Is AA a Cult?
Before getting sober, I wanted nothing to do with Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or any other twelve-step fellowship. I was convinced meetings were some sort of cult ritual and everyone in the rooms was a brainwashed zombie. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Still, I’ve heard this complaint come up time and time again. Before entering the rooms of recovery, most addicts and alcoholics don’t think very highly of twelve-step principles. And why should they? Twelve-step principles are a complete one hundred and eighty degrees from how we live our lives in active addiction.
There are a million and a half reasons addicts and alcoholics think AA is a cult. I’ll explore some common myths, and why they’re completely false, below. First, though, I’d like to make the bold declaration that twelve-step recovery saved my life. More importantly, it gave me a life that’s so amazing, so indescribably wonderful, that sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
That should be enough to make anyone give meetings a chance. If it isn’t, well, keep on reading!
I Have to Go to Meetings Forever?
Those still in active addiction tend to make this a huge sticking point. I know I did. I was convinced that going to meetings forever was the worst possible thing that could happen to me.
Here’s a newsflash – you don’t have to go to meetings forever! You only have to go to one meeting a day. I’m living my life one day at a time. I have no idea if I’ll go to meetings in twenty years, but I do know I’m going to one tonight.
Plus, I’ll let you all in on this little secret that people with long-term sobriety don’t like to share. Are you ready? Going to meetings rocks! Where else can I share the most off the wall stuff and have people clap for me and love me?
I Have to Believe in God?
No, you don’t have to believe in God. In fact, you don’t have to believe in anything you don’t want to.
However, if you want to stay sober, you should probably talk to some AA members about a Higher Power. You’ll soon learn that a Higher Power can be absolutely anything you want it to be.
So, find something you’re comfortable with like nature or the ocean. That’s your Higher Power right there. Pretty easy, right?
People in AA are Weirdly Happy All the Time
Yeah, of course people in twelve-step groups are happy all the time! We’ve been saved from death and active alcoholism. We’ve been saved from a life that isn’t a life at all. We’ve gone from existing to living.
Wouldn’t you be happy if those things happened to you? No, we’re not weirdly happy because we’re in a cult. We’re weirdly happy because our lives are amazing. You should try it out sometime.
Isn’t Sober Life Boring?
Want to know some of thoughts about sober life from before I got sober? They went something like – “Oh man, how will I be able to live without going to parties?” or “I can’t imagine talking to boys without drinking a little first.”
I thought that drugs and alcohol made life exciting. They replaced the fear inside of me with false confidence. With this false confidence, I thought life was exciting.
It turns out that life was actually pretty boring. I mean, you tell me which of the following is more exciting. Going kayaking in the ocean with a few good friends or sitting in a room, smoking weed, and watching Comedy Central for eight hours?
Go ahead, which is more exciting? That’s what I thought.