Pressing The Mute’s Buttons

A couple of months ago I wrote this post about AA’s tradition of anonymity, and how AAs use it (and break it) to suit their purposes. Among the reasons for breaking anonymity that I wrote about, were for spin control, and as as an abuse excuse. After reading this op-ed in the Cape Cod Times, I felt compelled to add a third reason: as an appeal for sympathy in order to bilk the good people of Massachusetts out of some more tax money.

Bill Wolfinbarer is an AA who also happens to be deaf, which is wholly irrelevant, aside from the fact that he is exploiting his disability to change public opinion over the recent Massachusetts repeal of an alcohol tax. Half of those tax proceeds were going to alcohol recovery programs, and no doubt the road to most of those programs led to AA. Apparently, some of those dollars were spent in paying for an interpreter for him to use during AA meetings. He is also using a near death experience, the survival for which he has labeled a “miracle,” as a way to pile on to his need for sympathy.

Now, in commenting on this piece of written lunacy, I could fixate on the obvious question – which is why would a god who is capable of intervening in Bill’s hospital treatment to breathe new life into him, and who is capable of ridding him from his alcohol addiction, not do anything about his lack of hearing? It seems to me that curing Bill’s deafness, instead of getting getting Bill to beg the people of Massachusetts to fork out $1.20 for every case of beer they buy, would be an easier way to go about doing this. I could also ask what seems to me to be an obvious question, and this is what does he mean when he writes, “…if there are no interpreters, we cannot grasp this lifeline and we cannot receive the gift of fellowship” ? What does he mean by, “lifeline”? Why would AA God™ give Bill a spiritual awakening that only a sign language interpreter could tell him about? I figured it would be something he would feel, but of course, I’m not AA God™, so what do I know.

I thought I would instead focus on his what he writes about the financial costs of addiction. Bill is arguing that there is a consequential cost to doing away with this sin tax that exceeds that of the actual tax – and that it would in the long-term be a lesser cost to the taxpayers if they had this tax, and therefore the funding for 12-step programs. The only flaw in this argument is, twelve-step programs don’t work. By any measure, they do absolutely nothing in helping people quit drinking. So, the colossal waste of taxpayer money is in funding programs like these to begin with. It is, after all, one of the primary reasons we have have this blog.

As a liberal do-gooder, the last thing I would advocate is the idea that we should not help people in need, including those with addiction issues. And as a person who at one time had a fairly severe problem himself, I certainly empathize with the need to help those in need of some assistance. I would like nothing more than to see people like Bill receive some sort of assistance, but only for methods that are proved to be effective. Or, at the very least, haven’t proven to be ineffective. The last thing I want is to have my tax dollars – and yes, I have paid them in Massachusetts – go to pay for someone to interpret religious dogma for the deaf. If this guy wants to worship some deity who fixates on alcoholics, but doesn’t look after after the needs of the poor and handicapped, then more power to him — but he isn’t doing it on my dime.  I’m more than willing to pay for the same service, if this guy were being treated with something besides spiritual voodoo.

  • Rick045

    The propaganda machine never rests.

    I guess this is a minor point, but the first thing I noticed was that he made sure to give top billing to DOCTOR Bob: "Seventy-five years ago, AA was founded by two recovering alcoholics, Dr. Bob and Bill W."

    I think it was SoberPJ who noticed that same technique being used in some of Hazelden's promotional materials awhile back.

  • truebeliever

    Why not tax AA and use the money to make an amends to the families of those who died under its care?

  • SoberPJ

    Yep, the lead with "Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, M.D" gives it an official air. Bill the lifelong loser was real lucky or conniving to have it work out that way. If it was the Bill and Ebby show, it never would have made it other than maybe as a tragic vaudville act.

  • lucy

    I was once in a closed meeting where a deaf person came with her non-member interpreter. The meeting voted to oust the interpreter after telling the deaf person that she was pleased to sit in silence so that God could speak to her. Then a row began between the people who voted against the expelling of the interpreter, and the people who voted to make her leave, which later led to the dissolution of the group.

    That would be the difference in MA and TX. Not only would the interpreter not be financed, but the AA meeting would kick her out for not being alcoholic.

    Both situations are crazy, but at least my tax dollars aren't paying for that particular crazy.

    My question would be – why the hell can't either one of them go to an online meeting? But I digress….

  • causeandeffect

    lucy said "The meeting voted to oust the interpreter after telling the deaf person that she was pleased to sit in silence so that God could speak to her." That is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard in my life.

    There is a deaf man who goes to a meeting I go to who has someone in the program interpret for him. He refuses to say "I'm an alcoholic". Good for him!!! I think he goes there only for his family and he doesn't seem happy about it.

    It's unfortunate there is no place for comments on this article in order to expose the fact that AA and treatment just don't work.

  • hulahoop

    lucy – I was once in a closed meeting where a deaf person came with her non-member interpreter. The meeting voted to oust the interpreter after telling the deaf person that she was pleased to sit in silence so that God could speak to her.

    WTF?? I thought that is what you are supposed to do at meetings. Let go and let God. Seek God's will and do it.

    I am all for tax dollars being paid to an interpreter if the deaf person is using a government service. I am also all for tax dollars being paid to teach deaf people the skills they need to be able to comunicate.

    AA is not a government service. It is a private entity according to what they tell the public. It should be up to them to provide an interpreter for this guy. It should be up to a church to provide an interpreter for someone in their flock. To me it is no different. Both are religious organizations.

    I am still struggling with the "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" question. It is a good, valid question. I've been giving it a lot of thought. The best I can figure is God is so busy dealing with alcoholics that he doesn't have time to heal amputees or deaf people.

  • honeybee

    Ok – what the heck – the dude breaks his anonymity AND takes a political stand, serious violations of AA's own published traditions (most of which Bill W. himself wrote because he himself had broken them and saw the consequences to the entire organization by breaking them, which is why he helped in writing out the traditions for the membership to respect as a whole). The dude can write so, therefore, I assume he can read. AA's traditions are clear that a) no breaking of anonymity at the level of PRESS, radio, and film; b) AA (which INCLUDES the individual members) has NO opinion on outside issues (i.e. outside issues such as sin-taxes so you can't say "well I'm in AA and so my opinion on this is …."); c) AA is fully self supporting (i.e. sin taxes should have no effect/affect on AA's financial survival or membership…do I need to go on?

    I'm sure the guy is all proud that he has the same Bill W. name as one of the two AA founders (and there were two, possibly 3,though that is left for debate). I'm sure he uses his time sober as an excuse to violate AA's traditions – something I see and hear frequently inside and outside of meetings. However, the author obviously has not actually read anything in AA's books (the big book OR the 12 &12 – both largely written by Bill W., not Dr. Bob, who played an editorial role along with about 11 to 12 others at that time – so yes Dr. Bob was a Dr. but couldn't stay sober until he had the help of a non-medical professional). If the author actually read AA's own literature and knew its history, he would know that his article is the opposite of humility and actually does more damage to AAs credibility (which it already has very little anyway) than an ex-con making off with a group's treasury money.

    Of interest to this forum, here's some direct quotes from GSO/ AA's own approved literature:

    "In the public media, however-such as TV, radio, films, press and the Internet- A.A. Traditions urge members to maintain strict anonymity, for three reasons:

    1) We have learned from our own experience that the active alcoholic will shun any source of help which might reveal his or her identity. 2) Past events indicate that those alcoholics who seek public recognition as A.A. members may drink again. 3) Public attention and publicity for individual members of A.A. would invite self-serving competition and conflict over differing personal views."

    Anonymity is not about self-serving secrecy, to break at the convenience of the individual member, but that's increasingly how it is used and understood by individual members.

    As I have said in other areas of this site, I'm not sure what I am a "member" of anymore. The more I learn about AA (the history and the facts), the more discrepancies I see between the principles of what should be happening or what AA was originally intended to be and what is actually happening with the organization as a whole right now (which means the problems of individual members, like the author of this Op-Ed piece). It kind of makes my stomach churn. In my experience, the 12 step program worked for me because I actually did the work and didn't just flap my lips about it. I can't speak for other 12 step programs, but I feel pretty confident about the one I followed in the AA book (which, unfortunately is not what other members do regardless of what they say they do – they look at the overview of the "steps" and try to apply those, not considering that the 12 steps are an overview to more implicit, direct instructions from the text – a style of writing common to the early 20th century, but that's a whole other story).

    @Lucy: Unfortunately any meeting can "vote" out a member – no matter how misguided and uninformed those members are. However, AA's tradition allows anyone to attend any meeting, but at "closed meetings" only AA members should participate, which means that a deaf member has every right to include an interpreter (whether or not that interpreter is a member) in order to ensure his or her full participation. As an interpreter (of other languages, not ASL), I can say the professionally I don't participate, I interpret (that's not the same as participating). So that meeting you went to was obviously full of a bunch of idiots.

    Don't worry all, AA is a self-flushing toilette. About every 3 years there's a new crop of BSer's ready to step in and flap their lips to anyone who will listen to them for more than five minutes just to puff up their own egos and make themselves out to be something they aren't.

    Happy Holidays and thanks again to everyone on the site for reading my posts.

  • SoberPJ

    Let's not forget HIS devotion to overeaters, those in debt, neurotics, and a myriad of other "diseases" that come before child starvation, amputees and AIDS. I find it fascinating that the same omnipotent God that can miraculously direct Willy to put down the cheesecake won't feed starving children. I guess god has priorities. Or, there is no god. If it's a plan, god is a moron.

  • Gunthar2000


    "In my experience, the 12 step program worked for me because I actually did the work and didn’t just flap my lips about it. I can’t speak for other 12 step programs, but I feel pretty confident about the one I followed in the AA book (which, unfortunately is not what other members do regardless of what they say they do – they look at the overview of the “steps” and try to apply those, not considering that the 12 steps are an overview to more implicit, direct instructions from the text – a style of writing common to the early 20th century, but that’s a whole other story)."

    I'm just sitting here wondering how you can just assume that those members for whom the program has failed were just flapping their lips. The program requires that you should turn your life and your will over to an invisible entity… which is actually impossible. If it was possible for you to turn your will over to anyone or anything you would no longer exists as a conscious entity. You'd either turn into a brain dead slug… or you'd become some kind of remote control robot. Remember, :Half measures availed us nothing." So, you are either 100% controlled by God, or you are a liar. It seems to me that anyone espousing such superstition should be regarded as the one's who are just flapping their lips, and those who have the guts to tell the truth about how the program doesn't work at all are actually the honest ones.

  • Martha

    @ SoberPJ…..

    Keep in mind that tallying the fall of every sparrow keeps the big guy very busy. Multitasking has never been on of his strong suits.

  • SoberPJ

    Introducing Mr Edward Current

  • causeandeffect

    SoberPJ, that is so hysterical!!! You can tell how well read he is by his extensive library, including the biology book so old it seems he needed a shovel to dig it up. He needed a shovel for quite a few other purposes. He must have been sitting in front of his copy of the bb. LOL

  • hulahoop

    Strangely enough it was my belief in God that kept me out of AA.

  • lucy

    Guys – yes, it actually happened and yes there are other groups which welcome the deaf, including some all deaf groups here in Dallas.

    This particular group was dominated by a self-proclaimed "Traditions Nazi" who proudly

    proclaimed that the interpreter did not belong in a closed meeting, (He also proclaimed that men should wear ties and women dresses to meetings as a way of showing AA was "in the mainstream." Some people knew he was nuts and others followed his teachings to the letter. (He was later expelled and started his own "Traditions" group).

    I apologized to the two of them and left with them. I never went back to that particular group, but I know others (batshit crazy "others") who are regular members.

    AA is full of petty tyrants who fail so badly at their own lives that AA that they need little fiefdoms in AA. That "Traditions Nazi" is still around and still covers the speaker circuit. He sponsor scores of men, and is crazier than a hoot owl.

    And Sober PJ is righ in many wayst. AA flushes the crazies from the mainstream and into the toilet.

  • Gunthar2000


    Something similar happened at a meeting in Webster Massachusetts that I attended.

    A new member brought his therapist with him, because he felt uncomfortable going to the meeting alone. The meeting was a discussion group, and speakers were chosen "shotgun style" which is something they've been doing a round here for just the past few years. When a speaker is finished they choose the next speaker at random by pointing at them. So, someone chose this guys therapist and she introduced herself as just that…. his therapist. One of the local AA Nazis (a greasy haired toothless moron known for attending several meetings a day at that particular clubhouse) immediately shut her down, citing the traditions. Then he chose the next speaker and that turned out to be me, so I chose her again, explaining that I thought it was rude not to allow her to speak. The other guy stepped in and tried to control the group… I got up and walked out, and half of the group went with me.

  • Johnny Crash NYC

    Everywhere we go in this life there will be Tradition people in a sense that they are control freaks …. I,ve learned through trial and error to let them be them and to avoid them as for getting kicked out or banned from a meeting …. they have their rules I have mine I don’t talk share or reach out I go only to kill a night …have a couple of laughs …reinforce my belief that they are all going in circles …watch people I dont like suffer…and am truly happy I’m free of cult behavior and can watch them the same way I would watch fish in a tank …. really entertainment only and to let a few old friends know I’m doing fine after AA ….

    Cheerios ….

  • JD

    sorry victims, try harder to get over it someday. spending so many years going after people staying sober in AA is only rational if you need a villian for staying sick. AA must be bad, has to be absolutely terrible in all respects for your fucked up lifes to make sense. eh, Gunther?

    if it were not, and people were actually staying sober their lifetimes because they are willing to do what you refuse to do, well that would make you a total fool to insist on remaining a nut case, whining about the evil AAs. it must be just awful, and the people involved have to be scum, especially and particularly the ones with decades of comfortable sobriety.

    keep up the babytalk victims, as if that might be a solution to your dispair. and stay the hell away from AA. makes me ill to read how uniformly are drawn repeatedly to meetings. if you insist on being injured by listening to your betters, then you get no pity for the self-inflicted injury. better for all concerned if you stay angry and sick somewhere else alone or fanning each other's anger between drunks.

    get a different hobby, or if you prefer to continue to stay the way you are, then I wish you a loooong lifetime.

  • Mona Lisa

    JD: Thank you for reminding me why we are here, and why what we do is so important.

  • SoberPJ

    My, My seems like somebody missed their serenety nap today.

    I just noticed how bossy some AA's can be. Their knowledge of how to live must be so great that they intuitively know how to handle things that used to baffle them and with that knowledhe, they love to make suggestions about what others should do –

    try harder to get over it someday

    keep up the babytalk victims

    stay the hell away from AA

    better for all concerned if you stay angry and sick somewhere else …

    get a different hobby

    Are they all this bossy and negatively opinionated? Whatever happened to "live and let live"? JD is a fine, fine example of the true meaning of happy, joyous and free, AA style.

  • My thoughts, exactly Mona.

    JD's Serenity Sant is nasty as hell, sanctimonious, and sadistic. It displays a dark and willful ignorance and revels in the ugly and debased. Utterly corrupt.

    Comments like this should go into a file called, "Still Wondering If AA's For You?" This is what spiritual awakening looks like.

  • JD

    nah boys and girls, I did the deal you're doing now in the '70s. it got old and weary for me as it will for you.

    you can only ignore your failures at staying sober for so long, eventually bits and pieces of reality seep through. does take longer if you're staying nicely pilled up or loaded, but ultimately fails.

    funny as hell whenever some anti slinks back into the rooms under some variety of heat.

    see you bozos around.

  • causeandeffect

    Poor, Poor, Poor little JD, just can't accept that anyone can stay sober without his 40 year old drunkalog. Just the thought of it would really make him want to drink!!! Sorry JD, you might want to make at least 3 meetings today or you might relapse over it. All on this site are succeeding at staying sober and much happier without AA and the drunkalog you keep repeating over and over and over ad infinitum. AA has such a high failure rate and you really know that, you just can't be honest with yourself enough to admit it, silly!

  • tintop

    Ah, another drive by rant from an 'aa person'. well played, jd.

  • causeandeffect

    Don't worry, he'll come crawling back when his AA habit makes him desperate enough. They almost always do.

  • Mike

    Hey JD, you and your ilk will someday have to answer to JC. Does the term white-washed tomb ring a bell?

  • Gunthar2000


    You tried like hell, but no matter what you say, you'll never have any impact on the way that I feel about myself. Ya see… I've seen this type of thing before… I know what it is… It's an attempt to use peoples problems against them… It's an attempt to cause people to feel insecure about themselves… It's a fine example of how low AA zealots will go to recruit new members.

    I know because I've seen it a thousand times. If you can't get them to follow you, disturb them. If they're feeling insecure about themselves they may just come crawling back to you with their tails between their legs begging you to solve their life problems for them.

    The fact is, we all have problems. Life is a series of problems to be solved. Since I've left AA I've worked at looking at life's problems objectively. I try not to allow myself to become overwhelmed. I try to direct my energy toward actually solving the problems, rather than pissing and whining that my problems are unfair, or greater than the problems experienced by others. I've learned that the condition of my life is largely the result of the decisions that I make. I can choose to wallow in self-pity and fear, or I can choose to accept the challenge and follow through with a plan of action.

    This is a much different perspective than the one that I was taught to believe at AA.

    AA taught me that I was an inherently dysfunctional and diseased person. AA taught me that I was incapable of managing my own life… that I needed to learn to depend on an invisible being to solve my problems for me. According to AA, the solution to my problems was more devotion to AA… According to AA, most of my problems existed because I was worried about myself… If I could just forget about my goals… show up and make the coffee… devote my life to carrying AA's message, I'd soon discover that those things I wanted were not the things that I really needed.

    You see? I've heard this all before. As far as I'm concerned, It's all bullshit. I've seen first hand the effects of letting go… and letting God. I've seen your shell game… I've seen the bait and switch. Everything that you say… every insult… every cheap shot… every accusation… I've seen it all before. I have no interest in devoting my life to AA, and that decision was easy to make when the veil was lifted and I was finally able to recognize how selfish and destructive AA members can be when it comes to peddling their useless spirit-ware.

    These days, my primary goal in life is not to spend every evening in a dirty church basement talking out of both sides of my mouth. I have no desire to deceive myself, and I'm too fucking smart to allow a maladjusted, self-proclaimed social worker like yourself to direct my life.

  • Ben Franklin

    Just Dumb,

    Hey you started out with an ad hom,right back at ya! Why don't you go play here:

    or here:
    These are more like your fellas. Hell Dick will even sell you some indulgences ( look it up yourself, it might take awhile because you don't come across as very intelligent).

  • Commonsense

    @Gunthar – I like your points about seeing and hearing it many times before. I remember the Hare Krishnas, Moonies, and other such groups in the 1970s. Often initially very nice but also very strange people. Many years later, I got that same feeling the first AA meeting that I went to – nice, but strange. As time went on, things seemed less strange but also got less nice. Thankfully, I never got the thought out of my head that I had seen and heard this same type of thing many times before. Experience and a little common sense goes a long way.

  • hulahoop

    JD's display here was one I saw repeated in the rooms. It is a strange mix of comical, digusting, and pathetic here but it can be quite intimidating in person. Especially for the shy, fragile newcomer.

    I hope a potential AA member finds this forum and reads the comments these drive bys make. That should be more than enough to make someone think twice about joining.

  • hh, I am going to take the time to cull these and post them in one place. It will be a new year project.

  • hulahoop

    ftg – That is an excellent idea. I hope more of them will stop by and add their comments to it.

    Ben – I took a quick look at those two websites you posted. I am speechless.

  • I'll start a thread, and maybe we can all cull the comments for these Serenity Bombs and post them in the comments with their links. Then I'll add a new page, "Is AA For You?"

    I thought for second that it would stop the AA drive-bys, but then I remembered that they don't read.

  • hulahoop

    It just goes to show there are some bullies in the rooms who can't for someone to come "crawling back" after a relapse so they can gloat about how fucking wonderful the program is and "how they told them so."

    There were many, many things I didn't understand about AA. So much of it is becoming crystal clear to me now. I guess I was naive and wearing rose colored glasses. Now I understand why one of the first questions asked at a meeting is, "Is there anyone here who is coming back after going out?" At the time I thought it was so that person could be helped. Now I know it's a way to put fear in the others and also a reason for some to feel superior because that is all they have in their pathetic excuse of a life.

    So thank you for stopping today, JD. I now understand something about AA I didn't quite get before thanks to you.

  • tintop

    jd is weak. If he were not weak, he would never have come here.

    AA is full of dirty little secrets. One of them is that tough guys such as jd do not actually care about very much of anything.. They have no interest at all in who comes or who goes. AA only needs a few people to keep it going.

  • causeandeffect

    HH said "they can gloat about how fucking wonderful the program is and “how they told them so.” Actually its so they can gloat about how great they are and how strong their program is.

    Last night a new guy was saying how he needed a ride to meetings. Several men at the meeting showed just how willing they are to help another alcoholic by refusing to give this guy a ride, saying things like "if you put as much effort into getting sober as you did in drinking…." or "I had to walk to meetings when I first got sober, so…." etc., etc. Nice.

    Yes, JD sure was "restless, irritable and discontent" and you know what that means.

    Soooomebody neeeeds a boooowel moooovement!

  • SoberPJ

    Oh wait,… maybe he’s not a real alcoholic. That would explain why the program never actually worked for him. Ya gotta start at the absolute bottom to get the real benefit you know. God prefers real, hopeless, powerless alcoholics, unlike the heavy drinkers that haven’t totally messed up their lives. I feel badly for him. It must be hard living right next to god’s grace but never actually getting the good stuff.

    “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of the normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.” I guess that according to the BB he’s in a state of being poisoned.

  • Gunthar2000

    Anyone else read the orange-papers letters lately?

    They are peeling off in droves!

    Every other letter is like… "Thank God I've found you! Now I am sure that I'm not crazy!"

  • Martha

    cause and effect said: "Last night a new guy was saying how he needed a ride to meetings. Several men at the meeting showed just how willing they are to help another alcoholic by refusing to give this guy a ride, saying things like “if you put as much effort into getting sober as you did in drinking….” or “I had to walk to meetings when I first got sober, so….” etc., etc. Nice."

    I'll bet that somehow in those Bill soaked brains they think that giving the guy a ride is a form of enabling. That word has become so abused by steppers that it is becoming the 21st century word for not helping a fellow human being. This was addressed recently by Orange in response to a letter writer. Maybe in the long run it will be good that that man cannot find a ride to meetings. Maybe it will encourage that guy to seek some real help and avoid a lifetime of dealing with the likes JD and others who draw their energy from using people's problems against them and get validation from seeing others fail.

  • hulahoop

    I spend the time I used to spend going to meetings exploring and learning about alternatives to AA. I read the Orange Papers everyday. I've learned a lot there. There are a lot of things I haven't been able to read because of the amount information on the site. Right now I reading about debating techniques. It is a very interesting read. The "Lizard Brain" monster really helped me a lot.

    @C/E – I am surprised none of those old timers would give the new guy a ride. What a perfect opportunity to have a captive audience. I am stunned they let it go.

  • SoberPJ

    I really liked G2K's post that started out with "You tried like hell, but no matter what you say, you’ll never have any impact on the way that I feel about myself."

    It encapsulated a ton of good stuff.

    Brahvhoe dhoode !

  • truebeliever

    G2K, it's like the Y2K of AA on ST!

  • Gunthar2000

    Thanks fellow stinkin' thinkers… You've made my day.

  • causeandeffect

    Yes, it was an excellent response, Gunthar. I was most impressed and meant to comment on it earlier but got busy w/ other things. Mad respect to you!!!

  • Martha

    The drive by steppers who post here sound exactly like some of the letters sent to Orange. It would be interesting to hear how some of the cult members found this blog. It seems like it really puts a bee in their serenity bonnet and they become powerless to resist witnessing here for Bill W. I think deep down they want what we have which is simply the ability to be sober without having to waste time brain dead cult meetings for the rest of our lives. I don’t need to pray that I make it through another day without a drink. I know with absolute certainty that I won’t drink and that decision is 100% my own accomplishment. They have been convinced that they lack that power and that is the real tragedy that is AA. I am proud that I exude self confidence and in doing so I have been an example to others who have decided to avoid AA. Over Christmas I met a man who is doing his 90 in 90. He heard that I had become sober and just assumed that I must be in AA and said “it is nice to meet another person in recovery” I told him I do not consider myself to be in recovery, that abstinence is sobriety and about how SMART had worked for me. He was pleasantly surprised to hear about an alternative to AA and said he will visit the SMART website, Stinkin Thinkin and The Orange Papers. We had a long conversation and he really heard me when I told him not to allow anyone to undermine his confidence and self will. This was my holiday version of carrying the message and hopefully at least planting some seeds of doubt for another person about AA . JD is likely aware that we are peeling people away from AA and would like to somehow intimidate us in the manner learned in the cult and spreading his Bill s**t.

  • OMFG! How have I missed this JD character before? ROTHFLMAO! Thanks, man! I’ve been giddy all day, you just put my favorite nuts and a cherry on top of the super sundae that is my life now that I left your CULT!

    Real quick, would ya mind keeping your shit to yourself? I’m sorry you are mistaking ownership of our hearts, lives and minds as “victimized” That, my poor man, would be your label.

    Kudos to the state of MASS for removing a this sin tax. My home state continues to make me proud. I miss it, really. Too bad about the snow, that’s all that keeps me away.

    Thanks MA for your well written response to your article.

    I am a “do-gooder too”, but I do not support any money given to a religious CULT that hurts 97% of the folks who go there (not gaining control of their emotions and lives = HURT).

    Speaking of money, the clubhouse in Ocean Beach counts heads and passes the basket around again, if they don’t collect enough cash to make rent. Of course, the rent is calculated with CENTRAL OFFICE’S PIECE of the pie figured in. Last I heard, secretaries are asking people to double their donation from $1 to $2, due to inflation.

    If I had done what my sponsor in THE CULT told me to do, I would have spent entire days in meetings. At TWO bucks a pop, I’d be dropping 10 bucks a day in the basket. When I mentioned this to my sponsor, she said “GOD” will provide what I need. Reminded me of that one time, when I was told to give 10% of my income to the Church-all I got was BROKE.

    Nowadays, I spend my time painting, writing, traveling and taking actions to make myself and the community better. I wonder how poor, miserable JD spends his days? I wouldn’t trade with him for all the money in the world. Nope. I’m supa dupa happy in my own skin, living my life to the fullest . THANKS.

    I hope you guys had a wonderful holiday. I missed yous. Here’s to a *KILLA* 2011.


  • Rick045

    Hulahoop wrote, "JD’s display here was one I saw repeated in the rooms. It is a strange mix of comical, digusting, and pathetic here but it can be quite intimidating in person. Especially for the shy, fragile newcomer."

    Watching that kind of behavior repeat itself played a big part in driving me away from AA. The only thing more disgusting is how the "decent" members will continuously make excuses for those types. Part of the reason for that is because those more rational members get to appear like saints compared to the Neanderthals. The newcomers damaged by the bullies will often run to the "decent" types who get to assume the "healer" role. I never saw any of the "decent" members confront the bullies about their behavior. I never saw those bullies pick on anyone with more "time" than they had either.

    I'm glad to see people like JD drive by. He's just as much a part of the AA show as anyone else, but it's a part that the "decent" members would rather keep in the church basements…

  • Mike

    @Rick: [The only thing more disgusting is how the “decent” members will continuously make excuses for those types.]

    Evil flourishes when good people remain silent. I was one of those people. It was a combination of laziness, complacency and cowardice that kept me quiet. I suspect it's much the same for others who stand by and watch.

  • Primrose

    Mike, you are right about good people staying silent. Having said that, I am not brave enough to go to a meeting and say something. The power of a group, especially a group peopled by vulnerable new people who are being lovebombed (Could we have a thread on the practise of 'lovebombing?') and people who know that criticism is dealt with by subtle shunning, and attacks, and mockery.

  • Primrose

    The power of a group… is immense. The desire to fit in is immense. The desire for the approval of the group is immense. Not just in AA, but in 'groups'. I think that is why AAs can't stay and post here (except AoC, I think). The atmosphere of this group is very anti-AA, so moderate ones will feel ridiculed and mocked by us, and leave. Maybe we should politely direct them to 'essential reading', and 'FAQs' if they are only demonstrating their (easily fixed if they are willing to do a fairly small amount of reading) ignorance. It might help them look a little closer at what they are part of.

  • Primrose

    The ones like the one above do not communicate effectively enough to have a conversation. I'd like to see more moderate aas encouraged to make their points, and hear how they feel about the 'Why I left AA stories…', if they have read them. And if they haven't, why the heck not?

    Talk to them about the 'cultlike characteristics of AA'. Etc.

  • Martha

    Primrose, you are right that speaking up in a meeting is likely a wasted effort, but we can talk to individuals outside of AA meetings and online. The man I spoke to on Christmas Day who was doing his 90 in 90 (voluntarily) told me last night that reading this blog and about the origins of AA at the O.P. was a revelation to him. Up to this point nobody else had validated his belief that only he can keep himself sober. He expressed the same frustration that myself and others had about those first meetings where questions about how to remain sober are met with "work the steps, come to meetings."

    One thing I am considering doing to spread our message is to print out some leaflets with information about this website and others and to post it around AA meeting halls and maybe even sneak the leaflets into some Big Books, Twelve Traditions and other literature. If I had the stomach to go to meetings I might consider giving leaflets to new comers. People come to meetings for the first time expecting to get helpful information about how to quit and they need to hear that self empowerment is their most valuable tool. When posting or talking about why AA does not work I think it is important to always mention the several alternatives to AA. Steppers have accused me of being nihilistic towards AA so I have become conscious about promoting SMART, RR, SOS and others.

  • Rick045

    @Mike, I certainly regret that I did my share of that too. I had to watch certain patterns repeat themselves for a long time before I realized what was happening. I was watching what I would have considered unacceptable behavior in any other context happen repeatedly in AA. Simply admitting that to myself was a painful process. For me, it was like realizing that my instincts had been right all along, but I had been terrified to trust them. It's easy to remain distracted by the drama in AA too. Once I quit thinking about having anything to "contribute", or whether I "fit in" or not was when I really just shut down and observed. They would much rather that people "get involved" than simply have them observe and seriously think about what is actually happening around them…

  • Primrose

    Martha, Gunther had the great idea of putting little stickers in library copies of the bb and other aa literature. You are dead right that they should contain more than this site and the ops, which was my first thought..SMART/RR/SOS…. what are the other very main ones, if any. Most people who go to aa are vulnerable and wanting help with their drinking. Unfortunately they will get neither in the rooms and yes, all leaftlets/stickers should contain these.

    'Do you feel freaked out by having to go to aa for the rest of your life?

    Do you look at the senior members of AA and want what they have?

    Do you feel uncomfortable about describing yourself as suffering from a disease that doesn't exist? A disease sypmtoms included declaring that one doesn't have it?

    Here are some sites that help people deal with their problem drinking.

  • truebeliever

    I see a shift happening as a result of my speaking up at meetings.

    I went to a meeting last night where I have spoken on the drawbacks of AA. While there was one stepper there who disagreed with me, the consensus is shifting to that of using AA as a social support for not drinking without the steps. A few folk who were “chronically relapsing in their disease” are now simply sober people who go to meetings to see friends and garner support. Another two members heard a statement I made about harm reduction and used it to their advantage in combination with meetings but without steps and prayer. Yet another person heard a statement that I made on conditioned response. He realized that this was part of a dynamic in AA and his family, he claimed his conditioned response of failure and anger would promote his “relapse”. The conditioned response in AA is to save others and be “of service”. Going to meetings and stating my objection without attack has been effective here, it has garnered the response of service in the group. I will continue to occasionally drop by meetings to share. I refuse to have “save the world attitude” about it.

    Simply stated…

    A healthy program would allow anyone with a desire to stop drinking or using drugs for any period of time to be a part of any group to achieve any goal. That means with or without steps, sponsorship, or god.

    If they don’t understand that , replace “a healthy program” with “a loving god of your understanding”.

  • Primrose

    You must be a lot braver than me, tb. The oldtimers scare me with their intensity. As I said, groups are powerful. I hardly dare speak up even online, except here.

  • truebeliever

    Someone who claims love and tolerance as their code can't scare me.

  • SoberPJ

    Um..those who claim love and tolerance as their code and then don't practice it are conflicted at best and psychotic at worst – psychotics scare me. You simply have no way of knowing who or what you are dealing with in AA. Caution is always advisable when dealing with these folks.

  • Martha

    Primrose, Some of the old timers are practiced at using scare tactics when you raise questions about the AA way. The type of intimidation I saw was when they said that questioning AA can kill people. To the extent they really believe that it gives them justification to say or do just about anything to silence "dangerous ideas."

    Even though I am hopeful that we are reaching people I sometimes become discouraged about what a monumental undertaking it is to oppose AA. Their benevolent image seems to be jealously guarded by the media and counseling professions. It can be so overwhelming that sometimes our efforts can be like that feeling you get when you try to run in a dream…where you put in a lot of effort to run faster, but not get anywhere. That feeling is tempered when I new people tell of having their eyes opened by this site or the OPs, but that still seems like slow progress sometimes. There are all these accounts of anything from violent assault by sponsors to attempted molesting of children yet the media has not picked up on this enough. If any other organization produced this many incidents they would not get a free pass, but AA currently is given the benefit of the doubt much like the Catholic priesthood used to get. Perhaps one day the public image of AA will shatter in the same manner as befell the Catholic Church.

  • Primrose

    I keep the catholic comparison in my head. The people who keep know and keep quiet are guilty. This is why I think that st needs to send their own version of the letter that aa sends periodically to 'Our Friends in the Media'. If st sent an alternative version of the same, the media could not plead ignorance. Anyone got a copy of it?

  • howlermonkey

    If I went back to my old meeting and raised some of the points truebeliever did, I would probably receive a couple broken ribs for my trouble, at least. There was one guy there who played the "enforcer" role, and he hinted several times about his willingness and desire to use violence on people who questioned AA or didn't come to enough meetings. He had 27 years "sober," and nobody spoke against him.

    He works at the same large organization that I do, though in a completely different department. I see him around every month or so and he glares at me. Not enough for me to file a workplace harassment claim, but enough to let me know what he'd like to do to me. But I doubt that I'm the first one to get this kind of treatment from him.

    This is a meeting filled with affluent and educated people who meet in an expensive neighborhood of a big East Coast city. Nobody looks scary at first sight. Very upper crusty. But they will protect their collective delusion at all costs, and they're happy to have a large ex-frat-boy thug around to make sure nobody harshes their AA GOD buzz.

  • Gunthar2000

    There's been lots of talk about drawing up some documents lately.

    We've set up a forum to be used as a kind of workshop to help turn these ideas into action.

    I guess a few people are working individually to get this done… maybe.

    I'm sure in time we'll have the documents we've been speaking of so often.

    I guess it takes a lot of hard work and collaboration to get something like this off the ground. Who's in charge of the media document project?

  • Martha

    Besides threats and intimidation there are also cases where real harm is done in the name of not wanting to enable someone or the belief that people need to hit a bottom. At one AA meeting a member was boasting that she refused to help a friend who had become homeless. The person had stopped drinking, but she called him a "dry drunk" She did have the resources to give the guy a temporary roof over his head, but she thought being on the streets would make him hit a bottom and then seek out AA. She seemed quite pleased with herself that her "friend" was living in a homeless mission. I gently suggested to her that homeless shelters can be dangerous places and that a situation like that could encourage someone to drink again. She said that if he did not find his way to AA he would die anyway. If that is what her higher power has done for her then I say her higher power is pretty worthless.

  • Primrose

    Yes howler. And you are in the UK, where I am told things are a lot less crazy than in America. Thanks Gunther. Howler, if you knew that there was a very expensive public school (not that the cost matters, but for £25k pa, I would like to think that 'pastoral care' meant more than bussing pupils to aa meeting; at that price I would expect audiences with the Pope/Dalai Lama/Archbishop of Canterbury) that does bus schoolchildren to meetings, wearing their school sweatshirts, what would you do? I know which school it is (from sweatshirts) and I have done nothing. I am guilty of doing nothing. I have no idea what the school are thinking of, but the kids all looked ridiculously enthusiastic, as if they were at a concert, or something.

    What would any of you do?

  • SoberPJ

    "But they will protect their collective delusion at all costs" while at the same time preach how they are supposed to stop fighting anyone or anything. It's totally psychotic.

  • Martha

    @ Mike, I sometimes like to visualize those thugs coming across this blog an blowing a gasket over what we say. it is very pleasing to think of their outrage and that there is nothing they can do about the fact that we are undermining AA and that we say quite clearly that we want to derail the programs people are working. There they sit fuming and being totally powerless to stop us. Just turn it over, stepper.

  • Primrose

    can't log in to the STOP page. Do I press sign in or login or what? I would love to contribute it.

  • Gunthar2000


    You can register by clicking "register" way down at the bottom right hand corner of the main page.

    If you are already a member, click "sign in" at the top right hand corner of the forum page and a few options will appear.

    I think that this is how it works.

  • Mike

    @Martha: Ain't the Internet and the First Amendment grand?

  • causeandeffect

    @ Mike

    I know of some old timers from NY that report of people being slammed against a wall if they didn't conform correctly, maybe 20-30 or more years ago. And NYers are proud of their original AA inheritance. Since the Oxford Group took extra pride in converting the more criminal types, I think the same goes for AA, although now they have judges do their work for them

  • Mike


    …I can believe it. And since Buchman was cozy with the likes of Reichsführer Himmler, we can just imagine how far the steppists would go given a chance to really tough-love us doubters. "Recovery macht frei" anyone?

  • causeandeffect

    They scare me. I don't have the courage to say anything in a meeting like truebeliever or massiveattack. But I do fantasize, I really mean fantasize, about going to a meeting and pointing out the obvious of why nothing in AA works. Like saying, some people who do the steps relapse, yet some who never do the steps stay sober, so, nope, it can't be the steps. So it must be God, (wish I knew how to insert that trademark symbol). Yet some who get on their knees everyday relapse and some who are atheists never do, so nope, it can't be God, etc, etc, then running like hell and getting to to a taxi that will speed me away.

  • causeandeffect

    Oh, yeah, that would be an out of town meeting so I don't get beat up in Wal-Mart. In fact, a tour of meetings in the US, Canada, and UK would be nice for starters.

  • Mike

    …and if anyone reading this thinks we are engaging in a lot of hyperbole, check out this long running thread at…. There's two nuts who post there named McGowDog and Tony J who are apt to make veiled physical threats after they are prodded into the intellectual corner. It's kind of funny at times but also has an unsettling air to it.

  • 75 comments is pretty outta hand…impressive! so, i can see why. this post killed me. yep, the aa god gives him the miraculous program yet forgets to help the dood with his hearing. well, we all know that our higher powers work in mysterious ways. i am still rattled by the post above, the shitty recovery school. fuck, i went to look at one in bath , maine (? i think) as a teen. my dad is a lunatic, but seriously, thank god for him. without him, i woulda gone to rehab after smoking pot like three times. my mother, merry christmas grandmom, is a douchebag who should have her expensive teeth knocked the f out. sorry, i get a little nutty around xmas. i have a few bad memories i struggle with, see. 🙂

  • "you can only ignore your failures at staying sober for so long, "

    but ahhh, what if i am sober? i am so confuuust, did you mean the "aa sober" or "real world sober" in what yuo said, that mean thing. Lawd, talk about projection. seriously, in my twenties (that was the 90s just dumb, i n case you wanted to know) i listened to creepfucks like you and LISTENED. i am so finished with this now. have a lovely life. and enjoy your aa coffin, life is over once yer in aa as far as i am concerned…

  • Gunthar2000


  • howlermonkey

    @Primrose – Actually, I'm a Yank, never even been to the UK, though I hope to before long. I guess I used the phrase "upper crusty." We have social classes here too, we just don't talk about them much.

    Re: your question about what to do when a group of kids shows up at a meeting. I think that's equally relevant in the US or UK. I saw this once in my short AA tenure, and it was one of the creepiest meetings I ever attended. These were kids who were already imprisoned in some sort of residential program. Most had bought in pretty heavily and were badly damaged as a result. Watching all those kids beat themselves up and undermine themselves at such a young age was truly sickening.

    I was only just beginning to question what AA was really about when this happened, so there was no way I could have warned these kids about what steppism was doing to them. Really, I was learning from them at that point. But if found out now that there was going to be a group of school-kids bussed to my old meeting, I'd like to think that I would have the courage to show up and deliver a message about what AA really is and really does to people. Because even if one or two kids heard THAT message, it might be worth a couple broken ribs or a black eye. I'm being hypothetical, and I can't prove that I'm actually that brave, but I hope I could talk myself into it.

  • truebeliever

    I think all the efforts posted here are good ones; AA zealots are a deadly breed. I use caution when confronting them directly and won’t accept invitations to be set up. The printable PDF that FTG is working on, letters, pamphlets, and the internet all contribute to exposing the dangers shrouded in the program. The greater good is no longer outweighed by the casualties who fall victim to Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Face it, if there was no problem with AA there would be no posters here.

  • Primrose

    Howler, I have long confused you with another poster who is in the uk. I know what town he is in so I was definitely wondering on the second reading what the East Coast was (North Sea, here). I know what upper crust means but crusty here means youngish hippyish tramp, sort of. Thanks for answering my dilemna, which I am thinking about more in the context of the 'good men staying silent' part of the thread. I am thinking of sending an email.

  • JD

    talk about some windy bullshit! you guys can't get it said in less that 20 pages? here's a bit of help condensing it…

    'We hate AAs for staying sober while we can't seem to go long without puking on our shoes. We like to bitch and moan about AA constantly because it makes us feel better for being drunken losers. We feel AA is responsible for us puking our guts out several times a month. AAs are mean, because they don't care how we feel or consider our ideas regarding what it takes to live sober at all worthwhile, probably because of the booze on our breath when we babble them out.'

    that should about cover it. feel free to copy and paste that here about 20x a day, and cross your fingers that doing that keeps a drink out of your hands for more than 20 minutes. or in Gunthar's sorry case keeps him from fighting with every 3rd person that crosses his path.

    were you able to argue your way through the anger management class G, or did they boot your ass out for being a surly nutcase? my money's on the latter.

  • tintop

    jd is impersonating a tough guy. You have a nice whine going here sunshine.

  • Martha

    JD mentions anger management class as if they have any value. Anger is a natural and healthy human emotion that AA tries to shame out of people. Anger can be a useful motivation to change things in our lives or in the world at large. I know in meetings people will say that someone is angry as it it were a bad thing to be angry. Many of us are indeed angry about what AA does to people and we are channeling that justified anger to bring about some change. We do not apologize for being angry. We have a right to be matter of factually angry and to say so when we are with total impunity. I would be royally pissed if I was ordered to go to a class to have my anger managed. I manage my emotions quite well thank you. I would tell any prosecutor or judge who would send me to anger management to shove it where the sun don't shine.

  • JD, Your mom… I mean, your sponsor is calling. She says you need a meeting, and wants you to drop by to clean up a few hairballs on your way.

    She's dying to hear you cry through your drunkalog for the hojillionth time.

    <img src=""/&gt;

  • DeConstructor

    Somehow I sense -through JDs projection of true serenity-

    Some very real frustration by members of the AA faith at the phenomenal success of this site, and also sense the questions we ask here are impossible for them to answer.

    The unfortunate thing is those who have died, the American Holocaust, due to the misinformation promoted by the AA faith. The goods news is anyone who spends any time here will never look at the AA faith the same EVER AGAIN.

  • causeandeffect

    JD, you've returned!!! Well JD the joke is on you. I'm laughing. We are all sober. Every last one of us. If we weren't, this site wouldn't be legible, now would it? But that's all you have is baseless accusations and nobody here cares what you think. You are fun to play with though. Actually, we're here for the other 95% who go to AA, encounter the likes of you, and run screaming. And those who stay…. well, they're just terrified that if they don't grit their teeth and tolerate you, they will drink and die. But you and your kind usually drive them to it anyway. Nobody needs AA to stay sober and certainly not to be happy.

  • causeandeffect

    Oh, how I wish I could see JD's angry dance right now. LMFAO

  • Dick B.

    At the moment, I'm getting a lot of visits to my website from stinkin thinkin devotees==usually emanating from some attack dog who accuses me of selling indulgences or some other nonsense. My comment about appreciating A.A. is simply that there is a great deal more than A.A. in sobriety and life. Early AAs knew that, and I am very thankful for the friends and support I received in A.A. when I was the sickest. That's the kind of support I pass along–certainly not the "wisdom of the rooms." I never encountered the angry remarks until the internet blogs made anonymous insults a new mode of entertainment.

  • truebeliever

    Still sober here JD but thanks for asking, haven't puked in 14 years.

    Part of why AA sucks is because it confuses the disadvantaged.

    Thanks for helping our cause!

  • Martha

    causeandeffect said:

    "Oh, how I wish I could see JD’s angry dance right now. LMFAO"

    Remember AAs don't get angry and if they do they have to reset their birthday.

  • SoberPJ

    No Dick, what you pass along is self-indulgent proselytizing money making bullshit ! You always post links to the shit you sell asswipe. You are as transparent as your own hot air. You are not only indoctrinated you are an indoctrinator, pure and simple. When you look in the mirror do you see a savior or a self-promoting AA pimp?

  • tintop

    well, dickb, i am sure that were people in aa who were kind to you. i do not doubt that. but, that describes their qualities; it does not describe aa.

  • hulahoop

    JD! You are back to share some of your thought provoking insights with us. I was hoping you would come back because I have a few questions for you. I wanted to ask these questions at meetings, but got the feeling I shouldn't. You know, when in Rome… Anyway, since you have decided join us here in an open forum I hope answering a few easy questions won't be too much of a problem for you. I am being sincere and hope you will take the time to respond.

    Okay, first question –

    Why was I told to be rigorously honest but to fake it until I make it? Faking is deceptive and being deceptive isn't being rigorously honest.

    Second question –

    How come everyone labels themselves as an alcoholic each time before they speak? It always seemed a little redundant to me considering were at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

    Third question –

    How come God (higher power) heals people from their alcohol addiction but not their smoking and caffiene addictions?

    Fourth question –

    How do I know when God is actually speaking to me or when it is me doing own thinking again?

    These are only a few of the questions I have. I didn't want to overwhelm you though. I realize you are probably very busy with AA meetings and spreading the word to other alcoholics. Thanks in advance!

  • howlermonkey

    Has anyone ever encountered an aa who could actually spell out how the 12 steps got him or her sober? I never did, not even one who didn't make sense.

    I wish one of the steppers who drive through here would try this some time. It would make for an actual debate. Maybe.

  • howlermonkey

    @Primrose – sorry about my confusion too. Good luck with your dilemma. Anything kids can hear that counters AA propaganda machine is a good thing.

  • hulahoop

    howlermonkey – Has anyone ever encountered an aa who could actually spell out how the 12 steps got him or her sober? I never did, not even one who didn’t make sense.

    Let's ask JD. JD now is your time to really make a difference for AA. Many of us have burning questions we would like real answers to. How did working the twelve steps get you sober? stay sober? find serenity?

    You and Dick might be the only part of the big book we see today.

  • Mike

    Ditto what Howler said. There are some meetings I know of where physical intimidation is just a share away. And there are FAR more thugs in the halls now than there were when I first came in 20 years ago.

  • Primrose

    Howler, I know the east coast of America is the sort of smart side. The east coast of UK is grim grim grim, winner of last year's grim competition. The wind comes across the North Sea from the Urals. They open a door in the Urals and the East coast gets it. Just to explain my amusement.

    The UK person I confused you with said he has been physically threatened. Which scares me a bit. UK aa is quite nutty enough.

    JD, what do you get from aa?

    Has anyone in aa that you know of ever commited suicide?

    Could you share on that subject, please, if you would?

    I am still reeling from the 'cutting down' comment. Outside aa it means being rude to someone, inside aa it means someone hung themselves. Have you heard this phrase?

  • Primrose

    If I could see the AA media document, I would get working on the new one.

  • AnnaZed

    Oh JD, you disappoint, you really, really do.

    Surely (surely!) you can do better than that.

    Accusing us of being drunks. That's just pathetic.

    A case could be made that AA keeps me sober in the sense that my considerable and reasonable outrage at AA's calculated manipulation of our justice system and the co-opting of the American Mental Health system's addiction network keeps me from even thinking of ever drinking, ever. I wouldn't dream of giving you sanctimonious lying bastards the satisfaction. I that sense having a world class resentment has been quite helpful to me, so thanks!

  • Ben Franklin

    My comment about appreciating A.A. is simply that there is a great deal more than A.A. in sobriety and life.

    Well Duh! There is even more sobriety and life if you totally exclude AA. Unless of course you make a lot of $$$$$ off of AA.

  • hulahoop

    Darn. Maybe JD (or another stepper) will stop by to answer our questions in a thoughtful, intelligent way. It seems most of them don't keep coming back when you ask them questions or want to engage in a little crosstalk.

  • SoberPJ

    "It seems most of them don’t keep coming back when you ask them questions or want to engage in a little crosstalk."

    You may be on to something with the crosstalk comment. People that are conditioned to express themselves where they will never be directly challenged are probably more likely to adopt the kind of drive by behavior we see from steppers. Couple that with low frustration tolerance and AA indoctrination and you have a recipe that covers most of their behavior. It appears immature ( and probably is) but if you get frustrated easily and are used to being able to speak your opinions as if they were authoritative ( because nobody interrupts with an alternative viewpoint) then you get conditioned to believe your own bullshit. Ever notice how AA oldtimers love to speak in authoritative ways in their shares? They have this "and that's the way it is" quality that has been honed through years of practice because they never get directly challenged. When their "authoritative truisms" get challenged, they can quite literally be at loss for rational words. We see it all the time here. Interesting.

  • Martha

    I came across this insightful post over at Trib3 dot net in a group called "12 Step Challenge" that group apparently started about five years ago. This post really nails it:

    "Sun, March 13, 2005 – 9:31 AM

    The other day I was listening to Pacifica radio, and they were interviewing a female author who was obviously very intelligent, yet utterly brainwashed by 12-step programs. She was very high on her new discovery of sobriety and AA's philosophy and kept gushing about how great her life is now, and how unenlightened and misguided she'd been while she was out there drinking.

    Anyway, she made this comment that "It is not our problems that cause us trouble, it's our solutions". The interviewer asked her what she meant by that. She explained that it is the solutions we turn to that cause us more problems than the problem we had to begin with (?)

    This is the kind of ridiculous comment I would have bought hook, line, and sinker while I was in AA. It is supposed to underscore how we really cannot trust our own selves, but are better off trusting in god, or the AA group, or whatever. It illustrates AA's belief that because one drinks or once drank, they cannot be trusted to come up with solutions for problems, or be effective in managing their own lives.

    I say "bullshit" to this concept. What good is it to be in a group that teaches you to constantly question and mistrust your own wisdom and instincts? "

    Also joined Tribe yesterday and began a ST type group:

  • Mike

    "This is the kind of ridiculous comment I would have bought hook, line, and sinker while I was in AA. It is supposed to underscore how we really cannot trust our own selves, but are better off trusting in god, or the AA group, or whatever"

    It's just lazy, BS thinking IMHO. Semi-clever, pithy sayings that sound good to the untrained ear, but quickly lose their meaning when one takes a closer look at what is bing said and who is saying it. Actions ultimately speak louder than words and the people spouting such nonsense tend to remain idle outside of their cloistered little caffeinated world.

  • Rick045

    "They have this “and that’s the way it is” quality that has been honed through years of practice because they never get directly challenged."

    I remember times where I tried to discuss problems with certain AAers, going into great detail and hoping for some meaningful feedback, only to be met with some idiotic nonsense like "what step applies to that?" It didn't matter what the subject being discussed actually was, those kind of "answers" never changed. I knew it was ridiculous and yet I put up with it for years. I was fortunate in a way because I had a full time job and other outside interests that kept me from becoming more immersed than I actually did. I was also fortunate to find a therapist who knew how to challenge me in just the right way. He would not accept platitudes for answers. This sort of thing is also where I learned from watching those who had been coerced into the program. They were often more interesting to talk to than people who had made it their life. They weren't there to become gurus, and they saw through the bullshit in ways that I didn't.

  • jhtepper

    I've been away from the site for awhile because reading the blogs makes me angry. If AA "works" for an individual great and I do not talk anyone out of attending meetings. However, when I encounter someone who has a history of repeated failures like myself I am quick to speak to them about possible alternatives. I am always struck by the tenacity with which a person will cling to a modality which is clearly not helping them. I say this after reading JD's entries. It is this holier-than-thou attitude without a shred of humility that I find so frustrating. It would be comical if the situation weren't so grave. The outright hostility to disparate views and the personal attacks. Don't get me wrong, there are those at ST who do the same thing but JD seemed to take delight that people have been harmed and not helped by AA. In other words, it seems that "retreads" make hime happy. I know many JDs from the rooms of AA. I sought guidance from many of them. In retrospect, I wouldn't normally ask such people for a match to light my cigarette much less how to reach G-d but when you are dying from the inside out it seems plausible to suspend your disbelief and give it another go because these are the only voices you are hearing and everyone in American Society (doctors, lawyers, judges, therapists, clergy, etc.) is pointing to a church basement door and saying "that's the way". Fortunately, the tide is shifting and mainstream society is slowly getting information about other approaches and rubbing elbows with people who just can't get "it". Thankfully, the medical profession is also beginning to broaden its perspective and widen its treatment goals and methods. In the meantime, I think persuasive dialogue is more useful than outright hostility and personal attacks.

    On a side note, why do AAers even visit sites like ST? This is not meant to be sardonic but isn't an individual like JD's unaccountable transformation more persuasive than these so-called "drive-bys"? I do not and have never understood the apparent hypocrisy of certain members of AA. When I removed myself from the environment where I was not continuously exposed to certain phrases and personalities it became easy to see that not only weren't certain people not walking the walk but they weren't even talking the talk.

  • Martha

    "On a side note, why do AAers even visit sites like ST?"

    My guess is that some of them are curious and possibly even have some doubts themselves about AA. We may never know if some of them actually leave AA and join SMART or other groups. It may even be that a new member of AA hears the term stinking thinking, Googles it and finds us before AA gets its mitts around their brains.

    The steppers who post and run are probably a bit insecure and firing off a couple of insults makes them fell better. Wrong as they are they really believe that they would die without AA and that we are a threat to their sobriety. What used to be isolated voices in the wilderness like Dr. Peele and Jack Trimpey have been joined in recent years by Orange and ST. The existence of a counter force is a new phenomenon for AA. Up until now when AA failed for people it was seen as their own failure rather than anything lacking in AA itself. Increasingly those who were failed by AA have somewhere else to go and the general public will see that other methods are available and work. That fact alone undermines what AA has told people for almost eight decades. I think the coming years are going to be cunning, baffling and powerful for AA.

  • lucy

    JHTEPPER – . If they aren't genuinely interested in leaving, it's either about a naive attempt to tell us something magic to reconvert us, or to tell us how stupid we are for leaving. In the first, they mention God and blessings. In the second, they cite the Big Book as fact and everything else (mostly us and science) as error.

  • SoberPJ

    I wonder how many aa-"alternative" , aa cautionary and anti-aa blogs, youtube channels, sites and forums there are on the internet? I'll bet we only know of a portion because new ones keep coming to light in these threads. There are resources on the right of the page, but if there are a ton of them, maybe a full blown, all-known resources page should be built? It could also include research links for leading edge research on addiction. It would illustrate the volume of the growing chorus against AA for those that need to see exactly what is happening. Just the Youtube channels alone show significant dissent. It would also be a good link to put in discussions when AA supporters act like we are a few crackpots that can be easily dismissed. Imagine if they follow the link and there are 50-100 links of non-12 Step resources. Might as well be campaign headquarters for all things not 12 Steps.

  • jhtepper

    Ya know right now it's cold where I live. Thankfully, there are emergency services in place for the downtrodden. Yet on any given day I see a handful of people from the rooms who just don't get "it". They are dirty, underweight and high on something. I have seen them crawl back into the rooms and beg for help never realizing that they have already tried AA numerous times. Worse, if they end up on the flight deck (psych ward) they will be steered back into AA after ANOTHER rehab (in-patient or out-patient) and be gung-ho for awhile. Get their teeth fixed, get a cell phone, a bank account, and a roof over their heads. This upswing usually lasts less than 6 months and I see 'em on the streets once again. I saw one fella tonight who, when he strings some time together, is a huge AA booster. He was headed to a soup kitchen to grab dinner.


    Stanton Peele, JD, Ph.D is a refreshing voice but we know that he is routinely (and sometimes rudely) pushed aside and ignored. As for Jack Trimpey, I find him a bit over the top. Even the public uproar over the Midtown Group has died down. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – the Bermuda Triangle of drinking – will again fill the church basements after filing the rehabs. Let's not forget the DUI/DWI convicts. First, let's keep church and state separated. Next, educate states that breaking the law is breaking the law and not allow drinking to be an absolute defense – "of course he broke the law he was drunk" – and a lifetime sentence to AA.

    I remember a court liaison that acted as a go-between the courts and AA for diversion. This guy was a pig. I have no other way to describe him. He was a member of an Alano club. He had no teeth, was unkempt, wore a cowboy hat with a picture of a naked woman inside (which he periodically update), had a pick-up truck completely covered with 12-step stickers, and worst of all, was one of those inappropriate huggers of pretty young women. A pig. Was he "sober"? I guess (how does anyone really know?). But if I was a lawyer I wouldn't let my client within a block of this guy. However, you must make friends with this pig and play his game if you want your civil liberties restored along with your driving privileges. (NOTE TO JD SHOULD YOU BE TROLLING: I am not calling all members of AA pigs). That means AA and more AA and then more AA and uh oh yeah more AA. It is a life sentence. The bond of AA and the criminal justice system must first be severed. It is absolutely essential.

    As I stated earlier, the healing arts are slowly coming around but with talking heads like Dr. Drew on t.v. it's still swimming upstream. Check this out:… Yada yada yada.


    I cannot fault someone who believes that AA has saved their life. I won't belabor the point with profiles but particular people seem to thrive in AA. Good for them. All I ask when I encounter them is that they don't proselytize and try to convert me. Let's talk books, art, music, world affairs, anything but drinking, personal faults and relentless second guessing of one's ability to think straight and make sound, rational decisions. I remember reading a Tony Robbins book and he was relating the time that he learned to drive a race car. The instructor put him into a controlled skid/spin. The instructor made it clear that you need to be looking towards where you want to go and not at the wall. If you stare at the wall that is where you are going to end up. If you spend a majority of your time listening to peoples' misfortune and disclosing your own you are going to end up on the wall. Does anybody with a drinking problem really need to be reminded of what they did? Chastised for not getting better in AA? Ostracized for leaving?

    As for the blue book, since I am no longer studying it, and I need to quote from it for something, I realize what a poorly written book it is. Poor syntax, internal inconsistencies and contradictions and downright self-serving directions. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is worse (even though it was ghost written). Seriously, how many times do you need to read a book?

  • jhtepper

    I really don't know what would be considered success in AA (no re-arrests?) and we all know that there are few randomized double blind studies out there (geez I hope Agent Orange doesn't read that sentence). We do know the attendance attrition rate is 95% in a year per AA.

    As for naltrexone, google The Sinclair Method. Physiological extinction. The trick is finding an M.D. who will go along with it.

    I don't agree that "only a professional fool would recommend AA". However, I believe that the healing arts need to broaden their knowledge base. Follow the patient/client and make adjustments along the way. Repeated relapses when abstinence is the goal should be a major red flag for a professional to suggest alternative approaches including HAMS. If these adjustments and suggestions are not made then we are talking about professional malpractice and, indeed, foolhardy behavior.

  • SoberPJ

    The Sinclair method is great. So, there is this push on evidence-based treatment options and applying the best treatment modality for a specific patient situation. In the near future, when given a list of all options and their "success" rates for a patient "type", what professional is going to determine that "faith-healing" is the most appropriate for ANY patient type? What would that patient profile look like – Christian Scientist?

    The medical process seems to be 1. Stop the cravings, then 2. Teach them how to control themselves.

    No higher power, no god's will, no spreading the religion, no life long meetings and fear and penance. No, trust god, clean house and help others. Just learn how to control your behavior. I sooo wish those options would have been available to me in 1990 when I entered the world of "recovery". I firmly believe my life would be very different today if the focus was directly on behavioral change and coping skills rather than on faith healing and full reliance on a nebulous deity. I gave 16 years and the prime of my life to that horseshit and I will never get it back. Ugh….

  • jhtepper


    Our stories are similar. 16 wasted years. Smart went crazy.

  • Gunthar2000

    18 of my best years were wasted. That shit never gave me the skills I needed… I got a lot of guilt and confusion out of it though. I often look back and think ,'What about those nice people though",,, You know… The ones who were just trying to help. Who do I blame when I've allowed opened myself up like that? Who's fault is it that I felt so lousy about myself? Was it just me all along? Is it my own fault that God refused to respond to my cries for help? Was this really God's way of showing me how much he loved me? Isn't thinking about myself a selfish thing to do? Shouldn't I be helping other people rather than thinking about myself all of the time?

  • SoberPJ

    jh .. Sorry to hear that. There were regular stories about people that went back into treatment around 12-18 years sober because their lives were falling apart and they couldn't seem to pull out of the nosedive. That was happening to me and I even called a couple treatment centers looking for a multi-day "tune-up", thinking that there must be refresher courses available for those that are slightly off the 12 Step beam while still being sober. None of them had any idea of what I was talking about. It was 28 days or nothing. Very strange.

    I didn't need 28 days of 12 Step therapy. I needed to learn how to directly change my behavior. The problem had been identified and I needed a behavioral solution. Period.

    The solution was not in AA, because AA doesn't teach people how to change their behavior. Behavior change is a "result" of doing the program and it might work and it might not. If it doesn't, you just do it again and hope it works this time. I was tired of that routine and knew that overcoming self has been written about for thousands of years. Somebody had to have a process that focused directly on behavioral change. Tried a nice therapist guy.. he had some of the same motivational issues I did and we got along great, but nothing changed. Then I tried SMART and signed up for an online motivational challenge program. They made a difference. My behavior has changed. I still have a long way to go, but as an example, I didn't have the drive to walk to the end of the street and back – it just seemed too far. I now walk a couple miles to get coffee several days a week. I wasn't depressed, I just couldn't get the mojo to kick in. I knew it was there because I could do things I wanted to do, but there was a huge disconnect between my intention and my behavior. It was cognitively and behaviorally similar to wanting to not drink, but not being able to stop. I had prayed and whined about the issue in meetings for years as I watched my life get worse. It only changed when I decided I was the only one who was going to be able to change it. I had to punt the program of AA, drop the binky, put on my big boy pants and do something about it – damnit. The improvement is ongoing.

  • Gunthar2000

    Good post SoberPJ… I can relate. Establishing new patterns of behavior isn't always easy.

  • jhtepper

    I feel ya man. This site is also about getting back up, clearing our heads of misbegotten notions, slaying our dragons, and moving on. As someone once said to me: "there is no starting over there is just moving on". I know it's hard but try to cut yourself a break.

  • hulahoop

    If AA “works” for an individual great and I do not talk anyone out of attending meetings. However, when I encounter someone who has a history of repeated failures like myself I am quick to speak to them about possible alternatives. I am always struck by the tenacity with which a person will cling to a modality which is clearly not helping them.

    An AA friend and I had this conversation about a lady in their group who kept relapsing. My friend said (and I swear this 100% true) "If only she would surrender to the program." I said, "What is the definition of insanity?" My friend said, "Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result." I said, "There you go. Maybe the program is failing her. Maybe she needs to try something new. She keeps trying AA and it obviously isn't working for her." I then went on to explain my point of view about how AA doesn't work for everyone and how people should move on if it doesn't work for them after they tried it. My suggestion was met with opposition even though it makes sense. Would you keep taking your car to the same mechanic if it kept breaking down?

    I really and truly wanted JD to come back and answer our questions. I don't care if he goes to AA or not. I really don't. I had so many questions when I was going to meetings. So many questions that went unasked and unanswered because I was too afraid to ask. I am ashamed of being so timid now because I am not usually like that.

    I do wish a stepper would stop by and stick around long enough to answer the questions I was too afraid to ask. I do not want to attack or demean anyone. I only want to ask questions about things I don't understand so I can learn or at least have some food for thought.

  • SoberPJ

    "I don’t understand why the steppers I’ve seen don’t try to set a good example for people who pooh pooh the program."

    For a certain section of that population the answer is simple – they can't. They are not capable of civil discourse if they feel threatened. It is actually quite common amongst indoctrinated people of all types. I see examples that come by here quite frequently. Some lash out immediately, others try to be rational, but degrade quickly or disappear if there is any "heat" in the discussion. Admittedly, I am unkind to some, so who would want to stick around for unpleasantries? I wonder if deep down they know their entire belief in the AA faith is extremely shallow and they have no real confidence to answer questions beyond trite slogans or disdain. That is really all the AA environment equips them with anyway. I cringe at what I used to think was deep – "The gift is the present" was one I marveled at when I first heard it. I admit I had become intellectually lazy even though that is not my nature. Around here they take down the "Think, Think, Think" signs because thinking is clearly troublesome. I could always elicit rumblings in the rooms if I started a share with, "ya know, I've been thinking about…" So, if the group is not in favor of thought, no wonder there are no answers for challenging questions.

  • SoberPJ

    I’m spending way too much time on this, but things I have never seen, like this Naltrexone and BST study is an example of the new treatments that are evolving. Can’t remember who said it here, but if these studies are accurate, the medical community will simply move away from AA and 12 Step. It makes absolutely no sense to stay with a treatment modaility that has a 5 % “success” rate, when a modality with 70+ % is available. In the near future, only a professional fool would recommend AA.

  • Rick045

    "That is really all the AA environment equips them with anyway. I cringe at what I used to think was deep – “The gift is the present” was one I marveled at when I first heard it. I admit I had become intellectually lazy even though that is not my nature."

    SoberPJ, For me, it's important to remember the shape I was in when I arrived in AA. Those answers that seemed to make sense or even "deep" at first broke down over time. Those things never changed, but I did. Those things seemed to make sense because I desperately wanted them to make sense. I saw what I wanted to see because I desperate to see the good in AA. The red flags are everywhere in AA, that "no cross-talk" rule is a huge one. Healthy organizations do not discourage dissent or honest questioning. I had a deep sense that certain things weren't right about AA, and I ignored every bit of that. I don't think it was so much about intellect as it was about instinct or intuition, and my own terror at trusting those things. AA is designed to take advantage of desperation, and it gets a lot of help from the medical community. I trusted those highly trained professionals that sent me there. The last thing I wanted to trust was myself.

  • JD

    Civil discourse? That's a hoot. If you have any shred of honesty can you call what's been posted here regarding AAs civil? You hypersensitive whiny losers don't care for it much when it's force fed back to you in the same manner.

    And I hear one of your most respected and well loved antis is now back on the sauce. He's the guy that's been MIA for 4 day periods here and there…nothing new, nothing surprising…and he's still writing and your still buying the crap. Wet drunks telling wet drunks how to keep hating and stay sick. Delusional, sad, and ultimately suicidal.

    Probably for the best, all 'round. Keep sucking on the resentment pipe, losers.

  • Martha

    The way steppers present themselves here is a reflection of how they operate in meetings. They spout a bunch of tired trite platitudes and try to shut down dissent. This works in meetings, but not here. We welcome crosstalk and unlike AA forums we do not delete, censor and eliminate dissenting voices who support AA. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose in a free give and take debate. AA has everything to lose and nothing to gain by allowing us to participate in online forums and blogs. When they do wander into ST or read letters to Orange they become aware that we have been successful in undermining AA. To their horror they realize that we are reaching people and all they can do is vent their spleens at us. It is legal to undermine AA and convince people not to join AA and AA is powerless to do anything to stop us. Welcome to a new reality, steppers.

  • Gunthar2000


    I'm not sure who you're talking about when you suggest that one of the most respected and well loved antis is now back on the sauce. Of course the possibility exists… especially around this time of year. One of the big differences between your cult religion and the Stinkin' Thinkin' community is that we support people's efforts to find what's right for them. We don't harass or degrade people who relapse, or even people who choose to moderate. We don't judge people and hurl insults at them just because they do something that many of us have done before. We don't insist that anyone who disagrees with a certain method should be punished by God.

  • Mona Lisa

    JD, every post from you is a spiritual experience. I am right now on my knees thanking the Lord that I found my way out of alcoholics anonymous.

  • Rick045

    Considering the source, I take being called a hypersensitive whiny loser as a great complement. Thanks JD…

  • SoberPJ

    JD is a fascinating behavioral study. Authoritative appearing statements that include a put down are used frequently. And an unsubstantiated rumor of a nameless person used to disparage an entire group is like prepubescent school yard behavior. Again, I contend that certain people in simply can't help themselves. The frequency of those people seems to be high in AA. Or, at least the people in AA that come by here and elsewhere on the internet. In my experience, many in AA are not computer literate enough to find this site. So, the ones that do are probably the more intelligent of the AA population. And THAT's a scary thought !

  • howlermonkey

    It's obvious that none of us wants what JD has. Who would? Once you get past the insane, poorly directed anger, what do you have? A deeply wounded individual who is stuck in a "program" that won't let him heal. And he's determined to visit his pain on as many people as possible. I can sympathize, actually. I know the feeling, but I don't want to go back there.

    This is why I'd like to respectfully disagree with jhtepper on the issue of whether AA "works" for anyone at all, and if it does what that also means.

    I'm a little less dogmatic about this than I was a month ago, but I'm still not sure. My old meeting had some people who seemed fine. Sure, they had the blank look and progressively disturbing emptiness of anyone who has ceded their sense of self over to another entity. But they also seemed functional, kind and caring as well. These are among the very few who will still give me a friendly greeting if they see me on the street. So these are the best examples I've seen of the AA program "working."

    Perhaps it's condescending of me to say that I still don't think I can use the word "working" without quotation marks, but I guess I don't really believe the program is working for them, and that their disturbing emptiness is sign of that. I just can't imagine how crippling oneself emotionally (and I think we can all agree that even at their best, this is the true program of the 12 steps) is the right thing to do in any circumstance for any individual.

    At one point in time, lobotomies were agreed to be an "effective" way to treat some mental illnesses. Now there are virtually no cases where this is seen to be true. So at what point is it unethical to allow the emotional and cognitive lobotomy of the 12 steps to go unchallenged as such? But, on the other hand, is it possible to want to eliminate 12 Steps without appearing unkind to those who have benefited in some small way, even though the cost was too great?

    I'll be out for a while, but I look forward to seeing any thoughts on this.

  • ez

    Jd, "You hypersensitive whiny losers", what's the matter Santa forgot to leave you a new supply of Serenity Pills in your stocking this year?

  • Martha

    AA knows that their positive public image may be a mile wide, but is just an inch deep. This is why most of them won't have a dialogue and attempt to silence dissent. When a person goes to AA they say "how can I learn to stop drinking?" They soon learn that AA is not about stopping drinking and nobody really as the capacity to do so and that they are powerless. What they hear from folks like us is that people do have the power to stop. What AA preaches is counter intuitive and totally wrong. When we reinforce people's correct impression that only they can stop drinking it totally undercuts the powerless message of the first step. AA's central lie is easily exposed by the existence of other programs that teach self empowerment. This is why even the slightest suggestion that there are other ways causes them to lash out and try to squash dissent.

  • mfc66

    More rubbish from JD. I really have no idea if one of the contributors to this blog has relapsed but even if they have, the percentage success rate of those posting here is massively greater than that in the rooms and they don't seem to be bothered by many of the trivial issues, that typically are shared in AA meetings by very unwell people who are not receiving a sensible type of support for their many problems.

    I'm sure the ranks of AA will be temporarily swelled by those whom have made the usual seasonal new year resolution to stop drinking and I am equally sure that, sadly, few of those will remain sober throughout the year, especially if they rely on the faith healing on offer in the rooms. Many others will walk away after a couple of meetings disgusted with what they have heard, freaked out by the more insane steppers or not interested in having a "higher power" free them. Many will feel hopeless and will stop seeking help as a result.

    AA will still point at the one person, which is a reasonable average for new members staying sober per year for most meetings as a great success and in the process will continue to retard the recovery movement with it's religious/spiritual self serving bullshit.

    Many need help at this time of the year and I feel that it extremely important to put forward alternatives to AA because of this. I wish anybody who has found their way onto this site by looking for solutions to help themselves, the best of luck and would urge them to look at as wide a range of literature as possible to find a solution that will work for them and not the "one size fits all, because we are powerless and insane" solution put forward by the steppers in AA. I doubt I would have the great life I have today if I had stayed in the rooms. I mix with normal people, have a good career and do not feel the need to drink or smoke or ruin my life in any way. I found living my life the AA very stressful and felt unsafe in many meetings and I do not look back on my experience there with much fondness.

    Anyone who says to a newcomer that AA is the only way to sobriety is an ignorant, delusional liar.

  • JD sez, "And I hear one of your most respected and well loved antis is now back on the sauce. He’s the guy that’s been MIA for 4 day periods here and there…nothing new, nothing surprising…and he’s still writing and your still buying the crap."

    I don't think any single person here could even being to 1. figure out who you're talking about; 2. believe gossip from you (what are you? a teenage girl?); 3. understand how it's relevant. I mean, you don't want to start talking relapse statistics, now do you? I imagine you'll get all keyboard commando on us before you'd seriously look at the studies that demonstrate that people in AA have the highest rate of binge relapse when compared to CBT treatments and no treatment at all.

  • jhtepper

    "And I hear one of your most respected and well loved antis is now back on the sauce." JD

    This is what jumped out during my morning scan. First, why would that be important? It's as ridiculous as the currency of sobriety time or making statements that a person with a drinking problem can't think straight, etc etc etc etc

    Second, it's another example of the permissive and mind-boggling hypocrisy in the fellowship. "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us." Alcoholics Anonymous pg 77 Taking pleasure in another's demise (if true) is beyond me. It is truly a perversion of the biblical adage "there, but for the grace of G-d, go I" which is so freely quoted in those church basements. One cannot read the above bb quote too many ways. The only words really open to interpretation are "purpose" and "service". If your purpose is self-aggrandizement then your service is to put others down. Mission accomplished. Unfortunately, such behavior is in direct contravention of the teachings of the text of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, the bb and the 12×12 point to such behavior as evidence of a spiritual sickness or sin and a main cause (if not THE cause) of problematic drinking. To borrow a word from mfc66, such behavior in the face of the behavioral guidelines of the fellowship and the program is delusional.

  • hulahoop

    Couple that with low frustration tolerance and AA indoctrination and you have a recipe that covers most of their behavior. It appears immature ( and probably is) but if you get frustrated easily and are used to being able to speak your opinions as if they were authoritative ( because nobody interrupts with an alternative viewpoint) then you get conditioned to believe your own bullshit.

    PJ, I always hated the no crosstalk rule. I always hated being talked about like I wasn’t there. People would take my experience and make it their experience and expound upon it while never even looking me in the eye. Again, no accountability. I was told I should share at meetings. My thought was, “This is my meeting too and it’s my three minutes. Why can’t I use my three minutes to ask people questions about the things they spoke about?” I mean if it truly is my meeting too why can’t I do what I want with those three minutes that are preassigned to me just by showing up and having a desire not to drink?

    I would be more than willing to discuss my problem with alcohol with anyone and to answer any questions they have. I would be more than willing to answer questions about why I feel the way I do about AA. I don’t get why people will hurl insults and tell me I am a dry drunk and question my happiness and sobriety when they don’t know a fucking thing about me personally, but will not answer a few simple questions. Especially when I have no malice in my heart. If you want to go to AA, great. If it works for you, even better. I don’t understand why the steppers I’ve seen don’t try to set a good example for people who pooh pooh the program.

  • SoberPJ

    "When we reinforce people’s correct impression that only they can stop drinking it totally undercuts the powerless message of the first step. AA’s central lie is easily exposed by the existence of other programs that teach self empowerment."

    That is probably a key point in all this. I have heard an awful lot of times that the only step you have to work 100% is the first step. So, maybe that is the "big lie" from Mein Kaumpf. Why isn't simply admitting you need help for your problem sufficient? Because simply needing help doesn't provide a strong enough set up for the god conversion that comes next.

    From the Dictionary, powerless means – Lacking strength or power; helpless and totally ineffectual. According to Billy and the gang, the only place to get power is god. It is non-negotiable. You don't just need a little help to get back on your feet and learn a new way to live, you need god to guide and direct your entire existence.

    So, to add to Martha's comment, we are not only refuting the validity of the false, powerless concept, we are thereby refuting the entire belief structure needed for the solution. That is an intellectual tsunami, so no wonder they react like they do. The mental horsepower needed to unwind the structure of the beliefs is pretty high. The nature of their posts may be just the result of a mental fuse blowing with vitriol and negativity simply replacing rational thought. The old adage "If you can't answer a man's argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names." seems to apply here.

  • Rick045

    "My old meeting had some people who seemed fine. Sure, they had the blank look and progressively disturbing emptiness of anyone who has ceded their sense of self over to another entity. But they also seemed functional, kind and caring as well. These are among the very few who will still give me a friendly greeting if they see me on the street. So these are the best examples I’ve seen of the AA program “working.”

    howlermonkey, I knew many in AA who fit the description you give in this paragraph. I met some very wounded people in those rooms who were relatively harmless and had achieved some degree of stability. My compassion for such people is one reason I'm not a very active activist. Most of those types aren't likely to even find sites like this, and they probably wont stick around if they do. That's fine with me. I'm not out to disturb them and in some cases, I think it would be cruel to do so. That doesn't change what AA is, and it sure doesn't mean that it's "working" in ways that most people would find meaningful. The reality that currently exists isn't going to change overnight, but it will change.

  • jhtepper

    Oh yeah I almost forgot. Flaming drive-bys is just bad form and poor taste.

  • jhtepper

    Check out Martin Seligman and his theory of learned helplessness. If you hunt the interwebs (as I don't have any of his books on hand) you'll come across his comments on AA and the concept of powerlessness and its dangers. Good stuff and real science.

  • Gunthar2000

    There sure is more than one way to deal with behavioral and addiction problems…….….

  • James G


    LOL…(really)….keep "sticking with the winners" pal!

    I had my walk with them, good riddance.

    Your a riot JD, a real riot.

  • jhtepper
  • California Jenn

    Oh my, this JD guy is really making me want to go back to A.A. so that I can be just like him!


    You appear to be getting 'angry". If you are working a program, shouldn't you be praying for us, talking to your sponsor about your obvious resentment? Writing. We wouldn't want ya to have to come back in here and make amends to us for your ill behavior now. I know that when I was part of A.A., I was not allowed to get angry and I certainly was not allowed to insult others and if I did, I had to make amends.

    I don't understand why you feel so threatened by this group or why you even come on here. Just not something that I would have been interested in while active in A.A. I find it interesting. You certainly do find us threatening for some reason.

  • Mona Lisa

    "Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men."


  • hulahoop

    Civil discourse? That’s a hoot. If you have any shred of honesty can you call what’s been posted here regarding AAs civil? You hypersensitive whiny losers don’t care for it much when it’s force fed back to you in the same manner.

    Honesty or rigorous honesty? I agree a lot of what is posted on this site isn't civil. The truth isn't always civil or kind, especially to those who don't want to hear it. I know you have been programmed to take what you want and leave the rest. That is what you are doing here. You are focusing on what you want to see.

    And I hear one of your most respected and well loved antis is now back on the sauce. He’s the guy that’s been MIA for 4 day periods here and there…nothing new, nothing surprising…and he’s still writing and your still buying the crap. Wet drunks telling wet drunks how to keep hating and stay sick. Delusional, sad, and ultimately suicidal.

    I'll tell you what is nothing new nor surprising, your lame attempt at illustrating your point. We are not in an AA meeting. Everyone has seen this game played before and nobody is buying it. Is that the best you can do?

    I am not up on the fancy terms people use for debating techniques. This is what I see in your statement – Lies designed to try to make people question each other. Lies designed to make it appear you have the inside track and actually know what and who you are talking about. Divide and conquer. Question credibility. Smoke screen. Assumptions. Using bullshit to try divert attention away from the real topic. Implying suicide awaits anyone who isn't doing it your way.

    Probably for the best, all ’round. Keep sucking on the resentment pipe, losers.

    When all else fails revert to stepper speak and dish out tough love. Don't forget bullying and name calling. Nice. Real classy.

    I think you need a meeting. Obviously you left before the miracle happened. It sounds like you should spend your time reworking the steps instead of coming here.

    Have a serenity filled day!

  • SoberPJ

    hh … doesn't that feel good? I have so many pent up observations about AA bullshit, that finally having a place to express them is very cathartic.