Alcoholics Anonymous is, without question, the largest and most venerable addiction recovery group in the world. Founded nearly 80 years ago, AA now boasts or an amazing 2.1 million worldwide members, many of whom attribute their very survival to “The Program.” In the United States, where 12-step programs originated, AA is viewed by many as a national treasure of sorts.
Social workers send patients to AA meetings. Judges condition people’s freedom on meeting attendance. Desperate spouses condition marriages on it. Everyone loves Alcoholics Anonymous. Or almost everyone . . .
Many patients and doctors have grumbled for years about the religion inherent in the Alcoholics Anonymous process: Half of the 12 steps involve God or “a Power greater than ourselves.”