About AA as a cult, read this
On the question of governance generally, the problem with trying to describe an 'anarchic' form of organization is that there's no such thing as an all-inclusive definition.
Just to make things a bit more clear, let's exclude all forms of organization that are somehow mandated by law. Governments operate according to constitutions. Businesses operate according to another set of regulations. Even your local church is bound by law to govern itself in a certain way. So we can't use those as examples of any kind of free association. The moment you're told that you must organize in a certain way, free association kind of goes out the window.
AA is actually a reasonably good example of free association, but only on a local level. There is considerable organization internationally, with a Board of Trustees, rules, regulations, compliance with laws governing non-profits and so on.
Anarchism is one of those things that, like perfection, is something many strive for but nobody actually achieves. There will always be some kind of form which governs things.
I belong to a local group of Meerschaum pipe collectors. It is not registered as a charity, so it is free to govern itself as it sees fit. Nevertheless, there is a group leader, a treasurer and so on. The division of labor has occurred more or less organically, based on the principle that "the world is run by those who show up."
And that, ultimately, is where anarchy leads. The end result is a kind of organization that is led by those who are most involved in its operations, regardless of titles. Am I saying that anarchism leads directly to absolutism? Why yes, yes I am. Note that I'm not discussing whether this absolutism is benign or malignant. That's irrelevant.
You want a society that is based on participation by all in decision-making? Good luck with that. It will never happen.
Public policy, and citizen participation within the political process, is ultimately governed by what is known as Rational Ignorance
. I can work hard to educate myself about public policy and work for those changes that I would like to see effected. Alternately, I can spend time with my wife and children. I cannot do both of these at the same time. I can familiarize myself with the intricacies of energy policy, or I can go to the dentist. And so on....
Obviously these are facile, silly examples. But underlying them is the reality that most people honestly do not care about anything beyond their most immediate sphere of influence. Concerning oneself with anything beyond that narrow sphere is considered, by most people, to be a tremendous waste of time. This accounts for voter turnout, which has been falling pretty much everywhere for the last half century or so. It accounts for the fact that so many people are ignorant of even the most basic facets of economics or public policy. But that ignorance is, ultimately, rational. It makes sense to the people who choose to be ignorant.
The society anarchists dream of is one of maximum participation, but it is a pipe dream. I'm not interested in endless meetings and discussions. Let other people take part in all that, and if I don't like what they decide then I will ignore it to the best of my abilities. I will not be alone in this. Most people will feel the same way. And so governance will be left to a small group of people with a larger group of advisors, all of whom are sanctioned by an ever-shrinking percentage of the population.
Hmmm....sounds an awful lot like modern liberal democracy.