Is AA a cult or a culture?
Well if it’s not a cult, then at the very least it IS a religion that shares many of the qualifications of a cult.
Before we get to the “cult-like” aspects, let’s point out the evidence that it is a religion or at the very least religious.
You need look no further than the steps that specifically mention God no less than 5 times. Take step 3 “Made a decision to turn our WILL and our LIVES over to the care of God as we understood him”
I know that people in the roomz will argue that the higher power from step 2 can be anything whether it be God, the AA group itself or a Unicorn. Well whatever it is that you choose, it obviously is supposed to be
elevated to God status in Step 3. Now if you do in fact choose AA itself as that higher power, than you have elevated it to God like status. If that’s not cultish, I don’t know what is. AA is nothing more than “faith healing” as is evidenced in Steps 6&7
6-“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects in character”
7-“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”
So ask God (or AA) to cure you simply by asking him to and if you are a good little sheep and do a proper Step 5 confession;“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact natures of our wrongs”, then your prayers will be answered. This is about as close to the idea that we are all born sinners and if we repent and take AA to be our lord and savior than all will be well in the world.
How is this NOT religious or faith healing?
OK, how about some Cult aspects.
How about the threat of death if you ever leave the flock as is evidenced on page 174 of their handbook for
“doing the steps”, the 12&12;“Unless each AA member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant”!!!!! Sounds pretty cultish to me.
The 12 & 12 and the “Big Book” are AA’s equivalent to the Bible and are not to be questioned by the faithful. “Unapproved literature” is not to be brought up and discussed. Again, very cult-like. Then like every good cult, you have a revered and egotistical narcissist for a leader whose authority is never questioned even if in this case, the dude is dead.
So cult or culture?
I think it’s both and it’s very warped and scary all at the same time. If you believe that being a “recovering” alcoholic who lives in fear “One day at a time” for ETERNITY is the way to go, then have at it. If, however, your goal is to become recovered and move on with your life, then STAY AWAY.
Author of “The Freedom to Recover”
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