Reeling Things In

So… I guess some of you will notice that the community link is gone, and so is the outreach link, and the radio show link. I’ll explain as much as I can without getting shitty, and hope that you’ll at least be understanding if these changes have proved confusing or disruptive.

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ has been spinning out way beyond our ability to manage it, generating some very good things, but mostly a lot of behind-the-scenes divisiveness that has been chewing up time and energy, which I simply cannot afford and genuinely hate with the white hot passion of a thousand suns.

MA and I decided to pull things back in and focus on the blog for the time being. It might seem extreme, but for plain sanity’s sake, it’s a necessity.

 

74 Responses to 'Reeling Things In'

  1. Bummer, about the community pages, but I understand! Maybe they can come back.

    I started another blog months ago that I did nothing with.

    After The Charlie Sheen rants I realized I had this name I like month and months ago…
    Its called “The Coalition for Alternatives to 12 step programs”

    I am learning more about blogging and I will try to collect all the websites, Smart Recovery, LifeRing, Rational Recovery, Steven Slate’s site, stinkin-thinkin, Beyond Rehab, Stanton Peele…and many more. PLease tell me if you know more good sites that offer Alternatives besides these.

    I know my work on stop13stepinaa addressed trying to make changes inside AA, but I am wearing thin and can’t take much more of AA …:(((
    I did what I could, I made something good with the pamphlet and a few workshops, but in my opinion…its al eroding with the Predators internally and all the problems discussed here by you guys and ftg in her opening skroll on ST.

    There are no checks and balances. No guardians. Very few who really care. It’s time to leave.

  2. AndyM says:

    ftg
    Sorry to hear about the community pages being put on hold and I hope they can come back at some point. Would it be possible to consider having some links to other sites that offer information and support for underying emotional and psychological problems that may have played a part in developing alcohol and drug dependence, even though their main emphasis is not on addiction as a stand-alone issue?

  3. JD says:

    Excellent plan MA, no need to hem and haw waiting around, stretching out and delaying your exit. You’re a good example to the ST AA fringers here, and they hopefully will follow suit and also get in the wind, flying on their own power, testing their new wings, finally unfettered and free.

    Good for you. And for those you leave behind.

  4. speedy0314 says:

    ftg,

    the Stinkin Thinkin Cold Fusion Reactor Project is still a go, though, right?

    science is my life,

    speedy

  5. ez says:

    I’m such a geezer I never could figure out the Community Pages on a consistent basis. I did a lot better with the old message board where I could easily track all the posts.

    So if it or something like it returns maybe it could be a message board like before?

  6. MikeAugustine says:

    I think it’s better overall to narrow the scope of the site. The community pages were somewhat redundant.

  7. SoberPJ says:

    I have no problem with your decision. This is the internet and you started with a controversial blog that became active and it’s getting more coverage every day. If you were getting even 500 posts a day, that would drive ya nuts or you would have to get moderation volunteers or hire someone. Expanding it to include other venues is a lot of work and there are moderation and legal considerations.

    Also, ST is not a religion, or is compelled to provide service to maintain a state(sobriety) based on some fictional condition(alcoholism). It’s your project and it has helped some people because they say so – including me. JD’s guilt trip approach is typical AA manipulation bullshit . It’s how they live. Everyone has the right to change their mind and their direction in life and, quite frankly, you don’t even have to give a reason. It’s an anonymous blog on the internet for cryin out loud. It could be shut off tomorrow, poof, gone. And another one would start up and fill the obvious need for people that want to escape the manipulative and deceitful clutches of AA. You are the first of your kind and there will be more. The way has been paved, and you did it. I want to be sure to say it, so I’ll say it now… Well Done !

  8. Primrose says:

    Andym, I didn’t save your wonderful letter!
    Agree with spj.

  9. Martha says:

    I never understood the function or need for a separate community pages, but with our relatively small numbers (compared to what we are taking on) keeping a focus on the blog is a good idea. This project really has proved its worth because it resonates with a lot of people out there who thought they were alone. This is what concerns the JDs of this world.
    In the most recent letters to Orange a writer described the negative reaction he got in AA meetings for merely mentioning alternatives to AA. When they discover that an organized effort to expose AA is underway they become almost frantic. I won’t be surprised if there are serious efforts to hack this website and take it down. I am sure Word Press has other controversial blogs, but it might be wise to give them a heads-up about security in light of the attack on the AA website by “anonymous.”

  10. DeConstructor says:

    It is a good thing that the site become more focused.

    There are many people here who have a lot of justified anger at the way they have been treated. There are many of us that have anger regarding the deaths that have occurred based on misinformation promoted by the AA faith and the recovery industry cartel as medical fact.

    We are the torches and pitchforks mobbing a faulty religion that needs to be exposed. I think it is/was inevitable that times would arise when our people have differing viewpoints.

    I sincerely hope that this action with focus the energies of the people of this site, that we may direct our energies to exposing the madness of the recovery industry cartel, rather than devouring each other.

    As this site grows we are going to have our hands full. The AA faith will do anything they can to shut us up. Many of their livelihoods are jeopardized by the information we expose.

    We must be prepared for their actions.

  11. AntiDenial says:

    I have to say that I was very confused with the community pages. i felt I was missing out.
    But I could not be on the internet all day trying to see what people post in all the different nooks and crannys of the site.I look for comments too from certain people. I cant tell if they have been on the site or not sometimes.S o I am okay with the choice,but I understand some will be disappointed that were able to navigate the site better than me!

  12. KellyRyan says:

    I fully understand your need to simplify your site and holding it close to it’s original intent. I was part of several beyond AA groups in Yahoo four years ago. The continual propagation and repetitive words of both pro AA’ers and trolls wears thin over time. Within a year, I had dropped all Yahoo groups with the exception of Ken’s group, Harm Reduction.

    I’ve enjoyed being part of the X Steppers group for over five years. It has close to zero disruption and for those who find a need, they share. I simply hope it continues to attract those who might be seeking both alternatives and those who share past knowledge and experience with AA. It’s also been a great way to process out.

    I don’t believe change is possible within AA. To change for AA is to admit they were in error, and this simply won’t happen. I attempted to bring attention to the problems within AA, and was either discounted or ignored. I’ve found an effective path with family, friends, business associates away from the 12 step movement.

  13. AnnaZed says:

    @massiveattack ~ With interesting synchronicity everyone’s favorite reasonable, erudite and sane-seeming AA blogger Mr. Sponsorpants touched on the 13-stepping theme just today: http://mrsponsorpants.typepad.com/mr_sponsorpants/2011/03/heres-a-truth-for-you.html going on to demonstrate that even the most intelligent, thoughtful and insightful among us can be completely blinkered to reality in AA. Every time I read him (and I read his every post) I think the same thing, “If only that were true.”

    Basically he hands us a better written version of the old there are bad people everywhere ~ you know in bars, at the grocery store … etc. (it’s always the grocery store for some reason but Mr. Sponsorpants is better than that) and adds a creative resentment about not having been 13-stepped himself; all without touching in the truth ~ that there is nothing in AA as it is structured that provides protection against predation in any way, that predators are not only drawn to AA they are mandated to attend and that when the predation occurs AAs follow their program as written and routinely blame the victim.

  14. truebeliever says:

    FTG- Keepin’ it Simple!
    I love it!

    All kidding aside, I like the blog better this way; reporting the news and allowing folks to respond. The crusade approach is too akin to the very enterprise I despise.

    Speedy,
    Is the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor that I have heard about as safe and viable as it’s proponents claim?

  15. AnnaZed says:

    To MA & ftg: I love you.

  16. MikeAugustine says:

    @tb, I agree. Just keep posting the news stories, studies. The truth shall set them free. And please, let jd keep posting. That noofy-doof is helping more than hurting.

  17. Lucy says:

    People come to this site for individual reasons, and, among those who have left AA or don’t like AA, there are vastly different feelings about how their dissonance should be handled.As the blog owners, it seems to me that you should decide what you want the blog to be about..

  18. Lucy says:

    Massive – It sounds like your attempt to bring some sanity to sexual abuse in AA is going as well as my attempt to ask people to maintain critical thinking skills did. AA members want a magical place where everything (from sexual abuse to bipolar disorder to poor financial management) gets better because God fixes it. If someone with a short time suggests it doesn’t, that someone is bullied. If someone with a long time suggests it doesn’t, then that someone must be going through a hard time because he has lost his faith or that someone is prideful and doesn’t accept God. Either way, the members would rather believe that it is the victim’s fault because that way they can be assured that nothing will happen to them.

    After the initial anxiety, I felt tremendously better since I left. I felt like I got my integrity back.

  19. Z says:

    Community pages were a nice idea but I think in practice too much work. Maybe someone else can run a board and ST can link. “Crusade approach,” I don’t think that was AA like, it was a political action strategy. It’s just that I don’t think there’s enough time, and too many people are working on recovering from AA and can’t then devote the rest of their time to also fighting it (aside from also not being entirely ready for that).

    I still favor the idea of a conference, though, at some point. I think some of the kinds of initiatives like outreach, radio, etc., could be hammered out in person.

    “You are powerless and you have a character defect and you must admit these things; you will never get over them but can only manage them” … Jesus what a trip to lay on people.

  20. @speedy: fuckin-A.

    Phew… I was really afraid to check in this morning. Thanks for understanding, guys.

  21. AnnaZed says:

    Ack, screw the community pages. I was in high-school once and had the experience of being in the inner-clique. I don’t need to duplicate it.

  22. humanspirit says:

    I think it’s a good idea to bring back the focus a bit. It was getting *very* big, and I got the feeling that most people felt their comments were getting buried in the community pages (with the result that they often re-posted the same things back here). And now we’ve got the Neverending Thread, anyone can still start a topic over there.

    But I was just looking at the site as it is now, trying to think about how it would strike me as a newcomer and how I would find stuff. I think one thing that might be good to provide is a complete list of all the previous main posts. There’s Essential Reading, but there’s been a lot of really interesting stuff posted here in the past that is not on there and that no-one’s ever going to know ever existed (unless they click on the tabs, I suppose, but I’m not sure how many people do that). I don’t know if this is feasible, or it might just be a complete nightmare to do. Anyway, just a thought . . .

  23. Lucy says:

    Heresy and access make a potent cocktail for a believer. Add anonymity to it, and it’s a recipe for verbal fist fights, if that’s what people want.

    The blog is a million things right now. It’s solace and fellowship for the people who either left AA or lost a family member to AA, muckraking to show how AA creates more problems for problematic people, referrals and advice on other treatment modalities, a grassroots organizing point for AA debunking, information on the dangers of AA, chat/email spaces for members, a bully pulpit for those who want AA to go down, information for people still in AA, a discussion of the problems of the mentally ill, etc. However. it degenerates into argument (and I am as guilty as most) every time a beliigerent AA member wants to fight

    I’m good with whatever you want to do. I’m just sorry I’m not on the Cold Fusion Committee with FTG and Speedy.

  24. Mr AA says:

    Perhaps the most critical time in the history of any group rooted in shared experience is when their awareness of themselves as an entity generates a momentum that threatens to move them past their original purpose.

    Even before Arthur Cain’s article in the Saturday Evening Post, the wagons have been circling to take down AA. With all due respect to the noble posters here, there is not a single thing that I have heard on this blog that I have not heard among AA members in the meeting-after-the-meeting at the local coffee shop. You have discovered nothing we don’t already know.

    The question is whether FT will just join the ranks of countless AA muckrackers, or be a voice that is heard above the din. I don’t know the answer, but the restraint that ftg and MA are showing in “reeling things in” argues well for the longevity of ST.

    I will continue to follow with great interest.

  25. mikeblamedenial says:

    Sometimes, it is necessary to re-examine and re-evaluate. We came to a similar conclusion a couple years ago, and whilst this isn’t one of our more popular vids, it speaks to this thread nicely. Check out the link at the end of it.

  26. Mr AA says:

    @mikeblamedenial

    A brilliant video that speaks to the need for civility and balance – clearly the result of hard-earned experience and not neophytic agendas. You have my greatest appreciation for your efforts.

  27. MikeAugustine says:

    a haiku for mr aa
    Please mr aa
    On this site, don’t namaste
    Rather, go away

  28. SoberPJ says:

    Mr AA .. yer full of shit on the”we’ve heard it all” crap buddy. In 16 years and tons of after the meetings and retreats, we never talked about Billy’s 13th steppin, how the preamble is a fuckin lie, the Mayflower Hotel story is bullshit, how Bill was a cripple fuc&$r, how a mistress got 10% of book royalties, and all the rest.. yer smokin somethin pal. Cause it all falls apart for only the most thorughly indoctrinated once you see the thing for real. Only the most fearful losers stay in AA after they know the real story. Can’t live with AA, can’t live without it…. That’s a sad place to be.

  29. Z says:

    @Mr AA: “You have discovered nothing we don’t already know.” … Why still be in AA then, or why still promote it?

  30. Martha says:

    @SoberPJ besides the fearful losers you mention there is another species of steppers who have financial stake in the survival of the 12 step industry. These could be owners of rehab centers, sober houses or 12 step therapists. Some of them are true believers and some know the truth of the scam that Bill W. started. I knew a therapist in AA who would hand out business cards after meetings and claimed to specialize in dual diagnosis situations. She would sponsor newcomers and then pressure them to become clients. They see nothing unethical about this and they knowingly push a program that is wired to fail and keep people thinking they are powerless and sick so that they can cash in the misery they helped to create. Those types and the enforcer bullies who work at treatment centers are among the lowest form of lowlife in AA second only to the sex offenders who lurk in the anonymity provided them in the meetings.

  31. hulahoop says:

    To FTG and MA – I will never be able to thank the two of you enough for this blog. I probably would have given my life over to the cult had it not been for Orange, this site and the posters here, and to the More Revealed site.

    AA told me the reason I fought the snake oil, religious dogma bullshit they are peddling was because the alcoholic inside of me would resist any effort to change my ways. I bought in to that for awhile. I was afraid to miss a meeting because I thought it was me fighting change. I was afraid I would miss something that would totally change my perception and would help me along my way.

    I had so many doubts though. The more I attended AA, the more doubts and questions I had. I knew better than to bring those doubts and questions to a meeting because I saw how people who did ask questions and had doubts were treated. Actually, it was seldom rudely. They were loved bombed even more and all testimonials (shares) were directed at them in a strange third person kind of way. They were treated in a way that would make them ever wonder why they had doubts in the first place if that makes sense.

    I almost skipped this blog when I discovered the link to it because I thought it would be yet another site cramming the goodness and miracles of AA down my throat. I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found when I made it here.

    This blog belongs to FTG and MA. Y’all do with it what you want to. It’s your labor of love. It’s your vision. I only participate. What you are doing here is priceless. Please know you helped to save one very confused person from the cult of AA.

    I never liked the darn community pages anyway. They were not user friendly to me. The radio show will go on. People will come here to learn more. It’s all going to be just fine.

    Thanks to you and thanks to everyone who posts here (even the true believers – they serve to validate my opinion of AA). I think it’s very ironic that AA members constantly pointed out they might have have something I wanted when I seldom did. Occasionally I would meet someone in the rooms who really did have something I wanted. The majority of them had nothing I wanted. That isn’t the case here. A lot of the people here do have something I want. I’ve never met nor had the chance to speak with them. Yet I can tell they do have something about them that I would like to have. I am not afraid to speak my mind here. I’ve been treated with more respect and tolerance than I would have ever been shown at a meeting.

    I now know what true gratitude is. Thank you so much.

  32. hulahoop says:

    hulahoop said I had so many doubts though. The more I attended AA, the more doubts and questions I had. I knew better than to bring those doubts and questions to a meeting because I saw how people who did ask questions and had doubts were treated. Actually, it was seldom rudely. They were loved bombed even more and all testimonials (shares) were directed at them in a strange third person kind of way. They were treated in a way that would make them ever wonder why they had doubts in the first place if that makes sense.

    Something I would like to add (forgive me for overposting) – I met a lady named Emma at the meetings where I was a repeat visitor for about a month. She was quite withdrawn. The regulars at the meetings were stunned when she finally decided to share. She finally spoke up at one of the meetings and spoke about how she felt she did not fit in. The entire meeting became about her and how she should volunteer to do more at the meetings – greeting, making coffee, cleaning up – whatever.

    For the next couple of meetings I saw her staying after to wash the buffet style coffee pots. Then I didn’t see her again. She would go two meetings a day at the same place. I know because the other members mentioned it. She would be at the 7:00 AM meeting and also the 12:00 PM meeting. God only knows how many other meetings she attended.

    I feel badly about her. I even broke the rule of no crosstalk and told her how great I thought the program was and blah, blah, blah. It was truly what I felt at that time.

    I didn’t see her at the meeting when I left town. I hope she went on to find something that was more useful to her and would help her more than some useless, batshit, religious bullshit program.

  33. Commonsense says:

    As far as the blog goes, I think it is a good idea to continually keep an eye on keeping the blog slimmed down in order to prevent the true take-away messages from getting buried in chatter. I do, however, hope the radio show continues as it brings something totally new to the table.

    @huluhoop – Yep, hate those third person but directed at you shares. I even had entire meetings directed at me. That didn’t work either.

  34. JR Harris says:

    FTG and MA – I have and will continue to enjoy this site. I can understand that things were getting out of hand, and the amount of time it takes for the upkeep of this site was getting out of control. I think that the main thing to remember is that everyone has opinions and that it should be respected and protected. That is the purpose of a Democratic Society and this blog has been run as a Democratic society. AA is also being run as a Democratic Society. Both entities have a different Definition of how a Democratic Society should be run. Democracy teeters on the edge of Free Speech and Censorship. This definition is what is causing the current turmoil between the two, and both sides have people who are very committed in what they have determine to be the correct definition. I don’t know what the correct definition is.

    President Obama addressed the Nation today on the problems in Libya where free speech and public opinion is being suppressed by force. The United Nations along with the United States have determined that this is unjust. We may get in another war to protect free speech and opinions. Middle Eastern counties have turned off the internet in some countries to suppress free speech and opinions. The United States wants to pass legislation allowing the President to be able to turn off the internet at will. If you think carefully about it in a macro environment, the United States wants to be able to use the same tactics that it is complaining about other countries using. You have to be very careful that you do not become just like the people you have identified as being wrong.

    AA and the Anti-AA groups are battling right now to determine what the Definition of free speech and opinions should be. You have to be careful you don’t become just like the people you are battling. Both sides are trying to enforce thier Definition of Democracy.

    Using the free speech that I have on the internet at this time, I am able to express my opinions about AA. I believe in a Democratic Society just like the people I disagree with. The main thing is that we should both be protecting the rights to free speech and opinions without using the tactics we are complaining the other side uses. Unfortunately their will always be people on both sides who go overboard, and try to suppress the free speech and opinions of the other side. I don’t know the answer on how to prevent this. Does anybody?

  35. AnnaZed says:

    This site is not a democracy, nor should it be.
    MA and ftg are free to take their bat and their ball and call off the game at any time.

  36. Z says:

    The other thing about it that occurs to me that the people who write in and say why are you complaining so much have a partial point. They are of course the ones who are trying to stir stuff up, but nonetheless time spent dealing with them is time that could be better spent. Streamlining means less space and time for c***.

    Free speech, it means not being arrested / fired for what you say — it doesn’t mean everyone has to let anyone say anything anywhere (as in, on a blog they run). FTG and MA actually have a *very* tolerant troll policy, IMO.

  37. JRH: I’m wondering what inspired your concern with our respect of freedom of speech on this blog. I’m sure you’ve seen us take a stand, at the risk of alienating our own sympathetic readers, to allow people who disagree with us to express themselves here.

  38. hulahoop says:

    friendthegirl says hulahoop, Thank you.

    No Sweetie, Thank you! from the bottom and top of my heart. I would just be another slogan chanting true believer if it were not for this site and the others I mentioned. You and I have our differences in the way we believe, but we both hold the same belief when it comes to AA and the twelve steps. Your belief and the way you chose to go about defining and defending your belief helped to save me. Thank you so much for putting yourself out there and being open about your experience and the way you feel. You and MA are brutally honest about it. I will never ever be able to express my gratitude to the both of you enough. Again, thank you both so much.

  39. JR Harris says:

    Free Speech in the United States is protected by the Constitution. Unfortunately exercising this right can still get you fired and/or arrested arrested. I have seen in the paper many times when an employee has posted something on a website about thier employer and been fired for it with no recourse. Free speech has also gotten many people arrested.

    If you look at the thread on this blog called “Face of Damage done by Rehab Corruption”
    you will find the beginning of the story of 14 year old Hillary Transue who made a facebook page about her vice-principal. She was sentenced to 3 months at a Hazelden style 12 Step institution because of it. The judge was indicted years later and her conviction overturned, but she still went to the institution and suffers from the ordeal today.

  40. hulahoop says:

    The only freedom of speech there is on this blog is granted by the site owners. They sponsor it. They own it. Don’t like it? Get your own blog or make your own website. That is truly the freedom of free speech. You have the right to voice your own opinion as long as you as you are funding it or as long as the person who owns the venue will grant it to you.

    People take the “right” of free speech for granted. You are more than welcome to believe and to express what you believe unless you come in to my house where I pay the bills. Then what I say goes. It’s the same on the internet. Everyone is guest and should behave accordingly unless it your own site or blog.

    Just my thoughts.

  41. violet says:

    quick question though, if we wanna communicate with people in a private email, i am kinda wondering how i will do so. but really, i do feel overwhelming compelled to do so at this time. i totally understand that. :) and i think this means that this blog will get more action, which is great.

  42. hulahoop says:

    JR, I will gladly pay whatever the price to express my views. As dramatic as it sounds, I would willingly go to prison or die for the way I feel. That is how strongly I believe in what I believe. One voice is how it usually begins. It just takes time and patience and the belief in what you are doing is right.

  43. JR Harris says:

    @FTG – I know you allow more freedom of speech than any pro-AA blog would ever allow. I agree with you on your policy. The big thing I think here is for people to not take it personally when a rebel AA member comes in and makes personal attacks at the members here. If it is a comment that is changing the subject, just ignore it. Rebel members of a following will do anything possible to disrupt our thought processes. Don’t let them. When you reply to a genuine question that makes sense, do not reply back to the individual poster using thier handle and stoop to the name calling they have (even thought it feels good). Reply back to the AA program as a whole. We aren’t discussing individual posters, we are discussing the AA program.

  44. JRH, Yes. I found this today: http://stinkin-thinkin.com/2011/03/18/this-is-what-ive-been-trying-to-say/

    I think it expresses my feelings perfectly.

  45. JR Harris says:

    @FTG – That link also has a link to a browser addon that you can use to completely ignore posts from people you do not want to see. It can either put a big “redacted” sign over the poster, or change the font on the post so small you can’t see it. It has been tested on Firefox and should work on IE. Unfortunately it requires you to program a few things to make it work. I will see if there are any other addons that aren’t as hard to use and get back to you.

    For those of you who know a little bit about programming here is a link for an addon that will ignore the posters you do not want to see (your own little delete button):

    http://ok-cleek.com/blogs/?p=2149

  46. Z says:

    Replying back to the AA program as a whole is a great idea. (These addons are, too.) I think it’s unrealistic that everyone will resist replying to every trollish comment, but keeping the focus on the program(s) is a great way to keep the discussion on track.

  47. Z says:

    @sugomom if you’re around here and also violet since you’re talking about e-mail: the address I use for these purposes is the blog address, profacero@gmail.com. I don’t read it right regularly but I do read it (I did just now, and that’s how I know what my community pages messages were).

    Sugomom, for what it’s worth (now) — the way I created a different gravatar/avatar for the community pages than on the blog is, I created a different WordPress identity. “The person” I was talking about was the Alanon person you’d mentioned wanting to put in touch with me so I could say no, you’re not crazy, Alanon *is* weird. So, pass that on — I say it is weird and I have confidence in my judgment on this.

  48. hulahoop says:

    Even before Arthur Cain’s article in the Saturday Evening Post, the wagons have been circling to take down AA. With all due respect to the noble posters here, there is not a single thing that I have heard on this blog that I have not heard among AA members in the meeting-after-the-meeting at the local coffee shop. You have discovered nothing we don’t already know.

    Ahhh….those meetings after the meetings where everyone said what they really thought about AA and all of the bullshit. Where they dogged and gossiped about the other members. Where they said everything they wanted to say because they didn’t have the nerve to say it during a meeting. I never understood it. Why waste your time in a meeting when you could attend the one after? The one where people really showed themselves.

    Why haven’t there been any changes in AA if You have discovered nothing we don’t already know. The word “hypocrite” comes to mind. To sit in a meeting and pretend you like it and are going as far to spread the message of the organization and then to turn around (right after the meeting is over with) and dog it is a true sign of talking out of both sides of your mouth with a forked tongue.

    Your post displays yet another reason AA didn’t suit me. All due respect…I think you are full of shit.

  49. AndyM says:

    Primrose
    At the risk of boring everyone else, here’s the letter again. I wasn’t sure if I could still send a message after the closure of the community section:

    Dear Father XXX

    I am disappointed to hear that your church is allowing Alcoholics Anonymous to hold meetings on its premises. Whilst I am sure that this was done from the best of intentions, I would suggest that an examination of the precepts of this organisation as laid out in its literature and shown by the type of witnessing known as “sharing” in its meetings is incompatible with the Christian faith as understood by Catholics, or indeed any Protestant denominations I am familiar with. It’s bogus “spirituality” has more to do with superstition, magic and occultism than Christianity. As a matter of fact (recorded in AA’s own official biography of him, “Pass it On”) this movement’s co-founder Bill Wilson was an enthusiastic lifelong participant in seances in which he claimed to contact the spirits of the dead.
    AA also explicitly encourages the heresy of indifferentism, which suggests that any conception of God (euphemistically downgraded in AA to “higher power”) is as good as any other. Even the absurd notion that people can pray to things like light bulbs, doorknobs or chairs is routinely suggested in AA meetings as a step on the way to abdicating responsibility for one’s own life and trusting implicitly that Alcoholics Anonymous has all the answers one will ever need on how to live one’s life.
    You may be surprised to know that Alcoholics Anonymous has very little to say about the nature of alcohol addiction as a health problem, but has a great deal to say about the supposed importance of embracing some very strange concepts concerning the nature of God, the purpose of prayer and the notion that “spiritual diseases” exist. These ideas are not really compatible with mainstream Christianity, although they may share some features with eccentric sects like Christian Science.
    Alcoholics Anonymous had its origins in the 1930s in an envangelising protestant sect known as the Oxford Group, run by the Rev Frank Buchman. This movement was highly contoversial, partly because of accusations of deceptive recruiting and religious heresy ( Catholics were actually banned by the Vatican from participating in it) and partly because of the notorious far-right political sympathies of its leader who openly praised Hitler.
    The sacrament of Confession, familiar to me as a baptised Catholic is sacrilegiously distorted in AA so that one is encouraged to divulge one’s guiltiest secrets (supposedly with God’s blessing) to an AA “sponsor” whose only qualification to hear them is that he or she has been a drunkard. Such a person is, of course, unordained, untrained, unaccountable and not sworn to secrecy.
    This organisation has a morbid and sickly religiosity which is entirely its own and is not compatible with Christianity. To anyone who is involved with it for any length of time it becomes clear that it’s “spirituality” is a matter of making AA itself the central authority and guide in one’s life, not God. This becomes very clear as one hears old-established members talk with undisguised contempt and disdain about the Christian religion, whilst literally giving AA writings such as the so-called “Big Book” (really called “Alcoholics Anonymous”) the same reverence and affording it the same authority as Christians would reserve for the Bible.
    AA successfully misrepresents itself to the outside world as a no-strings-attached self -help and support group. In reality it is closer to being a peculiar and exclusive medico-religious cult. Despite its protestations of ecumenical religious open-mindedness, it actually requires beliefs and practices which set it quite apart from any other religion and make it a de facto religion in its own right.
    I know quite a lot about this organisation because in the past I had a problem with drinking too much. I am pleased to say that this is no longer an issue, but for a time I did become involved with the movement. However, I was repelled by its heretical religiosity, its dishonesty and the obvious danger of some of its practices to the mentally ill or vulnerable.
    I don’t think this movement should be taken at face value, any more than should, say, the Moonies or Scientology (who also run a plausible addiction “recovery” program) . In particular AA’s claim that there is nothing in its teachings that can possibly conflict with a person’s prior religious beliefs needs close examination. I don’t believe that claim stands up to honest scrutiny.
    I am not alone in having these concerns. There has for some considerable time been a growing body of criticism of AA in print and on the internet amongst ex-members, mental health professionals, researchers and members of churches about the unaccountable way this movement intrudes a skewed and loaded “spiritual” agenda into supposed help for vulnerable people.
    I hope you don’t mind my airing these views. When I first heard of Alcoholics Anonymous I assumed it to be an obviously benign movement, but considerable first hand experience of the organisation and its message has caused me to think differently.

    Yours sincerely
    etc.

    Feel free to adapt according to denomination or add any good points you can think of.

  50. MikeAugustine says:

    In reference to the letter above. My experience as a lifelong catholic is that one should never try to appeal to a priest using theological arguments. If you’re not part of the vatican’s boy’s club they tend to get prickly. A far more persuasive argument imho would be to ask them if they are aware of potential sex owners coming to meetings hosted in their church.

  51. AndyM says:

    Yes, they’re often pretty shaky on theology. Speedy’s well up on the subject though. I suspect him of being a defrocked Jesuit, but he denies it, of course. They’re like that, Jesuits. Cunning, baffling and powerful.

  52. mikeblamedenial says:

    Hey, Andy. Whilst your letter presents nothing new, it is nicely written and well-presented, so much so that I ported it to the Yahoo boards. Thanks for the keeper.

  53. hulahoop says:

    MikeAugustine says In reference to the letter above. My experience as a lifelong catholic is that one should never try to appeal to a priest using theological arguments. If you’re not part of the vatican’s boy’s club they tend to get prickly. A far more persuasive argument imho would be to ask them if they are aware of potential sex owners coming to meetings hosted in their church.

    I am a Southern Baptist. I know there are Baptist churches who allow AA meetings on their property. Not in my neck of the woods though. I live in the extreme Bible belt. It’s mostly other denominations who allow this. I am off for the next week. I do plan on going to the churches in person in my area to discuss this issue with them. No letters. No emails. I’ve tried that with zero response so far.

    I think the congregation of these churches…the tithing folks who actually keep the particular church in business should know the truth about what AA is, the false religion it preaches, and also the potential dangers involved with court mandated sentencing. I am thinking about printing up flyers and putting them on car windows while the church goers are worshiping on Sunday. Most of them won’t believe it…but maybe one person will.

    Change will NOT come from within AA. Change will only come when the majority of people see what a scam it is and refuse to allow it. Read the posts by the true believers. They go to meetings, keep their mouths shut, and then go to the meetings after meetings to bitch about the real meetings. It blows me away.

  54. AndyM says:

    Thanks Mike, It’s really just intended to prompt discussion and get ministers at least talking about the subject. Mike A’s point about the potential for abuse is very good and another approach worth pursuing. I don’t believe it’s got to the point (yet!) where ALL priests are perverts or terrorist bombers.

  55. MikeAugustine says:

    @andy & hula: I’m approaching this primarily from a tactical standpoint. I have known enough priests, both in and out of the program, to know that theological appeals from lay people hold no water with them (unless the lay person has a doctorate in theology and is personal friends with the bishop). My hunch is such a letter would go over better with the protestant denominations that are less centralized. But, as hula has already mentioned, such denominations would likely see AA as heretical anyway and tell them to take a hike.

    The tactical part has to do with the issue of sex offenders attending meetings in the catholic facility itself. Theology notwithstanding, money plays a huge role in a pastor’s day-to-day ministry in today’s catholic church. The church is not only losing members but also facing new lawsuits as revelations of past abuses come to light. The last thing they need is to be accused of enabling further abuses by having provided a venue for sex offenders. In other words, a letter about potential abuse might get an AA meeting booted from the church hall. Better safe than sorry after all.

  56. mikeblamedenial says:

    I can present convincing arguments regarding AA’s religiosity. Although I can present specific examples, I cannot prove, or even submit credible evidence that it is fraught with perverts, rapists, predators, and pedophiles.

  57. Martha says:

    This may have been posted before. Stanton Peele on The American Faith Healers:

  58. Martha says:

    the time stamps seem to be on mountain time.

  59. violet says:

    btw, not sure if anyone read my comment, but i meant, i do NOT have an overwhelming desire to do so… also, i noticed that ftg, prolly jokingly, said she was afraid to log on. and i just wanted to say that both ma and ftg are awesome beyond words… in terms of awesomeness, this blog rates number one. seriously, i think in the past year, i have seen one typo by one of them, an it was fixed within an hour. thanks everyone, for all the awesome amazingly thoughtful, heartfelt comments, too.

  60. chris says:

    To MR. AA, shouldnt you be at a meeting?, talking about the negative aspects of AA. oh, thats right, youve already covered that, with all the other MR. AA`s, n they still show up, correct? are you an HONEST AA member?, MR. AA. we need you to keep commenting, you are proving our point MORE THAN WE EVER COULD.

  61. Johnny Crash NYC says:

    Does this mean I have to go back to MEETINGS …… no no no and NO I will not go back I am FREE once againg thank you thank you thank you so so so so much …..:)

  62. Go-Go Rach says:

    Hi Guys!

    Well, I completely understand your reasons for cutting things down. You have a powerhouse here with all your readers, etc. I hope you will keep the blog, though. PLEASE! Your site has changed my life for the better and I know I am not alone. The only thing I am sad about is the community pages, because I really enjoyed being in touch with people personally here.

    I would love to continue messaging the folks I’ve grown close to through the community boards. If you would like to stay in touch with me, please feel free to email me at: go go rach go at gmail.com WEAK SUCK PUKES be warned, I DELETE YOUR BULLSHIT without reading it.

    Love you all so much.
    *STINKIN-THINKERS UNITE!*

  63. chris says:

    to andy m: awesome video with charlie sheen, thats kool man., im bi-winning, win here, win there.

  64. chris says:

    wher`d all the AA people go?

  65. AndyM says:

    They’re probably banging seven gram rocks. That’s how they roll.

  66. AndyM says:

    A bit disappointed by the deafening silence my earlier suggestion met with btw.

  67. Andy, You mean the links list?

    I think it’s a really good idea. Thanks for reminding me. I have a blog to-do list, but I haven’t been able to focus on it much lately. That one would take some research for me. Maybe someone could help compile a good list?

  68. AndyM says:

    ftg
    These are just my own suggestions for online resources that may be helpful. A couple of those most concerned with depression, anxiety and mood disorders helped me a lot. I haven’t included anything about PTSD because I don’t know enough about the organisations which seem to be most prominent, one of which seems to be run by the US government and the other of which appears to have a strong interfaith “spiritual” component. Perhaps someone else may have suggestions:

    Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (www.dsballiance.org)
    McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web (www.mcmanweb.com)
    Moodgarden (www.moodgarden.org)
    International OCD Foundation (www.ocdfoundation.org)
    National Association of Cognitive
    Behavioral Therapists (www.nacbt.org)
    Albert Ellis and REBT (www.rebt.org)

  69. AndyM says:

    Thanks, ftg. The only one of the above which is a forum and support group is moodgarden. It has an effective privacy policy in place to prevent trolls and I’ve found it a safe place to discuss such issues as self-medication with alcohol and drugs without getting sniped at by stepzealots. The others are informational.

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