Rational Header
RR Logo
Flag Ribbon

Page Curl
Page Curl

Why All the AA-Bashing?

©2006, Jack Trimpey, all rights reserved.

  • Why can’t you just say what Rational Recovery is, instead of attacking other methods and organizations?
  • Why do you have to constantly put down AA?
  • I can’t accept any sales pitch or product based on criticizing some other product.
  • AA has helped millions of people, so it doesn’t make any sense to keep criticizing it.
  • AA is proven successful, the only thing that really works, so there’s no sense in putting it down.
  • You’re a dry-drunk; get back to meetings and you won’t be such an angry, miserable person.
  • You’re just in it for the money.
  • How many alcoholics have you killed today, Trimpey?

These are among the more polite complaints Lois and I have been receiving since we launched Rational Recovery® twenty-one years ago. Outrage over our “AA-bashing” continues, as part of an unending, ideological firefight between the force of addiction, AA, and the force of recovery, AVRT®. Alas, it cannot be otherwise, for both addiction and recovery are in the balance as the debate rages on. Addiction recovery depends largely upon doing the exact opposite of the guidance given by Alcoholics Anonymous. We criticize AA not to put people in recovery down, but to give them hope for freedom and dignity through secure, lifetime abstinence.

The force of addiction
The force of addiction is the bodily desire for the pleasurable effects of alcohol and other drugs. It is a stong desire, one that arises from the force of life itself, the pleasure drive associated with survival. Hunger and sexual desire are both good examples of survival drives, and we all know how compelling they can seem to be. One’s thoughts, feelings and behavior become organized around addictive pleasures, as if one’s life depended upon the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Because addictive pleasures are so much greater than mere food and sex, nutrition and family relationships cannot compete with addiction, with devastating results. Such inverted priorities usually lead addicted people onto the rocky shoals of misery and hopelessness — and, too often, into the recovery group movement.

Newcomers to recovery groups are nearly always looking for the means to quit their addictions and stay quit. They are not looking for a new religion, nor for a new circle of friends, nor for a new family or home, nor for juvenile dependency on others. They simply want to get alcohol and other drugs out of their lives so they can live in freedom and dignity.

All newcomers know, or at least strongly suspect, that they will have to cease drinking/using altogether, very likely for the rest of their lives. As they prepare to attend their first recovery group meeting, newcomers are ready for change, prepared for the bittersweet pill of lifetime abstinence, hoping to find some inside tips on self-restraint and some encouragement from those who succeeded.

The force of addiction, however, creates a special way of thinking, the Addictive Voice, which dignifies and preserves the option of self-intoxication. Substance abusers will eagerly believe recovery group doctrines that frame the stupid and immoral act of self-intoxication as a disease symptom, thereby making them appear as innocent disease victims instead of stupid or immoral people.

Sweet venom
Imagine a newcomer’s amazement, to be met by men and women who have not resolved their own addictions, saying that recovery is a lifetime struggle against encroaching bodily desires and diseased thinking! Groupers present newcomers with the standard line of shocking, seductive, bad advice, “If you could‘ve quit, you would’ve quit, but you didn’t quit, which proves you can’t quit.” Then comes the bait, “You don’t have to quit forever; just stay sober one-day-at-a-time and keep coming back. It works if you work it.” The hook of continued self-intoxication (yummy relapses!) is thereby set, satisfying the first rule of addiction: Never say never to alcohol and other drugs. Finally, the sinker is the disease concept of addiction, which weighs down healthy men and women at precisely the moment they are wisey trying to rise above bodily desire and leave alcohol and other drugs behind.

Chip5.jpgHook, line, and sinker, each AA member swallows the poisonous bait of one-day-at-a-time sobriety, along with an inverted lifestyle based upon the force of addiction, rather than upon the force of recovery. Addicted people are profoundly suggestible to any continued self-intoxication; after all, isn’t it because they feel powerless over their desire to get high that they are looking for help?

All mottoes aside, millions of men and women have not been helped by AA. Millions of men and women, however, have been waylaid by AA precisely at the time when they were on the brink of total recovery, during a moment of clarity and circumspection when they intuitively knew that they would soon have to quit drinking/using altogether, not one-day-at-a-time, but for life. Sadly, they were met by the friendly, cunning face of chronic addiction, “You don’t have to quit for life; just one-day-at-a-time. Keep coming back; it works if you work it,” and so on, and OnAnon. Recovery groupism has destroyed more lives than addiction itself. Unaided by recovery doctrines, addiction may be easily and promptly defeated through moral judgment and free will.

The force of addiction recovery
The force of addiction recovery is the individual human being, the human spirit which naturally opposes and contradicts addictive desire. It is the human spirit that reaches out with trust, hoping that recovery groups will provide guidance out of the quicksand of addiction. The human spirit desires to regain control over one’s conduct to end the agony, the shame, and the guilt of addiction.

In Rational Recovery, we call the desire to self-intoxicate, “the Beast,” referring also to the animal side of human nature that seeks immediate gratification of bodily desires. The Beast of addictive desire speaks in English in our thoughts, may show us images of what it wants, and may give rise to feelings that support continued self-intoxication. The drama of independent recovery engages the human spirit against the Beast of addiction. While the Beast of addictive desire may be powerful and cunning, it is not very intelligent. With AVRT®, described below, one must be very easily baffled to remain addicted for long.

The Addictive Voice is any thinking that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or other drugs. For example, if an addicted addicted person says or thinks, “I will never drink again,” the Addictive Voice will reflexively chime in, “Yeah, sure. You’ve said that before, ha, ha.” All problem drinkers, all so-called “alcoholics,” and all drug addicts will respond in a similar fashion.

The Addictive Voice is the sole cause of addiction. Any other proposed cause is just an example of more Addictive Voice. The disease concept of addiction (Me sick; me powerless…) is Addictive Voice. The desire for support in order to “stay sober” is just a plan to self-intoxicate in the absence of support. To depend upon another person who depends upon another dependent person is folly, preventing abstinence based upon moral judgment and self-reliance. The idea that the environment is mined with “triggers” that will unleash drunkenness is Addictive Voice. The belief that relapses will happen later unless prevented today is pure Addictive Voice. Addictive Voice Recognition Technique® (AVRT®) is a self-aiming weapon that targets the Addictive Voice, without respect for its source.

The fact that recovery groups are of necessity based upon the Addictive Voice does not protect the group from AVRT’s reach. Needless to say, AVRT® really gets under the skin of people in recovery, who are explicitly reserving the privilege of self-intoxication under the disguise of “relapses.” They defend their turf, driven by the mandate of addiction, which is a survival drive run amok.

Because people “in recovery” are always between episodes of self-intoxication, they are truly “in addiction,” as much as any gutter-drunk, but in slightly more congenial circumstances. Groupers react to AVRT® as they would any other source of moral authority, with bristling, defensive hostility, always attacking the messenger, but never, ever, touching upon the entity it loaths and fears, AVRT®.

The irony of “dry-drunk”
The concept of “dry-drunk” is a fine example of the Addictive Voice, a perfect inversion of the truth. Dry-drunkism is said to be a florid outbreak of addictive disease caused only by missing meetings. The dry-drunk curse is a literal prediction that independent abstinence out of moral judgment and self-restraint will result in untold misery, decay of character, explosive irritability, and a constant yearning to drink/use. However, the millions who summarily quit and discover permanently uplifted moods will disagree. They will also likely suspect that someone is purposely blocking the exit from addiction with the bogus warning, “Dry-drunk ahead!”

If you will attend any meeting, you will not find folks who are “happy, joyous, and free.” Living in a social ghetto out of fear of oneself, trapped in the purgatory of one-day-at-a-time sobriety, trying to make sense of nonsense while trying to be good, makes recovery groupers among the angriest, most irritable, and most depressed people on Earth. They cannot apologize for their past self-intoxication, because they keep open the possibility of more self-intoxication. Worse, they oblige their families and others to accept their arrogant, self-serving premise of one-day-at-a-time sobriety, when only a guarantee of permanent abstinence would be sufficient for eventual reconciliation.

Addiction recovery becomes a lifelong struggle against one’s basic nature, one’s native beliefs, and one’s original family values in the context of groups, shrinks, and rehabs. We should call this lifestyle, centered around the addictive mandate to drink/use, recoveryism, to help identify its unnatural and counterproductive character.

Family matters
Recovery groupers have found a new home, truly away from everything that once was home, where they indulge a lifestyle based upon the rules of addiction. Recovery groups cannot preserve, tolerate, or make use of traditional family values, such as individual responsibility, moral judgment, free will, and self-restraint. To survive, recovery groups must set forth a doctrine that is both pro-addiciton and anti-family. Thus, AA’s auxiliary, Al-Anon, is an abandonment of the family’s foundation in traditional values, replacing them with the rules of addiction.

It is ironical that, while Al-Anon appears to be a strategy to bring the addicted family member into AA meetings, it is ultimately addiction’s final victory over the family’s moral authority. In place of a family’s very reasonable demand for stable abstinence, Al-Anon substitutes provisional sobriety based upon the disease concept of betrayal. Indeed, the addicted family member very often recruits the family into Al-Anon, using AA’s widespread presence in our social service system and mainstream thinking!

The disease concept of addiction firmly supports the possiblility of continued drinking/using because, in that paradigm, symptoms happen, whether or not one want them to happen. Because the addicted family member is considered a sick person, much diligent effort and support is required of the entire family to help prevent the symptom of self-intoxication from happening. Efforts to stave off the allegedly irresistible desire to intoxicate oneself creates the familiar, dramatic mythology of addiction recovery, and everyone in the family must never comment upon how utterly weird recoveryism appears to them.

Is this AA-bashing?
If Bill W had been stillborn, the fellowship of addiction would still thrive in our social service system, just as it always has, even during Prohibition. There would still be the gregariousness and instant camaraderie among drinkers, drunk or sober, and their intuitive suspicion of those who do not drink/use. There would still be the political forces that build tolerance for substance abuse, such as the harm-reduction lobbies of today. There would still be a massive addiction treatment industry, with medical guru-run spas like the ones entered by Bill W and today’s celebrities and politicians. There would still be the addict social clubs, with members trying to live out their lives in the social ghettos of their own creation, social ghettos that, like AA, conform exactly to the rules and mandates of addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous is merely the name currently given to the indigenous fellowship of addiction, a quasi-religious, social coalition with the mission of protecting addicted people against the stigma of addiction and against moral and legal injunctions against self-intoxication. The common bond of fellowship is the desire to continue self-intoxication, and not to discontinue that immoral conduct. Beause addiction is itself a rogue survival drive, the 12-step syndicate is ruthless in its intent to make the world safer for and more congenial to addicted people, and to hell with anyone else. AA is not about recovery; AA is about AA and nothing else.

Every word spoken at an AA meeting, written in their official publications, and especially in their doctrinal publications, the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, exactly fits the definition of the Addictive Voice: any thinking that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or other drugs. The Addictive Voice is the voice of the Beast. Therefore, it is not a mere metaphor to say that AA is the Fellowship of the Beast, and that its 12-step program is the Code of the Beast.

It is a good fight
Lois and I began Rational Recovery in 1985 as an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous, with little enmity toward that organization. I will say that I attended AA for a long time without success, and that I used recoveryism to avoid exercising my moral judgment effectively. By 1985, three years after I had summarily quit drinking, I tended to view my evasion of the painful decision to quit drinking for life as my own personal shortcoming.

I respectfully depicted the RR/AA dichotomy as like a two-party system, so people could freely choose between independent and group-based recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous, which has no opinions on anything, did not want it that way. Although no one speaks for AA, its members everywhere defend the syndicate against all critics as the junk yard dog guards its domain. As Bill W said, “Without AA we will perish.”

In the decades since then, we have been answering the phone every day, speaking with tens of thousands of people who have had substantial exposure to AA. They all say the same things, and their comments fit a distinct pattern I began calling, “recovery group disorder.” I also began to see AA as quite the opposite of what it says it is, and after looking at AA every day, year after year, hearing the same stories and more, I very uncomfortably concluded that AA is evil.

That was not an easy task for me, because, as a younger man with a liberal education, I had purged the word “evil,” along with the word, “moral,” from my vocabulary. However, my clinical language finally failed to summarize what I was seeing very clearly, and I have remained true to my convictions by continuing to tell the truth as I see it, and not according to the taboos of mainstream thinking.

Recovery groups have helped no one by claiming credit for the accomplishments of its members, by self-servingly denying the moral axis of self-intoxication, by cursing dissident and refractory members with enigmatic self-destruction, by actively prohibiting members from exercising free will necessary for survival, by misrepresenting addiction as a clinical entity or disease rather than as immoral conduct, by categorically condemning members’ original families and ancestors as congenitally defective, dysfunctional, and pathogenic, and by glorifying emotional dependency among people whose interests lie in independent action and mature self-restraint.

Lois and I find great meaning in our stand against the recovery group movement and its business arm, the addiction treatment industry. Along with our close associate, Deborah Springborn, we form a small team with a voice that reaches around the world, warning everyone to stay away from recovery groups of all kinds and accept personal responsibility for addiction recovery through planned, permanent abstinence. We provide all that is needed for anyone to fully recover from any addiction in as short a time as they choose.

However, it is worth noting that we are doing the work of someone else. The religious community has failed miserably in its vital role as a protector of our society against the dark side of human nature. This default is of historical significance, because it marks the time from when we as a people departed from the traditional values that formed the foundation of American society and of our social service system. The disease concept of sin, stupidity, and immorality has infected all of organized religion and all of our social service system. Nevertheless, no secular, political, or religious leaders or church denominations have raised serious, outspoken objection to the radical shift in social philosophy and the resulting spectacular changes in our most basic beliefs about human conduct. Until such leadership steps forward, we will hold the fortress as best we can against the Beast, which is laying seige to western civilization.

Our Pledge
Lois and I are devoted to providing addicted people everywhere the finest AA-bashing discourse we can, in order to fortify their native beliefs and original family values. We know that independent recovery from addiction is commonplace, and is accomplished by exactly contradicting every element of recovery group doctrine and beliefs. We urge people in recovery to sever from recovery group doctrines, slogans, and mottoes in thought and in deed, beginning with the Declaration of Personal Independence at this website.

22 Responses to “Why All the AA-Bashing?”

  1. alice

    Hi Jack,

    I just sent you an email about this guy, Theodore Darlymple.


    He is blowing the top off of the opiate addiction fairy tale. Just thought you would enjoy knowing about another professional who shares your views.

  2. Kate

    I have been reading all about RR for an hour now and I am so excited about my future for once. I have been in and out of AA for 22 years and am what they refer to as a “chronic relapser”. The ideas you present are what I have been saying to myself for years but have been bombarded with AA jargon for so long I know see that my gut instinct is right. AA has just drilled it into my head that my addiction and consequences were due tol my “disease”……I have always felt though that taking control over my responsibility is what is needed. Thank you for being there. Soon to be once of your subscribers.


  3. Chuck

    I am a 53 year old man who first became familiar with RR and AVRT some 15 plus years ago. At that time we attended Rational Recovery groups consisting mainly of AA washouts! The primary parts of our beliefs were the Beast voice and the fact that we had made the choice to use or drink and therefore could do the same in our quitting. We had an old copy of The Small Book that was kept checked out out from our local library.

    I did well until a few years ago when I suffered a terrible accident and developed a disease called reflex sympathetic distrophy. In my time around AA I also ran into a lot of folks who used marijuana as a substitute for everything they didn’t have. Needless to say I began using pot as a medicine my RSD.

    You guessed it, I am now looking at cultivation charges, mandated into AA. The worst part of AA I had forgotten about, which I call, “Powertripping.” Sponsors and old-timers have a holier than thou attitude, making members feel we are all just sheep with no thoughts or powers of our own, certainly if we have not been “stepping” for years!

    Keep up the real work Jack, and I hope you don’t mind my sounding off!


    Sorry you’re caught in the AA meatgrinder, as I call forced participation in AA/NA. I can’t think of a more counterproductive avenue for our social service system than to consign substance abusers to AA/NA, where they are forbidden to simply quit drinking/using and get on with their lives as normal, productive citizens. Lately, more people like you are entering the Rational Recovery Monitor Program, which is hosted at the Rational Recovery Discussion Forums in the subscription area of this website. Members create an electronic record of their participation in AVRT-based recovery, which they submit in lieu of the little slips from AA’s court-informant program. Here are the rules for the Rational Recovery Monitor Program.


    Jack Trimpey

  4. Stephanie W.

    Jack, you are a voice in the wilderness, but what a fight it is. The 12 step concept is so firmly entrenched in this sorry society of ours. I have spent the last two days reading over as much of the material on 12 step groups as I can.

    I have participated in 12 step groups off and on for over 10 years. I tried to justify the diseasification of bad behavior as a necessary tool for soothing the hurting souls of people like me who limped into meetings after doing more and more hurtful and outrageous things, to ourselves and to our loved ones. I was always made to feel better, told I wasn’t alone, soothed, blah, blah. Never did anyone tell me my behavior was reprehensible or disgusting, which, deep down in my heart, I knew it was.

    I used to think that the tradition that says GA or AA, whatever, has no opinion on outside issues, hence should never be drawn into public controversy was taking the high moral ground. Now I see it for what is is, a cop-out and a smoke screen behind which to hide. It is truly a moronic statement when one thinks about it. No opinion on anything? Just more typical, relativistic crap.

    Keep up the good fight, Jack. It’s nice to hear someone saying that practicing addictions are moral failings, because, after all, that’s what they are.

    Thanks for having the courage and fortitude to take the stand.

    Stephanie W.

  5. john hutchison

    I was first introduced to 12 step programs as a result of Drug Court. I didn’t know there was any other way, but it failed miserably. I’ve been through at least a dozen hospitalizations to treat my “addicitive disease”. I ran across an ad that there was a rational recovery nearby. I’ve been through 12 step program oriented 6 month rehab residential program. It has been the best thing for me. I had to take responsibility for my own actions and have been sober for the longest time in my life. I feel that NA/CA was a great disservice.

  6. bigfatdrunk

    rr sucks giant elepant balls and so does jack wimpy

  7. Eric Reel

    I made the God awful decision to go to drug rehab at 19 years of age. They didn’t do a thing for my drug addiction but they explained I had to stop one day at a time, work all these steps to stop, and go to all these meetings, oh yeah and this was a disease and I had to do this until I died if I wanted to be happy. That’s a heavy trip to lay on anyone and at nineteen it seemed impossible. So when I got out of rehab the most important idea I took with me was I was “doomed” that since I couldn’t stay stopped I should accept my disease and just realize I had no choice but use more drugs then when I went into treatment. Granted I am to blame for coming up with such an idea which I’m sure came to me while I was high still the irony is amusing in a real sick way.

    Anyway, after many treatment centers, going in and out of NA and AA being called a “chronic relapser” at the age of 30 I decided to stop. Four months after that I stopped going to meetings. I didn’t go to a meeting for my one year token. I didn’t go after two years.

    It’s hard though to still not think of myself as this addict because for ten years back and forth I was obsessed with the idea of recovery. And it’s still in my mind and I need to “recover” more from recovery than I do addiction. I pray that every addict that dies because they “can’t get the program” gets to torture Bill Wilson in the after life. It would only seem like something a loving higher power would allow happen.

    So, I guess, Jack, when people say you are to extreme when you speak out against AA and other 12 step groups, well, I guess I’d have to disagree.

    It heals my soul to see someone saying the truth. Maybe it would have made a difference when I was nineteen. Maybe it would not. At the very least I wish I would have had the chance to hear it.


    Your story shows very well how AA converts problem drinking into chronic addiction, with its disease concept of addiction and the trap of one-day-at-a-time sobriety. You trusted people who have made outrageous claims for their doctrines, recovery doctrines that are shaped by the death-drive of addiction that we call the Beast. You were accosted by seasoned veterans of the Fellowship of the Beast, who took you down like big game, crippled you with their grim predictions of self-destruction, and then they digested you as you struggled in vain against bodily desires that only moral judgment can squelch.

    Steppers think there’s something wrong with anger, and make members shy of their own anger when their very souls are sucked out of them and replaced with addict-identity. Your vision of encountering Bill W in his afterlife is anger that you should cherish, because you have been swindled out of the most precious commodity there is, time of your life spend in the social ghetto that includes both addiction and recoveryism.

    I hope you are figuring out that AA is literally a fellowship of addiction based upon the perceptions, beliefs, and values of addiction and its 12-step program has absolutely nothing to do with addiction recovery but only about structuring members’ lives around their original addictions. If this isn’t clear yet, study AVRT®, and you will promptely revert to your native identity, native beliefs, and original family values, which are the only ones that can resolve your addiction and restore you to freedom and dignity.

    You will suffer from recovery group disorder for many years, as the slogans and mottoes of AA haunt your thoughts with self-doubt and character attacks. AVRT®, however, will allow you to recognize them as not you but the Addictive Voice, which follows the addictive mandate that you will certainly drink again. When you recognize your enemy, it is neutered, and you are safe from yourself. You are becoming a moral being once again, able to see the evil of addiction and recoveryism.

    Stay away from recovery groups of all kinds, set your confidence for lifetime abstinence arbitrarily at 100%, recognize all self-doubt as your Addictive Voice, and you’ll do fine.

    Jack Trimpey

  8. Michael

    This is my second go around with RR; I looked into it back in 1993 as well. I’m now 15 years sober. I still attend an AA meeting every week or two, but I experienced a gradual shift in my thinking over the last 3 to 5 years wich cummulated with my divorce 2 years ago. I’m pretty much an atheist who values sobriety above all else. HP sobriety really doesn’t work for me anymore….I feel much more confident with the “self-responsibility” approach. I do believe what you said:

    “You will suffer from recovery group disorder for many years, as the slogans and mottoes of AA haunt your thoughts with self-doubt and character attacks.”

    applies to me. Fascinating.

    I do have a problem with the undermining of self control that is found in the Big Book, i.e. (to paraphrase) there will be a time and place were the alcoholic is defenseless against the first drink without the help of a higher power.

    I suppose if this were true, the success rate would be higher than 5%, eh?

  9. Drew

    Keep stirring the pot my friend! I love what I’ve read. You’re right on the money. As a “x” grouper”…you’ve exposed the truth about AA and people in the “halls” don’t want to hear it. They wopuld rather wallow in their denial. It’s so clear…so simple…and life is wonderful alcohole free FOREVER!!!!! Thanks!!!

  10. Cynthia

    I, too, wish I would have come across the other side of AA in my 20s, when I attended the first of perhaps 20 meetings I’ve tried, all of which left me feeling life in recovery would be as bad as life addicted. The members seemed to truly hate themselves. (I hate only this one small part of myself and if I could only beat it, there would be nothing left to hate, right?) I finally vowed never to go near AA again after a member, having heard my story in the “anonymous” meeting, was able to figure out my identity by doing some internet research. He tracked me down and sent me messages on my professional email address!! I don’t believe in the “anonymity” any more than the higher power and all the rest. But at this point, my only concern is to free myself from alcohol. I relish Jack’s belief that I could actually resolve the addiction and be restored “to freedom and dignity.” Wish me strength!


    I have no doubt you’ll soon defeat your addiction through a personal commitment to lifetime abstinence. AVRT® is a seed idea that incubates for a period and then grows into the moral conscience that was lost to addiction. Addiction cannot endure your moral authority.

    Your comments about the great discouragement of recoveryism are the basis of why I call the recovery group movement the American addiction tragedy. Being “in recovery” is a lifestyle that, from a subjective viewpoint, is frankly inferior to addiction itself, although not studded with the painful downfalls that cause one to seek help. Instead, new members face a future of addict-identity, associating with people they would not likely invite into their homes, struggling vainly to believe implausible ideas such as “spiritual-not-religious,” addictive disease, one-day-at-a-time sobriety, God-as-you-understand-him, codependency, and learn a new language of non-thought, steptalk, which consists of cliches, slogans, and mottoes.

    Addicted people are staying way from AA/NA, believing AA’s proclamation that the choice is between AA and addiction, and follow AA’s warning to not take the most constructive action of all, quitting the use of alcohol and other drugs for life. AA dropouts prefer the grip of addictive pleasures to the stuffy phoniness of recoveryism, and very often they destroy themselves, family members, and strangers in their meteoric downfalls. There is no doubt in my mind that AA destroys more lives than addiction itself, because they systematically discourage all addicted people from undertaking planned, permanent abstinence.

    Thanks for your comments, which I hope will encourage others to walk away from addiction and its pervasive fellowship of addiction, the recovery group movement.

    Jack Trimpey

  11. Justin

    The NA / AA Program took away my fiance and my unborn baby. She felt that she had to give everything up so she could be sober. She did, still to this day I have not recieved a reason why she did what she did. I lost the love of my life and the hope of a family and future and no one seems to think she is doing the wrong thing. I will probably never speak with her again because of her involvement in the program. I was more than willing to go if she wanted me to but she wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

    The 12-step program is my worst enemy. I feel that if you can’t abstain on your own, then who should care? If you can’t handle drugs, don’t do them. It’s mind over matter, as always.


    Just as addiction is anti-family, AA/NA is anti-family at the core, and so is their auxiliary group, Al-Anon. Addiction and its fellowship of addiction, the recovery group movement, is essentially a home invasion, extending the reach of the Addictive Voice into all social systems, starting with the immediate family, and then into the social service system, the courts which invaded your family, and the mainstream media.

    The inverted message is the disease excuse, followed by the arrogance of one-day-at-a-time sobriety. Recoveryism requires families to accommodate endless uncertainty rather than expect the addict to accommodate his family with a guarantee of endless abstinence.

    Your pregnant fiancé faced a decision not unlike Sophie’s Choice, in which she had to choose between two intolerable alternatives. To keep her child, she chose life in recovery, and now must agree to its endless quasi-moral authority. The authority demanding this ghastly choice was not the Nazis, but the 12-step syndicate, another government-bred attack on the citizenry. Your fiancé made her choice and lost her freedom and her human spirit as well.

    The 12-step syndicate is everyone’s enemy; they do no good at all, and harm everyone with its inverted, malignant corruption.

    Jack Trimpey

  12. Jerry B.

    Sober 8 years in AA. Ask any of my family members about the change AA made in my life!!!!! Addiction is a disease as was proved by AMA in the 1950′s. By golly, Bill Wilson was right!! AA is proven to be the most effective program of recovery. 100+ addiction programs (eating, sex etc) use the same 12 steps! And the best of all, it’s free!!!!!! Well, we do put a $1.00 in the basket to help pay for the coffee and meeting room. You charge how much???? One thing we do learn in AA is “what’s our motive”. It helps us find where we have been self centered. When I think about motive and your program it really becomes an interesting concept! In AA we call it FINANCIAL GAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you don’t cause too much damage with your AA bashing!

  13. cole g

    Please stop speaking negatively of AA. AA is not a cult, my friend…It is a simple solution to a serious, complex, life-threatening disease called alcoholism.

    Stop bringing the AA name into public domain. My thinking never got me into the solution…It only has kept me sick. Please stop using AA to promote your system. Your system may be wonderful for the problem drinker – Just like AA is wonderful for the Alcoholic. Thanks.

    An Grateful AA member.


    I am always glad to receive objections and even hate mail from 12-steppers or anyone else. One of our most important contributions to society is the introduction of controversy in a field held hostage by social cultism.

    However, AA forbids its members to speak for AA, prohibits members to engage in any controversy about addiction recovery, protects secret memberships and dual relationships of substance abuse counselors in public employment, and requires its chain of thousands of addiction treatment centers to deny their deep involvements and affiliations with AA.

    Nevertheless, its millions of members act as sentinels against public criticism of AA, who reflexively defend AA against any public criticism, and present AA to the public according the party line of its Twelve Traditions. Believing their survival to be dependent upon AA, members cannot tolerate public discussion or criticism of 12-step recovery. They are unconcerned about the millions who are forced against their will into 12-step recovery each year, with the secure, abstinent outcome of about zero.

    Above is the charming face of tyranny, speaking in home-spun clichés while he attempts to deny your access to the escape hatch from the booby hatch to which he has consigned himself.

    For the record, Rational Recovery® is a kind of counseling and guidance on addiction recovery that directs people away from fellowships of addiction and toward independent recovery through a moral commitment to lifetime abstinence. The means to that goal is AVRT®, which identifies the Addictive Voice regardless of its source. Every word of AA doctrine and literature, and every word spoken at 12-step meetings fits the definition of the Addictive Voice, “Any thinking that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or other drugs.” A good pre-requisite to AVRT-based recovery is the Declaration of Personal Independence.

    Jack Trimpey

  14. Tom D.

    Outrage over our “AA-bashing” continues, as part of an unending, ideological firefight between the force of addiction, AA, and the force of recovery, AVRT®”

    I believe you are confusing the rants and raves of a few, maybe a lot, of AA members who feel their way of life, whether you agree with it or not, is being attacked as the position of AA itself. This is categorically untrue. AA/NA/CA all have no opinion on “outside issues.” Your method, treatment centers, therapists, medication, and the courts are all “outside issues.”

    As a clean member of NA, I have been clean for 12 years, I can tell you that I am not really concerned with your method, nor do I worry about your attacks of 12 step programs. Still, I don’t agree with your bashing of those who do not agree with your ways but if it works for you and for others, I am not going to knock it. To each his own.


    I think you want it both ways — to be righteously offended at my AA-bashing, and to remain true to Tradition 10: AA has no opinion on outside issues, and the AA name should never be drawn into controversy.” The man in you is made a coward in the 12-step fellowship of addiction. You’re pissed, with good reason, but wear the pretty mask of 12-step piety/humility.

    In the simplified realm of 12-step recoveryism, there are no internal contradictions, although they are abundant and conspicuous to outsiders. Each sentence you wrote contradicts the others; every word you wrote is inverted truth. To say that addiction treatment is an outside issue is absurd and ludicrous. Addiction treatment is nothing more nor less than a very expensive introduction to 12-step recovery by members of AA doing the steps for money, i.e., moola. To say the courts are outside issues is disgusting, as if AA is a victim of those naughty courts that keep sentencing their drunk drivers to meetings. American traffic courts are kangaroo courts, operated by 12-stepping policy makers and AAs in public employment as counselors, assessors, monitors, etc. To say medication is an outside issue denies AA‘s direct responsibility for the suffering and deaths resulting from the routine advice to members to discontinue psychiatric medications. To say therapists are an outside issue is simply stupid, because everybody knows that substance abuse counseling is the bastard child of the mental health movement, established as marginal practices under ethics and values foreign to the learned professions.

    I am obviously attacking the 12-step way of life. I believe that the outcome of one-day-at-a-time sobriety in the context of anti-family, social cultism is tragic. If you say every concept of the Big Book backwards, you’ll end up with something very close to AVRT®. The 12-step program and AVRT® are irreconcilable — AVRT® is the foil.

    AVRT® is a self-aiming weapon that exposes the Addictive Voice regardless of its source. Every word of AA fits the definition of the Addictive Voice — any thinking that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or other drugs. 12-step recoveryism is predicated upon the inevitability of using unless one accepts the highly implausible, counter-intuitive, anti-family doctrines set forth by Bill W. I cannot help it that the very best way to defeat serious substance addiction is to contradict all concepts of 12-step recovery.

    As for your 12 years of “sobriety,” it’s a good thing you aren’t in my family because you would be most unwelcome without a personal guarantee you’ll never drink again. Who do you think you are, reserving the possibility of “relapses,” after all the harm you caused yourself and others in your pursuit of addictive pleasures? An “alcoholic?” Where did you learn such arrogance? Alcoholics Anonymous?

    Jack Trimpey

  15. Jerry

    My soon to be ex-wife had an addition problem and I insisted that she go to a drug rehab treatment center. Soon it became clear that I was the problem of her drinking and that if she returned to live with me that her drinking would continue. The only solution was to seperate. We have three lovely children that live with me. This AA has ruined my life and our family. She has been in treatment now about 17 months and in two months our divorce will be complete. She see’s this as a life style and will not accept responsibility. Her family is the associates that she has in AA. Her parents and sister support her beleif’s that she is doing the right thing. She wants to spend time now with the children after over one year of seperating herself. For now the court has sided with me on custody but I fear eventually that this may change.

  16. Karen

    I was in AA for three years and I thoroughly objected to its use of religion, its insistence on a male god, and especially its adherence to the idea that we are not personally responsible. WE ARE! I am! I read your book in Novermber 2007, I just about leapt out of my skin I was so happy! I agree with you more than I can describe here. Suffice it to say that when I was reading your book, my family had to put up with frequent emphatic shouts of “Yes!! So right!!! Right on!!!” etc., coming from me.

    I don’t have a disease. I am not an alcoholic. I am a person who used to drink way too much and who now doesn’t drink at all, and who will never drink again. I am personally responsible for myself.

    Thank you for sparing me any more AA meetings. Their self-congratulatory stories were wearing thin.

  17. Wendy

    I am one of the AA advocates. Been in AA and sober for 2years. I agree if sobriety is successful, then your work is done.

    I on the other hand, suffer a brokenness which began before conscience thoughts or alcohol entering my body. I am a person that is grateful for AA and that I have been re-united with God.

    Recovery and life happiness is dependent on more than being clean and sober. But if that is the goal of your program, then Good Work.


    That brokenness is only in your rear-view mirror, which is the focus of 12-step recoveryism. Because you are still reserving the option to have “relapses,” your future is as seen through the eyes of addiction, so the future must remain unthinkable. “Sober” people cannot look ahead, but rather wait for life to happen to them according to the mercies of a self-made, love-only, God-as-you-understand-him. The past remains your seedbed of misery, and must remain so to protect you from the moral burden of your self-intoxication. Your drunkalogs are a catechism of innocent suffering resulting from bad genes, dysfunctional families, and cruel fate.

    If you will simply quit your addiction (self-intoxication!) unconditionally, for life, as a matter of personal commitment to moral principle, you will likely discover that you are truly safe from yourself and from any imagined addictive disease. Then, you will no longer be an alcoholic, but a normal, independent, adult.

    I realize that you cannot possibly imagine such a scenario is this, and I understand you’re uneasy feelings about the idea of independence and the prospect of being a normal human being. I call those feelings of apprehension recovery group disorder, or “Recoveryism,” for short. All people who are in recovery have the same conflicted feelings between their native beliefs and values and of the recovery doctrines that hold them in place.

    If you are interested in exploring personal independence, you might review these links:

    RecoveryismMy Recovery

    Declaration of Personal Independence

    Crash Course on AVRT®

    Wishing you and your family the best,

    Jack Trimpey

  18. Ron

    What a sad website…dispensing of anger, judgement and resentment towards something that provides so much good.

  19. Sam

    Why not both? There are certain issues that face a true bottom recovering person that cannot be satisfied by reading a book or doing an online seminar. Loneliness and isolation, clouded thinking, and feelings of guilt. The fellowship of AA can provide a bridge back to society for individuals who have too long isolated themselves from the company of sober persons and simple pleasures. Can’t a person use AA as a therapeutic group setting without swallowing the whole paradigm hook line and sinker?


    Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of addicted people, not recovered people, so all AA has to offer is adaptation to life in addiction. They call this “in recovery,” which is a typical example of inverted 12-step thinking. AA provides no exit, and the bridge back to society you imagine is truly the Bridge to Nowhere. AA literally curses its members with grim predictions of endless suffering and death if they even seriously consider leaving the group. The issues you identify are all results and not causes of addiction, and they promptly fade and disappear when one permanently abandons his addiction. To make mattes worse, members are threatened with dry-drunkism, which I call the Curse of AA, in which taking responsibility for abstinence is the direct cause of emotional instability and mental breakdown.

    AA isn’t a means to addiction recovery, but only an alternative to quitting the use of alcohol and other drugs. When people are considering total abstinence, with good reason, they make the tragic error of seeking the guidance of AA rather than trusting their own native beliefs and original family values. The resulting sellout results in life in recovery instead of the wonderful emancipation from addiction that results from planned, permanent abstinence.

    Jack Trimpey

  20. Amelia

    I am grateful that RR addresses so many of the things about AA that kept me miserable while “in the program”. The freedom and strength that I felt after realizing that I could and would stay sober without having to fit into a cliquish, self-defeating, christian based program like AA or NA is comparable to nothing else. Pointing out the reasons why 12 step programs do not work should not be considered “bashing”. Besides, if your program works so well for you, shouldn’t you be too “happy, joyous and free to be concerned with what Mr Trimpey has to say?

  21. BW

    I joined AA in July of 1979. I forgot all about you guys, although I did think and still do that there is more than on way to recover, because one thing does not fit to all people. I have never been a hard nose AA person even though I attend often. I was offended by your use of the word evil, which discredited you from being loving and serious about helping people get free of their addictions. It worked for me for almost 30 years is because I don’t pretend that getting a higher power is the end all, and that means since you have one you’ll have a life of being sober…[snip]

    To the Readers:

    This letter continued for hundreds more of rambling sentences, showing the clearest evidence of all that AA is not just ineffective, but evil. When she desperately grasped out for help 30 years ago, all she wanted was to know how to quit drinking/using and stay quit. They didn’t encourage her to quit drinking/using, nor did they explain how to quit an addiction, because none of them had done that, either. They sucked out her human spirit, turned her against her own flesh and blood, and stole her life by injecting her with its high-proof Addictive Voice, the disease concept of addiction and the evil of one-day-at-a-time sobriety fortified by the 12-step program of lifetime recoveryism. Now her mind has turned to Jello, a sweet, molded form that cannot bear the burden of independent living, but only trickles sacharrine nonsense under stress.

    Some may think it cruel or insensitive to expose the handiwork of the Beast this way, but that is always the way of social movements which exploit the masses for the benefit of a few. I did allow her some modesty by snipping her comment short, showing just the tip of an iceberg made of Jello. Her recovery certainly does come first, one-day-at-a-time, whether her family likes it or not.

    If you can recover on your own, you will prove you never had the (pretend) disease concept of addiction in the first place, and you will avoid subjecting yourself to greater harm than addiction itself—recoveryism.

    Jack Trimpey

  22. Rosalind

    I am glad that Rational Recovery exists, and I applauds its creators for making it happen.

    I have never been an alcoholic myself, but I used to go to 12-step meetings a long time ago because there was alcoholism in my family. I went for about five or six years, off and on. While I found some of what they taught constructive and helpful, I didn’t get along with most of the people because they seemed whiney, cliquish, and self-righteous to me. Looking back on it now, I think they might have sensed I wasn’t on the same wavelength as them. I felt a lot of the meetings were nothing but self-indulgent group therapy sessions. Whenever I expressed my doubts to any of these people, they would always urge me to “keep coming back” to these meetings and tell me that I “couldn’t do it myself.” Yeah, like I really needed any of them. However, I continued to go for a while because I thought I just didn’t “get it” and if I continued to go, I would eventually “see the light” and consider the meetings worthwhile. This never happened. Finally, I got to the point where I just wasn’t getting anything out of the meetings any more, and I stopped attending them completely.

    Occasionally, I would pass some of the people that also went to those meetings in the street, and they would look away from me, like they were totally shunning me. This amused me more than it offended me. Twelve-step programs really are like cults.

    For a while I thought I was the only one who wasn’t enamored of 12-step programs, and I am so grateful to see this is not the case.

© Copyright, 2019, Rational Recovery Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.