AA is a Cult, part 15

​Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God,as we understood Him. 

Would you look at that bait and switch? In step 2 we were assured our higher power could be anything, and encouraged to make the group our god. Now it’s capital-G Old Testament God, a man’s God. No gender neutral or female dieties in this womanizer’s religion. These first three steps are all defeatist. So far we’ve been asked to admit we are powerless, believe (only) a god can save us, and turn our wills over (to Alcoholics Anonymous).

And again, there are still no actions, no concrete changes in behavior that might help an alcoholic, like not drinking or drinking less. While many substance abuse programs using the twelve steps also encourage patients to seek therapy and/or medication, AA itself considers them to be “outside materials” or “outside affairs” not suitable for discussion. Except when it is suitable to bash those things as inherently inferior to a cult religion, or when AA dips its toe in faith healing. (More on that in a future post.)

 Making a decision, coming to a belief, and accepting that you are powerless are all internal thoughts. The first action listed in the steps comes midway into the third step, and it’s submission. Turning your will and life over to the care of another is not something to take lightly. In this case, alcoholics are being advised to turn their wills and lives over to a cult, founded and led until his death by a thieving adulterous plagiarist. 

This is not what medicine looks like. This is not what psychotherapy looks like. It isn’t what healthy recovery and growth looks like.  Sadly it’s exactly what addiction treatment looks like, because AA and its daughter cults NA, OA, Al-Anon, Alateen, and ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) have dominated this industry for years. It’s exactly what a cult looks like. 

The first three steps of AA work together to strip a new recruit of power, confidence in their own perceptions, and even their will. The recruit is told they are insane, and a closing statement at every meeting predicts “jails, institutions, or death” for anyone who doesn’t “keep coming back”. They are told their lives are unmanageable, that they are powerless, and that only a God of their understanding can save them. Over time their God more closely resembles the group’s concealed consensus. 

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