When AA Hurts: Guest Column at Psychology Today

When AA Hurts …

If you asked me a year ago if I would share my story, I would likely shrug my shoulders and mumble something like, “who cares?”  AA is a behemoth and my criticisms were not welcomed by former “friends” of mine from the program.  They would rather leave their beloved AA the same than make any improvements that would help more people such as myself.

This blog reveals how AA’s program echoes the pattern of abuse, and instead of helping me heal from abuse, going to meetings only continued the cycle.  Frozen in a vulnerable state, I did not recognize the problem I had with AA for years.   It seemed if I kept myself down then I would always return to AA as a power over me.  “Abusers like easy targets, such as people who are starved for love or attention or who fear being abandoned.  I also used alcohol to tamp down my feelings of shame and disgust from being emotionally, physically, and sexually abused.”

I am truly honored and grateful to Dr. Stanton Peele, author of  Recover!: Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with The PERFECT Program (with co-author Ilse Thompson) for all of the help, support and encouragement.  I’ve waited a long time to share my story and this marks the beginning of my of shutting the door on the past, and making progress into the future.

Please visit the guest column link here: When AA Hurts.


For more about Dr. Stanton Peele’s work visit: www.peele.net


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8 thoughts on “When AA Hurts: Guest Column at Psychology Today

  1. OMG! This is truly remarkable! You go girl! Your story made it in Psychology Today through Stanton Peele? Incredible! Hats off to you!

    It was so sad to hear the story about your Mom and what you endured. It really makes the connection how people who have been abused before they land in AA or NA can be ripe pickings and fall victim to more abuse.

    • Awww thank you so much for your comment! I had to write something for myself to get through the grief– as my mom did suddenly die in August ’13. There were so many great qualities in her, too, which makes the relationship we had more difficult.

      Deep rooted problems with relationships, especially with mothers & daughters, etc, are virtually ignored in 12 Step treatment. The emotional abuse does make one vulnerable to AA’s strong emotional language. Plus, AA is supposed to be the top group in the world for drinking problems. You’re supposed to trust these experts recommending AA.

      I am so happy to read your comment here. I’m glad to have my story out there and outside of my head now. I hope others who might see themselves in this story might gain the courage to walk away from a destructive abuse cycle. It is truly an honor for me to have someone like Dr. Peele see my story and find that it needed to be told. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity. :)

  2. Pingback: When AA Hurts by Juliet Abram in Psychology Today | NA DAYTONA

    • It can either draw in a narcissistic person or create one, in my point of view. I do feel empathy for those who are trying to make AA into something better, for they mean well, but the organization does not want to change their “status quo.”

  3. (I’m now leaving the fellowship after eight years, with six years of sobriety. It is terrifying, as I’ve been trained to believe I will relapse if I leave. some folks can moderate, but I have a bipolar diagnosis that makes drinking a seriously awful idea…sends me insane, screws with medication…but I am so much happier since leaving.)

    • Hi Tracy, first off, you are correct; leaving AA involves a degree of deprogramming. They DO train people if they leave AA they relapse. Please understand that is just one fraction of thousands of AA “b.s.” that screws with peoples’ heads. I am glad you are happier, because that is one of the reasons why leaving AA is healthy for the majority of those who try it out. As for your diagnosis, take care of yourself. You come first. That is not selfish, it is called “survival.”

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