Is Alcoholics Anonymous Composed of Dangerous Criminals?
Shortly after the millennium at my family’s house, there was a knock on the door at nearly midnight. Two members of Alcoholics Anonymous boasting guns showed up delivering legal paperwork for a member who had on several occasions laid hands on me and threatened acts of violence including destruction and murder and frightened the hell out of my two 75 year old parents. They were well known AA members and also a history of violence. I felt they shouldn’t be doing that representing a known spiritual organization. Little did I know. To appeal this action to the public, I posted about it on Facebook mentioning the criminal’s names. That’s when the trouble started. The heads of many local AA chapters messaged me demanding I take it down on the grounds that AA’s anonymity protects them from the use of their names however threatening or illegal acts they commit. It other words the code is to remain silent. I refused. What happened next was shocking, AA began to appear to me like less of a self-help organization and more like a crime syndicate. They were showing up at my school, at my gym, at my work, they even found my apartment in an undisclosed location with a security code to get in the building. Anonymity is an amazing thing. They can find you anywhere! I had an art business in the local street fair that I had to close down due to constant threats and violent intimidations from the old member. The police did nothing on the belief that they were spiritual sober members and therefor ok. What happened next? The AA members feeling strongly about their personal privacy went online exposing my mental health history, my sexual documents they recorded, and my personal place of residence to the p publi. I received personal attacks and threats all over town over their claims of anonymity. Apparently anonymity has nothing to do with stalking and threatening two 75 year old seniors and everything to do with keeping alcoholics and drug addicts last names secret.
So why are 12-step members so dangerous? Well, it may have not always been that way. In 1935, AA was cofounded by two successful men, a doctor and a stock broker named, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. Their names were never anonymous because they wanted to be famous. The were upper middle class men making their meeting consist of prominent successful members all males, (we don’t know if Bob and Bill were gay.) They kept a tight crowd of well to do followers who kept getting drunk all the time. They were having so much fun they even wrote a book about it. Maybe even tried for a movie deal too. Their 12 traditions, the basic rules of AA, weren’t formulated until the 1950’s. So early members had plenty of room to break them. Their tradition on anonymity said not to speak publicly at the level of press, radio and films. So they did it! They went and got themselves published in the Saturday Evening Post and then solicited multimillionaire John Rockefeller and asked him for a lot of money. Who better for their nonprofit organization? He said no and gave them no money. At least that’s the story Bill and Bob said. So you see at this point the program was basically harmless unless you actually did want to quit drinking. What happened?
In the 1970’s a man was repeatedly showing up in a courtroom charged with minor drinking offenses. The judge, eager to promote AA for some reason, sentenced him with meetings and issued a card to monitor his attendance, later known as a court card. These cards became widely popular getting many people out of crimes and gladly signed and cooperated by nearly all AA meetings knowing that it would increase attendance. However the cards became issued not just for drinking offenses like drunk driving, but for assault and battery, domestic violence, sex offenses, early release from prison and a whole slew of other felonies not tracked, not vetted and not recorded by the 12 step program itself. In fact, the criminal is under no obligation, report or disclose the nature of his felony under the cloak of anonymity and well as refusing to disclose any current criminal activity. It Is estimated that around %75 of members of AA are on court cards with their criminal activities unknown and less likely to be convicted when revealed as members. There is no security or police surveillance at any AA meeting. So we have a drug and alcohol program that caters to criminals? What’s the problem? The problem is that AA does not promote itself as a legally tied entity, which by definition it is not. AA sells itself as a public service going into hospitals, churches, colleges, television commercials and even elementary schools to promote and recruit new members, literally anybody they can draw in. That could be your mother, your brother even your teenage daughter. Placed in the pool and preyed upon by hardened criminals. I was able to safely escape the wrath of those men from the local men’s meeting. They still promote gun usage which I think is a mistake the older member who ordered the hit is still around. This is sad because people go to 12 step programs for help thinking they are safe. Instead, I got men who boast guns stalking and threatening my 75 year old parents.