Ten 12-Step Groups You've Never Heard Of

By Brian Whitney 02/08/16

12-step groups have evolved beyond just treating addictions. If you can think of a problem, there's a 12-step group out there to cure it.


It seems that things have been a little rough lately. What was once a bad habit has, over time, turned into a much bigger problem, and now you need support. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Believe me, I understand that type of thing more than most. You need to do something, but what? Maybe you should try finding a 12-step group to help you get past this. Can’t hurt, right?

While some people feel that AA and 12-step programs are not the best way to help with addiction, many others disagree. There is no shortage of adherents of 12-step groups. And if imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, as they say, then AA has a lot of admirers out there.

12-step programs that are based on the original tenets of AA are everywhere these days. Of course we all know about Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, as well as the different 12-step programs out there for sex addicts, nicotine addicts and food addicts. But it doesn’t stop there. There are 12-step programs for everyone, it seems, even if some of them don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.

Don’t get me wrong. I applaud anyone for seeking help for their problems, I truly do. But some of these 12-step programs are just a tad bizarre—others are so obscure that one wonders about the need for them. But who am I to judge? Here are ten 12-step groups you may not have heard of. If you go, tell them I sent you.

10. Liars Anonymous 

I get this one. Lying is obviously ridiculously effective in the short term, and once you start lying, it is hard to stop. Want to have sex with someone? Tell them what they want to hear and you are well on your way. Your wife has been on you about your drinking? Tell her you just had two drinks and came straight home. You’ve spent the last three weeks at work messing around on Facebook and going out to your car every half an hour for a smoke? Tell your boss the report is almost done and there are no worries at all! Of course, sooner or later it all blows up, which is why Liars Anonymous exists. All the meetings are done online, which is probably a good thing. The temptation to lie at a speakers meeting would be intense.

9. On-Line Gamers Anonymous

Being addicted to gaming might seem kind of silly, but as someone who played World of Warcraft for years—I still have a nasty PVP rogue—I can tell you this struggle is very real. OLGA exists to help people "recover and heal from problems caused by excessive game playing, whether it be computer, video, console, or on-line." To many people who are gamers, the online aspect becomes everything. The games are usually designed to be never-ending, and addicts form strong interpersonal relationships with other players. Before you know it, you haven’t showered in a week and wish your name actually was Mjölnir instead of Ray, which it is in real life.

8. Clutterers Anonymous

Clutter is all the rage these days. Back in the day, a “clutterer” was either considered a slob or just the crazy person on the block who never threw anything away. But then came the TV show Hoarders, and now being a clutterer is a thing. It says on the CLA website that “clutter is anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy or space, and destroys our serenity. It can be outgrown clothes, obsolete papers, broken toys, disliked gifts, meaningless activity, ancient resentments, or unsatisfying relationships.” Well…I guess that pretty much covers everything.

7. Homosexuals Anonymous

No…seriously, just no. This group regards homosexuality as “sexual brokenness” that can be healed through faith in Christ. Homosexuals Anonymous exists to serve “the recovery needs of men and women who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction.” As ridiculous and horrible as this concept is, I still would absolutely love to attend a meeting. “Hi, I am Brian and I am not a homosexual.” “Hi Brian.” “Well things are going pretty good. I haven’t been gay for 12 days now.” The whole thing just sounds amazing, albeit in a truly horrible way.

6. Cleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous

This group goes by the acronym “CASA.” Most people say “kleptomaniac” and not “cleptomaniac,” but then the acronym would not spell out “CASA,” which is another name for home, which is a place you get to live if you don’t get thrown in jail for stealing. So it all makes sense. Its website hasn’t been updated for a while now, and appears that it may be a front for a therapists business. Which would be too bad, since stealing is wrong.

5. Recovering Couples Anonymous

While most addiction programs try and help you not be codependent, Recovering Couples Anonymous attempts to help you become codependent. On its website they say, “If we are honest about our commitment and painstaking about working the Twelve Steps together, we will quickly be amazed at how soon our love returns.” Basically, you and your partner are getting sober together, whether you like it or not. This is from their literature: “A successful formula of RCA is: my individual recovery plus your individual recovery plus our couple recovery equals a healthy recovering coupleship.“ Hey, people with control issues need a place to go get help too, because being an addict is not fun at all by yourself.

4. Criminals And Gang Members Anonymous

A 12-Step program for criminals? Yes indeed. This is a 12-Step recovery program for men and women who are willing to be sincere about their inability to stop committing crimes. This is from its page on Angelfire: “We thought of ourselves as proud hunters, but were only hunted.” Its website is down and its Facebook page hasn’t been updated for a few years, so it is unclear if these guys still exist. If they closed up shop it would be too bad, as this one actually makes a bit of sense. Nothing is going to keep you from committing your next crime better than 20 other criminals getting in your face at meetings telling you to stay straight. Some who are involved in this life might disagree.

3. Rageaholics Anonymous.

Anger can be intoxicating. The rush that one can get from a good dose of righteous anger can rival any sort of drug out there. When you are in the midst of rage, your whole body is just totally dosed on adrenaline. When you think about it, the whole rage thing would be a lot of fun if not for all of the fallout when you calm down. Such fallout can include jail and everyone you know thinking you are a total idiot. If you get mad all the time and you just can’t quit it, then you might be a rageaholic. I said you might be. It’s your call man, I didn't mean to wind you up. Chill out.

2. Underearners Anonymous

This one seems to have been designed by some sort of capitalist think tank. The underlying premise of Underearners Anonymous is that underearning is a kind of mental disorder. So you're satisfied with your financial situation? What is wrong with you? This is all the money you make? Come on, get out there and reach your full potential! You need to be a bigger and better cog in the machine! Be more productive! In a section on its website called “Symptoms of Underearning,” they suggest that one should stop volunteering, get rid of old clothes, and make sure not to have conflict with supervisors. In other words, make more, and spend more.

1. Procrastinators Anonymous

Want more info on Procrastinators Anonymous? Well, they have a website, but it's down for maintenance. On its Facebook page, a moderator explains that he is working on the website but has something else he has to do first, and that he will start working on it January. That was his last update. Maybe this article will get things moving over there again. (And yes, this could well be a joke. But then again, aren't they all?)

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Brian Whitney has been a prisoner advocate, a landscaper, and a homeless outreach worker. He has written or coauthored numerous books in addition to writing for AlterNetTheFixPacific Standard MagazinePaste Magazine, and many other publications. He has appeared or been featured in Inside Edition, Fox News, People.com, Cracked.com, True Murder, Savage Love and True Crime Garage. He is appearing at CrimeCon in 2019. You can find Brian on Facebook or at Brianwhitneyauthor.com.