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© Copright 2004, Jack Trimpey

The recovery group is an invention of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a quasi-religious, identity-change organization that:

1. Conflicts sharply with all of the world's great religions.
2. Contradicts sound, traditional concepts of mental health.
3. Violates ethical standards of the trusted helping professions.
4. Contradicts moral intuition and original family values.
5. Denies the founding concept of human civilization, free will.
6. Creates dependence upon the fellowship that evolves among addicted people.
7. Sets forth as truth the beliefs and perceptions common to addicted people.
8. Claims universality and exclusive effectiveness.

This list can and does go on, as you will find by reading on. However, it is important to understand that AA is not the problem, but only the name given in our society to the Fellowship of Addiction. In other words, addicted people have always concocted fabulous excuses for their craziness, and created sensational schemes for continuing their use of alcohol and other drugs, for it is the nature of addiction that they do tthese things. Drunks, lushes, junkies, and other substance abusers naturally gravitate toward each other, for they share a common priority in life, and they have the same perceptions and experiences with which to form a common bond. When I condemn AA or Al-Anon as harmful influences, I am truly condemning the broad social and political coalition that has formed to defend addicted people against the moral injunction to immediately and permanently cease and desist from the act of self-intoxication. That coalition would better be called the Fellowship of the Beast than Alcoholics Anonymous or its numerous, anonymous clones, but for our purposes it is better to stick to the real world, where AA dominates our entire social service system with its disabling, addiction-preserving practices and doctrines.

For every person present at an AA meeting, there are a thousand absent who dropped out for various reasons. Did they all die of addictions? Are they miserable dry drunks? Hardly. Self-recovery is far more commonplace than recovery in RG's. About 80% of all who actually defeat their addictions do it without RG's or addiction treatment. They simply quit drinking/using, and most often become normal, happy people.

RG's invariably define recovery as a group project, a process involving social support. They present some spiritual, religious, or psychological philosophy as an essential element in defeating an addiction, defining recovery as the outcome of a personal conversion to the group's beliefs or preconceived mindset. In a strange twist of logic, the disease concept regards addiction as a symptom of philosophical error, either spiritual or psychological. RG philosophies usually conflict sharply with traditional moral precepts, such as right and wrong, good and evil, or other original family values. Meetings focus entirely upon philosophical matters, never upon how to efficiently quit an addiction. In fact, the groups will prevent people from taking aggressive, independent action on the problem, labeling such behavior as "denial" or "dry-drunk" or "pink cloud" or "stinking thinking."

Recovery groups do not produce abstinence. Abstinence simply means not drinking alcohol or using drugs. When people stop intoxicating themselves, they stop causing the related problems, and their other problems become manageable. “Sobriety,“ however, means between drinks, between fixes, between binges. Groupers rarely mention abstinence, preferring the forgiving terms, “sobriety,” "serenity," or "rationality." When people do abstain, it is tentative, and the recovery group takes credit. When people "relapse," the group accepts no responsibility.

Rational Recovery urges you to avoid recovery groups because they consist of people who have not resolved their own addictions, and therefore are incapable of actually helping another addicted person. You can do much better on your own. To follow, are specific risks to your health, happiness, and safety posed by recovery group participation, which are endorsed and often required by your government, praised by the mass media, and offered as direct services by the health professions. These risks have been compiled from the direct, painful experience of hundreds of thousands of people who have contacted Rational Recovery in the last twenty years.

Groupers pretend that “anonymity“ means the meetings are confidential. RG's are not confidential. Recovery groups are public meetings, No group meeting is confidential! Whether meetings are "closed" or open, groupers are not trustworthy, and they will readily use what they know about you against you. They value the unity of the group above any individual and they care far more for their program than for any person in the group.

Recovery groupers, by their presence at meetings, expose the fact that they have not solved the problem of addiction. In other words, they are irresolute substance abusers, uncertain about whether they will drink or use drugs in the future,who have a need to transmit their own insecurity to newcomers. These are not people from whom to seek help, wisdom, or guidance of any kind. The recovery group is like a pool filled with non-swimmers. Whether you can swim or not, they will pull you down in order to survive.

The groups serve to undermine your confidence that you can remain abstinent without their social support and the 12-step religious philosophy. They will predict, "You will drink again," each time you object to AA doctrine. The groups belittle self-inspired abstinence, calling that solution "the dry drunk," or a "pink cloud." AA does not believe in your ability to abstain from alcohol, nor your ability to think wisely or manage your personal affairs. Naturally, this supports your addiction and not you.

If something doesn't make sense to you, don't attempt to believe it! The more you attempt to "work the program" of AA/NA, the more you risk lasting harm to your self-concept and your familiy relationships. AA is an identity change organization, starting with the label "alcoholic" or "addict." AA fits all the criteria of "cult," and should be recognized as such, despite its use of the social power structure. With time, you will likely develop a recovery group disorder (RGD), a serious condition that can linger for years, with any or all of the following conditions.


  • Increasingly frequent and severe "relapses," in which you drink or use drugs in spite of your better judgment. For this, the groupers will implore you to attend more meetings, take the steps more seriously, or check in at an addiction treatment center where professional AAers will provide intensive indoctrination in the 12-step program, followed by ninety meetings in ninety days. If you continue to "relapse," you will be directed toward a long-term (6 months minimum) residential treatment program. The groupers will tell you that you may continue drinking, but the group experience will "ruin your drinking forever." This is because the recovery group is the embodiment of the Beast, and the step program is its human voice, professing powerlessness over the desire to drink or use drugs.
  • Anxiety about the possibility of "relapse." Urgent desire to attend meetings. Guilt over missed meetings. Withdrawal from normal social activities where alcohol may be present. Fear of travel or moving to a new home. Fear of the desire to drink or use. Giving up opportunities for education, career, marriage, or raising a family because of your chronic disease. Sensing that relapse is inevitable.
  • Profound self-doubt. Doubt in your ability to do things you once did with ease. Doubt of your own thought processes. Uncertainty and indecision in simple matters. Doubt of simple truths you always believed in. Doubting your own motives, or the motives of others you know well. Conflicted preoccupation with the meaning of life, the nature of reality, the reality of God, even though those matters were resolved satisfactorily earlier.
  • Guilt about not living up to the group's expectations. Guilt about not attending enough meetings, working the steps diligently enough, not creating a Higher Power of sufficient stature, not believing in the AA concept of "God."
  • Increasing depression. Feeling trapped between addiction and recovery, rejecting both as unsatisfactory or intolerable ways to live. Suicidal thoughts that invariably lead to drinking or using. Feeling cheated in life, relegated to a secondary existence in recovery instead of living as a normal person.
  • Recovery groups entertain the "bottoming out" concept, in which each person has an imagined "bottom," or a limit of degeneracy and despair, beyond which he will not go. "High-bottom drunks" are those whose personal losses prior to getting sober were only moderate, as compared to the losses sustained by "low-bottom drunks," who sacrifice everything for the privilege of getting drunk. This idea elicits a free-fall-to-bottom among many newcomers who are incorporating ideas of powerlessness and bottoming-out into their lives. The devastation of self-destruction is a direct result of 12-step programming, and is completely avoidable for persons who are encouraged to have higher expectations of themselves.
  • Suicide is common among recovery groupers, particularly while doing "fearless moral inventories," or while contemplating endless re-admissions to addiction treatment programs. Often the suicide is "accidental," in that lethal outcome was not expected or intended. Suicidal ideas are a natural part of the Addictive Voice, telling people that life isn't worth living, so drink some more. Members are forced to make a choice between two unacceptable alternatives, life “in recovery,” and life in addiction. It’s an impossible choice because they are one and the same. The hopelessness of the recovery group experience often potentiates naturally occuring, morbid ideas of self-destruction.
  • Intrusive thoughts or preoccupation about the step program, especially your inability to understand spiritual teachings such as powerlessness, surrender of control, the nature and existence of God, the disease of addiction, turning your life over to a Higher Power, wondering if you are in denial, backsliding, in relapse, on a pink cloud ,or in a honeymoon period. Fearing your appearance before treatment or therapy groups, recalling past humiliations in recovery or addiction treatment groups.
  • Feeling “homesick” for meetings when you haven’t attended for a while, especially if you are trying to quit AA or “go it alone.”
  • Your doubt of your own ability to independently and comfortably abstain from alcohol and drugs is a very serious recovery group disorder, which is intentionally induced by the 12-step fellowship. The Dry Drunk concept predicts that you will struggle with desire forever, a living hell.
  • Unwholesome dependence upon other individuals. Sponsor relationships are always inappropriate and are always detrimental. Sponsors accept the role of surrogate parent in an attempt to salvage their own lives, and thus they are extremely poor sources of guidance or wisdom. Sponsors have no moral standing or authority because they do not understand that their own past use of alcohol and other drugs, including the “relapses,” of which they speak of so eloquently, was simply willful, immoral conduct. By calling a sponsor when you have the desire to drink or use, you cannot learn to live comfortably or independently with the occasional, normal desire to drink or use. Sponsors, also, are afraid of their desire to drink, and cannot help you other than to tell you to attend meetings, read the Big Book, work certain steps, and refuse to drink in the meantime. If you do not drink, your success is attributed to your dependence upon your sponsor; if you do drink, it is because you didn't call your sponsor.
  • You get feedback from others indicating that you have changed in a negative way, even though you no longer drink. Old friends, and relatives may notice you've lost your sense of humor or comment, "It's great you don't drink/use anymore, but you sure have gotten weird." Your children ask why or complain that you spend so much time at meetings.
  • Resentment toward others who criticize or object to the 12-step program, even though you may agree with them. Vaguely or clearly wanting certain individuals to "relapse." When you have criticisms of AA or the program, you keep them to yourself, even to others who are not involved with AA.
  • The recovery group movement is the drinking and drug culture of America between bingeing episodes, and, as such, are poor places to form new relationships, especially when attempting to rid yourself of an addiction. If you feel you aren't one of them, or don't want to be like them, then trust your feelings and get out of there.
  • Women, in particular, should avoid all recovery groups. Women are not weaker or deficient in their ability to self-recover from intoxicants. Neither men nor women benefit from forming dependencies on others who are struggling against addictions. Home-based recovery is far more appropriate and efficient for women, who may then develop other positive social affiliations. Women, however, are quite vulnerable to expliotation by "thirteenth stepping," the AA tradition of groupers obtaining sexual gratification from other members. In the recovery group, consensual sex is difficult, since the members are there under duress, and are taught that their lives depend upon assimilation into the recovery group. When women are mandated into recovery groups by courts, they are being subjected to rape. The recovery group is a predatory cult in the first place, using addiction as a lever to gain mastery over desperate newcomers, so it is not surprising that sexual exploitation is prevalent in RG's.
  • By calling yourself "an alcoholic," you are identifying yourself as one who does not know right from wrong, who cannot learn from past errors and mistakes, and who at any time may drink or use drugs inexplicably, anti-socially, and self-destructively. You are describing yourself as a walking time-bomb, whose word is not to be trusted. You are saying that you are genetically inferior in a way that exempts you from moral judgment and conduct. This changes your standing in society, in your family, as an employment or insurance risk, and before the law.
  • The 12-step recovery group movement is anti-family, just as with any other cult. The self-indulgence of alcohol or drug addiction is said to be a "family disease," in which spouses and even children share in the responsibility of a parent's substance abuse. Your life's problems will be traced to your parents and ancestors, and you will be told you are congenitally defective. You will be expected to tell bad stories about your earlier years, seeking perpetrators in your family who "abused" you and caused you to suffer as an adult. You will be told that your family cannot understand you unless they also accept the addictive disease concept and become involved in a 12-step program such as Al-Anon. If your spouse attends Al-Anon, he/she will be advised to regard you as a sick person even if you are abstinent. They will create mistrust and emotional distance in your family if you don't attend enough meetings, or don't submit properly to the 12-step program. Al-Anon uses the disease concept as a lever to keep you coming back to meetings, and to make loyal members of your family. They are not interested in your abstinence, which they dismiss as insignificant unless you attend meetings. Al-Anon replaces family bonds with cult ties, defining the relationships between family members in clinical and cult terms. Families often break apart on account of AA cult loyalties, just as religion sometimes comes between family members. Children, in particular, are vulnerable to serious disorientation resulting from the disease concept of misbehavior, and by the demands of 12-step social cultism upon the family unit.

Above is a partial list of risks to your well-being posed by the recovery group movement. While the 12-step recovery group movement is the worst offender, all recovery groups carry similar risks in varying degrees. The psychological disease model of addiction is not substantially different from AA's physical disease concept. Always, the group's interests prevail over the individual's interests, and the matter of permanent abstinence is, of necessity, procrastinated in favor of theoretical discussions and interpersonal matters. The recovery group movement has become popular with the professional class, which sees the groups as a feeder system into their private practices and treatment centers.

If you are forced or intimidated by a court, social welfare agency, employment assistance program (EAP), parole board, the military, or other institution to participate in the 12-step program, the above risks are compounded. In spite of its "attraction-not-promotion" motto, over half of the members of the recovery group movement are involuntary, so the extent of harm to the population is enormous. If you are forced to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous, contact us by email, and we will help you resist this unreasonable intrusion on your freedom.



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