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It sounds like these people are now calling themselves Stepped Up. I've contacted the WSO about three meetings in Marin County and they've not investigated at all.
It's very damaging to the Al-Anon Family Groups.
Any suggestions on how to stop them?
Please post to Forum,
A power greater than myself would restore me to sanity. What a thought, so simple, so true. I'd been raised in a religious family, and had asked for Gods help everyday. Usually to change this or that, to stay out of trouble. Or for forgiveness when I did get into trouble. So it was a daily one way conversation. I had never thought to ask for sanity, of which I was clearly in need of. I did not see the forest, for all the trees. Some of my reactions were not sane. Some of my actions were not kind. Not those of a well-balanced and reasonable parent, or person.
As I understood I was powerless over the alcoholism, and many other aspects of my life, I had to learn to "accept the things I can not change". And to just Let Go and Let God. Which gave me more time to focus on myself. Which led to a better focus and connection with "my" Higher Power. Which led to more and more moments of sanity. And as I started to Listen with a open mind and practiced reacting sanely, one of my kids said one of the nicest things to me the other day. "Mom! Your having a moment of sanity!" :-)
I had to stop listening to my Sponsor, connect with my Higher Power, and stop attending Gottawanna Meetings to achieve that chance at sanity. Attending Al-Anon meetings, the fellowship, and the readings helps to keep me sane, most the of time.
Please post to Forum
Admitted I was powerless over alcohol and my life was unmanageable, was the first step I took. Even though I had stopped drinking when becoming a mom. And I was managing many parts of my life very successfully. Alcoholism still was still a part of my life that I had no control of. I was born into a family of alcoholics, and married an alcoholic. I have no desire for alcohol, but understand others do. That desire and consumption had cased many unmanageable moments in my life, one of which lead me to Al-Anon. Thank God. I was aware that I have character defects and negative thought processes as a result of my childhood environment. I wanted a different environment for my children. I was in the perfect state of mind to become a Gottawanna. I was with others like me, who love me and understood what I was going through. A group with the same defects and sick thinking as me. And they were living happy and loving lives, as I hoped to be. Or so I thought at the time. The people in these groups feel their lives are unmanageable, so they have others manage it for them. They are powerless as they give the power of their thoughts and actions over to their sponsors. And that feels like relief. And a place to heal. A place to regain a healthy emotional state of mind. As I worked the steps I found that their thought process was like "Going to the hardware store for a loaf of bread". It is the blind leading the blind. That was not sane. My Higher Power would not allow me the serenity of a truly healthy mind until I took the steps to leave that unhealthy environment. I'm powerless over the way alcoholism and addictions have affected me and the others in my life or in the rest of the universe. I'm not powerless over the way I react. I don't try to manage others lives. I do try and manage my own life. And I've managed well without those meetings. I had the power to take that first step because of my Higher Power and the help and hope of the fellowship of Al-Anon. I hope my sharing helps someone take their first step.
...please post to the Forum page
To those who may be wondering about cults, or if your in a cult, I've been there. I wondered. I left. I'm grateful for my Higher Power's help, and the help of a few new friends.
I did't think I was the type that would join a cult. I thought cults were only the Devil worshipers, and Jim Jones and the Kool Aid type. I was wrong. And I did not promptly admit it. I did have the character defects that allowed me to accept the love, and the dogma, without questions.
It was not clear to me that I was in a cult, until I started to leave. And now these many years later when I attended the Town Hall and watched the Current Members questions and comments, I clearly saw my past. I'm so grateful I found recovery in a healthy program. I left friends and loved ones, I hope they also will find what they're looking for.
After an hour of the current facts and statistics of the harm and damage done. I was overwhelmed. In the second hour all I heard from the Current Members, was about how it's all good now. From the groups leadership I did not hear any acknowledgement of the damage or any sign empathy. The leader complain about how her ladies were being mistreated at Al-Anon meeting. It was like watching the old alcoholic, the reason I joined Al-Anon, defending himself against the indefensible, again.
I heard my old self in the way the Current Members shared their experiences within the groups. The love for each other and the groups. It's an attractive love. But not a healthy love. It is clear after the Town Hall meeting, that these groups are not healthy meetings. They are not going to change their ways.
It is up to you to change your ways! There is help and hope in a healthy program. Get yourself to a healthy meeting. They are listed!
I can gratefully say that I got away from this group a few years ago and have never been happier. I was drawn into this group by the immense love and attention that was so missing from my life at the time. It is a lie and abuse exists within. I agree with many and the below are some of the situations that I experienced. I wanted to share this information so that others that are interacting with this group can view another individuals experience and be aware.
1. Told what I should share in a meeting and called immediately after if I shared something that was not deemed “appropriate” by the group leaders. yes, there are hierarchy’s within the group.
2. Not able to reach out to certain members of the group once they are deemed unfit. I lost several great Alanon friends due to this practice and have since reconnected.
3. Was pretty much told that I was not working a program if I did not go to a meeting 7 days a week which jeopardized my relationships with my family. I also had to go to the one that the leaders deemed appropriate.
4. If I missed call times, I was reprimanded and told that my life was in chaos. No loving words of encouragement.
5. I was made to feel inferior if I did not have several people that I was sponsoring.
6. Received verbal abuse in front of others by the leaders.
7. It is one thing to respect your elders but quite another to feel that you need to serve a person in almost a servant mentality.
8. Told that if I left the group, I would become sicker.
All of the above, goes against the Alanon principles
Where am I right now? I am extremely happy since leaving this group. They pulled me in during a time in my life when I needed love. I have a very strong and healthy relationship now with my sponsor and work my program because I want to and not because I am told that I need to. I have balance in my life now between family, work and the program. I have no regrets and hope that my experience may help others that are interacting with this group.
I'm sure you are aware that yesterday Al-Anon had a Zoom Town Hall meeting to announce that the Gottawannas will not be re-listed. They reviewed the process and the results, presented the information that led to the decision. And then had a questions and comments opportunity. They are free to reapply, if they change their ways.
I'd like you to post this on your Forum Page. In the hopes that it may provide help and hope to those who want it.
I'd hope all those who are struggling with the destructive behaviors of these women, these groups, well be enlighten to the fact they are not alone. And that many women have been and are currently being harmed by the behaviors of a few.
You are not alone. The Town Hall and the steps Al-Anon has taken demonstrates that there are many good people who care, and that Al-Anon cares. Demonstrating that there is help in a healthy Al-Anon Group and Al-Anon Program.
If you are in need of help and hope, get yourself to a meeting! A healthy meeting! They are out their! They are listed!
I recently was kicked out or escaped from an Al-Anon sponsor ship cult that home originated in Denton Texas and locally was in Rhinebeck New York. I thought I was getting good recovery but over the years weird things happened and I had to do more and more things to please my sponsor I was ultimately kicked out because I followed my doctors advice and not my sponsors advice and there was like a smear campaign against me I’ve sponsored people I’m in this way for nine years myself as long as I’ve been in the program him and II just want to warn people arm that all big book Al Anon is not big book Al Anon especially if there’s a lot of things that you have to do in order to be in good graces with them my sponsor is my old sponsor was in Delaware as well OK thank you bye
I’m currently new to Al-Anon and I’ve been attending the meetings at the hall for roughly 4 months. I have a sponsor and am working the steps. I have had a weird feeling about this group but my sponsor is very loving and I’m not sure if I could leave because I really care about her. Could I give someone a call who can give me some insight? I’m really concerned about staying in a “cult” but would like more information.
For FORUM post:
My best defense against the Gottawannas is to share in my meetings from time to time about what a healthy meeting looks and feels like. A healthy meeting doesn't feel like I've stepped into the living room of the disease of alcoholism. Here are some of the red flags that I share:
I'm not scared to speak and have to avoid being the target of abuse.
Everyone is equal, I don't have to try to "stick with the winners" because everyone is a winner.
There's no dominant person that I have to please or try to keep the peace with.
There is room for me to be me. I can dress how I want and appear in a way that suits me and no one cares because others "keep the focus on themselves."
The money collected in the meeting is accounted for, reported on, and is distributed to the various service arms as decided by the group and only a prudent reserve is held back for meeting expenses. No one is making money off of the program.
There are no consequences for my participation or non-participation in anything, nor does my sponsor issue consequences for not taking direction.
There are no regimented phone call requirements with consequences for missed calls.
I have a balance between program, work, health, family and other life obligations.
I am not required to read anything and encouraged to read Al-anon approved literature. How ridiculous would it be for me to show up in an open AA meeting with my Al-Anon literature?
Most importantly, I AM unconditionally loved and cared for by the other members in my meetings. My recovery is simply mine worked at the pace I desire.
I sincerely hope this list helps others confirm they are participating in groups that will in indeed help them to become happy, joyous and free.
It happen to me & others in Las Vegas too!!!
This meeting is a Gottawanna too on Monday night 7:00pm they recently changed their name to ODAT 12 & 12 Women’s Stag Reformation Lutheran Church, 580 E. St.Louis & on Wednesday night 6:30pm AFG Seeking Newcomer same address . I’ve experienced it all & others too ! I’m not going to call it a group or a fellowship because it’s not Alanon ! It’s is a cult people get verbally abused, told who they can talk to who not to sit next to ,how to dress , who to date , how to share in meetings what not to share , your not doing your commitment right to your not doing enough for your meeting meaning your probably not producing members so they can profit the cult or the cult leaders, etc It’s all sick behavior! Alanon is a fellowship of equals & they’re no authority figures it your own program their are no rules & no must God still loves you that cult won’t if you don’t follow what they tell you to do!! All the people that shared their experiences on this forum page is true ! My heart goes out to the ones who have experienced this & the newcomers of Alanon who think that’s Alanon . The cult leaders would say when people leave Karma will happen to them that’s not true . People who have left moved on with their lives happier more peaceful in all area of their lives too! The Karma is happening to them because now the truth is being heard ! Now the truth is hurting the cult . It will eventually fizzle out or just stay a small cult hearing themselves over & over again saying the same thing. I’m glad I got away & pray for the ones who are still there hopefully they will get away have their own Alanon program .
Question to the Forum
Does their new name "Families and Friends of Alcoholics in Recovery AFG" mean that only family and friends of the alcoholics who is in recovery can attend that meeting? Does it have to be a approved recovery program by the group? By Al-Anon Family Groups? Does it have to be the group Dog On The Roof?
If they are using the AFG in their title, and it's on the website, one is lead to assume that it is approved by Al-Anon Family Groups Inc. Is it? How would one know?
Things are changing. But you know how it is, the more things change, the more things stay the same. You can't teach an old Dog on the Roof new tricks. And the leadership can't change their spots.
We in the official Al-Anon Family Groups, (The family approved Al-Anon), we can continue to offer the help, understanding, kindness, serenity and recovery that the Program, and it's fellowship bring to those in need.
Hopefully those in need of recovery will hear their HigherPower and find their way to a healthy recovery meeting. And have a healthy recovery.
Current, thankfully, Al-Anon members that stayed.
The names change, but the games, still the same!!!
To the Form. Please post.
FYI. I checked out the Meeting Directory on the Al-Anon website and did not see the gottawanna meetings listed.
Unless I'm mistaken, it seems that Al-Anon have already taken down the meetings that were listed by Ex-GW.
Hi GottawannaCult. I just wanted to share with the Forum my experience at a Super Bowl party that I attended with some friends, some of which are members of the Fellowship of Al-Anon. We mainly are interested in the Super Bowl ads. Many were entertaining, but the one that caught our eyes was the Church of Scientology advertisement or PR propaganda. A re-branding for a huge audience, who are unaware of the past history. It sparked quite a conversation about religion and cults. And the Gottawannas of course as many of us believe that they are a cult. A few have had direct experience with the cult aspects of their group. Several of us have watched the Leah Remini:Scientology and the Aftermath, a documentary series, and see the continuing stories of family and lives destroyed by the "Church". And their recovery! We've noticed the effects that the publicity, the shining of the light of truth has had on the organization, and the people who run the "Church". We understand the conflict and pain that the cult mindset creates with it's control over it's members. And now millions of others also understand, because of that show. The exposure of the truth has hurt the "Church", and they must respond, in order to kept the money flowing. That money is being spent by the "Church" on a PR campaign. Change the name, the meaning of that name, to the general public. Because now-days that name is not associated, by most, with spirituality.
A letter to the Forum was talked about. (#115) The one that states "Contrary to what some people may think, the Gottawanna's are still around.". Yes they are, and much like the Church of Scientology as the public sees the cult aspects of the Groups, a PR campaign is needed. Their church, "The Hall" and their other expenses still need to be supported by it's members. They need to bring in new members to support their cult. They will present a PR campaign to generate a new image of their groups, to draw in new supporters. Usually they are the ones in the most need of what Al-Anon Family Groups provides. Your site is a valued information source. A source of enlightenment for the public. Please keep your light shining on the Gottawannas. Because now-days that name is not associated, by most, with spirituality.
Thank you for posting this.
I've included links.
Scientology TV Super Bowl Commercial 2020 Ad: Rediscover the Human Soul
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
Contrary to what some people may think, the Gottawanna's are still around.
They renamed their Friday Night meeting so as to disassociate themselves from their own name. It is no longer referred to on the WSO Website as Gottawanna Step Study. It is listed as of January 2020 as: Families and Friends of Alcoholics in Recovery AFG, Friday 7:30pm, Industrial Complex, 4421 E. La Palma Ave, Anaheim. Their Tuesday night meeting is at the same location at the Industrial Complex which is what they call "The Hall".
Their Thursday Night meeting which is named Thursday Night Anaheim AFG meets at Trinity Lutheran Church 4101 Nohl Ranch Road, Anaheim. It used to meet on Eureka in Yorba Linda.
Besides those three meetings they have a number of unlisted meetings that meet at that same Industrial Complex Hall and at least two other meetings started years ago by members that are listed in the directory to draw in newcomers.
I am hoping that by posting this information that it will prevent someone from suffering as I and many others have from being led to believe that the Gottawanna Group is the ultimate Al-Anon Group. The Gottawanna Group is a cult and they are still here.
Their leader, Sue D., tells them that they will still be here when we are all long gone. Don't let that happen. Continue to pay attention.
They are back to infiltrating District 60's World Service District meeting. Make sure your District and Intergroup meetings have representation and that your reps attend not only the District and Intergroup meetings but are aware that the GW's are there.
Don't let them take over District 60's district meeting again.
Ex-GW that thankfully got away
It is a cult. Not all cults are deadly. But all can be….
There is enough information about cults and their methods to convince a sane mind that the Gottawannas are a cult. One may question if they are deadly or not. One can question are they providing a recovery to those who join the Gottawannas. No one can question the negative effect it has on many. Not just to the members. But also the the family, friends and loved ones of those affected by the cultish behaviors of the Gottawannas. No question to me the cult causes more harm in the long run, then any temporary high. And continued addiction to the cult limits emotional growth and harms recovery.
It is obvious at several levels the group is a cult. As with all cults they must recruit to grow or even stay alive. As with all cults the cult has to support its leaders. (Follow the money! If you can!) Cults recruit those who are in a stressful state of mind. Cults offer relief or recovery of serenity. The Gottawanna cult targets the stressed and emotionally vulnerable who have looked to Al-Anon for relief. And as with all cults, they find it. Temporary relief anyway.
Your site has proved to be an ally to those wanting to leave the cult. You are providing a service to those looking for help in leaving the Gottawanna cult. Or any cult. But it takes a community! More individuals need to be aware and take informed steps to protect those from becoming a victim. A victim again! Al-Anon also should take steps to shine the light of truth on the cancer that infects its organization.
True serenity can be found. But not within a cult.
Make no mistake. The Gottawannas are a cult!
Thank you for the Forum.
I'd like to share a little bit of the experience I've had with Al-Anon.
I few years ago I went to a local A.A. meeting wanting to learn how to get my husband to stop drinking. I soon learned I should be at an Al-Anon meeting and was directed to one, by a member at that meeting. Who would meet me there, as I had turned down a offer to meet and ride together to the meeting. He was worried my husband might follow me and cause trouble. I went to the meeting. An experience that was a little overwhelming. But I was in a state of emotional weakness and was easily overwhelmed. The love that was shown to me was also overwhelming. It washed over me as a wave of love. I bathed in that feeling. And wanted it more. But I soon found I was drowning in that sea of love. And that those who reached out to help me, were not doing so out of love. As they, and I thought.
After a few months the love and belonging was overtaken by control and group pressure. To be truly be in recovery I must truly believe and behave as directed. But as I read the CAL info. And the Big Book. I found what I read and what I saw did not correlate with the recovery program of Al-Anon. As I went to more meetings, more was asked of me to change my personal life and relationships. Not just the one with my husband. Since he was not going to join the group. For my recovery, I should leave him. I was seeing that a relationship would have to end. Either my marriage or with Al-Anon. I stayed in the marriage. (Thank God)
Soon after I stopped going to meeting, my husband and I went to family counseling. At which A.A. and Al-Anon was suggested. As I told of my past experience, we were told I was not attending an "official" Al-Anon Meeting. And I was referred to the Al-Anon website. And soon after I was referred to your website. We started attending meetings. Together and separately. Which brought us closer together.
We have as a happily married couple just celebrated our birthday(s) within in the A.A. And Al-Anon Programs. We have found recovery within the Program. And our family is a family unit of love again. We would like to thank your site, and the people who directed us to you. And we thank our Higher Power for bringing recovery into our lives though the Programs.
We hope that anyone who is reading this, or shares this with one in need, will find recovery in the programs. The steps do work if you work the steps. Hear your Higher Power. Not their higher powers.
Thank you for letting me share.
The meeting I attend, have in the past asked members of those groups to stop attending the meeting. And to give up their service positions. The group felt, through a group conscience, that action was needed for the health of the meeting. And of the Newcomers.
That action was not taken lightly! As we also feel most of the members of those groups are of sick mind and thoughts. In need of recovery. And we also believe in Al-Anon we do not punish people for bing sick. And do not want to punish anyone. But we must take actions that are healthy for us as individuals and the group as a whole. (We wish Al-Anon Family Groups would do the same!)
We have made the group decision to post this on your site. With the hope those in need will find recovery in a healthy Al-Anon Meeting. There are many different types of Al-Anon meetings. "Take what you like and leave the rest" A meeting that allows that attitude is a healthy Al-Anon Meeting. And YES, use the Meeting Directory on the Al-AnonFamily Groups Information Service of Orange County.
We are aware of your, and our lost. So I just want all who read this to know that many lives were improved by their efforts. And that they were aware of some of the positive change brought to the lives of those harmed by the effects of alcohol. And harmed further by the Gottawannas and Dog On The Roof. It is a comforting feeling knowing they were aware of some of the good they were responsible for. We all meet again, in my mind and heart. But we all miss our friends.
What is your opinion on how this controversy is affecting the Programs as a whole. Do you believe that there has been more recovery than harm because of your actions. Has this controversy attracted or chased away new members. What kind of an image does a site like this give to the Al-Anon Family Groups.
A friend who goes to AlAnon told us about this GottawannaCult site. I've read your pages on cults. And it answers some questions, we think. But we'd like to ask you a few questions.
Our daughter and our grandchild have moved in with us, after leaving her abusive boyfriend. At our bequest! She met a new girlfriend and most nights of the week they go to a meeting. Or meeting some friends to hear a speaker. She will not tell us where the meetings are or who they're with. Most times she is picked-up by these friends. All this sounds familiar to you I'm sure.
We have asked her directly if she is going to AlAnon. She will not give us a direct answer. We would not consider it a bad thing if she were going to AlAnon meetings. And think she would tell us if she were.
How do you tell if your daughter joining the cult.
Would the Gottawanna cult tell her not to talk to us about the meetings or who she is listening to? Even with us?
Will the Gottawanna cult take our daughter away from us. What about our grandchild?
How do you think we should react or not react to the situation.
Thank you for any suggestions you might have. After reading about this cult stuff we are surprised and shocked. And very depressed about the future of our family.
The Gottawannas are gone! History! Again! Kind of like the pox.
I am very grateful for the many riches the Program has allow me to receive. Thankful for the clear vision and sanity it has brought.
Which has allowed me to clearly see the insanity of allowing leaders to receive their many riches from the pain of others.
Spirituality - the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
What is the Spirituality of those who are aware and enable, or those who accept those ill-gotten goods?
Who am I to ask
How does this affect the communications with the Producers... Should I followup with them?
Just wanted to say that there are those of us that know the service our friends were and how they will continue to inspire and bring a smile to our hearts.
My condolences, and thank you at so many levels.
Please don't post any of the past emails. Please post that I was very affected by the news as she had been very helpful to me. Her kindness and humor. I will try and pay it forward.
May God bless them.
Thank you, I had wondered why there was no response.
Great people gone, who left a lot of good behind.
I know I'm leaving a message you will not see at your desk in the recovery room. I'm positive you will get the message.
I'll miss you for the rest of my days on this earth. I look forward to sharing with you again my dear friend.
I thank our Higher Power, for our meeting.
I sit here wanting to say something that expresses my heart felt sadness that you won't be writing back. No more positivity quotes from the CAL at just the right time.
Being aware of the lost you have experienced, I just wanted to post how thankful many are with the words and actions that were shared with kindness and hope… We were blessed to share our time with them…
Thank you for letting me know why I had not heard back. I had wondered why the sudden silence,... I don't see any benefit to others in publishing any of our private communications. I would like you to post on the Forum Page a note of Gratitude for her kindness. The Help and Hope that was provided to me was invaluable, as I'm sure for many others. Such a Spiritual person is now a Guiding Spirt for me. I hope I prove to be a worthy student. God bless. As we were blessed.
So sorry to hear. Prayers to those who were close.
As a Group Rep. for my Home Meeting, and having been of service in several positions, over many years, I see a disturbing trend in Al-Anon. Many meetings without GRs. Many meeting not making the donations at the level that they have in the past. Many meeting not wanting to support the Program, as they have in the past.
Are others seeing the same?
Last year we lost a guiding force of the website team. But more importantly a loved one. A dear friend who many could turn to in time of need, confusion, frustration, sadness, or insanity. Someone who would bring light into the darkness, joy to the world, and spiritually to any situation.
A private person in many ways, who would share personal experiences with those in need of guidance. Who could share both painful as well as beautiful and uplifting stories of life, for the benefit of others. Someone who took great joy in being a calming and positive energy in the universe. Loved being of service to those in need.
Though harmed and hurt greatly by the actions of a loved one, still tried to react with love and kindness. (And did so, often!) Who's goal was to enlighten with truth and honesty. Which was reflected in efforts and actions. Many have expressed gratitude for those efforts and actions. Which in turn created gratitude and serenity for us. That gratitude and serenity is directly attributed to the love. The love shared with all.
I just wanted to say thank you for your site and the info on leaving cults. I was directed to the site by a friend who is in Al-Anon, because of a situation within my family. Though my problem is not with the Gottawannas, I found the links and info very helpful. I wonder about the need for a 12 step program for those involved with cults and the effects to family and friends.
Your questions and suggestion were spot on. The readings were also spot on.
I'd like to put you on the spot with a few more questions…
Thanks again for taking the time.
This is BS! Filled with BS! …..
As a grateful member of the fellowship of Al-Anon I attend several meetings in several Districts. I have noticed the difference in how the fellowship views the groups that are influenced by the ladies of gottawanna in other areas. Out of sight, out of mind, to many. Many have the opinion of "it does not harm me", and that is their only real concern. As their recovery is their only concern. Until it affects their lives and home group it will not be a concern. Many old-timers have seen the gottawanna grow and shrink over the years. And don't see them as a long term threat to the program. Others see them as a direct threat to the program and the newcomers. Newcomers that are unaware of the true Al-Anon program. They question how many have left the program after encountering the ladies of gottawanna. How others are no longer involved with service within Al-Anon, a reaction of frustration with the politics.
My opinion is that this situation hurts the Program, and maybe more importantly, the newcomers.
I'm conflicted on this issue. I believe that the Gotttawannas provide a service to the individuals that need that type of group. That they become involved with, pared with alcoholics, is troubling to me. That they make it so hard to leave, to brake ties, with the group or the alcoholic. Is very troubling. It seems to me that their recovery is so based on the ties that bind, it hinders real recovery and growth. That the growth is so dependent on those ties, it can not stand on its own. Which creates the vicious cycle of dependance on those ties that bind. Addiction in a new form, is not recovery.
That you for letting me voice my opinion, in a safe meeting place.
Thanks for your reply!
I'd like to say that you don't know understand how helpful you have been. But I think you do, and understand deeply.
Have a great day. One day at a time.
Is there a EX-Gottawannas meeting or group? A meeting where members have left the gottawanna or the dog on the roof behind.
Has Al-Anon/A.A. put on a meeting/panel/round robin that deals with the effects of leaving the groups?
Is there a speaker that shares their experiences with the groups, that we can have speak at our meeting?
Why are you doing this?
I've heard several reasons.
I've decided to ask you to share directly with me.
Why and what is this all about? What is the purpose?
What is said here, will stay here.
To the EX-DOTR,
They told me if I left, I would be DEAD soon. (Seemed a few wanted that to happen so they be able to say to the others, "We told him so, see what happens when you leave!") Good to hear you'r doing well, and in a good marriage. And Thanks for sharing.
We have seen the effect of the ladies of the Gottawanna meetings. Two by two they come into the meetings in the meetings that I attend. Performing their service to the Gottawanna, (not to Al-Anon) to grow their meeting. It is heartening to watch the reaction of long-timers as the Gottawana go about their sharing and recruiting. Mostly we take what we like and leave them to the working or their program. Most times in the meetings we make sure to make newcomers aware of those ladies other mission.
Having seen the rise and fall to the groups numbers over several decades, I do wonder of the affect the Gottawanna have had on the fellowship as a whole in our area. I have seen newcomers leave Al-Anon because of the advances of the Gottawanna. While being overwhelmed with the affects of alcohol in their life. They are overwhelmed by the "cult" like atmosphere of the Gotttawanna meeting, and think all Al-Anon is the same. Some are lucky enough to find their way back to a healthy Al-Anon meeting. I have seen members leave meetings because of Gottawanna members attending and affecting those meeting. And I have seen the involvement of many members of those meetings, become less and less involved. Less supportive of Al-Anon as a whole. And feel they have to practice Detachment With Love, with the Al-Anon Program, for their health and happiness. I find that very sad!
I have hope though, and this site is one reason why. Reading that many are concerned for each other and the Program. And the sharing of members that have found the right path. Recovery in their lives. Spirituality in their souls. Happiness! I find that very nice.
I was in the DOTR my first 4 years of sobriety and I never made the group or my sponsor my higher power. They told me a lot of things that i did not believe, like if I left the group I would get drunk. I never told anybody how I felt about it. Then I met my future wife at an AA convention and we started dating and I knew she would never be a Gottawanna. I left the group and I stayed sober.
I just wanted to thank #62 for her sharing.
And thank you, for the forum, to share.
I was told by a friend about this website. Very grateful she mention it. So glad I checked it out. And very thankful you have provided the information.
Best wishes to you.
A thought I had after reading some of the sharing on this site.
There will always be those who are extremests. Christians have the JimJones. Muslims has its terrorist brotherhood. Judaism its Jewish Underground.
AA and Al.Anon has its Gottawannas and Dog On The Roof.
As with all spiritual programs and philosophies those who follow the true meaning find spirituality. Those who truly work the steps of the 12 Step Progran of Recovery, find recovery. Those who don’t, often don't.
But there is always hope that a sick mind or soul, can become healthy. Can take the steps to recovery. By "Keep coming back" to the true meaning, and philosophy of Al-Anon.
Thank you for letting me share.
Hi. I’ve read the postings on this website and I find many heartbreaking and many encouraging. Informative and confusing. It seems to me the Principles and Practices of the Program are clear. Clearly some Working The Program is needed by many.
Several Members at the meetings I attend have concern that gottawannas are chasing away new and older members. Many are taking what they like and leaving the rest... of us.
To the Forum Page
Have any of the gottawanas made amends?
I had heard several ex-gottawannas and current gottawannas share about their recovery. I've read the posting on this Forum. I can’t remember ever hearing about amends made to those they have harmed. Though they have seemed to know that they have harmed others. And the affect their decisions have had on friends and family.
When they realized they were wrong, what actions did they take.
I'd be interested in hearing from some ex-gottawannas or current gottawannas on the making of amends, to those that were harmed by their joining the gottawannas. (Are they/were they willing? Did they wherever possible? How were they received?)
Thanks for the forum for the ability to post with anonymity.
Can I get a list of which meetings are Gottawanna ones?
To the Forum,
Thank you for your quick private response and clarification to my questions.
I'd like to publicly Thank You for your actions to help those who are or may be affected by the cult like actions of some to the groups and it's members.
Thank You for taking the Steps that Al-Anon is not willing or able to take for the Recovery of it's Members or the Fellowship.
Thank You for your Service.
Truth only causes harm to those who fear it. And those who fear the truth will never have spirituality. Those who do not have spirituality will never have serenity. The truth is if you don't have spirituality and serenity you'll never have recovery.
Those who fear the truths posted on this website lack spirituality, serenity and recovery.
Don't let the threats of those who fear you, scare you.
May God be with you.
Thank you for your Forum Page. And for the information you provide. It is helpful to be able to suggest the website to others who have questions about the Gottawannas. I know it has helped some new comers and and even some of us who have been in the Program for awhile. I hope your Leaving Cults Page is helpful to those thinking of leaving the Gottawannas.
Gratitude, for your service.
I'm wondering about the "DOTR" who was "abosulty terrified".
I've have had some history with them. They put the fear of death in me if I left the group. That I was bound to drink again, and would face certain death if I did leave.
I left the group, and could not be happier that I did! (As did others!)
Their is help out there for you. Get yourself to a meeting. THAT'S NOT DOTR!
May GOD ride with you.
A few thoughts on the Gottawannas and Dog On The Roof
They seem to know the Steps, Concepts and Principles as well or better then anyone could. And seem to Practice the Principles of the Program as well or better as anyone could. But as you listen to some of the Al-Anon/A.A. Old-timers with experience with Keith and Sue and their groups. And seek the guidance of your Higher Power and start to see them with clarity. One becomes aware that not unlike Jim Jones the Peoples Temple leader. And David Koresh the Branch Davidians profit. Who both perverted the gospel of the Bible. Likewise Keith and Sue have perverted the 12 Step Programs of Bill and Lois W. To many of Keith and Sue's followers they have the same charisma and influence as Jim Jones and David Koresh did with their followers. Though I don't think that those followers may drink the Kool-Aid, and go up in flames as the Jim Jones and David Koresh followers did. If I did, I'd be much more of an activist and my voice would be heard far and wide. It is clear to me that Keith and Sue and their followers are of sick mind and soul. The result of damage done by the disease of alcohol. They and their followers are in need of real and true recovery. Some find that recovery and leave the groups. Which is why they must continually recruit from other Al-Anon/A.A. groups. And then use the cult like practices and perverted principles to get their members to "Keep coming back". We have seen their numbers ebbed and flow through out the years. They do not have the staying power of spiritual program such as Al-Anon/A.A. Because they do not practice a truly spiritual program. When their followers do connect with their Higher Power and gain spirituality. And experience some recovery. They leave the groups. And experience the recovery and serenity of the 12 Step Programs of Bill and Lois W.
As a longtime member of the Fellowships. I Thank you for the Forum to share my thoughts.
To the Forum.
You are having a positive effect on the program to many. And causing trouble for a few. Keep it up!
Thanks for you efforts.
I was part of the Las Vegas sect of the Gottawanna’s for several years. I recently did a search online wondering if other former members of the group felt this group was cult like and I stumbled onto your website.
This website does represent my experience in the group. The love bombing and then abuse. I left because they were expecting me to abuse the people I was sponsoring and I just didn’t feel comfortable with that.
I also started to get the feeling they wanted me to leave my husband to eventually be coupled up with someone in Dog on the Roof.
They expected me to devote all my free time to the group and if I didn’t they would say I was getting complacent with my recovery.
Someone else mentioned the money making aspect of this group. We were constantly selling things and honestly there was zero accountability of where that money was going.
I saw abuse inflicted on the other girls in the group and I am angry with myself for not speaking up.
I am grateful you created this website. Maybe it will save others from what I went through. They do pray on the newcomers vulnerability. They certainly did with me. They told me if I left I would go crazy again. Well I didn’t but it has taken years for me to get over the effects of this group’s abuse. Thanks for letting me share.
Sent from my iPhone
Hello Gottawanna Cult Forum,
I was just told about your website. I found the postings very enlightening. And very sad because of the affect they have had on so many people. And angered by the harm they have done to members and Al-Anon. As a newer member of the fellowship I was just made aware of Gottawannas in meetings that I go to. They seem like such nice people. And in many ways I'm sure they are. But now because of this site I can see why many of my friends and the public think that AA and Al-Anon are cults. A few bad apples…
To the Forum
I've heard "gossip or criticism of one another" regarding this site and a member. Heard that you were shut down by a lawsuit. Heard that the member who started this web site has a restraining order against them, that has been violated.
I have also heard that neither are true.
Can you tell me what is the truth.
Thank you for sharing, #62 and #63.
Many of your comments are familiar, and enlightening. The Group(s) and their members are in need of recovery. But they practice a Program that does not follow a path of spirituality. And as evident by their behaviors, they do not enjoy serenity. (Or sanity!) They are still performing the same actions again and again. Causing others harm, again and again.
I Pray that your's and other's that have shared, will help those in need of recovery. That they find the help they need in Al-Anon Family Groups. And not be mislead by the Gottawanna's false promises of kindness and love.
May the kindness of your Higher Power be with all of you, always.
To the Forum
Remember that in America anybody can sue anybody. It does not mean you may win the lawsuit. It does not mean they expect to win. It may just mean they are trying to cost you time and money. And your serenity! My thought is that Sue and Keith are just seeking to cause you trouble. And scare you into submission. Don't let them bully you the way they do their members.
To the posting by the "Im in DoTR"… I'm not in the Dogs, but I am aware of their alcoholic behaviors. From what I have seen their bark is worst than their bite. I would suggest you seek out other meetings, and suggestions from members of healthy meetings. (And a new Sponsor) Though I don't know why or what you are terrified of. Or what they have said or done to scare you. I do worry what may happen to you if you say within the group. Hope to hear from you on your decision and the effect it has on your life. I suspect it will be much the same story of those who leave the Gottawannas Good Luck and may God Bless You!
To both the Forum and #66. Stay strong!
I've also heard that there is a lawsuit against you. That it is a attempt to discredit your site. And to have it shut down. Apparently because you are allowing the truth about the harm done by the Gottawanna's and Dog on the Roof be shared. (In a public forum) That the "longtimers" feel threaten by the sharing of the behaviors and practices of the groups.
I hope that the site will be able to continue and share the stories and comments of those affected by cults. Such as the posting of #62 and #63, and others. It is a help to those who have questions. And those that are looking for the experiences, guidance, and suggestions from others. Who have been involved with and have left the groups.
I'd also like to express my gratitude for the sharing of those affected by the group. You are helping more than you may know. Thank you.
I do believe that Al-Anon Family Groups could do more for those affected by the behaviors of the Gottawannas. By welcoming and giving comfort, and by giving understanding and encouragement to those affected.
Thank you for posting my comments.
I'm in DoTR
I'm in dog and I'm abosulty terrified. I'm scared to even share with you any personal information about myself. What should I do? How can you help?
Why no more postings?
I am curious why you haven't placed anymore postings? I am an ex-member of gottawanna and check the site often. Just wondering if you are done or if there will be more.
I heard that Sue Drum may be threatening to sue or talking about suing your cult website. Remember:
A person who wishes to successfully sue you for libel must generally prove the statement is false. In most states, truth is a complete defense to a libel action. You generally can't sue if the statement in question is true, no matter how unpleasant the statement or the results of its publication.
What you have posted is the truth.
Regarding the website you've developed: I have mixed feelings about it. I started to write to you months ago but it proved too conflicting and painful to consider sending to you at the time.....however, as always....the writing was cathartic for me. Since then I have grown in awareness and have been able make my comments more concise. At this time I do want to make the following comments Anonymously on the Forum section of the Cult Website if you are willing to include them:
Not to mention the years of what I now know to have been mind control and loss of self that I was subjected to and experienced the members of the Gottawanna Group being subjected to....while still in the group people I sponsored were targeted and systematically pressured to change sponsors because I made a decision to change sponsors. The last month I was in the group I was told where to sit in a meeting, not to take commitments, not to share.
I was told to make amends to the long timer for being disrespectful for sharing in a meeting that I had changed sponsors. Simple as that.
Two Al-Anon panels were taken away from me after leaving the group in 2015.
Not only was I shunned while in the group and after leaving the group but my husband, son and friends were shunned as well. We were shunned by people I had known for 26 years.
Those still in the group who try to maintain a relationship with me or anyone not in the group has to keep it a secret or be told to cut the relationship off.
As a result of being in the group I missed out on having relationships with many, many friends and family.
I have reunited with so many lovely friends who have left the group, some of whom were so emotionally effected by the Gottawanna Group that they left Al-Anon. I have rebuilt relationships with friends and family members that I lost touch with due to the time constraints and pressures of being in a cult.
While in the Gottawanna Group we all were told half truths and lies about people who left the group. Rarely, if ever, were we told about the many people who have wonderful lives since leaving the group.
My time in the group was not all bad and there were many good times, otherwise I would not have stayed as long as I did. Today I feel a sense of empowerment knowing that a narcissist no longer has power over me, my husband and our son.
To those still in the Gottawanna Group and those who have left it.....there is help and hope beyond the Gottawanna Group. It is called Al-Anon Family Groups. If you haven't done so already, read the green and white bookmark on Sponsorship. It has a wealth of information to help you decipher what meetings and what relationships are healthy. If you want someone to run your life and lose your true authentic self....that group is where to go.....but if you want to live a life of peace and freedom and gentleness of spirit and true love then check out meetings that truly abide by the principles of the program......the main one being unconditional love.
Please add following to Forum if you wish.
Hello, Thank you so much for creating this website. And thank you to everyone else who has added their messages to this Forum. This site could really help a lot of people. So sorry for my length of this message, but a lot to say, I could even say more honestly.
I was in Gottawanna for a few years and left about 1 ½ years ago, which was the best decision of my life. I have so much to say, that I just broke it down into facts mixed with feelings. As someone who was there for a good amount of time and was very part of and spent a lot of time with the longtimer, I wanted to share what I could to either help newcomers from going or help people who are there and feel stuck, to trust their guts and feelings of the group, and leave too so they can be free. I also tried to confirm some facts and some feedback for some things mentioned in previous forum messages. So here it goes. (Sorry for all the grammatical errors… I was typing late and typing fast to get it all out.)
**Note: The group does not have RULES… but rather “suggestions”… and if you do not follow these suggestions, you will either not find a sponsor or will not last very long in this group.
Hall Dues are $25- per month, you are not made to pay, it is honestly a suggestion.
People pick their sponsors, however, you are sometimes told who would be best, or when you need to switch. Example: a few ladies in the group moved out of area (still consider themselves Gottawanna) and the longtimer told these ladies they had to let go of all their sponsees since they were moving out of Gottawanna area… (even though the longtimer sponsors people in all different areas, and the longtimer ended up taking a lot of those sponsees)
Most ladies in Gottawanna have call times with their Sponsors
There is also an AlAteen Group within the Gottawanna group… the teens transition at 18 into AlAnon and even begin dating those on the AA Group Dog On The Roof … What is sad is, these children are growing up knowing nothing else but this.
I see & read on this forum about how the Gottawanna website is gone, I can tell you why just from being there and knowing things, they said they complained to World Service about breaking traditions and anonymity… Well, their website had the same names listed all over and broke traditions as well, so really, they had to take theirs down just in case…
They are not listed in California for their meetings, however, they are listed with World Service. I actually contacted World Service myself when I left the group, and gave a list of concerns I had and how this group could potentially be harmful to some. The response I got was they are unable to do anything at their office. Everything has to be handled through the areas. So they are already not listed in Orange County, so that is the most that can be done right now. Also, the World Service office did suggest to share about the group and non-AlAnon behaviors that were happening in the group in my new attended meetings, and that was the only way I could help get people to leave and stop newcomers from going. And this included to share in my shares in meetings, not gossip about it before or after the meetings, but actually share it and how I am working through what I went through. SO just wanted to put that out there, and also, they may or may not have brought this site to World Service as they say they did, but in the end, this site is safe and will not go down unless the person who created it took it down. There is nothing they can do. They are trying to threaten and scare… And World Service agreed, Gottawanna is not following AlAnon Traditions or showing anyone what AlAnon is supposed to be. This is a public site.
I had to attend therapy (still do) after leaving AlAnon to recover from the group and just thought it would be a good place to rebuild trust. My therapist even says, Gottawanna is a cult, and that was after the first visit with just a few details of the group.
Lots of money raising went on in and out of the hall for Gottawanna and Dog On the Roof, and still does, that has nothing to do with AlAnon… Working for other people to make money, Garage Sales, Bake Sales, Etc.
Money from ALL the meetings of AlAnon Gottawanna and AA Dog on the Roof, is handed off to the longtimers Sue and Keith, and they pay what is needed to be paid etc. I am here to tell you, I do not know exactly what happens with all that money…because it goes to their home to be taken care of… but I have heard the word “money laundering” is what is being done from the mouth of the longtimer. You could add up the money and see, a ton of money is being made and it is much more than is needed to run the hall and all the functions. Many would help clean the longtimers house, not forced, we were just asked, and when done you would be paid in stacks of $1 bills. Not just when cleaning the house, but errands, etc. done for longtimers for group causes or personal causes… (For the longtimers two houses… and shop business as well) There is a meeting every year to go over the group finances, and every year I never actually heard amounts or exactly where money went. It would start and then they would start talking about the year and things to come the new year and interrupted by stories and how we as a group were complacent, etc. Never an actual budget was shown or said. Money comes from hall dues, 7th tradition, garage sales, donations, Sunday lunch, birthday diners at end of month before meetings, dances. (with outrageous ticket prices), pictures from events, trips (with big ticket prices), and other functions they would put together, etc. That is all I will say about the money… The hall dues is a chart hanging behind a marker board and it is clear to see – mostly women pay them from Gottawanna.
There is a dress code, you are not allowed to wear shorts if you are a woman to the hall. If you have a commitment or are leading a meeting – you must wear a skirt or a dress, or you are unable to complete your share or commitment. You are very judged in how you look in this group, you may not always know it, but being someone who spent time with the longtimer, people are called … fat, ugly and judged for their looks very often behind every ones back or to their faces… I have heard people called fat, ugly, stupid numerous times. Made fun of for different things like teeth, age… It is sad, and I regret listening and never saying anything. She talks about people being jealous of her or copying her… You can not dress to casual or too flashy – nothing is ever ok and that is not just with dressing, that is with everything. The longtimer picks on people for everything. She can be nice and share about God and Gratitude, but the longer I was there, the more I saw it was fake. She is a different person at home vs meeting’s (most of the time… she can be mean at meetings too)
The longtimer shares at meetings and from the podium at the hall meetings many different things – AlAnon and Non-Alanon, breaking anonymity as well. She talks about politics, makes fun of people, talks about people who left the group all the time- she talks about karma and how people who leave end up sick, dead, divorced, etc…. which when you leave, you find out that is not true – and she actually likes to know people are talking about her – she says at least people are talking about her… A lot of people have opinions about this, but we were always told it is the longtimer so it was ok… A lot of double standards happen in this group.
I have seen longtimer refuse hugs from people at meetings, refuse to speak to people at meetings. I have seen her yell at people in her house and other places.
Authority does go based off time in the group, and it is said that, that is how you show respect for the longtimer (which going to other meetings, people show respect for everyone, which is how AlAnon should be and we celebrate peoples recovery’s and years when the time is right) When you are all in a car, you sit by time, the most time in the front and least in the back. And that is all the time. Time is very important in the group.
It is suggested that you read the AA Big Book with your sponsor before working the steps, you do this outside meeting time, and it is not necessarily a rule, but most sponsors there will not work the steps with you or work with you until you do this.
Not drinking for AlAnons or taking prescription anxiety/depression medication, etc is one of the “suggestions”… just know if you do not take this suggestion, most people in the group will not be willing to sponsor you.
5th steps that you share with your sponsor are usually shared with your “grand sponsor” and “great grand sponsor” in the sponsor chain … I also want anyone in the group to know, if you shared a 5th step or even a 10th step or anything with the longtimer or it got back to the longtimer, she will share it to others, being with her myself, I have heard many of peoples secrets and 4th steps… many things people would not want anyone else to know…. which is sad, because you build trust with your sponsor to share your 5th step with them, and it is not taken very seriously in this group. I also heard peoples 5th steps from the longtimer and as time went on , the 5th step would change and become a bigger story… the longtimer will say she is sharing it with you so you learn from it.
You are told who and who you can not talk to, in the way of… people who leave, who they call “blow outs” (such as myself..), you are not supposed to talk to… another “suggestion” - no talking to the blow outs and if you are, you are being “gamey” … Sponsors will not be happy if you tell them you are talking to a blow out. And if you reach out to any of your “Friends” from the group after you leave, you will get a very simple message of , “please do not text me” … which they are told to do from their sponsors… If you leave the group, you go from 100 friends calling and texting to nothing. However, you will find genunine friends on the other side and people who have left or end up leaving always end up speaking again – that is how you know who is supposed to be in your life I have learned… and I tell you leaving was the best decision of my life, and 5-10 genuine friends is so much better! I have been on both ends of not being able to talk to someone and being the one nobody could talk to – it is sad both ends. But in the end, leaving and having a few genuine friends – best decision ever and I understand why they are unable to talk to me, it is not them, it is the longtimer. Remember that – the “group” is not the problem really, it is the longtimer and a few others that pretty much have dedicated their life to the longtimer and can not think without her…
There are specific meetings that are “suggested “ to not miss, which are Tuesday Night at hall, Thursday Night at Yorba Linda, Friday night at hall and Saturday morning is a meeting with the AA guys and AlAnons and you take turns sharing at the podium at the hall about your day. The AlAnon ladies meet prior to make salad and then after the meeting everyone eats lunch. Then Saturday night is AA speaker meeting where both groups (Gottawanna and Dog On The Roof) attend, usually an AA speaker meeting or Birthday Night is last Saturday of month and all AlAnon and AA Birthdays Share. Also Saturday night is date night for the couples… Every now and then they will have a book study meeting, and you are not allowed to miss 1 meeting or you are not welcome to come to that book study after you missed one. No exceptions… unless the longtimer is in town, she can come and go as she pleases since she is longtimer.
*While I was in the group, when I had to work late and come late to a meeting, I would be told I was complacent and not placing my program first. And I think I missed maybe 1 Tuesday night in all my time there (years).
A lot of Gottawanna AlAnons and Dog on the Roof Men are dating and/or married. Very few couples come in together… but many AlAnon and AA members that come to Gottawanna and Dog on the Roof, do end up setup with someone at some point... You are setup on friendship dates or you are asked on one, by one of the guys (or girls). “Friendship Date” is what it is called. You are not forced to go on a date, but it is “suggested” if you are asked. (I was asked on a friendship date 3 times by someone who was 30 years older than me….) You friendship date for a while and then when it is a little more than friendship dating, the couples that are dating will become a couple and /or “get a room” on Saturday nights so they can sleep together. 18 and up this is happening. This was disturbing to me, many people have slept with many people in that group… MANY… They do get tested prior for safety, but still it is disturbing to me. Couples dating get to talk on phone on Thursday nights and they go together to the Saturday night meeting and go on group dates after. Eventually, they will move In together and then get married if it works out. It is crazy, you see them once a week and sleep with them at a hotel and then move in together and then get married and honestly, you barely know each other. They will share about this and say it is normal, it is like meeting people on a college campus, but honestly… no… and it just does not seem right, because you go to AlAnon and end up with an AA man… Also, if your AA guy gets loaded… your relationship is over per the group, so how real can these relationships be… And all of the couples there, which there are a lot, all the ones that were created in the group between AlAnon and Dog On The Roof do not seem very real or genuine to me… and it is always shared to share with your sponsor instead of directly with your boyfriend or husband, it is very strange, lots of secrets kept between couples and even the longtimers.
Couples are placed on breaks if they are too obsessed with each other or any other issues. This is done by your sponsors. You are actually told there that the AlAnon can get the Alcoholic drunk, so this is a big reason for being placed on breaks – which they call “space” …
I have seen the longtimers pull up a AlAteen at a panel who was a daughter of one of the ladies who had a lot of time, and the AlAteen was standing up in the front of the panel with both the longtimers talking about how she was an alcoholic, she just was not ready yet… I can not really explain it, but it was very disturbing. I have seen another who was over 18 called on at a meeting to talk about her first time getting a room … not ok.
Lots of trips to Vegas, where there is a Gottawanna group that is lead by the longtimer here in California who travels back and forth. Workshops and such. Always a “suggestion” to be part of … and that group is run the same as the one in California.
Weekend trips to the mountains for the ladies in September – AWSP – A Woman Safe Place… pay to go. Recently found, that what we were being charged was more than they charged, so money was definitely being made of this trip. In December, the Beginning is a trip up in the mountains for the girls and guys. Both have out of town guest and speakers and the group would have panels and share and the longtimer as well.
Every now and then an AlAnon Women’s meeting would be held at the hall on Sundays, where the longtimer would talk and interrupt to the group and some members of the group share. Usually when the longtimer thinks the ladies need a women’s meeting – she would call people out on things in front of others and usually we would all be told we were “complacent” which is a word used often there. You can not be down and depressed and you can not be bubbly and positive – both really end of meaning you are complacent. And people are usually told to keep a distance from you. Lots of anonymity broke at these meetings. The longtimer states that it is not a normal meeting – crosstalk is allowed especially from her, she is the only one who actually ends up crosstalking or taking peoples inventory is really what she does. Or telling everyone when someone “got a room” for the first time with their other or talks that should not be for everyone to hear…
They do try to get Gottawanna members into other meetings to find newcomers and definitely different things are being done to try to be listed, but not the right things. Newcomers are always told – Gottawanna is the best homegroup and the meetings are so good…
It is funny, going to other meetings after leaving, I can tell the difference in the sharing at meetings of a Gottawanna and then a genuine Alanon member, Gottawanna’s share the same things all the time, solution based – which is great to have a solution , but not many feelings are in their share or TRUTH.
Gottawanna Sponsor has a lot of say in jobs, family, marriages, children, etc. You are not forced anything , but “suggested” many things
Newcomers… you get their # and they get yours, you bring them to other Gottawanna meetings, etc… It could be harmless but because you end up in the group … so it is harmful. It is all about #’s there, many woman meetings you were asked how many people you were sponsoring, if you are not sponsoring anyone you are complacent and “what the F… are you doing here?” would be the longtimers words.. Emails from sponsors would be sent to their sponsees or at “baby meetings” it would be asked to tell how many people you are sponsoring and their names, and how many people your sponsees are sponsoring… and how much time they had… numbers numbers numbers … I always felt uncomfortable trying to “sell” myself and/or my group to newcomers. Business.
I had a family member in town for 4 days and I did not go to the Thursday or Friday meeting with Gottawanna so I can spend time with my family, but instead so I would not be complacent, I went to 6am meetings on those days to make up for it, but because I did not go to the Thursday and Friday night meeting and spent the time with my family, I was told by longtimer to not speak to her until I was consistent at my meetings, which I always had been except for these days. This is common. Even though I had just ran errands for the longtimer the day my family came in town.
Anytime I would chose to see my family, I would have a guilt trip from the group, which in turn , made me a nervous wreck and not present when I was with my family. I also judged my family and the alcoholics in my life very harshly, along with others at other meetings who were not doing what we were doing, etc… And we learned about detachment, but also how to physically detach from family and friends on outside- it is not said out right, but it is slowly done and you will know, because all of a sudden, your life is the hall and Gottawanna people… I learned to see the alcoholics in my life and my family and my friends in a whole new light when I left, and I am so glad because I love them and I wanted to go to AlAnon to be able to have them in my life. That group is so harsh on people’s families, they want you to think Gottawanna/Hall/Dog On The Roof is your family, even if you have a family that wants to be part of your life… But we baby the alcoholic men in Dog On The Roof as Gottawannas… and just to note, when couples hook up in Gottawanna and Dog, the man usually ends up having to move out and live with the woman, since they do not have their own place.
The longtimer has sponsored alcoholics, currently just 1 as of right now.
I saw the group turn their back on those who in the Dog on the Roof group did get loaded and try to come back, both groups, in the end, will not be there for you when you need them, the love of program is missing… Gottawanna’s do the same… So know, that in hard times – they will not have your back…
I have heard people threatened by longtimers
I have been told who and who I can not talk to or sit by at meetings. I have had to kick people out of meetings because the longtimer said so and I did not want to in my gut, and I knew I had a choice, but I knew if I was going to stay in the group I did not have a choice. I have since made amends to this person, as well as one of my sponsees who I was so hard on and treated so horrible, because, honestly I was just being a “good Gottawanna sponsor”
There are houses, dog on roof has some houses that the guys live in, and they share rent and bills and they have a shop that is owned by the longtimers where they fix cars and work on their motorcycles – money has something to do with all this as well. The ladies in Gottawanna, also have a house, they use to have more than 1, now they have 1 plus another few houses where longtimers have roommates in the group. You can and will be kicked out at anytime, so caution if you are thinking of moving into one. The longtimer Sue tells the ladies in the Gottawanna house how much their rent will be, who has what bedroom, etc.. (just FYI, this house is not under a lease with anyone, the man who rents it, has several rental properties, and he does not know Sue, no lease is signed by anyone) so technically she can NOT just kick you out, but she will. The house does have “suggested rules” such as being “part of” which means going to all the meetings and functions at hall, contributing by hall dues and sponsoring, working the program, etc No men in the house of course (which is reasonable since the house is full of ladies) Usually, 4-5 ladies live there sometimes more if some have kids. If you decide to leave the group, you have to be out of the house within 24 hours.
-I see a lot of messages about getting all this out to the newcomers to keep them from going to Gottawanna or to help them leave. I wanted to say – this site I think is just as important, if not more important for the members of Gottawanna to see who are newer or who have been there for years. Those are the people that need help to leave and also need to hear some of these Forum stories, because I know many of them have their doubts and concerns about the group as well, I spoke to many of them about it during my years there, but because of fear and being told the kind of things you are told, you end up staying. And you feel “stuck” especially, if they really got you by hooking you up with someone or marrying someone or living in one of the houses… BUT just know…you are NOT stuck! I heard stories of people leaving and how their life would be miserable … the longtimer would tell you it was karma… which now that I think about that – and that is horrible and not program. It was a way to keep you there, but I am here to tell you all… leaving was the best decision of my life, it took some time for sure to adjust, about a year, because your trust is broken, your program is confusing, and your routine changes – you are not living and breathing the hall, your sponsor and sponsees and Sue D and fear... Also, family and friends who were not part of the group become curious of how you were busy daily to all of a sudden you have a life again outside the hall and meetings, and unless you experienced it, you can really not explain it. I promise, If you leave, you will get your peace back, your sanity back, you can be present, no fear of having to report to a sponsor and feeling bad about yourself all the time. You can chose your family time over the group… It is a feeling of freedom. It sounds dramatic, but it is so very true. So if you are in Gottawanna, and you are reading this, which I know many of you are… Trust your gut and trust yourself – if you have doubts about the group and way of life you are being shown and told, trust yourself, you are right. And you are not stuck, you may feel stuck or in fear, but you are not, you can leave at anytime and there are plenty of meetings out there, plenty of people who have been through what you have been through, and a life waiting for you outside the hall and longtimers.
-The last message is for the AlAnon members NOT in the Gottawanna group… While I was in Gottawanna, which was the first and only “AlAnon” experience I had ever had, if I ever was able to get to a meeting outside the Gottawanna meetings, I was not welcome with open arms or love of the program. I was shown hate and no welcome. I understand why you would be so angry at these Gottawannas and how they are taking over meetings. BUT I was at outside meetings, not talking to newcomers, but going to see what other meetings were like and I was always asked, where I went to meetings and if I said Gottawanna, immediately I was treated different. I know that sometimes the Gottawannas need to be spoken up to at meetings and I support that so much. And I know where your anger is coming from… I really do! However, I just have a suggestion, and that is SHOW what AlAnon is, ACTIONS speak so loud. Show how a meeting is meant to run, and how you can share from your heart , show love to anyone who comes in the door, you have no idea what they are thinking or feeling, might be someone like me who was thinking about leaving and trying to find what else is out there – which a lot of them do...so love on them, they need it. And also, if you have not been in Gottawanna, you have no idea what it is like, only what you hear, so remember that. I felt like I was dying inside not from alcoholism, but from that group, and I was not able to get what I needed in the group, nor was I at outside meetings because of it. If someone at a outside meeting would have just showed me love and how AlAnon was meant to be, just by actions, I may have saved myself some years feeling stuck in that group. So please just remember this in your meetings. I think this site is fantastic for people to share their experience because that is what we need for people in the group and newcomers to see. I think the flyers on cars and the “drama” at the meetings between Gottawanna and other meetings does create an issue. I think it pushes newcomers away and/or brings them into this ugly drama that is not AlAnon and the AlAnon message and love and support gets lost. And AlAnon is now talking more about these issues than actual AlAnon things. Just some thoughts. The problem is not Gottawanna as a whole, but the longtimers and a few others that have some time as well. The people in the group are just you and I, they were looking for help and that is where they fell, so give and show more love and that is what is going to end up solving a lot of this problem.
*I do have to say, I did learn some AlAnon basics in this group. I also did have a lot of good talks and good friends at times, and I do miss some of them, and I hope nothing but good and love for them, and I hope they can find themselves enough to trust themselves and their guts and what they see going on in the group and what they feel, and realize they do not want to live a life at the hall being run by their sponsors and Sue D. You do not have to live like that. You can live and have an AlAnon program that does not consume your daily thoughts or life, and brings you peace, love and acceptance instead of fear and worry. Being in that group, I lost myself for a while and I had to work to find myself again. More damage was done to me in that group, than alcoholism in my family could have done. I am now free and know myself and I have the best relationship with my family, friends and alcoholics in my life than I have ever had. I hope my friends who are still there, can find themselves and their voice and their truth and leave, and be you and be happy! It is so much better on the outside. When you leave, call a blow out… they will answer their phones and they will help you! That is a promise and a guarantee. Lots of Love, Peace and Life waiting for you!
DON'T pay the Dues. And see how the leaders react. Is it with kindness and love?
DON'T be a Sponsor. And see how your sponsor reacts. Is it with kindness and love?
DON'T recruit for the cult. And see how your sponsor reacts. Is it with kindness and love?
DON'T perform a service for the groups. And see how the love and understanding changes.
DON'T put all your focus on the cult. And see how fast its members and leaders shun you.
We may soon be hearing that they have changed some of their ways to get back in to Al-Anon.
Will they be making any amends?
That would be a change!
Thanks for the Forum.
To Website Administrator.
I am just learning that the gottawanna's still have a voice and vote in Al-Anon, and are active in District 60. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I learned about that because of your website not through Al-Anon. I was under the impression that they had been kicked out in past years.
The GRs and IRs at my meetings have said nothing regarding the Gottawannas. About either their past or current involvement with in Al-Anon. Apparently our GRs and IRs support the Gottawanna cause. My meeting was not aware of the issues that had been brought forth at the last few InterGroup meetings. And only did I become aware because of rumor and gossip from members of other meetings. Members who also told me about this website. (A lot of info and reading, but well worth the effort and time spent!)
Al-Anon needs to be more proactive regarding the Gottawannas. It only takes a few Gottawannas in each meeting to completely change a meeting's voice and vote. And a meeting may not be aware of the effect of those few members.
Al-Anon needs to find a better way to inform the membership. A way that any member can get the information, besides just through the meeting's Reps. Al-Anon's website does not seem to provide that option.
It is frustrating that a non-CAL, unapproved by Al-Anon, website is providing, what I believe Al-Anon Family Groups should be providing to it's members.
Thank you for being of service to Al-Anon members.
First, thank you for this website. The only controversy you are causing is within Al-Anon. There is no public controversy, the public doesn't care. We in Al-Anon should care more. Care more about protecting Al-Anon as a whole. More of the membership needs to be of service to the fellowship.
Second, though the Gottawanna website is gone, they are not. My thought is their P.R. just got so bad they have taken another path. I would not be surprised if they go through a rebranding and continue their past behaviors.
They will still be a parasite within Al-Anon. Their life blood is still the newcomers to Al-Anon. They will still prey on the weak, sick and vulnerable, who come into Al-Anon for recovery. We in Al-Anon need to do more to protect those who seek the support and kindness of the true Al-Anon Program.
Third. The Devil is in the details. Why is it that most have a Hell of a time leaving gottawanna? Why is it that after leaving, most have a Hell of a time recovering from the effects of the Gottawannas? The Devil knows! He has perverted the minds of many in the cult. Blinded them to God's Will.
Gottawannas have taken the purity of the Al-Anon Program and twisted the Principles to their own desires. To their Will.
Many years ago, I came into Al-Anon with the problem of living with and alcoholic. I was broken up with him, to be paired with another. (A sober alcoholic!) How sick is that. How sick was I.
If you don't believe it is a cult, try going to other meetings, on your own. Try leaving the group, the marriage, and see how fast the love disappears.
With Love, Thanks.
Thank you for this Forum, and the effort your team has put forward. I'm sure you believe as I do, that if it has provided Help and Hope for one person, it is well worth it.
So again, from this one person. Thank you!
I would like to use this Forum to comment on the member of the Fellowship that has been abused by the Cults. And who has been a subject of gossip within Al-Anon.
I have heard Members question his motives and spirituality. From Members who have not questioned him directly.
I have heard Members praised his actions, and spirituality. From Members who have shared with him, and seen him in action.
I have heard him share his story. A story that includes a first year in Program, where he was lied to, and deceived by Leaders in Program.
I have heard him share his pain, and his recovery. The sharing of his story of Hope and Inspiration. Cause him to once again, to be harmed.
Amends should be made.
Thanks for letting me share.
Thanks for the website. I’ve been in Al-Anon 35 years; and it is my way of life.
I am feeling the influence of the Gottawanna’s at a meeting I’ve attended for years and
try to take what I like and leave the rest, but do speak up when I feel traditions are being “bent”.
I got into a discussion with one Gottawanna who said that their meetings ARE in the World Service Directory “
To the Forum. As with all cults "Follow the money"!
To GottawannaCult.com Forum.
Yes, it does seem the the Gottawanna.net website is no longer active. It does seem that their PR has gotten so bad they had no option. If you looked them up on the internet, you would see your site, GottawannaCult.com. And most who see the information, the truth, you provide, will stay away from the Gottawannas.
And Yes! They are not gone! As the leaders are active in the area again. They are surely concerned with recruitment and their ability to recruit within Al-Anon Family Groups. Many have become aware the members of the Gottawannas have become more active in meetings. Meetings that are listed on the Al-Anon Family Groups, O.C. Meeting Directory. And they have become more active with Beginners Meeting. Another form of recruitment.
Those of us in Al-Anon need to be more active to protect the program and it's newcomers.
Thank you for a Forum to express my opinion.
Thank you, for doing what many of us in Al-Anon are not comfortable with. Speaking out against those who do not follow the Principles of An-Anon Family Groups.
It is part of the Principles as stated in the InterGroup Letter.
"We share the responsibility for protecting and preserving the character of our fellowship, for being sources of help and hope to those affected by alcoholism, and for accurately representing the Principles of our program to the world at large."
"Please keep the First Tradition in mind. “Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.”
Your actions have help protect Al-Anon, from those who pervert the program, for their own benefit.
May God light your path, with love and kindness.
To the website team.
I'm sure you have noticed that the Gottawanna.net website seems to have been taken down. I think it may have something to do with your actions.
Possibly as a result of your website and flyers. Possibly because of the public controversy. Possibly the awareness of the groups practices has caused them to go underground.
We know that they are not gone. Wonder if we will see the same cult with a different name. And a new P.R. campaign.
Whatever the cause or what happens. It is clear, the light you have shown on them, has cause them to retreat back in to the shadows. The dark side.
Keep up the good work. Many of us in Al-Anon have gratitude for your efforts.
I had a few comments on the Editors posting (#36) of the letter regarding the update of the Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
As a victim of domestic violence and someone that had left the Goottawanna's years ago. I have a perspective of how similar cultic abuse and domestic abuse are. Especially when alcoholic behavior is involved. It took many years of professional counseling to understand the connection. And the effect the domestic violence, and alcoholism, had on my attraction and decision to join the Gottawannas.
I also became aware of how the abusive personalty often think of themselves as a victim. Many of the Gottawnna's see themselves as the persecuted ones. (As I think the posting from #39 also represents.) The sick mind of a Gottawanna member. And the sick mind of a Gottwanna Sponsor. Both with a sick Higher Power, will react as the ones being persecuted. Or that the alcoholic, that they love, is being persecuted. The alcoholic that they feel is their duty to protect. Or that they must protect their Group that is being persecuted. And therefore will defend, lash out, or abuse those they feel are a threat. (Real or not.) It seems the author of the update letter is perceived as a threat. (Real or not.) And therefore becomes a victim of their abuse.
I have personal experiences on how the Gottawanna's serenity, kindness, spirituality, and principles disappear under stress. Under the stress of conflict or challenge. Either the conflict of a member asking questions of their hypocrisy, of their preachings vs. their actions. Or the conflict of a member leaving the cult after challenging the leadership's actions and direction. I have experienced their abuse, physical and emotional. I have felt the Harm done by the Gottawanna and Dog On The Roof. With no attempt by them at making Amends. And they are very aware at the Harm done. But have no intentions of practicing the principles of the Program. The Al-Anon Program, or their even the words of their Program.
To Website Administrator:
Just an FYI: The #39 posting is the typical attitude and behavior of a Gottawanna! A reaction of a member of a group that is breaking traditions, regarding what they perceive as another breaking traditions. A member of a group who's actions have brought their groups into public controversy, creating public controversy.
Thank you for your prompt response and attention to this matter.
To the Website Team
As you state, one of the violations of the Al-Anon Principles is the collecting of "Dues". And I've been told that it is as much as $300 per month. (not to include other donations that may be asked for.) If there are 100 paying members in the two groups, that is $30,000 per month. It may only be gossip, as there seems to be no official accounting or information provided by the two groups. But many have said that the "leaders" of the two groups receive much of the money. Which might explain their zeal to kept the meetings filled with members and newcomers. As with all cults. Where does the money go? Can anyone follow the money?
Thanks for posting my comments.
I agree with,,, (#21 & #23) The problem is not just the alcoholic behavior of Sue D. But also the alcoholic behavior of the Dog On The Roof members. And their controlling ways of the ladies of Gottawanna. Taking advantage of the sick and weak state of mind of those affect by the disease of Alcoholism. Taking advantage for their own self-centered ways.
Dear Forum Team
I appreciate the website and the information within. And the the Forum for the ability to express opinions and experiences. And to read others opinions and experiences. You provide a service that Al-Anon has not. Providing enlightenment on the behaviors of Gottawannas and Dog OnThe Roof. They have been a cancer within Al-Anon Family Groups for years. To find a cure one must first be aware of the disease. Your website helps shine a light on their attitudes and actions. As with most diseases, sun light the best disinfectant.
Thank you, you are a beacon of light.
The last two Intergroup/Information Service meeting memos/updates and handouts have demonstrated how much of an affect the Gottawanna's are having on Al-Anon Family Groups of Orange County. In speaking to other members of the Fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups, it is clear they are not getting the information thru their home groups IRs. And they are not aware that they are not getting the full story. A situation that needs to be addressed.
I'd like to share a few of my concerns regarding the Gottawanna's tactics.
I and others wonder how many meeting have been affected by the Gottawanna's. We know our meeting has been affected. We are aware that other meetings are currently affected, and have been affected in the past. To the point that meetings have been moved or dissolved. We wonder how many times do we have to leave a meeting that we have attended for awhile. Because Gottawanna's have started to attend, or have taken over. And therefore look for another meeting to attend where they are not present. To keep on the move to find a safe meeting. This does not seem to be an acceptable solution. Certainly not acceptable to newcomers who are not aware which meetings are safe Al-Anon meetings, That practice the Principles of Al-Anon.
We would like to hear from some more members both on this website and at the World Service and Intergroup level.
To be complacent is to be part of the problem.
Thank you for a Forum to share.
Dear Website Forum Team:
Thank you for creating a platform where we can practice KBDM, this is helpful. Would you consider adding a page on how to leave Gottawanna and join Al-Anon at large?
I too was in Gottawanna and I experienced what others described already in the forum section but I don't want to repeat what was said, only mention a point of view/experience I haven't read yet on the forum section. I was shamed in public by Al-Anons in leadership positions for having a past with the Gottawannas; once by a former Southern California World Service Area Delegate and then by a former AFG Conference Chairman, both times in public at a committee meeting. I can't change facts about my past and I have been deeply impacted by Al-Anons in leadership who have no compassion for the immense recovery and grief that comes with leaving spiritual abuse. To leave a group where shaming is normal then enter Al-Anon "at large" to only be shamed again for not taking a stand against Gottawanna is especially cruel because I needed all my energy to just stand up for myself on such a basic level during that time and my service commitments were my only link to Al-Anon "at large". Also, if it wasn't for my therapist helping me work through those shaming experiences with Al-Anon leadership and my therapist seeing the value in my attending Al-Anon meetings in my local area, I wouldn't still be in Al-Anon. I'd like to move on from Gottawanna without being shamed for it in Al-Anon as I continue to work through the effects of living with an alcoholic. Other spiritual communities have leadership that is trained in dealing spiritual abuse and they actively lead in cultivating a community atmosphere of compassion for those who were in a legalistic spiritual environment, offering real support to those trying to break free from that. Real support like basic short-term shelter, grocery vouchers, targeted support groups, etc. Our Al-Anon leadership is not working towards that end and I strongly believe our current leadership lacks the understanding and awareness to apply our Three Legacies to address spiritual abuse. A website put together without the stamp of approval from So Cal World Service, validates that to me, that our leadership is either paralyzed by this topic or not interested in addressing spiritual abuse and that as a community maybe we need outside help. Al-Anon is still relatively new as a spiritual community, whereas other spiritual communities have existed for over 100's of years. Why should we reinvent the wheel on this issue? Let's ask for help and continue to have an open mind.
Thank you for your service in providing the site, I see it as a crucial stepping stone in our communities progress on this topic.
A little parable of the Good Shepherd vs. the Bad Shepherd.
The members of Gottawanna's are like scared sheep herding together as a mob. They only feel safe in a mob with their own kind. They follow the heard or mob wherever it may roam. As sheep they must have a Shepherd to follow, because they are to fearful to think on their own. They can only react in fear to the world around them. Sheep are not serene unless in the safety of the mob. The sheep will follow, and rely on the direction of their Shepherd. When their Shepherd is of a sick mind, and takes direction from a sick Higher Power, they become sick sheep. They come to believe that their only fear is the wolf that surround them. The sheep are unaware of the wolf in sheep's clothing, with in their own mob. And thus become victims within the safety of their own mob. The sick Shepherds will even arrange for the wolf to pair with the sheep. Because they are blind to the harm done. The sick Shepherds believe they are dong the will of their Higher Power. It is truly the sick leading the sick. Or the blind leading the blind.
I am a long time member of Al-Anon in Orange County and all too aware of the damage done by the Gottawannas and their meetings. I am familiar with the delisting of the groups a few years ago and that the groups are still active and recruiting. I have personal experience of the practices of these groups and the harm they do. To my mind, the tradition of never entering into public controversy has made it difficult to publicize what they do. Too many members unfamiliar with the groups are inclined to use group autonomy be an excuse for doing nothing. I see your website as a good way to get that information out to members even though it could be regarded as “public controversy.” However, recently “parking tickets” citing “GOTTAWANNA is in VIOLATION of the AL-ANAON PRINCIPLES” have been placed on cars outside meetings, including my home meeting in Yorba Linda. While these “tickets” are clever and draw attention to the website, they potentially could result in legitimate groups losing their meeting places. By placing the tickets on cars during meetings, the information is passed to people who are at the locations for other meetings as well. At the location of the meeting in Yorba Linda, there are several church groups that meet at the same time. Other Al-Anon meetings are held at apartment complexes or community centers where the tickets end up on the windows of residents. Not only does this bring controversy into the public view and possibly lead to questions about Al-Anon as a whole, it brings complaints from non-Al-Anon members to the locations we rent.
I don’t know if those responsible for this website are involved in the placement of these tickets but I wanted to point this out. It would be unfortunate if legitimate groups lost their meeting locations because of a campaign to point out the few groups that ignore the traditions.
25 Year Al-Anon Member
To Website Administrator: Just an FYI: I have reported this website to WSO / SCWS / and OC Intergroup for breaking traditions and bringing Al-Anon Family Groups name into public controversy. If you would like to discuss please feel free to let me know and I would be happy to arrange a phone call.
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you today because I recently came across a very disturbing website that references Al-Anon Family Groups and several official websites in a way that brings up public controversy.
The website is: Gottawannacult.com I wanted to let you know because I know there are strict guidelines when creating a website that references other sites that link WSO. I wanted you to know because I doubt this website was approved. Also AA and Al-Anon members full names - first and last are published on this website and this can not be right? breaking members personal anonymity.
Thank you for your prompt response and attention to this matter. This website is breaking traditions and is bringing Al-Anon Family Groups name into public controversy.
I too was lost, fearful and angry when I went to my first meeting. A perfect target for the Gottawanna's.
So I would like to thank you for this site. And thank the lady that told me about it at the first meeting. I will thank her in person. But I wanted to make the point that if she had not said anything after the meeting. The other ladies of the Gottawanna's would be taking me to their meeting.
I got your flyer posted on my car. I'm not sure I support the delivery method. I do support the idea of the delivery of the message. I wish I had a suggestion of a better way to deliver the message.. It is apparent that Al-Anon Family Groups is not able or willing to deliver the information. I do feel that it is important to make the information available to all the members of Al-Anon. Especially the new-comers. I wonder if anyone who reads this Forum has a suggestion for a better way. I do want to thank you for the website. And thank you tor posting my concerns.
From the Editors of GottawannaCult.com
Below is an “update email” from a member of Al-Anon. He was very helpful in the development of the character of our website. He communicated with other members of Al-Anon for their feedback on the intent and direction of GottawannaCult.com. As a result it was assumed by many in Al-Anon that he was the developer of the website. And thus he became a target of those who had a problem with the websites intent to inform.
He was shunned by some. A subject of negative gossip. Received threats agains his property. And threats of personal harm. His personal email account, of over 30 years, was hacked into and deleted.
He found himself in court defending himself against a trumped up Domestic Violence Restraining Order. The "update email" below was sent to a couple of dozen friends, family, and loved ones, at the conclusion of the court hearing. We were grateful that we were on that list.
We have convinced him that it should be posted on our Forum Page. As his story shows how the sick minds of the cult(s) can and does affect someone's life.
He agreed to allow us to post an edited version.
In responce to the posting of the one who said that “Gottawanna is not a Cult!”… (24.)
You can’t see the forest for the trees!
Open your eyes and ears to those who have left the groups.
Listen and Learn! Think! Than, Let Go, and Let God!
(And than see where Step 11 takes you.)
Thank you for this Forum.
There seems to be quite of rise of the Gottawanna’s of late. At both the Intergroup level and at the meeting level. As members of the Fellowship of Al-anon we all need to do more to protect the Program. Be of service, to pass on the purity of the Program, that was made available to us as Newcomers. We can not become complaisant to the actions of the Gottawanna’s.
Thank you again. If this web site saves anyone from the harm caused by Gottawanna, God has blessed us all.
Regarding the Gottawanna’s vs. Al-Anon Family Groups.
All of us in Al-Anon share the responsibility of safe guarding the groups welfare.
We should use all the tools available to us in Al-Anon, to address the actions of those who do not practice the principles of Al-Anon. But call themselves Al-Anon, to promote their Program.
Those who come to Al-Anon, seeking the loving program of recovery, from the affects of alcoholism in their lives. Should have the full support of the Al-Anon Program. And the protection of the Al-Anon Program for the newcomers. Newcomers should be make aware in beginners meetings.
We should not support any of the actions of a Program, in any way, that perverts the principles of Al-Anon.
I'm so glad someone took the time to make a website about Gottawanna. I was in that group for years and my husband as well. We left together and it was a very hard painful transition into a normal life. I did not realize I had been in a cult until a former member pointed out a cult checklist and it showed me I was. The first few years I was out of the group I worked on healing from being in the group and did inventories on resentments from being in the group. I got some healing and forgiveness for myself. When I lived in orange county I made it my mission to be open to talk with ladies coming out of that group or ones with questions regarding that group vs Al-anon principles.
Thank you so much for making the website. I hope ladies that have questions and concerns contact you and are able to leave....Hopefully try Al-Anon too.
Some of the flyers “Violations” were left on our cars at one of the Al-Anon meeting I attend. Not to sure what to make of the tactic. Is it Al-Anon?
We have not seen any of the Gottawanna’s affect at our meeting. (Or so we thought!)
But after the next meeting, some discussion of the group was enlightening. As the old-timer had an awareness of the group. And felt that they had been dealt with years ago. But we are now aware of the affect they are having on Al-Anon today.
Thank you for sharing.
It take a lot of time and tears to read many of these posts. As they are so close to the pain that was caused by the Gottawanna’s in our family. My Mom became a Gottawanna, and detached from my Father, and our family. Her Sponsor, who seem to be such a nice and spiritual person, was a wolf in sheep clothing. My Mother has now taken up with a Dog on the roof alcoholic. The two of them work their program full time. And have no time for us. They can not function in the real world. Their addiction is much worst than my Father's was. My Father, and the rest of the family can be around those that are drinking, and not drink. We do not have to judge others on their defects of character. We can love each other, for who we are. They can only love each other, and those who their Sponsor say they can. We see no evidence of a Loving God. We do not seem to be alone in that!
Gottawanna is a cult! When you are able to leave the cult, it is easy to see. Not as easy to recover from. The control by the members of both groups is sick. A sickness that leaves deep scars. On the mind and soul. Harms the spirit and spirituality of those who seek recovery from the insanity of alcoholism. These programs have taken the insanity to a level of extremism. Zealots with a perverted view of Al-Anon. People who believe that their way is the only way. Fanatical in their behavior, and in their control of the other members behaviors. Sick minds, controlling sick minds, in search of sanity. Using the false and conditional love of a sick God. To indoctrinate those who have been harmed by the disease of alcoholism, at their weakest moments. All in the name of Love. It is a lie. Try and leave the group, and the Love, turns to contempt, shunning and harassment. Not the type of Love found in the real Al-Anon. Where you are allowed to practice the program in your own way. Where you can take what you like and leave the rest. Without repercussion, within a Loving Fellowship.
Why lie, we are who we are. The creator of this site is feeling the power of our Higher Power. And seeing the power we have over the ladies of Gottawanna. He has seen and felt the wrath of a woman's scorn. And the wrath of our God is judging him.
I’ve just heard of a meeting that has been dealing with the Gottawanna’s. They're bringing unapproved literature to the meeting. The Gottawanna issue was all new to me. I’m hearing about some of their ways of trying to take over meetings. And now I’m wondering in the meetings that I attend, who are the Gottawanna’s in this meeting? And what I, or we, can do about it?
I have been of service in Al-Anon for many years. And have worked with Gottawanna’s in service several times. I have always found them to be good to work with. Though with some of the same character defects as many of us in Program. No better or worse than any of us in Program. They have never try to recruit me, or invited me to a meeting. Maybe because I’m a male, in Program for several years. I have not been “Harmed” by them. But can understand the “Harm” they may cause to others in Al-Anon. I would say “Live and Let Live”. And "Everyone Practices the Program in Their Own Way”.
Thank you for putting this info on the internet where it is available for anyone to see.
Gottawanna is not a Cult! This site does not represent the true love and recovery of our Program. It is obvious that the creators of this site have not felt the love, hope and spirituality of our Program. Probably have never been to a Gottawanna Meeting. Have not witness the many members that have recovery because of our Program. Or have knowledge of the many loving relationships formed and improved because of the Program. Through the power of our Higher Power, Gottawanna and Dog On The Roof, have saved many lives.
Gottawnnas are a group formed out of Sue D’s alcoholic behavior. For those with alcoholic personalities. She believes we all have alcoholic behaviors. We all don’t. Most of us in Al-Anon are dealing with the alcoholic behavior of another. We are not all double winners. If you listen to Sue D speak or recordings of her, it is easy to see she is an alcoholic. Her behaviors and actions, her stories, make it very clear. Though she may not think so because she did not have the problem of quitting as Keith did. She just replaced her obsession to drink with Keith, and to control Keith's drinking, with the obsession of Program with Keith. And the controlling of Her Program.
Her Program is a very controlling program, with an obsession on the alcoholic. Controlling the members to follow her way, “The true way” or hit the highway. Because you got to want it. You need to be just as sick as her, to work her program. And some are, and some or convinced by the Gottawannas that they are. Many very lost and hurting souls have been controlled, by her, and her followers.
This site list many of the reasons why the Gottawannas are a cult. And how they pervert the beauty of Al-Anon to their obsession. I hope that this site will prevent many others from going though the process that I had to. Before I returned to the True Program of A-Alnon. And felt the love and kindness of recovery within the groups of those that allowed me to Practice the Program In My Own Way. And allowed me to hear my own Higher Power, and experience true serenity.
Gratitude towards Gottawanna’s for providing a safe place, when I was dealing with the abuse of alcoholism. Thankful for the kindness of the people in the gottawanna program. GRATEFUL of the LOVE, SUPPORT and RECOVERY, WITHIN the AL-ANON PROGRAM. THE AL-ANON FAMILY GROUPS!
Most miss the point, or effect of the Dog on the Roof over the Gottawannas.
There needs to be away to let newcomers know before they are recruited by them. Enter with eyes wide open.
If any newcomers read this before becoming involved with Gottawanna, RUN!
As an Old-timer I have seen the Gottawanna's grow again. Thought they were basically gone. We Old-timers have allowed them to come into our meetings without letting the newer members aware of their intent. We Old-timers should be concern with the purity of the Program, and take steps to protect it.
Many of us believe that though the Gottawannas do not follow the principles of attraction over promotion in their actions. The Gottawannas and the people they keep in their program are very sick people. The type of people who need such a controlling program.
Those who find their true serenity, and recovery with the Steps. They will leave such groups as the gottawannas.
The kindness and love to the Al-Anon program will prevail.
Live and Let Live. But for the Grace of God.
How do we get every newcomer to see this site?
I let a gottawanna sponsor control my thoughts and actions for many years. After a year of indoctrination into the gottawanna program, I broke a relationship with a wonderful man. One who allowed me to find my serenity in the Al-Anon Program. Someone who supported me even though it meant that I neglected him every day of the week with meetings and other gottawanna demands. Imposed on me by my sponsor, not the Al-Anon Program. I was taken advantage of my sick alcoholic thinking. A result of my parents, not him. I was convinced he was a problem in my recovery by my sponsor. (I now know he wasn’t the problem, it was me. He is a normal person, who is not affected by the disease of addiction.) I forced him out of my life. A man that loved me for who I was, and hoped I could be. I hurt and harmed him, as he tried to be kind to me.
I was being prepared for a relationship with an alcoholic. And being taken advantage of my alcoholic thinking. A man within the group became my new relationship. A man that seem to fill the void in my heart and complete my life. A man that needed me, and I believed I needed him. And thus loved him. I could save his life by helping him keep his sobriety. Because his next drink would kill him. And devotion to him and our program, made me feel as if I were of great value. And of value to the program, and loved by all in the program. We could be, would be, the example of a good woman saving a good man living with the disease of alcoholism. Another example of the power of the gottawanna program. And we did work our programs. And we worked on our relationship with the program. And we worked on our relationship. For years.
It took years for my Higher Power to be heard by me. To have my Spiritual Awakening. As I had always heard what my Higher Power wanted through my sponsor. Told what I should do, as suggested by her higher power, her sponsor. What the program would have me do. What was best for the program. What was best for him. Which would be best for me.
It was very difficult to leave the program and the alcoholic. They made it even more so. The kindness and love of the gottawanna program disappeared, as I detached with love. Their love turned to shunning, and distain. I was to blame. I was a cancer, that was to be cut out, for the health of their program.
I had doubts and very low moments. But through it all, the love and kindness of the Al-ANON PROGRAM, and some professional help, I have found some serenity. I now recognized my alcoholic behavior, and how I was harmed by the alcoholic behavior of my parents. I have found friends and supporters in the true AL-ANON PROGRAM. Which also adds to my serenity. I continue to Work the Program, One Day At A Time.
(PS Going to AL-ANON MEETINGS and seeking Professional help was not allowed by my gottawanna sponsor.)
Thank you for the Forum to share my experience. I pray that it gives Hope and Inspiration to others.
A couple of Gottawanna’s come to our meeting. It seems to be a Sponsor and Sponsee. Maybe part of the training of a newer member of the Gottawannas. They share very in a very polished and practiced way. In a very attracted way. Always very friendly after the meeting. We try to return the kindness. But some of us are aware of the true motive of why they attend. And we try to make the newcomers aware of their motives. In a kind way. We may have lost some newcomers to the Gottawannas. Or they may just not have come back to our meeting. Either way, having to warn newcomers about other Al-Anon members/programs seems to leave a bad impression about the program. A us against them attitude. Which does not seem to be a very spiritual introduction to the program. It would be nice to have a better, more official, way to warn newer members about the Gottawannas.
Though this site opens some old wounds, I hope it will stop someone else from going through what I went through.
I’m a IG/IS rep. and became aware of the actions of the Gottawanna’s after hearing of the District 60 website being taken down. After asking some of the others why, I was told about the Gottawanna’s. How the are trying to take over Al-Anon. How many are being of service as IR/IS and GRs, in many meetings that are not Gottawanna meetings. As a way to get more voting power, and a way to affect policy.
I shared the information with my Home Meeting and it was new info to many. Some of the Old-timers were aware of the Gottawanna’s, but thought they were no longer a threat to Al-Anon when they were de-listed several years ago. They seem to be a “family secret” in Al-Anon Family Groups. It seems it is a subject that should be talked about with-in the Family. For the health of the Program.
After being referred to this site, I now see what some of the concerns are about the Gottawnna members in our meeting. Why are they volunteering for the service positions in meetings? Is it more than being of service?
Thank you for putting up this website. I’ve been able to direct new members to the site. As they are not aware of the meetings that do not adhere to the principles and traditions of Al-Anon. But call themselves Al-Anon. And why those groups have been delisted. And why they are showing up to our meetings and trying to get new members to attend their meetings. It is good to be able to send them to this site. And we don’t have to get involved in what some may consider gossip.
I find this very upsetting. As a GR for World Service I was at the Assembly where the vote for “Meetings that do not practice Al-Anon principles” was voted on. The examples that were presented, as I remember, seemed harmless. I and others thoughts were “Take what you like and leave the rest”, “Everyone practices the Program in their own way.” “Find a meeting that you like.” And we voted accordingly. As we remember the name Gottawannnas was never mention. I, and the others in my District were not aware of them, and their ways of practicing A-Anon. I feel the lack of knowledge presented for a Knowledge Based Decision Making vote was a disservice to myself, other GRs, and the Program. I listen to many express their concerns at the microphone about the action. (I did note at the next Assembly, that District 60 had few members present.)
I heard a Speaker share of her early experiences with a Group. I, and others, don’t remember her mentioning Gottawanna. We were ignorant about the real issues.
Lately after hearing someone Share at a meeting, about their experience with the Gottawwannas. (The first I’d heard of them.) And then the reaction and stories of the “Old-timers” after the meeting, I was very upset. And then I started to recall how I had voted at the Assembly. Which upset me even more so.
My concerns continue. Because now as a IR, after reporting that District 60s website had been taken down, I was asked, during my report to my Home Group, why? I did to know why. In our Information Service Meeting it was not explained why. When I followed up later, I was not able to get an answer.
I was then directed to GottawannaCult.com, where I was able to get an answer.
I find it very upsetting, and very concerning, that this is the path that I had to take to get many of my questions answered.
When I was approached after my first meeting, I thought I’d go to one of their meetings. But one of the people from the meeting told me to google gotta wanna cult. Thanks for being here.
Heard about this website after a meeting where some of the stories of those that had been affected by these groups was being talked about. Lots of info here. Needs to be required reading by newcomers.
After attending Beginners Meeting It was suggested that I attend some Al-Anon Meeting that were the real Al-Anon. They were great meetings. Wonderful people. But soon I was being told how to dress for meetings. Not to go to other meeting, where I had friends. That I needed to pay dues, to support the groups needs. And to work the program harder. The wonderful loving people were practicing tough love with me, you “gotta wan it”. To tough for me. Luckily I had real loving friends in the real Al-Anon Family Groups. And was able to leave the Gottaanna’s, before I was in to deep. Thank God for real loving friends.
We were involved with these groups in the past. They are sick people, leading sick people, in a sick program. Many are sick enough, that they become addicted to such a program. They can only hear the Groups and Sponsors understanding of their sick Higher Power. And may never find a way to rejoin the real world. One can only pray that many will hear their Higher Power and find their way to sanity and serenity. And one day enjoy the love and kindness of all of Gods people. Even those people with character defects they can not abide by. Live with the emotional balance and spirituality that a loving Higher Power would have us do. To do, not the Groups will, but to do Gods Will.
My Sister who is a Gottawanna is no longer part of our family, of her own accord. (Or so we thought.) She had gone to Al-Anon because of our alcoholic parents and her longtime boyfriend's drinking and partying. We were all out of her life in about a year. She had started dating an AA guy. Seemed strange, to us, that she would go to Al-Anon because of an alcoholic, and then start dating another one. They were so involved with their program, there was no time for any of us. She/they would not come to family gatherings because there may be some of the family drinking. And he could not be around people who drank. Her only concern was that he stay sober. She would not do anything that may cause him to drink again, because if he did, he would die. And she would not be able to live with herself if he did drink again. We saw his controlling ways over her. That everything was about him. We thought it was her love for him that made her do the things that she did. But we never saw a loving, trusting, relationship. As my brother pointed out, whenever she was around us, she was on edge. Just like a alcoholic wanting to get back to her drink as soon as possible. Seem to be a lot of fear in her relationship. We wondered and worried about her and the relationship. A longtime family friend who is in Al-Anon told us about this website. It has answered many of our questions. She will not answer any of our questions and now will not talk with us at all. We now watch Leah Remini’s program on Scientology, and wonder.
After hearing someone after a meeting share some info about the Dogs on the Roof and Gottawannas, I was shocked. And wondered how, if true, they could call themselves Al-Anon. If the word cult had not been used I may not have found this site. More needs to be done by Al-Anon to let the new people know about them and their ways.
I’ve been involved with 12 Step Programs for many years, and heard bits and pieces about the Gottawanna. But I had no idea about the differences, and the extreme way they practice Al-Anon. I now understand why a friend is no longer part of my life. And why her family has such bad feelings about Al-Anon.
Glad I found this information.
I was taken to a meeting, everyone was extremely loving. They made the point to keep coming back, and the love of the program would help me find my serenity. I was pressured to keep coming back night after night. Because they thought I needed to for my sanity. They were the only way to get better.
It was to much for me.
I did go back to the Al-Anon meeting that I first met the gottawanna’s, and was told about the gottawanna’s. After the meeting. There needs to be a better way to find out.