I agree with lil's points about the article.
I wanted to share my own experience with AA and "recovery" based movements. I have no clear bias against it, but against users.
As previously stated, my dad is a bad guy. He often took me to his AA meetings when we lived in East St. Louis. I sometimes had the opportunity to walk down the street and watch some kids LARP, but (not surprisingly), I found AA much more interesting.
I never actually went into the meetings - I'm almost positive I wasn't allowed to (I never asked, so I don't know). Instead, I'd sit in a kitchenette area with an older black guy. I've either forgotten or never picked up his name, but he was your standard Cool Old Guy - AA has a lot of those. He was a nice guy, always very kind, got me a drink if I was thirsty, etc. Told stories.
He wasn't always a nice guy. Turns out, drinking makes him a brute. But he was a good guy to me.
The other AA guy I knew well (much better than COBG) was my dad's sponsor. Somehow, the shittiest person I've ever known, managed to get one of the best people I've ever known as his sponsor. He was always very proud of his place in AA, and he wouldn't have minded if I used his name: Herb. Herb was an Important Guy to the AA organization. I can't recall what specifically the letter was for, but he had framed in his house a flag that flew above the White House, and a letter of thanks from Bill Clinton (almost certainly signed by a real computer!). Younger me was more impressed with it than I would be now, but it was impressive.
Even without, Herb was a great guy. He got my dad and I out of living in basements and into a very nice house in a nice part of Belleville, Illinois. It had a freshly remodeled interior, and Herb was going to put it on the market, but decided to rent it out to dad at an absurdly cheap price. He also got my dad a job, working as the Manager of an Auto Body shop - the exact job my dad had gotten fired from a few years before for embezzlement.
Herb had some faults: he was too trusting, and he really liked younger women. I never saw him far from his 20-something year old girlfriend (at least the old guy was monogamous, I guess). But he was a good guy, and just like my dad does with everyone in his life, he ruined Herb. By the end of it, dad had done the same thing to Herb that he did to a large semi-truck sales/shop in So.Il. - embezzled money to the point where the shop closed.
It ruined Herb, but my dad blamed it all on him. AA had done nothing for my dad, he'd simply used it to get more money for even more crack.
I went to look for Herb's address/contact info a few months ago to apologize for my dad's actions and to thank him for what he did, but he died about two years ago.
My overall point is that, AA is a group. You can replace it with other group therapy, a movie club, hell - even a drinking club. Recovery isn't about the group, it's about A group.
I'm skeptical of AA, mainly because of how badly my dad failed - but it isn't their fault. He didn't want to get better, he didn't and doesn't care about anyone around him. That was his fault.
Outside the occasional cigar, I don't smoke. Outside the occasional sip of whiskey followed by, 'that shit still sucks', I don't drink. I don't and have never smoked pot or any other drug (even after being offered it by my mother - out of fear - that's another story). I detest them, and I have serious trouble not hating people who use them. It's because I know where the long road ends, and it's not a good place. I don't believe in people's ability to control themselves once drugs/alcohol enter the equation, and thus, those who do use them, are (in my mind) irresponsible and looking to hurt everyone around them.
It makes me a bit of a killjoy. But, when you consider all of my dad's shit, and the fact that one night of one chemical drug put my best friend in a month long coma, I'm perfectly fine with where I stand on them. I've often told my closest friends that if I ever saw them with a crack pipe, I'd lock them up in a cabin in the woods for a month to dry them out - that probably wouldn't be the best idea, but it is what I would do.
I don't believe that recovery in it's current form is a valid thinking. I don't believe that prison is either. I'm torn between hating the crime and being unable to separate the person from it.
Thankfully it's not up to me to have a valid opinion on it. Bottom line for me is, people who want to get better, can get better.
And here ends your by-weekly rant from myself.