Obviously many people would disagree with this negative portrayal and analysis of AA. Others seem to feel the program has helped people.
Unlike destructive groups called "cults" AA does not have an absolute leader and is in fact not rigidly organized around an established hierarchy that exploits its members.
GROW (Growth to Maturity) is a mental health movement that started in Australia and now is in 6 countries. It also uses a 12 step method. It's very loosely controlled and decentralized. I know there's no abuse by leaders in the group. I used to attend and lead a group.
It has a method card that you have to stick to in order for it to be "authentic GROW". One of my friends said it was kind of cult like. But it definitely isn't . Also, there are no dues, etc..
Money is one thing that motivates a lot of cult leaders. So is
sex (Guru Maharaji).