Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson believed God spoke to him personally, directly, daily, inside his head. The 11th Step, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him”, is about this channeling. It was an idea he learned while a member of the Oxford Group, a heretical antiunion pro Nazi cult. The Oxford Group practiced ” the Quiet Hour” where they would jot down stray thoughts, and attribute them to the creator of the universe.
Step 11 says that any alcoholic can get “conscious contact with God”if they join the group and “work the program.” Moses had to climb Mt. Sinai to hear from God, but all you have to do is drink so much only God can save you! Generally speaking the Christian poisition is that God already told us how to live, in the words of the Bible and the example of Jesus Christ. The broad strokes have been filled in and the details are why we have free will. Wrestling with right and wrong is kind of the point of humanity.
In AA however, God is a mixture of Santa, genie, and overbearing father figure. He wants to control every aspect of your life. He can save you from insanity and helplessness, but only if you turn over your life and will and endlessly confess your sins. At the same time, He can be called upon to perform miracles on demand, like removing all your character defects. The terms of His power are dictated by your adherence to group rules.
This is cult theology, lifted from another cult. It keeps members in an unhealthy perpetual shame and relief cycle, unable to achieve real personal growth or develop skills to better manage their lives. If your sobriety is contingent on the will of a capricious God, if it’s contingent on your good standing within a cult, then you’re going to be filled with anxiety. This builds up over time and can only be released through confession and love bombing, or by drinking. It’s no wonder AA members relapse more often than people who quit drinking on their own.
AA can’t focus primarily on sobriety, or on personal growth. It needs members dependent: that’s why it tells struggling alcoholics they are powerless. That’s why it dismisses the Bible, Talmud, and Qur’an as “outside literature” while requiring a belief in God. That’s why it doesn’t even tell members to stop drinking or stop drinking so much. It needs desperate people with nowhere else to turn, because they are the easiest to recruit into a cult. AA is every abusive boyfriend you’ve ever heard of, isolating its prey from all quarters of help.