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Is AA a Cult - Recovered 410

Recovered Podcast

Release Date: 05/14/2013

Step 7 - Recovered 1111 show art Step 7 - Recovered 1111

Recovered Podcast

We have taken the very difficult moral inventory and admitted to our wrongdoings to ourselves, our higher power and to another human being. It’s now time to remove those wrongdoings from our everyday lives and we need help to ensure that we completely remove our shortcomings and don’t continue to fall victim to any of addiction’s ill effects.

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Step 6 - Recovered 1109 show art Step 6 - Recovered 1109

Recovered Podcast

The sixth step can bring about significant and very noticeable change when it comes to the thought patterns and behavior that have been with us for a long time. It doesn’t happen overnight obviously, and there is nothing like perfection when working the twelve steps of AA. It’s about making a commitment and being content with patient improvement.

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Step 5 - Recovered 1107 show art Step 5 - Recovered 1107

Recovered Podcast

Step Four has prepared you for step five, and by finding the courage to overcome that fear of rejection or the shame of your inventory, you experience honesty on a deeper level than in your first step of admission, and you break the pattern of denial that often plagues those suffering with alcoholism.

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Step 4 - Recovered 1105 show art Step 4 - Recovered 1105

Recovered Podcast

While working on our step inventories we get a new perspective on the bigger picture, on patterns, selfishness, our responsibility in situations and in this process we are building up an accurate self-appraisal with true self-worth as the reward.

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Step 3 - Recovered 1103 show art Step 3 - Recovered 1103

Recovered Podcast

When working on step three we take a look at how acting on self-will means behaving with the exclusion of any consideration for others, focusing only on what we want and ignoring the needs and feelings of others. While we were busy pursuing these impulses, we mostly left a path of destruction behind us, and we definitely lost touch with our conscience and a Higher Power.

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Step 2 - Recovered 1101 show art Step 2 - Recovered 1101

Recovered Podcast

This is the beginning of the end, in a way. You will end your old life and begin your fresh one, committed to faith – faith in whatever you choose.

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Step 1 - Recovered 1099 show art Step 1 - Recovered 1099

Recovered Podcast

The first step in 12 step recovery programs involves more than just admitting that there is a problem. It means breaking through the denial that has kept the person locked in their misery. The individual has to accept that they have been beaten by their addiction. The exact wording of this step is:

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Having Hobbies in Recovery - Recovered 1098 show art Having Hobbies in Recovery - Recovered 1098

Recovered Podcast

If people feel that their life has no meaning and purpose they will find it impossible to build a successful life in recovery. During their years of addiction the focus would have been on obtaining and using their drug of choice. It is therefore vital that they replace this hole in their life with something new. The more meaning that people find in recovery the less likely it will be that they will relapse.

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Relapse and Coming Back In - Recovered 1097 show art Relapse and Coming Back In - Recovered 1097

Recovered Podcast

Relapse is not uncommon. Some people find it difficult to overcome their addictive behaviors for the long term. Once clean, the addict can easily fall back into old practices and habits. Recovery requires commitment, discipline and a network of support. The old adage “it takes a village” is clearly demonstrated in recovery. But those of us who have relapsed, coming back into the village of recovery can be difficult.

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Character Defects - Recovered 1096 show art Character Defects - Recovered 1096

Recovered Podcast

Humans are obviously not perfect; everyone will have their flaws and weaknesses. It is only when these imperfections lead to suffering that there is a real cause for concern. Most people will have many minor character defects, and a few major ones. It will be these major flaws that will cause them the most problems in life.

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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?