The A.A. formula for "spirituality" is broken, and doesn't work.
Doing the Twelve Steps and forcing people to wallow in guilt and shame for years does not:
- enlighten them,
- or make them spiritual,
- or give them intense "religious experiences" or "spiritual awakenings",
- or "liberate them from ego",
- or release them from "the bondage of self".
- or fill them with "Serenity and Gratitude".
You cannot get rid of your ego, or the "bondage of self", just by saying or praying that you wish to be rid of your ego. You might as well pray for your left foot to disappear.
"Stuffing your feelings" for years leads to neurosis and mental illness, not spirituality. Real live feeling human beings cannot feel only "Serenity and Gratitude" for years and years... When members then condemn themselves and feel guilty and inadequate for not having the proper "Serene and Grateful" attitude, that just makes matters worse. Then they can feel guilty about feeling guilty.
I have also noted how angry so many of the "old timers" are. I have observed that closely and concluded for myself that the problem is that most people have a lot of grief in their lives and in a way, AA is always focusing on losses. At the same time, there is nowhere to go with grief as it isn't allowed. So the sadness gets stuffed leaving only the anger to be dumped out in the meeting, usually aimed at someone who isn't getting the program or was foolish enough to tell the truth about their selfish life. Notice that sometime. Old timers in AA are often an angry lot: a mask of serenity with a seething cauldron underneath.
The "Founding Fathers" of A.A. discovered all of that the hard way.
Throughout the first 164 pages of the Big Book, Bill Wilson raved about the fantastic religious or spiritual experiences that members could expect to get after they had practiced the Twelve Steps enough. But members complained that they weren't getting The Big Experience, or seeing God, from doing Bill's 12 Steps. So Bill toned down the terminology to just a "spiritual awakening". And then he toned it down some more, and some more. Eventually, the promised spiritual experience was reduced to nothing but an "educational experience". See the description of that process in the Bait-And-Switch web page.