Firstly I want to state that without Alcoholics Anonymous and my Higher Power I would probably be dead or worse.
However I believe it is very important to find our identity outside of AA once we are sober for several years. We become strong due to working the 12 steps and being active in the workings of step 12 service work. Step 12 makes us confident and helps us develop coping skills and reach a level of emotional sobriety (maturity).
When I stepped away from AA myself due to a case of AA burnout I wondered who the heck I was. It scared me, I thought do I have an identity without of AA? The steps and Big book I believe are good and ordained of God. The 12 steps and the perfect directions for staying sober and to experience a psychic change and a spiritual awakening. HOWEVER as we have learned from the history of the Bible good things are easily twisted and misconstrued by sick men. My conclusion is that: AA is a good program but sick men seek out many devices and can produce a counterfeit for every good AA directive.
IS THE ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS PROGRAM GOOD OR BAD?
We cannot really label Alcoholics Anonymous good or bad as a whole because there are so many members, sponsors, sponsee’s and various representatives who all have their own methods and ideals of what AA is and how it actually works.
You may ask two former members of AA about the program and get two totally different views. There are many articles online that call AA a cult and a worthless and depraved organization. Ex-members state that they were taken advantage of, abused, and lied to. While other members will attest that without AA they would be dead or worse. These members swear that the program transformed them from a destructive, and violent addict into a productive, spiritual member of society. And neither of the two testimonies would be untrue.
But what are the facts concerning the “program” of AA? The twelve steps and the Big Book if viewed and understood rightly will induce a miracle if not several miracles in a person’s life IF that person is honest and willing to work the steps, get a good sponsor and reach out to God with their heart. The program on paper is the perfect way to not only get clean and sober but also to become a moral and decent human being. So its really a matter of choice whether the program actually works for a person or doesn’t work.
So why so many negative testimonies about AA? Remember human beings can turn any good into a bad. For every good and righteous directive in the Big Book there is twisted and misunderstood counterfeit version.
Example; Step 10 “Continued to taker personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” Confession is good for the soul no doubt but if we confess too often and to the wrong person our humility may turn into not only gossip but also a demeaning and self-degrading process that beats down our self-esteem rather than building it up. Our confidant may even put themselves in a place of authority and power over us using our confessed wrongs against us with an oppressive thumb. We must have a trustworthy person to confess and admit our wrongs to then be done with it. We should be allowed to move on into our new sober life and leave the wreckage in the past where it belongs.
Good ideas can be mis-construed. Hate-driven interpretations of the Bible show us that. If a man holds bitterness in his heart that bitterness will seek a way to express itself, whether passive or aggressive or both hate searches for an outlet while the psyche knowing right from wrong seeks subconsciously for a justified way to express that hate.
AA needs two types of personas to make it function…the newcomer and the sponsor or, the teacher and the student. Not every teacher in AA has the humility to remain a student as well after years of sobriety. False pride wants badly to know-it-all. Bottom line just because a newcomer is sick and suffering and has no idea how to work the program of AA that is no reason to treat a man disrespectfully.
If something feels very wrong then it probably is. We should take our common sense with us into our 12 step program and read the Big Book thoroughly for ourselves rather than having someone interpret it for us. We should share in meetings about our progress so we can get useful feedback. A sponsor should never try to make our decisions and choices for us but rather sponsors should make suggestions and guide us through the steps and various options. The program works but we must work it ourselves thoroughly and honestly.