Exegetical Psychology

Seven Reasons from the Bible for Christians 

To Avoid Alcoholics Anonymous 

Introduction

Many people love Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”) because they attended AA and stopped drinking alcohol. They often say that AA saved their lives. They related personal stories of “recovery,” but acknowledge that they will be alcoholics for the rest of their lives. Some Christians (people who received the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ by grace through faith) attend AA and enjoy the “fellowship” they offer. The Bible provides seven reasons why every Christian should avoid AA for anything except evangelizing the lost souls who attend there. In the Seven Reasons below, I will first quote the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and then quote the Bible which provides the absolute, timeless truths of God. AA promotes the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as its authoritative guide to AA teachings. So, I will use the Big Book to present AA teachings.

Reason One: The Abomination of the Higher Power

AA uses many spiritual terms, but the AA program encourages the worship of false gods, which each individual creates. AA does not promote the exclusive worship of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit found in the Bible. Instead, AA teaches you to have a relationship with a god of your own conception, not necessarily the God of the Bible. When you create your own god in your own conception, the Bible says you have created an abomination and an idol.

AA says:

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God.  Page 47

The Bible proclaims:

John 14:6
Jesus declared: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Jesus said that He alone is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus meant that you must find Him to have the way, the truth and the life. Jesus made a very exclusive claim. He is the only way to heaven and to God the Father. AA teaches that your own conception of god is all you need. AA completely rejects what Jesus said about the way, the truth and the life when AA says create your own god.

AA denies the supreme authority of the Bible in spiritual matters, because it recognizes only one “ultimate authority,” the product of the group conscience. In other words, by rejecting all other authorities, AA rejects the Bible as the ultimate authority on all spiritual matters.

AA says:

–For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. 

Page 45

 

The Bible proclaims:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

In fact, AA has no interest in the God of the Bible, because AA teaches all people to create their own god, using their own conceptions. At AA, you do not need the Bible to find God. AA does not consider another’s conception of God and so excludes God’s revelation of Himself to humans. AA ignores the revelation of God in the Bible because all the people in AA have their own unique conceptions of God. When AA no longer considers the Bible and how God revealed Himself in the Bible, then AA promotes the abomination of idolatry.

AA says:

We discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him.  Page 46

 

The Bible proclaims: 

Jeremiah 16:20
Can man make gods for himself? Yet they are not gods!

If you believe what AA teaches about creating your own god, and following a program demanding that you create your own god, then you too have fallen into the abomination of the higher power and chosen idolatry over the God of the Bible. Jesus taught “no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27). 

 

Reason Two: The Abomination of the False Gospel of AA

AA promotes the creation of spiritual groups with one purpose that does not involve Jesus Christ or operate under His direction. Related directly to the AA abomination of creating your own God, AA exists primarily to spread their abominations and idolatry to other alcoholics.

AA says:

Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose – that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Appendice 1C

The Bible proclaims:

Acts 4:12
Referring to Jesus, “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Please notice that the primary purpose of AA is to spread the AA program and the idolatry of AA to every alcoholic. AA says make yourself your own abominable idol, call it god, and then spread such idolatry to everyone you can find and demand obedience to the AA program alone. 

 

AA says:

My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?”

That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last. Page 12

 

The Bible proclaims:

Exodus 34:14
“for you shall not worship any other god, for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”

If you claim to be a Christian and follower of Jesus, then obey Him and His words in the Bible. He wrote every word of the Bible. He called Himself Jealous (Exodus 34:14), and He opposes all people who create their own god according to their own conception (Exodus 20:5). 

 

Reason Three: The Abomination of Complete Obedience to AA

Like many cults, AA demands total and exclusive obedience to the the program of AA. Consider the following words from AA concerning failures of sobriety experienced by many people in AA.

AA says: 

Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. [emphasis added]

The Bible proclaims:

Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Notice the words from AA: “completely give themselves.Those words demand absolute obedience to AA, and to AA alone, with all its abominations. What Jesus taught about wealth certainly applies to every program that demands your total and exclusive obedience to it. You cannot serve two masters: AA and Jesus Christ. You will either love Jesus and despise AA, or you will love AA and despise Jesus. You will always make that choice when any group, like AA, demands your total, exclusive obedience to its program and its abominations.  AA breaks the ten commandments: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).

AA teaches that if you fail using the AA program, it is only because you were born that way. AA acknowledges that not everyone can benefit from their program. According to AA dogma, when people fail in AA, it is not their fault they cannot benefit from the programs of AA, because they were born that way. AA calls those people “unfortunates.”

AA says:

There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. [emphasis added] Page 58

Although AA demands that you give yourself completely to the the program of AA, it knows that its program produces very limited results. It appears that many people who attend AA are, in the word chosen by AA, “unfortunates.” 

  • One study of addiction specialists indicated success rates of about 8% to 12%. Stein, J. and Forgione, M. (2011). Compare the article Charlie Sheen claims AA has a 5% success rate – is he right? Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2011-mar-03-la-heb-sheen-aa-20110302-story.html
  • Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book claims that “Of alcoholics who came to AA and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with AA showed improvement. Other thousands came to a few AA meetings and at first decided they didn’t want the program. But great numbers of these–about two out of three–began to return as time passed.” Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2001). Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism, 4th Edition, page xx.
  • A membership survey of 6,000 members in AA in 2014 found that 27% of were sober for one year or less; and 24% of the participants were sober 2-5 years; and  13% were sober 6-10 years; and 14% were sober 11-20 years; and 22% were sober for 21 or more years. Alcoholics Anonymous. 2014 Membership Survey. https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-48_membershipsurvey.pdf

The Bible proclaims:

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

In contrast to AA labeling many of the people who come to its program “unfortunates,” Jesus invited everyone to come to Him, and promised they would never be disappointed (Romans 9:33). 

While AA claims it is not a religious organization (page xxi, 1955), like many cults it imposes strict rules upon people in the programs and a hierarchical structure that must be followed as of “paramount” importance. 

AA says: 

With respect to its own affairs, each AA group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect AA as a whole without conferring with the Trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount. Appendice 1C [emphasis added]

The Bible proclaims: 

1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

Jesus will always be the only Mediator between God and Man. God alone has revealed His will in the Bible, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and Godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). The Bible does not provide for a national organization deciding what people must say, but it does command every disciple of Jesus Christ to listen to our Mediator, Christ Jesus, and His written word, the Bible, so that we may know God, who has granted us everything pertaining to life and Godliness.

 

Reason Four:  The Abomination of Denying Sin

If you search the Big Book of AA, then you find that it never used the word “sin,” except one time. It completely denies “sin” as humans sinning against God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  AA preaches that your own conception of god is all that matters. Therefore, in AA you decide if your personal god cares about sin or not, and your personal god can decide if you sin. Because in AA you create your own god, then in AA only you can forgive yourself.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Bible never enter into the teachings of AA because they are found in the Bible, not in your conceptions. In AA you do not need forgiveness from the only true God, the God who revealed His love in the Bible by sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to rise from the dead for our justification. According to AA, your primary purpose in life must be to promote the AA program to all other alcoholics, or they will die. Here is the only reference to sin in AA.

AA says:

There I humbly offered myself to God, as I then I understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since. Page 13

The Bible proclaims: 

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

The Bible also proclaims:

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Bible also proclaims:

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Bible also proclaims:

Romans 10:9-13
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

AA promotes “the new-found Friend” which all AA members create according to their own conceptions. Those conceptions have nothing to the do with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit revealed in the Bible. The God of the Bible says we have all sinned against God. Instead of the trusting in the god of your own conception, the loving God of the Bible created heaven and earth, and all things in it. The God of the Bible created you, and you did not create Him. When AA teaches you to create your own god, ask yourself how did my own god create me? You will see that the god of AA is obviously a false god.

The God of the Bible loves you and Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, gave His life for sinners. Why would Jesus do such a thing? Because God loves sinners and offers eternal life to everyone who believes in Jesus alone for salvation. You can receive Jesus Christ right now by grace through faith. Pray this simple prayer right now with faith:

Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner and I deserve the death penalty.

Lord Jesus, I accept your free gift of eternal life right now. I believe that you love me and died for me on the cross.

Lord Jesus, I confess you as Lord of my life and believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead.

In your Name I pray, repenting of my sins, and thanking you for loving me and forgiving me, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, send me an email to friend@christassembly.org. I would love to hear from you.

 

Reason Five: The Abomination of Once an Alcoholic, Always an Alcoholic

Like many cults, AA demands your obedience to the program of AA for your entire life. You must attend AA meetings and believe in your own conception of god for your whole life. According to AA, leaving AA means you will certainly die without AA (Page xix). Like many cults, AA teaches that you will never overcome your problems, without AA help for the rest of your life. Even with the help of AA, AA admits many people in AA fail.  According to AA, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Therefore, according to AA, you must stay in AA to stop drinking.  According to AA, “to drink is to die.” Page 66

AA says:

We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.”  [Emphasis added] Page 33

The Bible proclaims:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

While AA never offers hope you can escape being an alcoholic, Jesus said when you are washed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit, you are no longer a drunkard, homosexual, reviler, swindler, etc. God makes you into a completely new creature by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior; the old things passed away; new things have come–you are no longer an alcoholic–you are a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

Jesus promised complete forgiveness and cleansing from sin:

1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

While AA says you that “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” Jesus promised to that if your confess your sins, He is faithful and righteous to (1) forgive you of all your sins; and (2) to cleanse you from all sins. AA never wants you to believe that Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse you from the power of alcohol in your life. If you believe what Jesus says, then you will no longer accept what AA teaches you. AA demands that stay under AA control for the rest of your life. They demand you remain an idolater for the rest of your life and to fellowship with idolaters for the rest of your life. Consider that promise that no matter how many times you confess your sin of drunkenness, Jesus promised to remain faithful and to cleanse you each time. Better yet, because drunkenness is sin, He promised you a way to avoid every temptation to drunkenness to escape from that temptation. 

 

Reason Six: The Abomination of Denying Jesus

AA never mentions Jesus. Only once  does AA mention Christ. One of the founders of AA disclosed his own personal view of Christ:

AA says:

To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him. His moral teaching-most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts which seemed convenient and not too difficult; the rest I disregarded. Page 11

The Bible proclaims:

1 John 5:12
“Whoever who has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Notice that a founder of AA thought of Christ as a great man, but not God. That founder sat in judgment upon the teachings of Jesus Christ and adopted the parts which seemed convenient to him. In contrast, the Bible proclaims that without Jesus, you do not have life. So, when AA ignores Jesus, and promotes a god of your own conception, we know that AA teaches people to ignore Jesus and embrace their own idolatry. Jesus made His claim very exclusive: if you do not have Jesus, the Son of God, then you do not have life. Indeed, for every person who does not “obey the Son of God will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). 

 

Reason Seven: The Abomination of False Fellowship

AA promotes a false fellowship of idolaters who deny Christ. Each AA group creates it own pantheon of gods. Each person at AA creates their own god, and so AA promotes many gods.

AA says:

But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. Page 17 [emphasis added]

The Bible proclaims:

2 Corinthians 6:14-16
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

The Bible provides clear reasons for every Christian to avoid AA: (1) Christians can have no partnership with the lawlessness promoted by AA; (2) Christians can have no fellowship with the darkness of AA; (3) Christians can have no harmony with Belial; (4) Christians have nothing in common with the idolaters of AA. 

 

Conclusion

If you open your Bible and consider the verses in this article, and read all the verses you like concerning AA and the idolatry it promotes, then obey God and leave AA. If you have Christians that are active members of AA, encourage them to read the verses above and understand the idolatry of AA. God always welcomes people who separate from the idolaters of this world and come to Him. AA never mentions the Bible, but rather repeatedly encourages every person in AA to create a personal god, according to your own conception. Instead of relying upon your own god, who you created, and seeking “fellowship” with many idolaters, turn to Jesus Christ because He loves you today. He will welcome you with open arms.

The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 6:16-18
“Just as God said,

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEMAND I WILL BE THEIR GODAND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEANAnd I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

 

Amen