Nine Months to the ‘Miracle’

Lucy wrote this in our comment section. I thought that I would highlight it here. It illustrates what happens when controlling sponsors are allowed to do their thing, unchecked and with no accountability. When some 12-step Nazi like our resident trolls JD or Mr AA point to the costs of a sobriety coach, or a secular treatment approach (as they did yesterday about Steven Slate), implying there are no costs to those who involve themselves in AA – I point to stories like this. Unfortunately, these type of stories aren’t uncommon. Sometimes the costs are nothing more than a loan to an AA grifter. Sometimes the costs are a lot more….

“A woman I sponsored has mild cognitive deficits from a birth trauma. Her problems include a learning disability and balance problems. She understands what is happening, but she is a few beats behind everyone else. She comes from a wealthy family, and she was able to make it through a small college with an adjusted curriculum.

Her learning problems led to depression which led to heavy drinking. Her marriage broke up and she landed in an AA group in the town where her parents lived. She was told to get a sponsor, and was told that the entire group was sponsored by M, an older man who was a retired mechanic.

M told her to stay away from her parents, whom he said would make he want to drink. He invited her to move out of her apartment and into his house.. He said she could either sleep on the couch or share a room with his teen-aged son, a high school drop-out, whom he also sponsored. He suggested that they would even make a good couple. He also told her to quit her job, as he would take care of everyone.

Three months later, she was pregnant with the son’s baby. She called her parents to tell them the good news, and was surprised when they begged her to come home and go to the psych ward. By now she was worried about taking care of the child and, over the strong objections of her sponsor and his son, she went to the hospital.

It took a long time to deprogram her from the things the sponsor had said to her when she was depressed, terrified and alone. When what had happened sank in, she and her parents spent a hefty legal sum paying M to get the son’s parental rights revoked so that she would no longer have to have contact with M. (The son later killed himself.)

I don’t care about who has sex with who, or even what kind of sex they have. Nor do I like the “fucking a cripple” comment, which I find ugly and degrading. However, I know what Massive is talking about when she talks about predators.

AA has plenty of sex offenders, but most women (and men) know better than to spend much time with them. The real problem is the controllers, the ones who delight in running the lives of others and leaving other people to clean up the mess. They fuck people up and then tell them it’s their fault for being angry about it.

AA has three types of members – the uninformed, the predator and the mentally ill. If you know what AA is, it is hard to go there with a clear conscience.”

  • AA does harm

  • I always had a problem with the AA slogan “Don’t leave until the miracle happens”. It seems very confusing and makes absolutely no sense.

    1. No one can tell me what the actual “Miracle” is that is supposed to happen.
    2. You are never supposed to leave which tells me the “Miracle” isn’t going to happen.
    3. If you do leave, are they going to take back the “Miracle”?

    Can any of our staunch, pro-AA, 12 Step readers explain to me what the “Miracle” they keep talking about is?

  • humanspirit

    Another truly shocking and tragic story, for both the girl and especially for the boy involved.

    This is the kind of thing that cries out to be exposed, and to a wider audience than those of us here. Doesn’t anyone here have contacts in the media who will write about all this? (I’m working on trying to get a UK paper to expose all this as we speak, but there are so many insidious aspects to it all, it’s hard to know what to get them to focus on.)

  • chris

    The miracle carrot is in my beleif for someone that is utterly miserable and wants to leave.The “miracle” is you won`t be miserable anymore. And nobody would want to leave after the miracle happens. So, yes you are miserable today champ, but hang in there. Another manipulation tactic. What`s new though?

  • The young boy in this story was being sponsored by his father? It would seem to me that the father had already failed as a Sponsor since his son of 17 years ended up in AA. Where was the father when the son was getting in trouble? Was he at AA meetings and sponsoring other people instead of attending to his family?

    This brings a good question up. What should a Sponsor do when two of thier Sponcees become romantically involved? (Especially in the first year)

  • chris

    He should consider blowing his own brains out first. Then go to a meeting and ask someone who admitted they were insane for advice.

  • this just made me sick. and it made me want to cry b/c at least there are “lucys” in the world.

  • This is very sad. I hope we eventually can expose this behavior in AA.
    Sorry about swearing about the F…cripples on the blog but I just got another letter /email about terrible 13stepping going on the east coast. A whole group is frustrated in knowing what to do. its a terrible situation.

  • altrecovery

    I have a question, and if the point of this board is to publicize the other side of treatment, maybe it should be answered.

    WHY are stories like this not being published in the first place?
    HOW are things like this going unpublished in newspapers, TV news programs, and the internet? This is a ‘juicy’ story, I’d be all over this if I was a reporter.
    WHAT is the mechanism used to suppress this information?
    WHO is working on those mechanisms?
    WHERE do they come from?
    WHY would they do this?

  • Martha

    altrecovery, Stories like this don’t get play in the major media for the same reason that pro AA stories are a dime a dozen. It could be a simple as an editor being a stepper or having a relative in AA. Some of them believe that they will be endangering lives if AA is seen in any negative light. Also just like the rest of the public people in the media believe that AA is sacrosanct and that it is the only way for people to deal with addictions. There seems to be a lot of stories out there like this or the ones that involve sexual or financial exploitation at the hands of steppers.
    Sadly the media continues to promote quacks like Drew Pinsky who is now being given a new show on CNN’s Headline News. Interesting article here about Pinsky vs. Sheen and how Sheen challenged the ersatz expert to a boxing match:

  • Altrecovery – I would say the answers to all of your questions can be answered by the Cult Secrecy and Lawsuit avoidance manual entitled “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” published by “Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Inc.”. This is the second most popular training manual owned by AA members. If it was not written and not read, all of the your questions would be answered.

  • SoberPJ

    alt … AA sends a letter to the media every year thanking them for their support at keeping AA members out of the spotlight. What other organization can ask the media for anonymity and get it? What gives AA the RIGHT to ask/demand such an unusual request? AND for the mainstream media to comply. Many of us here see various reasons for this non-coverage, but I, for one, am stumped as to why somebody in a huge media ecosystem doesn’t start to cover these issues. We’ve even speculated that it could be a career killer or people are simply afraid to do it – if you read “Keep Coming Back” you’ll find out why.

  • Lucy

    JR – Yes, he was being sponsored by his father, the same father who was sponsoring a very young woman.

    When I met her, she had just been released from the psych ward, and she asked me to sponsor her because she was beginning to understand what had happened, and didn’t want to have M as a sponsor. But she still thought she could work it with the son.

    Pointing to the fact that the son was sick enough to have his father sponsor him was the only way to get through to her. But it took years for her to think clearly enough about what had happened to understand she needed a legal way to get rid of the very sick family.

    Violet – the problem is not that there aren’t Lucys in AA. The problem is what year after year of dealing with women like this do to the Lucys.

  • Lucy

    Altre – Stories like this don’t get published because you have to be in AA a very, very long time to hear and understand them. There aren’t very many people like me – former mainstream old timer AA sponsors and circuit speakers – who have left AA for the reasons I did, or who understand the impact of AA on mental illness the way I do.
    It’s just easier for most people to stay there and see the stream of people like that woman come and go.

    Trying to help them is neither pleasant nor rewarding. It’s swimming against the current (which is what I hear Massive talk about) while being weighted down with their misery and illness.

  • altrecovery

    I’d also like to point out how well Lucy knows AA. My life was all fucked up by whoever is in charge (my sponsor apparently, I didn’t put him in charge and wouldn’t, but my family is fanatical to the point of frightening).

    I was told by one psychiatrist that I was a good ‘janitor’ who could go an ‘clean up other peoples’ messes’.

    So, it’s just the truth. AA makes a big mess, and then the juniors are left to clean it up. I’ve finally seen it.

    I have a little better attitude now that I understand my poor family is not so much fucked up as directed to be fucked up because they don’t know what else to do.

  • Lucy

    Altrecovery – Yes! I talk a lot about my husband’s mental illness being the catalyst that gave me permission to talk about AA as it actually is, but I know now that I left because I was worn out. If you are sane and sober, people who want to get better (like that woman) are attracted to you. They ask you to help and not helping is like turning away a starving animal.

    But they hear insane things in meetings more often than they hear the sanity in you. Give a vulnerable and emotionally dependent person a choice between the promise of paradise that they hear in meetings and the reality of a long road back to reality – well, that’s why the JD’s and the DickB’s are hell bent on maintaining the illusion. Thr truth is just too difficult to swallow.

    You can stay and hope it gets better, but you are fooling yourself.

  • altrerecovery,
    They have high positions in every sector of society. AA members are everywhere.
    Nurse in the ER, Barista at Starbucks, the lawyer, A judge, A felon, the editor of a huge newspaper, the Police Commissioner, I found this out in Hawaii…OMG and on and on. The Producer of a huge show on CBS, the actor, a screenwriter, a local cop.

    And if you have ever loved someone who has a problem and they finally stop, most family members are glad, except when they are highjacked by AA.
    So even if they are not members they know someone dear to them who is.
    This has been the resistnace I have found with my work to expose AA and it’s predators.

    But I will not give up. I no longer feel alone because of this blog and mine. I am making new friends who are “like minded”. which is great.
    I am getting emails from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY asking for my pamphlet. Great.
    I don’t go to any service meetings anymore and I have not attended my regular meeting in 2 weeks. And I got a call from someone who was ready to leave and drink because she just isn’t buying the “koolaid” as Johnny Crash says.

    I do feel and believe eventually we will find a serious outlet, whether it be Newsweek again or the NY times or a major star who is not a loose Cannon to speak up.

    Or an organized class action lawsuit will happen.

    I no longer feel like I am swimming against any tide. I have my modest radio show to have our voice heard as well as I can speak my mind freely and find others that are happy I am speaking up. I think we need more video’s on youtube where we can see our faces and voices. I plan to make something comedic.
    Either way I am getting help from all over the country and the UK- the tide has shifted.

    I really don’t know how many groups are using the literature. They keep writing and I keep sending it.
    I know I will leave eventually. I don’t fit there anymore. But I’m ok with going less and less and less.
    love you guys:) you really have helped my sanity so much, you have no idea!!!

  • chris

    This site has helped me a great deal too. Knowing what I know now, I can confidently say I will NEVER go back to AA and I don`t feel there is something wrong with me because of that. (self will run riot and etc.) I feel empowered to live my life as I choose without the stigma of “doing it my way”, “your best thinking got you here”. It`s odd that I would still feel the need to defend my opinion and choices with what AA would say or think about it. It`s quite the insidious control they have on people, even the ones who don`t attend anymore or beleive what they push. They are very effective at what they do and I`m not talking about any kind of solution that they claim.

  • yahoo

    Don’t quit before the Miracle happens is nothing but a hook to keep a person in the program. No one in the rooms knows exactly what the Miracle is but insist it is real. The Miracle for me was my “realization” that AA/NA is mostly hocus pocus and harmful in the long run.

  • iawoken

    I know a lot of attention is concerned with the disabled woman, but that the son killed himself is a tradgedy as well. Was he force fed steps and slogans when he could have been getting real help? What was his mental condition as well. This is what faith healing does!

  • chris

    My very good friend Sara drank herself to death in 05. She was one who continually beat herself up because she just could not BUY the cult logic. AA, the way it is driven home to people in desperate need, that show up there that are looking for a solution to their drink dilemma, and what they get is something entirely different. I hold AA partially responsible for her death. She was like me before I realized what AA really is. A cult religion with twisted, irrational beleifs that is portrayed to the public and people showing up as TRUTH.

  • chris

    It`s the method that is probably the biggest factor, the demeaning language, giult/shame inducing dogma. The totality of the AA machine.

  • happinesscalls

    Lawyers…I’m still looking for great lawyers. Have learned that it’s criminal law, personal injury best area to look.There is no statute of limitations as long as two of the parties are living. How much is a person’s life or the quality of it worth? I was told abuse is so difficult to prove because there HAS to be evidence.

  • Lawyers that are not hardcore AA pushers are hard to find. In most criminal cases, the defendant is first given the idea of using AA as a plea deal to lessen the sentence by thier lawyers. When given the option between 30 days in jail or 30 days in Rehab, most defendants will choose Rehab if they can afford it.