What’s Wrong with Alcoholics Anonymous?

The coffee in Alcoholics Anonymouse, it must be said, is uniformly terrible. Aside from this, one is hard-pressed to find its faults.

Isn’t that exceptional? You might be inclined to levy accusations of bias, but let us look at it.

This is not to say that the meetings of said group are not tedious, or that its members are not tiresome or testy; more often than not, they are. This is to say that the institution itself, by virtue of its architecture, comes as close to perfect as any human construct ever has.

For it is well recognized that the “concentration of wealth yields concentration of power. And concentration of political power gives rise to legislation that increases and accelerates the cycle.” *-Noam Chomsky And this truism has borne itself out time and again throughout human history, even in the most democratically inspired and spiritually erect endeavors; like the coercion of members into the teamsters union in the 20th century, or the offered indulgences of the Catholic Church in the 15th century.

And yet not so in Alcoholics Anonymous. How can this be?

Is the alcoholic so much more upright than the next fellow? Certainly not.

There is, at the time of this writing, a very good documentary available for free on Amazon Prime named Bill W., after the founder of the organization, and it tells his story in some detail. But even those interviewed in it can only guess at the miraculous marvel of the program.

The imperviousness of Alcoholics Anonymous; AA’s infallibility in the face of the most elemental forces of corruption since the world set itself to turning, is indeed mysterious. However, the source of that power is not.

It lies in the 7th and 11th traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, which state that “every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions” and that “our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”

Bill W. certainly meant to act in the latter tradition when he declined the offer, made in 1960 by Time, to feature his face on the cover of their magazine.

Was his decision, in that particular case, right or wrong? This writer, for one, is not so sure. 

So, What is Alcoholics Anonymous, you might be wondering.

Many may believe that is just a group of alcoholics in a dark room filled with smoke drinking coffee. You may be surprised that you might find hope, happiness, laughter and a connection you may have never experience before. Yes we do talk about our problems but we also bring solutions to our meetings that go beyond just not taking a drink. We inspire each-other by sharing our experiences in life, both good and bad, and how we navigated through the rollercoaster of life. Alcoholics Anonymous offers our hand to anyone who might be one minute sober to someone with almost a lifetime of sobriety.


Maybe you have found yourself intrigued by this article and would like to check out a meeting sometime. AA-Intergroup provides an online directory to AA Zoom meetings around the world! You can also come checkout our weekly bonfire meeting at Oak Forest Recovery in the Agoura Hills/Thousand Oaks California area. Come by to listen to a great speaker and enjoy fellowship, food and fun!

Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

The central office in LA is always available 24/7 365 days a year for anyone who maybe struggling.

Oak Forest Recovery

At Oak Forest Recovery, we offer a sober living community that encourages our clients to be engaged with a 12-Step Program along with many other forms of therapy. We do not affiliate with AA in anyway, we just have seen the benefits it has brought into current and past clients who have come through our treatment center.

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