The second Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous makes it clear this supposed sobriety program is actually a theistic religion.
2nd Tradition: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
Short: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.
The AA claim that your “Higher Power” can be anything – a sock, a doorknob, whatever – doesn’t mesh with this. How can my doorknob be the ultimate authority of a group? Can you even call a sock “loving”? Clearly the hidden expectation is that AA recruits will adjust their concept of God until it matches the group’s definition.
How is He supposed to express Himself to a group conscience if not through supernatural god powers (or Ouija boards, a favorite activity of AA founders)? If a newcomer and oldtimer disagree, ” group conscience” will result in the newcomer being wrong. The only right answers are ones that agree with AA vision of the creator of all, neither Christian nor atheistic but entirely dependent on the group’s God for their sobriety and sanity.
The idea AA leaders do not govern is not truly correct. As I mentioned in a prior installment, AA has no mechanism for removing dangerous and predatory members. So in the sense that they do nothing to protect members from harm within the group, they do not govern. But when it comes to enforcing compliance with group beliefs and norms, they absolutely do. They govern with extreme prejudice.
AA oldtimers use a variety of cult tactics to manipulate and control members. Newcomers and members in good standing will be love bombed and praised for exhibiting pro-cult behaviors and beliefs. Members who share differing view points are subject to scorn and censure, like not being allowed to chair (lead) a meeting. AA “servants” are cult true believers. That’s their real value to the group.