenon, just like Puritanism is a distinctly American phenomenon.

British researchers see it this way:

The application of AA dogmas to behaviours which could scarcely be termed "diseases" — shopping, for instance — with all the paraphernalia about recognizing these as illnesses over which one has no control, has a faintly ludicrous quality. Their acceptance by many Americans testifies to the fact that what we are witnessing here is a socio-religious phenomenon requiring of followers the confession and repentance through which they receive status and acceptance.

Hence the attempt to explain alcohol problems, as well as other drug problems, in non-disease terms not only steps on commercial toes by threatening the theoretical basis for disease-based treatment programmes, it also threatens an entire social movement by asserting that there are other means of breaking habits than by confession and repentance.
Problem Drinking, 2nd edition, Nick Heather and Ian Robertson, Oxford University Press, 1989, page 169.

A.A. and the other 12-Step groups like to claim that the 12-Step program has a sound psychological foundation and that it is good therapy for whatever your ailment may be, but the so-called "psychology" is just a thin veneer of psychobabble laid on top of the superstitious 12-Step program. ("Psychobabble" is popular psychology babble — the kind of talk where people just rattle off lists of buzz words that sound like psychological terms but which are either grossly misused, meaningless, or just plain wrong.)

The official A.A. history book about Doctor Bob tells us:

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.

(But A.A. is really completely irrational and unscientific, and even brags about it. And A.A. is religiously insane — it is just the authoritarian cult religion of Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman dressed in a shabbier suit of clothes.)

Back in the earliest days of Alcoholics Anonymous, the poetry editor of The New York Times promoted the newly-printed Big Book by writing a fake book review that said of a stereotypical alcoholic who was trying to quit drinking:

The point of the book is that he is unlikely to win through unless he floods his mind with the idea of a force outside himself. So doing, his individual problem resolves into thin air. In last analysis, it is the resigning word: Not my will, but Thine, be done, said in the full knowledge of the fact that the decision will be against further addiction.
The argument, as we have said, has a deep psychological foundation.

(Percy Hutchison gave us no explanation for the terrible problem that the real decision was for further addiction. Then, as now, the truth was that most of the A.A. members relapsed and returned to a life of drinking.)

Likewise, Dr. Ruth Fox, an early A.A. booster, declared:

The Twelve Steps constitute the cardinal programmatic aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous, than which, for alcoholics, there is no better therapeutic approach.
Alcoholism; Its Scope, Cause, and Treatment, Ruth Fox, M.D., and Peter Lyon, page 97.

Note that Dr. Ruth Fox was the founder of ASAM — the American Society for Addiction Medicine — an A.A. front group that tries to sell Alcoholics Anonymous to other doctors as a cure for alcoholism. Dr. Ruth Fox also liked to dose her alcoholic patients with LSD because it made them more compliant. So apparently, sometimes, she felt that LSD was a "better therapeutic approach" than the 12 Steps.

But then William L. White declared in Slaying The Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America that the effectiveness of A.A. in treating alcoholism cannot be determined because A.A. is not a treatment program and does not keep records (page 176).

And a doctor who is trying to convert other doctors to the 12-Step religion wrote:

Dr. Whitfield agrees that AA's effectiveness can't be explained in scientific terms, or tested in controlled studies.
Doctors in A.A.; the profession's skepticism persists, but MDs in Alcoholics Anonymous say the 12-Step program could benefit all physicians, C. Thomas Anderson, American Medical News, Jan 12, 1990 v33 n2 p33(2)

And A.A. true believers routinely claim that A.A. is not based on science, so it cannot be scientifically tested.

(Actually, the effectiveness of A.A. most assuredly can be — and has been — scientifically tested in controlled studies. A.A. just failed the tests every time, so the true believers claim that the results are invalid, and that A.A. cannot be properly tested.)

So that becomes two more bait-and-switch tricks:

  1. First, A.A. is allegedly "psychologically sound" and then A.A. is not based on science at all.
  2. First, the 12-Step program is allegedly good therapy for the "disease" of alcoholism, and then it isn't therapy at all.

Al-Anon, the A.A. auxiliary for the other family members, is itself a good candidate for the title of "spiritual disease". It practices battering, just like a cruel, vicious, wife-battering husband:

  1. First, the husband is friendly and loving, but then he turns on his wife and threatens and beats her.
  2. Just when the wife is ready to leave, the battering husband reverts to being loving and reassuring, telling the wife that things will be better in the future and that he didn't really mean it and he loves her.
  3. Then, when the wife stays, the husband soon reverts to attacking and beating her again.
  4. Then, just when the wife is ready to leave, the battering husband reverts to being loving and reassuring again.
  5. Eventually, the battered wife is so paralyzed by confusion and fear that she doesn't know if she is coming or going.
  6. And worse yet, while all of that is going on, the husband convinces the wife that it is her fault — that her bad behavior is the problem. She starts to think: "Maybe if I was a better wife, he wouldn't get so angry. I must try harder to be a good wife and please him." Thus, he gradually destroys what little self-respect and self-confidence the wife has left, which makes it even harder for her to leave him.

A.A. and Al-Anon foist the same back-and-forth routine on their victims:

  • First you are good, then you are bad, then you are good, then you are bad...

  • You are powerful, then you are powerless. First you are powerful and responsible for your own fate, and responsible for your quitting drinking, and then you are powerless and your will power is useless...

  • You are not responsible for what was done to you.... Then you are guilty of all kinds of defects and sins... Then you are not responsible... And then you are guilty...

  • First it's a disease over which you are powerless, and then you are a sinner who is selfish and self-seeking and manipulative and dishonest and self-centered....

  • In the Al-Anon 3rd Step, "God" supposedly loves you so much that He will take care of your will and your life for you, and solve all of your problems forevermore, just because you demand that He do so. That builds up your ego and gives you delusions of grandeur where you imagine that God is your butler, waiting on you hand and foot.
          But then the 4th through 7th Steps, where you make long lists of everything that is wrong with you, and dwell on it and confess it all to man and God, just continue the routine of having an angry alcoholic father constantly criticizing everything that you do, tearing you down, destroying your ego and your self-respect, and making you feel guilty about everything.

The official Al-Anon publications teach us that:

  •       "When you have to go into your head," says an Al-Anon friend, "don't go alone. It's not a safe neighborhood."
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 47.

  •       Before Al-Anon I allowed the behaviors of the alcoholics in my life to cause me great unhappiness. While it was true that I was suffering, was my pain really their fault? Al-Anon has taught me to take responsibility for my own happiness.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 9.

    And how is it the fault of an abused terrorized child if he or she gets beaten and tormented by a crazy alcoholic? How does a child "take responsibility" for that?

    Likewise, how is it the fault of an abused, beaten wife if her husband drinks too much? Is she supposed to "take responsibility" and be "happy" in spite of her husband's bad behavior?

    This Al-Anon true believer moronically asks, "...was my pain really their [the alcoholics'] fault?"
    Well, yeh, duh...

    Again, we see two glaring cult characteristics: Don't Feel Your Feelings, and You Are Always Wrong.

  •       The longer I am in Al-Anon, the more clearly I perceive that alcoholism is indeed a sickness, a compulsion, an obsession. But haven't I, too, been afflicted with a sick compulsion? Wasn't I determined to "save" the alcoholic, and that to the same degree as he was addicted to alcohol?
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1990, page 72.

    So, ladies, if you actually want your husbands to quit drinking themselves to death, you are some real sickos... You need to do Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps to Buchmanism, and get down on your knees and confess all of your sins.

  • How could I admit that I was powerless over alcohol when I was 27 years old, single, living independently, and my alcoholic father had been sober for 10 years?
          One night, God sent me a beautiful spiritual awakening. When I was the young daughter of an alcoholic father, I was powerless. I was powerless over every criticism that came from his mouth, and I was powerless over every blow he struck against me. To survive such an upbringing, I developed many defenses. When no longer needed, those defenses became character defects. As an adult, I was still powerless over the effects of my father's abuse.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 59.

    Now she's back to being powerless. How is she supposed to "take responsibility" for the situation when she is powerless over it?

  •       Like many children of alcoholics, I vowed I'd never drink like my father. Nevertheless, I do get drunk; only I get drunk on feelings.   ...
          I use the First Step to accept that, just for today, I'm powerless by myself to stop these emotional binges once they gain momentum.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 10.

    Powerless again.
    Drunk on feelings? There is no such thing. Having intense feelings is not the same thing as being intoxicated by ethyl alcohol. What this woman is actually describing is a cyclical mental disorder like a manic-depressive or bipolar disorder, where the victim cycles between extreme emotional states, up and down, up and down. Being flipped out in a manic state is not being "drunk on feelings", and it is not an "emotional binge". (Bill Wilson used the term "emotional benders" to explain away his own insane behavior, and Al-Anon is copying it.)

    Again, Al-Anon is teaching its victims Don't Feel Your Feelings and You Can't Trust Your Own Mind and You Are Weak And Powerless And Always Wrong.

    Al-Anon is also failing to tell this woman to get some real help from a real doctor.

  •       My alcoholic father sexually abused me when I was young, and I never dealt with the thoughts and feelings from that trauma. When I came to Al-Anon at age 52, my resentment and anger were deep-seated. As I painfully worked the Steps and took my Fourth Step inventory, my buried pain and anger started to surface. I shared these thoughts and feelings in my Fifth Step with my sponsor. Through this process I came to feel forgiven for the many wrongs I had committed, including judgement of my father.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 114.

    This is some of the sickest stuff in the whole book. The little girl "committed wrongs" by "judging" her father after he raped her?
    She needs to seek forgiveness for that?
    What a sick, twisted, wierd, masochistic cult religion.

  •       Today I know I was the perfect enabler. My autocratic behavior deprived my husband of responsibility. I tried in vain to control him, and to keep him "dry". Eventually I felt only hate and digust towards my husband and alcohol. My life seemed totally worthless...
          Then I was led to Al-Anon, where I learned to do something just for me — recover.   ...
          My husband's illness has enriched my life by leading me to Al-Anon.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 122.

    Oh yeh, right. "Al-Anon is so wonderful that it was really worth it to marry a hopeless alcoholic and go through years of hell, because that would eventually force her to join the wonderful 12-Step cult religion."

    And telling an alcoholic husband to please quit killing himself is not "autocratic behavior" that "deprives the husband of responsibility".
    Where does Al-Anon get all of this crazy nonsense?

    Well, from Bill Wilson for starters. Bill was always declaring that the alcoholics' wives (meaning his wife Lois) should just shut up and stop nagging the alcoholics (meaning, him) to quit drinking. The wives should just be quiet and leave the problem to God and the A.A. men.

    Al-Anon also got it from the Oxford Group, which taught Bill Wilson all of his cult religion dogma. Beverly Nichols, a contemporary journalist and former member of the Oxford Group, described the Oxford Group dogma and their treatment of wives this way:

    Absolute Unselfishness
          I should have to bring a whole collection of family skeletons rattling out of the cupboard to explain why I mistrust this apparently spotless ideal. All I care to say here is that I have seen several people's lives brought to the brink of ruin because of one woman's absolute unselfishness. If you strip this vague and mushy ideal to its essentials, how does it reveal itself? As a complete abrogation of the rights of the individual concerned. For example, an absolutely unselfish wife must endure, year in and year out, the persecution of a drunkard. She must never assert herself, never speak harshly to him, never protest when he revolts her sensibilities, terrifies her children, turns her house into a lunatic asylum, gambles away her money. 'It is not him,' she must say. 'It is a disease.' Or again: 'I took him for better or for worse; I must endure to the end.'
          Such women exist by the thousand; the Oxford Group approves of them; I do not. They are magnificent but mad. Unselfishness, if carried to these extremes, is an obsession that does nothing but prolong unnecessary pain. (Read Stefan Zweig's Beware of Pity.)
    All I Could Never Be, Beverly Nichols, pages 262-266.

    Note that Beverly Nichols was describing the situation in the Oxford Group back in the nineteen-twenties and -thirties. The excuse that alcoholism is a disease was already common then. The disease concept of alcoholism did not originate with Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Dr. William D. Silkworth, either. Bill Wilson did not invent or discover anything when he created the A.A. cult; he just copied the Oxford Group.

    In fact, Dr. Benjamin Rush, the friend of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, described alcohol abuse as a disease in 1784.

  •       After a few years in Al-Anon, I came to accept my powerlessness over the alcoholic in my life.   ...
    The Third Step asked me to do something new — to hand over control of my will and my life, not knowing exactly who this God was or whether He would help me.   ...
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 157.

    Now she is "powerless" again, and the 12-Step cult's answer is for her to give control of her will and her life to somebody else.

    Even worse, they teach that she should surrender control of her mind and soul to some 'God' or other without her even knowing what that 'God' is, or whether it will actually help her. That's insanely stupid behavior. That is suicidally stupid.

    (By the way, surrendering one's life to a cult is not "something new". It is thousands of years old.)

    That whole rap is really just some very common cult talk:

  • ...Step Five seemed to require more strength than I possessed. Ugly character defects had sprouted on my written inventory like poisonous mushrooms...
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 168.
    Now she's just a horrible defective sinner again, because Hubby drank too much alcohol.

  • By the time I got to Step Seven, I finally understood that the best way for me to recover was to change my attitudes. I prayed to my Higher Power to remove my obsession with others and to help me focus on myself.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 170.

    Recover from what?
    "Obsession with others"?
    Wanting your husband to quit drinking himself to death is an "obsession" and a "spiritual disease" from which you must "recover"? Since when?

  •       Before coming to Al-Anon, I spent most of my life having expectations of, and making unrealistic demands on, everyone around me.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 180.

    Yes, A.A. founder Bill Wilson always complained that his wife Lois was making unrealistic and unreasonable demands when she demanded that he quit drinking himself to death, quit acting crazy, quit smoking himself to death, quit philandering, and quit throwing drunken temper tantrums and tearing up the house.

  •       Fortunately from my first days in the program, it was suggested that I never say no to Al-Anon.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 195.

    Never say no to the cult. Always obey the orders of the cult leaders.

  •       As a child of alcoholic parents, I grew up in a violent environment. My parents physically and verbally abused me, and I became angry with them. When I expressed my anger, they abused me even more. I learned to shut down and be silent.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 217.

    That is a good description of childhood abuse leading to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), not a child sinfully developing a "spiritual disease".

  •       When I first started coming to Al-Anon, I found that I wasn't alone in trying to meet the challenges from growing up in an alcoholic home.   ...
    A daily dose of the Steps, slogans, service, sharing, and spirituality — when taken day after day, month after month, year after year — has kept my disease in remission.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 224.

    A Slogan A Day Keeps The Thinking Away.

  •       I grew up in an alcoholic home where I felt no one was caring for me, so I decided I had to do so myself. Soon my vision became shortsighted. It took all my energy ... just to protect myself or figure out the bare necessities I needed to survive.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 238.

    So how is learning to survive in a bad sitation a "spiritual disease" that will be cured by the Twelve Steps?

  •       After coming to Al-Anon, I have finally found peace. My father's alcoholism and my mother's reactions to it caused much pain in my childhood.   ...
    I am not on this earth to change or control others. I am here to change and grow the best I can in order to serve my Higher Power.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 252.

    "Right. I exist only to serve my wonderful Higher Power, Beelzebub."

  •       While the alcoholic picked up a drink and became drunk on alcohol, I picked up the alcoholic and became drunk on control and approval-seeking.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 254.
    Also: One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon staff, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1990, page 254, September 10.

    Again, you get drunk by drinking ethyl alcohol, not by trying to keep an alcoholic from killing himself.

  •       When I first came to Al-Anon, I didn't care one way or the other about a Higher Power. When I read the Steps with all those references to God, I was a little skeptical. I wasn't even sure I wanted a relationship with a Higher Power or what to do with one if I had it.   ...
          Gradually, by keeping an open mind and heart, attending meetings, and using the program tools, I became willing to have, and then actually yearned for, a relationship with a Higher Power.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 262.

    Proving once again that religious conversion is really a big part of "the program".
    One of the hidden goals of the 12-step cult is to make everybody "come to believe"...

  • I never felt like I "fit" in my alcoholic family or anywhere else.   ...
          Fortunately I made it to Al-Anon before I wrecked the entire beautiful puzzle of my life.   ...
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 277.

  •       I did not choose an alcoholic mother and a workaholic father, who were unable to express love. I did not decide to have an older brother who beat me and a younger brother whose love and attention I craved.   ...
          I joined Al-Anon when my wife and I separated. Although I had become depressed and unhappy by trying to live my life through her, it still hurt to let her go. By immersing myself in Al-Anon, I gradually learned I was responsible for my choices.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 279.

    What a perfect example of battering —
          First it isn't your choice, and then it is.
          First you are not responsible for the situation, and then you are.
          First it isn't your fault, and then it is.
    Such bizarre bad psychology is like a contagious mental illness.

  •       My Higher Power gives me situations where I can choose to grow or not to grow. These situations seem to occur more frequently when I practice the Al-Anon principles.   ...
          When I faced people who reminded me of the alcoholic behavior in my childhood home, I used to be so afraid that I panicked, ran away, or shut down. This behavior perpetuated my old cycle of suffering.   ...
          Today, when I'm faced with unhealthy and unacceptable behavior, I don't run away. I use the program to help me. I remember to stop and "Think".   ...
          When I'm willing to let my Higher Power help me face my problems today in a healthier manner than I did in the past, I'm not as likely to recreate them.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 283.

    Now she is back to being powerful, responsible, and in control.

  • Thought for the Day
    My Higher Power's guidance suggests it's best to leave decisions about my times of rest, preparation, and action up to God's infinitely perfect sense of timing.
    "I will realize that, even in doing nothing about my problems, I am actively practicing the Al-Anon idea."
    One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, p. 143
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 289.

    Now she's back to being powerless and having no control — she is just a passive dependent who does nothing to solve her problems, and that is "practicing the Al-Anon idea.".

  •       To be responsible for myself meant keeping the focus on myself and not letting fear become a motivator for my actions, even when my fear felt huge. The strength I needed to climb out of my well had to come from my own self-respect. Without it, I didn't have the courage to scale those walls.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 294.

    Now she's back to being responsible, strong, and courageous. — Oh, and self-centered, too.

  •       The concept of "God as we understood Him" was hard to grasp. My family believed there is only one way to view God. My parents used religion to keep me in line.   ...
          I realized the God of my parents had come in a very small box, not expansive enough for me. I fired that God and hired a new one. My new Higher Power is much bigger than the old one. He doesn't live in a box. He lives in me and around me. He loves me, cares for me, and accepts me just as I am — a work of art in progress.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 297.

    "I fired the old God, and hired a new one — Santa Claus. Now He brings me everything that I want, and He obeys all of my orders and fulfills all of my demands. I am so glad that I switched Gods."

    But how do you pay your new hireling His wages?
    What do "gods" or 'Higher Powers' take for payment?
    VISA? Mastercard? American Express? Souls? First-born sons?

  •       Now that I'm an adult, I want to get better and live a full, happy life. After all, I deserve it. Al-Anon provides me with a multitude of ways to become the person I want to be.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 309.

    Now she's powerful and in control again.

  •       I grew up affected by someone else's drinking. I seldom knew what was good for me, yet I knew what was best for others and didn't hesitate to tell them.   ...
          Then I came to Al-Anon and began to work the Steps. Step Four helped me set aside what others had done to me so I could see my own wrongs. My Fourth step "spoiled" my resentments. It's not that I no longer have them. Rather, I can no longer harbor resentment and remain ignorant of my part in creating it.
          I truly began to change by working through the rest of the Steps, asking God to remove my shortcomings, making amends, continuing to take personal inventory, and asking my Higher Power to direct my thoughts and actions.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 314.

    Now she's back to being a defective sinner, full of resentments and wrongs, only fit to be a slave of "Higher Power"..

  •       I came to Al-Anon to find solutions for my boyfriend's drinking. Members shared new ideas with me, such as "One Day at a Time", "Live and Let Live", "Easy Does It", "First Things First", "How Important Is It?", "Listen and Learn", "Think", and "Keep an Open Mind."   ...
          Today the slogans offer me healthier ways to reflect. Along with the other Al-Anon tools, the slogans allow me the option of being serene and happy whether the alcoholic is drinking or not.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 9.

    "By constantly parotting thought-stopping slogans, I have become so giddy that I don't care if my boyfriend kills himself... I am healthier now. I am happy and serene."

  •       When I heard "Let Go and Let God" for the first time, it didn't make sense to me. Let go of what? And let God do what? The little I did understand was the futility of my efforts to try to control other people, places, and things.
    "When we put this slogan to work, we get out of the way."
    How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 76
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 320.

    Now she's back to powerlessness and no control over anything.

  •       Making decisions has always been hard for me.   ...
          It took me a long time to see this character defect of mine, but I finally did. My decisions were based on what others wanted so I could make them love and accept me. It was a matter of control. This was true while I was growing up with alcoholism, too. In my limited, childish mind, I thought if I said and did everything my parents wished, I would finally earn their love and attention.
          When I first came to Al-Anon, I didn't have any idea who I was or what I wanted. My sponsor and other members walked me through my Fourth Step by explaining it as a way for me to get to know myself so I could make healthy choices. They showed me how to seek God's will in the planning and execution of every decision. It was suggested that if I were having trouble making a decision, I might want to ask myself if I was really seeking to please myself, my Higher Power, or another person.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 337.

    Now she is back to being a defective child, so insane that she is only fit for slavery in a cult religion.
    And they are practicing Dr. Frank Buchman's occult "Seeking Guidance" to the max. They imagine that they can hear The Voice Of God giving His opinion on every decision.

  •       Sometimes when I'm in the midst of making a decision I really struggle with knowing my Higher Power's will for me. Occasionally I look outside myself for a sign. I'd rather see a neon light or something else just as obvious, but it doesn't often happen that way. Usually the messages are more subtle, like going to a meeting that I don't usually attend and hearing a speaker I've never heard before saying exactly what I need to hear.
          I need to remember to look inside myself for signs as well.   ...
    I try to remember that as long as I make decisions in the context of seeking my Higher Power's will, whatever I do will be the right thing. ... Because decision-making is a self-correcting process, I can use any mistakes I make along the way to eventually guide me in the right direction.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 9.

    In the Bible, Jesus Christ specifically condemned the Pharisees for "seeking a sign". — For good reason, too, because seeking signs can lead people into the worst of crazy superstitious practices. Fools who seek signs try to turn every coincidence into an omen — a secret message from God.
    But what the heck, Al-Anon does it, so it's all okay anyway, right?

    And this Al-Anon member imagines that whatever she does will be right, just because she is always "Seeking And Doing the Will" of some unnamed "Higher Power"? That is delusions of grandeur.

    And since when is decision-making a self-correcting process? Says who? Since when?

    Every day, our politicians prove that to be untrue. They screw up big time and then never fix it. Has the Vietnam War been fixed? Iran-Contra? Oliver North's Contra-Cocaine-for-Guns that started the crack cocaine epidemic in the inner cities? How about Ronald Reagan's cancellation of all of Jimmy Carter's alternative energy projects that were supposed to keep us and our children alive after the oil runs out? Has any of that been fixed?

    Also notice the contradiction there: The authoress can't even keep her story straight for one paragraph. First she says that she can't ever be wrong when she is seeking and doing the will of her "Higher Power" — "whatever I do will be the right thing" — and then she says that when she is wrong she can fix it — "I can use any mistakes I make along the way..." So which is it? Never wrong, or making mistakes?

  •       I turned my back on religion many years before my first Al-Anon meeting, so when the meeting ended with a closing prayer, I wondered how I could pray without feeling false. I closed my eyes and bowed my head, but I didn't say the prayer. I feared someone would tap me on the shoulder and tell me to say the prayer. The prayer ended, and no one chastised me. Instead, I was given literature and encouraged to return.   ...
          Years after my first meeting, I stand gratefully in the circle and choose to say the closing prayer.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 357.

    Once again, we see that the final answer to all religious problems is to conform to the group. The pressure to conform is subtle but powerful, and of course religious conversion is the goal of the 12-Step program.

  •       I like how Step Three begins. It states, "Made a decision...," This means I have an active choice to turn my will and my life over to a Higher Power. No one is going to force me. No one is going to make me do anything. My recovery is my choice. What I choose to do with my will and my life is my decision, and today I choose to turn it over to the God of my understanding.   ...
          This process of turning my will and life over to God sounds so simple, yet it certainly didn't happen at my first meeting! Actually, it didn't happen for a long time. I had to build a foundation for my Step Three decision, first by diligently working Steps One and Two. Step Three was a natural outgrowth of that groundwork.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 365.

    Once again, we are back to being independent, powerful, in control, and having lots of choices. and being able to make intelligent choices.

    And the 'correct' choice to make is to work the Steps and get brain-washed and gradually conform to the group and experience a religious conversion and surrender your will and your life to the cult, just like everybody else.

These Twelve-Step programs become truly bizarre when they are used to "heal" the victims of crimes, like the Survivors of Incest, or the abused Adult Children of Alcoholics. To what moral shortcoming or defect of character should a little girl who is getting raped by her father, brother, and uncle confess? The sin of being too pretty? And how does she make amends to all whom she has harmed?

Apparently, some Twelve-Steppers do not find that to be a problem: As unbelievable as it may seem, Ken Ragge, in the book More Revealed, recounts an instance from personal experience in which an A.A. member who as a boy had been sexually molested by a priest, made "amends" to the priest by apologizing for being angry about the molestation. Ragge also recounts another episode in which a woman who had been gang raped was urged to make "amends" to the rapists.1

All I can say is, "Man, these are really some sick puppies."

In addition, the victims of rape or molestation are routinely told to "find their own part in it." Like, "Well, if I hadn't dressed nice and made myself look good, then he wouldn't have wanted to rape me. So the rape must be my own fault." Victims are not allowed to be angry or to harbor "resentments". The victims are supposed to just dwell on their own role in the incident, and forgive the attacker, no matter whether the attacker repents, or brags about his crime. Rebecca Fransway reports several such stories in her book AA Horror Stories.2 That is some very sick do-it-yourself psychotherapy. It is one of the most insane things that Bill Wilson's alcohol-damaged disciples ever thought up.

And a new 12-Step "recovery" group called Rape Survivors Anonymous teaches women:

      In meetings, members share how they're working at the "12 steps," such as seeking forgiveness of others they have harmed by their behavior after the rape and relying on the care of God or a higher power after "admitting" they had become powerless. Grateful participants say the 12-Step method can help victims heal, but critics say it might be pointless or even harm some women.   ...
      Although the RSA "steps" say rape is not a victim's fault, participants are invited to list all people "our actions had harmed as a result of our being raped" and then make amends to those people. The steps also include taking personal inventory, "and when we were wrong promptly admit(ting) it," as well as "humbly ask(ing) God to remove our shortcomings."
For rape survivors, a climb less lonely, USA Today, Oct 14, 2002.

"Seeking forgiveness of others they have harmed by their behavior after the rape"?
That's crazy. That is complete lunacy.
Who says the girls have harmed anyone since they got raped?
What vicious guilt-inducing nonsense.

      But [Mary] Koss [a University of Arizona psychologist who has studied the effects of rape for 30 years] is concerned that women who attend RSA groups shortly after being raped — and before getting therapy — could become more anxious as they hear other women's "stories" while they're still reeling from their own assault.
      The 12-Step model can't be fit like a cookie cutter over rape victims' experiences, she says. "Addiction is something you do to yourself, and rape is something that's done to you," Koss says. "So these steps aren't interchangeable."
For rape survivors, a climb less lonely, USA Today, Oct 14, 2002.

The Big Book says:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.
The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, chapter "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict", page 449.

So the woman who got raped was supposed to get raped, huh? Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by accident? It was all God's will? And she was wrong to get disturbed by it?
Heck, why do women even bother to lock their doors at night? Aren't they just trying to thwart God's will? I mean, they can't get robbed, beaten, and raped, unless it is God's will, can they?

Bill Wilson was pretty clear on the subject, too:

It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about "justifiable" anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us in A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 90.

What drivel. We can't be angry? We must always be passive doormats, no matter what anybody else does to us? There is something spiritually wrong with us if we are "disturbed" by thieves, bullies, rapists and murderers hurting us? Only "normal" people can handle righteous anger and fight back, and we cannot, because we are just stupid alcoholics, or stupid wives and children of alcoholics, who are not qualified to feel our own feelings?

Should the abused children of alcoholics confess to having exercised really poor judgement in their choice of parents? Apparently so. How do they make amends for that? And how do they make amends for having gotten beaten up so much? Are they too supposed to apologize to their parents for having gotten angry about it? Apparently so.

For that matter, am I "axiomatically spiritually wrong" when I get angry at quack counselors shoving false information (lies) and cult religion on sick people while pretending to give them "treatment"? (And charging their health insurance for "treatment"...)
The Steppers often accuse me of being angry, and that is what it means.

This induction of guilt in the victims of crimes like rape, pedophilia or alcoholic child abuse is not only a very bad mental health practice, it is positively harmful — just the opposite of recovery. Far too many girls who were the victims of rape, especially incestuous rape, feel that it was somehow all their own fault, and then here comes a stupid twelve-step cult religion telling them that it was. Those girls often feel extremely ashamed of themselves after the rape, and the last thing they need is a crazy Buchmanite cult telling them that they must "find their part in it" and perform a fearless moral inventory and confess all of their wrongs and sins and defects of character and moral shortcomings....

Adult Children of Alcoholics likewise have massive inferiority complexes from years of physical and mental abuse, and then their twelve-step program encourages them to wallow in guilt and nit-pick all of their own "defects of character." That is not helpful. In fact, it is so bad that the only thing it is good for is urging people to commit suicide.

Alice Miller is a world-famous Swiss psychologist, therapist, and author who helps people to overcome childhood abuse. On her web site, there is a letter from a woman who was sexually abused as a little girl. The victim explained how she spent many years trying to heal herself with the 12 Steps. She had difficulties with "The Program", particularly the part where she was supposed to "make amends" to the parents who allowed her to be raped.

Alice Miller responded to the letter:

"Fortunately, you can eventually see how dangerous, feeble-minded and cruel it is to demand from survivors of child abuse that they make amends. You feel that the 12 steps helped you to your recovery but I have the impression that perhaps you were lucky to meet with some empathic people in your life who could help you. On the other hand, without this disgusting, hypocritic poisonous ideology you would have had helped yourself much quicker. Because you ARE smart but you were never allowed to defend yourself and had to learn very early to protect your parents instead of protesting against THEIR CRUELTY. The same was repeated in your 12-program, you were supposed to oversee [overlook] hypocrisy and betrayal and feel grateful for it instead of opening the eyes and feel the rage where it was absolutely justified. Your letter shows very clearly how even smart people become stuck in confusion for years if the "healers" demand from them the same as the parents did from the child: to stay blind, to forgive, to make amends, not to make troubles. The fear of the parents, stored up in the body, can make a person obedient and sick for ever. I hope that you can overcome this fear by seeing though the hypocrisy of your helpers and TALKING about what you see."
(To read the letter, click here:
Wow. "This disgusting, hypocritical poisonous ideology". That pretty much sums up the 12-Step program.

The book "The 12 Steps for Adult Children" gives us this bad logic:

Understanding Step Three

Imagine the insanity of trying to perform surgery on ourselves. At the first hint of pain from the scalpel, we would stop. Healing would never happen. It is just as insane to think that we can manage our own recovery. We must put our lives into the hands of our Higher Power, who knows the extent of our disease. Our Higher Power alone knows what is needed for healing and has our best interest at heart.

In Step Three we decide to turn the scalpel over to God as we understood God. We decide to turn control of our will and our lives. We have admitted our powerlessness and inability to manage our lives. We also have come to believe that God can heal us, and now, we decide to turn our will and our lives over to God's care.
The 12 Steps for Adult Children by "Friends in Recovery", RPI Publishing, Inc., Curtis, WA, © 1987, 1989, 1996.

There are a lot of falsehoods in those paragraphs:

  1. Bait and switch: It's your "Higher Power" in paragraph one, and then it's their "God" in paragraph two. That is quite a switcheroo. What if your Higher Power isn't the same thing as their God?

  2. Assumption of disease. Who says that we have a "disease" that needs "surgery"? We are children of alcoholics, not cancer patients.

  3. Assumption of powerlessness. Who says that we are powerless over our problems? What a self-defeating attitude.

    In fact, their example of powerlessness is dead wrong. A few years ago, a woman who was stationed at Antarctica came down with appendicitis. She was stranded, the weather was bad, and it was impossible to fly an airplane in and get her. While the doctors talked to her on the radio and advised her, she successfully performed an appendectomy on herself because she just had to. She was not powerless over her problem.

    A correspondent uses a very apropos signature:

    "You don't realize how strong you can be until it is your only choice."
        ==   Avogadno

  4. — Which leads to the question: What problem? What is the "disease" that comes from being the grown-up child of an alcoholic? Like all books in this genre, it begins with a laundry list of questions like "do you feel insecure?", "do you try to please people?", "do you have feeings of low self-esteem?", and "are you intimidated by angry people?", and that supposedly defines a "disease" that needs "recovery". Then they assume that a dozen cult recruiting and indoctrination tricks of Dr. Frank Buchman's religion will cure or "treat" that "disease".

    By the way, Scientology does exactly the same thing in their "free personality tests" — ask a bunch of leading questions like, "Do you sometimes doubt yourself? Do you occasionally feel insecure? Do you sometimes feel inadequate?", and then they conclude that you have mental problems that can only be cured by expensive Scientology "auditing".

  5. What "recovery"? How do you recover from having been born the child of an alcoholic? Are they talking about PTSD from having been terrorized as a child? That should be treated by qualified and licensed psychiatrists and counselors, not by some incompetent amateurs who use the practices of an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.

  6. Who says that we "must put our lives into the hands of our Higher Power"? Must? What happened to the slogan "There are no musts in The Program, only suggestions"? That's another bait-and-switch trick.

    And how is that undefined "Higher Power" going to cure our problem that they claim needs something like surgery? Do ghosts perform good surgeries?

  7. They say, "Our Higher Power alone knows what is needed for healing and has our best interest at heart."
    Oh really? Only Doorknob Almighty knows? And Doorknob Almighty really cares about us?

    Again, they are pulling a bait-and-switch trick: First they say that it is any "Higher Power" as we understand it, and then it's their fake Judea-Christian "God" who delivers miracles on demand, and who micro-manages the world. And "He" allegedly cares about us so much that He will manipulate the world to suit us — but only if we confess enough — while He ignores the sick African children with AIDS, and the starving Ethiopian children.

    The claim that only "Higher Power" knows what is needed is the standard cult characteristics of insistence that the cult is the only way, and only the cult has the panacea. And also Mystical, Magical, Unexplainable Workings.

  8. Notice the assumption that the 12 Steps and God go together. A.A. Step Three says that you must surrender control of your will and your life to "God as we understood Him", but the real instructions are to do the 12-Step program, which is just a bunch of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult practices, and they are not anything from God as we understand Her. (See the file The Heresy of the Twelve Steps for much more about that.)

Someday, maybe there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit.
== Erik Erikson

Alateen is equally ridiculous. That group is for children and teenagers with one or more alcoholic parents. Their web page starts off by asking,

"Is someone's drinking bothering you?"

And then it announces:

PURPOSES OF ALATEEN Young People Come Together To:
  • share experience, strength and hope with each other.
  • discuss their difficulties.
  • learn effective ways to cope with their problems.
  • encourage one another.
  • help each other understand the principles of the Al-Anon program.
  • learn how to use the Twelve Steps and Alateen's Twelve Traditions.

Yep, as soon as you are born, you need to start learning how to do the 12 Steps and confess your sins, because Daddy drinks too much. You have the "spiritual disease" of co-dependency because you were born to the wrong parents. Again, we see the heretical idea of inherited sin showing its ugly head (well, heretical to Christians and who-knows who else).

Note that the third item in that list says that the children will learn effective ways to cope with their problems, but the last two items on the list tell us that Al-Anon's guilt-inducing Twelve Step cult religion will be the answer to everything. They aren't really going to teach any "effective ways to cope".

The Alateen web site goes on to say,

Every Alateen group needs an active, adult member of Al-Anon to serve as sponsor. The sponsor is an active part of the group, guiding and sharing knowledge of our Twelve Steps and Alateen Traditions.

How convenient. All of the children will get experienced, well-indoctrinated adult case managers who will supervise their brainwashing right from the start. (Not to mention the fact that "Go to ANY Young People's meeting in the country and you will find young women, some young men, and many older men who have no business at a YP meeting. You can guess why they are there.")

That has been going on for a long time, too. Way back in 1963, Dr. Arthur H. Cain wrote a critical article in Harper's magazine that said,
[Alcoholics Anonymous] must not pose as a spiritual movement that provides everything the alcoholic needs to fulfill his destiny. It must not teach its young (as it does in Alateen, its Sunday School for the children of alcoholics) such catechisms as: "We will always be grateful to Alateen for giving us a way of life and a wonderful healthy program to live by and enjoy."
Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure? Arthur H. Cain, Harper's Magazine, February 1963

Unfortunately, A.A. and Al-Anon have always posed as a spiritual path for children. Lois Wilson, Bill Wilson's wife, wrote an article about the earliest days of A.A. where she declared:

AA was always thrilling. The families were included in all of the meetings; wives and parents (there weren't many alcoholic women then), and the children came too. The children were vitally interested in everything that went on. They would inquire about all the members and want to know how they were. They'd learn the Twelve Steps and really try to live by them. I don't think youngsters can be too young to be thrilled by the AA program and be helped by it.
In AA's First Five Years; Lois W., wife of AA's co-founder, Bill W., recalls the time in AA when there were few members and no Big Book.; AA Grapevine, January 1967

These are Al-Anon cartoons that were intended to persuade children to join Alateen:

The first panel says that the children "don't feel guilty any more". At the same time, the cartoon also teaches the children to stop "blaming others", like their alcoholic parents, for the fact that their young lives are a living hell, and to start "looking at themselves", and to find fault in themselves. —To, as A.A. says it, "Find our part in it." (That's the guilt-induction routine of A.A. Steps 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.) That is, of course, a good example of Orwellian double-think — you shouldn't feel guilty, but you should blame yourself.

The next panel teaches the children dishonesty and denial — to deny that they are blaming themselves for their own unhappiness and for their parents' misbehavior, and to deny that practicing the 12 Steps makes them feel guilty.

That second panel also teaches children that they can escape from their pain and misery by partying hearty. And that is just what many children of alcoholics do. And they end up being the next generation of alcoholics and drug addicts.

Computing clean time likewise becomes ridiculous. Groups like A.A. and N.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) have a status system where the more clean and sober time you have, the higher your status, and the more respect you get, and the more your words are considered to be valuable guidance for others seeking to recover. It doesn't matter if you are a real asshole, or a sexual predator who tries to sponsor all of the attractive new women members, or a mindless fanatic whose only life is going to meetings and parroting slogans, or just plain crazy; clean time is everything. Clean time is status. Clean time is rank.

But is a little girl in Survivors of Incest supposed to brag that it's been 90 days since she last got raped by her uncle or step-father? And then everybody cheers, and they give her a coin or a keytag for her 90 days of abstinence, and tell her to keep up the good work? Ummm, no, not quite.

Similarly, Adult Children of Alcoholics and Alateens cannot abstain from being children of alcoholics; once you are born one, you're stuck with it for life. So ACOA literature has a funny new statement:

Anyone who comes to ten meetings has begun an irreversible process of recovery. Everything in that person's life becomes part of the recovery process, regardless of how chaotic it looks or feels.
An ACOA recruiting pamphlet

Say what? That is nonsensical psychobabble. Just go to ten meetings, and everything will be magically, irreversibly, fixed at some later date?

And I'll just "recover"? Recover from what, exactly?

  • I don't want to recover from having been born (die).
  • And I can't recover from having been born the son of a certain man; not without a massive gene replacement operation which isn't possible yet.
  • Are we talking about child abuse issues, and the psychological damage caused by growing up in an angry, hateful, dysfunctional family? That is not going to be cured by doing the Twelve Steps and confessing how sinful and defective my character is...
  • Are we talking about PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stresss Disorder) from child abuse? If so, that is a real disease and should be treated by real doctors, not quacks in a cult. If A.A. or N.A. sponsors are treating PTSD, then they are practicing medicine without a license, and that is a felony.
  • So exactly how are we supposed to "recover" from having been born the children of alcoholics?

And: "Everything in that person's life becomes part of the recovery process, regardless of how chaotic it looks or feels"?
Huh? Everything?

Is the asphalt in the street under my feet part of the "recovery process", regardless of how it looks or feels? How could it be? And how could my life feeling chaotic perhaps stop the asphalt from being a part of the "recovery process"?

Who are these bozos? What do they do, just sit around and make up that kind of stuff all day long? It is real work, and requires real talent, to write such crazy mind-bending propaganda, and somebody out there is cranking it out by the ton...

What if I feel a little nervous about trusting my future mental health to some unexplained irreversible process of "recovery" that will be managed by double-talking religious fanatics who grandly proclaim that everything is part of the recovery process?

"Well, that is negative thinking, and it is symptomatic of your disease," they will tell you, "and it impedes your recovery, so don't do it."

Darned right it is negative thinking, and I like my negative thinking. It has kept me from getting sucked into some very nasty cults, over the years. So far, it has kept me alive, so I am not in any big hurry to dump it, and trust my mind to some grinning strangers who constantly yammer "It's Spiritual, Not Religious" as they brag about how "Higher Power" is granting their wishes...

Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup

But this has to be some of the most outrageous snake oil: I just ran across a reference to a book on treatment for Adult Grandchildren of Alcoholics. No joke. I saw an endorsement on the back of a Hazelden book about how to quit smoking with the twelve steps, and just had to check it out. It's Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency by Ann W. Smith. Unbelievable.

It's just like what Andrew Meacham described in his chapter on co-dependency (in Selling Serenity): invent a non-existent disease, and then charge a fortune to treat it. Now you can seek "treatment" because Grandma was a wild fun-loving flapper who loved to party and drink bathtub gin and dance the Charleston.

So just what is co-dependency? Well, we never get a good definition. It's kind of like the word "smurf". If you ever watched the Saturday morning Smurf cartoons on TV, you know how they used the word "smurf" for everything: "We're going to smurf us up a smurfing good time." And another little blue guy responds, "Smurfy!"

Well, co-dependency is like that. No matter what ails you, it's probably caused by co-dependency, even if you don't even know that a distant ancestor once drank alcohol. That is not a joke or an exaggeration. The authoress tells us that most "co-dependent" grandchildren of alcoholics weren't even told about their alcoholic grandparent, but that the imbibing grandparent was still supposedly messing up their lives anyway. (Page 44.)

Supposedly, any and all of these things are causes or signs of co-dependency:

  1. childhood sexual abuse
  2. childhood non-sexual abuse
  3. an alcoholic parent
  4. an alcoholic grandparent
  5. childhood emotional abuse
  6. a mentally ill relative
  7. PTSD
  8. living a victim lifestye
  9. harsh discipline (pp. 72-73)
  10. no discipline
  11. rigid parenting
  12. loose, passive parenting
  13. silent violence
  14. moodiness and inconsistency
  15. dependence on children for moral support
  16. feelings not allowed to be expressed openly
  17. neglect of emotional pain and hurts
  18. threats of beatings
  19. lack of affection and touch
  20. play, laughter, and spontaneity are not permitted
  21. inappropriate parenting, or uneven parenting
  22. smothering and over-protection
  23. external focus (pp. 7-11)
  24. unable to identify or express feelings
  25. cannot ask for help
  26. extreme thinking
  27. "inability to model appropriate emotions through parenting" (p. 17)
  28. double messages
  29. family secrets
  30. distorted family image (pp. 49-57)
  31. self-blaming
  32. good at forming superficial relationships
  33. difficulty asking for help
  34. struggle with compulsive behaviors
  35. tend to be secretive
  36. prone to episodes of depression or anxiety
  37. strong family loyalty
  38. shame for being chemically dependent
  39. difficulty with relationships (pp 59-62)
  40. out of touch with feelings
  41. poor self worth
  42. feel angry a lot
  43. an inability to set limits or boundaries in most areas of their lives (pp. 77-88)
  44. fear is the dominant emotion
  45. compulsive need for intimacy
  46. under-reactors and over-reactors
  47. extreme thinking (again)
  48. passivity
  49. self-blame and guilt
  50. physical illness and addiction
  51. loss of spirit
  52. victims become abusers
  53. teenagers run away from home (p. 159)

Some of those pairs of items form double-binds — either way, somebody has "codependency":

  • "harsh discipline — no discipline"
  • "rigid parenting — loose, passive parenting"
  • "under-reactors and over-reactors".
  • "strong family loyalty — good at forming superficial relationships — difficulty with relationships "
  • "strong family loyalty — teenagers run away from home"
Either way, you are "diseased" with co-dependency, and you need to pay Ms. Smith money for "treatment". You can't win.

And I love this "sign of co-dependency": "shame for being chemically dependent".
What about its opposite? Is it a sign of good mental health if you are proud to be addicted and brag about it?

Are you breathing?

Yes, that's another sign of co-dependency, too. Careful statistical studies have revealed the fact that 99.9% of all co-dependent Adult Children Of Alcoholics habitually breathe, no matter whether they are aware of it or not.

The authoress then tells us:

Redefining Abuse — My definition of abuse is any behavior which deliberately or even inadvertently, damages or detracts from the self-esteem of any human being. The reader's immediate reaction might be that according to this definition, almost any action can be interpreted as abuse.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 67.

Yeh, that was my reaction. Then the authoress tells us that it's all a matter of degree, and how abusive the abuse was (pp 67-76), which still leaves us in a fog with no clear definitions.

Sometimes Smith's characterization and stereotyping of "co-dependents" is absurd:

Betsy ... was the wife of an alcoholic. She was caught in the cycle of threatening to leave her abusive alcoholic husband, occasionally doing so but always returning.   ...
She was painfully aware that her life was exactly like her mother's had been. She was an Adult Child, absolutely incapable of change using insight alone.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 116.

Such extreme language, such absolute black-and-white thinking, "exactly like ... absolutely incapable".... That is obviously untrue. It can't be correct. (Besides which, Ms. Smith listed "extreme thinking" as one of the signs of co-dependency. Is Ann Smith a crazy co-dependent?) To live two lives that are exactly alike, those two women would have had to have been born in the same year, in the same place, to the same parents, and had the same experiences, etc.... They would have to be identical twins. That's obviously impossible, since one was the mother of the other.

All that the authoress is doing is shoving descendants of alcoholics into stereotypes and then declaring that they are all alike because they share one characteristic. That is the propaganda trick of The Fallacy of One Similarity.

In addition, we can argue that no woman is "absolutely incapable of change" unless she is dead.

And what is that "using insight alone" qualifier supposed to mean? Insight isn't our only skill. People often change their behavior based on their desires — the desire to be something, or the desire to get something, or the desire to avoid something — like the desire to avoid pain and death. People don't just use "insight alone" to decide what to do. (Word games — the Steppers just inundate us in a tsunami of word games.)

Then Ann Smith tells us that 12-Step groups like A.A., Al-Anon, and ACOA aren't enough "help", and you also need her version of "therapy" too:

It is my belief that self-help alone is not enough for the ACoA/GCoA in most cases.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 125.

Nevertheless, Ms. Smith still requires "active involvement in a 12-Step recovery program" as part of her treatment program. (Page 101, italics in the original.) And she uses 12-Step meetings for "on-going support" during and after her "therapy". (Page 107.)

Then this authoress even discusses (expensive) inpatient treatment for the condition of being an "ACoA/GCoA" (Adult Child of Alcoholics / Grand Child of Alcoholics). (See pages 108-114.) The back cover of the book tells us that the authoress "designed one of the first programs in the United States to treat ACoAs on an in-patient basis. This five-day program currently serves as a model for other such programs evolving across the country."

But she really recommends "long term" 28-day inpatient treatment for being the child or grandchild of an alcoholic. One of the advantages: She says that health insurance companies are more likely to pay for long-term treatment, even when they won't cover short-term treatment. (Page 109.)
How convenient for the Stepper "counselors" who make a living by selling this quack medicine.

Then we learn that the expensive inpatient treatment doesn't exactly work; it doesn't really fix the problem. In fact, you might end up far worse, really messed up:

"Aftercare is more than essential; it is the key to the success of any inpatient program, and must be emphasized from beginning to end. Without adequate follow-up, the individual will be left feeling abandoned and unable to function in the real world."
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 113.

So the patients are left addicted to the "treatment" and unable to function "in the real world" if they don't get their fix?
Just where else is there to function, besides in the real world? La-La-Land? A mental hospital? An insane asylum?

And of course the authoress recommends that you continue going to your 12-Step group (or groups) both before and after treatment. In fact,

"There is no better means to discovery of a Higher Power than within a 12-Step program."
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 125.

(I wonder what the Pope would say about that... Or the Southern Baptist Conference...)

And again, notice the bait-and-switch trick, the sudden change in objectives: The goal was supposed to be healing, to become mentally and emotionally whole, but Ms. Smith suddenly changed the goal to "discovery of a Higher Power" — i.e., the religious conversion of her patients.

For me, the real kicker was this story:

      Don S., age 47, is an Adult Child who was showing signs of a co-dependent crisis on the job, with his health and at home. He was progressively becoming more short-tempered and suffered from chronic headaches which caused him to miss a great deal of work. When he did work, Don put in 10-to-12-hour days and looked exhausted. At home, Don was losing interest in his children, and his relationship with his wife was distant and angry.
      Don's denial was such that he was unable to see the reality of his situation and seek help. Fortunately, his wife, also an ACoA, but in recovery, was able to see the signs and contacted the Employee Assistance person at his place of employment. She had tried unsuccessfully before this to convince Don to go to a counselor with her.
      Her only alternative was to watch her husband die emotionally, possibly even physically, or seek professional help to do a formal intervention. After several weeks of preparation, and with the assistance of Don's co-workers and another friend, Don agreed to accept treatment in an inpatient co-dependency program.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 95.

Notice how nobody seems to have even considered asking an actual medical doctor or psychiatrist to see what the guy's problem might be. The authoress just talks about getting the guy to a "counselor", even though the guy's life was supposedly in danger. Apparently, the authoress considers the eight years of medical school and two or three years of internship that real doctors go through to be useless and irrelevant.
(...Perhaps because few real doctors parrot the co-dependency party line — neither the American Medical Association nor the American Psychiatric Association recognize the existence of any such "spiritual disease" as co-dependency.)

The guy's 12-Stepper ACoA wife just decided that, since she wasn't "in denial", she was qualified to single-handedly diagnose his problem as "a co-dependency crisis" and arrange an "intervention" to force him into "inpatient co-dependency treatment" at company expense.

Yes, Dorothy, I'm really sure that we aren't in Kansas any more.

The authoress of that book isn't a medical doctor or a psychiatrist either, by the way. The Hazelden book on quitting smoking with the 12 steps lists her alphabet soup as "M.S., C.A.C.". (Her own book didn't list any degrees, but Andrew Meacham tells me that she also has a Ph.D.) So she is a certified addictions counselor with a Ph.D., not a medical doctor, but she apparently considers herself qualified to diagnose a possible severe and dangerous medical or psychiatric problem in a clean and sober non-addict as "a co-dependency crisis". What a great way to expand your practice, even if it is practicing medicine without a license.

Then Ms. Smith warned us about her incompetent competitors:

Many therapists are just beginning to work with Adult Children, and may not even know that a Grandchild needs help. In addition, the services offered are not always labeled in a manner that tells the client what the primary goal is, for example, education vs. treatment.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 95.

Speaking of which, Ms. Smith never told us just what constituted her style of "treatment", what was done, or how it worked, or even if it did really work, or how she measured "success" — or if she even measured it at all. We got no such information. Zilch. Nada.

Ann Smith gave us lots of laundry lists of symptoms or signs of the "spiritual disease of co-dependency", but she never told us what her treatment was. We were left to assume that her brand of inpatient treatment would somehow work and produce some unspecified positive results, without any actual evidence at all. The authoress gave us no numbers at all — nor any other information — when it came to the success rate or the effectiveness of her methods of treatment. She didn't even bother to give us a Big-Book-style collection of alleged success stories.

Ann Smith only said that her treatment might disrupt your life and leave you crippled:

      A decision to enter therapy means that one is ready to live with a certain amount of disruption of daily routine when feelings begin to surface, occasionally at inappropriate moments. The first few months of therapy can be particularly stressful.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 95.

      Judy, age 29, is a recovering alcoholic who realized after several years of sobriety that she was not recovering from the severe emotional damage of her childhood with an abusive alcoholic father. She had been a victim of incest as a child and also rape as an adult.

  • [So what does any of that have to do with being a "co-dependent grandchild of an alcoholic"? (—Which is what the book was supposed to be about.)
  • How is her story an example of successfully "treating GCoAs for co-dependency"?
  • That patient was obviously suffering from the after-effects of childhood abuse — both sexual and non-sexual, and incest and rape, and almost certainly also from PTSD — Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — but not from the imaginary disease of "co-dependency".]

      Judy was attending AA consistently and saw a therapist for individual counseling, but continued to be plagued with suicidal thoughts and anxiety attacks despite her efforts. Judy was referred to a 28-day inpatient program which included both medical and psychiatric evaluations.

  • [So when did a "co-dependency counselor" become qualified and licensed to treat very serious, life-threatening, psychiatric problems like suicidal ideation?
  • Why was this patient who had very obvious serious psychiatric problems placed in a residential "co-dependency treatment center"?
  • On whose authority? Who is practicing medicine without a license, again?
  • Why was the patient evaluated after she was admitted to a 28-day "inpatient co-dependency treatment program", and not before?
  • How did the so-called "counselors" decide that the patient needed a month of expensive inpatient "co-dependency treatment" before she was even evaluated?
  • Did they actually evaluate anything other than Judy's checkbook and health insurance policy before admitting her for "inpatient treatment"?]

      During her treatment Judy had a psychotic episode as she faced her painful past and was evaluated clinically depressed and in need of anti-depressant medication for a period of time.

  • [What was the "treatment" that pushed Judy over the edge into a psychotic breakdown?
  • What incompetent "counselor" did that to Judy?
  • And why wasn't Judy evaluated before her breakdown, and judged unsuited for 12-Step abuse?
  • Who prescribed the medications? It couldn't have been Ms. Ann Smith, because she is not a doctor, and she isn't licensed to practice medicine, in spite of the fact that she runs her own "co-dependency clinic".]

Although it has been a very slow process for Judy with strong outpatient follow-up and medical monitoring, she is beginning to feel better about herself and hopeful for her future.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 109.

  • When will Judy recover from what Ann Smith did to her?
    When will Judy recover from the so-called "therapy" and "treatment"?
    When will Judy get back to how she was before Ms. Smith's "treatment"?

  • When will Judy be able to function in the "real world" again, without being doped out on medications all of the time? How many years will it be?

  • When will Judy cease to be addicted to so-called "co-dependency after-care", and be able to live without constant 12-Step cult meetings?

Do you think Judy got her money's-worth of healing from Ann Smith's clinic?

Then the authoress' schemes to force more patients into her "co-dependency clinic" become downright frightening. Ms. Smith advises parents to force their children into her facility:

Should I force my children into treatment for co-dependency if they don't want it?   ...
      In my experience with children, every child has some resistance. This does not mean they won't respond to treatment. Some teenagers, especially scapegoats, may desperately want treatment but be unwilling to admit it openly.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, pages 158-159.

  • Why it's just like that old saying about raping women — when she says "No", that just means that she really wants it bad but is ashamed to admit it. So go ahead and do it to her in spite of her objections — she will gratefully thank you for it later.

  • Here, we are told that inflicting mental rape on children — ignoring their objections — forcing them into "co-dependency treatment" against their wishes — is really okay, because they actually "desperately want it". Shoving 12-Step quackery on defenseless children will supposedly "help them" — "they will respond to treatment".

    Respond how? Flip out like how Judy did?

  • And remember that we still have not ever been told just what Ann Smith's "treatment" of people really is. All we know is that it can push patients into psychotic breakdowns.

Oh, and Ann Smith says that you can also use her "co-dependency treatment" to brainwash and punish your children, too, and to elicit obedience and compliance from the little monsters:

      Treatment has been used as an "or else" in some cases. For instance, a runaway teen cannot come home unless she agrees to get treatment. With young people who are extremely resistant, we need to take advantage of these special "opportunities" to offer help.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 159.

  • Who says that runaway teens are always at fault, and need "treatment"?
    • What if the girl was running away from a drunken abusive father or a child-molesting uncle or step-father?
    • Shouldn't he be the one who gets locked up in a "treatment facility" and pushed into a psychotic breakdown?
    • Why would teens ever want to return to such a household, with or without "treatment" as a condition of return?

  • And I can't help but notice that no matter what the problem is, Ms. Smith's clinic would make more money.

  • The youths are "extremely resistant" to what, exactly?
    • alcoholic abuse?
    • 12-Step abuse?
    • rape? incest?
    • brainwashing?
    • fascism?

  • And what part of the "treatment" program breaks down their resistance?

  • Will that "treatment" push those teens over the edge into a psychotic episode, like happened to Judy?

  • Why is the word "opportunities" in quotation marks like that?
    '...we need to take advantage of these special "opportunities" to offer help'?
    What is that sentence really supposed to mean, and why do the quotation marks give it draconian overtones?

Then Ms. Smith reverts to typical Stepper behavior and starts blaming the victim:

While reviewing the list of 'adult abuses', it is clear that there is no such thing as a completely helpless victim. Very seldom, as adults, are we totally without options.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 76.


Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 159.
[The emphatic capitalization was in the original text.]

So how is it our fault if we were abused as children and taught to live a victim's lifestyle?

And, finally, if you go to your regular doctor or counselor and he or she tells you that you don't need any treatment for "co-dependency", Ms. Smith gives you this advice:

... don't waste your time and/or money trying to convince someone you are sick enough to be there. A really good therapist, trained in family systems, will understand what you are saying and will help you to make connections with the past. Your present unmanageability will be evidence enough that something is wrong.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, pages 100-101.

  • If the doctor or counselor says that we aren't sick with 'codependency' and don't need any quack medicine treatment, what makes the authoress Ann Smith so sure that we are sick and we really do need her expensive treatment? How can she make that diagnosis when she hasn't even seen us — not ever?

  • "Codependency Treatment" will help us make what "connections with the past"? We aren't treating amnesia here. That is just so much double-talk and nonsensical babbling — psychobabble.

  • And what about "Your present unmanageability"? Who says that our lives are unmanageable, and that we are powerless over our problems? Only the 12-Stepper crazies.

  • And once again, we have a Stepper telling us that a thoroughly-indoctrinated true-believer 12-Step counselor, sponsor, or "therapist" who parrots the co-dependency party line is superior to a real doctor for diagnosing and treating various ailments. If a real doctor says that we aren't sick from "codependency", and a Stepper says that we are, the Stepper wins.
    It's just like how the Big Book tells us that Alcoholics Anonymous members are superior to real doctors when it comes to curing alcoholics:

    Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.

      You know, it begins to look like you can foist all kinds of malpsychia and quack medicine on the public if you just call it another "twelve-step program". Just hang the Twelve Steps on the wall, and insist that they can help to cure the problem, and "Hey, Presto!" it's another "spiritual" 12-Step program.

      Then you can set up a "clinic" that treats the problem and make a lot of money off of people's gullibility —

      "Make out the checks to me, spend two hours a week in "group therapy" here, and then go to at least three 12-Step meetings per week on the outside for the rest of your life, and you will eventually see some improvement. And if you don't get better, it's because you didn't work the Steps right."

Also see Andrew Meacham's take on Grandchildren of Alcoholics.

On the Internet, the 12-Step missionary Robert Burney tells the parents of alcoholics and addicts that they have the disease of codependency because one or more of their offspring decided to have some fun by drinking and doping. And, Burney says, the parents always had the "disease", and they never had any control over the situation:

To Parents of Alchoholics / Addicts       [sic., sp.]


By Robert Burney

"We must start recognizing our powerlessness over this disease of Codependence.

As long as we did not know we had a choice we did not have one.

If we never knew how to say "no," then we never really said "yes."

We were powerless to do anything any different than we did it. We were doing the best we knew how with the tools that we had. None of us had the power to write a different script for our lives. We need to grieve for the past. For the ways in which we abandoned and abused ourselves. For the ways we deprived ourselves. We need to own that sadness. But we also need to stop blaming ourselves for it. It was not our fault!

We did not have the power to do it any differently.

As long as we are holding onto the guilt and feeling ashamed, it means that on some level we think we had the power. We think that if we would have just done it a little differently, if we had just done it "right," if we could have just said the "right' thing, then we could have controlled it and had it come out the way we wanted.

The part of you that is telling you that is your disease."

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

So, if the parents aren't responsible for their kids turning to drugs and alcohol, who or what is to blame?
Burney has some very odd-ball explanations for addiction and "codependency" problems:

I believe that planetary conditions of polarization (of the Energy Field of Collective Human Intellectual Consciousness / Lower Mind) and reversity (of the Energy Field of Collective Human Emotional Consciousness) are what created the Human Condition as we inherited it.

"The human condition is a symptom! Human nature as we understand it is a symptom! The human condition is not a result of flaws in human nature. Both are effects.

The condition of Codependence - which, as I said could more accurately be described as outer or external dependence - is the human condition as we have inherited it!"

So children use drugs and alcohol because the planet's energy isn't polarized right? What on Earth has this guy been smoking?

It's funny how Burney tries to sound scientific here. Soon he will leave such logic behind and fly off to parts unknown:

Parents do not cause their children to become alcoholics — or drug addicts.

Alcoholism / addiction is not caused by environmental factors. It is a physiological, genetic allergy — a hereditary predisposition involving brain chemistry. There is now ample scientific proof, research data, to support the premise that made Alcoholics Anonymous the first successful approach to dealing with alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease. Drug Addiction, in the great majority of cases, is just a form of alcoholism.

I believe that in a hundred years historians will look back and pinpoint this milestone as the single most important event in the twentieth century. This milestone was the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio, in June of 1935.

Besides the invaluable gift of sobriety that AA has given to millions of Alcoholics, it also started a revolution in Spiritual consciousness.
In this quote, I make reference to how this consciousness expansion can be seen in all areas of human endeavor. Likewise, it can be viewed from a multitude of perspectives. One of those perspectives would be astrological.
From an astrological perspective, the Age of Healing and Joy that I talk about in my book, can be seen as the Age of Aquarius.

This astrological information that I recently rediscovered is something that resonated powerfully with me...

Anyway, in this series of articles I am going to be talking about a Higher Power of my own understanding. That is, I will be sharing my Spiritual beliefs and how those beliefs have developed and evolved over my time in recovery - which will include talking about the influence of Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve step process in my personal journey of growth and awakening.

Honestly, is that a journey of growth and awakening, or a journey of delusion and insanity?

And yes, the 12-Step religion is just as "scientific" and "spiritual" as astrology.

Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D., also wrote a book on children of alcoholics, titled simply "Adult Children of Alcoholics". That book reminds me of astrology. One of the big problems with astrology is that it attempts to define people's personalities and predict their destinies based on just a few facts, like time of birth, sun sign, moon sign, rising sign, and the conjunctions of a few constellations and planets. Similarly, Woititz believes that she can describe people's personalities on the basis of only one single fact — that they are children of alcoholics.

Woititz devotes the majority of her book to teaching us that all children of alcoholics are described by this stereotype:

  1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.
  2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
  3. Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
  4. Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy.
  5. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun.
  6. Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously.
  7. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.
  8. Adult children of alcoholics over-react to changes over which they have no control.
  9. Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation.
  10. Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people.
  11. Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible.
  12. Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
  13. Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.
Adult Children of Alcoholics, Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D., pages xxvi & xxvii.

Item 11 is another double-bind — damned if you do, and damned if you don't. You are a stereotypical ACOA no matter whether you are responsible or irresponsible — and whether you are guilty of "super" or extreme behavior is really just somebody's arbitrary value judgement.

If you are moderately responsible,

  • You will appear to be "super responsible" when compared to derelict homeless alcoholics who are completely irresponsible.
  • You will appear to be "super irresponsible" when compared to rigid, straight-laced control freaks and compulsively neat people.

You can't win.

Adults who were terrorized and abused during their childhood may well be suffering from PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — but that is a very different thing than the condition that Janet Woititz is describing.

It is absurd to declare that all children of alcoholics fit into a certain stereotype and that they all suffer from the same mental or "spiritual" problem, and they all misbehave in the same ways, and that they can all then be "treated" with the same "spiritual" 12-Step program. But that's what she says:

For those recovering from addiction to alcohol and/or drugs.
If you keep relapsing or can't put 90 days together...

      Many times folks find themselves unable to maintain sobriety because they are using the substance in order not to feel the pain of their secret. "You are as sick as your secrets" is an expression that makes a lot of sense. Keeping your secrets keeps you stuck. The alcoholic family system is a place of lots of secrets. You may need, if this is your situation, to work first with a professional who understands substance abuse and understands what it means to be an ACoA. The purpose of this is to expose your secret — if only to you and your therapist — and drain some of the pus out. (Some folks are able to use the fifth step of AA to do this, but it doesn't work for everyone.)
      [This is absurd psychobabble. People become alcoholics or drug addicts because they feel bad and want to feel good, and they use alcohol and drugs to try to feel good most all of the time, not because they have a secret. This is blatant pseudo-science and quack medicine. Where does the authoress get this garbage? (Besides from Bill Wilson's cult religion...) Has there ever been even one valid psychological study that showed that people drink alcohol to excess and become alcoholics or drug addicts because they have unrevealed secrets or unconfessed sins? I don't think so.
      Note that "a professional who understands what it means to be an ACoA" is really code language for "a money-taker who believes in (or at least promotes) the myth of 'codependency' in Adult Children of Alcoholics".]

      Once the secret, whatever it is, is exposed and the weight of keeping that buried is no longer present, your next chore is to get clean and sober for a year. Then it will be time to go on to the next step.
      For those recovering from addictions that are not alcohol or drug related, such as gambling, food, or sex, it is possible to combine that 12-Step recovery and ACoA recovery.
      Any recovery program should work well alongside ACoA recovery.  ...

For folks not in recovery from addiction.

      Go first to Al-Anon and learn the principles of a 12-Step program and learn how to work the steps. Not all ACoA support groups follow the steps, but since so many of their members belong to other 12-Step programs, the principles are followed and the language is used.

For everyone

      All folks in ACoA recovery need to learn the Al-Anon principle of detachment regardless of whether or not they are recovering from an addiction or are living with an addict.   ...
Adult Children of Alcoholics, Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D., page 192-194.

      Notice how the 12 Steps and 12-Step meetings — listing and confessing your sins, declaring that you are powerless over your problem, and passively waiting for Higher Power to heal you — are the magic cure-all, no matter whether you are an addict or the clean and sober child of an addict or even a clean and sober roommate of an addict. The 12-step routine is always the panacea, no matter what the ailment (or non-ailment) may be.

And what is that last item, that "Al-Anon principle of detachment"? It sounds like this jewel of non-recovery that we read earlier:

"I will realize that, even in doing nothing about my problems, I am actively practicing the Al-Anon idea."
One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, page 143.

"Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems."
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson Chapter 3, page 42.

Another aspect of the snake oil routine is the assumption that the "magic of the Twelve Steps" can solve myriad problems in a member's life — even medical ailments. Sponsors in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Dual Recovery have a bad habit of telling new sponsees to stop taking their pills — to stop taking the medications that a real doctor has prescribed — and just trust the Twelve Steps to heal them.

Those sponsors actually do believe that "spiritual principles" will fix all of your medical problems. The parallels with faith healing and the Christian Science religion are immediate and obvious, and so are the memories of what happened to some of those other believers — how they had children dying for the lack of proper medical treatment. Well, the 12-Steppers have people dying that way, too.

And Ms. Ann Smith, whom we just discussed for treating grandchildren of alcoholics, also warns us not to take medications. In a neat example of double-talk, she first says that we may need medications, and then she says, in bold-face type, that we shouldn't take them:

Some Adult Children and Grandchildren may discover that they are in need of anti-depressants or other medications before they can fully recover. Prior to a decision to accept medication, it is wise to have the opinions of both a psychiatrist and a trusted therapist. (A word of caution: The use of other mood-altering medications, like tranquilizers, can be very dangerous to a recovering addict and only a band-aid on the real problem for a non-addict.)
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency, Ann W. Smith, page 110.

  • First off, she recommends that we get the opinion of both a psychiatrist and a therapist before "accepting" medications. (As if some radical doctor is trying to shove drugs on us, and we don't know if we should take them...)
    What if they disagree? Who has the final say?
    What if the real doctor — the psychiatrist — says, "Take the pills" and a fundamentalist anti-medications 12-Step-oriented "therapist" says "Don't take any medications"? Who wins?
    • If the Stepper gets to veto the psychiatrist, then the Stepper is practicing medicine without a license, rewriting the prescriptions of a real doctor. (And practicing medicine without any medical training, either.)
    • If the psychiatrist gets to out-vote the 12-Step-oriented "therapist", then why bother to ask the "therapist" in the first place? Why should the opinion of a Stepper who has no medical training even be considered?

  • The authoress says, "tranquilizers can be ... only a band-aid on the real problem for a non-addict"?
    Oh really? Just when did the certified addictions counselor Ann Smith become a medical doctor who is qualified and authorized to prescribe or proscribe medications for non-addicts? (That is, for normal people.) That isn't her field, and they aren't her patients. She isn't a doctor or a psychiatrist. She has no business giving medical advice or treatment to non-addicts.
    In fact, it is illegal for her to give medical advice or treatment to anyone, addict or non-addict. She isn't licensed to practice medicine. She isn't licensed to prescribe medications. She isn't qualified to advise anyone to take or not take medications.

    Again, we see the arrogance of 12-Step "counselors" who think that they are qualified to practice medicine (without a license) just because they got indoctrinated in the teachings of a cult religion that claims to have a "non-cure treatment" for a mental or spiritual "disease" that the American Psychiatric Association does not even recognize as existing.

  • How could she even know what an unnamed non-addict's "real problem" might be? Anne Smith simply assumes that all "Adult Children and Grandchildren" suffer from the imaginary disease of "codependency".
    1. That is a dangerous over-generalization.
    2. No real doctor who is even halfways competent would ever make such a broad sweeping statement about a group of patients about whom he knows absolutely nothing, and whom he has not even examined.
    3. The authoress cannot possibly know what medical or psychiatric problems some unnamed non-addicted person might have, and she cannot possibly know whether he needs to take medications.
    4. Nevertheless, Ms. Smith declares in bold-face type that medications are "only a band-aid on the real problem for a non-addict", without having a clue about what the "real problem" might be, or even who the real patient might be.

  • Ms. Smith is arrogating the medical doctor's and the psychiatrist's privileges again, and usurping their authority to prescribe or recommend against medications.

  • And Ms. Smith is simply parrotting the Steppers' prejudices against medications, once again:

Also see the Cult Test answer on Irrationality for more on the "no medications" issue.

And see The Hazelden Coffee War for the story of some fundamentalist Steppers so crazy and so extreme that they thought that coffee was too strong of a drug to allow to people in recovery.

And see the list of A.A. "No Meds" horror stories that I have received: A.A. "No Meds" Stories. A lot of people have died because of the A.A., N.A., and Al-Anon opposition to medications.


1) More Revealed Ken Ragge, page 178.
Alert Publishing, Henderson, Nevada, 1992.

2) AA Horror Stories, Rebecca Fransway
See Sharp Press, Tucson, AZ, 2000.
ISBN: 1-884365-24-8
Dewey: 362.2918 T971 2000
Blame-the-victim as the standard method of handling rapes is described in many chapters. Start with pages 47, 49, 55, and 145.

3) The Twelve Step groups should not really be called "self-help" groups, because the first thing that they teach you is that you are powerless over your problem and cannot heal yourself, and only a Higher Power can "restore you to sanity." That's Steps One and Two. So Alcoholics Anonymous is not a self-help group; it's an elf-help group.

4) The term "Multiple Personality Disorder" is archaic. The proper current term is "Dissociative Identity Disorder". D.I.D. is a disorder caused by severe psychological injury usually sustained without intervention in childhood. With Dissociative Identity Disorder, someone's ability to solidify their personality was severely interrupted, so the parts that are normally not fused before age 8, continue to never fuse due to severe, life-threatening trauma. (Thanks to a reader for that.)


Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency     Ann W. Smith
Health Communications, Inc., Pompano Beach, Florida, 1988.
ISBN: 0932194-55-9
LC: HV5132.S65 1988
Dewey: 362.292
LCCN: 87-23594
Some pretty entertaining quack medicine — well, entertaining unless you are a victim of it. See quotes above.

Adult Children of Alcoholics     Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D.
Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 1983.
ISBN: 1-55874-112-7
Dewey: 362.292 W847a 1983
Simplistic, stupid, pseudo-intellectual bull passed off as some kind of psychology. See quote here.

Hope for Today     Al-Anon Family Groups
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA, 2002.
ISBN: 0-910034-39-7
LCCN: 2002100375
A book of daily meditations. Some of the worst mind-bending drivel around. On average, even worse than Alcoholics Anonymous propaganda. This is the church that is dedicated to the insane proposition that you should spend the rest of your life grovelling and wallowing in guilt and powerlessness because Daddy drank too much alcohol.
Quotes: here.

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