« One idea about two ways to live | Main | like driving a car with wheels that are out of alignment »

May 04, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


That was one of the first things I asked my sponsor about. She told me if it was, it was still better than my life the way I had been living it. I couldn't argue with that!

Jeri  Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

Usually people who say stuff like that are looking to argue a point. Like Leslie said...better than what I had going before. Same goes for people who say brainwashing...my brain needed some scrubbing. If it is a cult, I still haven't figured out what they want, except sharing a message of recovery.


If AA is a cult, it has "indoctrinated" me with sobriety, a great community of supportive friends, and a much-needed new way to approach life. In exchange, I have given up 5-7 hours per week of my time and about 20 bucks a month. Cult or not, that's a pretty good trade in my opinion.

Jayne Dough

Is AA a cult? It's a good, fair & reasonable question. People in AA tend to encourage people to join for a lifetime, speak the same jargon, give up old life for new, hang out mostly with each other, and some become VERY fundamentalist, especially about the literature & dead co-founders.

For those reasons, someone unlearned about cults would have genuine & good reasons to wonder.

My personal favorite resource on the topic is COMBATTING CULT MIND CONTROL, ... Guide to Protection, Rescue & Recovery from Destructive Cults by Steven Hassan.

A few criteria that I remember top of mind why AA doesn't, IMO, fit his criteria are

(a) there is no secret plan, doctrine, text, or riturals the leadership has that they only incrementally let the new initiates know about. The 12 Steps, Traditions, Concepts are open & available for the world to see.

(b) People who join cults tend to become removed from popular culture; for us it was drinking that removed us from society -- the longer we're in AA the MORE likely we are to be good neighbors, citizens, voters, employees, etc.

(c) Cults have specific doctrine decided by 1 individual or council. AA (etc) is very clear: their power structure is a REVERSE pyramid... 1 person, 1 vote, regardless of sobriety time.

Also, just ask any AA who said "my sponsor said I took an antidepressant/ sipped near-bear so now I have to change my sobriety date." What will they be told? "Change your sponsor!" That may or may not be good advice, but it reflects the truth: different sponsors support different opinions and methods. INDIVIDUALITY is opposite of cults.

(d) Certain practices, like "rotation of service," "one person, one vote," "no opinion on outside issues," not telling you what your H.P. should be, discouraging 1 person doing too much service work, and refusing $ contributions over $2,000 per year all are rather anti-cult-like.

Really, it's a good & reasonable question. The fundamentalist people & groups look a bit more cult like, they really do, but that's just one VERSION of AA application. Head out to different meetings and one will eventually find some that support more individuality, knowing that "the proof is in the" quality of recovery, which can take a variety of forms, and that "diversity is our strength" (not a threat).


Three things differentiate us from a cult:

a) We have no charismatic leader;
b) We don't want a significant amount of money; and
c) For the "cult member's" first year, we actively discourage him from having sex with any of us.


I usually say something like

"My initial thoughts too when I was at my first meetings but I then discovered that "No its not a cult".

"But hey don't take my word for it check it out yourself"

Ron Garner

I couldn't believe the title of this post at first glance. I have known many AA members who go on to be incredible sponsors to so many. Talk about a group of dedicated people who don't normally ask for anything in return. Ever known a cult that could ask the same thing, I think not.

Sober Observations

But it has passionate devotees...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad