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Non 12 Step News For March 9, 2014


One of the first things we recognized when we began this practice was that most clients needed some degree of “deprogramming” from all of the pervasive AA/12 Step mythology.

We were getting calls from people who were finding it more difficult to give up AA than they’d had ending their alcohol abuse. And, again, the mythology was the problem.

So! A fast review of the actual research and experience seems in order once again.

First, and most important, you are not “powerless.” Far from it. It’s a great excuse to keep on drinking, but it’s obviously not true – if it were then no one would ever stop, but since most people do… well, you get the picture, we’re sure.

Second, it’s not a disease. It can be a response to dis-ease, as in anxiety, loneliness, boredom, malnutrition, and so on, but it’s still a choice. Yes, it goes well with “powerlessness” for people who want to keep on drinking and not take responsibility for their choice, but even that’s still a choice.

Third, that you need to go to 30, 60, or 90 days of “rehab” to fix “the problem.” Since rehab in the U.S. and Canada is pretty much just paying a lot of money to attend AA meetings, and since AA has an efficacy rate of less than 5%, how do you think that’s going to work out?

Additionally, you could just stay home and get the same benefit for free by trying a few meetings. If that was actually going to work for you, you’d know soon enough.

Fourth, you need to be “in recovery” for the rest of your life. This isn’t even remotely true but, again, it’s a choice you can make. It’s a great way to get the same benefits you get from drinking while pretending you’re doing something positive.

But we suggest that it’s far more beneficial to get a life. (Continued below…)

Debunking the 12 Step Mythology (continued)

Another common belief is that “alcoholism” is an incurable and progressive disease. And again, while the degree of alcohol abuse in some individuals may increase over time, it is far more common for it to remain stable or recede – consider the many people who experience a temporary increase in their alcohol use following tragic events, divorces, job loss, and traumas of all sorts. This “progression” usually ends within a year or so, often ebbing back to normal use as shown by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse study of 2003.

Reality? Spontaneous remission is far more common than “progression.”

Finally there is the biggest myth of all – “AA works!”

Really? A cult with an efficacy rate of under 5% “works?”

Yes, there are people who find sobriety through AA. But again, the research, mainly conducted at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota between 1990 and 2000, showed that it is fairly easy to predict those for whom it is a possible option.

So, who benefits? People whose emotional development was arrested before puberty. Those who remain frozen at 10-12 years of age and the predators who prey on them.

Not interested in joining that club? We don’t blame you. So why not step up to being the true adult you are and make some new choices? Ones that let you leave alcohol abuse – and AA mythology – in the dust where they belong?

By |2016-11-14T06:14:09+00:00March 9th, 2014|Newsletters|17 Comments


  1. Larry Headley June 13, 2017 at 10:11 am

    AA is a disempowering cult. It’s not for those that rely on reason, facts, science, education and truth. Run from AA. Your sanity and life belong to you. Cherish it and please don’t give it away.????

  2. Dennis August 3, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I can’t get AA out of my head and am going crazy. Need help please.

  3. Debbie August 7, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Alcohol and drug addiction are tough and we should encourage ANYTHING that works!

  4. ellen September 21, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks larry, and especially dennis. You aren’t crazy-you have been brainwashed. I know. I have been too. Give yourself time and don’t freak out. Movies at meeting time help. And reading. Study a language. Take an art class. Feed your mind with new experiences. I wish you the best. Good luck.

  5. junde September 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I will run paragraphs or sentences from big book in my head out of nowhere at random. Aa has ruined my mind. Hope in time it will fade. All my aa friends are truly “Fairweather friends” bashful and make rumors if you decide not to go to meetings. My sponsor was narcissistic. His suggestion was work the steps or die.

  6. JACK OPONE October 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm


  7. ellen October 7, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    There is a LOT of great supportive stuff online…not sure of sites but try:
    Orange-papers.info and keep looking til u find it. Masive amt of well-researched and fascinating info.
    You tube look for blamethenile or blamedenial not sure which.
    Plus 2 different guys named jason.
    Plus a video about the disease doing pushups.
    I have been reading tons and taking notes and it still takes up less of my time than mtgs. And it’s so much more interesting.
    Plus I feel so much better.

    A few quotes I especially like but not sure who they come from. Most likely the orange papers author or someone he quoted. I especially like the section entitled Berkley Revive in contents for overview of cult characteristics. And the ton of stuff on Bill W was a real eye-opener for me.

    Some authors include Lifton, Schein, Hassan, Zimbardo, Anderson, Singer.

    “The AA environment is a recreation of the addictive family system. The “bad” presented in an AA meeting is the same “bad” taught children in an addictive family system. One’s awareness, emotions and thinking are presented as symptoms of a disease.”

    “…generally requires an act of great courage to do so [leave]. Such courage is not too dissimilar to the courage required to resist the pressures of thought reform.”

    “Papa Doc commented, “Dees Voodoo program eez spiritual, not reeleegious, mon. Eef eet were reeleegious, mon, den I couldn’t get all of dat Medicare and health eensurance money, mon.”

    “Then somebody said, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always been doing, you’re gonna get what you’ve always been getting. To expect anything different is insane.
    So I quit AA.”

    “AA. traditions state that A.A. will not engage in any “outside controversy,” so A.A. uses front organizations like ASAM — the American Society of Addiction Medicine, NCADD — the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and NAADAC — the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, to engage in public controversy for it. ”

    “Phobia indoctrination is the programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group, or even questioning the leadership’s authority. Recruits are manipulated to the extent that they cannot visualize a positive and successful future without being in the group. They are taught that horrific consequences will ensue if they are to leave (i.e., “hell,” “demon possession,” accidents, suicide, and/or insanity, etc.). Often, former cult members are so confused upon leaving that the group’s predictions become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many former cult members have killed themselves because that was exactly what the group said they would do. Those who leave are often shunned and rejected by the group. From the group perspective, there is never a legitimate reason to leave. Those who leave are perceived as “weak,” “undiscipled,” “unspiritual,” “worldly,” “brainwashed by family, friends, counselors”, and/or seduced by the world of drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll.

    And my new step 1…

    “To be psychologically healthy, we have to believe that what we do has some effect on what happens to us. Even if the perception of control is delusional, it usually leads to more productive action than believing that what we do makes no difference.”
    Albert J. Bernstein, Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry

    Check out those sites and more if u haven’t already. Well worth the effort. Look under “aa deprogramming” too. And there is stuff about how when u leave all the brainwashing and programming will leave gradually without the constant reinforcement through ritual and repetition

    Go well.

  8. ellen October 7, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    PS. Since u have chunks of that horrible and inaccurate and self-contradictory and outdated and shaming awful awful book floating around in your head, I suggest you definitely READ competing information. It might help to quiet and undermine all that nonsense that you (we) have absorbed through all that repeated reading. Not just the content of the book but how it came into existance.
    Also, your mind is not ruined, it’s just rusty since you have not been allowed to use it. I’d say use it or lose, it but I’m not really about speaking in slogans these days!

  9. ellen October 8, 2017 at 2:03 am

    PPS Also see Peele, and Ragge and More Revealed

  10. Blackman January 8, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Absolutley Fear tactics identical to the right wing Republican party.
    If you decide to stay think opposite-Be a free thinker!! Do not reveal yourself a form of cultism. Share strictly program. If you leave my suggestion avoid people places things associated to the 12 step fellowship. B M #30yr

  11. Blackman Williams January 8, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Absolutley Fear tactics I dentical to the right wing Republican party.
    If you decide to stay think opposite-Be a free thinker!! Do not reveal yourself a form of cultism. Share strictly program. If you leave my suggestion avoid people places things associated to the 12 step fellowship. B M #30yr

  12. Installment January 24, 2018 at 11:27 am

    The “We” concept of AA warriors who then threw me in front of a bus…then became “I” when I replase. AA IS NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF SICKO’S.

  13. Andrew August 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks for all the comments. This was what I needed to hear. I feel after 8 months I am losing my identity and decision making power. The area already shunning and I did a table last month and was praying for help to find a story my defeats the amends I needed to make to be thankful to aa. Well I can’t. I’m not a bad person. My only amends is family and they supported me more than aa. It made me worse. Armchair psychology from the 1930s preached by old timers of 30 and 40 years in aa is an extremely dangerous think in a world as is today. I will say no more. I now need to rebuild my confidence in me and my choices. And I intend to break this so called anonymous thing at press level. I’m from Northern Ireland so I have 2 government voices. In any other walk of life such bad practice, dangers and threats to physical and mental health would not be tolerated but this mythical self righteous organisation goes on without regulation authority research or investigation or at a basic paying tax on income. ….. the international net worth of aa scares me and it’s control of the mental health sector both sides of the Atlantic without factual proven results is literally killing good people. And I can point fiinger quite happily at individuals who through medical and psychological advice are sending people to suicide. How is switch off some of their brainwashing I don’t know but I do plan to use my god-given free will talents and innate brains to counteract these bad bad people. Sorry about the rant. I am so angry as the things they play on are the things that fuel alcohol in so many people and then they pounce when you are at your weakest. It’s appalling

  14. Here I tried to go to an AA meeting without their knowledge to another one but it’s the same thing all over everywhere it’s all brainwashing how do I on brainwash myself August 9, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I have been programmed thinking if I ever alcohol anonymous but I will die and I can’t stop thinking that all I keep thinking is I need to go to meeting I need to go to meeting but here are you doing this colt not wanting to join a cult giving up all my friends and family being told that they’re part of my toxic bad past and I must forget them my new family is in the meetings they love me and only day and all this God they talk about I started going to church and I got yelled that and told church is bad stop going it does not help That’s the only guy that I know that is God is going to church going to this house and your bread and your little thing of wine but in their mind that is the wrong god oh I forgot my sponsors are my God awls I ever got from my sponsors was a lot of mean verbally abuse and they tried sexual abuse on me and here I am just a newcomer I’ve only been going to AA for year and a half and I’m trying to get out of it And away from them Here I tried to go to an AA meeting without their knowledge to another one but it’s the same thing all over everywhere it’s all brainwashing how do I on brainwash myself

  15. Donna August 9, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I’ve been going to AA from most two years now I am so brainwashed that I need to go to these meetings I’ve been told to forget about my family and friends from my past because my past was toxic and bad and here are my only friends and family are the ones in the meeting they love me not my family or friends well we learned all about God and we talk all about God so I start going to church on Easter and I still been going once they found out I was going to church they started yelling at me my sponsors to stop going to church that it doesn’t help me it’s no good go to more meetings well I guess I thought of the wrong God I forgot my sponsors are my God here I refuse to start going to church that they came to church and grab me and yelled at me I have broke away from them I think I know they still drive around saying everything I’m trying to do I thought maybe it was just Bad sponsors but here it’s an all the meetings they brainwash you it’s like a cop thing you get barely verbally yelled that and abuse so bad they be little you so bad they want money and sex from a newcomer that’s all they want but I was I keep thinking is I have to go to a meeting no I don’t but I’m going to die no you’re not this is what I keep telling myself how do I get these thoughts out of my head please help

  16. Icy August 10, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    I’ve been in AA for two years why mine is absolutely confused they told me if I love AA I would die and all this God talking I thought it was going to the house of God and having wine and bread now they told me now God is who you wanted to be sure they wanted to be and they are my sponsors they told me how to live what to do they drilled in my head I was such a bad person my past life was toxic I/O no apologies to no one It was all my friends and family’s fault for my toxic life I’ve been brainwashed so badly do you programming has been very hard but it’s coming I never learned the serenity prayer because it sounds like a check to m it was all my friends and family‘s fault for my toxic life I’ve been brainwashed so badly deep programming has been very hard but it’s coming I never learn the serenity prayer because it sounds like a chant Almost like devil worshiping And the sponsors have not quit drinking and claim all these years of Sebright he under their belt when they really don’t have it they live in the big book was nothing but a brainwashing utensils for all of these sponsor. And the sponsors have not quit drinking and claim all these years of Sebright he under their belt when they really don’t have it they live in the big book was nothing but a brainwashing utensils for all of these sponsor

  17. Gods Child September 16, 2018 at 11:21 am

    We are the lucky ones, we got out of the cult. Know God of Abraham avenges. I was angry a long time but realized they are sick. Real AA no longer exists. We are forever free from their daily anguish of bondage.

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