To: AMA, APA, and National PTSD Center
To Health Workers and Academics About Alcoholics Anonymous
I’m writing you today in the hopes of changing your support of 12 Step Program. My best hope is that not only will my efforts lead you to explore the Anti-AA movement more carefully, but also that this exploration will lead you to cease your institutional support of AA and NA and that you might even become an advocate of the Anti-AA movement.
Why is this important?
I care about this issue because AA is not what it appears to be. It sooner or later fails for 95% of the people who try it. AA and NA also foster cultures of sexual and emotional abuse.
Part of the problem with the misconstruction of AA and 12 Step Program in the larger culture is that AA misrepresents itself to the media and also to newer members. However, all those that understand 12 Step Program know that AA in particular is based on a very literal interpretation of its texts. This is especially true for what is known as the Big Book. Thus, working the “steps” means following verbatim directions laid out in this text. This methodology is more religious than scientific, and is more cult-like even than religious.
True, at times AA espouses most if not all of the various Christian virtues. However, the core principal of the Step program is forcing the “alcoholic/addict” to realize that any pain the “alcoholic/addict” has ever felt is the “alcoholic/addict’s” own fault. While this idea runs throughout the steps, it is most obviously presented on p.62
"Selfishness--self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt" (p.62).
If this idea were applied carefully and with exceptions, it might be a reasonable code of ethics--assuming that one considers being void of “self” a useful therapeutic objective. However, the use of “invariably" serves as a universal endorsement of abuse, not for a therapeutic coming to terms with the past. Thus, at the most obvious level anyone who enters AA with trauma, abuse, especially sexual trauma and childhood abuse, is almost certainly going to be further traumatized in AA and NA. Those that do well in AA tend to be narcissist abusers or sociopaths and many of their victims are newer members.
Of course current AA members, increasingly aware of the growing Anti-AA movement, insist that anyone who complains of ill-treatment in AA is inferior in one way or another. AA argues that AA critics didn’t “work a good Program,” but outside of AA a more accurate term for AA’s tactics is not surprisingly “blaming the victim.” Thus, for those paying attention, the Pro AA attacks on Anti-AA dissenters prove the core claims of Anti-AA, whether AA acknowledges this as valid or not.