Archive for 30 April 2009

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Sentenced to AA

Recently, a guy was shot to death while trying to rob an AA group in South Carolina. The shooter was an AA old-timer. An attorney who has remained sober since 1981, who was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon, and I think rightfully defending himself. The first question that came to my mind was why this AAer felt he needed to carry a gun to that meeting in the first place. It seems to me that if God helping this guy fix up his character flaws and stay away from the sauce, the least he could do was protect these steppers from being shot in a meeting. Couldn’t he have just added “please don’t let me get shot today” to his prayer and meditation?

This story, along with the story the FTG postedgot me thinking about what type of people attend AA meetings. Most people I know in AA are nice folks, even those zealots who have drank the religious kool-aid. AA’s policy is that they will accept any person who has a desire to quit drinking, which really should be amended to include the many AAers who have been ordered by the courts to attend. AA is free, so it costs nothing to send a person convicted of a crime to AA – at least not in terms of fees. It does cost in terms it being ineffective, and as a result those who attend to receive treatment wind up back where they started, and back in the court system. The revolving door of AA costs society an unthinkable amount of money.

Most AA meetings will include those who are not there by choice, but are there to get their “cards signed” as proof that they attended, and fufilled their sentencing requirement. One might assume these consist mostly of those convicted of impaired driving, but that isn’t the case. AA has become a dumping ground for criminals of every stripe, from wife beaters to off duty cops who beat the hell out of a fireman. Often, AA is used as pre-sentencing condition to prove to the court that a defendant is serious about getting help, as with this man who raped a 13 year old girl. The abuse excuse is alive an well in the courts, and AA has become the catch-all anecdote to just about any crime. Drunk drivers, wife beaters, muggers, robbers and a host of others have all found their absolution in AA. Blame it on the booze and you are almost certain of lessening your accountability, but you will ironically be forced to attend AA, who will hold you accountable for everything.

Some of the old-timers are among these scoundrals who were sentenced to AA and found religion. With time, these people become the leaders of various AA chapters. People who have failed at everything in their lives can thrive in AA. They become the sponsors, the arm twisters, the 13th steppers of the group. People who would never be allowed a license to become a therapist are counted among those who manipulate and control the lives of others. One might also think that there is shame in being sentenced to AA, but that is not always the case. Drunkalogs among the old-timers often become a pissing match as to who was the biggest scumbag before they found the religion of AA. This is when I have to actually agree with one AA slogan – “Take the alcohol out an asshole, and you still have an asshole”.

I don’t own a gun, and I’m not a big gun guy – but I don’t blame this guy for packing heat in his meeting. With AA, you never know who you might run into.

Sentenced to AA

"It's in the book"

Bullshit slogan of the day:
It’s in the book

Translation – any answer to any question or objection can be settled with a quote from the ‘Big Book’. The ‘Big Book’ is the bible of AA, and its authority is unquestioned, which is baffling when one considers its origin. This is nothing more than a compilation of stories put together by a group of religious zealots with no scientific understanding of alcoholism, many of whom actually failed in their own sobriety. AAs study the book as though they are holy scriptures, no different than a group will study The Bible in Sunday school. It is considered infallable. The final word.

The Pseudoscience of Alcoholics Anonymous

Mario Bunge is a physicist who has written on the characteristics of pseudoscience, science, and how to tell the different between the two. Below are some characteristics of pseudoscience according to Bunge, and how each characteristic applies to AA:

A field of pseudoscientific research is made up of a pseudo-community of researchers, which is a group of believers rather than an association of critical thinkers.

Research into the effectiveness of 12-Step programs is almost non-existent within the insular community of treatment centres and researchers who already believe in the AA approach. Much like a “creation scientist” reaches a conclusion (the earth is six-thousand years old and is created by God), and then fits their data within that framework; research that is done into the efficacy of 12-Step programs is done by 12-Step advocates who presuppose the idea that 12-Step treatment is effective. None are randomized, and none compare the effectiveness of an AA approach to recovery to other approaches, or to no program at all.

Many counselors are alcoholics who went through AA themselves and drank the kool-aid. Aftercare is nothing more than an assignment to a local AA group, and being assigned a sponsor who has no training, and who might be a psychological nutbag himself (or herself). Not only do they not promote critical thinking, they actively rail against it, and shut down any person who dared to come up with an original thought.

The society in which it exists supports it for commercial reasons, or tolerates it while simultaneously marginalizing it.

Alcoholics Anonymous positions itself as a benign, non-commercial, neutral organization. This cannot be further from the truth, as the rehab industry acts as AA’s commercial spokesman. AA is the lifeblood of the treatment industry, and the treatment industry is the lifeblood of AA. They feed off of each other, and are essentially one in the same. Organizations such as Continue reading The Pseudoscience of Alcoholics Anonymous