Do Twelve Step Meetings open doors to sexual predators?

Every now and then you run across a post that just opens up a new revelation for you, right? Well last night I read this and it immediately spoke to me. You may or may not agree with me on this post – and that is ok.  I am sharing my experiences and my thoughts here.

Here is the post that helped me see last night:

You see, in my past I have attended about 10+ years of 12 Step Meetings. I went to everything from Al-Anon, CODA, ACOA, AA, NA, and more looking for answers.  I did not know GOD then. And I bought into the lie – that I could just make one up.  That the “God of my understanding” was it.  There were even those who prayed to doorknobs and squirrels. Really. A room full of people looking for answers, and using a Blue Book instead of the Bible.  Yeah, I made up my own image of God ( my very own idol) and I refused the God of the Bible.  At that time in my life I memorized that Blue Book.  After all we read those 12 steps and 12 traditions at every meeting.  And we share old war stories. And we measure ourselves by what we do or don’t do – drink or don’t drink, drug or don’t drug, etc.  Wow, talk about deceived.  Talk about a form of Godliness and denying it’s power.

Anyway, let’s just take the 1st Step:

1. We admitted we were POWERLESS OVER _____, and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Ok, what does the Word of God say about this?

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11 NKJV)


So, here is my dilemma:

In 12 step groups you are powerless and will never recover. You have no power.  The drink or the drug is your GOD. You measure yourself by that.  You believe you are sick forever.  And the thing that you want relief from has now become your GOD.  I worshiped my recovery.  I thought about it day and night, I went to multiple meetings, and I even defined myself with a ‘label’ when I attended.  I became my ‘disease’. My name is _____ and I am a __________. What a lie. Talk about being deceived.


In the Body of Christ – you have the power of God in you, the same power that rose Jesus Christ from the dead, and you can be healed and made whole and well.  The power of the Holy Spirit resides in you.  Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.  God gets to be God, and deliver you, and free you – from whatever.  It is not based on our works, what we do or don’t do, but on the Grace of God.  Our worth is not based on what we drink or eat or do. And we are not a disease.  We are children of the King. And we have POWER! We are not POWERLESS!

I have even read that these groups are cults.  Really. Wow, talk about a revelation.  Exploring more, I came across these two blogs.



Now I get it.  These meetings are court ordered for many criminals including sex offenders and pedophiles  I have been 13th stepped.  I have met some very, very sick people in 12 step groups. Like JM, who thought he was an expert in Al-Anon, was the leader in many groups, but was a Predator in disguise.  Had all the toys – the corvette, the plane, the house, made lots of money, yet drank himself to oblivion every night after a meeting.  He later was fired from his cushy job for keeping inappropriate photos at work.  He had guns in his closet and wasn’t afraid to use them.  He had photo album upon album of his S&M ‘hobby’ of demeaning and beating women – I saw them.  He thought he was fine and recovered.  And this is the person who led the meetings.  Yeah.  And I’m sure he is not the only sicko in charge. And no, I do not go to meetings anymore – too many psychos! Thank you Jesus, for truth and light.

Here are some of the articles I read:

The 13th Step – the film

A Documentary about sexual predatory behavior in AA and it’s culture. This is about changing laws at a Federal level around criminals being plea bargained into 12 step meetings. This film is about changing policy in AA and making AA safer with Workshops, Literature, Posters, Sexual harassment training at every level within its structure and warning the public of its current polices and who is really sitting in a meeting with the public at large and current AA members.


Diana Rasmussen is a Faith Builder, Worship Leader, Veteran's wife, and a Certified Peer Specialist. At her blog Prayers and Promises she shares from her heart on how to find hope in this crazy world!

22 thoughts on “Do Twelve Step Meetings open doors to sexual predators?

  1. I really liked this post. I know that these groups help a lot of people stay sober, but I always wondered about some of the points you mention–like if the the book they use becomes a substitute for the Bible, and if meetings substitute for church or a Christian fellowship group. It concerns me a lot if they’re running to, being dependent on, the meeting and other attendees–rather than running to God, depending on Jesus. I’m not meaning to judge, just wondering. And the whole predator thing–gosh, makes me shudder. Well, I guess I didn’t add much here–just my wonderings! God bless you BIG–love, sis Caddo

    1. Thank you Caddo, it was one of those that I was not sure about. I did not want to do more damage than good. But the more I have come to know God and his Truth, the more I see how I was deceived.

      Jesus is NOT the “Higher Power” in 12 step groups, with perhaps the exception of Celebrate Recovery. All are welcome to worship “the god of their understanding” – that could be whatever they want. And yes, there are many that consider their meetings as their church. Sad, but true. Without vision, the people perish.

      Lord, please give all attendees of 12 step groups a fresh revelation of who you are, in Jesus Name!

      1. Amen. So, was the original purpose of the “the god of their understanding” to avoid excluding people with different belief systems? So that folks knew all they had to be was alcoholic/addict? I am really glad to hear there is a “Celebrate Recovery”–as my other concern about these programs is the message, “once an alcoholic/addict, always one”. Gosh, I just can’t think of anything more counterproductive, depressing, and totally contrary to God’s promise to make all things new–complete healing. I have areas in my life (not substances, but deep wounds) which still need healing–but I prefer to say that I’m “walking out my healing” that is already a done deal because of the “finished” work of Christ. I’m not denying my imperfect condition, but keeping my focus on Jesus feels much healthier to me–keeps me positive and hopeful.

        Thanks for allowing me to chat with you–sometimes it’s hard to find someone to mull these sorts of things over with. God bless you, again!

        1. I’m not sure of their original purpose. I never really got into the History part. But it does exclude the Truth.

          I remember one time I went back after years and I refused to say I was a _____. I said Jesus was God, and He had made me new. Didn’t go very well that night! Not what they wanted to hear.

        2. Ohhh, isn’t that a shame! So I guess they just want to hold onto their little “group truth”–well, I’m glad for this exchange with you, as I’ll add these folks to my prayer list.

  2. really interesting piece – my partner attended AA for a few years and then found it, in her experience of it, a place that began to unsettle her more than a place that helped her.

    1. Yeah, I am learning more and more about that now. Thank you for your comments. It’s nice to know I am not the only one who felt this way.

  3. You brought up some really good points. Strange, today I was going to write about people that go around with self destructive “humility” saying “I am just a worthless sinner.” But the Bible says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

    I think the “I am an alcoholic” is used because so many are in denial, and they have an easier time coming out of denial if they hear other people admitting the same problem they have. But I guess it is true, if yoiu keep saying it, it tends to bring it about.

    I sure agree with you about the different gods that people pray to, if they are not praying/relying on the true God, it lacks the power they need to get out of their addiction.

    There is a course called “Celebrate Recovery” that takes the 12 steps and puts them in Biblical form, and uses the true God. I think it is MUCH better than AA.

  4. WOW..Awesome post!! You are so correct. I have never had to go to a 12 step program but I have wondered about the very same things that you speak about. In Christ, we are healed, we are delivered, we are restored… We are no longer what these programs proclaim. The Power of the Spoken Word consumes their lives every time they proclaim “I am an alcoholic”. These very words hold us back from overcoming our situations any time we speak negative over us and our families. I am so thankful to God for showing you that He is the Key… Good job Diana!!!

    1. Thanks Angel. I am grateful God leads us to Truth and has given us the Spirit of Truth with His Holy Spirit.

      “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

      Thank you Jesus!

    2. I agree, but some people need a group of supporting people t overcome addictions, that is why Celebrate Recovery is so much better than AA.

      1. Thank you Brad. Yes I have been there too, checked them all out looking to ‘find myself’. Let’s just say I was a self-help expert. Things started to change for me when I quit looking for the “magic formula” of what to do to feel better and started having a simple relationship with Jesus. Not rules – just relationship. And I had to learn what grace was. Grace was not in any of the 12 steps for me – all you do this, and then you get that. I was totally into the ‘works’ mentality.

        I appreciate your insights my friend. And I believe that after Jesus died, the rest of the New Testament is written to the SAINTS in Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, etc. If God has forgiven and forgotten our sins why do we keep reminding Him of them? That post on self-destructive humility, great idea Brad, teach us (Me) more!

      2. Thank you so much for the information. Celebrate Recovery even sounds much better. Thanks…

  5. WOW. This is so eye-opening. And yet every biblical verse she pulled up is right on track.
    Ms. D you are absolutely fantastic. Please don’t have a low self-esteem. You’re talent is boundless. The energy and focus you use to help those in need is amazing. You are a mentor to me. I want to follow your purity of ‘who you are’ and what your priorities are.
    When I think of an overcomer, I think of you!


    1. Not me T, I just keep asking God to show me TRUTH. I have been deceived so many times I don’t trust myself. I have to learn to look to God and what He says for Truth. I know now that Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. Just wish I would have found the WAY sooner. Oh well, God promised to make all things work together for good – guess I would have never written this post without all those years of experience! Laugh or cry – that’s my motto!

      It is so funny how you see me – I need God to transform my mind on things yet. I see everything I am doing wrong and how unworthy I am of His love and His grace. I still have so many areas I need to be delivered in. Thank you t, you always bring me hope and love. Love u sis, Diana

  6. Very interesting. I’m off to read the resources you mentioned. I have never been a part of 12 step group but know a few people who have and it seemed to only escalate their problems. Thanks for your insight and for sharing. ~Blessings~

    1. You are welcome. I am still learning here. I just wish I wouldn’t have spent 10+ years in those rooms degrading myself and picking at every little thing I ever did wrong. No wonder I have a low self esteem! This too can be healed with God’s help. Thanks for your comments and God bless you Rebecca!

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