Online Discussion:
and "AA-Bashing"
     The names of the participants have been altered (except those of Cliff Walker and his friends), and the name of the online service has been kept hidden.
     Online jargon and abbreviations have been translated to regular idiom. All emphasis has been standardized by using italics for emphasis. Names of written works are also italicized.
     Spelling has been corrected, as well as some punctuation -- which would otherwise make a few of these tirades unintelligible to all but the most seasoned grade-school English teachers. This was done to keep lousy writing skills from detracting from the point being made by the writer.
     The practice of quoting previous posts in order to comment on them has been retained; the symbol (>>) followed by the name of the person being quoted preceeds any material quoted from a previous posting.
     One work by Cliff Walker, A Religion In Denial?, has been expanded and a link to the expanded version is provided next to the title of the original piece.

You amaze me. Why so bitter and angry ? Why do you feel the need to bash AA every chance you can get. You should know by now there is a big difference between religion and spirituality. I have been a member of AA for almost 8 years -- highly involved in service. I am only 26 and am the future if you want to say.

My own conception of something greater than my self has enabled me to live an incredibly productive life. My Higher Power is so far off the beam than conventional religious beliefs it would make peoples toenails curl. But, above all else it works.

AA does not demand a Christian God. It only suggests a God of your own understanding. So if you read the big book a little closer and lay aside your prejudice, even the biggest atheist or agnostic can recover. If you really want to get technical; if it was not for AA you would not be here. AA is the granddaddy of all 12-Step programs.

love and service,

KB. I disagree with Cliff's view of AA too, but not with his idea of recovery. We all do what it takes -- for me it's a daily surrender of my will to the Christian God, Jesus. You are right about AA not demanding acceptance of a Christian Higher Power. As a matter of fact, the line about "as we understand Him" was added so that Roman Catholics could enter the program. AA is based on the Oxford Movement which was a turn of the century evangelical organization that practices timeless principles -- surrender, self-discipline, service, and admission of humanity with the willingness to change.

If you read the book The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a'Kempis from the 1400's you will find all of the 12 steps of AA in the first chapter. It isn't a coincidence that the Prayer of St. Francis (Lord, make me an instrument ... ) is used in the AA book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. I especially enjoy reading the 23rd chapter of Proverbs (end of chapter) which describes a drunk in Solomon's time. We haven't changed, and what it takes to recover hasn't either.

Peace and sobriety, One Day at a Time ... 

TB Are you there? Hope you're okay. I just wanted to thank you for all the kind words and for your concerted efforts to try to understand a viewpoint which, until you first heard it, was almost completely unknown to you. Thanks for the input and the chance to test my ideas. I have really changed a lot because of you. We have both come a long way.

Now, I'm at it again! (grin) I hope you enjoy my response to the recent reactionary-ism as the comedy routine that I intended it to be. I had toyed with the idea of ignoring it, but then the urge got the best of me. I just can't help myself; I must just be powerless or something. (grin)

Cliff Walker Whenever I criticize Alcoholics Anonymous (for not teaching coping skills, for lying about AA's real position on religion and spirituality, for having a very poor recovery rate, etc.), AA members launch vicious, personal attacks against me. They say that my information is false and that I am angry and bitter, but they hardly ever try to challenge my claims. They just jump and shout. They want AA to go unchallenged -- despite the trickery used in carrying the AA message of recovery.

Case in point:

>>KB: "You amaze me. Why so bitter and angry?"

Twelve Steppers and other religious -- er, spiritual people accuse me of this all the time, but it is a lie. I'm a nice guy and I am very dedicated to bringing recovery and dignity to the people I end up working with (the very people who are methodically denounced, discredited, and lied about in "We Agnostics," the fourth chapter of the AA Big Book). This is the least I can do considering that I remained addicted for over fourteen years because "We Agnostics" says -- in no uncertain terms -- that people such as myself, my family, and those I end up working with are dishonest simply because we think all talk of "God" and the supernatural is make-believe. When I needed help, AA and NA were the only methods available. At the time, both organizations used the AA Big Book -- which says atheists cannot recover and remain atheists. Eventually, I abandoned all hope of recovery. I so damaged my body that today my struggle is to outlive my grandmother. Damn! But I am not angry; I did it to myself. I didn't know any better. No one ever told me I could recover without believing a bunch of fictional hooey.

The Twelve Step programs have foisted a very cruel fraud on the American public -- especially upon the addicted people whose backs are against the wall. They tell us that the Twelve Step programs are not religious and that faith in "God" is not essential to working the program. This is a bald-faced lie (as we all find out once we attend our first meeting). Being an honest man and a lover of humanity, I cannot sit back and let them get away with this.

I honestly tried to practice the Twelve Step program as an atheist. No one can remain an atheist after engaging in the central activity of Alcoholics Anonymous: working the Twelve Steps. Six of the Steps make a direct reference to "God" or "Him." (Only one mentions alcohol.) The American public is becoming increasingly aware of just how religious AA is and just how central belief in the supernatural is to the AA message of recovery. AA members can no longer get away with their semantical dance that makes a false distinction between "spiritual" and "religious."

Enough Is Enough!

In several courts now, the Alcoholics Anonymous message of recovery has been found to fit the legal description of religious instruction. Agencies in these states can no longer force clients to attend AA meetings where people: (1) chant the "Lord's Prayer" (a direct quote from the Protestent Christian holy book the New Testament); (2) learn faith in a rescuing deity who answers to the names "God" and "Him"; (3) perform a variant (bastardization?) of Roman Catholic the rite of Confession; (4) beg other-worldly beings to solve self-made problems through supernatural intervention; (5) proselytize for the AA faith; (6) simper and grovel; (7) tell the public that all of this is "not religious."

I don't care if people work the Steps. That's personal. But please leave me out of it! Don't deceive me into joining your organization by claiming that "even the biggest atheist or agnostic can recover" in AA. This is simply not true. Stop saying that AA is suitable for all and can work for anybody. It isn't and it can't. Tell the public what really goes on in AA meetings, and behind closed doors with those "sponsors." Then, and only then, will my doctor or my parole officer know better than to send someone like me to AA. Make AA voluntary once again like it was in the old days.

Meanwhile, I will continue to expose the frauds and other trickery that AA spokespersons use to present AA as something that it is not.

d:^) >>KB: "You should know by now there is a big difference between religion and spirituality."

Fact: Religion is spirituality. Spirituality is religion. They are essentially the same thing.

If you really want to split hairs, Webster's Tenth Collegiate describes religion as being informal and spontaneous -- something that the common people do from the heart. Meanwhile, Webster's represents spirituality as formal and organized -- having to do with elite orders of ordained clerics.

Many AA spokespersons seem to have this backwards. But whether it is a priest or minister practicing "spirituality" in an institutionalized, ritualistic fashion or a lay person practicing "religion" from the heart, they are all doing basically the same thing: exercising faith in "God" and the supernatural. To say "there is a big difference between religion and spirituality" is just plain wrong.

>>KB: "AA does not demand a Christian God. It only suggests a God of your own understanding."

Fact: The god of AA is an anonymous god who closely resembles the father-god of nineteenth-century Methodism. Many Christians, however, are quick to point out the Christian roots of AA, such as the fact that AA was once part of the now-defunct Oxford Movement, a quasi-cultic Christian organization that became unpopular after its leader endorsed Adolf Hitler. Many point out the biblical roots of the Twelve Steps. Several passages from AA literature have been lifted directly from Catholic, Protestant, and Mormon scripture and catechisms. And of course, there's the ever-present "Lord's Prayer" which is a direct quote from Matthew 6:9-13, part of "The Sermon on the Mount" from the Christian -- er, Protestant scripture.

Meanwhile, the Twelve Steps teach: (1) the AA god is a God with a capital "G" -- a supernatural being, a deity -- not simply a "Group Of Drunks" or the "Great Out Doors" or "Good Orderly Direction" or an ashtray or a light bulb or a Harley Davidson chopper; (2) the AA god is real -- not just a figment of the imagination or a metaphor; (3) the AA god is personal -- a "Him" -- not an inanimate, unloving force; (4) the AA god can hear your prayers; (5) the AA god cares enough to respond to prayer; (6) the AA god is powerful enough to alter the course of nature to fulfill your needs and desires; (7) the AA god requires that you approach "Him" in humility, seeking only "His" will and never your own will. You must believe these things in order to engage in the central activity of AA -- working the Twelve Steps. If you don't you are working your own program (hmmm!); you do not work AA's Twelve Steps. And they sentenced me to this garbage!

The above does not make sense to me. My understanding of "God" is of a fairy tale that has gotten way out of hand. Variations of the "God" myth have inspired faithful folks to slaughter untold millions who disagreed with the dominant mythological paradigm.

In America today, addicted people who disagree with the AA mythology are left to die by their own hands -- just like I was left to die when I went to AA and NA for help in the mid-1970s and again in the early 1980s. Those passages in Chapter 4 said I would never recover unless I became willing to agree with the AA mythology. And I was (and still am) unwilling to agree with AA.

>>KB: "People who come on line who don't know the whole picture can get a false impression of one man's opinion. I don't bash his beliefs lets just get the facts straight."

Oh, those poor, helpless, defenseless sheep who log on to this forum but cannot think for themselves. We must save them from this man's opinions. He has re-opened subjects which we thought we had neatly evaded or entirely ignored: (1) AA is not perfect; (2) AA is not for everyone, nor is it the only method; (3) many AA spokespersons routinely use deceitful means to carry the AA message; (4) some AA members, when confronted with these truths, will resort to name-calling.

>>KB: "My Higher Power is so far off the beam than conventional religious beliefs it would make peoples toenails curl."

So are mine (not the toenails part), but the AA Big Book says that my particular religious beliefs will prevent me from quitting drinking.

Now what? AA is the only game in town. >>[An old post]: "There are many paths to recovery. I hope you find your way. AA has helped a lot of alcoholics find a better life. I have not been in a church in the last eight years except for two weddings and a baptism. Don't believe those that say AA is religious."

Don't take our word for it, listen to AA co-founder "Doctor Bob": It is common among AA members to differentiate between the words "religious" and "spiritual." This semantical dance implies that religion is inferior or phony, and that spirituality is honest and genuine. To a non-believer, however, religion and spirituality are the same thing, and we really don't want any part of it -- if we can help it.

The AA Big Book dedicates the entire fourth chapter ("We Agnostics") to ridiculing the beliefs of atheists, agnostics, skeptics, freethinkers, humanists, and other non-religious people. Such thinking is not welcome in AA.

Of course, atheists, etc., won't be thrown out of an AA meeting; but the Big Book is forceful in persuading us to change our ways as part of a successful program: Alcoholics Anonymous says that you have only two options: religion or death. Atheism is a form of dishonesty here -- and a delusion ("[we] thought we were atheists"). And don't forget that AA has a captive audience of impaired people: Now, most will admit that AA does have its "religious trappings" or that some minor components of the AA program are spiritual in nature; however, the Big Book places the religious conversion experience as Priority Number One: "Difficulty" is an understatement. Here AA admits that recovery plays second-fiddle to getting religion -- er, spirituality. Frankly, hundreds of thousands of us have not liked the "God part." Hear hear! Keep up the good work! Glad you guys were there for me! First of all, I want to thank Cliff Walker for his comments about me. Those of you who have followed this board for awhile know that we haven't always seen eye to eye. We still don't. However, we respect each other's positions and have learned from each other.

If you have followed this board for awhile you know that Cliff Walker and I (as well as many others) have already discussed these issues ad infinitum. I have promised to not get into them again. Well ... I guess I'm powerless, too.

Yes, AA is not perfect; AA is not for everyone, nor is it the only method; some AA spokespersons use inappropriate means to carry their message; and some AA members resort to name-calling. However, this could be said about any organization or any program. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!! AA works!! AA works for a lot of people. For some, it doesn't. So what? If you're crippled, you need a crutch. And AA is one of the best crutches made that I know of. Now, there are others that I don't know as much about. If I'm crippled, I'm going to want to learn what are the best crutches out there, aren't I? AA teaches a Higher Power that it calls god or Him or whatever. If you don't agree or can't accept that -- find another crutch. For gosh sake, don't stay crippled!! For me, I choose to believe in God. It works so well that I want to teach others about my God. That's my prerogative and my right. Let's be open-minded and be willing to here other opinions, though. >>Ken: "If you don't agree or can't accept that -- find another crutch. For gosh sake, don't stay crippled!!"

yes Yes!! YESSS!!!!

And if you one day find that you no longer need the crutch, stand up on your own two feet! I never claimed AA was perfect or what is written is the end all be all. It works and it works for millions. That is the great fact. Now, because it did not work for you (you say it is uncovering the truth, I call it bashing). Why overtly try to discredit. I get so tired of the lame old excuses I just couldn't do it so I got drunk.

I was a drunk and a full out junky by the time I was 19. I drank for 11 of those and did dope for 6. By the time I got sober I was drunk 99.9% of the time ( and shooting dope when ever I could). I was out for # 1. I did not believe God or what ever you want to call him, was there. I didn't work the AA program until I was over a year sober.

I was utterly miserable. I never relapsed that first year or used the excuse it doesn't work. The point is it works when you work it. I thought in the beginning I could do it my way. I was just as screwed up clean as I was drunk. That is because I sat on my butt. I did just enough to get by. That my friend was my life story. But, getting by was not cutting it.

When did will power ever stop me from anything. My self-will got me exactly to AA . When I worked the steps of AA (progress not perfection) my life changed. I do not live my life in fear, hatred, despair and obsession. I will never have to be alone again.

KB Cliff, I have found that I never stand higher than when I am on my knees! As Alex has said: Some of us need a crutch. I do, and my crutch is Jesus. I'm just glad that you can recover by supporting yourself. More power to you, but as you say: What works for one doesn't work for all. Let's all keep an open mind and a closed bottle.

Tommy B I would like to thank everyone in this forum for their generally civilized and intelligent discussion of the various methods of recovery available for alcohol and other drug addiction. The open discourse in this forum is both refreshing and vital to exposing those in need of help to the broadest array of options available to them.

Unfortunately, on other forums on other services and networks, such discussion is tragically restricted, segregated from appropriately labeled forums, or just simply prohibited. As you can guess from my "subject label" I have used RR to remain sober and to improve my life for more than five years, and I am quite thankful that I was finally able to discover it despite the lack of dissemination of information regarding alternatives to the well-established 12 step programs.

By living the example, I have come to know what is true for myself and what is necessary to make my life work in sobriety; and I have discovered that the most important thing about helping others with the problem of alcohol and other drug addictions is to help them find the path that works best for them individually (just as any other "treatment" would be applied) whether it be RR, SOS, WFS/MFS, or a 12-Step Group. I sincerely hope that this developing pluralism in addictions treatment represents the path of the future. Thank-you for facilitating this. >>KB: "It works and it works for millions. That is the great fact."

I, too, am tired of the lies and exaggerated claims made about AA's success rate. Why don't you people just admit the truth? AA has a horrible rate of recidivism.

"Oh, those people just didn't work the program properly!"

Yeah, right! Thanks KB for your message. I work a 12 Step Program for a different addiction but the message is the same. After 18 years in the program and in and out of many relapses, I have completely day at a time. Your message say's a lot for me today.

Thanks. >>KB: "Now, because it did not work for you;(you say it is uncovering the truth, I call it bashing) why overtly try to discredit."

I guess you didn't read my posts very carefully. What I said was that AA would not even HAVE me -- according to its own "Big Book." Why should I stick up for AA?

>>KB: "I get so tired of the lame old excuses"

I don't think being given the wrong information is a lame excuse.

Three hundred years ago, millions died because most people thought infection was caused by demons or was a punishment from "God." (In other words, infection was a "spiritual disease.") With no knowledge of antibiotics, they sent for the cleric or they told us to pray. We had the wrong information about micro-organisms and infectious diseases. Would you call this a lame old excuse for letting millions of people die?

In the same way, myself and my people (atheists and humanists get drunk too) were told that AA is the only program available and to "Work the Steps or Die!" and that "I can't; He can; better let Him!" The people who knew about addiction and recovery told us that "medicine, religion, and psychiatry" don't work, so we'd better go to "the last house on the block." When we asked if somebody might be able to stay quit though sheer willpower, the people in recovery laughed out loud.

Now, I watch people recover on their own every week. In fact, I spend about 20 hours each week -- without pay -- helping people perform this non-miracle on themselves.

>>KB: "It works and it works for millions. That is the great fact."

According to the AA paper Comments on AA's Triennial Surveys (1990; New York: AA World Services), of every one hundred (100) people who joined AA on this day last year, only five (5) are still in AA today. Five percent! What pitiful numbers! This "great fact" comes straight from AA's World Services.

When I was on the Board of the NA Office in Portland, Oregon, we sold bag after bag of white, "Welcome To NA" newcomer chips and sold very few nine-month or one-year commemorative chips. Our stock of "Welcome" chips fit into about twenty zip-lock sandwich bags; our entire stock of year coins -- for all the years put together -- left plenty of room in one zip-lock. Gee! Where are all those newcomers going if the program is so effective? Just think about how many people didn't stick around.

No. AA works for a small handful of people; however, for their sake, I not only endorse AA's need to exist, I regularly donate money to NA and occasionally attend NA meetings (much to the chagrin of many NA fundamentalists). You are all invited to attend my 7th NA anniversary at the Rush Hour NA Group in Portland, Oregon on September 25th, 1995. I will celebrate, with my newer friends, the fact that I was finally able to stop taking drugs. I would call my old friends, too, but they're all dead. For them, I will go home and play records and cry. They're dead, I believe, because they didn't know any better.

>>KB: "The point is It works when you work it."

My point is that in order to work it we atheists must lie to ourselves and say that we believe in "God" -- when we actually think that all serious talk of "God" and the supernatural is offensive hooey and is pure baloney.

How, then, can people like us work the Twelve Steps? We can't. We are on our own. When they told us that nothing else works because alcoholics have a disease which makes them unable to control themselves, we believed them.

What would you do?

Religious people have absolutely no idea -- no clue -- just how absurd the average AA monologue sounds to an atheist. Atheists put the "God" stories in the same category that most people place the Santa Claus myth, with one exception: nobody ever slaughtered people en masse in the name of Santa.

Yes. Spirituality works when you work it; I cannot deny this fact. People have done some truly astonishing things as the result of diligently working their religious principles -- things they would never have been able to bring themselves to do under their own power. I was at the international convention in San Diego. Over 60,000 drunks filled Jack Murphy Stadium. Most were not New Comers. Every corner in that city you would look and see a sober drunk. The few and I mean few that could afford to come or had the time or even knew about it were there. This convention is growing at such a rate that it won't be able to be housed at a stadium in the near future. I saw the success rate in action . I wish people would talk about what helps them in recovery instead of bashing the programs. I would love to hear about RR, I don't know how you all do your program, but all I hear is blah, blah, blah. I am in Al-Anon. For me this program works. I read the literature, have a sponsor, go to meetings, do service work and work the steps. Keep me pretty darn busy and keeps the focus on myself. I would like to hear what helps everyone in recovery. What a great way to grow, to hear from others and other groups. Maybe we could all benefit.

LJ I am really enjoying these readings. I too am in a 12 Step Program, Overeaters Anonymous. I have been in the program for 18 years. I wish I could say all abstinent years, but I am free of my addictive substances today by the grace of my HP and the fellowship. I too have seen the newcomers come and go. Many worked the program for awhile and then left. I have to keep my eyes on my recovery and just put one foot in front of the other every day. I too read my literature, especially the Big Book of AA, make calls especially to my sponsor, go to meetings, call the newcomers, and just try to do for others what has been so freely giving to me. Most of matter what, I don't use and I keep coming back ... one day at a time. Hugs and love ... BA Cliff Walker has written one of his most succinct presentations of his beliefs, philosophy, and perspective. He comes across as bashing and discrediting AA; he is to a certain point. His main problem with AA seems to be it's "religious" stance to the exclusion of atheists. We cannot disagree that AA is a religious or spiritual program. My belief and experience is that this is a necessary component of recovery. My experience is that it works for a lot of people. I wish Cliff was not an atheist. I wish he would come to the point where he believed in God. However, I can't change him and I can't work his recovery for him.

Cliff -- what is RR's success rate?

Cliff states that he endorses AA's need for existence. He says AA works for "a handful" -- I believe its more than that (much more!). However, he sees AA as valid and helpful for those people who are not atheists or agnostics. He even states that spirituality works and he can't deny that fact. (Cliff -- I can't believe you admitted that publicly?!) Can't we leave it at that?! I can't comprehend being an atheist anymore than he can comprehend Christianity or God. KB -- 

I think that this convention was great. I'm glad it happened. However, what was your point? Do you know if everyone of these 60,000 "drunks" was in AA? Could it be possible that some may have been in other recovery programs? I'm sure that most were not newcomers. However, do you know the rate of relapse for alcoholism? If I have 25% of the clients who go through my treatment program who do not relapse, I feel very successful. Relapse is a part of recovery!! >>LJ: "I would love to hear about RR, I don't know how you all do your program, but all I hear is blah, blah, blah."

I don't believe you. I have posted intricate, positive descriptions of the Rational Recovery program and how to work it on this forum beginning in May, 1995 (scroll back and see). I have offered an RR-flavored "spin" on several issues that have been discussed here. (Again, scroll back to May, 1995 and look for posts by Cliff Walker; if anything, I have said too much about RR on this forum. I now try to talk more about me.) I have responded to questions, to criticism, to gross misrepresentations, and to personal attacks on my character. Ken and I engaged in a lengthy and somewhat cordial debate on the disease model. The vicious personal attacks had subsided for a while (after [the Online Service's overly sensitive censorship cops] became involved) but a milder form of them seems to be back. And so am I.

Briefly, Alcoholics Anonymous is a Support Group that seeks to rescue you from yourself. Rational Recovery is a Self-Help program that points you to yourself as the solution to your problems. If you want to read more, you can scroll back to [a date earlier in the folder] and read my flyer "Rational Recovery Self-Help Meetings." You can also e-mail me at [] or you can e-mail our founder, Jack Trimpey, at I have most of my good stuff on ASCII.TXT files that you can download and read. Just ask and I will be more than happy to respond (but please be respectful of my dignity and my privacy).

>>LJ: "I wish people would talk about what helps them in recovery instead of bashing the programs."

How does what you say I do differ from what you are doing? Are you criticizing my actions here by saying that I bash other programs? In this sense, aren't you bashing the program I work (a central component of which involves challenging any nonsense which poses itself as fact)? So what is the difference between my criticism of AA and your criticism of my actions? So it's called "bashing" when I criticize AA, but it's something more noble and more benign when somebody takes on a so-called AA basher?

Many, many people told me that AA is the only way to get clean and sober, but I now know of other programs that work at least as effectively as AA. People told me that anybody can fit into the AA program, but my experience is that I didn't fit in to AA -- as the AA program is defined in AA's literature. People told me that AA has a wonderfully high success rate, but my experience and my observations and several studies I have read dispute these claims. Should I then shut up about it simply because somebody might become offended? I don't think so.

If pointing out the truth when I hear falsehood is wrong, if defending my integrity against personal attack is wrong, if vindicating my statements against misrepresentation is wrong, if taking on a sacred cow (which has, until recently, escaped scrutiny) is wrong, then we are all in very deep trouble.

>>LJ: "... talk about what helps [you] in recovery ..."

What helped me in recovery was when somebody finally pointed out to me that the Twelve Step programs (the only game in town at the time) are not what they're cracked up to be and are not telling us the truth. Now I no longer have to be miserable, believing that I must continue to attend those damn meetings for the rest of my life -- lest I somehow get loaded again.

In the Twelve Step community, I was considered a threat and a villain and a sicko and "in denial." Where I am today, I am respected as a hard-working, honest, dedicated man and, at times, somewhat of a hero. What helped me in my recovery was to see that in either case, I am still me and I still have dignity. In this Great Experiment of group consciousness known as AA we cannot maintain our separatist, tunnel-like, point of view and at the same time understand the deeper more absorbing implications of the process of re-orienting and reforging our lives. We are infants, most of us, in the simple basics of communication and the concept of harmlessness as a virtue.

And of course a lot of us are barricaded in unresolved resentments. With such distorted angles of perception we approach each other seeking to make an undefined but deeply needed contact. If only we can remember when we are harmful to one another we again become prisoners. Separated. Nothing can come in to us and nothing can flow out to the greater group reservoir of wisdom that teaches us to distinguish within ourselves that which is human and that which is or could be divine. Well Cliff, Thanks for sharing. I have not been on this bulletin board for long and I was not on it in May. I don't feel the need to explain or defend what I wrote. I am glad that we have both found a program that helps us.

Good luck to you.

LJ KB, Please, please don't misunderstand me. I am pro-AA/NA. I believe in the program. I know it works. I attend meetings and send my clients to AA/NA. I also agree with their spiritual philosophy and stance. I believe in God.

However, I also know that it does not work for everyone. I am open to the possibility that some can get sober without it and some may need another recovery program. I can also understand how a true atheist (and not willing to change) would have great difficulty with AA. RR and other programs have much to offer. I have attended wonderful AA meetings and bad AA meetings. The relapse rate for addiction, whatever the method used to recover, is terrible. AA/NA is good, but, it's not the only choice. You were exactly right when you said "There is bad AA as there is good AA." It's like anything else -- if you don't like the meeting (or doctor, or therapist, or dentist, or whatever) then find a better one. Don't give up on AA because of one bad meeting.

You state "I am lucky that I had the loving and caring people about me." I am convinced that recovery is like life -- it is so much better when you surround yourself with loving and caring people. We truly are who we chose to associate with.