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The Front Groups Of A.A.

Alcoholics Anonymous claims to be an organization based upon rigorous honesty and of attraction, not promotion. To the Buchmanites of A.A., A.A. is as squeaky clean as it gets, for it never enters into any controversy. And, to an extent, these True Believers are correct: The membership of A.A. simply created a series of spinoff front groups that vigorously promote A.A., the recovery group movement and the addiction treatment industry. Therefore, in name only, A.A. doesn't enter the fray while its ideology is spread by its Twelfth-Stepping addicted evangelists:

"The Web of Influence
AA is far from being the innocent organization that most people believe it to be. The familiar gatherings of coffee-slurping, cigarette-smoking ex­drunks are only the tip of the iceberg. AA and its disease concept of alcoholism dominate the alcoholism treatment field in this country. Through its hidden members and its carefully cultivated benign image, AA has tremendous influence in the media. It has powerful “educational” and “medical” front groups, such as the NCADD and ASAM, that to a great extent determine the direction of alcoholism research, treatment, and education.
(...)
AA’s front groups and hidden members vilify and blackball critics and independent researchers. AA and 12-step treatment advocates attempt to smother alternative treatment approaches. And AA’s friends and hidden members in EAPs, diversion programs, the judiciary, and penal system coerce probably half-a-million Americans per year into AA attendance and/or 12-step treatment.

This comprises AA’s hidden structure and hidden influence. It is, quite simply, a national disaster."
-- Charles Q. Bufe, "AA's Impact On Society", pp. 123-124 Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult Or Cure?

Within the same chapter of his book, Bufe details the hidden structure and provides a brief historical overview of these front groups:

"Incubation of the Treatment Industry
The rise of the 12-step treatment industry has been a direct result of the rise of “educational” and “medical” organizations founded by AA members with three purposes: to promote AA and other 12-step groups; to promote the disease concept of alcoholism; and to promote the belief that abstinence is the only legitimate goal of alcoholism and drug treatment. AA’s “educational” efforts date to 1944, when AA’s first female member, Marty Mann, founded the National Council on Alcoholism (now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, NCADD) with the help of E.M. Jellinek and the Yale Center of Alcohol Studies.xi Since then, the NCADD has acted as AA’s spokesman (without, of course, identifying itself as such) on “outside issues” and matters of “public controversy.” The NCADD has tirelessly promoted both the disease concept of alcoholism and the belief that absti­nence is the only legitimate treatment goal; it has also attempted to suppress studies on controlled drinking, and has virulently attacked those who publicly disagree with its positions on abstinence and the disease concept.xii
The NCADD also has close ties with the “medical” arm of AA. In 1954, Ruth Fox, MD founded what is now known as the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). ASAM, like the NCADD, has campaigned relentlessly for the disease concept of alcoholism and for abstinence as the only acceptable treatment goal, publicly stating that, “Abstinence from alcohol is necessary for recovery from the disease of alcoholism.”xiii ASAM also recommends that “physicians and the alcoholism treatment agencies with which they work . . . develop relationships of maximum cooperation with the self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous,” because “self-help groups, particularly Alcoholics Anonymous, have been a tremendous help in recovery to many thousands of alcoholics, their friends and families.”xiv ASAM further states that “expert” physicians should have “a knowledge of self-help groups such as AA, NA, Al-Anon, etc.,” as well as “a knowledge of the spectrum of this disease and the natural progression if untreated.”xv
In 1973, ASAM’s membership voted to become part of the NCADD, and it remained part of the NCADD for over a decade. According to the NCADD, “Membership in ASAM, which had begun certifying physicians specializing in addiction medicine, had grown so large by 1984 that it no longer made sense to remain under NCADD’s umbrella. However, the two groups continued to meet together annually until 1991 and today are represented on each other’s boards [of directors].”xvi
The NCADD maintains close ties with other “medical” advocates of abstinence, 12-step programs, and the disease concept of alcoholism. In the 1970s, NCADD reports that it “offered homes to both the National Nurses Society on Addiction and the Research Society on Alcoholism which, with ASAM, began publishing Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.”xvii
But perhaps the NCADD’s greatest coup occurred during the Nixon Administration, with the passage of the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Act of 1970, also known as the Hughes Act, sponsored by “recovering alcoholic” (that is, AA member) Senator Harold Hughes. The Act won Hughes “NCADD’s highest honor, the Gold Key Award.”xviii It also established the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and thus opened the tap which would release rivers of federal cash to the alcoholism movement. Very early on, the NIAAA “logically began contracting with NCADD for assistance. As a result, in 1976 NCADD’s budget peaked at $3.4 million, nearly five times what it had been before passage of the Hughes Act. Government funding accounted for more than 75% of the budget.”xix It’s little wonder that UPI “called passage of the Hughes Act a ‘signal victory’ for groups such as NCADD.”xx It’s equally little wonder that in the wake of the Act the NCADD opened an office in Washington.
The money that the NCADD received from the government led to huge and rapid growth of both the NCADD and the rest of the treatment industry. Under the subhead, “Federal Government Boosts Marty’s Vision,” the NCADD boasts that,“This [federal funds] provided seed money for state voluntary alcoholism associations which in turn helped organize local NCADD Affiliates [sic]. Marty [Mann] . . . lived long enough to see how the government had boosted her early vision: the number of Affiliates [sic] had risen to an all-time high of 223 and their advocacy efforts had helped to bring to at least 23 the number of states who [sic] mandated insurance coverage for alcoholism treatment.”xxi
The NCADD continues, “The federal government also facilitated rapid growth in the EAP movement.” (EAPs, Employee Assistance Programs, funnel “impaired” employees into 12-step treatment, very often through “interventions,” threats of job loss, and other coercive means.) “Eleven years of NCADD campaigning culminated in 1974 with AFL-CIO president George Meanyxxii and General Motors director James M. Roche agreeing to chair NCADD’s all-star labor management [sic] committee. When NIAAA provided NCADD with funding to establish task forces in ten major cities a year later, NCADD published the first labor-approved EAP guidelines. By the end of the 70s [sic], employees had access to 5,000 EAP programs.”xxiii
Thus, by the late 1970s AA members in government and the mass media, rivers of federal cash, and AA’s “educational” and “medical” arms had set the stage for the explosive growth of the 12-step alcoholism treatment industry that would occur in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s in the United States."


xi 11. “Prohibition, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Alcoholism Movement, and the Alcoholic Beverage Industry,” by L. Allen Ragels. Journal of Rational Recovery, Vol. 8 No. 4, March-April 1996, p.23.
xii
12. See “Denial—of Reality and of Freedom—in Addiction Research and Treatment,” by Stanton Peele. Bulletin of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors, 5(4):149-166, 1986. See also “Alcoholism, Politics, and Bureaucracy: The Consensus Against Controlled-Drinking Therapy in America,” by Stanton Peele. Addictive Behaviors, 17:49-62, 1992.
xiii
13. See ASAM “Public Policy Statement on Abstinence,” adopted by ASAM board of directors in September 1974. The resolution is posted at http://207.181.5/ppol1.htm#Abstinence. [Now at http://www.asam.org/ppol/Abstinence.htm --ed]
xiv
14. “Resolution on Self-Help Groups,” adopted by ASAM board of directors on October 19, 1979. The resolution is posted at http://207.181.5/ppol1.htm#Abstinence. [Now at http://www.asam.org/ppol/Self%20Help.htm --ed]
xv
15. “How to Identify a Physician Recognized for Expertness in Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence,” adopted by ASAM board of directors on February 28, 1986. Posted at http://207.181.5/ppol2.htm#Abstinence. [Now at http://www.asam.org/ppol/IDENTIFYING%20A%20PHYSICIAN%202-86%20(2).htm --ed]
xvi
16. “For 50 Years, The Voice of Americans Fighting Alcoholism.” http://www.ncadd.org/50yrs.html (p. 4).
xvii 17. Ibid., p. 6.
xviii 18. Ibid., p. 4.
xix 19. Ibid., p. 5.
xx 20. Ibid.
xxi 21. Ibid.
xxii 22. Meany was, with the possible exception of Samuel Gompers, the worst labor leader ever to head the AFL. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the American Institute for Free Labor Development, which was a CIA-controlled organization used to subvert labor movements in Third World countries during the Cold War. He also enthusiastically supported the war in Vietnam, and once publicly wondered why on earth American labor unions should want to organize the unorganized. It’s little wonder that he backed the NCADD/EAP plan to coerce American working people into 12-step treatment.
xxiii 23. “For 50 Years, The Voice of Americans Fighting Alcoholism.” http://www.ncadd.org/50yrs.html (p. 5).

-- Charles Q. Bufe, "AA's Impact On Society", pp. 109-111 Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult Or Cure?

Ken Ragge provided some more detail concerning A.A.'s front groups in Chapter 13 ("How Far Carried?") of his book, "The Real AA". A brief synopsis of how A.A. has proliferated by these front groups is found here:

"To keep AA purely spiritual, the membership has what appears to be severe restrictions on efforts to “carry the message.” They can't solicit or accept money from outside sources. They can't ally themselves, as a group, with other organizations. They must, as AA members, remain anonymous in the media. As AA members, they can't take a public stand on any political or social issue. However, there are no restrictions on AA members founding outside organizations allied with AA or moving existing organizations into alliance with AA. As members of outside organizations they are able to solicit funds and take stands on social and political issues. They can also “educate the public.” In fact a “not AA” corporation can do whatever it sees fit to “carry the message” except use the AA name and identify itself with the public as AA. In a legal, corporate sense, AA doctrine has been spread more by “not AA” organizations and “not AA” people than by AA."
-- Ken Ragge, "How Far Carried?", pp. 150 The Real AA

Thus, is it really not A.A. when its collective membership creates clubhouses and various indoctrination facilities ("treatment"), ALL pushing the Twelve Steps as a suggested form of recovery from addiction? Of course it's A.A.!

In an effort to provide Informed Consent here's a brief list and description of the various front groups of A.A. What's quite peculiar is that none of these organizations contain any direct information on what quitting is, much less how to quit. Likewise, for the sake of public safety, a quick warning of CAVEAT EMPTOR is necessary regarding any organization which may have members of these front organizations operating within them. Keep in mind that A.A. itself, through its own sales material, will do anything it can through its membership (including infiltrating those "open-minded" SCAAAMy organizations) to "carry the message".

NCADD
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

http://www.ncadd.org

Description: Founded in 1944 by Mrs. Marty Mann, a pioneer in the alcoholism field, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) provides education, information, help, and hope to the public. It advocates prevention, intervention, and treatment through a nationwide network of Affiliates.

Notes: The A.A. and NCADD connection is within Marty Mann's own story within the Third Edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, "Women Suffer Too". A quote of her's that provides the canonical form of the disease mythology is at the beginning of the Article, "Disease or Doctrine?". More connections can be drawn through the NCADD's links page. Of further note is that the NCADD was actually cofounded by Mann and Elvin Morton Jellinek and was so tight with A.A. that even A.A.'s cofounders' names were upon its own letterhead as advisors (Michael Lemanski, pp.90, A History Of Addiction And Recovery In The United States).

ASAM
American Society of Addiction Medicine

http://www.asam.org

Description: The American Society of Addiction Medicine is an association of physicians dedicated to improving the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions, educating physicians and medical students, promoting research and prevention, and enlightening and informing the medical community and the public about these issues. The Society serves its members by providing opportunities for education and sharing of experiences, and by promoting the development of a body of professional knowledge and literature to enhance the quality and increase the availability of appropriate health care for people affected by the addictions.

Notes: Founded in 1954 by Ruth Fox, ASAM pitches the disease mythology of addiction and 12-Step "treatment" towards physicians. What's interesting concerning their web links pages is that they have a separate one for various A.A. front groups inside the United States' government.

NAADAC
National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors

http://www.naadac.org

Description: Founded in 1972 as the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, NAADAC was created to represent the interests and concerns of substance abuse counselors. Since then, NAADAC has evolved as a professional membership organization. NAADAC's new name - NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals - reflects the increasing number of tobacco, gambling and other addiction professionals who are active in prevention, intervention, treatment and education.

Notes: This organization is a front group for A.A. "two-hatters": Unrecovered evangelizing Twelve Steppers who engage in a professional conflict of interest by making their A.A. service work a career move. These counselors are engaging in a highly unethical practice by posing as disinterested "professionals".

NIAAA
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

Description: NIAAA provides leadership in the national effort to reduce alcohol-related problems by:

  • Conducting and supporting research in a wide range of scientific areas including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, health risks and benefits of alcohol consumption, prevention, and treatment
  • Coordinating and collaborating with other research institutes and Federal Programs on alcohol-related issues
  • Collaborating with international, national, state, and local institutions, organizations, agencies, and programs engaged in alcohol-related work
  • Translating and disseminating research findings to health care providers, researchers, policymakers, and the public

Notes: The A.A. front group known as the NIAAA was established as a result of legislation passed by United States' Congress in 1970 popularly known as the "Hughes Act". Per NIAAA's history page:

"Congress passed and President Richard M. Nixon signed the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970 (Public Law [P.L].) 91-616). Referred to as the "Hughes Act" for the pivotal role played by Senator Harold E. Hughes in its passage, this law recognized alcohol abuse and alcoholism as major public health problems and created the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to combat them. The road to the passage and signing of this legislation was not easy. In the end, it required the courage of a number of recovered alcoholics "going public," the initiative and resourcefulness of a freshman U.S. Senator (who persevered despite a lack of funding for his Special Subcommittee on Alcoholism), and the intercession of three individuals in the waning hours of New Year's Eve in 1970 to convince the President to sign P.L. 91-616 into law."
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/AboutNIAAA/OrganizationalInformation/History.htm

The Hazelden Foundation

http://www.hazelden.org

Description: For individuals, families, and communities struggling with addiction to alcohol and other drugs, Hazelden (a nonprofit organization) helps people transform their lives by providing the highest quality treatment and continuing care services, education, research, and publishing products available today.

Since its 1949 founding in a rural Minnesota lakeside farmhouse, Hazelden has grown into one of the world's largest, most respected, and best-known private alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers in the world. Thousands of people from all 50 states and 42 foreign countries have turned to Hazelden to find expertise, quality care, and leading authorities on addiction and recovery issues. Our mission today remains the same as our early founders had dreamed - to help alcoholics and addicts who need help.

Notes: According to Michael Lemanski's "A History of Addiction and Recovery in the United States" (pp.95):

"In 1949, a group of wealthy AA members purchased Hazelden Farm, a parcel of land located next to the Wilmar State Mental Hospital in Center City, Minnesota. The farmhouse was turned into a refuge for alcoholics institutionalized at the State Hospital, and became established as the Hazelden Foundation. During the early 1950's, psychologists Daniel J. Anderson and Dr. Nelson J. Bradley, recently educated ay the Yale School of Alcohol Studies, began working with alcoholics in the Hazelden facility in conjunction with Wilmar State Hospital. Bradley and Anderson, utilizing Jellinek's disease concept in conjunction with the basic principles and practices of AA, organized and coordinated teams of physicians, social workers, psychologists, clergymen, and AA members to treat alcoholics.* Their program became a prototype. Soon, other hospitals within Minnesota copied their treatment techniques and formulated a standardized treatment program for addiction which became known as the "Minnesota Model" and which was subsequently adopted on a national scale."


* Getting Better Within Alcoholics Anonymous, by Nan Robertson. New York: Wm. Morrow, 1988, pp.217-220.

A.A., A.A. and more fruit-flyin' lock-Steppin' A.A. It all can end and save lives in the process when the people just quit and walk out.

More coming soon...


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Last updated 2007/02/01

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