Forced into AA?

Stanton Peele By: Dr Stanton Peele

Posted on April 26th, 2019 - Last updated: September 29th, 2023
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.

Have you  received a court order to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A) meeting against your will? If so, you should be aware that it is illegal in the U.S. for a person to be compelled by a court or a government agency to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous or similar support groups or in 12-step rehab when the 12-step philosophy, or its references to God, violates their beliefs. (This has been held by federal courts, for example, for people who are atheists, Buddhists, or Jewish.)

If you are being required to join AA or a similar program against your beliefs, your attorney should write (you may do so as a citizen/defendant/parolee) to the court, parole or probation officer to inform them that AA and the 12 steps violate your personal/religious beliefs and to ask for the opportunity to have an alternative type of remedial program (including SMART Recovery®, for instance).  In the first place, it is important to have it in writing if the court et al. refuses to grant you this right.  In the second you may indicate you are accepting the court’s or parole board’s decision to seek help, and that you only want to use another method.  It is important in this case to indicate that there are alternative programs available which utilize proven, effective methods.

The majority of people who are facing court mandated attendance at AA meetings have a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) for driving with excessive alcohol in their system. We have also had reports of people who were forced into AA for using marijuana medically. If you have been affected by this issue, please write us.

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.


  • Mike says:

    What happened If this is my 2nd offense for dui, and I paid my fine, completed my community service, and chose not to attend a court order AA program for 18 months! What can be the consequences for that? Thank you.

  • Richard Blanchard says:

    Hi . I’m in Canada and I was forced I to rehab and alcoholics anonymous 40 years ago? And AA is still hounding me literally torturing me mentally and spiritually. They told me I can’t Quit. They are in my business in all my affairs and even Police who are members are in my computers .phone and following me around? They are out to get me because of what I know and what really goes on there. Where can I get help here in Canada and what can I do to get them out of my life?

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