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Rebut to “Addiction Expert’s” Rant on Alcoholics Anonymous

anonymous figure of man

According to addiction expert Stanton Peele, there’s a dangerous organization that has the entire world’s safety in jeopardy. This organization is comprised of men and women from all races and creeds, rich and poor and is coming to a town near you! In fact, you may already be living right next door to one of their secret meeting hide outs. Their goals are to be happy joyous and free, to help those in trouble, and to mend relationships from the past in order to live a full and happy life free from drugs and alcohol. The organization costs no money and has no rules or regulations, and no leader. What’s even more frightening is that you may work with a member or even have one in your family! They like to remain anonymous to practice humility. Yes, the thing that Stanton Peele believes to be the end of civilization is none other than Alcoholics Anonymous.

In the spirit of the AA program I wish to remain anonymous. I am not a spokesperson nor do I have a personal vendetta against Mr. Peele, I just wish to share my opinion as it relates to my real life experience in AA. Recently Stanton Peele posted an article on The Huffington Post explaining his top four reasons Alcoholics Anonymous is dangerous for societies. Again, just so were clear, were talking about an organization that costs the government no money and works to practice love and tolerance.

The first argument that Peele makes is that “AA denies reality”. What he means is that AA falsely promotes the idea that alcoholism is a fatal, progressive disease and that abstinence is the only way for alcoholics to recover. According to Stanton from a previous Huffington Post article entitled On Campus Recovery Programs: Friend or Foe, this program of recovery is harmful to young people as “they busy themselves with sober activities and surround themselves with fellow recovering students.” We all know how much parents hate when their kids aren’t binge drinking and stealing from Mom’s purse to buy more crack!

In the same article Peele goes on to liken the fellowship of AA to the 1953 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, comparing us to a group of emotionless pods “programmed to the same source”. I’m pretty confident my emotions were intact the last time I got my period and felt like lighting my boyfriend’s hair on fire. Peele’s ominous warning of AA’s becoming reliant on the same “source” aka Higher Power sure is funny, considering that the Higher Power I chose wears a pink feather boa and is basically a Drag Queen. That’s right, the group that’s “ruining the world” lets you pick any Higher Power you want.

In Peele’s Huffington Post article titled AA is Ruining the World, his second argument states that AA has a distorted sense of our success rate. I don’t know about numbers, but from what I’ve seen in the several years I’ve been sober are happy, healthy people with decades of sobriety. I have also seen the hopeless dope fiends wander in and find themselves one year later, fresh faced, smiling and helping crops of newly sober addicts and alcoholics. I’ve seen relationships healed, inner demons confronted, debts paid and plenty of laughter and late night coffee. That seems pretty successful doesn’t it? Peele goes on to say that AA’s alienate those that relapse or choose to leave the program, that we even wish for their failure and demise. I would like Mr. Peele to know that when one of my girlfriends died of an alcohol and drug overdose after her relapse last year, that it was the last thing myself, or any of our friends had wished for while we were crying at her funeral. In terms of the lucky ones, the returnees, I have never once seen an AA member shame them for relapsing. In fact, returnees to the program are always met with hugs, coffee, and a “we’re glad you’re here”.

Stanton Peele’s third argument against AA is its apparent refusal to accept other approaches of recovery from alcoholism. If Peele had taken the time to read the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous he might find that our literature does not wish to hammer opinions into anyone’s head and even says in Chapter Three that “if any alcoholic can do the right about face and control his drinking than our hats are off to him”. The AA program also believes in seeking outside help from doctors and therapists if it will help us with our recovery. Our literature emphasizes and reemphasizes our separation from radical zealous thinking. All we wish to offer is experience, strength and hope.

Peele’s fourth argument makes the assumption that Alcoholics Anonymous believes alcohol to be evil and that no one can control their drinking. He disagrees with complete abstinence of drugs and alcohol and even goes on to say that this “black and white thinking” leads to more alcohol abuse. Again, if Peele had read some of our literature before writing his article he may have a more clear understanding of the difference between alcoholics, hard drinkers and normal drinkers. Alcoholics have lost the ability to control their drinking and through experience of trying to stop or moderate on our own we have found that complete abstinence is the most effective method of recovery. Why physical sobriety is a threat to Peele is beyond me. There are plenty of people in the world that don’t need AA in order to quit drinking, we don’t necessarily qualify all people that drink to excess as alcoholics. It is simply designed for the problem drinker that finds he or she cannot stop on their own. There are also plenty of people that never have alcohol abuse problems and can drink socially without any problems. We in AA are very aware of these types of drinkers. We have no grudge against them and do not wish to make the world sober. Our only “job” here in AA is to get honest with ourselves and with others, repair the damage we have done and accept the help of the generous loving hand of the fellowship to ensure sobriety one day at a time. Is that so much to ask for, Mr. Peele?

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Filed under: Addiction, Latest News, Recovery, Treatment · Tags: 12 step meetings, 12 step program, Alcohol Abuse, Alcohol Addiction, alcohol rehab, alcohol treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholics anonymous meetings, alcoholism, alcoholism treatment, drug addiction, drug rehab, drug treatment, treatment for alcohol addiction

37 Responses to "Rebut to “Addiction Expert’s” Rant on Alcoholics Anonymous"

  1. raysny says:

    You misrepresent every one of Peele’s arguments based solely on your beliefs, disregarding fact.

    #1 The NIAAA’s 2001–2002 National Epidemiolo­gic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewe­d over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:
    * Twenty years after onset of alcohol dependence, about three-fourths of individuals are in full recovery; more than half of those who have fully recovered drink at low-risk levels without symptoms of alcohol dependence.
    * About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment.

    #2 AA does not improve on the rate of natural recovery while raising the mortality rate, that was found by George Vaillant, former Harvard professor. researcher, and AA Trustee. He set out to prove that AA works, ran the largest study of his day. He said of his findings: “Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling.”

    #3 Taking one statement out of the literature while ignoring all the parts where Wilson guarantees death to those who do not follow the program is cherry picking.

    “Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant.
    Twelve and Twelve, pg 174)

    The AA member has to conform to the principles of recovery. His life
    actually depends upon obedience to spiritual principles. If he deviates
    too far, the penalty is sure and swift; he sickens and dies. At first
    he goes along because he must, but later he discovers a way of life he
    really wants to live. Moreover, he finds he cannot keep this priceless
    gift unless he gives it away. Neither he nor anybody else can survive
    unless he carries the AA message.” (Twelve and Twelve, Tradition One,
    pg. 130)

    Those are pretty definite statements. And it’s not just the literature, any talk of other methods, including methods shown to have better success rates are loudly dismissed by AA members.

    #4 Again see the finding of the NIAAA’s 2001–2002 National Epidemiolo­gic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The word ‘alcoholic’ has been claimed by AA to mean only what AA wants it to mean, the term “alcohol dependent” is much clearer, with an actual definition.

  2. Gene says:

    What`s this? An AA member actually engaging in…controversy? Omy”God”… as we fucking understand Her!! Aren`t you afraid you`ll slip?! I might be back, but for now let me just say that AA BORES me to death. And I RESENT you people trying to terrorise drinkers into BELEIVING or DYING, as Bill does in the Big Book.Fuck you.


  3. Farquar The Quail says:

    I’ve no idea exactly why Stanton is producing (with an unnamed little helper) this late flurry of posts, but I suspect it’s related to being dumped by the only treatment center who thought for a while his ideas had merit. He’s much like a jilted teen on the rebound, looking for anyone to validate his unique and ridiculous viewpoints.

    Who in their right mind would consider their point proven because Pat Ö’hare wrote that he never saw a drunk in Rome?

    On the plus side, Stanton is always good for a laugh. As long as no organization is willing to pay him for his ‘program’ it appears this self promotion craze of his will continue. To think that Pat O’Hare may become a contining authority in Stan’s future rants…poor man.

  4. Ironic says:

    I’m sure Stanton Peele has read all of your “literature,” and here is a newsflash for ya. Bill W. was not a doctor. Stanton Peele is. Bill W.’s radical faith healing nonsense has nothing to do with medical science. In fact, studies have continually proven 12 Step “treatment” to be largely ineffective.

    You should check out the Orange Papers.

  5. Mona Lisa says:

    Wow, this sounds like exactly the scolding I got when I started questioning the AA: the Perfect Program for Imperfect People! Why are 12 step proponents so thin-skinned? If you are so confident, why the defensiveness?

    Anyway, one thing I find very, very interesting here is the story about the girlfriend’s death. I will bet–real money–that at her funeral, someone from the program said (possibly right in front of the the family): “some must die so that others can live”.

  6. Stein says:

    The only thing that bothers me about Stanton, and frankly about some of the comments, is the absolute intolerance from those who are claiming AA’s intolerance. Look, AA works for some people. AA certainly doesn’t work for others. There are a whole host of treatment options out there, all of them professing to be the best or only way to get sober.

    “raysny” makes some very good points. Most people who qualify as “alcohol dependent” based on the DSM-IV, can and most certainly will recover without the help of any specialty program. I do certainly believe that people go through phases of drinking and drugging in life and can simply straighten out. But it is also true, based on the 13% that get specialty treatment, some people need more help to get out of the cycle. There are many who go into the program of AA who do not need to be there, there are also many who do not find the program helpful whatsoever (as evidenced by some of the comments). I think the best point “raysny” makes is about the differences in the individual diagnosis, and I think that much of the energy here bashing AA could be much better spent debating how and why doctors, insurance companies, and rehabilitation facilities habitually over-diagnose people.

    I am not one of those that will scorn people who do not believe in AA. At the meeting I attend weekly, you will hear many different views of AA, of what has and hasn’t worked for people. If it’s not for you, that’s great, I hope that you have found what works, or that you have found that absolute sobriety just isn’t your cup of tea, and you are happy with your decision. There are many who find the program helpful and some, myself included, who feel that the support network and the bonds created with people struggling with the same thing I am has saved my life.

    I’m always up for a good debate, but be careful when using broad strokes to paint all of us in AA as tea-toddling bible bangers. That’s when you start losing credibility. Most of us are just like the rest of you, just trying to find our own path in the world. This happens to be the path that I feel most comfortable walking.

  7. Kevin B says:

    Sounds like someone could use a meeting!

  8. Anonymous Author says:

    Thank you all for reading. For the record it was not my intention to belittle anyone’s take on recovery. I simply wanted to clear up some misconceptions based on my own sober experience in the program. The numbers and statistics of sober drunks in AA wasn’t something I was debating, rather the idea that AA is ruining the world. In terms of facts vs. beliefs, yes, these are my beliefs, I believe in the program of AA, and I was writing about my experience. I have plenty of friends who have chosen to get sober without the aid of AA. I have never belittled them or questioned their choice.

    The purpose of this article was not to “convert” anyone to my recovery method of choice but rather to pose the question of why does someone bristle with hostility at this organization? It seems to be a hot button topic for a lot of people, and Mr. Peele’s article interested me.

    As for the poster that commented about my girlfriend’s funeral, yes I have heard people make that comment before about “dying so others can live” but I can’t recall anyone saying that at her funeral.

    For the poster talking about Bill’s lack of credibility, yes, you are right, he was NOT a doctor. He was a drunk that got sober. We in AA believe that we can recover by sharing our experience with other alcoholics. We also do not discredit doctors, psychs and therapists (I have all three). I make use of what others have to offer and try to keep an open mind.

    Thanks again for reading.

  9. Tony G says:

    AA is free and lasts a lifetime. Stanley Steele’s books cost $ and last about 300 pages.

    1. ez says:

      Oh yay, AA is free! Tony, ever hear the old saying, you get what you pay for?

  10. Mona Lisa says:

    I had to respond to Stein’s comment that: “There are a whole host of treatment options out there, all of them professing to be the best or only way to get sober.”

    Actually, in my experience AA is the only recovery pathway that claims it is the best or only way to get sober. During my years (9) in the rooms I continually heard “It’s AA or jails, institutions and death”–that’s a very common slogan, as anyone who has spent any time in the rooms knows. And this attitude comes directly from the AA literature:

    “Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant.”
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 174.

    “To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.
    The Big Book, page 44.

    Whereas non-12-step support groups, such as SMART Recovery, take an entirely different tone, as this quote from the SMART Recovery website suggests:

    “Q. Is SMART Recovery® as effective as AA?

    From a scientific perspective, the effectiveness of all support groups for addictive behavior is unproven. The only way to answer that question is to attend meetings from all available groups, and reach a personal conclusion about the best approach to recovery.”

    AA certainly deserves a place in the array of recovery options available to a person who desires to learn to abstain from alcohol. However, AA does not deserve a monopoly, and it has had one–for too long.

  11. Gene says:

    To be fair, and to complement my first post here: I have to admit that the title of this article by Peele , that AA is RUINING the world, is a disgraceful exageration. Given a chance to influence public opinion on the high profile Huffington Post, it seems he blew it just with the title. Also, saying that some AA’s might even wish for the deaths of those who are still drinking is even more disgraceful. I never heard it happen. Rather it was the opposite: the rare times anything real happenned in AA was when someone died, and there was genuine sadness. Otherwise it was their same superficial emotional bullshit.

  12. Stein says:

    Mona Lisa, although I agree with you that some of the draconian and cryptic passages from AA reading are enough to make even me, a devout AA member, want to puke.

    I just took a visit to the SMART Recovery website, and the first line is:

    “SMART Recovery® is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Our participants learn tools for recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a world-wide community which includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups.”

    Seems to me that SMART Recovery is claiming to be the “leading” program of some kind.

    Oh, and Malibu Horizons also claims to be the “best” non 12-step program just a few inches down the page.

    I guess you can nit-pick at what I said all you want, but you conveniently ignore the basis of what I was getting at. AA works for me. AA works for thousands, if not millions, of others. Maybe one day we will look back and scoff at the fools we were in AA because SMART’s 4-step program is clinically proven to be the best. And maybe, just maybe, a 7-minute ab workout will get me just as in shape as the original 8-minute abs. Or, 6-minutes actually is the magic number.

    If AA isn’t your particular brand of vodka, then do SMART Recovery, or go to church, or do whatever it is that makes you happy, and might even make you a productive member of society if that’s what your goal is. Either way, don’t try to come at me with your Q & A session from 6 pages deep in the SMART website, when they are clearly touting themselves as the best… just like everybody else… including AA.

  13. DannyB II says:

    Many of you above claim that (AA GSO/NYC) says, “Our AA Program Is The Only Way to Get Sober”. Can you please cite where this is written, this is a false statement and I believe folks like Mona Lisa actually know this. I have read many of your comments on various threads Mona Lisa and you constantly defend your experience with AA as being almost expert.
    What I can’t understand then is why you can not tell the difference between what people at a AA meeting say out in the parking lot and what the Big Book, Literature and GSO/NYC say concerning AA.
    Why you feel that distorting the facts will somehow help your point.
    The Anti-AA people seem to think they have to hate AA and discredit everything about AA in order to prove that it did not work for them.
    I say, “no you do not”. AA was not expected to work for everyone. Which is why Church still reins supreme choice for most addicts and alcoholics.
    BTW, If you really believe Stanton is a Doctor that can professionally help the addiction industry, well then we really do have more problems here then we think. I really do not mean this in a horrible way just stating my opinion.

  14. Gene says:

    Gene says Here’ s a truthful quote by Freud about religion that I have always liked. Choke on this Doctor Bob, you idiot ! :

    •” Religion is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life. It is still more humiliating to discover how a large number of people living today, who cannot but see that this religion is not tenable, nevertheless try to defend it piece by piece in a series of pitiful rearguard actions.”

    I like that shit about ” pitiful rearguard actions “. Exactly AA, destined to eventually disappear!!

  15. Gene says:

    “To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.”
    The Big Book, page 44

    I am so glad MonaLisa pointed out ,just above ,what I consider the most vile utterance in all AA literature. Imagine trying to terrorise people into beleiving in God. No other sentence in all the AA literature can provoke me into such a fury of indignation. And it`s all done with a big smile of “tolerance`and “love”.

    Hey , let me tell the real reason these AA scummos need these terror tactics: they need to know others beleive like them so they can form a nice warm conformist herd. Anyone deviating from the strity AA norms threathens this loving God illusion, and may create doubt and despair, which might make these creepy weirdos drink. And let us not be fooled (as I was for so many yeras) that the apparent AA openness to various Higher Powers is some indication of broadmindedness. The facts are that most AAs beleive in the same kind of God, and if you talk about God in any other but the AA way, 99% of the people tune out. That is what the truth is. Anyone contesting any AA dogma like that alcoholism is a disease, is similarly tuned out. So don`t give us this crap, Anonymous, that you peope are just so open-minded. You all are boring, and make me sick. You don`t think for yourselves, you rarely have anything honest to say, this happiness, joy and freedom so many of you apparently live is total bullshit.


  16. Anonymous Author says:

    Again, Gene, not arguing that other ways may work for other people. This is what has worked for me. My life is rich, full, and joyful. I don’t know about others, but I have no worry or despair over people not believing in god. That’s not the oppressive kind of world I want to live in. It seems as though you’ve found a way that works for you, and there’s no hard feelings coming from me. I don’t want to fight, this is my own personal choice for myself. I love my life today.

    Love, Anonymous

  17. Stein says:

    Anyone else find it interesting which side of this debate those that are lashing out at people who don’t believe what they believe in fall on?

  18. Mona Lisa says:

    “I guess you can nit-pick at what I said all you want, but you conveniently ignore the basis of what I was getting at. AA works for me.”

    I understand that AA works for you. And that is fine. What is NOT fine–as Stanton points out in his essay–is that the monopoly AA has enjoyed for decades on addiction treatment is not warranted, nor is it in the best interests of those for whom AA does NOT work.

    As far as your dislike of what I have to say, I stand behind every word of it. I understand that, since I am an apostate, a one-time True Believer like you, I am particularly threatening. I have seen behind the screen and cannot be dismissed with the usual “you don’t understand because you’re not an alcoholic”, or “you’ve never tried AA so you don’t know what you’re talking about”. I understand all too well.

  19. Bodacious B says:

    I have been in the AA program for several years, and I just have to say I do not follow the program to a T, I have not completed all of my steps, I don’t listen to what everyone has to say, my connection with a higher power isn’t the greatest. And guess what? I’m still sober, still happy, and people in the program like and respect me.

    According to you guys, If I’m not doing AA as it’s layed out perfectly people should be turning their back on me, lecturing me and not liking me and sending me off to exile. lol

    Guess what that just isn’t the case. And that’s because people can work their program any way they want to. What works for some people might not work for others. And most people respect that (of course there are the exceptions). I take what I like and if I don’t want to do something, I usually don’t do it! lol. It’s not as black and white as you all make it out to be.

  20. Farquar The Quail says:

    I confess to being surprised by the venom exhibited by those who deny AA works, and that it hasn’t helped millions through the years, and that AAs are terrible and stupid and dangerous and deluded. The language many use would cause most people to step back in amazement and wonder what’s wrong with these individuals to get so hot about others getting great results from something these severely irritable people don’t care to do.

    How small minded would I need to be to spend years (check raysny’s 5 years of continual AA bashing though Google) running down another recovery program?

    If you hate AA and it’s members and it’s program for recovery…I can easily solve your ongoing problem for you…don’t go. You’ll be much happier and can devote your energies to things that you possibly can have an effect on. Something tells me many in this comment section have needs that are currently NOT well addressed.

    Gene, it’s obvious you’re still drinking and pretty nuts. Why not do something for your health and betterment? Given the choice between a sober Doctor and a drunken fool, which do you suppose is the bigger idiot?

  21. Stein says:

    Mona Lisa, maybe… just maybe… the reason that AA has enjoyed a monopoly over the past decades is because it works, and because people get good results, and other people see those results and go to a meeting.

    I am not particularly threatened by anyone who questions if AA works, or even more important if it works for them. Especially someone who has been there. I think you add a great voice to a conversation that most certainly should be had… what will work for each individual.

    What I don’t think you add is much credibility to the debate. You continually bash AA and the members of AA for things that most people would say do not happen. Those that are in or out of AA, one time members or not. Your personal experience with AA was obviously not a good one, but that’s on the people that you interacted with, not AA as a whole. I’ve been to shitty AA meetings. In fact, there’s a meeting here in Minneapolis that is notorious for the type of behavior that you are talking about. But, instead of playing the poor me card, I moved on and tried another meeting. Had that not worked, I probably would have tried something different. Or maybe I would have kept drinking, who knows. But taking it out on the institution as a whole because it didn’t fit my way of looking at the world… i have a few better things to do with my life.

    Maybe 4H is actually the downfall of the world. Or maybe it’s Catholic Charities or the Red Cross. Oooh, you know who really has it out for the rest of us, the Salvation Army. You wouldn’t even believe it, I tried to donate some clothes the other day and they are only open on Tuesdays. Corporate animals.

  22. Gene says:

    Farquar The Quail: I RESENT your insult, but at least you have revealed some of your dark side , that the average passive-aggressive AA hypocrite never dares reveal for fear of alienating his fellow members of the AA herd who would look askance at such “unspiritual” aggression towards a person like me who apparently is “PRETTY NUTS”….and of alienating his or her own image of themselves as being such a saint, and so supportive of all ailing hard drinkers and alcoholics no matter how low they have fallen or how NUTS they are.So fuck the hell off and crawl back to your AA rathole, and “pray” there for me, NUTS , drink, and deluded as I am .

    Anonymous Author:

    You say your life is “rich, full, and joyful”. Stop lying to us and yourself. You sound spaced out and deluded, lioke a spiritual robot. Watch it: don`t float away up to the ozone layer…Of course, like a good Ghandian AA , you also express a wish not to want to fight: typical AA evasion. That`s AA for you: avoid *CONTROVERSY*, be “spiritual”, and crawl back to your fellow AA saints to mutually reinforce your warped views of the world and convince yourselves you have The Answer, if only the deluded NUTS people like me would only listen.Then go home alone and pray for your sorry yourself and all the other sorry and deluded people who just don`t get it like you do! You, who are HAPPY JOYOUS AND FREE!!! Whoppee!!

  23. raysny says:

    @Farquar The Quail

    I wrote this more five years ago, I had alread been at it 5 years:

    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, every 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:

    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 than 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?

  24. Anonymous Author says:

    @Raysny: I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Thankfully you found a method of recovery that worked for you. Its also unfortunate that some people in AA are anti medication. Here in Los Angeles that is not the case at all. In every community there’s bound to be some weirdos. That’s just life.

    @Gene: Oh Gene! I know you think I’m silly and deluded. That’s cool. I’m not going to defend the quality of my life to you considering you’re technically just a bunch of words across a computer screen….and so am I to you. So making assumptions about my life and about your life would seem quite presumptuous wouldn’t it? I just don’t get why someone else being happy makes you so angry. Relax, its a debate over the internet.

  25. Gene says:

    Raysny is so correct in asserting that AA wants you to convert. It took me years to get that because they are so sneeky about it. I too thought there would be room for atheists and agnostics in AA ,but there is not. Take , for example, the story of that dude in one of the chapters of the 12 Steps and 12 traditions book. He was an atheist, drove other AA memebers crazy with that, they tried to be tolerant, they reject him, he ends up alone drunk, abandoned, in a grimy hotel room. On the verge of dying, he reads the Gideon Bible, and gets it! He beleives!!…and survives. But that AA book does not come out and say overtly :BELEIVE OR DIE! But that is what is implied; a terror tactic. Typical AA subterguge, indirection, and sneeky attempts to convert the desperate and alone. Shame on you , you AA motherfuckers!!

  26. Gene says:


    You are lying to us about yourself. No one who had a friend die of an overdose is HAPPEEE JOYOUS AND FREEEEE!!!

  27. Anonymous Author says:

    well this AA motherfucker is a technically a Jew. haha. never been to church in my life and I’ve never read the bible. don’t even go to temple. I’m also a crazy liberal. a former model and now professional writer. I’m a person on planet earth just like you, just trying to get by like the rest of us. Hope that doesn’t scare you.

    For the love of Moses, Gene, I’m not asking you to convert.

  28. Gene says:

    Interesting how some of the great minds of over 200 years ago saw through all this religious…oh scuse me…”Spiritual” bullshit . Thus:

    Quotes now from D’Holbach, a great philosopher of the French Enlightenement. The masses and AA and tutti quanti still have not caught up 200 years later:

    :•Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under diverse names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty. –

    •If we look back at the begining we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned or disfigured them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them; and that custom, respect and tyranny support them, in order to make the blindness of man serve their own interest. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to Gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.

    •Religion has ever filled the mind of man with darkness, and kept him in ignorance of his real duties and true interests. It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of Religion, that we shall discover Truth, Reason, and Morality. Religion diverts us from the causes of evils, and from the remedies which nature prescribes; far from curing, it only aggravates, multiplies, and perpetuates them.

    •All religions are ancient monuments to superstitions, ignorance, ferocity; and modern religions are only ancient follies rejuvenated.

    •When we examine the opinions of men, we find that nothing is more uncommon, than common sense; or, in other words, they lack judgment to discover plain truths, or to reject absurdities, and palpable contradictions.

    •If the ignorance of nature gave birth to such a variety of gods, the knowledge of this nature is calculated to destroy them.

    •All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God.

    •It is thus superstition infatuates man from his infancy, fills him with vanity, and enslaves him with fanaticism.

    About Baron d’Holbach

    Baron d’Holbach, Paul-Henri Thiry (1723–1789) was a French author, philosopher and encyclopedist. He was born Paul Heinrich Dietrich in Edesheim, Germany. He is most famous as being one of the first self-described atheists in Europe

  29. Gene says:


    What does you being a Jew have to do with what we are discussing? You may not be asking me to convert (fat fucking chance even if you tried) , but AA, as a whole, wants everyone coming in those doors to convert.

    Wow, a former model..we had our own Top Model in my regular AA groups. Well technically she was not a model, but was dazzling…those long legs , those boobs thrust out there for all to “spiritually “contemplate ,those eyes…hmmmm .Not my style what with all the gunk in her hair, and the excerss makeup, and too preoccupied with her body. Which was weird because what did she have to worry about? She walked in the rooms and heads turned, male imaginations and body parts were fired up… From my last conversation with her, as she was lying in the grass with those long tanned legs wipping up a firestorm within me, our conversation revealed she was growing out of AA, yet she certainly had the Al Anon book she was reading still quite underlined. She is a nice person, with a good heart, and a lot of potential, and even a practising psycho-therapist (big mistake, I would not pay 5 cents to consult her). She is the kind of woman who likes to say ” Oh, that`s so sweet…!”, when something touches her heart. I really love that! She used to jet set around the world with her rich art-selling boyfriend, but no more . Kinda HIGH-MAINTENANCE, you dig? Maybe not anymore. Hard to beleive she drank with a bod like that, a bod more filled out than all those sickly pouty thin models in Vanity Fair.

  30. Anonymous Author says:

    Not trying to brag about my career, Gene, just trying to explain that we’re all unique, I’m no droid. Lets put this thing to rest because its really become quite embarrassing for the both of us that we’ve spent this much time arguing about our lifestyle choices. And you went to the trouble of writing out all those quotations. Cute story though.

  31. Farquar The Quail says:

    Loads of visits from the perpetually upset…you must have really struck some nerves, Anonymous.

    Perhaps we should ask Stanton what Pat O’hare would say about this high degree of agitation on the part of these extremely crude crusaders? Are you as curious as I am to learn if Pat ever saw something like this while in Rome?

    We probably should hurry before AA destroys civilization as we know it.

  32. Gene says:

    Yes, Anonymous, as the “great” Bill W wrote: From now on , we refrain from battling anyone. We just say our piece, and avoid controversy…because WE ARE ABOVE ALL THAT, and WE HAVE THE TRUTH!

    Farquar: Yes, we certainly are the ” perpetually upset”, as opposed to you…the perpetually “serene”. HAHAHAHA. Your “truth ” was so penetrating, so profound…how could a nerve not have been struck in us, lost NUTS souls that we are! lol :)


  33. James says:

    Damn – I’m just amazed at the bitter, hateful and angry comments on both sides of this battle. I do go to AA meetings since they provide me (just me) with a sense of hope that my life can improve. I know for myself (and only myself) that if I drink or drug my life is completely unmanagable. I am one of those who find it impossible to stop after one of anything. I do not believe in “God” so I do not fit into the mainstream of recovery utilizing the AA approach, but I’ve learned to “take what I want” from AA and “leave the rest.” It’s that simple for me. I believe that those who say that AA ruins lives are overstating things quite a bit. If AA (or any other method) keeps someone sober for a day; and in that day they don’t drive drunk and kill someone, don’t shoot their spouse in a drunken rage, don’t relieve themselves on public transportation, don’t humiliate themselves beyond comprehension, don’t get fired (well, you get the point) then whatever method worked for them that day is “the best” system of recovery out there. What’s to debate there?

  34. Gene says:

    Yes James there is some good in AA. And as far as I can tell ,it is mainly from helping extreme drinkers at least survive. In my case, less extreme, it provided a bit of companionship . But beyond superficial companionship these people cannot be trusted. They lie about their serenity and joyfullness like Anonymous above. Once recovered they need to convert others to their point of view, they won’t tolerate other views, even if they profess to be so open. They have fucked over loads of people: you need just go to an anti-AA site called STINKIN THINKIN to read the thousands of pissed off ex-AA people livid at the treament they were subjected to in vulnerable intimate moments especially. BTW, most of us attacking Anonymous are from that site because we found out about Anonymous’ article there (after the Stanton Peele article, which was partly unfair), so we checked it out and justifiably cut loose against her. And we will do it against other AA people again, beleive me. So now that the CONTROVERSY is winding down, and that you supposedly vulnerable alcoholics have not been driven back to the bottle because of the stress of this controversy (as if there were any chance of that; you’re all just ABOVE IT ALL!), you can crawl back to your little meetings and then alone to your little mouseholes, get on your fucking knees, and pray to “God” ,as you fucking understand IT , to make it through another day , and to pray for people like me, who obviously are not as spiritually evolved as you are!!

  35. David says:

    I believe that Dr. Peele believes that AA is ruining the world BECAUSE of the whole paradigm of “disease” as far as alcoholism. As a nation being that 12 step recovery is the new American religion that has replaced most religions, the idea that we are powerless over our lives is causing most of the problems in our country-not only do people who are alcoholics or drug addicts who due to these problems they don’t take responsibility for their issues, now they have a REAL reason to not take responsibility and a perfect copout which is “it’s just my disease”. I am a former AA member(went for about 10 years) and how many people in AA obviously blame not taking responsibility for this problem or that problem in their lives on their “disease”? They get “stark raving sober” when their motorcycle gets a scratch just kicking things and acting like a 12 year old on a temper tantrum until they realize that they are powerless over said situation and then they just “turn it over”(have known people who were sober for 15 years and STILL reacted this way and they were part of the “healthy” crowd). How is that truly taking responsibility for the situation? How about I got angry to that extent because I am not being honest with myself about the fact that I am insecure, never really grew up, am afraid of losing control, etc etc. AA’s do talk about those things but what I propose is this whole “I’m nothing but a sick crazy alcoholic who is powerless over everything” is a BIG part of reacting like that and sometimes it destroys marriages or peoples finances, sometimes it gets people killed or committing suicide. Spend about 3 months with AA and you WILL see it all over the place(even the “healthy” crowd, or clique I should say). No one really wants to take responsibility for anything, but through growing up we learn to and we feel good about it. You take a practicing alcoholic who is emotionally 12 but is 42 and basically give them a license to never take responsibility for themselves and then resorting to emotional blackmail to try and force them into taking responsibility for their lives. Make no mistake, these ideas have had a profound impact on society whether you want to believe that or not. People are drinking themselves to death, they go to the shrink, they get sent to rehab, and rehab sends them to AA making millions in the process. It is the same idea as the pharmaceutical industry, Christiantiy, politicians, etc etc are destroying the world. People can say that a statement such as AA is destroying the world is an over exaggeration, but if you understand WHY he says that then you will probably in the end agree with him.

  36. Desiree says:

    It’s unfortunate how many times I hear people saying how they can’t find an AA program that they like or feel like they can relate to the other attendees. I’m a firm believer in AA because it’s worked for me, as well as other friends and family members in attendance. It works if you let it make its course.

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