Leaving AA

Many readers are stuck in that purgatory – still too tied to AA and its mythology to escape to a normal life, but too dissatisfied with that same mythology to fully join the cult. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be, as many of you know.

Truthfully, no matter how long one lives with the stigma or “alcoholism,” “AA,” or “in recovery,” we can never fully escape the massive presence of Stepper inroads into all forms of media, as well as what others believe. Most of society is brainwashed to the extent that Stepper mentality has become the norm.

As Joseph Goebbels noted, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

One doesn’t have to roam for afield to see this playing out in our lives in other arenas. Think “fake news” to discredit journalists; “voter fraud” to discredit fair and honest elections; as well as “it’s no worse than the flu,” to aid and abet the killing of hundreds of thousands of Americans – never mind the rest of the world.

Yet people actually believe these political idiocies as they have sprung up over the past year. Imagine how deeply rooted AA mythology has become over 85 years of growth without any scientific or other opposition.

All of this is by way of saying, it’s understandable if you have trouble kicking the 12 Step habit, or escaping the unfounded and ignorant opinions of those around you.

As I have occasionally written, leaving alcohol problems behind is fairly easy compared to leaving AA behind once entangled in the infantile cult. Therefore, please, be kind to yourself, and others, as you struggle to free yourself from the lies, big and small, that keep you doubting yourself enough to lose your freedom, sanity, and perspective.

As San Pedro, CA writer and poet, Charles Bukowski, no stranger to alcohol, wrote, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

So if you find yourself filled with doubts it doesn’t mean that you are wrong, it simply means you are smart enough to question yourself as well as the lies you have been led to believe. In hopes of helping you manage to believe in yourself, as well as reality, I offer a few thoughts in the following article taken from my Guide to AA:

AA – Who it Helps, Who it Harms, Who it Kills & Why.

Deprogramming From AA and 12 Step Mythology


  • AA works for everyone;
  • AA is the only way;
  • People who misuse alcohol are either alcoholics or alcoholics in denial;
  • All alcoholics lie;
  • Alcoholics must hit bottom;
  • Alcoholics must stay away from “normies;”
  • Alcoholics must be “in recovery” for the rest of their lives;
  • Alcoholism” – whatever that is – is a “progressive disease” and no one can ever return to moderate or social drinking.

A concise description of accurate statements:

  • AA works for somewhat less than 10% of the people who try it and is slightly more effective for men than women;
  • Of all of the ways to end alcohol abuse, AA ranks at about 38th in efficacy);
  • Very few people are actually “in denial,” especially to themselves;
  • People with alcohol problems rarely lie, at least not to themselves;
  • “Hitting bottom” is a meaningless and unmeasurable concept with no definitions or diagnostic value;
  • Giving up self-medication often means engaging with people who don’t, and avoiding those who either do or did as their core identity (an exception could be SMART Recovery for short term initial support as one would get in a grief or cancer or another conditional support group of limited duration);
  • Full recovery usually takes less than a year, frequently as little as 3-6 months;
  • There is a world of difference between the degrees of alcohol use, misuse and dependence;
  • Those who over-medicate with alcohol have little in common with those who use illegal drugs – and the differences tend to include age, culture, economic status, and educational achievements;
  • The misuse of alcohol is rarely progressive nor is it a disease. Most people who self-medicate with alcohol, at whatever level, eventually regress back to social, moderate, or less harmful drinking levels, or spontaneously abstain, without fuss, fanfare, or AA;
  • In recovery” actually describes a “dry drunk” – someone unwilling to give up an alcohol focused life – and the benefits they get/got from drinking