Does AA’s take all comers, no questions asked policy create a risk of harm?

Over the years, I have had many, many clients who have benefited from their involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar support group.

These groups operate under a “take all comers, no questions asked” approach — i.e., so long as you are willing to show up and be respectful, they will let you into a meeting.

There is no pre-admission screening process, and no one reviews your background.  All they care about is whether you are “sick and tired about being sick and tired.” The person sitting next to you may be a lawyer, a counselor, or a convicted rapist.  Of course, the same thing can be said about sitting down at a fast-food restaurant, a subway car or a tavern.

In this article over at ProPublica, “Twelve Steps to Danger: How Alcoholics Anonymous can be a Playground for Violence Prone Members,” author Gabrielle Glaser writes about how some sick people see AA as a place to meet new victims.

No evidence is presented as to how common this practice is.

My take:  as in all things, you should use your common sense when meeting new people, particularly when they start asking for favors like loans or a couch to sleep on.  Unfortunately, many new members of AA are in a vulnerable place when they start, and the predators know this.  Still, this will hopefully not scare anyone aware from the help that AA can provide.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s