Hi All
Duaine M here;

In the past we have taken some posts and put them on a web page.

The thread -- Not for everyone-is the founder still sober?


Duaine M here;

For those of you who would like to respond to this e-mailer please go ahead and post your thoughts.

Those of you who don't want to or see it as a distraction please pass it up.

There should be room on this list for different kind of threads an I hope those of you who don't want to take part will keep on reading the rest of the threads and disregard this one.

To: SaveOurSelves@msn.com

Is Paul M, the founder, still sober?

sender wants to be Anonymous
Hi Anonymous
Duaine M here;

The founder of SOS is James Christopher. http://www.sossobriety.org/james%20christopher.htm

Yes he is very much Abstinent.

What Paul M are you referring to?

Jim Christopher (323) 666-4295
Save Our Selves (SOS)
4773 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027
E-mail: SOS@CFIWest.org Att: Jim Christopher
Hi Duaine & Jim
I think it is wonderful if you are helping people to stay sober---- or "clean". I just read the article at the link provided below. It is true that "addiction" is physical and that anyone can become addicted to drugs. Not everyone is an alcoholic though. I am, however, very disappointed that a few of AA's traditions have been broken via over a dozen times AA is mentioned in this one small article!! I respect that this is something you feel is "better", and
if it is working, that's great! But there is no need to mention AA at ALL in ANY of your articles or books or lectures or whatever else it is that "you" do----which is very clear on that ONE page that YOU have done a lot! (No ego there) All I could see was EGO everywhere on that page and the need to be different! But, like I said, if it
works for you, great! I don't respect your "movement" ONLY because of the need to compare to Alcoholics Anonymous, when it has saved many lives! Also to say that AA is religious, as decided by a court-----again, ego..........the need to feel important and rationalize.

I am appalled that you felt you needed to bring AA into PUBLIC CONTROVERSY and AT THE LEVEL OF PRESS, RADIO, and FILM--------we also DON'T HAVE OPINIONS ON OUTSIDE ISSUES!!!! It is obvious that individuals have opinions. You have no right to represent the entire AA fellowship in the manner that you have or at ALL! As I was reading this article the madder I got and the more of the sickness I could see oozing from that site. I don't have too many opinions anymore, but this really bothered me.

Some are sicker then others!!!
May God keep you and bless you until then! (or is it Jim now instead
of God?)

Good luck and I hope you all stay "abstinent".

Hi Anonymous;
Duaine M here:

I would like to post this to our SOS International E-Support List. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/sossaveourselves/

I will send you back the replies from the SOS members if you like.

Just one person like me or Jim posting back to you will no doubt not address all you questions or statements.
I think it's very interesting that those who are not members of AA are still, somehow, expected to keep with the AA traditions, in the view of the poster. So, because AA has a tradition of not being drawn "into PUBLIC
CONTROVERSY and AT THE LEVEL OF PRESS, RADIO, and FILM" then the rest of the
world is supposed to uphold the tradition by not discussing AA?
That's like me not being able to speak about a monk because the monk had taken a
vow of silence. That just doesn't make any sense.

Does this person not realize that we are NOT AA?

In my opinion, the comparison of SOS and AA made it possible for me to recognize it as an alternative. I think if AA had never been mentioned I would not have seen it that way. I think the fact that SOS is also recognized by many courts as an alternative makes such comparison necessary, too. SOS receives a lot of people who are on their way OUT with AA and so the comparisons are inevitable.

that's just me.
R Henry
I agree that since we are not members of AA we have no obligation, whatsoever, to respect the traditions of AA. They are not international law! They aren't law anywhere. People outside of AA have every right to discuss AA
anywhere and anytime they wish. And for any reason.

The last part of this post really gets me. "Is it Jim now instead of God?" As an atheist, I find that offensive. I have never seen anything in SOS that elevates Jim Christopher to a deity. Many, if not most of us, don't believe in
deities, anyway. The post is offensive.

I would feel really bad to go to an AA meeting and lay into them the way "Anonymous" lays into SOS.

When in Rome, etc..... Nobody forced "Anonymous to come here, and no one is asking him/her to stay. (Or not stay).


Rebecca G.
WE have ego problems??? Wow!!

Interesting - a very angry response. I'll comment on his (her?) desire for S.O.S. to stop mentioning AA.

It historically has been very difficult to have an addiction support group without comparison to AA. They are just too dominant in the field. Many people with only superficial knowledge of alcohol addiction still think AA
is the only way. Part of the mission of S.O.S. is to let people know that alternatives to AA do exist.

We try to do this in a lo-key way, but people often come to this board talking about concepts that are exclusively AA concepts (for example "inventory", "dry drunk" and "sponsor"). At that point, we really have no choice but to
inform the person that these concepts have no place in recovery groups outside of AA.


I really like the way you worded this email. It is a great rebuttal to the email below.

I believe in every individual's freedom to find whatever works for them. In the detox I went to, they had SMART, RR and the 12 step program. Unfortunately no SOS. I find SOS to be more freeing. I don't have to conform to anyone else's thoughts of who I should be.

One more thing, aren't people who call themselves Alcoholic, addicts ~addicted to alcohol???
actually one other thing ~freedom of speech. When one tries to control another's right to speak their mind, something is dreadfully wrong ..IMHO

Anonymous demands his group to have special privileges and be revered as it was traditionally accorded. But the playing field is leveling out. His groups special status is losing ground to other groups and programs that work. The email is personal attack.

I guess I have not been around long enough to understand why there seems to be such a rivalry between AA and other avenues of approach....what ever people get passionate about is all that matters....seems to me a very personal decision and people should do as they choose and be supported. I do like the upfront approach and
willingness to discuss topics on this site. I am interested in hearing from anyone from AA, this site, or anywhere else. I like the different points of view. Aren't we all trying to achieve the same goals?
Duaine M here;

My quick answer is "no" the people in aa and SOS do not have the same goals.

In SOS we encourage each person to come up with a plan of action that is just right for them and something they can refine and change over time.

In aa there is a Program to follow.

In SOS we don't tell someone what to do or not do but rather encourage them to start the process of thinking for themselves so they can move on with their life.

In aa there are Sponsors who get involved in every part to the members life.

In SOS it's us who get ourselves Abstinent and it's us who take responsibility for our choices.

In aa it's imposable for any member to do it them selves. They must call on the god of aa who will only grant them "one" day and if they don't repeat the rituals the next day he or she will surly fail.

SOS gives links to other support so our member can freely leave and find something better for them.

aa gives no links or information about other groups and pretends there are no other groups out there. They also tell their members they are the last house on the street and if they don't get this simple program they will die.

SOS members can leave any time they want because it's not SOS that keeps them abstinent it's them that's doing it.

aa members can never take credit the credit goes to aa or the god of aa and must stay in meetings for the rest of their lives.

SOS doesn't take credit the members do.

The people who have been harmed by aa Sponsors are never given a place to protest their treatment and no place to demand things get fixed so it wouldn't happen to the next person.

Sponsors have no training or accountability.

SOS does not use Sponsors because of the harm they can and would do.

aa has a god they name god or higher power or door knob --

SOS respects each members beliefs or non-beliefs believing we are all adults and can make up our own mind on such things.

Religion or Non-religion are distractions to our goal and our focus on...Abstinence..

Just like politics are distractions.

Yes we are different and we have different goals.

I've only touched on a couple of them.

And again I would keep this to myself if I could but when it's brought up I do respond.
Nice explanation....I still don't quite understand the tension between the two....but the whole thing is really not a primary issue for me....I just have merely notice a lot of discussion on the topic...my biggest concern would be that some people may benefit from AA or need AA....honestly if that's what makes them a better person I am cool with that......I also think it's possible someone could mix the two approaches....again as you stated it's all what works for the individual person

best regards.
Duaine M here:

Yes your right about some people here mixing the two.

If that's working for them than it's working and that's encouraged.

What the problem is the misrepresentation of xa and how to address it.

I try very hard to address the group xa with out attacking the person who is promoting or misrepresenting it.

The attack is on a group that is doing more harm that it is doing good and it's deliberate attempts to cover up the harm and pretend there is none.

The glossing over.. the hiding.. the pretending that no harm can come to someone going to xa.

There is a very real danger there for the uninformed, the unsuspecting, the ones who trust the xa propaganda.

What your seeing that you think is bickering is in fact our attempt to bring a balance to the fairy land presentation and the out and out lies of xa.

xa is a religion.

xa is dangerous if you push back your instincts and put all your trust in it.

xa has an extremely high suicide rate.

xa doesn't work for most who go there and a higher success rate is gotten from no support at all than going to xa.

xa Sponsors are an out and out disaster.

The list could grow and grow if I spent the time on it.

This group and it's members would be irresponsible if we let xa promote its distortions here.

It is what it is and it's not up to us to fix xa.

xa needs to address it.

We only respond to what's there.

With all that, an SOS member has far better than average chance of going into an xa meeting and coming out unharmed and getting some help.

So now armed with information go to xa and feel confident.

I don't want to hear from our members -- xa harmed me -- why didn't anyone tell me to be on guard?

Interesting I feel instinctively drawn to this approach and it's working surprisingly well......I am glad to here people's upfront opinions on things.... I love people who are genuine with their thoughts and feelings.....I have tried to be very real about where I am at....I get a lot value out of it....I want to figure it out on my own....I would probably struggle with that program under the circumstances that are being described.....I am very independently motivated....

I have always thought people have personal responsibility and accountability.....I just chose to do what I wanted because it started out as fun and I was good at it....
I go to NA and to SOS as well. The main reason is that there are not enough SOS meetings in my area to attend every day of the week. I am in early recovery...again.

I don't have the resources to attend a rehab at this point in time.

I am in an area I am not entirely familiar. I don't know where to score drugs.

That is a good thing. Eventually though, I will learn the lay of the land. So being surrounded by sober people is important at this point in time.

I really don't care if they are steppers or SOS or SMART or...

At some point in time I will cut back on the step meetings. I am also going to try to get more SOS meetings established in my new hometown.

So, regardless of how distasteful the god talk gets, that is something that I will have to endure for a bit. SOS does respect all paths to sobriety. That is really not the case with the 12 step options. Frankly combining the two is like
mixing oil with water.

As I get more time and start feeling better, getting more SOS around me is a goal to shoot for.

The one thing I disagree with Duaine about is whether S.O.S. members and AA members have the same goal. I think they do, the goal is sobriety.  This is why people go to AA, and this is why people come to S.O.S. But this is
where the similarities end.

The way I see it, AA creates a fantasy world, that members have no control over whether they drink or not, and that by "turning their will over to the higher power", the higher power allows them to stop drinking. The personal
decision making responsibility of the individual member is magically removed from the equation.

S.O.S. members approach the problem directly. S.O.S. members realize that they and they alone can make the decision to stop drinking, and to modify their lives, if this is necessary to reduce temptations.

The amazing thing about AA is that, even though it relies on fantasy (not reality), it is still endorsed by our government.

I also agree that the AA model does create situations where people can be prone to being exploited by bad actors.

Hi Rob
Duaine M here:

Rob I so disagree with you.

aa is not about stopping drinking alcohol.

Drinking is only addressed in one half of one step.

The rest of the 11 and 1/2 steps is set up to requite you into the religion of aa.

The religion that only draws from people who have had a problem with alcohol.

It's a focused religion.

SOS is about supporting people who want to stop drinking/drugging and want to change their lives.

SOS doesn't want any part in changing a persons religious beliefs or non-beliefs.

A big difference.
Nothing at all in common.  OK, I see where you are coming from now.

I don't have that much experience with AA, but I don't really see how individual people are enriching themselves by setting up the "cult" as you describe it.

Compare that to Scientology, and organized religions. These organizations take in vast sums of money and have accumulated a lot of political power in some cases.

AA does have political power, I agree. But the missing link for me is that I don't see how people are personally enriched by engaging in this conspiracy that you propose exists. Maybe some people have jobs at prisons running
these groups, but is that enough to keep the grand conspiracy growing? Is it so dirty old men can hit on young women, as has been implied here?

I guess what I am asking is that, if AA is a grand conspiracy, who is reaping the reward?

I'll have to disagree about AA's main purpose being sobriety.

Big Book; pg 76-77:

As we look over the list of business acquaintances and friends we have hurt, we may feel diffident about going to some of them on a spiritual basis. Let us be reassured. To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasize the spiritual feature on our first approach.

We might prejudice them. At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order.  But this is not an end in
itself. ***Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.***

AA evolved out of the religious sect, the Oxford Group. It is about religion first, sobriety a distant second.
Ray, I did not know the Big Book said this. I find that astounding and disappointing at the same time.

When I first stopped going to AA I was afraid to even tell my sponsor. I simply avoided him for several weeks until one day I finally decided I would rather speak to him one more time than to endure his phone calls asking where I was. I contacted him via email and I told him that I was still sober, and that I was still pursuing that but that I was feeling disgruntled with AA and so I was looking at my options.

He replied that he was not angry with me and that he would still like to be friends. He then asked me how it was that I was feeling disgruntled, I'm assuming so that he could help me feel better about my concerns.

Well, by then I had been reading up on AA from outside POV's and I relayed to him, basically, all of the same things you've mentioned here,

Duaine. I told him that I was unsure about AA because the chances of a newcomer being sober for 15 years was something like 1%. I told him that was not acceptable to me and that there HAS to be a better way. I then told him that if AA was working for someone then I thought that was just great but I don't think it's going to work for me, especially with all the doubt I have.

Anyway, he never even replied. I think the fact that I had been educating myself as to the effectiveness of AA really threw him off. Perhaps he was hoping that I would be in a more weakened state and that he would be able to
reply to me in such a way as to bring me back into the fold.

When I was in meetings there were times when I would mention other POV's that AA didn't work and it was never received very well.

Perhaps there's a certain type of knowledge they don't want you to have. I don't know.  I think there are some good people in AA who don't see things the way that many of us do. I think there are people who believe in it. I mean; those people have been mind-washed a bit and they believe all that they've been told over the time they've been there.

I don't blame the individuals for it. I know they are not all at fault, but I do think there is something askew within the program itself. I had no
desire to live that program for my whole life, the way I was being told I would have to. I wanted to live for other things.

R Henry
They believe AA is the only way. Even thinking that there might be some other way would destroy the magic that is keeping them sober; they truly believe they cannot do it on their own.

I hope everyone takes the time to read our newsletter. You can read articles by Jim Christopher our founder and Duaine not heard to find, and catch up on what we care about.
What's the big deal with aa, and why do we absolutely don't recommend there approach, read, do your research. It should be obvious but some have to look in to the complaints and harm this group has caused. The lasting
repercussions on the guilt and failures you are subject to is cruel and inhumane. Many people can identify this perhaps their self esteems and strength are still in tacked. But many in a venerable state both physical ( from being under the influence of a controlled substance ) to mental state of mind, hating yourself, could care #&*! about yourself, no future goals. Lost there family support, your nothing. And you find yourself at aa a place where they will open there gates for the perfect sap that can't even make up their minds where to pee.

I was lied so many times, "We are not a religious group" " Oh we just say these prayers together because it's just calms everyone down", " you don't have to follow all the steps " to...

"If you don't recognize God your a failure as a drunk and as a human being, except God in your heart or there's really no hope for you here" " You well always be a drunk until you let only us and God save you"

Only a power greater then ourselves can restore our sanity ?
Turn our will over ?
God repair our defects ?

Who's dysfunctional here ?. Where the support to stand up yourself, where is the o.k we have had problems but now it's time for you to do some work.
Where is the accountability.

Where is the free thought support ? Where is there a step to explore new ideas ?
Where are the facts the science, the common sense ? Why restrict yourself to one way ? Why is there only one true way ? Where is the individuality ? Where the you that comes first ?

I don't want to be controlled by a fictitious character or fanatics to be sober.
If there's to be anyone controlling going on. it will be me with out approval from anyone but me.

These are my feelings. And because of them I choose here for my information my support. I don't have to read my posts from here and here about aa, I want to just here from SOS, hence the different sites.
If you like aa fine talk about them somewhere else they cause a traffic jam here. If you like s&m fine don't point out the good points I don't want to hear about them here.

I who rather talk about how was day at being or staying sober, are you doing o.k ? What makes you strong ?, What advice or professional can we turn you to as long as it turns you away from using. We care we share.

Characteristics of Children of Alcoholics
Drug Approved to Curb Alcoholics

Julie: )

Thanks Jill,

Haven't been to AA so am not quite aware of the issues surrounding it. Thanks for your point of view on it. I guess that would sort of explain the tension I was wondering about.


Good point about the lies. They should not be saying they are not religious.
Call a spade a spade.

I agree Duaine.

aa is all about a religious conversion. If someone is there to just quit drinking and doesn't care about their religion, they are labeled a "dry drunk".

"Dry drunk" is an imaginary disease created by aa.

True, that there is no such thing as a "dry drunk." But do AA members believe their program is the best way right their lives and to stay sober in the long-term (whether or not they are right), or is AA really just a religious cult that survives by luring addicts? I tend to believe it is the former, but I may be in the minority here on that one.

Hi Rob,

Yes, I believe that most aa members believe their program is the best and only way to right their lives. And I believe that aa is a religious cult that does lure unsuspecting people who have no idea of what they are getting
involved in.

I have heard that 60% of aa attendees are court ordered.

A frog placed in a pot of cold water that is placed on a stove burner will boil the frog to death before the frog will know it is slowly being killed.

The aa cult creeps up slowly on a person and surrounds its victims before they even know it. Most aa members do not believe they are in a cult.

Ray pointed out that the Big Book itself says that the main purpose of AA is not sobriety. Hard to argue otherwise after knowing that.

I stopped in tonight after being gone from the board for two days due to illness. When I've read through the posts about aa and SOS, I was surprised at all the misconceptions and non-truths.

Anyone who would read the text of aa would see that it definitely IS about stopping drinking and makes that perfectly clear in nearly 600 pages. If someone hasn't yet read it for themselves, then they shouldn't agree with what is being stated. Not just with aa, but with ANYTHING.

Had I listened to the rumors on Buddhism, Jainism, Zen, and many more of the world's religions, even studying atheism and agnostic societies ....I would have never studied anything about them to learn more. The concept is called contempt prior to investigation....or being shallow minded.

I didn't come in here to RAVE about aa, but I didn't' come here to hear a ton of lies about it either...and so far after spending 7 years in aa, that is what I have heard here.

I came here to learn, but if what you have to teach me is to lie about another organization that is trying to help others as much as your organization is, then I need to rethink what I planned to get out of coming here, which I thought was support and to see some ideas about how you all stayed clean and sober...not bashing aa.

I have tried to respect this board and it's members, and I do - NOR did I come here to try to convert anyone to ANYTHING, but what I don't respect is the lies and pushed misconceptions - at another organization - when time could be better spend talking about what keeps us sober and clean - and that's what I've been trying to do.

This has not left me with a very positive opinion of SOS for those who might come to me asking for an alternate form of recovery....but at least what I can tell them of SOS is something I have downloaded and printed for their own reading and is not something that I have falsified.

I wish you all well.
Hi Stephanie,

Not sure we are seeing the same things. I haven't been active in the discussions, but have read most all posts.

What lies, misconceptions and non truths? Personally, I find the people in SOS the least shallow of all. They can and do think for themselves with a very open mind. They refuse to be bullied or a part of a group that, for the most part, is harmful to the nth degree such as AA.

Please explain, thanks!

I think Stephanie is referring to the debate about whether the main purpose of AA is to help its members achieve lasting sobriety. Ray pointed out a part of the Big Book that contradicts this. I went back and read the part, as
well as some other parts of the Big Book.

As far as I can see, most of the Big Book is focused on maintaining sobriety.

However, it does also say that "Service to God" is the main purpose of the steps.

For what it is worth, I did spend some time on the AA message board a few years ago, and they were very focused on the "steps" in the context of staying sober.

Also, the few meetings I went to were focused on maintaining sobriety by following the steps.

I met a lot of very nice people during my time in AA. I believe they are there and I think there are plenty of them that are focused on sobriety. I think there are also a lot of people there that are afraid not to go.

Assuming that these ideas about AA are true. That would mean that there are some who are there who are actively DOING the things they have been accused of but there would also be those who are there who this is being done

I think there are a lot of AA people who are great people who truly believe they have found something that works for them. Many of them may be very religious, or not, but those who are religious would not have any problem
with that aspect, now would they?

Those in SOS who dislike AA because of the religious nature, obviously don't belong there. Those who are seeking something of that nature DO belong there.

That doesn't discount the experiences of those who are here who have negative ideas of AA. They are speaking from their own experience; not hear say. I think that everyone here has a valid POV which is the big difference between SOS and AA.

Ray Henry
The (very big) problem is that the BB and 12x12 (both of which I read many times in my years in AA) contain no real-world information about stopping drinking or maintaining sobriety, only the non sequester assertion of the necessity of conversion to and lifelong practice of Oxford Group-ism as the only solution (dodges like "suggested" not withstanding), with failure to do so quarantined to result in death (unless you're "not a real alcoholic" who "doesn't need it"; or maybe you "need to go do some more research" in order to be "beaten into a state of reasonableness"). The only semblance of practical advice is the passage about eating sweets, which I heard frequently repeated (there being no other practical advice in the BB).

It is hardly surprising that AA is factually proven to be worse than useless - it is self-evident that this would be the case - and there is no legitimate reason for anyone to hesitate to say so. It is a vile organization which exploits and victimizes desperate people for the purpose of religious recruiting, which evades all scrutiny and accountability, which causes widespread real harm to individuals, and which has achieved actual subversion of our societal institutions (and I seen and experienced its abuses firsthand). These are plain facts. I have no respect at all for AA and its lies.

No one here is lying there is research, personal experiences, direct quotes from the book itself. Your concept of lying is selective to your Christian, and or aa believes and explains where your coming from, "telling you to lie ?''

Where was that ever said or implied ?

Facts seem not to enlighten you about aa and it's main purpose to convert then to try to shame yourself into sobriety. It's manipulative pressure to obtain soul first and your addiction second can't be seen by you, and that's
your choice. Constantly defending aa here is yes a waste of your time and ours. You keep the argument going every time you write I have grown tired of your lack of just plain common sense. I hope you retain your sobriety.

You come here to learn you said, but you don't like what your learning, that seems evident, I am sorry. We can't agree with what has been proven to be a unethical and two-faced organized religious domination group.

I hope you can open yourself up to all the truths, just because aa is a religious based group does not mean truths are always said, or God is present so only your best interests are considered or miracles can be made. They
are not the end all, as we are not. The big difference here is we don't fall prey on your weakness nor your spiritual believes.

Julie : )
Knowledge and History are the enemies of religion.

I've read the entire BB and 12X12 two times each, plus having studied them both with sponsors, and I can see where people get the ideas they have about it. It's all in your interpretation of the message. These people have
every right to say what they've said and I don't think there is anyone here who is making any claim about AA that they haven't experienced themselves. I don't think that there is anyone here making claims about the BB or 12X12
that they haven't read for themselves, either.

AA varied from place to place, also. Different people have different experiences. I've been told on more than one occasion to "shut up and listen to those who have EXPERIENCE and who have RECOVERED" by people who
call themselves "AA purists" and "die hard old timers." These are the same people who constantly gripe about the way AA is today. Apparently things are much different than they ought to be, in the eyes of some.

I would wonder why you are even here if you are so happy with AA. I'll bet if you talked about SOS in a meeting it wouldn't be well received at all.

Ray Henry


I was with AA/NA for over 10 years (twice, for a total of 25 years). Each time, I was able to build up some clean time (12 years the first time, 13 years the second) but I never felt accepted or a part of the group because my beliefs were too different from the majority. I have a real problem with a father god because my own experiences with a father figure are too negative and many people present the father god as judgmental (one of the songs which I heard in a church that one of my sponsors brought me to was What if God doesn't accept the praises I sing? If I am going to accept a god/goddess, it is a loving one who loves me unconditionally just as a good earthly parent does. This is the same reason, that I always refused to join the circle when the Our Father was said. For my beliefs and opinions, even though I was sober, I was kicked out of a home group.

I went to AA/NA thinking I would form friendships and be able to go to sober functions which never happened either. I too have read the BB more than five times and have studied the 12 and 12 in group and with a sponsor. I have some problems with the steps that want me to give up control ("I am powerless over alcohol" "I turn my life and will over to a higher power.") I have been powerless too much of my life and now am reclaiming that power and I will not relinquish it to anyone or anything. I don't knock people who find what they need in AA/NA, it's just not for me and I just wish they would be more honest about admitting that they are a Christian cult which grew out of the Oxford Movement (a historical fact which Bill W writes about).

I also question their success rate and have seen no true study which substantiates it. The things that I've read claim a 90% or higher success rate and from working in treatment centers and talking to other counselors, I find this very hard to believe. If it works for you, great! I wish you continuing success. This site is a place for people to talk about their feelings and that includes bad experiences for some of us with AA/NA.



I, too, questioned their success rate to my sponsor and was answered with silence. I think there are certain questions that you can ask that will cause you to be automatically written off as "constitutionally incapable."

In fact, I think this is the only thing even resembling an explanation for such an abysmal success rate that I have heard; that you didn't thoroughly follow the path and that you must have been one of those that they speak of.

Ray Henry
I think after reading parts of the Big Book, and reading about people's long-term experience with AA, my opinion is that the purpose of AA is to achieve long term sobriety by following the AA religion. Both are necessary to be part
of AA.

Rumors? Lies? I posted a quote from the Big Book that states the purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to be a greater service to God. (page 77 of the BB)

Not so long ago some posted the question "Why do people bash AA?" on Yahoo Answers, I responded:

What you consider bashing is probably just people like me telling the truth about AA.

Only 5% of newcomers stay in AA for one year, the other 95% leave; that from AA's own Triennial Survey. Out of that 95%, at least some found the program harmful, I know I certain did.

I bounced in and out of the rooms for almost twenty years, never putting together more than a few months of sobriety. AA programmed me to fail. I'm an atheist and found it impossible to do the steps. People told me that even an atheist could manage it, but that's plain bs. I went through all sorts of mental gymnastics in those years and
it just cannot be done. AA members don't want you to anyway, they want you to convert. Just read "We Agnostics" or the "12 & 12"...religious tripe. They can claim "spiritual, not religious" as much as they want, ever higher court that has heard the arguments have ultimately decided that AA is at least "religious in nature".

During my brief stints in the rooms, I picked up all sorts of damaging beliefs, powerlessness, that I had a disease, and that I couldn't make it without AA. Over 5 years ago, I took responsibility for my addiction and my recovery, and I'm still sober today.

And I'm not the only one. There are at least a dozen AA "bashing" groups on Yahoo alone, helping people heal from the abuses they found in the rooms.

I've been working with people who have substance abuse and mental health issues, almost every one of them has their own "twelve step horror stories". (BTW, did you know there's a book with that title?
It can be read online at:
http://www.morerevealed.com/library.jsp )

Many of these people fell victim to the anti-medication, anti-therapy faction of AA who, despite literature to the contrary, tell people they must give up all medication or else they aren't truly sober.

Have you ever looked at the studies done? How about the Brandsma study that showed that people who were exposed to AA were 4-5 times as likely to engage in binge drinking than those who attempted quitting on their own. Or the various studies that show AA's 5% success rate is the same as the 5% success rate achieved by people
quitting on the own? Or the Harvard study that showed that most people more people get sober with no treatment that through AA?

But my all time favorite study was run by George Valliant, Harvard researcher and member of the AA Board of Trustees, in attempting to prove that AA worked, he came up with this conclusion:
"Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."

But he didn't let a little thing like facts stand in his way, he still promotes AA.

For those who want to read more about these studies and AA's efficiency, go to:

Some people do credit AA for their sobriety, mainly because that's were they were when they made to decision to stop, but that's like something always being in the last place you look....you stop looking.

A comparison was done of 48 different methods of recovery, AA placed 38th in effectiveness:

Why should AA be immune to valid criticism? Where are the studies, the facts and figures that prove AA works? All you have are the testimonials of people who claim AA worked for them, what about the testimonials of those who say it didn't and those who say it harmed them?


I FULLY investigated AA, that's why I have so much contempt for it.

Hi Rob,

The narcistic ego driven old-timers feed their egos.

And the recovery "industry" reaps the financial rewards by collecting the insurance benefits of the people who go in and out of the system.( treatment centers).

Hi Michael,

No doubt a lot of money is made off of addicts. I thought the for-profit recovery centers were alternatives to AA. Why would you pay for AA when you can get it for free (or close ot it?)

But I don't know much about the recovery industry and AA.

Hi Rob,

In my experience:

Most for-profit recovery centers feed their patients right into the hands of aa.
They require their patients to attend aa meetings.
Most counselors in treatment centers are aa old-timers.
Most treatment centers do not offer any alternatives to aa. (such as SOS or SMART Recovery).

Hi Rob,

Patients pay for aa by using their insurance benefits for the most part.
A lot of patients are relapsing patients who are just wanting to take some more time off of work and go to the treatment center again. (Vacation at the treatment center resort). Some insurance companies allow only a one
time chance at a treatment center now. After that, the insurance company shuts off their benefits because they know that some patients take advantage of them.

And a lot of the patients do not know that about all they are going to get from the treatment center is a bed, meals and a Big Book.


This is a great post. So well written!

The journey is the reward.

Thank You, I value your comments and compliments.

Julie : )
Julie--I agree with Michael, you were very eloquent and respectful in your comments. I believe that every religion encourages or even demands "group think" and "Group speak"--this is a rare forum where folks think and speak for themselves. The religious zealots have years of indoctrination on their side---we just have our critical faculties and personal experiences--but shared in this powerful forum.

I missed this when it was first posted.

Typical AAer, bragging about their inability to help them self, that only through God's intercession yada, yada, yada.

If you're still lurking, you do realize that Ol' Bill demanded liquor on his deathbed and it was only because those attending him refused that he died sober?

And that Bill W dabbled in LSD trying to find a shortcut to the Higher Power?