A rather good summation of the harm done by AA, written by Stanton Peele, caught my eye.
Mr Peele summarizes to four harms done by AA :
- AA denies reality.
- AA overemphasizes its own success.
- AA rules out other, often more effective, approaches.
- AA’s underlying temperance message actually creates alcoholism and addiction.
My personal objections to AA and my reasons for leaving the program are mostly centered in #3. The AA approach is faith-healing, plain and simple. “God did for us we could not do for ourselves”. An approach that I personally reject. I am an atheist, plain and simple. There is no god to do anything for me. Meetings of believers, in a group with a program that had its genesis in theistic Oxford Group principles, are a waste of my time and energy.
Point #2 is interesting. AA does overemphasize its own success. “It works if you work it”. The people in the program get slippery here. A personal anecdote. My old sponsor used to say “If you stick around long enough you will be stepping over the dead bodies”. He said this proudly. The troops seemed to eat it up and almost revel in it though. Another, later, sponsor said to me “Jack, look around the room, how many of these people will be here in a couple of years?”. My answer was “A handful”. He was delighted by my perception. What is this line of thinking? “It works if you work it and we who stay are the few who are constitutionally capable of being honest and working it”? What is the appeal to this? Is it they are like Navy Seals? Most fail at becoming a Navy Seal, the few that remain are the most hardy and should be deservedly proud? This from a program that has service, one alcoholic helping another, as a root principle. This from a program where members pride themselves on “Ego Deflation” and “Doing god’s will”.