They have a Big Book which is their equivalent of the Bible.Your sponsor encourages you to pray and refers you to the Big Book at times of stress.I'd done all that sort of stuff before with the Jehovah's Witnesses.
This aspect of AA rhetoric is supposed to be negotiable nowadays, but Caroline disagrees: "As with any religion, you have to play by their rules or you're out.
Once you are an alcoholic you are always an alcoholic. "After a year with AA, you're like a Moonie and you're probably in a relationship with another AA member," says James.
"By the end of your second year, you are definitely cured of your physical addiction, but not the underlying causes - and AA does nothing about this. The AA approach is authoritarian and fascistic, which is very effective when it's getting you to stop taking your drug of choice.
He agrees: "I did an undercover story about the Moonies for a local radio station once and the approach is the same. "It places an unhelpful emphasis on genes," James says. The majority of addicts become so because of something that happened in their childhood." Dr Richard Hammersley at Sheffield University also agrees that the Disease Model approach can be a problem but feels that AA meetings nowadays would be tolerant of non-subscribers.
Still, some ex-members found the thought that they could never recover disempowering.They will listen to other members' stories and tell their own.