People use addiction as a substitute for intimate relations and AA cleverly provides an intimate relationship." Caroline (not her real name), 39, took four years to break away from AA and looks back with loathing at what she now sees as its self-serving and coercive methods.
AA only works if you're prepared to take it on as a religion.
I should know, I was brought up a Jehovah's Witness until I was 18 and the similarities are astounding." Indeed some of the AA steps make no bones about this.
Members feed off each other in a very unhealthy way; it's like a dating agency.
Opposition is not encouraged; I once made the mistake of mentioning to another member that I was in contact with a woman who had dropped out.
A number of ex-members and addiction treatment professionals have accused it of having cult-like qualities and using brainwashing and bullying methods that weak and vulnerable people are particularly susceptible to.
In the US, the anti-AA lobby has been further fuelled by the recent publication of two books; Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?
Which is good to know when you consider that there are currently 3,350 AA groups in the UK, and counting.
Addiction Counselling World magazine also lists 23 UK 12 Step fellowship groups in its current issue (including Survivors of Incest Anonymous, Workaholics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous).
Those who have been through its mill claim it is `authoritarian' and `fascistic', employs brainwashing techniques and is cult-like in its attitude to members.
Ursula Kenny talks to the disaffected who have rejected its road to recovery TO THE CASUAL observer, Alcoholics Anonymous is an absolute good.
The ever-expanding world of 12 Step Recovery is hugely successful for a lot of people - according to research by Dr Bryan Hore at the University Hospital of South Manchester, 12 Step has a success rate of as high as 70 per cent.