Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult
Scorecard, Answers 51 to 60.

(To go back and forth between the questions and the answers for Alcoholics Anonymous, click on the numbers of the questions and answers.)

51. Members Get No Respect. They Get Abused.
A.A. scores a 10.

Newcomers are not treated with respect. They are told that they are dishonest, selfish, self-seeking, guilty of everything, "thinking alcoholically", in denial, unspiritual, and immoral — suffering from a spiritual disease because they are not "Seeking and Doing the Will of God."

Dissent is suppressed, and dissenters are not treated with respect. Any newcomers who disagree with the crazy A.A. ideology and Buchmanite religious dogma are told that they are diseased and in denial.

Not only does A.A. demand that you surrender your mind and your will to the cult, but all too often, it is the sponsors who demand that you surrender your mind or your will to them, especially the sexual predator sponsors, and the energy-sucking vampires who get their kicks by running other peoples' lives. In fact, sponsors can be extremely dangerous in this regard: when someone does a fearless moral inventory, he or she is supposed to confess all of his or her sins and "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings" to another person and to God. The "other person" is almost always the sponsor. Thus, to a great extent, the new inductee surrenders to the sponsor, who ends up knowing all of his or her innermost dirty little secrets, and runs his or her life and even guides his or her thinking. And if the sponsor is unscrupulous, the opportunities for blackmail, exploitation or manipulation are enormous.

And it is all too common — how could it be otherwise? If you just pick a bunch of drunks and dopers at random, you will find a fair sample of felons, thieves, con artists, brutal bullies, selfish scammers, and like characters among them. They don't all immediately turn into angels just because they went to a few A.A. meetings, in spite of the fairy tale that says they do because the Twelve Steps are so powerful.

Sexual exploitation of newcomers is so common that they even have a well-known nickname for it: "thirteenth stepping" somebody. (First you teach them the Twelve Steps, and then you get them in bed and teach them the Thirteenth Step.) Women and men, old, young, and younger, straight or lesbian or gay, all can be targets.

It took me only a few hours of searching the Internet for information on A.A. to stumble across many web pages describing thirteenth stepping, written by victims of it themselves, but the national A.A. organizations are claiming to be "shocked" to discover that it exists. On July 5, 2000, a memo from the headquarters of the British A.A. was leaked to the Glasgow, Scotland Herald newspaper, which reported:

      Vulnerable alcoholics seeking help for their addiction are being subjected to sexual and other abuse at the hands of long-serving volunteers from the world's largest alcohol support group.
      An internal memorandum circulated to every Alcoholics Anonymous group in the country reveals that volunteer members are increasingly being investigated by police forces examining allegations of sexual abuse.
      According to the memo, leaked to the Glasgow-based Herald newspaper, within A.A. "there is a small minority of men and women who operate with sick but hidden agendas, and, no matter what they may say, they seek self-gratification often at the expense of other members or potential members".
      A senior alcohol addiction worker said: "It came as a bit of a shock to me and I have never picked up on these allegations before. A.A. [is] in a difficult position: we all put checks and balances in place, but it is very difficult to protect people entirely from abuse of position because the people involved are invariably clever."

The senior worker says he "never picked up on these allegations before." That's funny, because I heard about that kind of stuff in my first few months of attending meetings: "Just go across the river, to the meeting at the St. Francis church, and there is a guy over there who manages to sponsor every woman who walks in the door. He gets them all. And he's teaching them more than just the Twelve Steps."

And, "My first sponsor in Dual Recovery Anonymous had women all of the time. I couldn't even get ahold of him, because he was always out with some woman. I had to get a new sponsor just to be able to talk to my sponsor. And my new sponsor said that he doesn't think the other guy even is an addict — he just goes to the meetings to get the women."

And it just goes on and on. Rebecca Fransway compiled a whole book of such stories, Twelve-Step Horror Stories. It's recommended reading.

Then national media like Newsweek magazine and MSNBC reported the story of the Midtown Group in Washington DC, which specializes in the sexual exploitation of underage girls. Newcomer girls are immediately assigned an older man as her "sponsor", who will teach her "how to have sober sex". Girls report that it is normal to have a sexually-transmitted disease within three months of joining the Midtown Group. Read all about it here.

Above all, don't forget that the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, is the one who started the A.A. tradition of "Thirteenth-Stepping" — sexually exploiting the pretty young women who come to A.A. meetings seeking help to survive alcohol addiction. It's a time-honored tradition, followed much more than some of the other so-called "Traditions"...

And the stories keep showing up on Usenet too, particularly in alt.recovery.from-12-Steps. In early August 2001, a pro-A.A. fellow, who was defending A.A., not criticizing it, calmly mentioned that his introduction to A.A. included:

AA members have indeed harmed others. In fact, in my own experience, my first sponsor turned out to be a very well-disguised homosexual predator, and, if it weren't for my extremely gifted physical condition at the time, and my ability to survive a jog through the dense northern Ontario bush in the middle of the night and the dead of winter, I would probably be dead from AIDS right now.
      This does happen, and I stayed away from AA for many years. It took me a while to realize this was not the fault of AA, any more than court-ordered attendance is AA's fault. I avoid meetings where these guys are attending personally.

And a respondent commented:

And how is the newcomer supposed to know "where these guys are attending", or which meetings are likely to harbour such individuals? You and I are lucky, Stuart, AA has worked for us and, as a consequence, we have our wits and our faculties about us. Newly sober alcoholics are very different, and of a completely different mindset. No-one *tells* them about the perils that can await within AA, about the dangerous predators that do, without question, infest an unfortunate proportion of the rooms. They have to find out for themselves, often with tragic results.

— And court-ordered attendance is most assuredly the fault of A.A., and N.A.. They encourage it: the A.A. and N.A. true-believer drug and alcohol "recovery counselors" (Twelfth Step recruiters) tell the judges and parole officers that A.A. and N.A. are the only things that work, and that giving people "treatment" — based on the Twelve Steps, of course — and sending people to A.A. or N.A. meetings is the best thing to do with them. A.A. and N.A. could stop it immediately, by telling the courts that they do not want coerced referrals, and that they will not sign any more court slips. But they aren't about to stop it, because they will lose between one third and two thirds of their new recruits if they do.

The Little Red Book of Hazelden specifically teaches A.A. recruiters to indoctrinate judges, police, doctors, clergy, and other officials as part of the proselytizing work, and get them to force more people into Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

People who do not get a sexual predator for a sponsor still run the risk of getting a dogmatic religious fanatic, or a neurotic manipulative fool, or a control freak, or any other kind of alcoholic or dope fiend loser you can imagine. Healthy, wealthy, and wise people do not join A.A. or N.A., so your odds of getting a wise, intelligent, compassionate, saintly sponsor to help you with your recovery are very, very low. And there are simply no requirements for sponsorship, other than that the sponsor is supposed to have a bunch of clean and sober time.

Also read a few letters from some refugees from A.A.:

52. Inconsistency. Contradictory Messages.
A.A. scores a 10.

The actual value system of a cult is often the antithesis of the system that it advertises, and A.A. is no exception to that rule of thumb. Alcoholics Anonymous is loaded with contradictions and inconsistencies:

  • "We offer you unconditional love and acceptance."
    "And the conditions under which we will give you some 'unconditional love and approval' are:"
    • "You must practice absolute abstinence from alcohol."
    • "You must go to lots of meetings."
    • "You must believe in the Twelve Steps and practice them."
    • "You must believe in a tyrannical God or Higher Power who will alternate between dictating work orders and answering your prayers, granting your wishes, and delivering miracles on demand."
    • "You must revere Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob."
    • "You must never question the A.A. program."
    • "You must never contradict A.A. doctrines or dogma."
    • "You must keep it simple, stupid!"
    • "You must recruit more members."
    — And when people didn't obey all of those rules, Bill Wilson hated them and sentenced them to death by alcoholism.

  • "This is a program of rigorous honesty."

  • "Think, think, think."
    • "Stop your stinkin' thinkin'."
    • "You have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem."
    • "Your best thinking got you here."
    • "Utilize, Don't Analyze."
    • "Nobody is too stupid to get the program, but some people are too smart."

  • "Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything."
    • "You must abandon Reason, human intelligence, and logic, and just have faith."
      (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Pages 51-54.)
    • "Relieved of the alcohol obsession, their lives unaccountably transformed, they came to believe in a Higher Power, and most of them began to talk of God."
      (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 27-28.)
    • "From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name."
      (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.)

  • "Alcoholics Anonymous is a self-help group dedicated to helping people to quit drinking."
    "Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

    "Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization" The Big Book, Forward to the 2nd Edition, William G. Wilson, page XX (of the 3rd edition).
    • "At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God..."
      (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 77.)

  • "You can have any Higher Power of your understanding that you wish."
    • The Third Step Prayer says:
      "God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, page 58.

  • "A.A. is just an easy-going self-help program; take what you want and leave the rest..."
    "Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions." (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.)
    • "There are no musts in Alcoholics Anonymous; all of our Steps are only suggestions."
    • "There are no 'musts' in Alcoholics Anonymous, only 'oughtas'."
    • "There aren't any 'musts' in this program, but there are a lot of 'you betters'."

    But the word "must" is used in the first 11 chapters of the Big Book 58 times. A few of them are:

    • Chapter 1: I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.
    • Chapter 2: "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing."
    • Chapter 3: Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.
    • Chapter 4: But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life or else.
    • Chapter 5: Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
    • Chapter 5: We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them away any more than alcohol.
    • Chapter 5: Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends....
    • Chapter 6: We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world.
    • Chapter 6: The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others.
    • Chapter 6: We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go...
    • Chapter 6: We must not shrink at anything.
    • Chapter 6: We must take the lead.
    • Chapter 6: Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. [Go recruiting for A.A..]
    • Chapter 6: But we must go further and that means more action. [Go recruiting for A.A..]
    • Chapter 6: But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection...
    • Chapter 7: To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. [Go recruiting for A.A..]
    • Chapter 7: He should concentrate on his own spiritual demonstration. Argument and fault-finding are to be avoided like the plague. In many homes this is a difficult thing to do, but it must be done if any results are to be expected.
    • Chapter 7: But we must try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree.
    • Chapter 7: If their old relationship is to be resumed it must be on a better basis, since the former did not work.
    • Chapter 7: Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress.
    • Chapter 8: Wait until repeated stumbling convinces him he must act, for the more you hurry him the longer his recovery may be delayed.
    • Chapter 8: Your husband will see at once that he must redouble his spiritual activities if he expects to survive.
    • Chapter 9: But he must see the danger of over-concentration on financial success.
    • Chapter 9: We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done.
    • Chapter 9: Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if he would recover. The others must be convinced of his new status beyond the shadow of a doubt.
    • Chapter 10: Though you are providing him with the best possible medical attention, he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart.
    • Chapter 10: For he knows he must be honest if he would live at all.
    • Chapter 11: But life was not easy for the two friends. Plenty of difficulties presented themselves. Both saw that they must keep spiritually active. [Go recruiting for A.A..]
    • Chapter 11: Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary. [Go recruiting for A.A..]
    • Chapter 11: Still you may say: "But I will not have the benefit of contact with you who wrote this book." We cannot be sure. God will determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him.

    And Bill Wilson often used the phrase "have to" instead of the word "must", but it still meant must:

    • Chapter 2: If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking — "What do I have to do?"
    • Chapter 3: "Then they outlined the spiritual answer... But the program of action, though entirely sensible, was pretty drastic. It meant I would have to throw several lifelong conceptions out of the window."
    • Chapter 6: We have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk. We explain to our partner what we are about to do and why we have to do it. He should realize that we are engaged upon a life-and-death errand.
    • Chapter 6: Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be.
    • Chapter 6: The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.
    • Chapter 7: You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. [Go recruiting for A.A..]
    • Chapter 7: After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol. Besides, we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to!

    And of course, above all, there is Bill Wilson's declaration that you will die if you don't do his twelve steps. That is the ultimate must:

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

53. Hierarchical, Authoritarian Power Structure, and Social Castes
A.A. scores a 5.

First off, there is the obvious pyramid of sponsors, whom newcomers are supposed to obey without question. The highest social caste is the old-timers, those people with 20 or 30 years of Time. Then the rest of the members are ranked by how much sober Time they have.

Those members of the group who have been around longer and have more time sober are considered to be superiors. There is an unstated hierarchy that naturally develops.
Mind Control Tactics of Alcoholics Anonymous, Devin Sexon

The relationship between sponsors and sponsees can be very authoritarian, where the orders of sponsors are to be followed without question, and are always backed up by the threat of "Jails, Institutions, or Death" if not followed correctly.

Most cults feature "Undemocratic Reality, Control-oriented Leadership, and Superdemocracy or Pseudo-democracy", and so does Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, the general membership is complaining that the New York headquarters has become completely out of control, and no longer obeys or responds to the membership whom it is supposed to be obeying and serving. The "democracy" in A.A. is a sham. It doesn't matter how the membership votes, nothing changes. See the description of AAWS misbehavior in the web page about "What's Not Good About A.A.".

On another level, Bill Wilson's political philosophy was essentially the same as that of Frank Buchman: He favored theocracy and fascism.

Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 100.

In A.A. there is active still another form of association, a form of which the world is today in great doubt. It has its virtues, nevertheless, especially for us of Alcoholics Anonymous: I am speaking of dictatorship. In A.A. we have two dictators, and we profit and grow through both. One is John Barleycorn, who is never very far from the elbow of each of us. The other is the Father of Lights, who presides over all men. God is saying to us, "Learn my will and do it." And John Barleycorn is saying to each of us, "You had better do God's will or I will kill you!"
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age William G. Wilson (1957), page 225.

Note how Bill Wilson bemoaned the fact that dictatorships had gone out of fashion. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin really gave dictatorships a bad name during World War II, but that didn't stop Bill Wilson from loving dictatorships as a form of government — just as long as he got to be the leader.

In fact, Bill Wilson even praised dictatorships himself, and later bragged that Alcoholics Anonymous had "all of the advantages of the modern dictatorship".

"Then, too we have a dictatorship — and how! God constantly says to us, 'I trust you will find and do my will.' John Barleycorn, always at our elbow, says, 'If you don't conform, I'll kill you or drive you mad.' So we have all the advantages and more, of the modern dictatorship."
Bill Wilson, quoted by his secretary in Grateful To Have Been There, Nell Wing, page 22.

Therefore we [AA] have the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today but none of their liabilities.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 105—106.
The full benefits of murderous dictatorships? What benefits? Benefits for whom? And what liabilities of murderous dictatorships does Alcoholics Anonymous not have?

And of course there is Bill Wilson's declaration that we do not even have the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.

54. Front groups, masquerading recruiters, hidden promoters, and disguised propagandists
A.A. scores a 10.

A.A. has an immense number of hidden proselytizers who masquerade as everything from scholars and dispassionate observers to recovery counselors and therapists. For some examples, see:

A.A. has front organizations like:

  • NCADD, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
  • ASAM, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (aimed at doctors)
  • NAADAC, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (obviously, for counselors)

Finally, the Hazelden Foundation is the biggest promoter of A.A. in the world. They publish far more A.A.-booster titles than even A.A.W.S. does.

55. Belief equals truth
A.A. scores a 10.

A.A. really has a bad case of this one. A.A. members imagine that their believing something will actually make it true. They imagine that if they just "have faith" that it will somehow change reality and make everything okay. See the file on A.A. and Religious Faith for more on this.

56. Use of double-binds
A.A. scores a 10.

The first double-bind a newcomer is likely to encounter is the question of whether he is an alcoholic:

  • If he admits that he is an alcoholic, then that proves that he is an alcoholic.
  • If he denies being an alcoholic, then that proves that he is an alcoholic who is in denial, so sick that he denies the "obvious truth" that he is an alcoholic.
Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. You just can't get out of it. Either way, you are an alcoholic.

The standard A.A. religious dogma says that alcoholics are just loaded with "moral shortcomings" and "defects of character", and that one of their common defects is that they are so dishonest that they will only admit to having ("claim") some of those defects. They deny the others, and can only gradually admit just how bad they really are. And then the dogma also says that we love our defects (or sins, as Bill Wilson called them in 12x12), and we don't want to give them up. According to Bill Wilson, alcoholics are spiritual slobs who don't want to get too good too soon.

Notice how "claiming your defects" is a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" double-bind, just like a medieval witch trial:

  • If you "claim" a bunch of defects, then you are confessing that you are a defective, flawed sinner.
  • If you don't "claim" a bunch of defects, then that proves that you are a dishonest defective flawed sinner who is in denial and refusing to be truthful about what a bad sinner you are.

All such double-binds induce a feeling of powerlessness in the victim. That is one of the essential elements of any successful brainwashing program.

57. The group leader is not held accountable for his actions.
A.A. scores a 10.

This one is obvious, and is true in two ways.

First off, while he was alive, Bill Wilson got away with everything.

  • Bill Wilson robbed A.A. all he could — he embezzled the Big Book publishing fund, and stole the copyright on the Big Book. He never paid the money back; in fact, he took more money. He got away with conning The Alcoholic Foundation into supporting him for the rest of his life. They even bought him a Cadillac car and a big house in the country. Bill died rich as a result of his dishonesty.
  • Bill Wilson lied constantly, and babbled his grandiose religious delusions non-stop, and nobody called him on it, and asked him to be sane and realistic. Nobody demanded that he tell the truth.
  • Bill wrote his crazy cult-religion philosophy down in books and then foisted them on others as the best (or only) cure for alcoholism, and claimed that his sermons were the height of spirituality, and few people dared to contradict him. When one guy — Ed — did, Bill Wilson and his henchmen ostracized Ed and condemned him to death by alcoholism.
  • He philandered and cheated on his wife constantly, and he used A.A. to do it. He thirteenth-stepped many of the women who came to A.A. meetings looking for help, which is grossly unethical — taking advantage of women when they are sick and desperately seeking help to recover from alcoholism. (Good doctors do not screw their patients. That is grounds for a doctor to lose his license to practice medicine.)
  • Bill Wilson also used the A.A. headquarters office as an employment agency for his mistresses — women got hired as A.A. office staff because they were his girlfriends, no clerical skills required. The rest of the A.A. members just let Bill get away with it, and scurried around covering it all up whenever another scandal exploded.

And now, the current leaders do not answer to the rank and file membership. The current leadership is pursuing criminal policies. They have committed perjury in both Germany and Mexico to keep other A.A. members from printing and giving away cheap copies of old, out-of-copyright versions of the Big Book. The membership at large has censured the leadership for their actions; the leaders just ignored it. The leaders are completely beyond the control of the members.

58. Everybody else needs the guru to boss him around, but nobody bosses the guru around.
A.A. scores a 10.

Bill Wilson made this clear when he said that he had to write the Twelve Steps so that he would have "a definite statement of concrete principles that these drunks can't wiggle out of."

Well, we finally got to the point where we really had to say what this book was all about and how this deal works. As I told you this had been a six-step program then.
The idea came to me, well, we need a definite statement of concrete principles that these drunks can't wiggle out of. There can't be any wiggling out of this deal at all and this six-step program had two big gaps which people wiggled out of.
-- Bill Wilson, Transcribed from tape, Fort Worth, 1954

Bill Wilson fancied himself such a wise and knowledgeable alcoholism rehabilitation counselor that he was qualified to write contracts that bound all of the other alcoholics to programs from which they could not escape. Wilson considered himself a guru who was qualified to dispense spiritual advice to all of the other alcoholics, and tell them what to think and what to do. But nobody told Bill Wilson what to think or what to do, or corrected his "spirituality".

And what training or preparation qualified Mr. Wilson to be an alcoholism recovery counselor and a priest?

  • Which seminary did he graduate from?  None.
  • What religion trained him and ordained him as a priest?  None did.
  • Who were Bill's gurus?  Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.
  • Bill drank a whole lot of prohibition whiskey and bathtub gin for many years, until Dr. Silkworth said that Bill was showing signs of brain damage.
  • Bill's sources of religious knowledge were:
    • some high school years spent at The Burr & Burton Seminary, a private school in Manchester, Vermont (where Bill failed to graduate),
    • and then he had a hallucinatory experience that he later described as "a hot flash" from belladonna and other drugs while detoxing in the hospital, and "saw God"...
    • and then he was coached by some religious-fanatic recruiters from Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult.

That's it. That's all there was to make Bill into the High Priest of Alcoholics Anonymous.
That's what qualified Bill to lecture everybody else about God, "Higher Powers", "Faith", "Spirituality", and recovery from alcoholism.
That's what qualified Bill to lock the other alcoholics into contracts that they couldn't "wiggle out of."

Then Bill Wilson actually criticized other people for exhibiting "foolishness" like:
"How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act."
Bill Wilson was such an outrageous fascist autocrat that he actually demanded the power to dictate how other people should act and think.

Lest there be any doubt about it, Bill Wilson later wrote to Dr. Harry Tiebout that
A.A. members are "impersonally and severely disciplined from without."
(Letter from Wilson to Tiebout, 9 Nov 1950, quoted in Not-God, Ernest Kurtz, page 129.)

All except Bill Wilson, that is.

59. The guru criticizes everybody else, but nobody criticizes the guru.
A.A. scores a 10.

Bill Wilson constantly denounced everybody else, but no one could criticize him.
Likewise, today, the Alcoholics Anonymous group or its elders — sponsors — criticize the newcomer alcoholics, but those newcomers are not allowed to criticize the program or the organization.
"The program is perfect; it is just people who fail the program."

  • See "The 'Us Stupid Drunks' Conspiracy" for a very long list of the faults that Bill Wilson found in everybody else.
  • Also read Bill Wilson's books "Alcoholics Anonymous" and "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" for his harangues against alcoholics.
  • See the official, "council-approved" publications of AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.) for a list of what was wrong with Bill Wilson.
    (Hint: there isn't one.)
  • I just mentioned how, when an early A.A. member named Ed criticized the bombastic religiosity of Bill Wilson and his henchmen, they ostracized Ed and condemned him to death by alcoholism.

60. Dispensed truth and social definition of reality
A.A. scores a 10.