In a three-page exposé in Newsweek magazine called "A Struggle Inside AA," reporter Nick Summers interviewed former members of the Midtown group in Washington who described the actions of the group's common practices which were exactly the opposite of what Alcoholics Anonymous literature teaches.
Angry, former members claim the Midtown group is "a coercive, cultlike group that uses the trusted AA name to induce young alcoholics into a radical fringe movement that has little resemblance to traditional AA," Summer wrote.
According to former members interviewed by Summers:
- The group assigns new members a sponsor, instead of letting the member choose one.
- The group encourages members to stop all medications prescribed for mental disorders, while Alcoholics Anonymous literature warns against the practice.
- The group asks members to cut off all ties with friends and family members, having contact only with other group members, while A.A. does not encourage cutting family ties.
- The group recommends dating within the group only and allegedly encourages young members to have sexual relationships with older members. A.A. discourages beginning any new relationships in early sobriety.
The world headquarters office of A.A. would not comment for Summers' article, since Alcoholics Anonymous has no official spokesperson and no national leaders. Each group is autonomous.
Former members of the Midtown Group have established a MySpace.com page called The Fall of Midtown dedicated to the issue, where they share their experiences with the group.