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Is Alcoholics Anonymous A Cult?
Hangover. We have all been there. Head pounding, heart racing, trying to recall thoughts from the night before; in short we've all had a bad hangover. Actually we've all probably had a couple dozen. The best cure? Rest, water, greasy food, and time. Sometimes I've even had a beer the next day, because why not? In the eyes of an AA member this would probably qualify you to be an alcoholic. Does having a party lifestyle for a few years mean you have a drinking problem? Alcoholics Anonymous thinks so. Here are certain things that AA thinks makes you an alcoholic.
- Hiding your drinking.
- Drinking to relax or feel better.
- "Blacking out".
- Being unable to stop once you start.
- Drinking in dangerous situations.
- Being able to drink more than you used to.
- Trying to quit but being unable to.
Personally, sometimes after a long day at work I love to have a couple beers, watch a few episodes of Archer, and go to bed. I guess that would qualify as drinking to relax. I have also had my fair share of blackouts (college was fun), but I feel like everyone has. Are they using this list as a way to help you, or a way to recruit you?
Characteristics of a Cult
Alcoholics Anonymous follows a lot of similarities to a cult. Some of which I will go over now.
1. Authoritarian Leadership
After doing some research and knowing a few people who identify as alcoholics I understand that after you work 12 steps and have a certain amount of time sober under your belt you are suppose to speak during meetings or sponsor others that identify as alcoholic. The more steps you go through and the more time you have sober makes it so you can do more in the program, and almost gives you some sort of authority over the members, such as running meetings and helping guide others through the steps.
Alcoholics Anonymous believes that they are the only way to help keep an alcoholic sober. It is the only way an alcoholic can remain sane and if someone is to leave the program they risk their sanity and their sobriety. They believe that AA is the only salvation to ones drinking and to leave or not comply is to risk ones life.
I once had a friend a few years ago who got caught up in the whole AA thing because she had gotten a DUI (which is never ok), and she told me she was not to talk to me or her family until she had gotten better or else she would die since we were drinkers. To me, that is complete crazy talk. If AA is supposed to create some sort of serenity for the members, why are they telling them to fear for their life because of other people who aren't causing them harm with their presence.
4. Opposition to Independent Thinking
As stated a few paragraphs above, AA thinks that they are the savior of all alcoholics and if anyone tries to go with a different way to deal with their drinking they are doomed and will end up drunk again. That's crazy, cult talk to me. Of course if you are in AA and reading this right now, you probably think that I am the crazy one.
I am not saying Alcoholics Anonymous is the anti-Christ or anything like that, but you have to wonder if they use cult like tactics to recruit members. Everybody who is in AA has to follow "the 12 steps" or else they are doomed to be drunks the rest of their lives. I'm sure for some people Alcoholic Anonymous has completely turned their life around, but at what cost? They have to completely surrender themselves to a "higher power", and completely conform to what Alcoholics Anonymous wants for them. It seems to me like the 12 steps are just a replacements for the alcoholics previous addiction, and that the addiction component of alcoholism isn't truly addressed. This is such a controversial subject I really don't want to dive much deeper into it. I just want to get people's brains working in a way to where they don't do everything they are told, and don't believe everything they hear.