AA , the mental health community, and the courts
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 11, 2006 01:55AM


This is neither an "AA support forum," or a anti-AA bashing board.

AA , the mental health community, and the courts
Posted by: zenith ()
Date: September 11, 2006 04:23AM

Well, then, I guess I don't really understand because although you say you haven't received any complaints about AA, yet here are quite a few disgruntled former attenders doing just that, and the only response they seem to get is you saying over and over that it is not a cult and you have not received complaints. You said the same thing in the Mary Kay thread, but in reality, quite a few of the groups talked about on this board, while damaging and dangerous, are not technically "cults". Even though I said I think AA is a cult, I must admit that by your definition of cult, it probably is not one--but it does have quite a few of the characteristics of one. As for this being a group of people who have come here to "bash" AA, well my goodness, if a group has caused damage to a great many folks how would you expect them to feel about it? Synanon, for example--people complain bitterly against it and no one accuses them of being "synanon bashers" and threatens to ban them, etc. As I said on the other thread, I just wanted to get others opinions on the HP thing, and you may be right--it may have been answered elsewhere and I just haven't read it yet. In this thread, the woman asked a legitimate question and I answered it. I had no idea she had been banned. If you don't wish to post this response I am fine with that--it was really just an answer to you as I have not yet figured out how to use the PM function, if there is one.

AA , the mental health community, and the courts
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 11, 2006 05:02AM


Barabara had about 245 posts before she was banned from the board.

Incresingly her posts became shrill and repetitive.

If you have something to say fine.

Just stay within the rules and don't spam the board.

AA , the mental health community, and the courts
Posted by: andychee ()
Date: September 11, 2006 06:24AM

I went back and read most of barbras posts and it looks to me like she did a lot of reserch about AA and posted links to all kinds of stuff that had an answer to what people were asking. But she did ask the rrmoderater how he was involved with AA and I never saw him answer her. Maybe what really happened was that she had too many expert opinions that backed up what she said. I didnt think she was shrill or mean or anything. She got insulteed a lot by AA members on here and she was probably pissed off though.

AA , the mental health community, and the courts
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 11, 2006 08:25PM


That would be your view of Barabara's posts.

Each person that may view her posts can draw their own conlusions.

As I told Barabara repeatedly I have never been involved in any 12-step program personally.

I coordinated a social service program during the 1980s that included people with substance abuse problems. Some untilized 12-step programs like AA and NA as a resource.

The agency also utilized such support groups as a resource.

No complaints were ever received about any 12-step program that I was aware of at the agency.

From time to time I have had acquaintences that attended a 12-step program. They seemed fine and did not complain.

That is the extent of my personal and professional involvement with 12-step programs, other than the posts here.

AA , the mental health community, and the courts
Posted by: zenith ()
Date: September 11, 2006 09:26PM

But Rick, it would seem like with the volume of AA related complaints not only on this board but on countless websites, books, etc the world over, you might stop to consider that there might indeed be a problem with this organization, which purports to treat a medical, biologically based disease with prayer and meditation. No other disease, whether physical or psychological, is treated in this manner (depression? Schizophrenia? Bi polar disorder? Diabetes?) AA, while it may not be a cult by your standard definition, DOES have a lot of cult-like ideas, is based on the writings of one man with n o medical background--writings which have remained unchanged since the 30's in the face of changing social mores and medical/scientific findings because they are viewed as scripture (heck, even the Holy Bible has had the language updated to make it more understandable to a new generation--but not the Big Book!). Are you aware that the Big Book contains a chapter entitled "To The Wives" that assumes all alcoholics are male and tells the wives how to endlessly put up with their escapades and foibles without being a "nag" or "wet blanket"?

I just think that, as the founder of a website exposing cults or cult-like practices, you might want to view both sides of the coin without just simply saying that in your time with one agency you did not happen to receive any complaints against AA, therefore it is a fine organization unworthy of being challenged here. I know that while I was a member, I was terrified to complain about it to anyone--I would have gotten into legal trouble if I did not report that I was working those steps and praying regularly when my PO asked about it. Many courts ask the sponsors to fill out monthly "sponsor reports" and send them in, and based on this unknown person's estimation of whether or not the probationer is sufficiently "spiritual", they can be sent back to jail! Who would dare to complain?

I would truly urge you to check out some of the websites mentioned here, including the Orange Papers, and the Yahoo groups 12 step free, and 12 step coercion, and there are MANY MANY others. This does not happen with benign support groups. I am not trying to offend you, sincerely. I am only asking you to look beyond your admittedly limited experience with AA and see for yourself what complaints are out there before you write it off as a harmless support group. That's all.

AA , the mental health community, and the courts
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 11, 2006 11:10PM


I have viewed both sides of the AA debate extensively.

I recognize that there is a very outspoken anti-AA presence on the Internet.

But I don't consider AA either a "cult" or that 12-step support groups engage in "cult-like" manipulation or thought reform techniques.

No recognized cult or thought reform expert does agree with such claims, that I am aware of.

You are of course entitled to disagree and have your opinions.

I have not received complaints from families about AA, similar to the complaints received about groups called "cults," alleging that AA "brainwashed" their loved ones, since the inception of this Web site beginning in 1996. Nor have I received such complaints generally, since beginning my work in 1982.

I recognize that a concerted effort has been made to post complaints about AA rather recently at this board. But these complaints are from former AA participants not families and such an organized effort seems a bit contrived.

However, I am reviewing the recent posts with interest.

The complaint that AA is either too religious or not religious enough is a recurring theme and perhaps the courts should consider this before sentencing anyone to AA or any other 12-step program as a term for release.

In the United States such court ordered involvement may violate Church/State separation.

And no doubt there are meaningful alternatives to AA or NA regarding recovery and support for people with substance abuse problems.

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