12-Step Under Attack?

Njon Sanders
5 min readJan 5, 2020

A Recovery Coach I met at a conference promoting Multiple Pathways of Recovery, recently posted a (since deleted) link on FB to an article bemoaning the perceived “attacks” on AA. I’d have submitted a comment to the site but seriously doubt it would have been posted so I’ll leave my comments here. I hope this makes sense :) I’d definitely recommend reading the original article before continuing.

There are so many things about this article that perfectly illustrate why folks take issue with AA:

“I continue to watch people try other methods and often when all else fails, they end up in AA.”

The implication here is clear but this, however, is true of EVERY mutual support org. Multiple studies have conclusively shown that AA has the same rate of efficacy as the other methods; no more, no less. People in recovery naturally gravitate toward programs that resonate and often try different groups before finding the right fit. Some find that fit and many do not.

“As a result of the twelve steps, other recovery programs have sprung up such as Celebrate Recovery and Smart Recovery.”


“There are no absolutes. I have been sober for thirty years in the rooms of AA and not once has anyone told me what religion I had to be, or that I needed to believe in God to recover.”


“There is nothing in AA that says we have to walk around like powerless victims, but it does encourage one to find a higher power. As our society becomes more secular, more and more people seem to have an aversion toward God. Sadly, a Godless world seems to produce people who are angrier and lonelier… all you have to do is look at the suicide stats to know that something is not right.”

Sooo…? In addition to “encouraging” one to find an HP, AA meets literally all of the criteria that define a religion despite their claims that it does not.

“One woman recently wrote an opinion piece and said something about worrying about programs that tell



Njon Sanders

After decades of living in crisis, I feel it is a gift to be able to support my communities in serving others – making things better for us all.