jesusback4Do you have a story as to why you left a 12 step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alateen, Cocaine Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Over Eaters Anonymous, Neurotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Adult Children Of Alcoholics, Heroin Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Clutterers Anonymous, Nar-Anon,  Debtors Anonymous, Sex and Love Anonymous, Workaholics Anonymous? Or any of the many other 12 step programs that tell you that you are powerless over your addiction and must believe in a Higher                                   Power?



  1. I left NARANON. Why, because it is a bunch of BS. I want to go in there and say what ever I want. I want to clear my head of all the Crap the addict has caused me. I basically want to vent.
    Yes, that is why they have Therapy. But, I have to pay a co-pay for Therapy. I want to vent without paying one damn dime.
    Yes, they are supposed to help me learn to live with the addict and not be co-dependent or enable. I guess this helps in the long run but what about right now when I am so pissed off at them I want to scream.
    Tell a friend. So the friend can post it on Facebook or Messenger or some damn site like that. Screw that. It is none of the their damn business.
    I want to be in a room with people I am not close too and say what I want without limits. NARANON does not allow this.
    This is why I left NARANON.

  2. It’s just that after almost 20 years of clean time, I’m feeling the weight of that label and the perceived expectations that I feel from people with much less clean time. In short, I sometimes feel like I’m not clean because I want to be…I’m clean because I HAVE to be. If I relapse, I’ll be a pariah. There will not be anyone in the entire fellowship in this area–and many in the next area over–who won’t know my business. The pity will flow. The judgement will crest. I’m trapped. You relapse at 5 years, people are concerned but understanding. It happens frequently enough that we’re told to just get back up and come back in. But you relapse at 20 years!? Now THAT’S a scandal! Something somewhere must have gone horribly, horribly wrong. That’s a person that we must hold up high as a “there but for the grace of God…” example to the rest of us. Stories are circulated…people remember.

    All my friends and social circle are NA. But I’m sitting there in a convention committee meeting a few weeks back and I realize that I don’t even like half the people there. I find them grating on the nerves, judgmental, and often overly sunny and optimistic to the point of being entirely superficial. I mean, who ARE these people and why am I here with them? And the other half? Meh…they’re nice enough, I guess, but I’m not excited (if I ever was) to meet them or to even be there.

    When will I be done here? After 19+ years, when do I get to say “enough”? When do I get to dust off my boots and go on outside of the rooms? Let’s face it…I’m tired of NA. Tired of the functions. Tired of the meetings. Tired of the people. Tired of the premise. Tired of pink clouds floating by and those with 3 and 5 year chips talking with great authority about “life in recovery.” I’m feeling hemmed in by the guilt associated with walking away, backing off, and moving out…by the pressure to stay.

    I love several of the people in the program, I really do. I look forward to seeing them and are happy for their successes and try to empathize with their struggles. But in the larger sense, I’m just not feeling it anymore. More and more, I want to just “hangout” like an adult….drink a beer with dinner. Sit out at a bonfire on a Friday night and smoke a bowl. Yeah, it would be nice to get “fuzzy” (why does anybody smoke weed or drink beer if not to feel fuzzy?)–but it would also be nice to just feel like a friggin’ grown up in society once again.

    More than that though…I don’t feel like I fit anymore. I’m THE LADY WITH ALL THE CLEAN TIME. So many of the folks that were here when I came in are dead or have moved on themselves. How can I honestly share about my growing desire for something else, something other than NA, its functions, and NA-based service? I suddenly feel like I joined a cult and I can’t walk away without it having big time repercussions on my entire life, sacrificing my friends and my support network. I have to be either all in or all out. I can’t drink a beer or smoke a bowl and expect the same level of intimacy or support for my lifestyle that I get now. Plus, in the end, everyone there “knows” me, so no one there really “looks” at me anymore. A quick “how ya doing?” and we’re off to go sit down in the meeting room. I do the same. It’s like a relationship that’s run its course–we’re bored with one another.

    And what’s to talk about in meetings anyway? I’ve LITERALLY shared everything I’ve gone through for the last 19+ years. Every emotion, every difficulty, every solution, every thought and epiphany…I’m actually all talked out (took almost two decades)!! What’s left to share? That I’m bored as hell? That I don’t want to deal with the disappointed and concerned faces when I talk about wanting to bust out of NA?

    NA helped get me clean. And the people in the rooms helped me stay clean and recover. It showed me a spiritual path and helped me to heal in ways that are too profound to put into words. But damn…it can’t be ALL there is, y’know? I really want to know: what else is there? NA cannot be the end of my road. It’s NO LONGER my sole or primary social ground around which I orbit and–most importantly–I don’t WANT it to be! I’ve tried fitting that square peg in a round hole for well over 15 years. It was great starting out…it was a wonderful social support group of great people that I felt welcomed into. But it stopped being that for me a while ago…I don’t blame anyone. I’m not even sure why it happened that way. If it’s because of some deficiency in me, then so be it…but it don’t change the fact that it’s just the way it is. The truth is that I look around the fellowship and realize that–with the exception of a precious few–these aren’t my people.

    Now, how the fuck am I supposed to share THAT at a meeting?

    • You could tell people at the meeting that you do not believe people need to attend attend meetings for life and that you are going to move on to the next chapter of your life.

      Or you could decide to just stop going and not explain yourself to the NA cult. It certainly is not healthy to be rehashing ones issues for decades, move on and enjoy your life now!

      • NA in the Metro Detroit, MI area also sucks beyond belief! I went to the “cult” meetings for 10 years, was very involved in service work, but refused to tolerate NA putting the NA letters inside a dream catcher and profiting off the sales of convention T-shirts. It’s funny how they preach unconditional love, blah, blah, blah, UNTIL you point out they’re violating traditions, then they turn on you like an angry mob. I sent shock waves all through MI over that & none of them have a damn, they continued to profit off of using Native American symbols & did nothing to correct their corrupt behavior. I left.
        By the way, where the hell are their statistics, data, experts, research to prove that the ONLY way to stay clean is through the inane meetings & those who don’t continue with meetings will relapse. What a crock! All they have to go on is the “because we said so,” no science there, just a bunch of b.s.!
        I tried going back to meetings in 2012 & it just reminded me of the same b.s. I left behind. I met my boyfriend & it’s been on & off again, nothing to do with drugs, but lots of unresolved trauma on both our parts
        I wish he would wake up & see what a bunch of pus bags they truly are! Sit at the tables with the “boys” & you’d swear it was “misogynist anonymous” instead!
        The hypocrisy is enough to make you vomit with rage! The only thing is they’re not using drugs, or so they say. They’re STILL breaking the law, lying, conning, cheating, manipulating, stealing, etc.
        They use my boyfriend & sadly he never tells these losers no. I told him they don’t bother with him outside the meetings unless they want something from him; money, rides, fixing their cars, pulling picnic permits that makes him liable for all the suckwad behavior if the cops show up.
        The treasuer, Rob McGraw is a complete piece of shit human being! Multiple years clean, running around all over the place trying to prove what a great guy he is & all the addicts he’s helping (he profits off them in his slummy 3/4 houses. Meanwhile his daughter’s so desperate for his attention & not getting it, starts shooting dope! Way to go! Cult tells you, “recovery first!” NO!!!! You do NOT put cults before family, work, school obligations!!!
        Same idiot when you tell him picnic permit clearly states, ” NO DJ’S/NO live music.” His response, “yeah, I know. Been that way for years, never been a problem.” Meanwhile, my boyfriend’s on the hook, if any neighbor’s call to complain.
        Same ass further interferes with picnic permit & they decide AFTER using my boyfriend to pull the permit, they were going to do a pig roast. There’s NO WAY my boyfriend would’ve got the permit if he knew that ahead of time.
        I told the group they can’t interfere with the permit, they can’t make any changes since they’re not a party & the city will shut down the picnic if they proceed.
        McGraw being the loser junkie he is, boasted to the group the pig roast was on, he lied to the group about having a new contract, said the pig will have an Apple in it’s mouth & there will be rabbits too.
        This sick twisted piece of shit knew my beloved rescue rabbit was sick & recently died.
        I had to leave the meeting, because if I stayed, I would ‘ve smashed his face in. That piece of shit doesn’t understand what goes around comes around. Wait til his precious little daughter relapses & dies from an overdose; too bad, so sad!!!
        NA SUCKS BEYOND BELIEF!!!! It’s nothing more than a disgusting cult!!! How pathetic that night after night a bunch of mindless twits with multiple years of recovery prattle on ad-nauseum about their criminal behavior & war stories of their drug usage. WHO CARES!!!!
        Are they that petrified to go out & get a freaking life???!!!! They don’t have a clue as to what else to talk about!
        And yes, if you leave the cult, all communication with those who process to be your friends, ends.
        Yep, these sanctimonious losers tell those who are sucked into the b.s. to leave their relationships, marriages, “you’re better off without him/her.’ gee! So much for unconditional love.
        Sadly, that b.s. with asshole McGraw was the last straw that resulted in our breakup. I told him if he can’t , won’t or don’t stand up for me & Edie, I didn’t want him in my life.
        Here’s the difference between real life & NA dderelicts. Those losers drag everyone down & keeps them oppressed. They don’t pray for healing, they only “pray” for their self-centered ways.
        There’s MORE to life, than going to work & MEETINGS day after day, night after night.
        NA is for the weak & cowards in life!!!
        Glad to be away from those sick, disgusting losers!!!!

        • Thank you for your candor. I have seen some things in my few years. It got to the point to where the meetings were an unbelievable WTF event. They were abusive. It was either a tent revival hour or the let’s gang up on the one we feel like tonite. One more attempt of free labor in the form of service work for bullys and I would have gone off. I was disgusted over the callousness of the “perfect ones”. It seemed like there was competitions in the meetings to win that nites award for biggest asshole in the never ending Wild West Show of Asses. It seemed like nobody every got pass start. I was over trying to have a conversation with a Big Book quoting parrot that had no fucking idea of comphrension. It occurred to me that ok the aren’t using but they haven’t fixed the unlying original issues at all. What about that? So how can you live a sober life if the bat shit crazy core issues are never addressed? I addressed my core issues. I worked my butt of repairing, understanding, and overcoming my particular emotional issues. I worked my butt off to find balance and peace in my life. I moved on. Then it occurred to me wtf is going on? The healthier I got the more aggressive some of these people got especially my sponsor! My sponsor wanted to be worshipped. My sponsor was always labeling people especiallt me. My sponsor called me a racial slur without even batting an eye and told me I was overreacting when I told her that labeling people is a form of abuse. Well it was war after that because I had raised my voice against her. I started taking a deeper look at my parrot sponsor. NA was all she had. NA was all she did. She was the NA Queen. She ruled. She had ALL the answers and the other minions in NA consigned her bs. My sponsor ended up looking up and contacting a relative of my late husband who had done insidious things to me. She gave her my new address and phone number and the two of them tried to rock my world together. Calling World they just brushed it off. Other Good NA fellowers told me no foul and principles before personalities. Yeah but that shit goes both ways and now I have to go dark again. All because I wouldn’t worship a 19 year veteran of NA. No. This woman is very harmful. This woman is sick. Sick. Sick. She brags about her ability to run game on people. She has histronic personality disorder with bipolar and is running at full speed amuck. And she aint the only one. It has been my observation that this particular NA environment is a perfect environment for narcissism, hostage taking, bullying, sexual predators, stealing. It is a cess pool haven for abuse and toxic relationships. I watch and listen to some of these people and from what I can ascertain they might not be using substances but they are damn sure using people. I need more. I want to be the best person I can possibly be. I need balance and a sound mind. I will not ever obtain that around jack rabbit thinkers that pull self servicing slogans out of their asses to excuse their stinking thinking acts. I deserve better. So I am Stepping Out of the 12 steps. I am not willing to use or be used by people, places, or things. Peace Out!

      • Fuck NA/AA it sucks. Period
        Service WORK?!! I’m not cleaning or doing coffee for free. Sorry I make a good living. I’d make more money skipping the meeting!

      • Thank you very much for your story 29 year member clean since 1987. Narcotics Anonymous has turned into a cult, the opposite they believe your marginalize. Couldn’t stand it anymore sexual predators male and female, drugs of being sold, money always stolen cannot account for it. The constant thing I serve the fellowship. LOL STEVEN W. 29YR. 6MO.

        • I have left Narcotic Anonymous after going for over 23 years. I will 24 years clean on feb. I feel a huge lift for leaving and I am glad I have friends outside of N/A. I will still be friends with some people as long as they do not try and give me a lot of spiel. I feel a lot of energy and a huge burden has been lifted of my shoulders. I have always been my own person within it and I glad I did not listen to some of the control from people. Onwards and upwards.

    • Just suddenly relocate. That’s what I did. And nobody will contact you anyway because you won’t be in the “bubble world” anymore that is created in these settings. To be honest, I did not even move for that reason, but I quickly got burnt out and saw the hypocrisy (thankfully). I relocated and pretty much people just assumed I got drunk or “left AA” just because I moved… of course, nobody asks. No, why would they do that, if they can just believe what they want to reaffirm their reasons for staying? It was a bitter pill because I did attempt (perhaps too hard) to keep in contact with the 2 or 3 people whom I did really love and cherish and had spent a good deal of time with (and considered them my friends). But, really, if you move… and not even “leave AA,” you will experience the exact same thing as if you relapsed or “left” and told them to go fuck themselves. It really sucks, but you saw it when you were in… and you will see it from the outside as well. I’m not going to sit here and say “Those that love you will understand and still support you” because no, no, they will not because they have an ideology to defend. You know how it goes– they can’t talk to you, even if they haven’t fully processed “why” exactly, but a) distance is a good beginning rationale, b) you can’t possibly understand them because you aren’t near anymore, so if it doesn’t help them to talk to you, they won’t and c) it’s better to assume you left and got all drunk and fucked up (or whatever– if you’re in NA) so they can silently hate you, but really envy you because they wish so badly they, too, could break away as well.

      I will add this in as well— You don’t really want to drink or smoke a bowl (or maybe you do and you will), but I think the idea just represents the desire to do something different… again. I moved and I did not go to meetings any longer when I relocated… pretty much, I had already divorced the program because I was in a relationship (Thank God I had somebody) and I was pretty much already ostricized before that because I didn’t do the whole “fuddy duddy” thing of trying to force myself into social situations and did not see the need for social work..err.. service work. (I’m a little rusty, even, on the terminology.. not going to bother to correct it because it was the first thing that came to mind.) It’s the same as when you were growing up (if you have this experience– probably, but if not, you’ve been taught to relate… so use that ability lol) and somebody close to the family or something would get you a gift and your mom would tell you “Send them a ‘Thank you’ card.” and something just wrenched and cringed inside of you. Did this make you an ungrateful little sack of garbage? Or was there really no need to say “Thanks” in such an over-the-top guilt-ridden way? Isn’t the best thanks just appreciating the thought and the gift and not having the immediate need to reciprocate in some pre-determined fashion? You get what I mean. This is how I saw “service work” — My mom was telling me “Go tell them ‘Thank you'” all over again and I was just cringing inside and utterly humiliated. “Look, I didn’t ask for anything from them… people give gifts out of generosity.” Even children know this!

      Anyway, back to what I was saying– I had already divorced AA and did not even attend my 2nd “birthday meeting” (lol what a humiliation, even then, I thought– I didn’t need acknowledgment and if it was to “help me” by helping others– no thank you. I’m not giving a testimonial. These are the words I use now, mind you, not what I could even conjure to think then– I didn’t understand why, really). So, moving here, I was already a leper. I heard the bitterness in the voices of those I’m all too familiar with on the phone. I could literally hear the jealousy seeping through (I was utterly shocked) and I could “hear” the desire for me to “relapse” just so they could prove themselves right that if *they* left or moved, then that’s what would “happen” to them.

      So, I was long divorced from it, but my spiritual journey (for lack of better terms) only just began for me… I was sober for 7.5 years and I was scared to death of alcohol… I don’t need to go into detail, I trust everyone understands you are pretty much taught to fear it (and everything for that matter), while also trying to reconcile your fears. It’s highly contradictory, but I digress yet again…. (“Fear keeps you sober” is what I was trying to say)… So, I actually *decided* … I didn’t go insane… I didn’t have someone “die” near me… I didn’t have some looming anger or desire to self-destruct… I *soberly* decided to drink alcohol, so that I could prove to myself that it was a) not dangerous, b) people who drink are not “ill” and “in need of help” c) so I could stop hating and fearing “those people” (myself) and d) so I could heal and move on. Afterall, if I quit drinking, I expected it to leave my life, but instead I spent more time sober and talking about it all the time than I did actually drinking… and even when I was drinking, I most certainly didn’t make it a topic of conversation at every given opportunity. So I drank– me and my partner both (an “ala-non” — ooooohhh, naughty, naughty— I’m trying to say, somebody that never self-identified as “alcoholic” as I had) for a few months semi-frequently… few times a week. The first few times were SO difficult. I was an anxious ball of knots– a nervous wreck– monitoring every “change” in mind and whatnot, like I was doing a self-documentary… had some semi-fun times (not really) and some terrible puking/hangover experiences, which I did not miss at all. Didn’t fool around– drank wine (as a gentle starter– always hated wine, still did), drank beer, drank vodka, schnapps, etc. Didn’t even pretend it was about the experience– and most certainly quickly learned to avoid “craft beers” as they are all BS. Decided I enjoyed Rolling Rock the best… drank it the most. Went on drives (yes, while drunk– had to relive my past completely… this was on country roads at night, everybody calm down), listened to music I used to enjoy back in my drinking days… relived the whole thing. Then, bam, was done. I don’t like alcohol. I never did. I wasn’t “there” anymore. I didn’t experience guilt or remorse… I didn’t “prove AA right” but I did prove myself right in what I set out to accomplish. In my mind, and I didn’t even realize that I had sort of envisioned already how all of this would go– I knew everything would be OK and I trusted myself (believe it or not… trust me, if I didn’t trust myself, I wouldn’t have been able to do it)– and I still have a few beers in the fridge and a bottle of Jim Beam in the back the kitchen cabinet, as a badge of honor. This was 6 months ago.

      Long story short– this is already way TOO long– I never, ever, ever feel like I “lost” my sobriety, but I most certainly wanted to throw “my time” away… I hated that it existed and I hated that the only reason I didn’t drink is because the clock would have to start over or something. I am absolutely no different now than I was in the program– albeit a sense of more freedom and trust in myself. But I must also note, I never, when I got alcohol-sober, never quit smoking pot… and this was known (and also gossiped about, even though only the ones that counted knew… need-to-know basis sort of thing… because it damaged their sensitive minds to know, even when it was heard through the grapevine– like what I did there?– because yes, many, many were all about absolute abstinence, but that was *never* my “problem” so I never had any guilt about keeping the pot in my life. Two of my sponsors smoked pot– and there was this whole other sub-sub-culture within AA of this type, though I didn’t *need* other people to validate what I continued to do… apparently, I was there for them, who did need that, I guess, in hindsight. But I did fall prey to this abstinence mentality with one sponsor I had because they had personal issues with me taking Klonopin, even though it was prescribed, never abused, and I didn’t have any problem with it– and actually, it came down to a weird timing thing– even though I had been on the Klonopin for about 7 years before getting sober at 22, my insurance ran out and I was pretty much screwed because where I was living was very conservative and treated poor people like garbage and did not prescribe controlled substances, so like any “good” AA’er, I took it as a “sign” or an “opportunity” to get off of it and stay off it… which was absolutely terrible. I won’t go into detail, but I am happy to say, I am back on it now because why the fuck not? That’s nobody’s position to decide except for me. But I did internalize the “dependency” thing and thought “Yeah, I guess I do rely on it……. and I guess that makes me *not trust in God to take care of me instead* guilt bullshit” — it’s SO ironic they say that guilt essentially “gets you drunk” or is the driving force along with fear, yet you are taught to feel guilt, shame, and fear in order to “get and stay sober” … it relies tremendously on judgment while trying *not* to judge… and just so many things. I’m preaching to the choir)…..

      Anyway, this is a book and is boring probably because I know everybody has the same story, so I dont really want to distract too much with my “unique experience” — I didn’t walk away hating it (the program) or the people… because I wasn’t surprised. I already saw all of that while I was in there and frankly, I was just like them at some points, obviously.

      Let me cram it into this phrase: “If you doubt yourself, you will be met with many doubters of you.” And AA encourages doubt and constant self-evaluation (doubt) and then you are actually shocked when you are met with people who question you, even though you spend day and night questioning yourself. Let me end everyone’s years of struggles with this VERY BASIC observation. For example– I always had the fear people would think I was arrogant… even though this was literally never vocalized by anyone (aside from my mom when I was growing up when she would tell me I was “egotistical” in my moments of self-enjoyment) and I went to therapy in the end, right before moving, because I was actually considering hormone replacement therapy (whole ‘nother story… I didn’t…) at the time and I needed a therapist to sign off on “my decision” — and in the midst of this, I came in one day, and we were talking as usual (oddly enough, she had also been in recovery and had about 22 years at the time… sigh… can’t get away from it anywhere, but I wasn’t exactly trying to at that time anyway) and she said this to me: “I can see how other people might think you are arrogant…” She didn’t elaborate and I did not ask… and it didn’t even hit me until I looked back on it after that appointment… “What did she mean by that? That I downplay myself lest anyone be offended? Or that I am openly cocky or something? Which I take great measures to *not* be…” So, I churned that around… and finally realized– “Omg, people are telling me my worst fears…” and that’s when it hit me and I’ve known this ever since. If you think something about yourself and go back and forth, back and forth on it (12-step mentality has a way of breaking your mind into 2 parts– virtually indistinguishable from the other because you are really one… not “self” and “ego”… you are only Self, in truth… ego is not real, but a false identification. You cannot “fight” ego because to “fight” it is to fight nothing since it does not exist… digressing… coming back)… someone will just “magically” appear as outside of you to be telling you the same thing you tell yourself, but that which you find completely unacceptable when somebody else dares say it. And that’s when I realized it… I’m not arrogant and so I shouldn’t “hide” myself any longer… *that* is arrogant. I know, I know… a paradox. But you should be used to such thinking… moving on…

      To conclude: You outgrow AA/NA quickly because it has a very low ceiling… and it also relies on you making a God of your own understanding… not that this is “wrong,” but let’s be frank: Whether you acknowledge it or not, don’t you think your God you made up believes you *should* work the 12-steps? And what all powerful God would have you do that? So, really, you cannot grow because you have limited God to what you want Him to be, rather than What He Is and always will be… You give yourself a ceiling… because whatever you think God is, is what You are and Whatever you think You are is what You think God is……… Not going to explain any further. “The God of AA believes in the 12-Steps” simply put– and what need does God have to believe in anything besides Himself (Him being GOD and all… lol). So, place your faith in God. And realize God, never… under any circumstance, asks for any petty sacrifices… and all sacrifices are, in fact, petty to the Creator of the Universe… and of You. (Me)

      You have much bigger shoes to fill in this world…. limitless shoes in size. Shoes that have no boundary. To go out on a limb here at “sounding” more-or-less “whacky” to the reader, I did have a “spiritual experience” during my time in AA… it was NOT as a result OF AA, but happened in the same timeframe… it’s easy to correlate the two. But you decided…. and so it was…

      But in that experience… which I will just describe a couple of “smaller” experiences to describe the whole…. I saw a light (a literal one) come into my apartment where I was living at the time and when I looked at the Light… I had descriptive terms for It— “Timeless, Ancient, Changeless, Eternal” to name a few…. “Reality” to name another…. my conclusion at that time was “There must be two realities… this one and that one!” Nope, past me, “There is only ONE— the True one”

      And another where I felt in my “heart” …. bodily… it was like my physical heart “spoke” to me… and I had what was like an epiphany except it wasn’t just some flighty idea or wishful thinking, but quite a literal KNOWINGNESS that I was “pure, clean, and perfect.” I later discussed this experience with my sponsor who recited the Big Book to me and told me “nobody is rendered white as snow.” And I went with that, DENYING my OWN literal experience. If that’s not insanity, I don’t know what is! But that’s where I was at the time… I had to decide right? “It was probably just my “ego” talking to me…” (that non-existent thing that fills me full of GOOD things about myself, right?) I had to trust my sponsor– after all, I did not want to drink, I was afraid!! But essentially speaking here, “to never be rendered white as snow” means in layman’s terms “you will always be a sinner… no matter what” and if that’s the real case, then what’s the point? Surely, nobody believes that or else there would be no reason to pursue the journey except for pure self-torture…. HMMMM!!!! And a goal-post that constantly keeps moving itself into the distance…. HMMMM!!!!

      And finally, the experience that I think I want to end this with… I stood in my apartment with perfect certainty (with no religious background whatsoever… or knowledge of the bible or jesus or saviors or any of those words, so I had no way to really comprehend this, but I did) that all of my time leading up to that point was perfectly arranged and guided and nothing had ever went “awry” as I had thought… and would maintain it “could possibly” (or else why work the program?)… and I knew with a certainty that I cannot describe in words that I, yes I (and YOU TOO), are Savior of the World. You came here to save the world. You will see the salvation of the world. It is your desire to see the salvation of the world. It is your desire to not only “be saved,” but “to save” which are simultaneous and happen in a change of mind, not in an action, behavior, or in words… not in “good deeds” and not in “going places” and “talking to people” or “spreading words.” Some might think this was some sort of whacky “Jesus Complex” moment… it wasn’t because what is for me is the exact same for you and I can say this with absolute 100% certainty. It is true what “they” say (whoever “they” are) that We are One. We are not bodies milling about, separately from every other body. We are Mind… Minds… One Mind. One Self. And What ONE MIND DECIDES SAVES EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOUR SELF. I will stop here because I can also describe paradox and whatnot… but to save on words “Go with it” and “You are fine” and “You will succeed in what you have set out to accomplish” (and this isn’t some different goal for everyone… but the SAME goal… I’m not saying… “Hey, whatever you want to do… whatever that individual thing is for you, you will accomplish it.” because there is only ONE GOAL beyond all the superficialities of this world… because this world, as we know it, have known it… is, in fact, as you already suspected LONG AGO… is… not… REAL.

      Thank you for reading and I LOVE YOU.

      • Thank you so much fir writing this. I’ve recently started smoking pot after a 5 year stint sober in AA. I like the way it makes me think and feel about life and my place in the universe but sometimes I’m still gripped by the fear of “jails, institutions and death”.

        I’m having trouble with the splitting you mentioned and finding that the fearful side that would have me believe I should make myself small and safe is often the side that dictates my actions. I’m hoping that with time, mediatatiin and reading some appropriate literature I can learn to let go and “go with it”

        I hope this has made sense and I’d love to chat more.

        • I’ve been in AA three times, 1970s, 2000 and 2008. quite different when I was young and hot, everyone wanted to help. When I came back in 2008, noone even gave me a phone number. I was heavy, in my 60s and a lost soul. Noone even asked me what my name is. Noone. I was too messed up to get “out there” and ask for a sponsor or for help. My God, a newly sober drunk is supposed to go up to a stranger and ask them to help on a very psychologically intimate level? What? For the next five years I continued to go to meetings, and kept to myself- there were two attempts at sponsors, but they both fell though. I thought, from the previous two times, I HAD to go to AA, you know, or get drunk again. Well with only two AA friends for five years – 13th stepping is not for sad fat old women much – I was forced to depend on God. Already a Christian, with HIs help I rebuilt my faith. I will chose my church any day over AA. Finally 2.5 years ago I asked one of the In-crowd women to be my sponsor. She consented. Now, all her friends are my friends, I’ve been allowed to join the clique. They think I am grateful but I’m pretty pissed at what I see. Newcomers come in and are ignored by my clique. I at least speak to them and often give a phone number. But I keep a distance because frankly I would never be a “sponsor” and get all controlling over somebody’s life. What a huge bunch of hypocrites! I won’t go into details you already know. I can’t figure out how to get out of this. I’m almost retired now. Family lives in other states. If I stop going I will lose almost all my social contacts- my church is 40 miles away. I am pretty sure I won’t drink- but this is a small town and I see these people everywhere. If I had not gotten this sponsor, no one would have noticed that I quit the rooms, since I was a nobody. No One would see me at the grocery store and say hi,like they do now. I’m praying for a way out, but for now I’m stuck. At least I don’t “share” so much any more, that would be lying. How can I ease on out of AA in a smallish town?

          • I think the only way out is your Pastor. Explain how your AA clique is affecting your spirituality/sobriety and taking you down a wrong path – then ask for advice on how to move away from them by becoming more active in your church. Ask your Pastor if you can use their name when talking about spirituality and sobriety to AA members and let them think you are slowly turning into a major ‘Holy Roller’. Start to carry around a small Bible – people will leave you alone if you do. 😉

            Or …. you could explain everything to your MD and have them send you for appropriate counselling – then tell your friends it is a part of a Treatment Center program (or something like that.

            Basically… find an authority who is willing to lend you their name to fight off the questions from AA members about what you are doing with your ‘spare’ time.

            Plan C also works…. get drunk …. go to the meeting… vomit on one of them… then walk out like a free bird. No one will call you because they might ‘catch what you have’.


            Good luck. Librarian

    • I’m feeling this way too. You’re not alone. When things are sunny and I’m on fire for recovery, everyone loves me. But the moment I voice that there has to be something more…it’s like I am blackballed. I feel that in NA i am no longer allowed to have negative feelings without a lecture. I just need a break.

      • Fuck NA/AA it sucks. Period
        Service WORK?!! I’m not cleaning or doing coffee for free. Sorry I make a good living. I’d make more money skipping the meeting!its easier to get a tape recorder

    • We should talk, I feel the same at 25 years,
      I walked away earlier this year and experienced everything you mentioned
      then someone else admitted they grew pot and I was no longer the big conversation.
      I got my pot card in April and have no regrets
      True friends will always stand by you and now I know who they are.

    • I totally understand. NA/AA is a cult. A bunch of sick fucks preying on others. A bunch of losers who never had a voice in society and now finally have a place where they can speak to someone more fucked up than themselves and feel powerful. It is a joke. Yes, many people stay clean here but at a cost. They become robots and brainwashed. Nonsense.
      I would go to meetings and just being amongst all the phonies would make me want to get high.
      70 to 80 percent of twelve steppers are full of shit. Nowadays you have droves of millenials and hipster assholes attending as if it is a social club. They pretend often to be addicts. They just want to join a forum where they get attention. It is a joke.

    • Curious…it’s been about 18 months since you posted. Did you leave NA? Did you have that drink, or smoke that bowl? If so, did your life work out just fine, or did you quickly go back to your drug of choice?

    • Thank you so much for what you shared their. I have been a member for over 23 years and I am just coming upto 24 years clean. I have had some help over the years I just do not need it in my life anymore. I am at the point of not wanting or needing meetings anymore, if I want to go to one I will. Right now I feel good for stepping away and I just do not think they are healthy places for me to be. It did help at times. It just feels like a detention to sit in a room for one and half hours. I will work on letting go of it all. It is fizzling out slowly. Onwards and upwards.

  3. I left quite simply because I really got nothing out of it. Going to meetings and here drunkalogues which are all the same story, different characters. Sharing ranging from the boring “I got a hang nail, oh now I’m going to use now.”, to “The only reason I could take a dump this morning is due to my higher power.”, to just extremely crazy you should be in a mental hospital type shares. I though it was crazy when people sared stuff saying “I looked at porn on ther internet and jerked off. I’ve failed because I know thats not spiritual.” and thinking like dude whatever what guy doesn’t rub one out every now and then. Or one guy sharing how he was crapped on by his manager at work unfailry and how he was ashamed for feeling angry and saying he had no right to get mad. Got tired of looking at my phone to see if it was time for the meeting to be over. Never understood why if the program was supposed to make one happy joyous and free why were people with more time in the program so miserable and angry?

    With a wife and kids I never had the time to give to endless meetings and service work. I’ve never appreciated the guilt trip people gave me when I choose time with my kids over something AA related, being told that I had to put my recovery first. Being told by someone they they would never tell me what to do but make a “suggestion” and sneer at you when you tell them no. Being told that you can never say no to AA, and being an outcast for saying no to service commitments. I was also told by many people who have no facts that I should leave my wife because she is a trigger. First of all my wife has been loyal and understanding when I was on my run. She never left. My relationship with her is great now, and they wanted me to do her like that.

    I got a sponsor and did the steps. First I have to say my sponsor is still my friend and is a pretty decent and sane guy. He has pretty much the same views I have and some things. He didn’t go into the extreme everything is because of my higher power stuff. But needless to say I didn’t really get anything out of the step work. I had no issue with the God thing because I was always a believer anyway. I just believe I co create my life with God instead of having him direct everything. He just gives you a framework or rules to work in, so all it boils down to for me is helping an old lady across the street is good. Helping an old lady across the street and then stealing her purse is bad. I have to say the biggest factor for me quitting was deciding that was it, no I’m just going do to this one last time then quit for good. And then just knowing the even though I get thoughts now and them that I could just use a little bit since it’s been so long since I last did it, that if I did I probably wouldn’t like it any less and would want to do it again in the future. Thats all no magical program needed.

    • Been a member Narcotics Anonymous 28 years what a drastic change. It has a cult-like feel you have to agree the masses. Then you’re ostracized people with 5 years know everything about life and the fellowship. Their lives are in chaos, just like in politics I call them to professional recovering addict. The radical right is out professional recovering addict wants to control every aspect of the fellowship. Money is always missing just an oversight how about for a year no donations to the next level of service. Glad I found this website. Member in name only no homegroup no commitment to sponsorship. Thank you very much

      • It is all fizzling out for me. I hope to remain friends with some people in N/A. I think it takes time to detox from it all. I have all the books and do not read them anymore. I am just coming upto 24 years clean and I no longer need N/A in my life. It feels like I am wasting time sitting in a room for 1 and a half hours. I do not need that anymore. I will eventually let it all fall away. I have a beautiful woman in my life and i am excited about spending more time with her. After going for over 23 years it will take time to undo all that brainwashing. I am not bitter about it, i am where i am at. No more N/A for me.

  4. Wow – after years of looking for a place to vent – and after reading others stories here – I’ve found my people!! I HATE NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS!!

    It didn’t start out that way. As a still relatively young man, I had several knee injuries from playing sports – first basketball and football in high school – later softball as an adult. At one point, I was good enough as a softball player, to be one of maybe 2,000 adult men that get paid every weekend to fly to different parts of the country and play the silly game. Then get flown back home – back to the Monday-Friday 9 to 5, until I would board a plane and go play again.

    Early in my third summer of doing this, the old knee injuries came back to haunt me in the form of new ones. Not wanting to give up this new found (albeit small) celebrity, I found ways to play through the injuries using any number of shenanigans to obtain pain medication. What I found though, was those made me awfully drowsy and tired, and then someone introduced me to a miracle powder. Between the pharmaceuticals to kill the pain and the miracle powder (cocaine) I could go and go and go.

    Monday through Friday, I would work insane hours, play ball all weekend, and then start the cycle over – just to hang onto the adrenaline high of playing ball. A lot of people knew what I was doing – and a lot of people bought into my, “I have it under control” mantra. Then I met a girl that changed everything for me.

    Yup – I fell for her – really hard. Anything she wanted I would give her. That included, when she asked, introducing her to cocaine. I stayed away from crack because I knew I liked that too much – and the powder was just a tool. However, one day an acquaintance stopped at my house while I was at work. Told this woman that by now I had married about crack – let her taste a bit of it. He stopped several more times over the next few months – each time “bringing” us a gift – more crack. Yup – we were hooked. We lost everything – then fought to get it back together – then went and lost everything again.

    In 2002, while still an active user – I started a computer company – sometimes major portions of profits would get used up on drugs. It all came to a head on the night of December 30, 2002. As my wife and I sat in our bedroom with the door locked, smoking up the crack we had, her 6 year old daughter banged on our door begging her mommy to come out. She wouldn’t leave the room unless I did – so we both left the room – spent the rest of the evening with her kids – then went back in the room and had a long talk.

    We decided we needed to stop and stop now (we had made this decision before – this time we took action). Every bit of drugs left in the house was flushed (it wasn’t much). Every bit of paraphernalia was broken and bagged up, then we went for a ride out on a country road and just tossed the bag. The next morning, I sat the kids down and confessed I had had a problem (I at this point did not implicate their mother – she didn’t want me too), but promised it would be the last time my drug problem ever effected them.

    And so began what I thought, was a good life of sobriety. Now – I won’t lie and say it was easy. There were times I went to get stuff and just bad timing or the Lord looking out for me – whatever – never quite made it happen. The longer it got – the more I heard our one daughter reminding me not to make a promise I didn’t intend to keep. And so life went……untill…….

    While I was at work one day, a friend, active in N/A stopped and talked to my wife. Convinced her that she might get something out of the meetings to help her. I trusted this person – and said – if she wanted to go – I would stay with the kids (her kids) while she was gone. Initially things were very positive. Then she started going to more and more meetings. Friday night, instead of being family night, became meeting night. Only our youngest was left at home at this point so he and I turned it into 2 Boys Night and we would go for pizza – out to movies – goofy golfing – always something fun for him.

    If I dared to suggest that maybe spending time with family instead of going to meetings would be better, I learned the hard lesson that I was standing between her and her sobriety. Along the way, I learned that people at N/A were encouraging her to leave me because I never attended meetings so I was going to relapse. She was told she could, “do better than me.” who was telling her this? Mostly men. Some married, some divorced and jobless. Some even homeless. All of them – telling her how they were better for her because they attended meetings.

    When December 31, 2012, rolled around, I told the guy that originally got my wife to go, that it was 10 years for me – no pain meds – no cocaine. I was promptly told, “not really – you still have a drink occasionally. I hadn’t been drunk – 2 is my self imposed limit – drunk driving doesn’t look good to prospective customers. Never drank alone at home or if I was with the kids, but I was not clean.

    Meanwhile – my wife did leave me at their insistence. She slept with a number of them – but every time she got in a financial bind – she came to me crying that she had nobody to turn to. Her family that had said she was welcome back into their home and hearts because she was no longer with me, would turn her away when she needed money to pay her rent, utilities or put food on her table. Her N/A friends – the men she was sleeping with – their wives would kill them if money was missing from the joint account – or they didn’t have a job…….so…..the man she had left to do better – took care of her.

    I’ve since come to find out – that she celebrates 2 more years of clean time than I do each year (because she thought about getting clean and wanted to – I forced her to use). On her daughters birthday this past August – after a mommy daughter day that included lunch complete with margaritas and a mani pedi complete with multiple glasses of wine – I was called to come give them a ride home because they both were too intoxicated to drive. The following morning – my ex wife was gone bright and early to an N/A function to give a lecture and training workshop on living clean and sober.

    I’ve often offered to give the workshop. If you use drugs you will end up in jail, the hospital or dead. If you’re going to claim you are powerless over drugs – then you need to claim you are powerless over hammers. Hammers will make you end up in jail, the hospital or dead…….If you hit your hand with hammer hard enough – you’re going to the hospital – if you hit someone else with the hammer hard enough – you’re going to jail – if you hit yourself in the head hard enough with the hammer – you’re dead……..the common reaction I get to that story is – well that’s just stupid……..so is saying you’re powerless over a silly pile of white powder or any of a hundred other substances.

    And while we’re at it – why is it that tobacco is okay with the N/A crowd? 10 times more addictive than heroine, governed by the same branch of law enforcement as Alcohol (which they consider a drug)……..that is the “T” in ATF. So tell me – what is the job of N/A? To find a way into women’s pants for the male members? That’s the only thing I see happening.

    I did attend a meeting once with my wife. She introduced herself. Then I introduced myself as her husband and was asked to leave the meeting because I had destroyed her anonymity. The next time I attended a meeting with her – I just said my name and shut up. The next pair of people – that couldn’t leave their hands off each other – introduced themselves as boyfriend and girlfriend. Huh? I heard a member lament having blown 19 days of clean time. After the meeting I took a minute to ask how long he had been using before his 19 day run – he told me only about a week – he had had 7 or 8 relapses in the past year. So I asked him if he was clean or broke during the other periods. I was accused of being mean and not understanding addiction.

    The last meeting I attended was a Sunday night meeting. My ex needed a ride while her car was in the shop. There were 7 men (counting me) and 4 women. I sat without offering much and just listened. Now – it should be noted 2 of the women (my ex included) were very nice looking while the other 2 were terribly overweight and looked as if they had endured a rough life. After the meeting ended, I stayed seated and just watched the people interact. All 6 of the other men were circled around the 2 nice looking ladies like lions at a feeding, as they waited their turn to get hugs that they just seemed to unable to let go of. The other 2 women – barely got a stand beside one-armed 1/2 second squeeze.

    I could go on – but I think the whole thing is a sham. They teach all the jargon and basically it’s a feeding frenzy for men to prey on unsuspecting women. Sounds like a sweet deal.

  5. Well, can’t say I have actually left entirely, but the last few years have gotten somewhat strained. I’m not a god person, and it’s coming to a head. As I have found aaagnostica I have found my home of a sorts on the fringes of AA. I think the religiosity of AA is something that makes a lot of people unsafe in AA even if not to the same catastrophic degree that predators can cause, but still.

    • I am on the fence about AA right now. There was a time when I was full bore anti-AA and I took that attitude into the rooms. I believe strongly in God, and I believe that He has given me the grace to stop drinking and drugging, but the tendency of a lot of people in AA to look down upon me because I don’t subscribe to their “AA god” bothers me a lot. I actually had an “old timer” tell me that I was ignorant because of my beliefs and that I should have kicked a guy out of a meeting because he didn’t identify himself as an alcoholic. This gentleman said that alcoholism is different from drug addiction, and with such a superior tone, that I immediately started to realize that AA may not be for me. I do some service work, but I have a family and a full-time job that take up a good part of my time, and I only make it to one or two meetings a week. I have been given guilt trips because of this fact, and it seems a bit childish. There are some meetings that ask people with a year or more to raise their hands if they can sponsor, and I don’t raise my hand, and I have been shot dirty looks and had comments made because of this. The funny thing about this is that I never even worked all the steps, so I don’t even qualify by their standards. I don’t really feel guilty about not working the steps all the way through because I have made restitution to my loved ones that I harmed, and I am now a productive member of society. The amends that I haven’t made are the ones that could land me in prison, and I am not proud of this fact. I just don’t understand why I need to be “willing” to leave my family without a husband and a father for things that I did in the past. I know that God has forgiven me for these things and I actually offer something to society now. I also am weary of the “old timers” that seem so miserable and they preach that if you commit the cardinal sin of calling yourself and addict you should be thrown onto the streets because “you’re not ready” In my mind, to shun these people that are calling out for help can be deadly, but from some of the things that I’ve read, letting them in to the rooms might be just as deadly. I think that whatever works for people to get them sober is fine, and if it’s not AA, then so be it.

      • You sound like a good person who has their priorities straight. You got sober so you could be a fully engaged family member and are doing that. Yeah!!!!!!! That is what is supposed to happen when you get sober. 🙂

        Going to two meetings a week is A LOT when you have responsibilities. Sponsoring…. it is for the birds; that is for a professional. You are not a Councillor or psychologist. You are a family man.

        It’s a horrible ‘bait and switch’ that gets pulled on people who join AA. Absolutely no one joins with the intention of being becoming a sponsor – that is something we get guilted into.
        🙁 Everyone joins with the intention of getting sober – not with having to ‘give back’ for the rest of their lives.

        Well…. you know what? You don’t have to be a sponsor – nor are you qualified. They are wrong to ask you to be one.

        So go and enjoy your life. Better yet – join a totally different style of program of recovery that doesn’t demand that you become part of a program whose requirement is indentured slavery!

        Go and be free now that you are recovered.



  6. I am so grateful that I found this site and these testimonies! I am in the process of letting go of AA after 30 yrs! I FINALLY figured out that I am NOT an alcoholic and that I am not going to die if I stop going to meetings, or even drink occasionally. The reason I said I am in the process is because now, here I am, virtually ALL of my friends are in AA. It is very difficult to develop a new social life after this much time. But I am so sick of the dogma and “this is absolutely the only way” attitudes. I have many, many examples and stories of things that have occurred during my life in AA that have been BIG problems and people telling me to just pray and depend on God and everything will be OK. NOT HARDLY! Anyway, it is so refreshing to find such affirmation. I had no idea that so many people have these stories. Thank you, THANK YOU for sharing your “experience, strength and hope!”

    • Thanks for dropping by and telling your story. I left after 22 years and have never felt so autonomous in my life. I’m proud to say that I am now a ‘normie’.

      Yeah us!


      • You know, I feel like I have made some good friends in AA that I can count on, but it is a small group. They are like-minded for the most part, and I can be candid about them. I feel like AA has some good qualities as a program, but the people in AA and their pantheon of excuses for their bad behavior and the way they treat people gets at me. Now if I admitted that to a lot of AAs they would tell me that I’m the one at fault and I’ve got a resentment because I’m trying to control those people. That seems like a bunch of boloney to me. People that are mistreating others need to be made aware of it, and they need to know that not everyone in the rooms are going to put up with it.

        • ‘People that are mistreating others need to be made aware of it, and they need to know that not everyone in the rooms are going to put up with it.’

          You betcha.

          Thanks for your honest words. It’s hard for a member to speak. I appreciate the time you took to do so.


          • All the posts above are great. My post is way above.Now thqt I am retiring, my sponsor is getting all controlling telling me I “need” to sponsor somebody because now I have “so much time.” What the heck. No, she will not control my retirement! I stated my reasons above for not sponsoring. Like I said, how do I ease on out the door in this smallish town? Today in town I saw five people from the rooms,. all of whom recognized me.

            • Move cities if you can – I did and it was so freeing to not experience the constant scrutiny on the street/ Mall/ Parks. I swear to God it was like living ‘Children of the Corn’.

  7. After five years of narcotics Anonymous, I left for very tiresome circumstances.

    Let me start with saying I was a hardcore opiate addict for many years. I found NA through the detox facility at the local hospital. I did 15 to 20 meetings a week, become involved with activities, H&I, area, everything. I was grateful for the program that thought me how to live better than I did before.

    It was my third year there and I started college, met my future fiance and life got busy. I couldn’t hit every meeting, because my fiance was feeling neglected, even though NA would say you can’t get to every meeting, they sure had no problem saying “didn’t see you this week “. They said my personal life was going to hinder my recovery.

    I couldn’t make h and I commitments as often, my chair position slacked and I felt bad, but with school, having a family I needed to work too.

    As my fourth year came by, I was head into college and work. But then we started hitting financial problems and I had to work more. I would hear how without NA nothing could be solved.

    By close to my fifth year, we were almost homeless, for a vehicle repossessed and almost lost everything. The whispers that I was using were everywhere and when I just wanted to talk To someone, no one was there, or I would hear how no one had money to give. I never asked for anything, and yet the ones that said it was something I was doing wrong and no longer being blessed hurt. Better yet, I was told to keep praying, and I did. But no help came and things got worse. I watched the “still sick” sell furniture with bedbugs, broken cars sold for thousands of dollars, men who were not using go to bars and get women drunk to take advantage of them get ahead and never have financial issues, while I did everything right and without wanting a thing in return.

    I had pretty much said I’m done with NA and got so stressed that I drank, I felt guilty and thought I was going to go off the deep end. But then it hit me, I didn’t need to drink, even though ocassionally I do enjoy a beverage here and there. But then I realized there is no disease, I had serious issues: abandonment, horrible relationships, neglect and so on, but I overcame those problems to where destroying myself was no longer a great idea for me. Plus, I love my life, my soon to be wife, my kids and my family.

    So awhile down the road I was taking TV my kids trick or treating at the mall and I ran into a member of NA. This guy was notorious for getting women drunk and taking advantage of them. He walks up and asked “how are you doing? I said I’m great, working two jobs, interning life is good. He said “I meant in other areas? With cockiness and arrogance. I said “oh, well we are almost safe and financially sound, but thank you for asking ” he said no, I heard you were using bad. I was like ” how bad do I look? ” he said we’ll you look great just tired. I was like yes, getting up, getting my kids ready for school (which he would know about if he cared about his) going and interning six hours a day for free, then dork, then home, get kids homework done with the, fed shower and then bed makes one tired.

    I was more upset that was the focus, me using, which by NA standards I am because I can “never drink successfully ” than if we had a place to sleep.

    Other issues: my sponsor killed farm cats with antifreeze and told me, knowing I’m a cat lover. Men, and women, sexually taking advantage of newcomers and saying “oh I’m still sick” as that makes it OK. Other members acting like they just walked in from hustling after twenty years clean. I got tired of the hypocrisy .

    Is NA good? For needing help in your first year maybe. After that, it’s a crutch, another addiction. And my life has been so much better since left it, and I’m still not dead yet

    • Thank you for telling your story. I was also a parent in AA and they are quite unforgiving of the time it takes to be one but more importantly, they seem to be oblivious to the wonderful joys children bring us.

      The 12 Step Program is not a replacement for family or being a contributing member of society.


    • I get what you are saying. I have 30 years in NA and I am so over it. I am now 65, my hair is silver and I am positive that I will never use again the rest of my life. I know how to stay clean. Not only that, I can hardly relate to anyone that is in the rooms at this point most of them are in high school or in their early 20s. I am not open-minded anymore because I’m older and I’m set in my ways which is what happens in the normal process of living. Meetings no longer make me feel like they did when I first came I’m surrounded by a bunch of millennial’s who are self righteous self-absorbed hedonistic weirdos … They have no desire to do anything and it irritates me so I am no longer getting anything by giving back because I can’t tolerate the disrespect from the younger generation. This is just the natural order of things I remember when my parents spoke of it myself. They make fun of me and say I bet you’re sponsor was Moses and you wrote your stepson stone tablets! To be perfectly honest with you if I wasn’t married to another addict who is terrified when I stopped going to meetings I would totally abandon that fellowship. Yes all my friends that I have today are from the rooms however as you stated if you don’t call them they just move on and say you’re using. It’s a weird ass situation. Anyway I go to one meeting a week just to make my husband happy. I have a full life other friends outside the fellowship and I am completely happy. I too no longer believe that you have to go for life. Good luck with whatever choice you make; however I do feel better after a meeting so the insanity continues. 😩

  8. Hi I left Alanon a week ago after 4.5 years. I feel free from the dogma and mind control but ashamed I let myself join a cult in sheep’s clothing. Try and use your own voice/mind – you will be considered a heretic and members will stop identifying!!! and you will be told off by members who must defend the scriptures. Say for instance ‘Alanon is not the only thing that helped me’… or ‘This tradition sounds absolutely ridiculous to me’. Only gratitude to the program is encouraged and any criticism will create negative responses. I was lucky enough to realise I can think for myself, I am not going to screw up if I stop going and the good things in my life are not owed to Alanon. I left after committing to do 90 meetings in 90 days. My brave son told me: mom there are many sources of wisdom in the world and you are limiting yourself to these three books you are reading intensely every day. I could see what I was doing through his eyes. My advise to those who want to go : if you are affected by a loved one’s drinking seek help in secular circles, read NHS resources, use any good secular self help books (with a critical mind and eye) and do some assertiveness training. Those who think that your last 30 years in the program saved your life: it’s not true you have matured and are now 50 and not a naïve 17 year old. It’s just growing up.

  9. I finally left AA after 20 years. During the first 6 months of AA I was almost hit by a stray bullet from an altercation between 2 members after a meeting and witnessed a gang rape in the same parking lot. I testified in court against both men which made me unpopular with members stating I had “broken anonymity”.
    5 years later I watched in horror as 2 charismatic men from a young peoples group up north, already charged with being a sex cult , started a spin off group in my area.
    Even though I was younger than them I became very unpopular in AA by insisting young people should go to college and try to make something of themselves. I was told I was being selfish and was trying to take people away from AA.
    During my time in that city I watched as that group blossomed into some sick sex club in which “we don’t judge people” meant it was ok for a 42 year old to have sex with a 15 year old. My every appeal to the “old timers” was denied based on what great service work this group did.
    My friend of 20 years was raped, beaten, and then intentionally overdosed while being held hostage by one of the group members who then tried to kill himself. This got the “old timers” attention for about 2 weeks.Then I began hearing “each group is autonomous” on a daily basis. Anyone that spoke to the police was labeled “a taker” and shunned from the group. The shunning was county wide, not just on a group level. If you asked anyone who their sponsor was they would tell you ” Clancy is my great grand sponsor”.
    The general perversion, idolatry, cult lingo, and compulsive lying were parts of every day life to be an acceptable member of AA. Meanwhile I had a completely normal group of friends in college. I was often told that hanging around my normal friends would “get me drunk”, as if they would pour alcohol down my throats.
    After college I started 2 businesses, got married to a non AA person, and became successful in my field. I moved to another different town and was once again told my non AA activities were making me selfish. My nice car, big house and large group of caring non AA friends were proof of this.
    I would generally go to only 1 AA meeting a week for the last 5 years. Once a gain, I’m “being selfish”. While being selfish I was busy building beds for children who couldn’t afford them, volunteering for 15 hours a week at my church, and attending charity events on a monthly basis.
    When I left my last group, the home group consisted of a known rapist, an ex commune member, and a guy with 20 years sober who would nod of from pain pills between making rude comments to newcomers.
    I had been depressed on and off for my entire “sobriety”. Within 6 months of leaving AA I was completely mentally healthy and my psychiatrist told me I didn’t need to come back unless I felt I needed to. My sponsor, who is also a rapist and pornography addict, tried to convince me I couldn’t leave.
    I remember the moment when I thought “I make $1.6 million a year, I serve my community, I have always been faithful to my wife, and I’m taking {direction} from a guy that works at pizza hut, jerks off 5 times a day, and blames the world for his problems”?
    If you are thinking about joining AA I would suggest putting a rock in your pocket and relying on it for spiritual advice. You will actually have a better chance of staying sober and it probably wont rape you, blame your success for it’s failures, and definitely won’t give you authoritative advice based on how long it’s been around.
    I’m sure some AA member will try to take credit for my success, however it was encouragement from normal people that was actually the most influential in my life. I’m sorry that I didn’t die when I left AA , I’m still working on that.

    • Thanks for your informative comment that exposes AA for the dangerous cult that it is. At the end of your comment though was confusing, I assume you are being sarcastic about working on dying?

      I know steppers seem to just wait for a person who left AA to fail and even die. You have proved them wrong with your success. Keep up the good work.

          • I’m almost 70, and I feel the same way. I want to break it off wtih AA. The young people don’t want to hear me say anything unless I constantly tell war stories about hippie days and such so they can laugh and be entertained. My intense and real spiritual life just puts them to sleep- that spiritual life is why I am sober. I am just tired of it. My fear is losing my social connections. i hardly know people other htan AA, family lives far away. But then, is having these people as my social connection even worth it? I don’t get invited to the coffee shop after meetings. I don’t really have friends inAA. I have AA people. It’s been so hard to try to come out of my shell and be friendly, as all my life I’ve been quiet naturally (except when drunk) and not a natural social butterfly. There is nothing wrong with liking myself and likeing being alone. Took me all this time to realize that. I’m just tired of the fakery and, just tired. Thanks for sharing.

            • I was like you – I had many superficial friends in AA and was afraid to leave because ‘at least I had that’.

              Problem was… I was empty inside because these ACQUAINTANCES were not reliable. I could not call them for help.

              It’s been about 3 years that I have left and have been slowly forming who I am. I went to a lot of ‘Meetups’ that are available in any major city and they were a Godsend to help ward off loneliness.

              I’ve also bought a bicycle (big in my city), joined the YMCA, done a tonne of Yoga… and resigned myself to the reality that AA did not allow a person to develop the normal social skills that would attract friends who had similar interests. Heck – I didn’t even know what my interests were three years ago.

              Anyways… start with Meetups (it is not a dating site – it is a site for people who want to get together as friends).

              Good luck.


              • Forgot to mention – I moved cities so I could start fresh without prying eyes. Now THAT was the best think I ever did!

                I got away from them in every way.

    • Hello Greg,

      Thank you so much for posting. Your words will provide validation for any of the victims of the groups you have described as well as give you relief. You saw a crime(s) and they should be named as such.

      As for me, my husband and I were both in AA and in one way or another the following sentences apply to us as well,

      1) ‘was almost hit by a stray bullet from an altercation between 2 members’. With us … the guy came in with a gun and was searching the closed discussion rooms to kill his girlfriend. The police were called and the person who called was given shit… ‘The police are not supposed to be in our rooms… nothing would have happened anyways’.

      2) ‘selfish… trying to take people away from AA.’. I heard that so many times I can’t count. Apparently if you suggest ANYTHING that leads to a balanced/productive healthy life outside of AA then you are killing people because they should be in the rooms working on their sobriety – all the time)

      3) ‘the home group consisted of a known rapist, an ex commune member, and a guy with 20 years sober who would nod of from pain pills between making rude comments to newcomers. ‘. I just can’t add to this one… our members were often in the news. One female mugged/beat three people in a 24 hour robbery spree then was up reading the step from the front two days later. No one said a word. She was wealthy, dressed better than everyone else and drove a cute red sports car. Thing is… her husband had taken away her cards and cash because all she did was buy Oxy with it, so she mugged/robbed the 18 year old pizza delivery boy as he was walking up to a downtown house with a pizza.

      Everyone at the group laughed at the image of a well dressed female mugger.

      Not a single person considered the terror that the young man felt.

      So what did her husband do? Kicked her out of the house. He got it. He understood. AA members just reworked the story as being something normal that ‘one of us do’.

      4) ‘…“I make $1.6 million a year, I serve my community, I have always been faithful to my wife, and I’m taking {direction} from a guy that works at pizza hut, jerks off 5 times a day, and blames the world for his problems”?.

      I just LOVE this comment. My husbands sponsor (over 70 years old) was a video porn distributor with a horrendous gambling habit. He was the guy who stocked the shelves with new videos in the Adult stores.

      My husband was a professional with a high paying job. He had been told that ‘we learn from everyone’. Pick a sponsor who is nothing like yourself then maybe you will learn something – so he did.

      Oh my husband learned something alright… he slowly learned to hate women and close himself off from normal healthy sexual relations. This guys attitudes about sex and women neutered my husband.

      This ‘Senior State man’ with over 30 years of sobriety went from vulnerable old lady to vulnerable old lady and lived with them until they or their family members forced him to leave. My husband learned to ignore the signs of a financial predator and soon there were a group of these guys who came to our house each week for a meeting. Each and everyone one of them lived off of women who had regular high paying jobs – but were lonely so they would take anyone into their homes. Were the women part of AA? Nope. They were going after their old childhood school friends through facebook. That’s how they kept their dirty deeds from becoming the talk of AA.

      But I heard it. They met at my house so they could do the steps together… and talk about how well their women take care of them.

      All of these men were over 60 and had long term sobriety. They presented well and backed each other up.

      Ain’t it grand…. this AA thing….. 🙁

      Eventually each man got kicked out for being a parasite and the women spoke of financial ruin and embarrassment for being ‘so dumb’.


        • Ya me too. I just had a three day ‘staycation’ . I spent it riding my bike from yoga classes, to trendy coffee shops, out door markets and generally loving life.

          I’ve also been thoughtful because I just put the brakes on a budding romance I had going when I realized the guy drinks to much. No alanon, no 12 step moment, no empathy or desire to switch into ‘saint’ mode and take him to a meeting.

          I just told him flat out ‘you drink too much and its not attractive’.

          He does so his response was ‘fair enough’ as an acknowledgement that he does.

          It feels odd not going into 12 step mode but I will find another…. The here seem to be more guys at yoga lately…. Perhaps one of them. 🙂


          • Update on the guy. He died 6 months later in March of a heart attack. I have to admit that I have the feeling of ‘But for the Grace of God there go I’ but I know those words are not from AA – they arise from faith in God by many people who lived long before Bill and Bob were born.

            I know that my decision to stop being around someone who was drinking to much was a good one and didn’t need a sponsor or meetings to tell me that.

            The next fellow I dated after that barely drank at all out of choice and I quite like that. 🙂


    • I feel so much happier since leaving NA. My depression has gotten remarkably better. I kept getting sadder and sadder. Today I feel that I’m an actual part of life! Your story is very similar to mine. Thank you for sharing your experience. I can really relate.

  10. I was in both fellowships, NA and AA at two different points in times. I gave it a fair shot for over a year and turned my life around so drastically, it is unbelievable, but NA/AA had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH IT. In fact, it hindered my progress.The people in these rooms fear success/progressive based mindsets so badly because they cant seem to grasp what it takes to be successful in life. They will try to convince you that working too hard in your career, or personal life is going to cause you to use, because you cannot manage the stress or there is no balance in your life. They are just weak people who are trying to rationalize why they are scared lazy people. People who are failures at life, working for 10-14 bucks an hour past the age of 25, with no plan, goals, or positive self intentions are trying to tell me what’s best for me or how to live my life? When you look over and they are all trying to manipulate a girl with 1 day clean that they are their savior so they can fuck them. We have a “disease” is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life. Your are telling me other human beings don’t think or feel either? Normal human beings just don’t use drugs to cope with their emotions, instead they work out, read, meditate, or straight up do what they need to do to get past these feelings. They call it a disease to make themselves feel better about all the dumb shit they have done and about where they are currently in their lives. The only people I have seen progress in those rooms are people who keep to themselves, sit back, and look at how dumb and stupid people sound, thus causing the self-realization that they do not want to be anything like these people. If your are successful in life, you will be viewed as an outcast, and people will shun you on purpose, mark my words. It is the most negative mind-set based room i have ever experienced.

    • Funny. I just left a meeting where Deputy District Attorney spoke & put himself through law school, worked his way up to Deputy Attorney as a result of AA. He seemed truly normal & happy. Also I cant mention names but I saw several different successful people in the Entertainment industry that provided some of the most popular shows. Sons of Anarchy I can mention b/c Katy & Kurt admit to being members. Just saw them tonight plus a few others. I have met SEVERAL people over the years whom are super successful happy people. You must live in an area where AA is not that great. I do feel AA is NOT the same everywhere. I won’t move due to realizing when I have traveled how lucky I feel to have this type of AA available to me.
      I do however notice you put ALL of AA in the same category as if you have attended every AA meeting in the World. At least I am not so close minded nor stupid enough to believe an all or nothing mentality.

      Also you have no education on alcoholism as I can tell by what you wrote. I read about the brain. I did not just accept a diagnosis. I understand all the components. Also it’s dis-ease. The real definition of disease is when you are at dis…. ease…. in other words not at ease. The brain is wired differently of people with addiction. If you don’t know this then you are not able to grasp nor comprehend anything I have written. If anyone is dumb enough to take your advice then they get what they deserve. When you go to AA/NA you can NOT trust everybody. That is in life in general so don’t just blame AA. You sound like you want to find an out so you now have it. Good Luck b/c you are going to need it.

      • KC- sounds like you live in Hollywood- where woman are murdered by violent offenders, women and LGBT youth raped by older members.

        Movie stars are treated special. and some movie stars talk crap to those with less time like they are better….they are not better.

        Gee , I’d love to know who that Deputy District attorney is and if he is a part of sentencing coercing people to religious AA meetings which is already in violation of our 1st amendment rights. AA has become a very very sick and dangerous place. I left 4 years ago after many brainwashed years. My kids are happier now that Im gone from AA and not brainwashed…

          • Not really. I went to a Grey Cup game party last night and put lemon water in my wine glass. Everyone had a good time.


            • My point being that – it is impossible to be part of society without being around a substance of some sort. It’s what we do with ourselves while we are there that makes all the difference.

              Program teaches us to avoid all such circumstances but the only way to do that is to avoid all contact with ‘earth people’ functions and that is not possible unless one cloisters oneself within ‘the doors’.

              I did that for over 20 years and simply found that depressing, shallow and closed my circle of ‘friends’ to a very few people.

              I am free now to talk with whom ever I want – even if they have warts and I like it. I don’t want to be around people who are constantly ‘striving for perfection’. Its nauseating. Whether its sitting on a bar stool, eating in a fancy restaurant or attending a game-party, being among ‘earth people’ has brought color back into my life.

              I am an adult and it is my CHOICE what to do with myself while I am living among the living.


      • To say someone “cannot comprehend” is just not nice at all. If having found a good AA group is keeping you from moving somewhere else, I think that says a lot about your ability to think for yourself. Independent thought and self reliance are repressed by the 12 steps and it has worked on you. Good luck to you too.

      • These people are funny ,I suppose nobody should go to school anymore either with all the shootings and teachers molesting students,It must be a cult and everyone that goes to school is a child molesting mass murderer. They brainwash you into thinking 2+2=4 or that you can’t earn 1.6 million dollars without an education.You can always win the lottery or play professional sports your chances are just as good ,so why go to school.

        • Criminals are not sentenced to attend elementary schools. Your comment is not even close to an analogy – and this is typical of what AA members do. They trivialize the seriousness of the situation simply to protect the organization – and not the people within the doors.

          Shame on you.


          • First off I don’t go to AA I used to go to NA and have 21 years clean with their help.
            I don’t know why a Judge would sentence anyone besides drunk drivers to AA.
            They do send them to NA though and do not cause any problems .The groups I attended would not allow anything but an atmosphere of recovery.If they do cause any problems they are kindly asked to leave.
            I don’t know why this didn’t happen at the meetings you attended but to blame all of AA because of a few groups that had nobody that cared enough not allow that type of behaviour is Ludicrous.
            You also make no sence with your statement that AA members do not protect the people within the doors.
            The people within the doors ARE the AA members.And it is up to every group member to do their part. Have you even tryed to take your complaints above the group level. or did you expect someone else to do it.

            • Ahhhhhh there is that ever so familiar AA snarkiness in that last sentence.

              What a smart boy you are.

              Have you ever heard of the expression ‘That’s an outside issue?’

              Sure you have. Cause that is the mantra of AA members when something needs to be dealt with.

              And while we are on the subject of safety – aaws voted DOWN the implementation of safety measure – so now Ppl like myself are speaking out.

              Now Ppl like yourself will have to face the reality that aa is not as safe as you pretend it to be.


              • Hi Libarian
                Like I said before I didnt’go to AA meetings I went to NA .
                I did try AA first because I knew I had an Alcohol problem but didn’t think I had a problem with drugs. Sure I spent more money on drugs, but never blacked out and still functioned and did things I did not remember doing, like with alcohol
                But AA was not for me as soon as I said anything about drugs . I was told by some old timer this is not the place for that. .And I don’t really know much about AA to defend it aside from the fact that NA owes most of its format to AA.
                But NA knows that Alcohol is a drug ,addiction is addiction and can talk about any addiction in NA . But in AA a lot of people only focus on Alcohol and avoid talking about other addictions.And actualy promote gambling with the 50/50 they have. in AA.
                So I can’t continue to defend AA since I don’t have 1st hand knowledge of what goes on at meetings . Nor do I agree with all of their practices.
                But as far as the girl that was killed by her boyfriend that she met at AA, is AA fault is crazy .
                (She bailed him out of jail after he beat her.) That is a problem with a lot of women in general they are attracted to A-holes for some reason, or think they can change them. Which is a world wide problem not just in the rooms.

                Yes NA also has problems with what I call Vultures (13th steppers) and try to warn good looking newcomers to be aware of them,and also introduce them to women that are of good Character And I also knew everyone in NA is a criminal to some extent since drugs are illegal.And a lot of people commit crimes to get more drugs that they are addicted to.
                I didn’t know what Saftey measure was voted down in AA so I googled it.
                NA would have also voted down Identifing some people in the group as worse than others.”Almost” Everyone deserves a second chance.
                As far as it being a cult, it is in some ways just as all religions and the militaryare also.With all the repetative sayings / Prayers.
                But I know the serenity prayer has saved me a few times by repeating it over and over in early recovery when I wanted to use.
                Allthough I haven’t gone to a meeting in years ,I still use a version of that prayer I learned from a fellow NA member.
                God grant me the serenity to accept the people I can not change
                The Courage to change the people I can.
                And the wisdom to know I can only change myself.

                And with that ,I know I can’t change your mind that AA should not exist.But I’m sure you must have met some good people there, and I’m sorry that your bad experiences have out weighed the good.

            • Hi- I know that NA had dealt with Safety and called it the “atmosphere of Recovery ” because

              1.in or about 2006 a woman called a hot line for NA and a picked up the phone and then went over to her house and raped her. I know a board member or two very well.
              2. I know that NA wrote their own book in 1981 so they could be relevant
              in this century or try to be —unlike AA
              3. I know you stopped opening and closing the meetings with any prayers. You created a secular mantra you all saw together ( in a cult manner) ( you also did this so NA was not as religious as AA for court ordering.
              4. I know that NA —-NAWS- CHanged the Upside down triangle effect that AA uses. The fellowship and your Flow from Board to member to group – were voted on by the board and change that the Groups no longer run NA- The Board does, they know it and they made changes without your consent. as a board should .

              I give it up that NA is better then AA in that regards. Still …they fell short with creating safety policy and procedures for sexual predatory behavior. “The 13th Step” might be a good new film for you to see.

      • KC- Sounds like you like in LA- so do I- I would like you to see my film…The 13th Step- although Hollywood is infested in a Hip- slick and cool AA- there is a very, very dark under belly as well.

        ( Karla Brada murder and Tracy White Murder are just a tip of the iceberg)

        One of the largest cult groups aka The Pacific Group resides in the lovely Land of OZ- as well as rapists regularly hunting the THE MARINA CENTER on Washington Blvd….where meetings are held 5 times a day. http://www.the13thstepfilm.com or write me at makeaasafer@gmail.com —–Ignorance is Bliss——

      • Wow…peace, love and serenity shine through in your post. Putting others down by calling them names. Yep…AA is really working for you.

    • Yep, amen brother. I was going to up to 3 a day (at least one) for the past many weeks (of course I know exactly how many days as I repeated at every meeting). The blatant mind contol cult indoctrination techniques are too many to list, but when I look back at the meetings, I see that almost every single action, word spoken, person who shook my hand, who spoke to me, the shares, who came in late and sat with me, were controlled and trying to manipulate. Some in-your-face obvious, some less in-your-face obvious. What a sick front group

  11. Hello all, I am building a website with a theme very simmilar to this thread. I think it is nessisary as a specific stories site, it differs in that people cannot comment on them. Mostly to avoid any kind of trolling.

    What it is is a Mocking version of AA’s “Grapevine” magazine. it is called the “Rapevine” but its focus is not only on the standard sexual rape, which the word often is applied. But a greater sense of rape that anyone who experienced these fellowships has experienced.

    any story is appreciated, they can be sent here: therapevinenews@gmail.com

    The site is here: http://therapevine.blogspot.com/

    and the stories are here: http://therapevine.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

    Please help out!

        • Thanks so much,,,,, Send me a story!!

          I hate feeling like a begger, but I need people to submit more… If folk are afraid to write. Just peek around the anti aa web world and find my name.

          I have serious life long diagnosed learning disabilities around writing, yet I am quite a accomplished college essay writer. I can edit it if you wish, and the main thing is just do not worry about it.

          I would say, a lot like step work, just do it. Sit down and barf it right up, where ever that story goes. It will be so helpful not just to me, but all those poor souls still inside the groups, looking for some hope that they can leave, and that their experience inside is not only real, but common, and universal where ever 12 step groups are.

  12. As an x AA member I can say with out a doubt that the biggest mistake I’ve made in my 50 years of life was walking into the room of Alcoholics Anonamous. I became the prey of a very sick sociopath, narcissist , who not only stole from me but then portrayed me to my very own sponsor as someone whe was abusing drugs. I’ve never used drugs and I chose sobriety. I didn’t have legal consequences or any intervention. It was a choice I made in an effort to increase my awareness . My marriage was shaken after 16 years and I felt that alcohol was becoming too much of an escape. I was, as they reference 13th stepped. It wasn’t long before he managed to infiltrate my life and the lives of my children. In particular one of my daughters. He manipulated and controlled me and my children. She was 14 at the time. Now 21 she suffers from the abuse and trauma he imposed on her. She’s suffered 2 bouts of anorexia and is currently hospitalized for attempted suicide all related to the emotional abuse from this sick SOB. He went on to write a book. A self published autobiography where he bashes me and my family. Let me say again SELF Published, which means he paid to publish his own book of lies because no company would purchase his story without confirming the facts. In other words he’s a delusional piece of shit. My daughter was seeing a forensic psychologist from age 16-17. The psychologist confirmed abuse.
    This sociopath remains in the rooms and speaks frequently at meetings. “He’s arrived” at the expense of others and nobody stops him. He continues to ravage others and nobody stops him. He speaks at facilities world renowned like Hazelton and nobody stops him.
    It saddens me that we go to the rooms for a safe place to recover only to meet the devil himself. AA failed to provide that professed safe place to heal and I to this day will hold AA responsible for my daughters current state of health. He destroys lives every where he’s allowed to carry out his behavior.
    I’ve been sober for 10 years. I left the rooms 4 years ago. I just couldn’t share space with a community that doesn’t protect vulnerable women and continues to provide a chair for a monster who’s sole purpose is selfish and criminal.
    If there is another platform to report this person and obtain some justice, I would be willing to tell the story in full detail. I know for a fact that there are victims that followed. I know for a fact that he used his sponsorship to a member for the sole purpose of gaining access to his wife, which he then destroyed his sponsee’s marriage to move in and take over, which he did. He destroyed his sponsee’s marriage and jeopardized the sobriety and wellbeing of his sponsee.
    How am I ever to believe that AA is safe. Everything professed is actually the opposite of my experience. This is a spiritual program? Not my experience.

    • wow! It’s a good thing the world outside of those terrible AA meetings is such a safe place. You know, nothing bad happens outside of AA. That 12 step program is too blame for everything. Even when the space shuttle fell to earth over I decade ago. That was because some one in AA was on that shuttle. Such a disgrace.

      • The difference between AA and the outside world is that AA claims it will love you until you can love yourself, it is often held on the grounds or basements of churches, and comes across as safe – so safe that it is held in high regard by the courts and the criminal justice system, both of which have no problem court ordering criminal offenders to meetings.

        These criminal offenders, some violent, have the chance to prey on unsuspecting and vulnerable newcomers who don’t know the history and story of those they sit next to or interact with. AA makes no effort to warn it’s non court sent members of the criminal offenders in the rooms. AA takes no responsibility for anything these offenders do to non criminal members. In real life, there are consequences for non-disclosure of such unpleasant details. AA until lately has been able to deny responsibility via hiding under the cloak of anonymity……but I have hope this cloak will be ripped away via a the Brada Family lawsuit against AA – google it as I believe it may be a game changer for AA going forward – this case hinges on AA’s non-disclosure of violent felons and various other offenders being present in the rooms. In this case a young lady named Karla Brada was murdered by a violent felon sentenced to AA meetings. I’m of the opinion that AA is going to be held accountable going forward, and if this lawsuit is successful, others will come forward to sue AA and the cloak of anonymity will no longer shield AA from being seen by the general public for what it really is. I await this development with eagerness being an ex AA member myself who luckily got away from the cult and essentially emerged unscathed. Many others leave but are not so lucky – many carry deep wounds brought about by their time in AA “recovery.”

        Me thinks AA is going to start paying a price for it’s oblivion regarding the predation that takes place in the Rooms.

        • I could not agree with you more Rob. There is a huge shift taking place. History is being made watching AA being exposed for the dangerous environment that it is.
          It is like an onion being peeled back, there is layer after layer of AA’s secrets to be exposed to the world. Hey AA states you are only as sick as your secrets, well I think that makes the organization of AA pretty damn toxic and sick!

          • We should probably close down bars, restaurants, clubs and all the places active alcoholics hang out at too then because those place are responsible when crappy stuff happens to someone willing attending those places as well.

            • The problem with the above post is that if someone meets someone at a bar or restaurant and something horrific happens, there won’t be a group of people said to “love you until you can love yourself” that tell you to look for your part in a violent rape or vicious attack that the victim really had no part in/happened through no fault on the part of the victim. I won’t disagree that horrible things can happen when strangers meet in public BUT the difference that steppers don’t seem to get is that if bad happens to you in public – no one typically is going to try to get you to accept blame for that which is not your fault and no one is typically going to try to get you to sweep issues under the rug. No one is going to hide under the cloak of anonymity in the world beyond the rooms. It just doesn’t work that way in the real world and I’m so glad that the Bradas are suing AA and are generating publicity via their lawsuit against AA. It’s time for AA to be accountable and to pay up for it’s oblivion to the predation that takes place in the rooms. Long overdue I’d say but better late than never and it would seem as if the tide is turning and more people are seeing AA and NA for what they truly are.

              • I came back to add that I am no longer going to meetings and I feel as if I emerged relatively unscathed by AA/the steppers/the strange “steps”. I wonder if there is anything I can do to help this see 12 step groups for what they are movement? I have some time on my hands and would be willing to volunteer in some capacity.

                • Rob: I don’t know if the site owner here will get mad at me for saying this, but if you want to spread the word you could let people know about my book- Quicksand: the Darker Side of 12-Step Programs.

    • Julia- omfg—I don’t know if I can help but I will try. email me at makeaasafer@gmail.com I have made a film called The 13th Step and am seeking distribution so its not out yet. I could have you on my radio show and you could tell the story. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery I went to Louisville and went into a clubhouse where there is drug sex slavery going on and gave them a piece of my mind !!! I went Ohio and to a clubhouse where a pedophile was targeting vulnerable women with teen female children. Contact me and we can talk. My heart breaks for your child. I cant wait till this lawsuit finds its way to court.

    • I would go to Women’s meetings only & follow your gut. Don’t just assume everyone has good intentions. I was stalked in AA more than once but it only made me work harder & I had others come to my defense in a strong manner. I feel people need to stand up to this person & say this is not acceptable in these rooms.

      • Yes…go to women groups of AA only and get ravaged by the legions of dykes in the meetings. Most people who attend those meetings…though not all …are depraved and social outcasts. Hoards of dykes use the same techniques as the leering old men to seduce new members. The competition for the favour of new members attention in those meetings is fierce. The dykes especially go all out to propagate the notion all men are monsters. AA is a unique setting that is truly disturbing since it has a repution as being a mere self help group. I would steer clear of it at all costs.

        • Uhhhhhh have you ever attended an all women’s meeting?

          Because I see your name is ‘Fred Markey’ and Fred is usually a guys name. If you are a guy and have not been to an all woman’s meeting – I am not appreciating your interpretation of women’s meetings. You haven’t been there – you don’t know what you are talking about.

          I personally have NEVER experienced what you wrote about..

          In my circle – we would call your post misogynistic and homophobic so…. buzz off.


    • Im so glad you got out. This type of behavior from this man must stopped!! How can anyone listen and believe this sick bastard! I’m so sorry for you and your family. Please know the people outside those rooms believe you and stand behind you.

  13. Hi there. Thanks so much for providing this forum.

    I left AA earlier this year (January 2014) after thirteen years in recovery.

    As a low bottom drunk I took to AA like a duck to water. At the time it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I worked the steps real hard, and enjoyed doing it. I always shared for the newcomer at meetings, and sponsored others into decade-long periods of productive sobriety.

    Very active in service, I wanted to give back. AA saved my life, after all.

    Then, after ten years as a happy customer, AA stopped working.

    I was thirteenth stepped at a meeting by what I can only describe as a persistent AA groupie. (I’m sorry if that appears to be a sexist term, it’s not my intention.)

    Only after we were properly involved did my partner tell me about her depression, her medication, and her inability to conduct relationships – which meant she was also a member of Codependent’s Anonymous.

    After seven months my partner’s manipulation and moodiness became so intolerable that, regretfully, I ended things. Eventually, she took up with one of my sponsees.

    At this point I found I couldn’t attend meetings. It just didn’t seem in any way like a healthy or therapeutic situation. But if you leave AA you die, right?

    So I did a great deal of research on the subject, took ten sessions of CBT, and quit.

    Ten months on I feel happier and stronger than ever before.

    Once a confirmed big book basher, I would now encourage anyone who feels confident in their sobriety to get the hell out of the fellowship.

    AA is useful in separating the alcoholic from their obsession, but ultimately it is not a safe or same place.

    There is zero safeguarding in the rooms. Your sponsor is an unqualified and uninsured amateur. The steps are totally outdated.

    AA hasn’t changed in 80 years because it can’t change. Apparently the programme is “divinely inspired”. Even when it’s wrong.

    What hogwash. This is the 21st century, for goodness sake. CBT and Motivational Interviewing have both been shown to be more effective than AA, but their voice is drowned out by the public acceptance and media endorsement of the 12 steps,

    Thankfully there are many resources online to help those wanting to leave AA.

    I have collated some in my own blog:

    “Leaving AA, Staying Sober” jonsleeper.wordpress.com

    All visitors are welcome. I hope it helps others to stay safe!

    Best love.

    Jon S, Brighton, England.
    “Leaving AA, Staying Sober”

    • I am so glad to have found this site. After almost ten years of happy sobriety and a love affair with AA, along with other 12 step fellowships I finally closed the door on it some months ago.

      To say I feel a huge sense of freedom is an understatement. I am done with the dogmatic attitudes, controlling behaviours and unkindness. When I dared to speak up and stopped talking the AA jargon I was pretty much alienated at my home group. I went from being an active member in service to somebody who no longer had the desire to go to a place which quite frankly was making me feel unhappy.

      I continued to attend another fellowship to help with other issues around relationships, that in itself was frowned upon,. I began to stop being a people pleaser and take care of myself in return I began to feel hostility from AA members. I realised I was continuing to put myself in situations which were harming me. A light bulb went on and the desire for AA left me. The realisation that AA was having a negative effect on my life was so powerful, the desire to be a part if it has left me, it feels like it was never a part of my life.

      AA showed me how to live my life without needing to use alcohol as a crutch, one day at a time, Along with many other useful tools I have learnt to maintain a healthy emotional balance. I realise that was the very thing that was missing in my life and I had used alcohol to deal with my lack of emotional well being.

      I am content with the person I have become and feel fulfilled with my life without AA. I continue to follow my daily routine, prayers, affirmations and being the best person I can be. For me this is my bridge to normal living.

  14. I am over 50 years old. At age 20, I started experimenting with drugs, and drank a little alcohol but I was never an alcoholic because alcohol does not agree with my body chemistry. Throughout the whole time, I was smoking marijuana pretty regularly. Then at age 40, I came across crack cocaine. It nearly destroyed me and it prompted me to go to a residential rehab voluntarily for 6 months. I stayed there, and learned the 12 step programs for AA, NA and CA. I syated completely sober for 8 years with no alcohol. marijuana or any sort of “mind altering substance”. I was all about 12 stepping, even complaining about alcohol cooked in foods or contained in mouthwash, not because I was ever an alcoholic, but because of the Big Book. I spoke at panels, and I was even a Sponsor. But I suffer from migraine headaches and I have since age 18. I was taking a medication called Imitrex (Sumatriphan) which has no psychoactive effects but is very expensive.

    This brings me to the reason I left the A’s. My Imitrex stopped working because my body built up a tolerance to it. There was nothing left except surgery or dangerous experimental drugs. My doctor suggested marijuana to address my headaches, and that turned out not just to help, but it actually CURED my headaches by not allowing them to manifest. I would see the pre-headache aura, then take a couple of puffs and I would not ever get the headache. I have not had a migraine headache now in 5 years and I am now a registered medical marijuana patient in my state.

    I left AA because it does not make exceptions for marijuana. There is even an A group called marijuana Anonymous to help marijuana “addicts”. LMAO! There is NO SUCH THING as a “marijuana addict”. There is nothing addictive in THC or in the marijuana plant. Any claims of addiction are purely psychological, in which case a psychiatristis a better solution than 12 step meetings. I love the 12 step program because to this day I have never wanted to ever do crack cocaine or drink again, and if I were only counting that I would have 12 years of sobriety to celebrate. Only my use of marijuana goes against the “Program”. So, today I live my life using the 12 Principles, and I also smoke marijuana and am headache free.

    I now reject the Program Nazis who want me to completely drop everything. I look at their lives and see angry, maladjusted individuals who have problems that are more severe than any I have experienced even when I was getting loaded on crack. Angry, damaged individuals who no longer have a crutch except AA,NA,CA,etc. So, that is my story!

  15. After 21 months I have left NA……
    I have not touched drugs for almost 8 years and for almost all that time, I had “no programme” As I was still drinking, I was told to set that stop date as my “clean time” so I did like a good little sheep. I have increasingly saw an almost evangelical fever in members and god help you (ha no pun intended!) if you disagreed or something that was deemed anti the “message…thinking independently or spreading the message to newcomers” or whatever…I was told more than once that it was my “addiction talking” I realised very quickly that my sponsor and some other members got cliquey and narrow minded as I dared to say I am depressed and going to get antidepressants. I was told in no certain terms that that was not an option open to me as I am an addict (which I do not dispute!) so I said that was my plan and have left NA. Within one day of saying this, my sponsor said basically lets talk about options – (in other words only the steps will help! ) if not goodbye and good luck…..two years of opening up to a stranger and this has left me feeling I have had a lucky escape……..

  16. I’ve been in AA and NA for decades. Recently I made the mistake of renting my home to a fellow AA-er. I let my guard down because I vaguely knew the guy. That evening I started to think rationally about it- after I gave him the keys and he gave me 1st month and security. I realized he runs halfway houses and I started envisioning what a disaster this would be as my house is in a quiet conservative neighborhood. I checked and my home is not zoned for this. He promised me he won’t have more than 4 people there. I even hired a property manger and had the locks changed but the manager said they got in there somehow even through new locks. I didn’t want to pay $1000 to evict him plus I knew I’d run into him in meetings. He said he would reimburse me the money I paid for the property manager so he could just deal with me. I then gave them a short lease. I found out much later he was renting to at least 12 guys in my house. When they moved out they won’t give me the last month’s rent, his sister left a threatening message on my new property manager’s voice mail (i got her to help me see about selling the house) that if we gave them an eviction notice they’d trash the place. I just realized I’m missing my lawn mower, and almost all the huge aluminum awnings on my house, plus the paint I had for house which was just painted before they moved in, plus a few other things.. table w. umbrella and other yard tools. Gee… nice guys in AA. HA HA… fat chance. I’m done with dealing with jokers in AA. I do believe in the principles and I like being part of a community but many of the people today are sent through the courts and from prison. They are predators. Esp. if you are a female. BEWARE. and here i am studying for a CAP…I am not sure how I will proceed from here. As far as going after these people, they might cause me more damage if I do that so I’m not sure if I’ll pursue it. Pinnacle Sober living.. not like they don’t make money off of 12 guys so couldn’t afford their own supplies or last month;s rent… talk about selfishness and self centered greed..I feel bad for they young guys who’s parents pay for them to stay there.

    • If more would post as you did, maybe, just maybe, the AA of today is one big cluskerfk. Read>AA> cult on this site. Notice NewsJournal actually blew the whistle on another predator in Holly Hill. They may not be drinking, but the character defects of me, me, me ,is a blinding light. 12 Step rule number 1. FIRST DO NO HARM! Yeah, like that is going to happen.

  17. Hi, I’m 22,male; about a couple of days ago I decided Id stop going to NA meetings. I started consuming alcohol at 14, 17 I moved on to marijuana and later on moved on to ecstasy, lsd, cocaine, prescription pills. Ive been going to meetings for about 7 months longest Ive stayed sober has been about a month a half. It all started back in October of 2013, My cousin younger than me wanted to try some acid, I bought some for both of us and he had a really bad trip in my room, he texted his mom and soon all my family knew I consumed drugs. My older cousin an AA member for 12 years suggested Id visit NA, I’ve always considered myself a recreational user, specially at raves. I enjoy weed but it has brought so much problems with my family I really don’t think its worth it. Ive basically have been forced to go to these meetings, everyone seems nice and all, however I just don’t find myself in a group all my life, Im very opened minded, I like to question everything, Im sure I have no disease, I will not spend my life in such cult like religion.. brainwashing is so evident.., Since I left I feel a whole lot better, I know that drugs don’t control my life, I DO! Im glad I was able to realize this before it was to late, I see a lot of confused teens dragged to meetings some actually stay for life.., addiction is a real problem.. and it should be treated as such.. 12 STEPS work, but in the process you loose your freedom to walk as a normal person, we all have emotions, we all get angry happy sad depressed, that’s not my disease those are my emotions, nothing wrong, that’s what makes me human.. don’t let anyone suppress who you are! I really came to believe I was sick the thought brought me so much depression I almost killed myself with pills and booze not because I was an addict but because I could not imagine myself living as a 12 stepper, sorry not for me.. I choose to live free minded, don’t care what people say, Im not sick, I can control my life if I choose to do so.. its all just a matter of self analyzing why you consume drugs and what benefits does it bring to your life.. A lot of people live normal lives, even drinking or smoking once in a while.. its all a matter of balance.. but hey if your to sick by all means continue going to your meetings, I know I wont.

    • Thank you for your posting. You are one of the few that have advanced to understanding the addictive mind. I only wish more could be released with your view. The “herd” instinct is what keeps the AA NA movement alive as left on their own would mean no dependence on others for a meaning in life. If you do attend meetings again, it will be FOR YOU, not because someone told you to. You got it!!!! Keep it!!!!

  18. From- http://aarmedwithfacts.wordpress.com
    Open Letter to AA Members
    Posted on 04/17/2014
    Last time I wrote here about how AA members describe themselves as “still sick,” which is a peculiar selling point for a program supposedly designed to fix sick people. I myself would never be an AA member based on their “treatable, but not curable,” basis alone. If someone has moved on from unstoppable drinking then they are no longer exhibiting signs of addiction. Nobody ever comes down with a “little bit” of alcoholism. There is no “dry drunk.” If being agitated, moody, angry, or anxious was a sign of addiction then every human would have it.

    Today though, I want to offer every happy, contented AA member an open letter of sorts:

    Dear AA Member:

    Congrats to you and I am happy AA worked for you- I would never take away your experience and beliefs about how well AA has worked for you. In fact, affirmative personal testimonies, such as yours, make up the bulk of evidence sited for how effective AA works.

    AA is considered an “evidence based” practice, but unlike hypnotherapy or acupuncture, all negative outcomes are suppressed. People who achieve sobriety in AA tend to become overzealous satisfied customers. I wonder if it is because they’ve replaced their individual ego with a kind of group narcissism, by defending AA and denying any flaws exist. So, AA member: I urge you- I dare you- to be open minded to making changes to AA that would help more people.

    I don’t judge AA without judging myself first. I used to become defensive and angry at AA members because that was how they reacted to me. I was passive aggressive. I attended AA to please others and kept on drinking because I lacked conviction and assertiveness. I was reluctant to speak up at meetings because even if someone agreed that AA didn’t work for everyone, they would disagree than anything other than AA worked. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Ask yourself: How do I react when someone expresses an opinion different than my own?

    Some in AA will go as far as saying if a person can sober up without AA then they probably aren’t a “real” alcoholic. This thinking has led people into thinking they should go out and drink more than they used to drink to become a “real alcoholic.” Others think their sobriety will be threatened if they express any doubt or criticism about AA. After all, a symptom of their ‘disease’ is refusing to work the 12 Steps. AA has actually created more alcoholics by convincing people who’ve had a few bad drinking episodes that they’re doomed to become forever drunk. It is also dangerous to tell people they are dishonest, lying, morally inept people at their very core- even when they’re sober- even before they ever took their first drink. Ask yourself: If AA is not helping someone, will I offer suggestions other than AA? Or will I make up some excuse why I can’t help them?

    It is dangerous to tell women to accept the sexist literature. In the AA Big Book, the alcoholic is a man who should be “wearing the family trousers.” [page 131 Big Book] Chapter 8 is titled “To Wives.” Look, a man doesn’t want to hear himself referred to as a “she” any more than a woman wants to be called a “he.” AA’s acceptance of sexism opens the doors for members to accept other abuses of male power, like rape. I know, blame the rapist- but in AA, where misogynistic attitudes are re-enforced, and members’ are apt to blame themselves, it is harder to testify against sexual crimes in AA. Not to mention the abuse of “anonymity” reduces the likelihood of witnesses coming forward to report crimes. Without any written rules against sexual harassment- and literature that is extremely sexist to say the least- it’s not really a mystery to me why men find women targets in AA. I’ve heard members tell me that the amount of rapes in AA are probably about the same as anywhere else— like rape is just something we must accept in general, everywhere, without getting upset about it.

    Ask yourself: Is there a real positive benefit to sexism in AA literature that would be lost if it were changed?

    These changes in the literature would not alter the AA program. Creating safety measures would not topple over the core beliefs held by AA members and the 12 Steps. We gain nothing from arguing but we gain a lot more by finding solutions. As much fun as debating safety measures is, the real question is: What is there to debate about? I didn’t know preventing rapes and other abuses were open to debate.

    I understand that rocking the boat agitates the water, but anyone who’s opposed to safety precautions in AA is not someone I need to have like me anyway. So ask yourself: Do you have the courage to speak up for yourself?

    Thanks for reading,

    Juliet (or your name here.)

    P.S. I would not want to belong a group that is stagnant, stubborn and incapable of making improvements to help more people wherever possible. As a woman, I would never pass on AA literature where women are inferior if not invisible. Lastly, because AA doesn’t like working with other alcoholism experts whose views are different than their own, it is clear AA ignores new, important information about treating alcoholism. And that is a message I cannot carry to others.


    • To all new “members” please be careful. For 20 years I stayed in “program” only to watch 13 steppers, members break code silence, pair up in groups by education, money, etc. Especially if you are a woman, you are told everything is YOUR FAULT. It took my appointments with a mental health worker to understand that guilt trip was not mine by theirs to keep you there. Haven’t had any alcohol for 20 years, so that myth, you’ll die if you miss meetings can fade from the OH MY GOD< WHAT IF?

      • I can attest to the dangers of people in AA. When I first joined the program, I met this nice young guy. Well one day he went missing. His body was found in a local lake and his truck was found. Then at a daytime meeting, the police arrive and arrest another young man for his murder.

        A young woman in AA was murdered by her AA boyfriend while I was there. My then boyfriend was chairing an evening meeting while I was at work. He brought along my 8 year old daughter. She was playing quietly outside when this member, who was known as a child predator, ask her if she wanted to walk down to the creek with him. She went inside to tell my ex boyfriend and he came out to see what was going on and that molester had run off. My beautiful daughter could have been molested by that freak had she not been thinking smart to let an adult know.

        There were incidences of fist fights, a guy pulled a knife on another member and threatened his life. The police seemed to show up about once a month. It is a very dangerous place with tons of mentally unstable people. I know because I had a friend in AA that ended up being completely insane.

        If you are thinking about a 12 step program, think twice.

        • OH and when I was in NA, a friend of mine was dating another NA member who was a crook. He was caught burgalarizing other peoples homes. Before he went to prison, he and my friend made a suicide pact. He attempted to hang himself while she sat in her running car in the garage. She died and he failed so he ran away and was extradited back to NC from NJ.

        • Hi OrangeCrush, Wow you have a lot of scary stories. Have any of them hit the news??? If ‘yes’ some links are always appreciated, this way victims are not just nameless faces but the news links help people to feel validated when they are re-evaluating their beliefs about AA.

            • Hi OrangeCrush. Thanks for the link. They actually came into the AA meeting and arrested this guy? Wow this is another example of how dangerous AA and NA is. Also how the newspapers like to cover up the AA connections.
              I bet in the police reports it would state that they arrested him in an AA meeting and that this is how they met this young kid.

              • You know what scares me here is that even though the police regularly come and arrest people at this meeting, the members are such sheep that they don’t seem to question their safety in the rooms. I find that scary, though I have to admit I made excuses for AA in my mind many times when crazy things would happen in the rooms. I’ve luckily never been to a meeting where someone was arrested at the meeting but I’m hoping that I would have questioned and left had this happened. Just so glad to be done with AA…..never going back again in this life. I’m not sure of many things in life but this is one of the few things I’m sure of…..I’m not going back.

        • Orangecrush, sex predators are known to go to meetings just because members and their children are easy prey. Then the courts also mandate them there too. I really appreciate you sharing your stories. People need to know how dangerous these meetings can be. Did the molester ever come back to the meeting after he ran off? He most likely just went to a different one.

        • I agree 100% about thinking twice before you get yourself tangled up in the tangled web of 12 step programs. I’m sorry you ran across all this insanity but maybe the silver lining is you got out…..I’m guessing likely never to return again.

    • @SafetyFirst: You make a good point at the beginning of your post- it reminded me of a couple of incidents years ago. One oldtimer (male, intelligent) stated he was still ‘sick’ after all those years- whereas a guy who worked at the meetingplace said people go there to ‘get well.’
      Frankly, I think the approach of people being sick and always will be is one of the main things that stands in the way of members moving on with their lives. They’re brainwashed to believe no matter what they do and however long they’re ‘in recovery’ they can never be o.k. And it’s a darned destructive message.

  19. Hi Orangeone, I thought I would start a new dialogue box. Maybe cutting back on weed might help. Some can become a bit paranoid after smoking.

    It sounds like you are really suffering from a form of anxiety. I would not hesitate to ask your doctor again for help. If he or she is concerned he can give you a prescription with no refills or just one until you see them again. It can be for a certain amount of pills not a lot. They do serve a purpose for those suffering.

    In the mean time take care of yourself and try and keep yourself in good shape by exercising and eating right. Consider seeing a therapist and to go online to SMART Recovery. Even if you do not go to SMART meetings, they have lots of free online literature and chatrooms 24/7

    • Hello again. I ended up going to my college health services to see the doctor two days ago since I felt my anxiety hitting unnatural highs for no discernible reason. Instead they let me talk to our mental health nurse. In a nutshell: I am not getting a drug to help calm me down. I’m sort of surprised that this is not an option for me…. but I am going to trust her judgement. I was open with her about my pot use and she did not lecture me, it’s my goal to abstain for an indefinite period for college this fall. So, I guess counselling and therapy are the logical next steps. I’ll be seeing my doctor for a physical in two days just to make sure there’s nothing crazy going on in my recovery (which I don’t think there will be). From there – I’m not sure.

      I… I guess this isn’t the outcome that I was hoping for. It’s exactly what I expected I’d be told. That’s not a nice feeling, but I guess this puts a little more renewed fire under my butt to try and make the most of things. More and more I realize that I’m the only one who’s really going to take care of me. I have to get a grip on this on my own. Talking did help a bit, she noticed that I did calm down a bit given time. It’s really not that I want to drink, I just want relief from the intensity of my emotions at times.

      I’ll look into some of the SMART literature, I’ll hold off smoking until I absolutely need it, increase my morning exercise a tad and I’ll get back to you all after I have a more concrete plan.

      • Hi Orangeone! Thanks for the update. Sounds like you are making progress. I really like that you sought help again, and got an appointment for a physical. I think cutting back or quitting smoking pot is a good idea as a process of elimination. Plus if you are going to college soon the clearer your head the better, right? Better grades always improves ones mood.

        I know people over time when grades were bad life sucked and college sucked. Yet when grades were good college was looked at more positively and so was people’s outlook on life. Education is so important whether one learns a trade or gets a college degree.

        Let us know what the doctor says too!

        • The last appointment turned into more of a discussion on how things are going mentally rather than physically and my doctor is prescribing me Cymbalta for my anxiety. I have not started the drug yet, but intend to in the next week… I’m sort of afraid of antidepresants. Adjusting to them fully could be really uncomfortable, what if they don’t work? What if they make me worse this close to college? I just got my schedule today and it’s a royal mess… the program they’re using to automatically puke out the schedules is an utter failure. To make a long story, short: I went in early to get this changed and was only able to fix about a quarter of the problems.


          I`m getting through the summer the best I can. I`ll have to talk to the department head later on in the month. I feel very up and down, my mornings are always worse than my evenings. Very grouchy over tiny little details, I barely even have a chance to think about situations before I`ve reacted and I`m pissed off to the point of ruining my mood for the rest of the day :(. I`m living in a loop of self defeat, so I generally just withdraw and keep to myself for fear of starting fights or bringing everyone down.

          I am planning to continue seeing my doctor regularly. I rescheduled the physical for the middle of August and an additional appointment a couple days after that one to see how I`m doing on the Cymbalta at two weeks. After that, I told the mental health nurse I`d visit her again and let her know my progress. I`m getting a part time job eventually too. So far this is my plan.

          For the record it doesn`t make my anxiety any less to do these things, but I do see the value in making sure there is continued progress being made in my life… I really do believe I`ve got something uncontrollable that requires medication. Let`s hope I see benefits from the Cymbalta 🙂

      • Hello. Thanks for asking :).

        When I left off last time I felt kinda low… but I stuck to my plan and started my medication on the one and a half year mark (August 18th) in my time off alcohol. I was sort of afraid to take the pills because last time it seemed to only make me go crazier!

        Luckily, the experience this time was gentler. I had some nausea initially, but felt fantastic within 4 hours of my first dose. The Cymbalta contains an anxiolytic, analgesic as well as an antidepressant and it is my belief that the anxiolytic is what’s helping me the most. I felt better almost instantly. I’ve been told antidepressants need to ‘build up’ before they are effective, so I’m not sure depression was ever the problem at all. Anyway, long story short: I feel way better now.

        No more negative thoughts, I can finally sleep in, I’ve lost about 10lbs this month, my social life is expanding daily and I just feel good. Finally my life feels like it’s moving forwards and I’m enjoying each moment. Everything is just easier… seems like my sense of wonder is finally back. The pessimism has lifted.

        No more thoughts of turning to booze either! 🙂

        That can wait. I still believe in my heart that one day I’ll have social drinking skills again – I’ve put a lot of thought into it, but for now it’s on the backburner. I realise that it was something chemical within me causing the problems. No matter how hard I tried to feel ‘normal’ (without resorting to alcohol and illicit substances) I just couldn’t until I discovered Cymbalta. For me it was the missing piece of the puzzle, but it’s different for everyone (so obviously see your doctor before taking anything).

        I still smoke weed at the moment, but I feel like I have a good balance in my life for the moment. School is going really well too, so, I don’t feel like I have to give up my one last true vice. AA is a distant memory to me these days! I’ve grown so much since I decided to leave them. If I hadn’t I’d be beating myself up still for not working my program (that doesn’t work!) hard enough when in reality I just needed the right medicine for relief.

        I can’t believe I ever fell for their smoke and mirrors, but I did!

        • Orangeone- That is just wonderful news! I am so happy for you. It is terrible that AA and NA members like to discourage from people taking anti depressants. They help so many people.

          The fact that you are doing well in College is just wonderful news. Sometimes AA even discourages people from going to school or work so members can do service work and go to meetings. This is just horrible advice. What you are doing is the right choice. People need to put things behind them and get on with their lives- like going to College.

          • It’s been a little over a year since I’ve been to an AA meeting. I just celebrated my 600th day without any alcohol on October 10th, 2013 and I must say that it’s been a long, twisted road with some surprising bumps… but here I am and it’s nice to finally feel great as well as have a handle on my addiction. I think this is where the tragic part of AA lies. So many of the individuals there aren’t happy, they’ve got hurts that have not been addressed, questionable mental status, denial or even a legitimate illness that they are actively working against… and for what? Their sponsor comes along and rips open the wound for that intimate 4th/5th step process and tells you you’re nothing but a weak, selfish, pitiful shell of a human being. AA does nothing to really help drunks, the only thing that is good is the social aspect…

            Anyway, before I go off on a rant, I’ll stop. You’re so right though… put it all behind you and start the massive task of moving forward.

            College has been great for me :).

            Everything I wanted for myself just before I made the decision to go detox is now reality!

    • IMAGINE… a book club just for us!

      The You Are Not Powerless Book Club & Conference Call

      Call to discuss current book and other empowering topics every WED. at 8:00pm (EST)
      Conference Dial-in Number: (712) 432-1500 (Email YouAreNotPowerless@aol.com for access code)

      DECEMBER’S READ: Her Best Kept Secret by Gabrielle Glaser!
      Special Task?

      Identify one person in or out of AA or NA to give a copy of the book to for a meaningful holiday season gift.

      January’s book will be: You’ve Been Lied To by Hank Hayes…with suggestions being taken for 2014’s monthly reading. E-mail your suggestions to: YouAreNotPowerless@aol.com

      For ongoing info and to ask questions regarding the book club please check info on: http://illbefreeordie.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/announcement-planning-the-you-are-not-powerless-book-club-re-launch-of-the-anti-aa-conference-call/


      Pass It On…to Non-AA, Non NA (Non-12-steppers) ONLY!

  20. Hello again. Thought I’d pop by for another update/vent 🙂 I recently celebrated a neat milestone in my time off of alcohol – 500 days!!! I wouldn’t have even known about it if I hadn’t gotten bored one day and calculated how many days I’d gone without it… the funny part is that the big day landed on July 1st, 2013 which is Canada Day. It is tradition for my buddies and I to head up to the cottage and have a massive house party on that day. It’s not to be missed and giving up alcohol has not changed this for me whatsoever. My friends get wasted on whatever they please – and I smoke a little marijuana, but that’s as far as I go with anything mind altering these days (I found a neat article on the topic of ‘sober’ weed smokers if anyone is interested: http://www.thefix.com/content/secret-%E2%80%9Csober%E2%80%9D-pot-users2030). Anyway, the party itself was okay despite the usual party things that go wrong at gatherings. There must’ve been around 18 people there and all were people I had met previously… but for some reason I just couldn’t relate to them. Here’s the thing: I’m a week away from 17 months without alcohol and I feel really empty and alone all of a sudden it’s hard to relate to people anymore. It’s not that I desperately want to drink, but I really don’t feel like I want to be ‘sober’ anymore either… 🙁 I wasn’t expecting rainbows to shoot out of my finger tips or anything when I quit drinking, but I thought I’d feel a little happier and less anxious (I always attributed those things to drinking, now I think it was always there) Does that make sense at all? I have not even come close to drinking in a year and a half, but the idea of a cooler or two is starting to sound lovely for the warm social effects it brings. I’m just tired of this. I’ve achieved what I want to achieve… I’m not getting any more ‘sober’ or wiser at this point 🙁 So, in a nutshell: what’s the point in keeping this up forever? I was in a lot of pain when I drank, my reasons were dark and ominous, I did shots of the strongest % I could find…. but now I truly just want to be normal and actually partake at the next party or something. I’ve done so much repair work on my life and I still feel uptight and lately I know I’m missing out. This feeling sucks. Am I crazy for wanting to switch my ultimate goal from abstinence to moderation?

    I was thinking I’d chew on this idea for a while before I change anything.

    • You covered a lot of ground Orange. I can attempt to give you some thoughts that came to mind while reading this. First off for some moderation is possible, others not so much. Sometimes it has to do with how long someone has been sober as well.

      First congratulations on being sober for 500 days. I do not remember how long you were drinking before, but it can take the body awhile to heal from all of the years of abuse. Particularly the liver. Have you had a physical? Do you know what your liver enzymes reading are? It is my understanding that the liver can be more sensitive to alcohol if it has not healed yet from years of abuse.

      On an emotional level, I am impressed that you stayed sober while your friends partied away. In a way the fact that you could not relate to them might be a sign of growth. Yet you miss ” relating” with them in a way. I am not suggesting to drop any friends, but you might want to make more of an effort to meet new friends that maybe you can relate to more. They do not have to be tea tottlers, but not heavy partiers either.

      I am sure some of the issues that got you into having a drinking problem could still be there to some degree even sober. Maybe going to therapy, reading self help books and other options to find why you might still have an empty feeling.

      There is nothing wrong considering moderation. What the real question is if this is the right time for you? My personal feeling is to make sure you are physically healthy and work on your emotional issues you are struggling with before you start moderating. I would imagine many of your friends asked you if you wanted a beer or whatever at the party. That is hard to keep saying no to people. Did that happen to you?

      Some hosts cannot stand it if their guest are not drinking a cold one. That is their issue though.

      Nothing has to be set in stone. I would try to be in a better place emotionally before moderating so it does not interfere with your growth and healing.

      What do you think?

      • Wow. Thanks you for your replies, everyone. I appreciate your input :).

        On the topic of how long one drank for, my total time was 2 years. Here are some timeline details if it provides a clearer picture:
        -I’m female, 24 yrs, only child.
        -A year and a half of this was spent drinking about 750ml rum or vodka every day.
        -The remaining six months were on/off ‘problem’ drinking (not an entire bottle daily, but still a lot & too frequently)
        -Mom, cousin, grandma all died in the same year when I was 18 in uni leading me to leave school and a 10k scholarship behind.
        -I moved out, did drugs for two years, worked full time and then decided to ‘straighten out’. I quit doing drugs on my own without any trouble and retired to good old legal alcohol, thinking this was somehow going to be better for me.
        -Strangely, I can only remember drinking a handful of times while I was using drugs! And I barely drank at all as a teen.
        -In this time my dad also reconnected with a lady he cheated on my mom for. Gaining a ‘step mom’ at age 19 was depressing to me. Call it Cinderella syndrome if you must.
        -It was when I landed a horribly depressing summer job, with brutal hours in 2009 that I crossed the line and started drinking the whole bottle, needing to be drunk for EVERYTHING, taking it to work with me, and experiencing withdrawals.
        -At the time I was living rent free and alone for many weeks at a time. So, it was easy for me to hide it for a while.
        -I never got caught, never lost a job, never drove drunk, never physically fought anybody, never embarassed myself badly, no criminal record, I wasn’t an angry drunk (but I could be irrational and weepy) nor was I the type to fall down or barf all over the place…
        -I always drank at home. Drinking in public I’d have to be much more aware of my surroundings ie. drink less. No way!
        -After losing a friend to suicide a day after I broke up with a boyfriend in college Sept ’11 I tried to seek help from my counsellors and professors but wasn’t taken very seriously for some reason (the details are hazy, but I found good help later on). I recall my entire project group dropped out and instead of placing me in a new group to do my share my prof insisted I had to do it by myself. I understand that this is the real world and shit happens…. but I already had major problems!!! I fell apart and severely binge drank for weeks. I dropped out again, quit my job and… well that was it. Alcohol was my life for Oct ’11-Dec ’11. There simply was nothing else… I was a miserable wreck.
        -Then my stepmom died suddenly in Nov ’11. I became concerned for my dad’s wellbeing and tried my best to ease off the booze. This was a depressing time.
        -Dec 20th is the anniversary of when my mother died, and that year I took it rough… I tried hard not to drink away my pain but withdrawals got the best of me. I bought some rum and had a double shot to get rid of the shakes etc. But I couldn’t keep it down! I ended up throwing up blood and having a seizure on my bathroom floor. I came to, went to the hospital and had ANOTHER seizure in the ER. Woke up there and spent three days in hospital but emerged sober, not really wanting to put myself through that again.
        -I stayed sober from Dec 20th, 2011-Jan 30th, 2012 then got a little over confident and bought some rum. I drank from Jan 30th-Feb 18th, 2012. I remembered how good I felt while abstaining though and commited myself to a five day detox and I have stayed away from alcohol since then. Can I say I get it now? I nipped my ‘relapse’ in the bud. 515 Days today :D.

        • Anyway, that’s the history of how I came to be an alcoholic for approximately 2 years. I’ve almost been sober now for as long as I drank for and it seems like a lifetime ago that all the drama happened. I am due for a physical, but after I got out of detox they did test my liver and everything was alright. I recall that the enzymes were elevated in readings taken when I drank, but everything seemed to normalize since then. I’m really not convinced that I did significant damage at all in that time. I would like to make sure though, so a physical is good advice.

          On the subject of partying: When I decided to quit, I really did not want to drink anymore. I’m not sure if this made it easier for me somehow? AA obviously was not my guiding light throughout all of this – don’t really agree with disease theory etc. I know I am the only one who will moderate for me, so I did it for myself knowing fully that the world wasn’t going to accommodate me just because I stopped drinking. For them, the party goes on… and why shouldn’t it? Alcohol is EVERYWHERE. People who don’t have a problem should be allowed to drink it. You’ll never avoid alcohol forever – you can avoid drinking it easily enough with willpower (I agree the powerlessness required in AA is destructive), but actually getting away from alcohol entirely? Not on your life! I’ve tailored my attitude to accept that avoiding parties and concert venues would serve no useful purpose for me. I generally enjoy my friend’s company and I love music. No one is mean for drinking around me, that’s something I have to deal with on my own. I made my choice to abstain, and I’ll decide when/if to stop abstaining. One major coping mechanism I’m grateful for is that now when I feel like I want a drink I just express it… it’s okay, sometimes we all yearn for things we used to enjoy, right? I let the thoughts come and go as they please. Years ago I would have skipped off to the liquor store unable to stand it, but now I actually have the patience to think about my cravings and decide what to do with them. They don’t control me if I can acknowledge them calmly.

          When I start college again I have plans to go see the addictions counselor and talk – Psychiatrist visits are something I’ll consider too. I’m actually really looking forward to school this fall, so that’s something big. I will be meeting lots of new people in my classes, I’m sure I have an advantage now that I’ve screwed up so many times… I know what not to do this year. Don’t think I’ve been this eager to show what I can achieve since high school. It should be nice to meet people in my program with the same goal of high grades and coffee + study sessions. They say surround to yourself with healthy influences and positive people? My life is moving forward more than it would if I spent all my time in AA at least… thrilled for that.

          I may still have some problems or mental health issues to identify first. I guess it would be wise to look into why my anxiety is so up/down. I’m not depressed or anything like that to my knowledge, but something just feels ‘off’ at times. My fight or flight response is all screwed up and I find myself not sure if I’m being insulted or challenged by people at times. It’s super frustrating to wonder if I’m just stupid, should let things slide or am the secret laughing stock? I spend a lot of time alone, can be sort of obsessive about things and my memory/focus isn’t all that great… but I’m not drinking, so yahoo?
          On the topic of people offering me drinks: Yes, it does happen… but my poor drunk friends don’t mean anything awful by it. They’ve simply gotten so inebriated that they forget that I’m abstaining and include me in the toast. I just politely ask someone to do my shot on my behalf. Worse things could happen 😉 I simply remind them that I don’t drink! Sure, there are moments that I want to drink, but I don’t out of personal responsibility. A pro tip is to always carry a soft drink or cup so people just assume you are drinking. I photograph as a hobby, so getting good pictures keeps me busy too. I’ve also taken over morning cleanup duties at parties since I’m always awake first feeling fresh and anxious. It’s become routine for me to tip toe around the people and pick up the empties, do the dishes, clean the ashtrays, wipe the table down, pick up garments off the floor etc to get the place in good order for breakfast. I also try to be very nice to folks just waking up hung-over ie. Offer ice water to make sure they don’t drink the well tap water and get sick first thing in the morning 😉 A few of the other girls called me the ‘responsible one’ so that must count for something.

          • You go Orangeone! Your heart and head are in a good, natural healthy place and I’m glad to hear you’re excited about school. It’s good to hear that you still love your friends and enjoy their company!

            You have been through a lot and have good reasons to feel like you’re going through changes sometimes. Probably just your intuition getting your attention to help you uncover and realize things that will help free you up even more. We all go through times when we feel like we’re losing it temporarily, like growing pains and as you said we can all benefit from letting it out from time to time with an affordable, sliding scale therapist,… when you find you can relate to.

            Listening to and following our healthy intuition/bliss, enjoying the moment takes us where we really want to be and clears things up big time. I know you know.
            I LOVE MUSIC TOO!

            Be good to yourself!

            • Hello again. I have recently felt like I am going slightly insane. Hate to start a post like that, but it’s the truth. For some reason my anxiety has been sky high all month so far 🙁 I keep telling myself the good things in life are coming soon. All my ducks are in a row, so there’s nothing to worry and feel awful for… but I still have this uncomfortable gnawing dread about everything. I can’t relax and socializing is very hit or miss for me when I feel this way. One drink would soothe this and I’ve been thinking about it everyday… I’m not going to drink, but I’ve been thinking about how miserable I’ve felt lately and it’s starting to drive me nuts. Why do I feel so awful after 17 months? Suddenly I can’t relax. My zest for being sober is low right now 🙁 Why does being honestly sober have to feel like this? What am I doin wrong?

              • Hi Orangeone- so sorry to hear what you are going through :(. Are you seeing a non 12 step therapist? Have you been to your doctor and had a physical? If you are able to I would do both if you have not already. It could be a combination of things. Are you working or involved in any hobbies or other activities to keep your mind from having time to dwell on these things that fill you with dread? You say suddenly you cannot relax. Has there been a trigger of sorts that could of set you off in this direction? You had mentioned that you smoke weed if I remember correctly. Are you smoking more then you were possibly causes you some problems?

                • My anxiety seems to go up and down with ‘attacks’ here and there. What I assumed was Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome for the first few months may have actually been underlying and there the whole time but masked by the honeymoon phase of my drinking in early adulthood. I have been to a doctor to ask about getting a benzo for occasional use when I feel like I’m going out of my mind for no reason. I’ve been whiteknuckling big time in that respect. Anyway, I have found that my doctor is very reluctant to trust me with any prescription that could help :(. I feel a little trapped, I mean, I’ve been off booze for 17 months you’d think I’d deserve a little trust by now? I’m so used to being told “no” that I really don’t wanna go back and ask again… even though that’s what I have to do.

                  I do smoke weed, planning to quit in the fall for the school year. I have nothing terrible to say about weed, but I know it can indeed be addictive and it is certainly not benign. My reasons for quitting are as follows:

                  1) I don’t want to be a 25 year old stoner.
                  2) I want my motivation to increase.
                  3) I want my cough to go away.
                  4) I want to achieve more so I’ll need to focus harder this semester in college.
                  5) I have given thought to drinking again responsibly in the fall and I feel like weed won’t mix with that.
                  6. Save money!
                  7. Weed stops getting you ‘high’ after a couple years of regular use, I’d like the few times I allow myself to smoke in the future to be awesome again.
                  8. I’m just ready for the next chapter of life, drugs aren’t the whole damn story… 🙂

                  Not going to lie. I think I’m a bit in denial about the anxiety being caused by weed. I’ve been reading more on the topic and talking to buddies who’ve quit over the years and many claim it was hard to put their finger on but went away when they stopped. I’ll make an appointment, I think. Thanks for the advice. Sometimes the best thing I can do is think out loud….

    • Hi Orangeone, When I quit drinking regularly I did not go to meetings and still do not. It was one simple step, don’t put it drink in my hand and bring my hand to my mouth! Amazing what kind of strength you find from simply following through with something that you have been wanting to try! I had been undermining my basic power to make a choice and follow through for years and it wasn’t great for my self-esteem! I just saw the writing on the wall about where it was all going. What started out to be different and fun, became more like maintenance and people that I was close with started paying too high a price for excessive drinking.

      Where does it go from there as we get older? It’s like the old saying, “all my friends are either dead or in jail.” I don’t judge it, I understand it and relate to it. It was getting to the point that the things about life I cared about MORE than alcohol, like being alive, love and things I really enjoy etc. were getting fuzzier and more distant and trouble from years of drinking was getting more in everyone’s face!

      If drinking was so much fun when I started, because it was different, then what would it be like after years of the same old same old, to do something different again? Something like see how it felt to give myself the opportunity to see what life could turn out to be if I really gave myself a real chance over time. That would definitely be different! I go through ups and downs and inns and outs but eventually I always evolve through to better and freer places and I KNOW I’m glad I continue to follow my intuition this.

      I agree that there is NOTHING WRONG with moderation, if it were to really be moderation instead of transitioning back into some degree of alcohol poisoning. I agree with Safetyfirst, it’s a good idea to get liver panel/ blood test to see how it’s doing, especially after years of drinking!

      Personally, I know it’s going to take me some time to really experience getting through the feelings and thoughts that kept me feeling stuck at some kind of compromised level in my life. I could easily drink a little more over time to get tuned in with my wild side and my wild friends if I started drinking again. It wouldn’t start out that way and I may be able to keep it moderate but if I got around the right crowd on the right weekend at the right time, moderation just wouldn’t make sense at that time.

      I determined to find my wild side without killing myself to do it! The older my friends and I got the more obvious became that if I wanted to be healthy and live I had to make a break from it. I know it might sound corny but when I was a kid I was high on life, music, nature and the wonder of it all. It’s been more than a few years for me now and I can honestly say that I’m starting to experience that life still exists that way!

      I want to be clear, I totally disagree with the AA/NA negative, powerless brainwashing that says if you take a drink or whatever that it’s a really big deal and you’re going to screw up and die.That totally negative, destructive belief that has no reality to it, except to those who believe in it. Life is all about living and learning naturally, we all make mistakes all the time, no big deal! We either learn easy or learn hard and there’s no right or wrong to it. Who can say which way turns out for the best?

      For me I had been doing it for so long that I figured I had to give it at least that long of not doing it to see what kind of high I could get from the mind altering experience of not being pickled.I want to find out what life could be like if I really follow my bliss, so to speak, over time and let go of the self-destructive part of being wild.

      After years of not drinking, I found that I really can laugh and have fun and I don’t miss the alcohol! I know it’s not going to improve any thing and It really doesn’t have anything for me, smell, taste etc. so I might as well keep going with it while it’s easy to leave it alone.

      • Free to Be,
        AA literature speaks of the “heavy drinker” as opposed to the alcoholic. Heavy drinkers usually stop when the doc says lay off, or when the family says enough already or when the heavy drinker passes through a life stage or reaches a milestone and says to himself/herself, “Okay, well time to move on. I’m done with that.” The real deal heavy drinker is in the moment. The real deal alcoholic is always thinking about the 3rd drink while they’re still on the first because they are after something altogether different. So there is indeed a huge difference between an alcoholic and a heavy drinker. Based on the AA text, you sound like the latter.

        • Jeff- You can stop quoting the AA literature, you know as well as I do that if someone comes into the rooms and drinks and does not say they are an alcoholic, than they are told they are in denial. If you do not stand up and say may name is so and so and I am an alcoholic you are shunned.

          Most people quit without going to any AA meetings or support group. AA is NOT the only way. Thank GOD! AA is pathetic with their “you are not really an alcoholic” if you were able to quit without AA. You guys need to get over yourselves.

        • Jeff, I guess I’m an exception to that theory because I drank every day for decades. At the end I was drinking every couple of hours when I would wake up at night. I drank before going to work to fight the shakes and then took a cooler with me to work to keep the heebie-jeebies from coming back.

          I think that qualified me -at that time- as an alcoholic!

          I am NOW, no longer an alcoholic! I decided to live so I quit putting alcohol in my hand and lifting it to my mouth. Sound simple? It is and it works with determination and some time! Just do what you say your going to do, be good to yourself, stay away from people drinking for a while and think about something else, preferably good things!

          Now I am empowered, focusing on enjoying life and love because I don’t fill my time dwelling on the past, talking over and over again about alcohol and feeling powerless! I recommend it to anyone,along with -qualified therapy- to those who feel so inclined.

          • Sounds like I had a miniature version of your story. I, too, drank every day and used to barely sleep four hour before I would wake up agitated, anxious and desperately NEEDING another drink. I drank before work, sometimes worked through the heebie jeebies, but often brought a little relief in a spare water bottle. I’d sip on it all shift long… I was definitely a qualifying alcoholic AT THE TIME. The main difference being that I did not continue this pattern of abuse for decades. The two years I did drink for were intense enough to learn my lesson… and I’m learning that this is all too common. Many people do get healthy again on their own when they’ve finally had enough of it. Rock bottom isn’t always a factor and there is life without the ridiculous ‘AA way’.

            That being said, the way to move forward is to stop living the problems of the past. No more drunkalogues, pity pots, circular reasoning and pseudo-Christianity. Eventually, you need to fill your head with normal day-to-day things again to blend into society effectively. There’s a whole world of hobbies, post secondary education, sports, art, music, volunteering, games and entertainment once you finally step out of the rooms on your own.

            You have the power.

            • Hi Orangeone, in response to the above comment; Your comment is right on target and really inspires me! I hope lots of other people read it too because I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it put that clearly. SIMPLY EMPOWERING!

              I totally agree with all that you said! We heal and start living again a lot quicker by not constantly focusing on alcohol and bad times in the past. It’s more natural and beneficial thinking about things that inspire us, feeling and living life right now.

              I normally don’t talk about my past drinking so I just want to get a little more of it out since we are. As far as my experience, the approximate 20 year span of drinking became this extreme in the last year. I guess I was a so called social drinker, daily for the most part, with wild binges in the mix. I also quit from time to time for a year or 2 here and there when I found myself drinking more and earlier in the day. It was the last year that I dove all the way in. I would have never understood the intense way of drinking until it happened to me. Now I totally get it and the intensity of emotions that I was experiencing, or trying not to. I used to have a couple of real friends who drank the intense way for years and they were some of the most genuine and caring people in my life. I feel, because they were so for real and cared so much, it was their way of self-medicating and dealing with what was going on around them.

              I am now, in my early 50s and honestly it seems not that long ago that I was in my 20s and 30s! What was considered normal, social drinking just kind of blended into one year after another and here I am. I would’ve never believed when I was in my 20s that I would have drank for that long. For a lot of people that’s how it turns out since alcohol is everywhere and drinking is considered so normal. When we get older, as we do, we can just wake up one day and realize that we have been drinking half of our life or more. The costs begin to outweigh the benefits and it gets more in-your-face over time. When you reach your 30s,40s and older you may find that this will be experienced by SOME of the people that you know who are now considered “regular drinkers.” It’s all just perceived as normal and if one is drinking every day, time can seem to go by quicker and a little fuzzier, like a strange dream!

              ANYHOW, now that I’ve gotten that out, back to your- above comment- which really rings true.

              Thanks for writing it, ENJOY!

              • Wow, you are so right about hard partying friends. They are always the most sensitive, loyal, caring people when you get to know them (admittedly through tripping with them or getting really drunk over so many weekends). There is something more to the hardest partying ones. I, myself, still don’t really feel complete in the same way without alcohol at parties. I can have fun sober, but it’s really not comparable to fun times with a responsible amount of booze. These people just can’t quite come out of their cocoons to show off their wings without a substance in them… but they are wonderful people all the same until their substance of choice drags them into the abyss.

            • I hate AA because a lot of AA critics say that is hard core Christian fundamentalism. It is not, AA and the AA God is not Christian at all. Please hate on AA all day long, but don’t confuse AA ‘spirituality’ with Christianity.

              • OMG … how about you Google the 11 step prayer… it is the prayer of st. Frances. And how about you google the 3rd and 2cd step prayer. Good lord…. you don’t realize the connection because you have no education in Christianity. So how about you also Google a 12 Step Bible because they have references to Christianity for the entire 12 Step program.

                Geezz….. !


    • I’m not sure this reasoning makes much sense. Your friends should not care whether you have a beer or a Pepsi at a party. I understand needing something to drink to participate, but why does it have to be alcohol? My sister and I drink orange juice when we go out – and I don’t find that it has had any negative impact on our social lives at all. If your friends care that much, it might be worth assessing whether you really want them as your close friends.

    • It’s as simple as this, if you’re a drunk/druggie, then you will not be able to moderate. Also, before you embark on your “moderation journey”, be sure to set your iPhone to video and start filming just before you feel yourself blacking out. This will be helpful then next day because you probably won’t believe the stupid, life-endangering crap you’ll do to yourself and others without the hard evidence. Think about this though, if you are a social drinker a moderate drinker if you will, would you be here anonymously posting your ramblings on a site dedicated to the detriment of an organization from which you really don’t want help in the first place. Social and moderate drinkers do not engage in such practices because they are not…wait for it, wait for it…drunks and druggies like you and I. Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

      • That is not true Jeff, that is just more AA brainwashing. Many people learn to moderate. It is not for everyone, but to say 100% no addict never can or has is just delusional!

        • I have spent 30 years going to aa,been sober now continuasly 12 years,before that 15 years, I know for a fact aa is a cult,their brainwashing you,by telling you all the idiot ideology,that was proposed by 2 men 1 who was a sexual predater,the other who drank until he died,dr. bob was certifiably nuts,continued taking opiates,and had a destain for alcoholics,he hated them. aa is a bunch of manipulating brainwashing ppl. if you don’t go to meetings you wil drink or die.bullshit.what happens is you come to a realization that you don’t need these mentally incompetent idiots to tell you how to live your life! I have been shunned from aa,just like in any cult, by pointing out these truths of the so called fellowship. these people are mind controlling fuck ups. its the most mainstream cult out there. im blessed I ran away from those aa Nazis. I do have willpower to stop drinking,and I have,i don’t think about it,i don’t even like the taste of it. they (aa) pounced on me when I was 23,sent there by work,the “oldtimers” elders of the cult,took me under there wings and brainwashed me for years. I say to anyone who gets sober, stay away from the cult of 12 step programs,see a doctor or therapist,and just don’t drink. if you physically need to be detoxed,and need medical care while your doing it,talk to your dr.,but don’t get conned into thinking aa is the only option you have,its not! I now have my life back,woke up from the brainwashing of aa, and am gaining momentum in my life. you make your on choices, but really stay away from the cult of 12 step programs. they will do everything,to brainwash you,they tell you your powerless over alcohol,turn your will and life over to the care of god,ie,group of drunks. this is mindfucking beyond all else. I don’t need there crap,i am so much happy now, my family is first,taking care of myself I just don’t drink,i don’t care if anyone ese does either,hell im the bartender at all the family parties,aa frowned upon this,and told me I would drink,well guess what I never have. so stay healthy and happy. I feel like calling every church that holds meetings,ie rituals, and let them know that they oked meetings for a cult,aa and other 12 step programs need to be exposed for what they really are,a cult,that ruins peoples lives,family,and is detrimental to your well being.

          • Hi Wizard! Thanks for your story. Damn- 30 years in the AA cult? I bet you have many stories you could tell. I am so glad to hear that you are out and have your life back. I agree with your idea of calling every church and letting them know that AA is a cult and actual ruins peoples lives instead of helping them. Plus it is completely heretical going against Christian beliefs.

            Wizard- what was it that made you decide to finally leave AA?

  21. I would really like this program to be exposed for all the lies and abuse they have caused to so many people. I would love for 60 minutes to do a piece on AA and there success rate and the abuses.

  22. I posted here in November and I’m pleased to say I’m still sober and I still have not been back to AA in quite some time 😛 I’ll have fourteen months coming up on the 18th, but I just feel normal these days. I don’t need the golf claps, plastic chips, war stories and cake parties and I certainly don’t want whatever it is that they think they ‘have’. Without alcohol or AA I’ve learned coping skills, my moods have stabilized nicely, and I don’t feel indebted to anyone except myself. I won’t knock anyone’s higher power but I’ve come to believe that having just ONE solution to alcoholism (ie. AA) is crazy. I like to compare it to a fire – there are MANY ways to put out a fire, but some fire extinguishers are meant for SPECIFIC kinds of fires only. If you try and put out a grease fire with water you’re going to make it even worse and I think the same applies to twelve step programs and certain people. The results can be just as dangerous.

    • @Orangeone
      Great to hear that you are doing so well after escaping the spiritual-not-religious cult. It is also good to hear that you feel “normal”… I pray to feel “normal” again one day, but I think it will be what they call a “new normal”…
      They messed with me in so many, many ways. I am still confused at how I allowed such nonsense to go on. Sometimes I am so ANGRY at AA and at myself for allowing it and actually feeling like I needed them. I needed AA like a hole between the eyes.
      I have been out of AA for almost 4 months now… I have experienced some of the things you mention, but not as consistently as I hope to. Moods are def improved, but I still have my moments. I am able to re-establish my relationship with the Creator without their bs seeping into it all of the time. I do not pray to the god of alcohol and I never will… and knock on wood; I am still not in an asylum, jail or dead…
      It is wonderful to read that you are in a good place.
      Yes, AA was a very, very dangerous place for me. Sure, all the people in the meetings talk about it saving their lives, BUT where are the people like us who SURVIVED it? Newcomers do not consider the fact that the people who left AA greatly outnumber the people they will ever find “in the rooms”….
      We are MANY!
      Thank you for the added INSPIRATION!

    • Also…
      What these zombies just did to a young woman all in th ename of making her “hit bottom” recently, was simply horrible…

      Young men at my SMART meeting recently told us that NA members put an obviously out of it on Xanax girl into a car and sent her on her way to “hit bottom”…

      This is the kind of mentality and energy that it feels good to get the fluck away from!

      I just blogged about it:

      If she had hit and killed someone (the young men say that they do not know that she did not) those NA members would be responsible, but they would never believe that they are.

      That is what is so deathly scary about these people. They go on and on about admitting wrong doing, asking forgiveness, character-building and such, but they do the most lowly, lowly things to other people without blinking because they “have their program”…

      Nothing else matters….if it did, Bill W. would have said so, right?


      • I hear you and do agree. My ‘normal’ now is very different from ‘before’ but I am feeling like I belong in this mixed up unfair world again, I have many enjoyable hobbies and passions now and I don’t need 750ml of 40% a day to cope. I don’t cry randomly now, I’ve dealt with the unresolved grief in my life (a huge factor in my drinking) and I’ve let myself realize that its 100% OK to cut off disrespectful @$$holes that have mistreated you. One day I went through my facebook ‘friends list’ and just deleted everyone who irritated me, I secretly hated, was only tolerating, couldn’t trust etc. Forgive wherever you possibly can, but know that you probably deserve apologies too. When I was done I saw that the company I had been keeping was all wrong… it was a lonely time, but I learned to be my best friend and really enjoy my own company as well as to create a clean, comfy and aesthetically pleasing environment at home. I don’t believe in feng shui or anything like that but there’s nothing more relaxing then coming home to a truly beautifully organized home. This was quite a profound revelation for my self worth.

        My moods were weird for the first year.. I wasn’t very happy from about 7-10 months sober and I’m not sure why (maybe I’m bipolar?) as everything was going fine. Perhaps you’re experiencing the same thing?

        I have a nagging suspicion that if someone were to do a study on people who have left AA vs people who have stayed with AA there might be some surprises as to which group has stayed more sober?

      • It’s so wrong to send someone messed up out in a car. I mean, are they serious? Had they just called the cops right then and there (rather then sending her on her way to potentially hurt others on the road) and stalled her she would have been taken away anyway! Isn’t that rock bottom enough?! It’s such barbaric , twisted thinking. Your line in the blog: “I have never met less self-aware people ever before in my life!” is absolutely fitting. They have no freaking clue how sick they really are. Don’t they know cigarettes and caffeine are drugs too?

        • “When I was done I saw that the company I had been keeping was all wrong… it was a lonely time, but I learned to be my best friend and really enjoy my own company as well as to create a clean, comfy and aesthetically pleasing environment at home.”

          That is exactly how I feel now Orangeone. It’s even more challenging because I just took on a new part time position with an anal micro-manager who professes not to be a “micro-manager” but is!

          I am working to get my entire life revamped and on a New Track… Not the one I was on prior to AA…or even the drinking…

          A TOTALLY new track. It is a challenge because without AA and without drinking everything and everyone is perceived by me in HD Quality sharpness…

          The lies.
          The duplicity.
          The condescension & pretention.
          The games.
          The ignorance.
          The absurdity & ridiculousness.

          I abhor having “religious” people preaching at me MORE than ever. I always did, but now it is far, far worse. It takes EVERYTHING within me now to scream, “Stop phuckin preachin at me you ignorant lemming and get off about the sea. I do not want you or anything you have!”

          The worse thing about people like that is they can never take the time to just stop, pause and examine themselves or whatever it is they claim to believe. They can never be self-critical or question the doctrine or the community of “believers” as if they and everyone who is a part of whateverthehellitistheyareapartof, can never, never possibly be wrong, or questioned or asked to learn, grow or change…

          For instance, it is a known fact that, as you point out, cigarettes and caffeine are DRUGS, but AA and NA members go right on condoning the use of these substances.

          Why is that?

          It is because Bill W. never told them not to use them.

          It is the epitome of INCREDABILITY: lacking all credibility whatsoever.

          It is one of the main pieces of evidence that any rational person would at least consider to realize that the 12 step, Bill W.-based program is a religious cult based on nothing other than lies and a overt plagiarism of the old oxford group religion mixed with the madness of Bill W. who was addicted to cigarettes, sex, used LSD and reportedly BEGGED for liquor on his deathbed.

          But none of these people will even consider that because Bill did not give them permission to question his infallible “WORD”! So, they go on and place people in harm’s way (like the girl they put in th ecar to go screw herself and whomever else ended up in her tragic path) and they do not feel any responsibility at all…because they have been conditioned to feel that pushing someone to ‘hit bottom’ is a righteous thing to do.

          But what if their mother, their child or spouse was on the expressway that they sent that girl on?

          Would they care then?

          Would they ask themselves, “What part did I have in this?”

          I doubt it.

          AA has really tapped me of patience with ignorant people on a myriad of levels…

          I can’t stomach them.

          Hopefully, with more time I will be able to regain my ability to be more…tolerant.

          Now, I just want to be unbothered.

          Be well…

          • The following piece of your previous post really describes the reasoning behind my anger too! I sincerely feel like (perhaps rightly so, I can admit) everyone saw me as a FOOL to be TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF when I was wasted 24/7. However, these people all drank MY alcohol with me, crashed on MY couch, ate MY food, bummed money I never saw again, took cans of my pop ‘for the road’ etc and I allowed all this on the pretense of being a happy drunk and a good friend… (aren’t alcoholics supposed to be the moochers?!) But then when I quit and became fully aware for the first time in god knows how long, all these people left me never to return. I get that alcohol made me a more social character, but I’d be stupid not to realise that my ‘friends’ were all just opportunistic assholes who ditched me the second I stopped giving them things. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy, eh?

            “It is a challenge because without AA and without drinking everything and everyone is perceived by me in HD Quality sharpness…

            The lies.
            The duplicity.
            The condescension & pretention.
            The games.
            The ignorance.
            The absurdity & ridiculousness.”

            YOU SAID IT!!!

            Seeing all these things clearly is bound to send anyone into a rage. But I accept that I was foolish all the same… I can trust my judgement a little bit more every day. The trade off would be horrible if I was still in AA. I don’t know about you, but striving to trust (and repair) my thought process is VERY important to me. I’m sick of that self defeated feeling and ready to be the forward thrust in my own life. AA wants you to think that there are neurosurgeons, aerospace engineers and CEO’s in those rooms – but I find that about 50% of the people from groups in my area are retired, jobless or unemployable!!! I’m sorry, but my guess is that the neurosurgeons are actually out making something of their lives… or ya know, needed at the hospital. I looked up to a few great people in AA, but I never once met an AA member with any serious authority.

            • What I’m trying to say in a nice way is:

              AA thinks that it is made of a much more useful segment of society then it really is. Don’t get frustrated with them. They love that.

              • RIGHT!
                “AA thinks that it is made of a much more useful segment of society then it really is. Don’t get frustrated with them. They love that.”
                You def did put it in a “nice” way Orangeone…and you are spot on!

                One thing I noticed about my sponsor and all of the long time fellowship people was an absurd sense of superiority over newcomers to the program, non-AA sober people who once had alcohol over-use issues but found a way to conquer their issues; which AA’s refer to as “dry-drunks”
                You see, for them, you are either an AA devotee or you are something much LESSER than they are as they sit on their superior derrières looking down upon the “still struggling alcoholics” that they pretend to pray for at their inane meetings.

                My ex sponsor told me (and I heard others say) “We are MIRACLES…”
                They do believe that. They do believe that they are some how better that each person with less time…though they will blow smoke up newcomers asses telling them that they are “the most important person in the room”


                For each one of them the most important person in the room is himself or herself.
                And more important than self is AA…
                That is where the cult indoctrinization comes in.

                I do not know if all of them would “die” for AA…but I suspect many of them would KILL you, me or some other AA-bullspit-factory-drop-out for the sake of AA…


                I honestly feel like the survivor of attempted MURDER… Dramatic?
                I do not know. It is how I feel.

                I am having a TERRIBLE time getting accustomed to working with my new client/boss.
                She reminds me of my sponsor and my grand sponsor. She is their age and a retired from the same profession they just retired from…. She is arrogant, is a micro-manager but profusely claims not to be…

                Looked me dead in the eye last week and said, “If I say it; it is right or I would not say it if it was not right!”


                OH LORD…


                I do not honestly know if she is a bad as I think she is OR if my perceptions are so skewed now that I am not discerning the situation correctly…

                I just started and already I want to QUIT…and I have NEVER quit any position in my life…
                I keep recalling my last conversation with my sponsor:
                “You never stop drinking; you just pause. You are mentally ill–beyond help. If you did your daily prayers and did what we told you to do…you would be farther along by now…”

                And my grand sponsor:
                “You have the look of DEATH on you…”

                My self-confidence is SHOT—
                I was not like this prior to AA.
                Last week I wanted to just go get a pint, some butts, listen to music & just fluck it—
                But I didn’t.
                I hate AA.
                I wish I knew how I would have dealt with this situation before their attempted assassination of my soul. They have made everything harder than it would otherwise be.
                On we go….

                Please SHARE the Karla video if you are reading this right now… More people deserve to know about this danger:

            • I am so happy for you. I too have a lot of healing to do. AA is nothing but a bunch of people who don’t follow there own advice. And boy they (women and men) prey on that new comer. I trust a drunk in a bar more than someone in AA. I think a lot of people would agree with me.

              • Eileen,
                I totally agree with you and whenever I see it in the meetings-the preying on newcomers-I call it out. That is what responsible old-timers in 12-Step programs are charged with doing. When I came into AA in the mid-80’s the mantra was “Meetings, Meditation & Masturbation”…keep your legs closed and your fly zipped.

          • I know exactly how you feel. After years in the program (I always hated that name). I now feel lonely like yourself but I would rather be working and getting back to myself. These people preach all this shit and don’t follow t themselves. Everything people have written on here is how I always felt but was afraid to go against them. Now I am stronger and have to undo the damage they did.

    • Hi Orangeone! Glad to hear you are doing so well. I really like your analogy about how there are different ways to put out a fire. That is so true! Then you have AA members refuse to admit that they feel that way, but it is part of the cult talk. They really are indoctrinated to think if they leave or any other members leave death will certainly follow or at a minimum jail or institutions.

      It is sad they will see felloe members failing miserably in the cult and fail to direct them or inform them of other options.

    • I had been going to AA since 1994 and I have to tell you I was so vulnerable and both my parents died. I was so down and I can tell you that I was sexually assaulted by this guy I worked with who was in the rooms and when I started AA and told him he followed me back to my house and well you know the rest. I was suicidal already and holding on for dear life and than that happened. I was checked into a Hospital and than released. There was a woman with 25 years who someone threw on me and said this is your sponsor. She was the biggest, loudest, and scariest woman I ever met. She made me call her everyday and one day while sitting in the meeting she shared my shit with me in the room to the entire room. I never spoke to her again. Today this woman who I knew was sick from day one but because she had 25 years she was the QUEEN!! She does not go to meetings that much anymore because she was diagnosed as bi polar and manic depressive. This bitch was threating woman and everybody respected her. Another big black guy Freddie 6ft.5 comes into the rooms with a 12 inch knife on the side of his pants in a holster threating woman and one day he got up in the middle of the room and threatened to kill everyone when the meeting was over. Not one fucking man or woman called the police. I was not there and never went back. These wackos said he had a right to be there!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has threatened men and woman. So many people have left because of him. I have not been to a meeting in about 9 months and no one has ever contacted me to see if I was ok. They don’t give a shit! There are way to many sick people and it is sooooo clicky. The very fact that you have to listen to the same shit over and over and over again. And these people always reminded of zombies and sheep. They preach and they don’t practice what the say. I wish to god I would of found this site years ago. My life has forever been changed for the worse because of AA. Since I have stopped going I am getting my life back very slowly. There were a lot of people that I did like but the bad out weighed the good. I wish we could get meetings like this together. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Every time I would try to tell people they just said it was me. One time about 6 years ago or so there was all over the news about some guy in AA who made amends on the internet to some woman he raped in college and he was arrested. When that was shared in the rooms these fucking pricks actually felt for him. When I raised my hand I said I hope the bastard gets raped in jail for what he has done. Everybody looked at me like I was the crazy one. It has been years since I have trusted my instincts because they told me not too and I believed them. I am now starting to trust myself after so many years of a lot of damage. Once again who ever started this site I THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Hi Eileen! I am so glad you found this site and found it helpful! You had been in AA a longtime. You are not alone!

        What a heart wrenching story. It makes me so mad to hear that after your sexual assault during your very vulnerable time- you get thrown some horrible loud mouth controlling sponsor.

        It was a good choice once she told your private details of your life to the other members during a meeting, that you refused to speak to her again. Many people just take all the abuse from their sponsor for years. How did she handle that? Did you get another sponsor?

        Your story about the man with a knife threatening the group and the members reaction sounds like these 12 steppers were thoroughly brainwashed about letting anyone stay in their meetings. Even at the peril of others. Thanks for telling us that story too, because people really need to be aware of dangerous meetings can be. I liked your sheep and zombie analogy- that is so spot on!

        I am so sorry what they have put you through. When you said after you left that no one has called is a common occurrence in the AA world. I cannot even imagine what it must feel like to first have someone make you spill your guts about your private life and then tell people at a meeting, but then they drop you like a hot potato when you leave. Or even when you do not go very often people get the cold shoulder.
        You had been a member for a long time which must of made it that more difficult. This must be so painful. It is just cruel psychological abuse. Even if you know you are better without them, it still hurts.

        It sounds like you are improving since you left 9 months ago. Have you sought any other type of support or counseling to help you get through these difficult times?

        This website along with others like it have found to be helpful to many who have left AA and NA by venting and sharing with like minds. There are also websites like http://www.smartrecovery.org that have online meetings and lots of good information and support.

        I wish you the best in this major change in your life. We hear from many x-members who feel so much better over time after they leave the rooms.

        • Thank you so much for your understanding and encouragement! God I really screwed my life up. I allowed a bunch of screw ups to run my life. It will take time but I feel so much better already. I am hurt though that no one has contacted me. I had breast cancer 5 years ago and the women barely spoke to me!! Unbelievable!!!

      • It’s so good that people are able to tell the truth about their personal experiences, with these unsafe, unprofessional twelve-step programs in a place where there voice will be heard!

        Reading about these experiences makes my hair stand up and brings tears to my eyes! To think that you had to go through this and at such a traumatic time of your life. These are the times when you most need simple love, understanding and a safe place and time to heal with the support of ethical people who have common sense. A counselor who is qualified and certified by background checks is a good idea!

        These accounts are so mind-boggling and heart-wrenching!
        Love, understanding, peace and health to you!

        I know from experience, how it seems nobody wants to hear the truth, when it comes to the dysfunction and abuses that run rampant within these unsafe, unqualified 12-step anonymous organizations.

        There are some very good alternative support groups listed on this site!

        “SMART RECOVERY” is free, safe and has qualified people involved with verifiable Internet support meetings as an option . These safe Internet meetings are being increasingly accepted by drug courts across the country as well because they can be verified with a password to prove participation.

      • eileen K- OMFG what a horrible story. Im so sorry to hear what you had to go through. I went to AA meetings when I was 18. I am glad you found this sight. I started 2 blogs. http://www.stop13stepinaa.wordpress.com and then in Oct of 2011 I Created http://www.leavingaa.com

        Many of us who have these blogs know each other now. There is a community of sorts for us who left.

        I am actually horrified by what you have told us here. It needs to be told on NETWORK NEWS Shows. Take care and thanks for telling us what happened to you.

          • I can’t thank you guys enough for your support. God I wish I would of trusted my instincts but you know what they AA says “Don’t trust your instincts” It’s all crazy but I’m happy to be here with you guys.

            • We are happy to have you! So glad you are feeling better. It is really a cult tactic to make people think they cannot survive without AA or NA.

              • It’s all backwards at AA. Forget the fact that I had checked myself into a FREE Detox and fixed my own problem a full two weeks before even joining AA! But no, AA needs you to believe you’re too weak, stupid and diseased to stand on your own legs. It pumps your head full of fear that you’ll somehow lose your mind from not hearing the same sob stories over and over… I sincerely can’t say I was ever that impressed by ‘what they have’. You should have seen the dirty looks I got after answering ‘No one but me takes responsibility for me’ to the question ‘Who paid for your treatment?’ That wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear… what they wanted was fodder for guilt trips. AA absolutely wanted me to continue feeling terrible about myself so I’d keep coming back. Why else would they use condescending terms like ‘dry drunk’ to make you feel embarrassed to be sober without their program? It’s all about the program and not your recovery.

            • Welcome Eileen! You should definitely trust your instincts a little more each day… true, reasonable, rational support in recovery does exist 😉 You can do it.

              I’ve got 16 months on June 18th and AA turned out to be the last thing I really needed in my life.

                • The sad and unfortunate part is there are so many women who have been sexually abused in there. These people preach taking responsibility to everyone but they don’t practice what they preach. I find them to be 100% FRAUDS!

      • Wow Eileen,
        That is some screwed up stuff. The guy who made amends for raping someone forgot about the second part of Step 9. The step reads, “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” By putting that on social media, he “re-injured” his victim and injured others. Others include himself, AA as a whole and you as an individual member. He deserves what he got and his sponsor, if he has one, should be in the cell next to him. There are people to whom we will never be able to make amends but there are new things we can do, new ways we can act that can address our requirement to make amends. For starters, he could have made an anonymous monetary donation to a women’s abuse center or rape crisis hotline. If he still has this type of behavior in him, then he is exactly where he belongs-in jail.

  23. I was molested and stalked and abused by my husband’s sponsor repeatedly and then ostracized from my sponsor, friends, and home group when I said something. My sponsor blamed me and kept sending me back to “talk” to and “understand”‘him. Thank god I got away.

    • Gwen- Thank God you did get away. Unbelievable that they wanted you to go back and try and talk and understand hum. This would put you in a vulnerable position. In the real world he should have been arrested. Is your husband still a member?

      • My husband still is an AA member but has a new sponsor (he fired the next one, too, because when he told him what the first one did, the second one said it was my fault) and a new home group. He believes the old meeting was a cult but thinks I’m taking it too far to say all AA is like that. But I’ve been in and out of AA for twenty years. In that time, I’ve been actually abused by three men, all of whom were deified by meetings. I’ve seen countless people ostracized and humiliated. I’ve had every decision I’ve ever made questioned – my sponsor tried to tell me to give up my very successful and fulfilling job because she felt it was interfering with my sobriety. She also told me my various traumas were just me trying to “create chaos.” Sorry – I could go on forever. I’m just glad to know I’m not alone in this – funny how alone I always felt in AA.

        • Thank goodness he fired the other sponsors! Sounds like you had been through an awful with AA. Your story about your sponsor wanting you to give up your job I found very troubling. I have heard this is very common to tell people to either give up work or quit work so they could go to more meetings and do service work.

          This makes no sense to me and only appears to be self serving on AA’s part. Money is one of the major stresses in our lives and one of the top five reasons people divorce. You have to have a roof over your head and put bread on the table, right?

          Problems with money is also a big trigger for people to relapse. Financial stability is paramount in people getting back on their feet and putting stability in their lives. How in the world do 12 steppers think people are going to get money to survive? It almost seems like they are purposely setting people up for failure.

          I have heard people discouraging people to go to school as well for the same reasons. It is a way to isolate people so they can brainwash them more effectively. Going to work and going to school are accomplishments that can help people actually stay sober instead of digging themselves deeper in debt and further behind with educational pursuits.

          I assume you kept your successful job, right?

        • Gosh, it never ends. I was stalked and hit on by a gay member from a gay A.A. club on my way to my car after a meeting. No you’re not alone, there’s a lot of unsavory garbage going on in A.A. that I didn’t want to be a part of so I left as well. I’m sure you will find some women here that can help you.

        • hi GWEN! its amazing to me how nuts these AA sponsors have become. We have another site called http://www.leavingaa.com between these sites you will surely see you are not alone! Im sorry to hear you have been through so much crap. There was a woman writing a book who was looking for a story with sponsor abuse. The book is coming out in July on Simon and Schuster called HER BEST KEPT SECRET…by Gabrielle Glaser.

  24. Good article-

    I Am a Recovering Alcoholic

    Apologize To Your Rapist…Right.
    By: The Panther
    Written on March 12th, 2013
    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 of 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 Twelve Traditions pg90

    So there you have it, straight from the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous, there is no exception to this rule. For most AA members this type of thinking is gospel. Any sane person would realize that this type of thinking has some limits but not twelve steppers.

    In his book “More Revealed”, Ken Ragge describes an instance where a boy who had been sexually molested by a priest was convinced to make “amends” to the priest. This victim actually apologized for being angry about the molestation. Ragge also relates a tale of a woman who had been gang raped. She was also told to make “amends” to the rapists.

    So powerful is the indoctrination and brainwashing that takes place in AA that the victims will defend their attackers. I personally knew a girl who was sent to AA when she was 16 years old because she suffering from an eating disorder and alcoholism. She had been raped when she was 13 and molested when she was younger. Two guys in their twenties coerced this girl who was demented from starvation and drinking to sleep with them. They then proceeded to brag to everyone in AA about their deed and not a single person stood up for this person. But the sick and twisted part of the whole affair was that the women in the group convinced this girl that she was equally to blame for her part in the crime and she believed them. I witnessed with my own eyes and ears, this girl blame herself and defend her rapists.

    If you think these are isolated incidents you should read Rebecca Fransway’s AA Horror Stories, this is novel filled with sick thinking and terrible twelve step stories. The thing that I find tragic and disturbing is the fact that most professionals in the addiction field are either unaware of this detrimental thinking or don’t care. The worst part is that Twelve Steppers are the ones who have convinced everyone that you can’t trust alcoholics and addicts because they lie or they are crazy, therefore these stories are either exaggerations or the result of sick thinking. Don’t believe me, here is a twelve stepper stating exactly that,

    “If you were sick and/or dysfunctional enough to find yourself going to AA in the first place, and then had a very bad experience, there is a high degree of likelihood that your experiences in AA were deeply distorted or otherwise primarily reflected your own damaged psyche.”

    So I guess this only applies to negative aspects of AA, if this is true then why would we believe AA members when they state things like AA is great and helped them and many others? What’s to say that their positive experiences are not distorted? But the biggest line of BS that steppers use to diminish the tragic brainwashing of rape victims is that these are just isolated incidents, every organization has problems or troubled people. Right! It’s just a few bad apples in the basket.

    What a load crap!

    First of all, most of the incidents that occur with rape victims are never even brought to light. As soon as you find yourself in AA you are almost immediately indoctrinated with the idea that AA can “do no wrong”. It’s never the organization it’s always the person at fault. Yet these victims would have never have thought to apologize to their rapist or molester, until they went to AA. As far as these being isolated incidents, I don’t know how anyone in AA can say that when there are entire books written describing this sick behavior. There are hundreds of comments and letters available on websites that describe this type of twisted thinking. But according to twelve steppers everyone is either lying or distorting the truth. Maybe AA members and the organization itself should stop blaming the victim and start taking responsibility for their actions.


    • Forgive the person who rapes you???!!! Oh Yea!!! Thats NA/AA
      Couldnt understand why I couldnt get sober- was doing everything those zombiebots said- I just kept relapsing!!! 4 years in AA/NA
      Finally it hit me- dump these jerks- CLEAN NOW 5 YEARS AND THAT INCLUDES MEETING CLEAN AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • I’m so happy for you!!! I bet they even said to you “What’s your part in it?” I was sexually assaulted too. It took me years to get past it. I even tried to kill myself afterwards. Thank god I didn’t. Anyway we survived the rape and AA!

  25. I had an experience in Alcoholics Anonymous that caused me to change my whole view about “God” and Jesus. It was incredibly deep and profound and caused by forgiving this woman in A.A. that I thought was….well just an angry “C” word. As the result of that experience I started to find out some facts within the fellowship of A.A. that didn’t follow the lines or “code” which is supposed to be love for their fellow A.A. members I also began to question a lot of tenets that the fellowship of A.A. had and their disdain for mentioning the name Jesus at meetings because the name had a different meaning for me then, and still does.

    I also began to question like Siddhartha did about what was being taught to me and others about how “the world” was “unsafe” and that I would drink and/or drug again and I would die, neither of which has happened and this was in 1990 and so I left like Siddhartha with the same attitude as he.I found out that “the big bad world” was not as vicious as warned but in most cases, welcoming. I had a good life filled with fun and adventure with no real bad incidences.

    I know you’re “supposed to say, well I’m so and so and I’m an alcoholic, drug addict” and whatnot but really, I’m no longer doing those insane things that resulted in my drinking or drugging so really I don’t know what I am anymore. I went to the bar and ordered coke with no fear, Part of the Big Book Promises; We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I seen one “recovering alcoholic” literally run out the door of a small pizza place that served beer and wine recently. Wow. “They say” that “if you hang out in a barber shop you get your hair cut”.

    I didn’t get that but I sure got laid….a lot!!!. And I would’ve rather went out to a club and did that than 13th stepped some poor sick dry woman that was simply looking for help or form some “A.A. Group” like in Midtown D.C. where all these underage girls are being passed around like a cheese plate at a party for sexual purposes. The following is a C&P of an on-line news post;

    When Kristen was 17 and drinking out of control, her psychologist referred her to an >Alcoholics Anonymous group that specialized in helping the youngest drinkers. In the Midtown Group, members and outsiders agree, young people could find new friends, constant fellowship, daily meetings, summer-long beach parties, and a charismatic leader who would steer them through sobriety.

    But according to more than a dozen young people who structured their lives around the group, the unusual adaptation of AA that Michael Quinones created from his home in Bethesda became a confusing blend of comfort and crisis. They described a rigidly insular world of group homes and socializing, in which older men had sex with teenage girls, ties to family and friends were severed or strained, and the most vulnerable of alcoholics, some suffering from emotional problems, were encouraged to stop taking prescribed medications.

    Kristen, now 26, said that for eight years, she was “passed along” from one middle-aged male leader of Midtown to another. She said her sponsor urged her to have sex with Quinones — widely known as Mike Q. — as a way to solidify her sobriety and spiritual revival. Kristen, who spoke on the condition that her last name not be used in keeping with AA traditions, also recalled helping to persuade other teenage girls to sleep with older men in the group.

    “I pimped my sponsees out to sponsors,” she said, referring to the AA members who agree to watch over a fellow member’s sobriety. “I encouraged them to sleep with their sponsors because I really believed that this would help with their sobriety.”

    The rest is here if you want to read more;


  26. I go to a NA group, I know a member what just OD’d, and died, He was going for several years, he would lead meetings and sponsor people, he was a big book thump er and got people to join the NA program, one day I went to a meeting and they said at the meeting he died a few weeks ago, when he would relapse the members would say that if you do not do a 4th step right you will relapse and die, or if you did not obey the traditions you would be refunded your misery, this man had mental problems and took medication, I would tell him that only thing you had to do was stay clean that is the first step, the others would tell him to be open and honest only socialize with the winners, in my thinking pattern I believe these winners were just a bunch of yahoos what did not do anything but verbally abuse him, this goes on all the time in NA and AA groups, I am glad that there are message boards like this.

  27. As a matter of fact I read up on a ton of blogs/sites just like this one. Reading horror story after horror story didn’t convince me all at once…. Honestly, I consider myself a fairly reasonable rational human being, so I don’t believe all the junk put online. I’m certain there must be gross exaggerations from all sides involved here, but unfortunately little by little more was indeed revealed about the people in the groups in my Canadian city. I will continue to honour the anonymity of the people in my ‘home’ group and only use false names herein. One guy I’ll call Doug was an oddball, he was a ray of sunshine some days preaching AA drivel like you wouldn’t believe but on others he would utilise his turn to share slogans to basically threaten the group for talking about him behind his back. Or there was the time one of his kids was in a car crash and understandably the AA community all sent their well wishes by email, calling, messages, showing up with meals at his home etc. Anyway, one week this was all fine and dandy and he’s so blessed to have a real family in AA, then the next week he’s pissed again because everyone is still sending him messages and his email is out there publically now for anyone to use. Anyway, he would always pay an uncomfortable amount of attention to me at meetings and want hugs etc. I thought this was strange as he’s about 17 years my senior, so when he’d ask me to call him I’d stand my ground and forget to do it. When I started coming less he got other people to call me and tell me to call him! I always wondered why he didn’t just pick up the phone himself and call me, well, strangely enough when I finally did go back I kind of avoided him and finally I said something like I lost your # but call me if you need to talk. He replied accusing me of hitting on him and saying he can’t find my number and wont be calling me. Ok. Whatever, buddy. I later found his picture attached to an old news article (I have a friend who clips articles on sex offenders, repeat sex offenders, burglars, rapists etc as sort of a neighbourhood watch history)!!! I nearly shat myself!!! There he was. It was creepy because he has since adopted a new look with a shaved head and taken out piercings and so on.

    My bottom line is that you CANNOT trust people in AA. Anonymity means you can be anyone, do anything, create your own history and get away with it.

    Getting away from recovery subculture once I felt ready to do so was the 2nd best thing I’ve ever done for myself (behind giving up alcohol). I’m ready to be normal again, let’s face it – the world shouldn’t have to change because I quit drinking. Someone who is lactose intolerant would avoid dairy foods and get on with their life even though it’s going to be every where and in a ton of foods… somehow they manage though. I hate how AA makes it seem like I have all these defects and that I am somehow a terrible person for having passions as well as hot and cold emotions. Believing that I’m the problem seems backwards. I beg to differ, I strongly feel that ALCOHOL was my problem and now that I don’t drink it my problems have faded away. That feeling plus all the things I’ve accomplished this year make it clear that I should simply avoid alcohol for life. What I don’t feel is powerlessness at all. I wanted to quit drinking and I did. Good – now let’s get back to living my life!!!

    AA isn’t interested in seeing your suggestions to their ‘successful’ program. Heaven forbid you make a new friend who might drink a beer while watching the late show, or get into a morning jogging routine rather then drive in the traffic to a meeting. AA never wants you to leave… it’s awful how many people become so dependent on AA that they have actual fears and doubts in themselves avoiding a drink. Why!? Because AA drills it into you that if you leave you’ll die blah blah blah…. so many people take this for gospel truth and end up manifesting those fears when they eventually get fed up with the group or themselves. Small triggers suddenly become justification for it and so the loop continues… “AA was right!!”

    My cousin hanged himself having never entirely gotten off the bottle and was an AA member. My uncle also drank while in AA and recently passed away after a bender… his AA buddies found him after he failed to show for AA. My grandmother completely lost it with booze in her old age but my mother would never see it. It’s time for something to change in this family because clearly AA hasn’t been a solution.

    • You must of flipped when you found out that ” Doug” was a sexual offender! Good thing you avoided him. So many sexual predators are sent to AA meetings by judges and probation officers, even on Halloween nights!

      Yours is a great story, because it shows what I think is not all that rare-realizing one needs to quit drinking, quit- and then get on with life. Putting behind you all the bad memories and creating new wonderful memories. I never understood why AA ever thought it was a good idea for anyone’s self esteem to call themselves an alcoholic or addict for life. On top of that to rehash your own rotten story, and then continue to hear other people’s stories over and over and over. I could not think of anything more depressing than having the worse times in your life front and center in your mind forever. It is crazy, and makes people crazy in AA too.

      So sorry to hear of your cousin who committed suicide that was an AA member, and your uncle and grandmother who had problems with drinking and AA. Did your uncle die from too much alcohol? I think most people go through life never knowing anyone who committed suicide. Yet in AA and NA anyone with any time under their belt in the program seem to know multiple 12 steppers who committed suicide. Many had actually became close friends with. That has to mess with their head. Does AA have grief counseling? I do not think so.

      AA seems to have a high % of completed suicides on their hands. Yet AA discourages professional therapy or people taking their meds. But they take no responsibility.

      So glad to hear you did not fall into the trap of staying with AA for decades, making it a central theme in your life.

  28. Well Thank you Orangeone for telling your story of why you left Alcoholics Anonymous. It really does help those that have left or our contemplating to leave. It sounds like you are doing just fine without the AA mantra.

    It is more validation to the more personal stories we here of people learning that the people they are told to to trust in AA or NA are actually convicted sexual offenders and even worse. How did you figure out he was a sexual offender?

    Glad to hear you are really “okay” and loved the part of the story of you swimming in the lake with your buddies having a blast! Awesome!

  29. Well, first of all – thank you everyone who has shared their circumstances.

    Thank you sooo much.

    I think part of the problem is that AA has been treated as the gold standard in recovery for so long now that the average lay person (without addiction in their lives) probably doesn’t know any better. They always truly do have good intentions for their friends and loved ones. To them AA is what’s advertised and recommended, why would a Doctor tell someone to do something unhelpful? A doctor certainly wouldn’t encourage you to share private details with dangerous criminals as often as possible, would they? They would be aware of predators and thieves running amok under shield of anonymity, right? AA must help people, so if you don’t want to be part of this helpful program you must be the issue. Stupid addicts… they’re all the same!!!


    The truth is that no one really knows what AA is like until they’re sucked into it. I know I didn’t. I’m 23 and female and my first sobriety date was December 20th, 2011. Prior to this I experienced a lot of loss in my life at a crucial time a couple years earlier. I held a management position at a restaurant this whole time. Drinking (and to a lesser extent drugging) was my way to artificially put a smile on my face and keep moving forwards through it all. I am not medicated or diagnosed with any other mental issues – but I suspect that I should be for anxiety issues, high paranoia and potential schizoid or ADHD personality disorder. I’m afraid to go see a doctor for fear of being labelled a drug seeker. My last time at the hospital wasn’t pleasant – I know I was treated like shit due to being an alcoholic and wow, they sure got me… it was a rough lesson to learn and I never want to be treated like a throwaway ever again.. Anyway, I had two seizures and vomited blood on the 20th of Dec and ended up in the hospital so after that incident I vowwed to get my drinking ‘under control’.

    I wound up not drinking for five and a half weeks before getting overconfident and choosing to do some shots, which of course got me right back to where I was before within a week. Lesson learned. I took it upon myself to check into detox voluntarily to end the habit for good on Feb 18th, 2012. After five days there I left knowing I’d be alright if I could just avoid drinking again at all costs. I flat out let go of it once the withdrawals were over. Seemed simple enough, so far so good. On November 18th I’ll have nine months and I couldn’t be happier with myself. No rehab was required, but I figured AA wouldn’t hurt me at all.

    I met a lady in detox who shared a locked in room with me in observation and we hit it off. She and I used to attend meetings together and keep tabs on one another in the first crucial months after we detoxed. I owe this lady a lot, despite our age difference (she was 30 years older than I by rough estimate) we had a lot in common and I feel like she was as unsure as I was and sceptical about AA too. If I had gone alone at first I’m 90% sure I would have dove right in and bit the program hook, line and sinker and become one of the hardcore members fast. I would have fallen for it… I almost did. She was a little wiser and always told me she wasn’t buying into the God stuff ever and I swear that’s the only thing that kept me from going off the deep end. I was a mess, trying to find meaning in anything and everything. When I first joined I kept a notebook of inspirational things said at meetings, quotes, phone #s that I never used, drank the coffee, set up the chairs and all that jazz. I was so lost looking back, so many newcomers are vulnerable and just want to fit in. How do I do this sobriety thing again? AA is what I’m supposed to be doing right? Anyone who isn’t is obviously still drinking.

    I wish I could say I had a major revelation and ran away screaming. Or that I spoke up and was asked not to return or something but the truth is that when I left it was super gradual. I took a trip to England this year and that trip was a personal test for me that I talked about in AA pretty openly (and positively – AA didn’t like this). After that trip I came home and just never got around to going back for many months. My summer social life took off and I travelled all over the place having the fun I didn’t have as a full time drunk. It was so much fun to go to parties again… to swim in the lake alongside my buddies with a Red Bull in my hand instead of a shot glass. I realised what I had been told about leaving AA was a load of crap. The liquor and beer might as well have been invisible to me for how much fun I know I had!!! I’m *really* okay now. You don’t learn this in ‘those rooms’ I’m afraid. They don’t encourage exercise, proper routines (hygiene, work/play balance, sleeping, etc) or nutrition – yet few things have been so empowering to me as losing 40lbs of alcohol weight and reclaiming my old figure in time for Halloween was!!! I feel great and my life is meaningful again – I wouldn’t trade that for a drink.

    AA always just gave me a weird vibe. It’s extremely cult like. I have since found out that one man there (who calls himself something completely different than the name I found with his picture) is a sex offender!!! Another has been to jail for aggravated sexual assault. I’m naturally pretty shocked…

    Anyone with doubts about AA should seriously do their homework. Ask questions, think critically, weigh out the pros/cons, your personal beliefs & convictions as well as your drive to remain abstinent from alcohol. The way I see it: I can trust myself to go to a bar and have a red bull with my buddies, so why should I be told I’m playing with fire? This may not work for everybody, I completely understand that a lot of recovering alcoholics cannot go near a bar, but I can deal with it and stay sober. If you think you can and you believe AA is becoming a waste of time then it probably is. There are so many programs out there that are far less insane!!!

    Good luck to those out there reading this and still suffering 🙂

    • HI
      thank you for posting your story. I Left AA after many years about 18 months ago. I welcome you to blogger world. I have made some really great new friends all over the US and the UK.

      I will write mote latter. Gotta get some dinner. 🙂 I have a leaving aa blog too. http://www.leavingaa.com

  30. Michaela Popovici- WOW… What a horror story. I was badly 13 stepped at 18 & 19. in 1975-76. DId you prosecute the rapist. Did he go to jail?

    These stories are finally coming out of the woodwork and That is why I created 2 blogs. First http://www.stop13stepinaa.wordpress.com

    Then I left AA after many many years (37) because if not only was not safe, but the members think they are special and above the law , like they are the mobsters of the 1930’s!. Hey ….thats when all the BS began with Bill Wilson himself. But I finally saw what AA really was and before 2009 I had no idea 3rd level sex offenders and violent criminals were being sent to AA/NA as part of plea bargains.

    I hope you write your thoughts on my leaving AA blog http://www.leavingaa.com under the thread there WHY I LEFT AA STORIES or even under the current story about the Murder of Karla Brada, which is so tragic.

    I also created a blog talk radio show called Safe Recovery to Expose AA and educate there are other choices. Like SMART RECOVERY * SOS AND MANY MORE.

    You can reach me at makeaasafer@gmail.com. I am making a Documentary Film about my story and ALL the BS I have been uncovering.

    Again…Im so sorry for what you went thru.

  31. I left AA in Saskatoon, Sask., at the age of twenty eight. I had attended meetings, since I was twenty, went to an abused women’s shelter twice, because of a man I met in AA, and other members. I had been raped, and abused, because of them. I no longer have anything to do with the people there, or with any other twelve step group, at all. It has been ten years since I left, and it was the best thing I could have done.

  32. Here is an interesting article from someone who left AA.

    AA: Addicted to addiction
    Alcoholics Anonymous works for some, but its emphasis on powerlessness left me feeling more depressed than when I started

    Ed Halliwell
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 28 April 2009 07.00 EDT

    This month marks 70 years since the bible of Alcoholics Anonymous – The Big Book – was first published. The AA movement boasts 2 million members worldwide – there are 3,400 meetings every week in the UK, freely available to people willing to admit that their drinking has got the better of them. The AA programme has also been adapted for a range of emotional problems, from drug abuse and co-dependency to eating disorders, sexual compulsions, gambling and workaholism.

    It sounds laudable, and in many ways it is. There’s no question that AA and its related fellowships have helped turn lives around, offering an alternative to people who have “hit bottom” thanks to their previous lifestyle choices. The patterns of behaviour that lead to self-destruction through drink, drugs or depression are powerful and persistent, and have to be challenged with robust new structures that promote healthier ways of being. A joke often heard in recovery circles: “I thought AA was brainwashing – until I realised my brain needed a good wash.”

    But 12-step groups aren’t quite the mind shampoo their champions claim. A recent Cochrane Library review found that Alcoholics Anonymous is no more effective for problem drinking than other interventions such as cognitive behavioural or motivational enhancement therapies, while some studies have indicated that it may have no effect, or even be more harmful than no treatment at all. And while meetings are often packed with vociferous true believers telling their tales of survival against the odds, these are a self-selecting sample – a vanishingly small percentage of attendees stick around for very long (around 5% after 12 months). Twelve-step orthodoxy has it that the rest are either “out there” (in active addiction) or dead, but statistics suggest most people who recover do so by themselves, without the help of a support group.

    I used to go to 12-step meetings, at first enthusiastically, and then more and more sporadically and with increasing reservations. At first I appreciated their ubiquity (a meeting was never more than a few hours or miles away), and the pleasing novelty of a community that spoke openly about emotions. But as time wore on, I saw aspects that seemed to inhibit recovery, in myself and in others.

    Unlike many commenting on a previous AA-related thread, I have no difficulty with the idea of a spiritual approach to personal development. However, the 12-step language seemed to be infected with the kind of punishing, dualistic Christianity that had put me off as a child, emphasising the weaknesses of humanity as contrasted with the greatness of God. The literature speaks of being “powerless”, “turning our will over to the care of God”, “wrongs” and “defects of character”, and this constant emphasis on failings and deficiencies seemed to drag me down further, rather than re-building much-needed confidence.

    Members are encouraged to share their “experience, strength, and hope” at meetings, but these often turned into a festival of moaning. With a few exceptions, sobriety did not seem to have brought happiness. I stopped attending entirely when I finally admitted to myself that the gloomy ambience made me feel more not less depressed – hardly surprising given what we now know about emotions being contagious. The less I went, the happier I became.

    I also began to question the 12-step model of addiction as incurable disease. While biology certainly has a strong influence on our impulses, both the evidence and my own experience seemed to indicate we have a degree of choice about how we relate with our tendencies. The ritualistic repetition of the mantra “I am an addict” seemed for many to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, with their entire lives now structured around the fact that they no longer drank, took drugs, or engaged in compulsive eating or relationships (all of which they talked about endlessly). Perhaps useful at the beginning stage of recovery, the constant identification with addiction seem to keep some 12-steppers in thrall to their patterns, even as they try to escape from them.

    Too often, meetings were infused with a rigidity, repetition and joylessness that I contrasted unfavourably with the fun-loving, flexible and empowering ambience I began to discover in Buddhism. Though they are by no means perfect, I was relieved to find that Buddhist communities take basic goodness rather than original sin as a fundamental starting point, and consider identity to be fluid rather than fixed. I began attending 12-step groups for “co-dependency”, and was then persuaded – against my better judgment – to identify as an addict of various kinds. Having the strength to stand up for myself and stop going is, I think, one of the least co-dependent things I have ever done.

    • I really related to that article, thank you so much for posting. I just left 12-step a few months ago after 23 GD years. I think i’m in a withdrawal of sorts, which is hilarious. I have a little nostalgia for what had become almost my entire social and relating life and now there’s a huge vacuum I need to fill from ‘wasting’ so much time focusing on “my addictions” and people that were not inspiring me.

      • Hi Sandy! 23 years- WOW! You are going through some changes. That it what I hear from many, is that to some extent they missed some of their friends and the structure. Yet they realized they had to pretend to be who they were not, just to be accepted. When they left, they realized many who they thought were their friends were not. Hard pill to swallow for sure.

        There is life after AA!

      • Hi sandy- WOW 23 years is a long time to go and I bet you are going thru withdrawal of sorts. I planned my escape !LOL. I decreased my meetings over a six month period and I attended some SMART REcovery meetings to get a different perspective.

        Smart made me really see how nuts AA is. ANyway there is a group of us who left AA on the blog I created in Oct 2011. I left in May of 2011 and blogged on the ST site. I stayed in AA or was part of the :cult for 36 GD years. SO I do know what you are talking about. There are more of us on http://www.leavingaa.com

        ALso I started a blogtalkradio show to give my self a platform to speak out I was so mad about what was going on in AA and NA and being repressed in the media.

        Take care.:)

  33. Well I think I’ve finally had it (and this time I mean it). An AA friend called me and told me they were having a Labor Day barbecue over at an AA Clubhouse that I used to attend quite a bit (the Club had to recently move because they got thrown out of the last place they were in), and a lot of old friends might stop by. So I went by for a hot dog and soda.

    While I was there they said they were having an Alcathon in the next room. I went in to join the discussion, and wouldn’t you know it.. they immediately start talking about how AA is a “Spiritual Program” for a “Spiritual Problem” and that’s why we all really come to AA. I raised my hand and said, “Well, I really came here because I drank too much too often, and it was causing me a lot of problems. When I tried to control my drinking I found out I couldn’t and friends recommended that I go to some AA meetings. I did not come here to find God or to find spirituality. I found that if I practiced abstinence, things got better naturally and my natural spirituality returned”.

    Immediately the comments came that alcohol is but a symptom of our thinking, that we are ‘liars, thieves, and cheats’, and that the ‘only’ solution is a spiritual solution. A young lady then said that we come to AA because we are a bunch of ‘fuck ups’ and that is why she came, not because of her drinking and drugging. At that point I walked out of the Alcathon and went out to the barbecue, I told some people out there that it was getting ‘too spiritual’ in there, that I feel that this Club is turning into some Fundamentalist religion.

    Needless to say, all I could think about is what I have been reading on ST, and in the SMART literature, and Trimpey’s stuff. I thought maybe I could socially visit with some of my AA friends from time to time, but I don’t think I can stomach the Fundie BS that I hear at these meetings… even for a few minutes. It’s time to deprogram.

  34. I haven’t been to a meeting in over 5 years. Prior to this, I had frequented 12-15 years (last 3 off/on after reading Orange). I never for the life of me thought that there could be ANY reason in the universe barring me from the rooms. After all, 12 Steps is pseudo-Christianity, isn’t it? Just $5 a week in the basket, as opposed to 10% gross income tithing, was a bargain. And I didn’t have to follow any crucifix. You get what you pay for.

    I was part-time Group Rep, coffee maker, home group vol, and extensive speaker circuit maker.

    After 5 years there is NO desire to go. None. Zilch. Nada. At first I was a bit nervous. Feared jail, institutions and/or death. My wife had been drinking alcoholically and at that time I was going down the road to ruins, to include military operative restraining orders 2X (for MY protection) and other multiple issues.

    I am 20 years “sober” today. Never had real issues with alcohol to begin with. Yet AA told me there was a chair with my name on it and that there are NO accidents. I came in through the back door, via ACOA.

    My marriage hasn’t been better. We go to Church (albeit not regularly today). Kid gets straight A’s in school.

  35. Hi,

    Yes I have a long story. I would like to tell it here. I left because I saw that after 35 years attending AA and being abstinent that long that they were crazy.

    I saw it as a cult. I could no longer listen to the lies in Chapter 5, the preamble and the 12 traditions. I think sitting in the rooms repeating the same crap is harmful.

    That 3rd level sex offenders are being sent there.

    That DUI’s are being sent their against their free will.

    That AA members are giving people medical advice about medication.

    That AA is an antiquated program from the 1930’s that has never been updated.

    That AA in NY and its structure is sick and broken to it’s core.

    That AA is in bed with the courts, the rehabs and lawyers and people who run drug court classes. Its Illegal and they need to be exposed.

    I tried to make it safer from sexual AA oldtimers predators and ….well frankly…they like it that way. More are sick then well in AA.

    It will be sued eventually and AA will lose. AA needs to shrink and be very small like it was in the 1950’s.

    All media needs to tell the truth about AA and its sexual predation problem.

    http://www.leavingaa.com and http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery tells more.

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