Re: Alcholics Anonymous should be regarded as a cult.
Date: August 20, 2008 04:30AM
Just a couple of points here, since I think this thread could use a different perspective (it seems to be largely negatively motivated).
According to the moderator on the first page of this thread, AA doesn't meet the criteria for being a cult. Some people here clearly don't like AA, even hate AA, while other people that have posted appreciate it. It seems to me that the the thread has largely been kept alive (as have the assertions elsewhere that AA is a cult) by people ignoring the decision of the moderator, and just repeating ever more loudly and vehemently that it is indeed a cult.
Stating repeatedly that an organization is a cult doesn't mean it is. Stating that it's not doesn't mean it isn't. Look objectively at AA from the outside, it is easy to do. There are no hidden rules, no hidden secret texts, no levels of membership, no conspiracy of silence. Everything published by AA is in the public domain, free to research. As has been pointed elsewhere in these forums, concrete evidence and examples are suggested if you want to make credible accusations. Otherwise, it's just polemic or resentment.
Noone says you have to like AA, and many people find other ways to recover from alcoholism. Good for them! You don't have to belong to a religious faith to be a member of AA. There is no AA-approved definition of God or Higher Power. It is merely suggested that you seek one. At the meetings I've been attending regularly for 14 years (in a University town in Virginia), the religious beliefs of most members could accurately be described as largely atheistic or agnostic. As a vocal agnostic, I can honestly say that in 14 years I've not once been pressured to conform to any form of religous belief. I've met devout Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Traditional Native Americans, and NACs in AA, just to name a few. There is no hidden Christian agenda.
There is no leadership to speak of! Anyone, alcoholic or not, can attend an AA assembly. If you have questions about AA, I'd suggest it. You'll find that we're pretty incredibly disorganized. So disorganized, in fact, that almost nothing ever actually gets done! You won't see much hierarchy or cult-like totalitarian leadership, that's for sure. In addition, there are no dues or fees for membership, the bylaws strictly prohibit the acceptance of money from non-members (yes, that's right, we don't even take donations), and there is even a cap on what the organization will accept as a bequest left in the wills of members (I believe it's $2500).
I know that it is impossible to convince people that have made up their minds, but I'd encourage those who may be on the fence to check what I've posted here for accuracy. I'll end with quoting from the forward to the first edition of the "Big Book." Make up your own mind. Does this sound like a cult to you?
"We are not an organization in the conventional sense of the word. There are no fees or dues whatsoever. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted." (xiii - xiv)