An unsafe haven: Today’s Alcoholic Anonymous and 12 step groups




This 75 year old volunteer organization has been called by some as “the miracle of the 20th century.”  Three made for TV movies have been made about its founders.  Several movies have used this organization as part of their central theme.  In Hollywood, they say this organization’s daily meetings is the one of the few places you can catch a glimpse of your favorite Hollywood star.  It’s popularity has a multiimillion dollar cottage industry that can help people cope with any “addiction” ranging from narcotic use to sex to pornography.

Yet, behind all of the accolades and platitudes that this organization has received from people and the media over the last 75 years lies a dirty little secret.   Allegations of financial fraud, coercion to conform to a set of quasi-religious tenets, rape and sexual assault of women and minor children, practicing medicine without a license, et al.  have surfaced within the last several years (25 to be exact).  When law enforcement decides to get involved and conducts an investigation of these allegations (mostly the allegations of sexual assault and rape),  the members of this organization use the cloak of anonymity and spout platitudes about their organization’s “traditions” to evade the law.

Is it a political party or a secret society that we are talking about here?  Not exactly.  It’s none other than local law enforcement’s toxic dumping ground for drug, DUI and sexual and domestic violence crimes: Alcoholics Anonymous and their affiliated 12 step groups.

So you may ask me, why are you going after something with such a “squeaky clean” image?   AA has helped millions of people throughout its 75 year existence.

I’m not the only one that’s going after the organization.  In fact, the General Service Board of AA in 2009 had a committee that addressed these allegations and made recommendations to the General Service Conference of AA to institute some changes to protect minors and vulnerable people from financial and sexual predators in their meeting places.

So how did the GSC respond to the committee report?   They didn’t take responsibility and passed it off to the individual groups.

Here’s the committe’s report and GSC’s response:

Here’s another link of local interest.  The Dana Point Harbor AA Hardcore Group making their meeting places unsafe for all.

So why do our drug courts and law enforcement think it’s OK to place minors in meetings that are populated with adults who are sexual or financial predators?   Or why do our courts mandate people go to this group’s meetings that have a decided religious (and overtly Christian bent) to them when their may be other drug and alcohol treatment options that are not based on the 12 steps or religious beliefs.  Non-sectarian groups such as SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety and Save Our Selves come to mind.

In a future post,  I will interview a woman who was a 36 year member of AA that has decided to expose the allegations of sexual, emotional and financial abuse behind the walls of this “benevolent” and “compassionate” organization.  I will also be profiling stories of local people who have been victims of abuse by members of this organization.   The 2007 Newsweek story exposing the Midtown Group of AA in the Washington DC, which has links to the Pacific Group in Venice Beach,  was only the beginning  (

If you know of someone who was affected by predators in AA or other 12 step groups,  I encourage you to visit the blog: or email the administrator of the blog at or    The creator of this blog is also filming a documentary that will expose the truth about AA and how our justice system is in bed with the 12 step drug treatment industry.   If you know someone that would be would be interested in telling their story, please email them as well.

The time has come to let our legal system know what this organization is all about and quit sending people, especially minors, to an organization that is filled with sick and violent people.     This organization has been given a free pass in the press and media outlets for far too long.

About Guy Fawkes