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Old 07-17-2009, 05:14 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Is AA/NA a cult?

I'm finding more and more, that both AA and NA are (perhaps) ... inadvertent cults.

Some people's views on this subject are laughable and have no foundation, however other people's points of view are interesting, and fit societies definition of a cult, perfectly.

Again, I don;t believe that these programs were ever disigned to be a cult. It's simply something that I

there is no room for "edit" regarding the big book or the NA literature. I must be accepted as 100 percent truth. Those who question, are not yet "learned".

...meetings, the traditions and the 12 steps are drilled into our heads, as the "ultimate" fullfilment of life, for the addict or alcoholic.

I've noticed that there are people who will sacrifice food and rent to go to a world meeting.

IT would be nothing but foolish to deny the help that AA/NA has done for the addict/alcoholic. Many people are living on this earth(as opposed to) being in a grave, because of aa/na.

But I wonder.......................

ps, this isn;t a case of the f-it's.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:46 PM   #2 (permalink)

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I understand what u are talking about, but i do beleive that when we are addicts we need control enviroment to keep us focus, because if we dont walk straight and we veer to the left or to the right. then we get off course and we began to use again, so i dont know what the future holds for me but for alot of poeple AA has been a life saver.

Just my opinon
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool post.

This thought has crossed my mind a few times. I seemed to think AA was kind of cult like when I did some research on it.

I decided it wasn't for me, but I know it has helped many people, and more power to them.

I have been doing fine on my own, but it would be nice to find some kind of support system where I can go and talk about things.
"The man said 'why do you think you here'
I said 'I got no idea
I'm gonna, I'm gonna lose my baby
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Anything can be a cult depending on how the individuals involved choose to give their power to it rather than gather power from it. As a kid I thought that about the boy scouts, didn't have to worry long, got kicked out at 14 for drinking on a camporee. I can manage AA and most anything out if I keep these precepts:

The Four Reliances

First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings,
not on the words;

Second, rely on the teachings,
not on the personality of the teacher;

Third, rely on real wisdom,
not superficial interpretation;

And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind,
not on judgmental perceptions.-- Traditional Buddhist teaching
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:22 PM   #5 (permalink)

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Remember the old saying? If you tell (or listen) to a lie often enough, you'll begin to believe it yourself ?
If you or I are in a cult, how is it, that we're able seperate the good from the bad?

That, is the problem with cults ..............once in it, before long........we're brainwashed ...... we can't tell fact from fiction.

Now I'm not saying AA/NA ,is for sure a cult, but it seems (to me) that if it isn't, it's damn close to it.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Might not have been your pure wisdom mind. Might have been an intruder. Difference between mindful and mindless. Oh well, as long as I'm sober I don't mind.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh, almost forgot...

I did attend a few meetings also before I decided it wasn't for me. I do believe not all meetings are the same, and some are much better than others.

I do believe in God, so that wasn't the reason I decided it wasn't for me. One of the things I wasn't crazy about ( and no, this didn't determine me not going back to the meetings, lol) was the holding eachother at the end.

To each his own though.
"The man said 'why do you think you here'
I said 'I got no idea
I'm gonna, I'm gonna lose my baby
so I always keep a bottle near...

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Old 07-17-2009, 06:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Past experience has taught me not to touch on this subject around here, but, WOW!! what an excellent post fitz!
I was addicted to soap once, but now I'm clean
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:46 PM   #9 (permalink)

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It aint Fitz's post, it's mine M/F !

haha ...naw just kiddin X.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:54 PM   #10 (permalink)

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Hey Joe - I understand there are some in the rooms who follow the BB as though it were gospel - and if it keeps them sober, God bless them. I mean that. I've read it and I've worked the Steps, and continue to do so, but I don't quote from the BB at meetings either. I prefer to share my own experience, and to share how I recovered.

So - I dunno - matters not to me if it's cult-like - I'm just grateful to have found the rooms, and to be sober today.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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From cult... "a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc."

So... AA/NA can indeed be considered a cult.

But... one saying I like alot is: 'take what you want and leave the rest.'

So there is some room for 'edit' within the cults.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:02 PM   #12 (permalink)

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the program for me and my infinite wisdom could be a cult just like drinking and getting drunk could be a cult, however the cult of AA keeps me out of jail or frome going insane so iguess this cult is better than the one i left, seems to be a better option.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If my first meeting had been a candlelight I would have tore the doors off the hinges leaving. Some around here (my group) have no esh they can quote the big book they can tell you what their sponser says about that, but I sometimes wonder if these people ever have a original thought anymore. One guy the other night with 16 years said he got up every morning and asked god if he should go to the bathroom, cmon dude. I go to meetings now and if I feel myself getting angry or upset I just leave it dosent bother me to get up and leave any more.
I love my bulldog she never says a word about anything I do wrong.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think Tmcor has something here. What is more a cult than that of addiction?

When sober, we have choices. Based upon our intellect. I don't feel threatened by anything. I have been to all sorts of AA meetings. Some are "doctrinal." So were Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler. They were GOOD.

So are the Evangelists of our time. Geezuz, so many have taken choice from so many...

I've seem friends die because they believed so strongly in "herbs." Whatever.

What sobriety means to me is a return to rationality. I am immune to that which I do not understand. I do know that AA has a foundation in pretty cutting edge science. It might be cloaked in "cult" by some, but I am stronger than that. I never question someone 20 years sober. While I may not "get it," if they are "sober today" because of AA, so be it.

I've studied literally hundreds of "ways to the truth." Psychology, epistemology, spirituality. I've found far more to admire than to criticize. I feel like a 1,000 bean salad.

So, the AA debate doesn't really interest me. I can side with anyone. What I cannot side with is being an addict. If i have control of everything else, and I am philosophically "pure," and am still active in my addiction, just what have I proved? And to whom?

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away...
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I love it when this debate pops up, after two weeks away from this site on retreat, I am of the mind that I will not change thinking patterns that are alread closed, it is good to be free of that delusion. That being said, I view threads like this as dangerous for people on the fence or considering AA. There are some sick AA groups, yet these are not indicative of AA as a whole, nor are they an accurate representation of the AA way of life.

AA is not, has not, and never will be a cult. How many cults are out there that say "don't like it, there's the door."
Here's what the founder of AA had to say.

Sobriety—freedom from alcohol—through the teaching and practice of the
Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an A.A. group,”. “Groups have
repeatedly tried other activities, and they have always failed. It has also been
learned that there is no possible way to make non-alcoholics into A.A.
members. We have to confine our membership to alcoholics, and we have to
confine our A.A. groups to a single purpose. If we don’t stick to these
principles, we shall almost certainly collapse. And if we collapse, we cannot
help anyone.”
Bill Wilson

There it is folks, not my opinion, but the facts. There are some of us here that maintain the integrity of the program and are unwilling to compromise, and yet we are branded as fanatics. This is not true, we are alcoholics doing the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I say this often, if you don't like AA, don't go, how's that for keeping it simple.

I wish all who want to recover well, and there are apparently other ways than AA, I don't have experience with them so I don't share opinions on them.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Red face

Cult: A group of three or more people who believe in the same thing.
"The chains of alcohol are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken"
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The primary purpose of people in AA is to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety. We admit that we're not perfect - we seek progress rather than perfection. We stick to the 12 steps because we've found nothing better in the past 74 years, and AA is by far the most successful recovery program out there.

But is it a cult? Hardly. We have no religious beliefs or practices nor do we follow a charismatic leader. In fact we have no leader. Each AA group is autonomous for the most part. And AA will never demand rigid adherence to anything, preferrring to suggest rather than dictate.

There are those who feel that AA isn't for them for a variety of reasons, yet I find that most who make this statement have never really tried AA beyond sitting in the back of a meeting and forming unfounded opinions. They thus walk out with the opinion that "AA just isn't for me". Yet I've never heard any concrete reasons as to just why it isn't for them. Perhaps they feel that the program is too difficult, and that there's an easier, softer way. I wish such people the best of luck, and if they ever find a successful "easier, softer way" please let us know.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:08 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Interesting thread, glad it hasn't degenerated...yet. In truth, it's probably an irrelavent argument in semantics. AA/NA works for some, not so much for others. Nobody is forced to stay in an AA program (excluding court ordered, which is wrong in my opinion). One thing AA/NA lacks that your generally find in most cults is a charasmitic leader who members follow blindly. AA's founders are no longer with us (I'm not really sure about NA), but there has been a very deliberate effort NOT to have any kind of central leadership in either of these organizations. Just my thoughts.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:28 PM   #19 (permalink)

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Thx Rob. Good to see you back. I'm becoming accustomed to seeing "Is A.A. a cult?" threads.

I would say it's getting hard to find alcoholics of the hopeless variety in A.A. and even harder to find ones who decide in from the beginning and do all the steps.

So... there's a bunch in A.A. who do a bunch of other stuff. Stuff that I cannot reconcile with out of that book or my experience. So to the OP, maybe you're right in the claim that A.A. wasn't intended to be a cult or that it isn't what it once was. Well... I've found a couple of meetings aside from my home group that is not a cult.

Like Rob says, you're given the choice to get in or get out from even before you do the steps; it's the step before the step: "If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps." So by that logic, if you don't want what we have and are NOT willing to go to any length to get it, you are NOT ready to take certain steps.

The question then becomes how to get and stay sober/clean. Well if not A.A. or N.A., then what? There's an industry out there that would sure like to help you, but they WILL reach into your pockets. So I guess you can buy your way out of this cult-dilemma.

So... if A.A. didn't work for me, I may be more sympathetic to other methods. I've never seen meetings, steps nor traditions drilled into anybody's head. But... I've seen a lot of this stuff lately. I'm having a good time with A.A. and it doesn't consume my whole life either. I don't see it happen too often, but once in a great while, we see a new person get this deal and they stick around and it's obvious that their life gets better, not worse. That by itself debunks any talk of "cult".
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:03 PM   #20 (permalink)

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I never intended to scare anyone away from either NA or AA. Honestly!

As I stated before, the programs have kept 10's of thousands of people out of the grave and back into a more "normal" life.

I go to tons of NA meetings,because that's where my main support is. I can't say where I'd be, without the support i get from those rooms.

That said, it's important for me to be open and honest, not just to changes I need to make, but honest in all other areas too.

If i have a question concerning whether or not aa/na is a cult, then I should be free to ask.

Concerning Robs statment about a thread like this being dangerous-well Rob
if I or anyone else has, is pushed into silence (concerning my question) because of the possibility of swaying someones intrest in attending a meeting, then I am being controlled, and my freedom is jeopardized.

The first and formost goal of a cult is taking away a persons freedom.

Sometimes I think that aa/na is very much a cult and sometimes I think that it appears cultish because of the need for the addict/alkie to have a (non wavering) type of structure.
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