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Is AA a Cult - Recovered 410

Recovered Podcast

Release Date: 05/14/2013

Step 11 - Recovered 1380 show art Step 11 - Recovered 1380

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Step 11 in a 12-step recovery program holds significant importance for both straight and LGBTQIA+ individuals as it emphasizes the practice of spiritual principles and mindfulness. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals in recovery often struggle with issues of self-acceptance, shame, and spiritual disconnection. Step 11 encourages regular prayer and meditation, fostering a deeper connection with a higher power or spiritual principles that transcend individual differences. For LGBTQIA+ individuals who may have experienced rejection...

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Step 10 - Recovered 1379 show art Step 10 - Recovered 1379

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Step 10 in a recovery program holds immense importance as it emphasizes the practice of ongoing self-reflection and accountability. This step involves a daily inventory of one's thoughts, actions, and behaviors, along with a prompt acknowledgment of any shortcomings or mistakes. By regularly examining their attitudes and conduct, individuals in recovery cultivate a heightened sense of self-awareness and honesty, which are crucial for maintaining sobriety. Step 10 serves as a preventative measure against relapse by enabling individuals to promptly address any...

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Steps 8 & 9 - Recovered 1378 show art Steps 8 & 9 - Recovered 1378

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Steps 8 and 9 hold significant importance in the journey of recovery within Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Step 8 involves making a list of individuals harmed during one's active addiction and becoming willing to make amends to them. This step fosters accountability and self-reflection, encouraging individuals to confront the consequences of their actions and take responsibility for repairing the harm caused. By identifying those who have been affected by their behavior, individuals in recovery begin to understand the ripple effects of their actions and the...

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Challenges - Recovered 1377 show art Challenges - Recovered 1377

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Dealing with challenges in recovery is paramount to achieving sustained sobriety and personal growth. One of the key aspects is the recognition that recovery is not a linear process; setbacks and challenges are inevitable. Facing these difficulties head-on provides individuals with an opportunity for introspection and self-discovery. Through the support of a community that understands the struggles of addiction, people in recovery learn to confront and navigate challenges with resilience. This process fosters emotional strength, self-awareness, and coping...

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Steps 6 & 7 - Recovered 1376 show art Steps 6 & 7 - Recovered 1376

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Steps 6 and 7 are crucial stages in a recovery program, guiding individuals on their path to recovery. In Step 6, participants become willing to let go of their character defects—those negative traits or behaviors that hinder personal growth and well-being. This step calls for self-reflection and a genuine desire for change. It requires individuals to confront their shortcomings with honesty and openness, laying the groundwork for personal transformation. Recognizing the need for change and cultivating a willingness to let go of ingrained patterns are...

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Steps 4 and 5 - Recovered 1375 show art Steps 4 and 5 - Recovered 1375

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   In the context of recovery, steps 4 and 5 play crucial roles in fostering personal growth, self-awareness, and lasting change. Step 4 involves making a fearless and searching moral inventory of oneself. This introspective process requires individuals to honestly examine their past behaviors, actions, and attitudes, acknowledging both strengths and shortcomings. By confronting the often challenging aspects of one's past, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the root causes of their struggles, laying the foundation for meaningful transformation. This...

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Popsicle Sticks - Recovered 1374 show art Popsicle Sticks - Recovered 1374

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Popsicle Sticks is not a topic but rather a meeting style here in Southeast Michigan.  This show will be presented in the form of a popsicle stick meeting tonight.   A popsicle stick meeting is a meeting where we let our higher power determine what we need to share.  Here in our virtual studio, we have a can full of popsicle sticks.  Each stick has a recovery topic written on it.  We will take turns, randomly picking a stick and then sharing on the chosen topic. Tonight, we do popsicle sticks   This week,  Becky, Kim, Joel,...

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Step 3 - Recovered 1373 show art Step 3 - Recovered 1373

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Step 3 marks a critical juncture in the recovery journey, urging individuals to take a decisive step towards surrendering their will and lives to a higher power. This step acknowledges the limitations of self-reliance in the face of addiction and emphasizes the need for a spiritual awakening. It encourages individuals to let go of the illusion of control, recognizing that their personal willpower alone has been insufficient in managing the complexities of alcoholism. By making a conscious decision to turn their lives over to a higher power, individuals embark...

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Step 2 - Recovered 1372 show art Step 2 - Recovered 1372

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Step 2 holds profound significance as it marks a pivotal shift in perspective and sets the foundation for the transformative journey toward sobriety. Acknowledging a power greater than oneself is crucial as it encourages humility and openness to the idea that recovery requires a force beyond personal willpower. This step emphasizes the importance of surrendering to the reality that overcoming addiction is not a solitary endeavor but a collaborative effort that involves reliance on a higher power, which may take various forms depending on individual beliefs. ...

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Continued Growth - Recovered 1370 show art Continued Growth - Recovered 1370

Recovered Podcast

To skip the intro, tap 3:25   Continued growth is significant in a recovery program as it fosters the ongoing transformation necessary for sustained sobriety and a fulfilling life. Recovery is not merely about abstaining from substances; it is a holistic process of self-discovery and personal development. Embracing the culture of continuous growth allows individuals to address the root causes of their ongoing shortcomings. Through applying the 12-step principles, individuals in recovery learn to confront challenges with resilience and develop coping skills that go beyond the immediate...

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So we all need to take this seriously because I’m sure some alcoholics have decided not to enter because they perceive AA as a cult


For those of us that scoff at the very notion that AA is a cult,   Please recognize that we have many cult like practices...


we pray

we hold hands

we hug alot

we have our own language and talk in numbers

we have stupid slogans

we talk in unison at awkward moments, like “God could and would if he were sought”

we talk about god alot

we talk about the necessity for a charismatic leader called a sponsor

we have our own bible

we are evangelistic


I’m going to be the devil’s advocate and challenge our hosts today.  

The following are cult attributes, let’s discuss each one why the do or do not apply to AA and why.


In a cult, the group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.  What about Bill W, is he the charismatic leader mentioned? Why or why not.

In a cult, questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.  Is AA the only way to sobriety?

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).  What about Step 11?

In a cult, the leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth). Let’s discuss AA leadership.

 The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity). How does Anonymity apply here?

The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society. What does AA say about conflict, the spiritual axiom, who is at fault when conflict arises in an AA memeber?


The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

The group is preoccupied with making money.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.


Final thoughts....Is AA a cult?