The dangers of being involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step groups are numerous. On this site, you’ll find me constantly railing against their self-defeating philosophies and methods, but elsewhere, people are keeping track of the other dangers. I’ve become a daily reader of a fantastic blog called Stinkin-Thinkin – which is written by former AA members, and has a large following of disenchanted AAs. Their Keep Coming Back series of posts does a great job of documenting the many problems inherent in a group with an anonymous anarchic structure, and the many shady characters one could get involved with when attending AA – a place where people seemingly open their souls to each other, something which can make them very vulnerable to the wrong type of person. This brings me to their latest post, about a man who used his influence within AA to scam members out of their life savings – including a 74 yr old AA member. Check out the post here: Keep Coming Back (Bring Your Checkbook)
Here’s what one Stinkin-Thinkin commenter had to say:
I’m sure that organisations like churches and benevolent societies have their share of exploiters and manipulators in their ranks, but aa is purpose made as a hunting ground for predators by virtue of its culture of anonymity and unaccountability.
My advice, us usual, is to stay away from AA. Deal with your substance use problem on your own, you’ll be much better off in the long run. For alternatives to AA and conventional 12-step based treatment programs, check my Find Help Now page.
Also, please don’t miss the irony that if the 12 Steps are followed correctly, and if they worked, they would be a ponzi scheme in and of themselves. The ultimate goal is to stay sober by passing along the message to new members, and that these newbies, which the Big Book of AA admits will probably not get well, are supposed to serve as fuel for your own recovery. That’s the 12th step, and it’s everlasting. If you didn’t have a constant stream of miserable new recruits who lose in the long run, then you would presumably lose your sobriety. It’s absurd, I know, but that’s how it’s taught!