Q. I’ve heard people say that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult? Is there any truth to that?
Alcoholics Anonymous has a program to help people stop consuming alcohol, but it does not attempt to control them in the way that some cults do, and it does not have a powerful leader that AA members are expected to worship or otherwise venerate.
Critics of AA may call it a cult because certain local AA leaders or members may have an intense devotion to the organization. Because those who attend AA are battling an addiction, it would be understandable if AA itself became something of an addiction. Therefore, some who have been helped by AA may become fiercely protective of it and shun those who might offer criticism of the organization or who simply don’t consider it to be as valuable as the “true believers.”
That said, while certain people in AA become intense devotees, few people would argue that it rises to the level of a true cult.