New Blog Critical of AA

Here is a new blog critical of AA by another person who has left.

It was a difficult decision for me to leave AA, even though I was questioning what was going on in meetings and its effectiveness. Other people seem to find this is a problem as well so I am always glad when people are prepared to share their experiences. This new blog looks good and has been started straight after leaving AA. I waited a few years and have a different perspective as a result. I hope this helps those who are struggling in the rooms at the moment and who want to take charge of their own recovery.

Here is the first Blog post.

The first few days

I went to my last meeting last week. I am already feeling better, I am less anxious and the near depression I was feeling is already starting to fade. I also noticed that I was frustrated and I don’t know how long I’ve felt that way, thankfully that is fading too.

I told some trusted friends what I am doing, I don’t know why because now I don’t care who knows.

At this point I’ve also decided that from now on even when someone probes my answer will be that I am someone who chooses not to drink. I don’t feel the need to disclose why I don’t drink anymore, I have done my part and given much more than I have taken. I’ve probably also put up with too much over the years too since I chose to live a principaled, virtuous and honest life long before I was in aa and in hindsight, my risk was I chose to be around a lot of people that were not.

Out of my own volition I chose to be around people that told me time and again what kind of person they were. They were usually in almost direct conflict with my personhood. I’ll have to forgive myself and not do that anymore.

All in all, just a few days in and I am feeling better. I am pretty much relieved every time I turn around. I have found gratitude again in most things that were just about driving me crazy.


Commenting area

  1. I am thrilled to find this site. I tried AA and in-patient treatment and failed both miserably. The guilt that I felt, and sometimes still experience, for not recovering through those methods is real, and I’ve had AA aquaintences imply that I was fooling myself. I didn’t appreciate the fact that AA seemed to expect me to share my dirty laundry with a group, and if I didn’t, I would surely go back to drinking. After multiple attempts through AA and treatment, I set out on my own to find a way of recovery. I spent weeks researching, and found there are medications, specifically, acamprosate and naltrexone. I read the mostly glowing reviews, and was extremely skeptical that using meds would work, and that it would be the “easier, softer way” that AA warns you of. I went to a psychiatrist and explained my situation. She admitted that the professional recovery community rarely, because of lack of knowledge, uses medications for alcohol addiction. I started these meds and the effect was nothing short of a miracle. I am now 18 months without drinking. Mind you, I was not naïve enough to do this without finding out why I used alcohol, so I have been attending counseling frequently in order to make the mind adjustments that I need to live a fulfilling life without alcohol. I am not blasting AA. It has obviously worked for many, and will likely continue to do so. It did not work for me. I am a fiercely independent person who cannot blindly throw myself into a 12 step program if it doesn’t work for me. There is actually logical theory in the steps, and I get that. The fact of the matter is, my search for a remedy led me to meds and counseling, and this is where I will stay. One resentment…….it angers me that the recovery community of professionals can only refer you to the status quo, which is AA. I spent thousand of dollars unsuccessfully completing in-patient treatment (it is so expensive) and countless days of despair feeling that I was a failure in AA, etc. I felt trapped and miserable, and my drinking only got worse. Doctors are supposed to know about all kinds of healing for ailments. Why not the recovery professionals? To me, that verges on malpractice. I know that sounds harsh, but the time and money I spent having to reach my own conclusion for recovery could have been avoided had I known all options. As with any disease, there are alternatives to any treatment. I am thrilled to have been able to share here, and hopefully, will maybe help someone else.

    • TRhanks for commenting. So many people are angry about how they were treated in Rehab especially when all they got was 12 step. Perhaps somebody will bring a class action for malpractice against a 12 step rehab in the future which would probably help other more modern methods break through. I hope everything works out for you.

  2. AA’s indoctrination language in [How it Works] is an unethical psychological trap that blames you if AA does not work for you. AA universally denounces blaming others, yet AA does exactly that at the start of every AA meeting. It’s perfectly ethical and valid to blame AA for blaming you.

    • A lot of the religious, outdated language in AA bothered me as well. I found the Big Book was more effective as a cure for insomnia rather than alcoholism. A lot depends on a person’s background and beliefs as to how they react to what is said in the rooms. Some meetings are pretty cult like full of thumpers which will set a religious type agenda, others are more open. If you come from a religious background you could get heavily influenced in a bad way there. I just used don’t have a drink today, which is the bottom line for AA which worked. I was cynical about the religious side and it did not change me too much. We did some podcasts about experiences in AA with Jon who got more involved with AA than me and we talk about things such as this and the steps and look at good and bad sides

  3. well i tried going back to my old church recently and I stopped everything.they were very nice kind at first then they just started sounding like AA.and began controlling.i left that church when i was young.sank into addiction then went to AA.i had vowed never to try religion again but that’s all I seem to try.aa seemed very much religious to me as did NA .im all through with trying.i find that if i get drunk i hate im going to try not to get drunk.AA made me hate myself pre AA i didn’t hate my fortnightly day out in the pub.pre aa i didn’t hate myself for having a drink.what i am doing now instead is doing things that help me to stop thinking and feeling like a bad perosn for having a drink.

  4. well so far so good.I have drunk again since the last post I had one cap full of whiskey in hot water with honey and lemon.this was the sure for flue my parents used for me when I was an infant and child.i had this hot toddy 3 times over 2 days and I had the flue and now the flue is gone. and the rest of the whiskey is still in the bottle.since i left NA in October I had one scare with the drink that was after a visit from an old timer in aa.i seemed to get drunk for a few days after that visit, the church helped stop me but didn’t keep going and aa and na are all too religious for convinced im not an for addict yes cannabis gets out of control for me when i use it.however pre AA/NA years ago i stopped using cannabis for 7-8 yr without any anon fellowship or steps.i have stopped using it again all by myself.i think my using drinking got worse because of AA/NA and that i am triggered to use drink when im around them.i was told by an AA old-timer that everyone in AA hated me.i find that strange since they preach used to bother me but it no longer bothers me.i barely knew anyone in there i didn’t meet everyone in i find what this old timer told me it is i have no hate left in me towards them or their church i did at one time long ago..i used to like some of them love one or 2 of them and indifferent to the rest. and at times hated it all. now i dont have no thots or feelings to any of them or their church.i got to know in there but i dont hate,…my haters in or out of there i have found,are just people who want to be me and are jealous of me.because i can do what they wish they could do.i can control drink and stop cannabis without them. i am stronger than them.and today i have people in my life outside of the church of AA /NA who like me as i am .They dont see me the same way the people in AA/NA see me for one thing they dont care that i dont have a car or drive.and they dont see me as a people pleaser if i do something to help them or give them something material pre AA people told me i had a heart of gold and that i was a kind person.well off to my allotment garden meeting some of the people there as we all help one another out there with our gardens.planning to travel this year see some of the world and enjoy the sunshine.

  5. I like z-truths post .i also before leaving would like to comment on the exploitation of vulnerable people.during 20yr in and out of AA/NA, I found most of those with some clean time more clean time than myself were takers.for example.on going back to NA one time I was in poverty I said I didn’t have money for bus and pot.and would sell my guitar to pay my old timer 12 yr grabbed that chance and gave me 20 quid for my guitar that was near new and cost 200 quid.that’s one small example of many. one sponsor I had cost me around 700 quid in the time I knew her.she used manipulation and guilt trips on me to get that when i was new clean and in grief struck over a death of a loved one. And believed i had to do IT or die.I have heard much worse stories from some who left.I used to ponder on what step nazis ment.I no longer wonder I now know.I wouldn’t compare AA/NA to the holocaust.however many people not only nazis exploited jews and other people polish the gipsies the mentally ill.dureing the war.they took all they could from them under the threat of the polish ghettos, the starving inside were took for all they had by those outside the ghetto.and those outside the ghetto were not to be seen near those inside or they were told if they were seen to be helping those inside they would die the ignored the starving inside.expect when they would go near them to take from them.jews and others were told do as we say or die.they bargained for there lives with what material things they had.then after the Nazis and others took all they had they laughed as they watched them die.AA/NA, of course, is not on that scale of horror but i now understand why some people call them step natzies.And some of them do it abruptly say do it or die and get the book out and hammer folk to do it and some do it more slyly and kinder softer but in the end, they are all doing this to people telling them to do it or die its the only way.a lot of sponsors use this position of power to abuse or use those with less sober time for money or for help such as cleaning their homes for them digging their gardens and for sex.later if the person complains they will be told you did it or you’re a people pleaser.AA/NA will always blame the person who complains or stands up for themselves or is critical.they also blame you for all bad things that happened in your life to you.such as domestic violence or keeps some of the real alcoholics and addict clean most relapse.and those that have kept clean might relapse one day.or perhaps they already have since i found many to be using while in there but pretending they hadn’t used.

  6. today I help people and give people I know things, not because I am told to or a book tells me to not because I have been guilt-tripped or manipulated to or told do as we say or die. but because I want to.pre AA no one had to teach me how to be giving or helpful that’s something I have always AA/NA I was told I had been a black-hearted selfish taker all my life WRONG! then told by them to give be kind do helpful things…then told when i did i was a people pleaser who had to stop people I have gone back to who i was pre AA I give and help when I want to,to who I want to and consider myself a decent person.and i give and help those who do the same for me I live in a give and take world not give all you got to us do for us like it was in AA.

  7. one more comment… this running around being of service to alcoholics addicts and giving didn’t go away overnight.after i left NA i bumped into a woman who had also left NA an alcoholic.i started trying to be of service to her and her useing addict friends doing for them supporting them giveing to them ..they gave nothing in return.this woman was at first put on to me when i was in na and clean by my then sponsorwho told me i was to be friend her at the time she had actually left NA after a few meetings.she and her friends got a bit out of me but nothing i will lose sleep over.before i saw her make hand singles to her male useing addict friends and things said by one of them made me realise she was takeing the piss out of me.i have managed to get them out of my life.all on my own.AA/NA caused this.i keep away from alcoholics now both those in and out of AA and addicts.i thought i had to help these class A drug users and the alcoholic even after i left takes a while to adjust.

  8. pre AA i did things of help at times for people some were addicts and alcoholics i also did vol work pre AA.. in AA i did things help for new commers and old i would only help people who help me..give and take..i would also help and give to some who are not alocholics or addicts like yesterday when i helped an old lady with her heavy shopping bags to get on the bus.alcoholics and addicts in or out of AA /NA i keep away from i wish them no harm but dont want to mix with them because pre AA dureing AA and after leaveing i have found them to be piss takers users and abusers and if AA and NA can help those types change then good because they need to.i have been down my allotment garden and peiople there helped me put my polly tunnel up i thanked them other days i help them.AA taught me nothing as for defects i have defects i knew this pre AA i also did work on myself pre AA around assertiveness.and a few other things.AA didnt see no good in me even tho they didn’t know me as soon as i went there they judged and criticized me told me i had no good in me they didnt even know me.i did lots of good things pre AA and had good in me pre AA.they assume everyone is the same as themselves.

  9. during my time in AA NA i was pushed into becoming a support worker for mental health like so many in 12 step na become.I wish now I hadn’t done that.As when I was working there i was brainwashed like so many of us with there dogma and their dogma I would talk to clients.and what i now know is that I’m not even an alcoholic or full-blown addict and I’m not an addict of there type because unlike those in 12 step churches I can stop and stay off on my own.i didnt use drink or cannabis for the same reasons they do.

  10. I have also been thinking of how in my last try at na my sponsor pushed me to go on facebook and when I was on it I was reposting her recovery posts.I wish I hadn’t done that now.its like they are trying to convert the whole world and at times i was being drawn into doing the same.I didn’t find myself in there I was being changed into whatever sponsor I had.its took a while to find myself was like in there I was just copying other people.i found that people in there just all talk and think the same way. maybe bot at first but eventually.people aren’t meant to be all the same.

  11. my last post i have wrote enough cant help it tho .because i was in and out of there for 20yr so i noticed the changes in people who stayed 1 of my sponsors now 20yr sober i saw him yes him change over the years and my last na first she hadnt been clean long and she seemed ok i recall her being warm and empathy at first i relapsed at times she stayed in before i left she had changed into a cold person and different worse not better person.i also notice how they let themselfs go after a few years physically looking worse .i think AA/NA makes people cold abrupt and takes away there vibrancy they become sexless .they look older than they are.they loose sense of humour and seem to become all knowing like they know everything and advise givers preachers snobs looking down on others with less sober time.its full of double standards.some sound like evangelists for so glad i don’t need them anymore i never did they just made me think i did.thanks for letting me post here i have taken up enough space i shall post again but leave for a while and let you know how things go for me as it stands right now drink is not a problem to me it is well under control hardly ever touch it and can have 1 or 2.and im no longer using cannabis so right now im anger levels have gone self-esteem is getting better no longer feel or think im a bad person a sinner or life is ok tho i lack company i do have some company of normal people.but would like close friends that are normal. and no partner.on the whole I’m doing ok when in AA i didnt have any friends or partner since i left i have had a partner for a few weeks but i ended it as he wasn’t right for me.and i have hobbies that i enjoy and keep me busy, and plans to travel and also off to do a few courses in art and photography.i wish all here the best your all strong people .

  12. Hi Sharron, you certainly seem to have been having a tough time recently and I hope you feel better about things soon. Have you got anyone close you can talk to about all the issues with AA etc. I found someone else who had left and that really helped me. There are many different ways of doing recovery which suit different people. I listed some of the books that really helped me here Might be worth having a look to see if there is anything that would appeal to you. I also found having a bit of counselling as I left AA helped me get things straight in my head. Best wishes Michael

  13. im doing okay getting on with life and enjoying it busy and in a good place in my life now.dont have any problems with drink or drugs that i need help around.dont have any problems that i feel the need to talk to anyone about.if i needed to i would.only person i need to talk with any probs i may have or get is my doctor at times for my physical health. my mental health is ok dont feel any need of a counsellor if i did i would go see one.AA is just a place i used to go to i dont give it much thought any more.I met some people in AA/NA that were ok people and some that werent so ok That happens in all groups of people ..i got some usefull info in AA NA around some things .it wasnt an all bad experience for me but no longer feel the need to go there.I found a big part of my experience of AA NA was frightening and some was helpful.its not for me and now in my past.

  14. Hi all. I’m glad to have found this site.

    Where to start? Lol. Greetings from Australia. I used drugs and alcohol daily for 12 years and wound up depressed and angry at the world. Raised in an alcoholic household, it was a case of monkey see monkey do.

    Now I’m over 8 yrs clean and sober through NA, but over the last couple of years I’ve found myself withdrawing from the fellowship. I’m also atheist and get a bit tired of the higher power aspect of NA.

    NA was great in the beginning, a collective of people all with the same goal, supporting each other along the way. I’ve worked the steps twice and try to live by the principles found in them. My life has changed beyond recognition. From isolation, despair, and flat out refusal to engage in the rat race, I’ve held steady jobs for the last 6 years, got married and had kids, and generally enjoy living life.

    But lately I feel NA has been doing more harm than good. I suppose I’m searching for something more. The fellowships seem bottom heavy to me, more sickness than wellness so to speak. One good thing I heard in the rooms, from an old guy (40+ years sober and a therapist, that does occasional meetings) who posed the question ‘how recovered do you want to be?’. That got me thinking.

    I agree that AA/NA don’t help at all with trauma. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I’ve done countless hours of counselling to help address the issues that come with being a survivor.

    I’m grateful to have been given a second chance at life. So much so that I returned to study and became a support worker in a rehab. I worked that job for 2 years, but resigned due to changed working conditions, and to look after my own mental health.

    I’ve done a handful of meetings this year and they just don’t seem to be doing anything for me. I suppose I no longer really identify as an addict. I learned about the stages of change model during study and I feel like I’ve reached stage 6: termination/transcendence.

    So I suppose, where to next? Any feedback would be much appreciated.

    Ben J

  15. ok so last i posted i said no cravings but they came im still sweating out cannabis but i havent used it or drank for a still not going back ..and i did use prayer again infact pre Aa god was my god but no there i got confused as told the god i had was not god and to find another and people in there including some sponsors drew me into there beliefs.i was christained church of england im scottish my mums family were stanch orange men untied british ..Christian.and i have went back to that faith ..yes jesus is saving me.So i won’t post here no more or go back to meetings as i know Christians aint welcome.personally im not against other peoples beliefs we all got human rights.dont reckon i will ever be a church goer or even a 100per cent good christain but thats whats helping me right now bye

  16. What keeps taking me back to the rooms if they’re not working and I’m not happy? Fear. Fear that ‘they’ are right and I am wrong- and that it IS the only way – and I AM the problem – always have and always will be.

    But perhaps I am not the problem. Never was. Just someone that has been seriously traumatised doing the only thing that is available therefore sharing all my issues to a whole room of strangers who don’t care – and wasting a lot of time and life. Its a very controlling institution that once sucked in to it – it can feel like it’s either drink or AA. But it doesnt have to be either of those ways. Have I just wasted 7 years of my life?

  17. Fear was certainly something that made me qusetion if leaving AA was a good idea! I was worried the higher power brigade could be right. Somebody told me that AA would always be there if I needed it so it was alright to try something else and I transitioned away from it. This was the right thing for me. I did still take recovery seriously though, as I was getting over a really bad drinking problem. I read as much as possible on alternative solutions and had CBT which really helped.
    I hope you find a solution that works for you.

  18. Thanks Michael for this website. This has given me the courage to make a decision to leave AA. I have downloaded an abstinence app on my phone and I have 17days free from AA. I have been sober 2 years and can’t stand it anymore for the reasons already listed. Thanks again.

  19. Thanks for commenting and I hope all goes well. Best wishes Michael

  20. i came across this web site again via an fb group and have just been reading some of my old posts.well i gave up on trying AA/NA or church again ..and my faith..well,im all through with religion spiritual organizations and hopeing god will perform some miracle that will stop me getting drunk again.i got in touch with smart and went to some of there face to face meetings.and i do self help on the internet..i keep myself busy and i keep in touch with family.I no longer keep contact with anyone i once knew in any 12 step fellowships,and no longer bare any grudge to any in no longer scared of them or scared, and i also keep away from people i once knew in there that have relapsed.i help out with a local charity vol work..if i come across people with drug or drink probs i tell them ALL their options. i no longer give people with drug drink probs money as its enabling them.i do donate to the homeless shelter.i have done a lot to help myself around gaining peace of mind around it all.putting things in the past.i have done a ,lot to help myself feel happier and at ease with myself as i am and my life as it is.i have got back into things i left behind when i entered AA in 2001..such as painting art,music,this is
    helping me and im doing okay.

  21. just to add to that .i bumped into 2 i had knew in there last few months and it didnt affect me in any way or trigger me to get drunk.i also didnt have a panick attack or run to get drunk when i bumped int the AA male member who had threatened me and my life in meetings and cafes and on the streets at times over a period of many no longer triggered by them.i dont keep contact or want contact with them as none were real friends.i no longer go there or practise there programme. but at least now im not triggered when i bump into them by chance.i stopped drinking a while not alcoholic i can stop stay off sometimes i can have 1 or 2..however i did have a drink problem at one time that led me to drink to excess and that led me to accidents and near though i could drink if i wanted to i choose not to.

  22. i am arranging to have cbt treatment..not for drink drug use but for other things.i hear hypnosis helps to.not sure i would want that.seemed to me at times i was being hypnotized in 12 step fellowships.or something like that.i want cbt to help me get some of my old self back like i said it turns intelligent vibrant people into sexless drones i cant talk for other people but at least thats what it did for also didnt help me get rid of old traumas in fact it made that worse.there is also many other things that help around drink drug problems life ring is one.

  23. Karah Easton January 8, 2019 at 2:09 am · · Reply

    I would like to suggest respectfully and strongly that anyone reading this do not make the same mistake that I made 30 1/2 years ago when I was extremely young, broken and naive and AA got its slimy paws on me! I respectfully and strongly suggest do not take any medical advice from anyone in the fellowship! If they tell you that “you are chewing your booze” if you take medication please do not listen! If someone says “you are not working the program The Way It Is laid out if you take medication” please do not listen! If someone says “you will drink again if you take psychiatric medication” please do not listen to them! They do not know about what they are speaking!

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