Dr. Barnes and Dr. Wilson personally answer the phones from 8:00AM until 5:00PM (PST) everyday.
In U.S. & Canada: 888-541-6350
In Southern California, Nationally, or Internationally, call:

“No, Judge, No AA.”

That’s right – judges may no longer legally send you, or anyone else, to AA. Unhappily, a lot of judges, along with lawyers, haven’t gotten the message, or even more commonly, judges continue to order people to AA unless you object.

Please note, all of these courts have ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous is a religion or engages in religious activities:

  • the Federal 7th Circuit Court in Wisconsin, 1984;
  • the Federal District Court for Southern New York, 1994;
  • the New York Court of Appeals, 1996;
  • the New York State Supreme Court, 1996;
  • the U.S. Supreme Court, 1997;
  • the Tennessee State Supreme Court;
  • the Federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, 1996;
  • the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit;
  • the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh District, 1996;
  • the Federal Appeals Court in Chicago, 1996;
  • the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, September 7, 2007.

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear challenges to those rulings, or to change or over-turn those lower court decisions. By letting them stand, the Supreme Court has made them the law of the land.

There is no greater abuse of individuals by the courts these days than the continued orders to attend AA, AA /12 Step based treatment, or other coercive mandates to equally ineffective, and frequently counter-productive, forms of so-called treatment.

“No, Judge. No AA!”

Yes, you and your attorney may have to be emphatic – NO AA! You may have to offer alternatives to AA, and you may have to dig a little to find them, but we do exist.

What constitutes an AA alternative? Counseling and/or treatment based on research regarding what actually works including:

  • CBT;
  • Motivational Interviewing;
  • Naltrexone;
  • Fitness;
  • Couples Counseling;
  • Adult Development;
  • Assertiveness Training

Remember too, it’s not just judges who sentence people to AA but also the licensing and certification boards that send “impaired professionals” to AA and 12 Step based treatment – a practice so fraught with graft and corruption that many states have eliminated the programs altogether.

Again – you cannot legally be required to join the AA cult!

Why do these abuses of power continue to appear?

Certainly ignorance of the law contributes, though judges are supposed to know what they can and can’t do. More often it’s the assumption that defendants and their lawyers won’t know their rights or will be too overwhelmed to object. Too often this assumption proves to be right and another poor sucker gets sent off.

But that doesn’t have to be you! You can “just say no” to AA and to the abusive and exploitive programs it has created – programs that actually prevent you from fixing your problems.

Worried about what lies ahead? Give us a call and discuss your particular situation and how we can help divert you away from AA and into a program that actually works at a fraction of the cost.

Don’t allow yourself to be punished repeatedly!

Just remember, “No, Judge. No AA!”

By |2010-07-21T17:25:27+00:00July 21st, 2010|Alcohol Treatment|7 Comments


  1. Shawn April 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Great Post! I have argued emphatically that AA can actually be harmful to someone trying to recover from alcohol addiction. Your program takes the right approach – and it works. I have personally tried them all… and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the only one that made sense. I also made changes to my diet, exercise, and nutritional plan that takes away the physical cravings – I have never felt better. There is real way to stop alcoholism and it does not involve AA or the 12 steps. Thanks for taking a stand!

  2. […] can also read more about avoiding courts illegally mandating AA participation in our article “No Judge, No AA” […]

  3. Carlos May 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    But most Treatment Facilities that are funded by public money continues to US AA type treatment as their dominant form of modality. I suggest that people in different parts of the United State contact their local ACLU and ask them to take on the public funding source of this facilities.

    AA effectiveness is based more on public relations than any science I know.

  4. Dr. Mary Ellen Barnes & Dr. Ed Wilson June 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    This is absolutely right but it is also an $18 billion a year industry and they will fight for it!

  5. About Rehabs May 17, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Great post – I have to admit that I wasn’t aware of this. Totally agree that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to rehab. While the 12-step approach is a popular option, it definitely isn’t the best answer for everyone and there are many other alternatives that need to be considered.

  6. Robin September 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    The Army forces soldiers into 12 Step programs. In fact it is the ONLY program that their insurance will pay for. Can anyone stop the Army from doing this? A soldier can’t sue the Army. A family member has no power.

  7. Counselorchick October 5, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Robin —

    This is horrible. Thank you for the information. I believe a judge can intervene between a soldier and the military. If not, find a lawyer who will work pro bono to force the soldier’s rights. No one should be forced into a cult religion … Which is precisely what the 12 steps are.

    Hang in there. Talk to a civil rights lawyer.

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