addiction, said by Bowman and Jellinek to be the central problem of
alcohol, has been receiving the increased attention of scientific
workers during recent years – and deserves the research interests
of more sociologists.
etiology of alcohol addiction remains an unsolved problem.
Nevertheless, a review of the literature reveals a growing consensus
that "the problem drinker suffers from a chronic and deeply
ingrained disorder of personality." In the writings of many
psychiatrists, e.g., Nolan D.C. Lewis,Edward A. Strecker,Robert V. Seliger,Harry M. Tiebout, George N.
Thompson, R.S. Banay,Paul Schilder,Edward B. Allen,
and Oskar Eiethelm, there are sketched only slightly varying versions
of this increasingly held assumption that neurotic factors are
prominently involved in the development of alcohol addiction.”
“38. Would Conference
discuss if AA UK should use or not use the term “self help group”
when referring to AA groups?
On the webpage section
"Newcomer to AA ‐ Who We Are" it says:
and talking with other alcoholics we are somehow able to stay sober."
This could give the
impression AA is a self help group and that talking to others
"somehow" keeps us sober. The Big Book has a chapter called
"How it Works". It does not mention going to meetings and
then "somehow" staying sober. Instead it talks about taking
certain steps and through them building a relationship with God that
As much as it is
understandable that we cannot explain the whole chapter in one
sentence at the web, this description on how it works given now on
the page, may cause the impression steps have nothing to do with
recovery and that we don't know what got us sober in the first place.
In addition the flyer "To
Professionals" actually states we were self help groups. As far
as I know that is the only piece in AA literature that does so,
especially as this information is wrong. Step 2 states exactly that
"we came to believe that only a power
greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" and hereby
refers to God, because we cannot help ourselves
of Reference No. 7 Covered by existing literature, for example our
Preamble which states AA is a “Fellowship”.”
Oh dear! Another bloody recovery 'expert'! This is one should really
try reading the book sometime maybe starting with the above quoted
chapter – Working With Others - and the very beginning of the
section no less:
experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from
drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other
activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this
message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can.
You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are
“carry[ing] the message” might involve at some stage actually
talking with the person concerned. Or perhaps the message is somehow
transmitted via the esoteric art of telepathy? As for whether
meetings are mentioned in the literature – they are....and guess
where! …. The Big Book no less! (A Vision For You, p. 161)
this house will hardly accommodate its weekly visitors, for
they number sixty or eighty as a rule. Alcoholics are being attracted
from far and near. From surrounding towns, families drive long
distances to be present. A community thirty miles away has fifteen
fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Being a large place, we think that
some day its Fellowship will number many
in this eastern city, there are informal meetings such as we have
described to you, where you may now see scores of members. There are
the same fast friendships, there is the same helpfulness to one
another as you find
among our western friends.” (p. 162)
From the above it can be seen that 'self-help' refers to one 'self'
helping another. Not fixing or curing..... but helping! Jeez! If
you're going to cite the literature maybe read it first!
for a full list of other questions that didn't quite get through the
Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)
How do you do a step Five by the way without talking to someone else?
Telepathy again perhaps!! Talking with other alcoholics is referred
to all the way through the book!
Thanks for your post. I think it is
very relevant to this forum because I think all 12 step fellowships
might be being targeted by the destructive cult(s). It may be that we
are dealing with one international cult which at group level goes
under a multitude of names and is spread across numbers of 12 step
fellowships. I detect a movement operating under various descriptions
and corporations targeting 12 step fellowship members with intent to
amalgamate them into one evangelical neo-Oxford Group 12 step
“recovery community”- a cure all for any addiction or compulsive
behaviour. The movement has been powerful enough to split the
national group conscience in USA/Canada, leading to AA losing
official use of its Circle and Triangle trade mark to outside
enterprises. A decision was taken in 1993 for AA World Services Inc.
and AA Grapevine Inc. to stop using and protecting the symbol against
the weight of around 170 unauthorised users. These included novelty
manufacturers, publishers, and treatment centers.
(Box4-5-9 August-September 1993 ‘Letting Go' of the Circle and Triangle
As A Legal Mark pp.
This was also reported in AA Grapevine December
1993, Vol. 50 No. 7: “Around AA Whatever Happened to the
Circle and Triangle?”
Unfortunately there was a large
enough lobby within the fellowship supporting novelty manufacturers'
illegal misuse of the symbol on medallions; this combined with enough
timid, complacent or apathetic conference delegates who avoided their
responsibilities of leadership in concept IX, to stand firm on
traditions and their duty to act as guardians of the fellowship; to
actively provide the deterrent to outside entities described in the
General Warranties of Conference (specifically Concept XII, Warranty
Five). An alternative to letting go of the symbol according to
Warranty Five would have been for conference delegates to instruct
the boards of AA World Services Inc. and AA Grapevine Inc. to inform
the general public of the symbol's illegal misuse, naming the
publishers, treatment centers and novelty manufacturers who were
using it illegally. And also,to ask Public Information committees
throughout the AA world service structure, local and national,
to deploy the protective action in warranty five by informing the
general public also.
think the symbol is still copyright and used in some forms by general
service boards in UK and some other countries. So let’s hope the
general service boards in these countries can hold onto it before AA
loses its identity completely to outside enterprises. The primary aim
for cults is to gain power for their leaders, to make them money, and
to recruit new members. The profits from cult study guides, sponsor
guides, step guides, meeting guides, distorted AA history guides,
workbooks, other pre-conference and non conference approved
literature, sobriety chips, medallions and other novelty items all
head up somewhere to someone's big fat wallet.
You might find it useful to read
….....’s post under the “It has reached us too” thread. Also,
the “TLM in Alanon UK?” thread by …....
I think it has helped me to learn how
cults operate, which is why I put up the "Useful Resources"
threads in section 3 of this forum. I think large international cults
are difficult to recognise because they can have numbers of front
companies and groups under different names, continue to evolve,
change names, recruitment targets and sometimes locations. They can
be recognised more by their behaviour, group structures and type of
language they use. The cult group in my AA intergroup was called
“There is a Solution,” affiliated to the Primary Purpose Group,
Dallas Texas and Dick B literature. Now that it has closed down,
after much local opposition, I gather the person who started the
group (and main driving force behind it) has relocated to another
area. Thanks again for your post, I found the information useful to
think the evidence is there in the field of sociology that these
cults are targeting 12 step fellowships in general. The religious
orientation of the cults and the influence they have had in changing
the nature of groups are now deterring social workers from referring
clients to 12 step fellowships unless they explicitly identify
themselves as Christian.”
is an extract from a paper titled “Addiction, spirituality and
12-step programmes” by Dr. W. Dosset, senior lecturer in religious
studies at Chester University.
has shown that there is a resistance to referring individuals to TSPs
[Twelve Step Programmes] because of the apparent religious nature of
the programmes (as well as for other reasons) and social workers may
consider them inappropriate for clients other than those explicitly
identifying as Christian and would not wish to risk imposing
religious beliefs and practices upon them. (Caldwell, 1999, Kurtz and
Chambon, 1987, Laudet,2003) ( Addiction, spirituality and 12-step programmes,
Dossett W, International Social Work, 56(3) 369–383)
are extracts from a book titled “Take Back Your Life, Recovering
from Cults and Abusive Relationships” by Professor J. Lalich,
Professor of Sociology at California State University; a textbook
used by professionals working in cult rehabilitation.
are cults, for example, that focus their recruitment activities in
drug-rehabilitation programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other
twelve-step programs, as that milieu tends to be a ripe hunting
ground for potential members.” ( Take Back Your Life: Recovering
From Cults And Abusive Relationships, p 91)
cases where alcohol or substance abuse was or is a problem, attending
meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous may help.
However, we caution you to proceed into the 12-step world with your
eyes open and your antennae up. Despite its successes, this is an
area rife with abuses and incompetencies. Hustlers use 12-step
programs as a hunting ground for income and glory. Some counselors
and group leaders are not credentialed. Some programs are fronts for
cults. Even a well-meaning program may inadvertently promote
long-term victimization. Although these groups are set up to reduce
codependency, many participants become completely dependent on their
12-step meetings and friends.” ( Take Back Your Life: Recovering
From Cults And Abusive Relationships" p194)
think the faith based neo Oxford Group cult phenomena is something
all 12 step fellowships are going to have to adjust to and protect
against if 12 step fellowships are to survive in the long term. If
there’s no opposition to the cults then they’ll just take over as
more and more people leave the fellowships and fewer people are
referred to them by professionals.”
Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)
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sponsors prefer to adopt a casual attitude toward newcomers with whom
they work. For example, they are perfectly willing to spend time with
the new member who asks for it, but rarely take the time or trouble
to call between meetings or help the newcomer get to meetings.
newcomers actually flourish best left pretty much on their own. But
there may be some danger in this approach: A timid or reserved
newcomer may conclude that the group and the individual sponsor are
not interested in
present members report that they did not make a firm decision to
adopt the A.A. Program until months or years after their first
contact with A.A., simply because they were allowed to drift away
from the group. A growing number of groups try to avoid this by
establishing a program for following up with newcomers during a
period of weeks or months after an initial approach is made to the
group (see pages 23-24).”
Newcomers' capacity to be able to think for themselves and make their
own decisions, and then act in their own interests seems to be
grossly underestimated here. Simply because someone has been pouring
large quantities of alcohol down their throats for a prolonged period
of time doesn't imply that they are idiots when they sober up. In
our experience someone who wants to sort their life out and stay
sober usually does – sometimes even despite AA! Contrariwise
someone who doesn't want to won't even with the best efforts of
everyone around them. Remember that bit about “probably no human
power could have relieved our alcoholism …..” (AA, p. 60, Chapter
5, How It Works). The best thing to do with someone who has set their
course upon recovery is - don't get in their way! And the last thing
you want to do with someone who's not interested is pester them! (AA,
Chapter 7, Working With Others – interestingly this chapter was almost completely
ignored by Joe and Charlie (Primary Purpose) in their so-called 'Big Book study' – we wonder why! We
quote (from an approved transcript of their talks):
don’t want to go through this next chapter (Working with Others) we
don’t have the time, but I do want to look at two or three things
in it very briefly.”
members generally prefer not to follow the guidelines indicated in
this section. It really doesn't suit the control freaks!
remember: a sponsor is NOT ESSENTIAL to recovery. And NO sponsorship
is better by far than BAD sponsorship!
aacultwatch has been set up by members of Alcoholics Anonymous who are concerned about the development of a movement within the Fellowship that we refer to as a cult.
It is our view that this cult has as its aims the control of AA in Great Britain and the promulgation of its own version of the recovery programme that is both a corruption of the message and the spirit of the Fellowship.
Our aim is to raise awareness of this threat and encourage members to act according to their conscience to marginalize this movement. Local members are in the best position to judge what should be done in their area but already some experience has been gained in the Fellowship on how to respond to this malign influence, and some of these ideas are also presented on the blog.
Finally we seek to restore AA to a healthily disorganised state where no faction within the Fellowship may seek to impose its will upon the rest, and that the rights of the individual are always upheld. For those AA members who are interested in supporting us in our efforts we can be contacted via our email address above