We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have mixed feelings about AA. On the one hand, the principles of AA and the general philosophy presented by Bill W and Dr. Bob in the original "Big Book" gave me hope. The closed meetings I attended provided me with the framework I needed to solve my own problem with alcohol and recreational drugs. I still live those principles to the best of my ability - 34 years as of April 10th, 2010.
I spent a lot of time during the first five years or so of participation observing, learning and listening participating when necessary. It was about the five/six year mark when I became aware of the "cultish" side of AA. The whole "speaker" min-industry at open meetings, the constant bombardment of "AA Think", the concept that life cannot properly lived without AA meetings and sponsors or AA itself - it seemed to me that the importance of self-awareness of your own fraility, the reliance on not AA, but of a Higher Power and the admittance of your own life's errors and the correction of same was being subverted.
In my opinion, long term success with battling addiction comes not from relying on others to point the way, but discovery of the way on your own. Which is not to say that help in starting on the path isn't necessary. Once the journey has begun, it is truly about self-discovery.