For the Vast Majority of People, Joining AA is a Detour into a Swamp that is More Difficult to Escape than Alcohol.

In working with clients who are attempting to find their way out of AA and other 12 Step based programs, we have noted that their time in AA has made ceasing self-medication more difficult than ever.


Because now a person has to first free themselves from AA brainwashing and then begin the work of addressing whatever conditions caused the self-medication in the first place. This process is also exacerbated by all of the societal pressures that come from TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Elementary and a host of others that promote the dead end (literally and figuratively) that “12 Steps” lead too. All this on top of books and magazines that push, consciously or otherwise, the same debunked myths.

That being the case, our first concern is deprogramming clients so that they can relax enough to shift their focus to what matters. So how does this deprogramming work? Basically it means replacing myths with reality – and as we’ve learned from the election and Covid, this is not an easy task. But the following is a beginning.


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


  • No one has ever successfully defined “alcoholic” or “alcoholism” and, because it’s a label with no positive meaning it is worse than useless;
  • AA works for fewer than 10% of those who try it and is slightly more effective for men than women;
  • Of all of the ways to overcome “alcoholism,” 12 Step programs rank about 35th in efficacy, and, in fact, have a negative efficacy effect;
  • Few people are in denial, at least to themselves;
  • “Hitting bottom” is another undefinable and useless term;
  • Stopping self-medication means recognizing it as a symptom, not the problem, and then treating the condition(s) being medicated;
  • Full recovery usually takes less than a year, frequently only a few months;
  • The misuse of alcohol is rarely progressive nor is it a disease. Most people eventually regress back to social, or less harmful drinking levels, or spontaneously abstain, without fuss, fan fair or AA.
  • “In recovery” actually describe a “dry drunk,” someone unwilling to give up an alcohol focused life and the benefits they get/got from drinking.

This is really a brief summary and there are many more myths and refutations but I imagine you get the point and I have no need to continue beating this particular dead horse. Still, given what “everyone knows,” you do need to be forewarned and forearmed if you are going to resist family, peers, society norms, and rehab hucksters.

Want more details? You can always go to our website – or Amazon Books – and get a copy of my “AA: Who it Helps, Harms, Kills & Why.

Yes, you, like many drinkers and almost all smokers, can eventually rectify your situation by yourself as I did. But why would you want to lose years groping around, unsupported, when you could correct the real problems in a few months?

No, I don’t have an answer for that – your procrastination will be your first problem to unravel and, yes, that one you’ll have to fix first – though we’re happy to provide a free consultation if you want to discuss options.