AA is most definitely a cult. It was founded with the explicitly stated purpose of converting vulnerable people to Christianity. The fact that they backpedaled and substituted "Higher Power" for "God" is a transparent artifice - the verbiage remains clearly Christian, all about "helplessness" and needing supernatural assistance.
"Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us."
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, page 130.
"On awakening, let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
... Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. ... We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely on it.
We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be..."
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, pages 86 to 87.
"In Step Eleven we saw that if a Higher Power had restored us to sanity and had enabled us to live with some peace of mind in a sorely troubled world, then such a Higher Power was worth knowing better, by as direct contact as possible. The persistent use of meditation and prayer, we found, did open the channel so that where there had been a trickle, there now was a river which led to sure power and safe guidance from God as we were increasingly better able to understand Him.
So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name."
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, pages 108-109.
"Of course, the often disputed question of whether God can — and will, under certain conditions — remove defects of character will be answered with a prompt affirmative by almost any A.A. member. To him, this proposition will be no theory at all; it will be just about the largest fact in his life. He will usually offer his proof in a statement like this:
"Sure, I was beaten, absolutely licked. My own willpower just wouldn't work on alcohol. Change of scene, the best efforts of family, friends, doctors, and clergymen got no place with my alcoholism. I simply couldn't stop drinking, and no human being could seem to do the job for me. But when I became willing to clean house and then asked a Higher Power, God as I understood Him, to give me release, my obsession to drink vanished. It was lifted right out of me..."
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 63.
If you want the real information on AA, start here: [www.orange-papers.org
Finally, in Wolf of Wall Street, a book I read on a plane in January, the protagonist joins AA and is instructed to do "90 meetings in 90 days." Notice how similar that recommendation is to "chant for 90 days to see if you like it." It's a cult attempting to get the unsuspecting mark into a cult-oriented habit.
AA is a cult. Steer well clear of it. Not only is it pernicious, it is outright dangerous: AA's own researcher found that AA members were much more likely to DIE within a given time frame than those who had no treatment program at all. And more people in the general public give up drinking on their own than through AA - it appears that AA actively interferes with people's ability to get better. Given AA's focus on helplessness and other such destructive nonsense, this comes as no surprise: [www.orange-papers.org
"Table 8.1 shows our treatment results. After initial discharge, only five patients in the Clinic sample never relapsed to alcoholic drinking, and there is compelling evidence that the results of our treatment were no better than the natural history of the disease. ... Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
That ^ is from AA's own supportive researcher, Dr. George E. Valiant. Stay away.