Clowns to the left of me…

AA Toronto

[UPDATE: The Friendly Atheist blog picked up the story. It’s a good blog for any of you godless creatures].

AnnaZed just found a story about a couple of secular AA groups in Toronto whose meeting schedules were purged from the local AA rosters. The groups, called Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, use an altered version of the 12 Steps, which they edited to remove all reference to God or a Higher Power in order to be more welcoming to non-believers. Toronto AA holds the position that since they changed the language, their meetings no longer qualify as AA and therefore have no place on the AA meeting list. The distilled version of Toronto AA’s explanation is that God is central to recovery. If you take God out, it’s not AA.

The agnostics are devastated; the traditionalists are… just what you’d expect. And after reading the article, I think they’ve all gone around the bend.

On one side, we have a member of the secular group who actually believes in God. He is weeping because God doesn’t belong in AA.

On the other, we have a Catholic priest with, 50 years in AA, claiming that God can be whatever you want it to be. (No one asked him whether a false god works as well as his real one, or how he feels about condemning people to eternal damnation for turning their lives and will over to Vishnu.)

There’s also a little bonus crazy cat lady. (For the record, I’m siding with the crazy cat lady.)

It’s delicious coo-coo bananas, and it’s also the front line of addiction treatment in the civilized world.

There’s so much to work with, so have at it, kids:

Fight over God Splits Toronto AA Groups

It uses “fellowship” to help chronic drinkers quit the bottle. But there is little fellowship in a schism that splintered the Alcoholics Anonymous umbrella group in the GTA this week.

At issue is this question: Do alcoholics need God?

On Tuesday, Toronto’s two secular AA groups, known as Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, were removed or “delisted” from the roster of local meetings. They’ve disappeared from the Toronto AA website and will not be in the next printed edition of the Toronto directory.

The dispute started when Beyond Belief posted an adapted version of AA’s hallowed “Twelve Steps” on the Toronto website. They removed the word “God” from the steps, which are used as a kind of road map to help drinkers achieve sobriety.

“They took issue with a public display of secular AA,” says Joe C., who founded Beyond Belief, Toronto’s first agnostic AA group, 18 months ago. (In keeping with AA’s tradition of anonymity, members are identified by first names only.)

It proved popular enough that a second group started up last fall; it took its name from a chapter in the AA bible entitled Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly known as the Big Book. The group, We Agnostics, had only recently completed the paperwork to be part of AA before being booted out.

“What is unusual is that this didn’t happen in some backwater, but that it happened in a liberal, democratic, pluralistic place like Toronto,” says Joe.

And in the “attraction not promotion” file we have a Press Release published on PR Log by AA Toronto. They seem to be indulging in a Rigorously Honest ™ interpretation of the sacred texts, as they exclude Beyond Belief and We Agnostics (who clearly have not actually read that chapter) from their meeting list, while actively advertising themselves on a PR website. But, as my mom would say “El hombre pone, y Dios dispone.” When you click on the link in AA Toronto’s press release, you’ll find yourself on what’s called a pay-per-click site, and if you scroll down, you’ll notice that the main ad is for “HOW TO QUIT DRINKING WITHOUT AA.” AA Toronto sold out AA for some free advertising — or a week’s worth of coffee filters — and ended up in the internet affiliate rabbit hole.

  • MA

    FTG – I believe this post should have put into the sub-category of “assclowns.”

    There’s so much low-hanging fruit here, I don’t know where to start.

    “For the last time, it’s SPIRITUAL not RELIGIOUS! Now shut up and grab my hand for the Lord’s prayer.”

  • http://deleted Primrose

    @Report them, WA. AA doesn”t want people like that corrupting the message.
    50 years! Is that a record? He must be AA aristocracy. And a priest. What an exulted position he must hold in Toronto.

  • mikeblamedenial

    It is good to see such conflict covered in mainstream media. Agnostic/atheistic steppism is a contridiction, just like nearly everything else about steppism is a contradiction.

  • http://deleted Primrose

    The only thing that makes sense in their philosophy is their antagonism towards approaches that might actually work. Which would rob them of pigeons and then they would all get drunk.

  • BusBozo

    I see that the saintly Fr. Pete Watters disregards the anonymity tradition. Perhaps his ventures on the “Traveling Salvation Show” with that charismatic dude Bill W, taught him about “take what you want…………”. Except in the case of G*d, which, no matter how weird your interpretation may be, is the bedrock of AA.
    Talk about blathering fools!

  • Mona Lisa

    “People and agencies can help,” Watters says, “but the only one who can restore that person to permanent sobriety is God. But that’s the God of your understanding — that can be anything you want.”

    Including a toaster, a motorcycle, a doorknob, a breadbox. How can people not appreciate that this is total lunacy? It’s fine to believe that your motorcycle gets you sober, but you’d damn well better not believe that YOU have anything to do with it!

    Insane!

  • Rick045

    Primrose wrote, “The only thing that makes sense in their philosophy is their antagonism towards approaches that might actually work. Which would rob them of pigeons and then they would all get drunk.”

    Yes, I can easily imagine the Toronto area treatment centers recommending these meetings as an “option” to their more god-resistant clients, (pigeons). No matter how the step-doctors try to change the presentation, it’s still a parasitic marketing scheme.

  • DeConstructor

    Why do I keep getting the picture of the Simpsons Krusty the Klown drinking heavily before performances?

    http://listolepsy.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/krusty.jpg

  • Jonny Quest

    Interesting. I had just read this “white paper” on the topic on a “Primary Purpose” site a couple of days ago.

    WHITE PAPER ON THE MATTER OF A.A. ATHEIST/AGNOSTIC GROUPS AND RELATED CONCERNS

    http://www.164fl.com/wp.pdf

  • limestoneblocks

    There is no place for atheists and agnostics in AA. See “We Agnostics” for further evidence.

  • http://anonymousjr.keepandshare.com JR Harris

    The agnostics in Canada have an interesting way of bringing awareness to thier cause. It is called the Atheist Bus Campaign where they put ads in public buses saying things like:

    “THERE’S PROBABLY NO GOD. NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE.”

    “EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE.”

    http://atheistbus.ca/

    I wonder what they think about all of this?

  • SoberPJ

    An aside perspective – So, anonymity is the spiritual foundation, right? And, gawd is what gives it the spirituality. Hence, if you remove gawd, then the spirituality no longer exists. Ergo, no anonymity to hide behind. Oh, wait. If I believe my lawn chair is gonna save my life, then maybe the anonymity thing is really about not exposing to the world that you belong to an organization that has the requirement to become bat shit crazy as it’s real foundation. I say leave them all alone, crazy people need to be able to create their own little world of crazy so they can argue and debate over their crazy shit. I mean, it’s not like their crazy shit is slowly oozing out and infecting the general society or anything….. oh, wait…

  • MikeAugustine

    Ultimately what makes AA so insidious is that its priesthood is spread out amongst different classes of members, none of whom individually could be regarded exclusively as an AA holy (wo)man. Put these people together however and the pattern emerges. For example, the circuit speaker acts essentially as the evangelist/preacher. The sponsor acts as confessor and spiritual guide. Those holding positions at district and area act as members of religious councils. The Alcathons and conferences have pretty much become holy days of obligation, and provide a chance for all of these characters to congregate and take the best seats in the hall. It’s all so clear now that I am away from it. But as a member of the cult I was too caught up in the fellowship at the micro level to see the bigger pattern,

    Free at last, free at last, free last.

  • Lucy

    “Agnostic AA” in NYC has a separate website for exactly the same reason. However, the OIAA lists “Atheist AA” and “Freethinker AA,” which is why my old online group left the OIAA and why I left my old online group.

    As a former member of those secular AA groups, I can tell you that they mostly acted as support groups for people who were sick of the religiosity in AA, and that many of the assertions made on ST were made by the members of the non-religious AA groups. I believe that for them (and me) the meetings are simply an attempt to keep from drinking and a place to talk about how nutty the regular meetings are,

  • Jonny Quest

    @limestoneblocks:

    I’ve flown off the handle when they would tell atheists to read “We Agnostics” too many times to count.

    In meetings, if they would say “well, anything can be your HP – Jenny over there uses her cat Fluffy as her HP” I would really lose it.

    So… you should relinquish power to “Fluffy” and abandon self-direction, turn your will and your life over to “Fluffy” (Step 3), admit to “Fluffy” the exact nature of your wrongs (Step 5), become ready to have “Fluffy” to remove all your character defects (Step 6), ask “Fluffy” to remove your shortcomings, and pray to improve your conscious contact with “Fluffy”, praying only for the knowledge of Fluffy’s will?

    That “Fluffy” must be one special kitty !

    Check out this response when I posted the definition of “atheist” on a forum:

    http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/newcomers-recovery/225173-what-deal-mention-god-steps-3.html#post2946174

    The mods shut down the thread after that. Full thread started when someone asked “What is the deal with the mention of god in the steps?”

    http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/newcomers-recovery/225173-what-deal-mention-god-steps.html

    If you read it, you’ll see all the usual “spiritual, not religious” – even the moderators and admins defer to the steppers.

  • SoberPJ

    WARNING – the article link launched a malware system scanner that told me all about how my system has malware on it.

    Kind of like AA. You walk in thinking it’s about one thing -not drinking – but find out you are infected with all kinds of malicious shit that is what is really ruining your life. They then proceed to really infect you and you end up doing their bidding. Exactly like malware.

  • http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com friendthegirl

    The Toronto AA article?

  • AnnaZed

    Not getting the malware alert, though I believe you of course!

    Everyone knows that those malware scanners are just themselves malware, right?

    The Toronto Star is a legitimate newspaper, not one of those publish yourself sites. Still, I guess that doesn’t make them immune to malware infestation.

    Should I cut and paste the text of the entire article?

  • SoberPJ

    Yes, the Toronto article. I never got to see it because I never let the malware run it’s course and I have to immediately go into Task Manager and shut down the processes. Understandably, I didn’t go back. It did have a benefit though. Someone wrote about how AA was like open source software, my little malware issue at that point in time reinforced how AA is more like malware. You go somewhere expecting one thing and get hit with something entirely different and it’s foundation is deceitful and manipulative. It will stay there until you get assistance from someone who knows how to remove it and has done it before. There is no religion to remove it, just cold hard facts. If I prayed for gawd to take away the malware and I do nothing else, the only thing that happens is the existing malware opens the door to further exploitation. Within a short period of time, my machine has keystroke loggers so others can see into my life and I become an email relay for spam that does the bidding of others or I become a bot in a massive Denial of Service Network that attempts to disrupt and censor those that my malware owners don’t like. But, the very first thing I have to do for it to involve me in it’s deceit and exploitation, is let it get into my machine. Unfortunately, I let AA get into my mental machine and it is taking time to get that malware out of my system.

    Not bad as analogies go.. I give it a B+ :-)

  • Jonny Quest

    @SoberPJ:

    Addiction is a viral suite, and AA/NA is an “upgrade” to that viral suite.

    Addiction 1.0:

    1. I use
    2. If not 1 (ex: “I really shouldn’t”)
    3. Go to 1

    AA/NA and the RGM is the turbo-charged version – “Addiction 2.0″, if you will, a self-replicating, metastasizing cancer that sows mass addition before itself and prevents anyone from ever escaping from it.

  • limestoneblocks

    Jonny, thanks for the link. I am so sick and tired of the AAer’s trying to make AA out to be something it’s not. The program is based on submitting to a god that has some kind of will for you. How can anyone read the steps and not come to that conclusion? It’s maddening to say the least. I have a deep respect for the rare AAers that admit that it is all about god as in….. a deity that listened to our prayers… at least then they are being honest. It’s the “god can be anything you want” crowd that makes me scream. ugh, my brain hurts!

  • Lucy

    I think I hate “We Agnostics” more than any other part of the book, except maybe Dr Bob’s story. Bullshit propaganda in the form of shaming,

  • http://none violet

    I loved “We Agnostics” when I was new, only b/c people were like, “Oh, it’s your chapter. And I was 21, fucked up, and someone was actually talking to me. :) If I had gotten highlights, worn an bra that fit, and put a little lipstick on instead of walking around in snarly hair and doc martins I would have gotten more attention walking down any street…in New Hampshire. What a whacked-out, tiring bunch f people. Particularly the agnostic weeper. Shut up, get out of AA, and move on, people.

  • http://none violet

    “Not getting the malware alert, though I believe you of course!

    Everyone knows that those malware scanners are just themselves malware, right?”

    what?

  • http://none violet

    ^ i get it now. it takes me a sec.

  • http://mbaird24@cox.net freedom24

    So much for “the only requirement for membership…”

  • http://ben-bradley.blogspot.com Ben Bradley

    “People and agencies can help,” Watters says, “but the only one who can restore that person to permanent sobriety is God. But that’s the God of your understanding — that can be anything you want.”

    In AA God can be interpreted as an acronym for “good, orderly, direction,” or as something that can be found in nature, a set of ethical principles, or even in the courage of fellow AA members.”

    Yes, that’s the AA bait (or one of them) – God can be a “Group Of Drunks.” In the earlier steps in the 12&12 Wilson states how many stay sober with the group as their higher power.

    The switch is later on, circa step 11, when those who use the group as their higher power are said to have have an inferior sobriety to those who have a True Spiritual Higher Power.

  • http://stop13stepinaa@wordpress.com massiveattack

    @violet…sounds so cute Doc Martins. I could se the kids on Melrose in the mid 80’s here in Hollyweird. Sorry to hear , but yes they are such f…..assholes.

    I guess someone can tell our judicial system, judges and lawyers that AA is a religious cult and it’s against our civil rights to be sentenced or coerced to a religious movement for drinking or drugging.

    I went to a Producer conference today. I pitched my doc idea to about 12 people as I walked around to all the booths. I’m gearing up to make my film.

    I have a life.

  • mikeblamedenial

    I left a comment, only to see that they are moderated. We will see how it goes.

  • Ron Winstone

    And this too shall pass! Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark!

  • joedrywall

    Several years ago I read an article in The Grapevine that addressed the “God talk”and whether or not AA should go easier on it. When something of this nature makes its way into the Grapevine then I think that it is something that is obviously of much concern within the ranks of the fellowship. Of course I stated this in a meeting one time and the old timer tried to use his 20 year rank “I’ve been around 20 years those with no god, their not sober”. Sober has obviously become a “loaded” term.
    I have come to the conclusion that everyone is an agnostic. Even if all the scriptures are false that would not disprove an existence of a God. And even if everyone dies and still doesn’t meet any divine being still doesn’t disprove that existence. I don’t see how anyone can prove or disprove the existence of a God.

  • BusBozo

    jobdrywall
    I agree that existence of God is not provable, and the same for the non-existence. For myself, I can detect no evidence of any kind of interventionist, aware, or caring God. If that is the case, than the existence is pretty much irrelevant in life. I am aware that most people seem to believe in the above characteristics, and AAers certainly, for the most part, belong to that group. Their faith healing credo, is pretty much mumbo jumbo to me, and the God talk is really what the program is all about. Thus we find the opposing camps, the “back to basics” dudes, and the “buck an hour therapy group” dudes, splintering their own way.

  • DeConstructor

    The god thing has been covered up by corporate AA since the beginning, however, lately there has been a organized effort to silence those AAers who feel the faith should be honest about the intense and fundamentalist religious nature of the program.

    Here is the paperwork documenting the coverup.

    http://orange-papers.org/Minority_Opinion_Appeal_to_AA_Fellowship.pdf

  • Lucy

    Joey Drywall, When I picked up my 20 year chip, I actually HEARD the guy behind me say in sotto voce, “Well, she’s not REALLY sober. She’s an atheist. One day she’ll get drunk and I’ll be there to pray for her when she tries to stop drinking again.”

  • Jonny Quest

    @Lucy:

    Some groupers, like Bill Wilson, don’t “believe in atheists.”

    The worst are the former “atheists” who “came to believe.”

    I tell them rest assured that I know the difference between agnostic and atheist, and I am not agnostic. They may have changed your mind, or were never actually atheist in the first place, but I will die an honest atheist.

    Of course, such types believe that on my death bed I’ll “get scared” of dying, “change my mind” and pray for forgiveness for being a sinner, so I make sure to add that even if I’m aboard a crashing airplane, I still won’t pray. :-)

  • flannigan

    @joedrywall
    It is impossible to disapprove a negative (god’s non-existance is not provable). Please provide ANY proof that shows god exists. Burden of proof is always on the one who asserts a claim (god does exist). If no evidence can be found to support claim (god does exist), the antithesis of claim (god does not exist) has to be assumed. A claim without evidence is merely an opinion.

  • Sally

    I personally think that it is insulting for a sponsor or anyone to assume that although one does beleive in god, they also beleive that god interferes with, or makes changes concerning one’s life. Especially upon request or in prayer. If it were true, that person may never get off of their knees.

    I also think one reason Bill W. was so depressed was because he couldn’t buy his own program. He deep down knew it was silly to beleive that any higher power (if he didn’t beleive in god) would help keep him sober. Wasn’t it Ebby Thacher that suggested it to him? Even after Bill W. had the “spiritual but not religious” awakening with the white light and the mountains and all that?

  • flannigan

    @Sally
    Bill W’s white light experience was induced by belladonna and henbane, ie, an hallucination. If a “higher power” keeps you sober, then the same “higher power” got you drunk. Doesn’t make much sense now, does it? And re: Ebby Thacher- look how he ended up. Wonderful advice, Ebby.

  • Lucy

    JQ – Yes, what you just described is the narrative that Bill has in We Agnostics and it is a familiar refrain in mainstream AA meetings. What you said in response is also the topic repeated without end at every Atheist, Freethinker and Agnostic AA meeting.

    Freedom of and from religion are personal matters. Giving respect goes a long way in getting respect, and it keeps me out of long and tedious arguments with people who don’t listen anyway.

    The guy behind me made a fool of himself and attracted no one to his “God.” He talked because he liked to listen to himself, but I will guarantee you, no one else did.

  • Jonny Quest

    Sally says: “I personally think that it is insulting for a sponsor or anyone to assume that although one does beleive in god, they also beleive that god interferes with, or makes changes concerning one’s life. Especially upon request or in prayer. If it were true, that person may never get off of their knees.”

    The AA religion is a Gnostic heresy which denies free will, and is easily identified as such by anyone with minimal training in theology. Traditional religions required that people pledge to G-d to stay sober, not ask G-d to keep you sober.

    Orange Papers has an entry on this:

    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-heresy.html

    Balmedenial had a video on this:

    There are others.

  • Jonny Quest

    @Deconstructor:

    Interesting document. Glad to see we have another cheerful group here in Maryland. I recall a big meeting to discuss this issue here – might be the one referenced in that document.

    I have people in my family who are very religious – true believers, and I also live amongst Orthodox Jews, so I am familiar with religion.

    AA manages to simultaneously insult both atheists and believers of the Jewish faith and many variants of Christianity, which is quite an accomplishment. Not many can pull that off.

  • joedrywall
  • Sally

    Jonny, great video. Exactly what I thought but worded so much better, lol.

    joeydrywall, enjoyed reading that article, thanks for posting.

  • CJS

    @ DeConstructor

    The xeroxed letter from someone discussing his father, a few pages into the pdf (I’m too sick to go back and look) –

    – someone’s conscience, the very thing held in the very highest regard both in our nation’s founding principles and in our majority religious heritage (a rare coincidence), is a “convenient loophole”.

    Wow. Wow.

    “You don’t have to believe anything”?
    “AA doesn’t make you do anything”?
    “Rigorous honesty”?
    “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking”?

    And this is someone talking about his father?

    What sick scum.

  • http://www.mauihistorian.blogspot.com Dick B.

    Lately I have steered clear of the stinkin thinkin site out of a sheer distaste for its name-calling. But an AA had sent me the Toronto article. I had written an extensive response on my blog–having a primary objection to censorship and A.A. policing. This is becoming all too common. A lady from the Toronto group wrote me to objectand to inform and explain to me that her little “governing body” removed the groups to “protect” the fellowship and newcomers from such unacceptable behavior. And I wondered if Hitler instructed his propaganda minister and Himmler to do likewise to “protect” the Third Reich from behavior deemed to be detrimental to the dictator’s views. I had decided to let the matter stand, and then this well-written, topical, relevant stinkin thinkin article popped up on my radar. And I think the moderator or writer or whatever he or she is called did a service in writing what is above. Dick B.

  • zooromeo

    @ Dick

    Whats worse than your “alleged” Stinkin thinkin name calling is the disgusting, self-destructive and soul-destroying cult of alcoholics anonymous.

    Anything anyone writes here pales in comparison to the way Alcoholics Anonymous trashes peoples sense of self, their sense of reality, their sense of self-esteem and their inbuilt right to direct their own life as they see best for whatever they desire.

    And YOU, as one of AA biggest fans – earning a LIVING from selling bullshit from your propaganda website is in no position to judge.

    I clearly remember communicating with you over email last year asking for “evidence” regarding your heavily promoted “AA success rate”. You evaded me, bullshitted me and eventually sent me a pathetic 3 line word document which looked like it was faked by my baby daughter. It was only when I threatened to contact the FTC that your son sent me a weak attempt at “evidence”.

    You are a liar and a cheat and make money off a religion which kills people.

    So… Dick, fuck you and the horse you rode in on…

    Love & Tolerance

    Zoo

  • http://stop13stepinaa@wordpress.com massiveattack

    Zoo@ the way Alcoholics Anonymous trashes peoples sense of self, their sense of reality, their sense of self-esteem and their inbuilt right to direct their own life as they see best for whatever they desire.

    Zoo what I hate most about AA now after all these years….and thanks be to GOD I finally left..oh wait it was me who left not God and on my own free will. Yea I have a free will. And a SPONSOR does not tell me which horse to ride in or out on. I LOVE your post!!!! you rock.
    And the one sentence sums it up for me.

  • mikeblamedenial

    Dick, I fully support and appreciate your efforts. The sooner you and yours expose the truly religious faith-healing that is Alcoholics Anonymous to the press, the clergy, the medical industry and the lawmakers and judges in this country, the better.

  • http://anonymousjr.keepandshare.com JR Harris

    I appreciate Dick B’s work also. In fact I use much of his research because it does seem to correlate with everything else I have seen that was not “sanitized” by corporate AA.

  • http://deleted Primrose

    I support Dick B, too. He is honest about what he does.

  • Zooromeo

    Um wtf?

    Sorry guys but that’s not the case… At all

    I came across dick faces’ website last year and saw a disturbing amount of pro aa propaganda announcing “documented” success rates.

    The asshole could not support his false assertions and became quite hostile when challenged so no, I don’t support him.

    Dick b can go fuck himself.

  • Jonny Quest

    Oh, the success rates are “documented” all right – in the Big Book !

  • Zooromeo

    Ah yes 75% isn’t it ?

    The remaining 25% had grave emotional and mental disorders.

    See the program IS perfect !!

  • mikeblamedenial

    Don’t mistake my support of Dick B.’s efforts as a co-signing of his nonsense. I truly hope he convinces EVERYBODY of AA’s true religiosity.

  • http://deleted Primrose

    Zoo; Dick B is a pure AA, as BW wanted it; men in their sixties seeking a way to work out why on earth they drank so much by repeating nonsense to each other. No women or minors or people under 50. Fine by me. No court-related sending, no troubled teens. Fine by me.

  • MA

    I don’t have a problem with Dick. I think he’s deluded, but that’s fine. I even think his intentions are good. I never gave him a hard time until he started showing up here yelling at us, like the old guy down the street yelling at the kids to get off his lawn. And I agree with Mike and Primrose that it would be nice if he convinced the world of AA to believe what he believes.

  • Zooromeo

    I see dick as part of the whole problem.

    There is still an assumption that if only aa got back to it’s roots (I.e. without the mandated court stuff etc) that it would be fairly harmless.

    That is nowhere near the case. Unfortunately I don’t think dicks admissions of religiosity will do much to deter the judges and people seeking help for alcohol problems. And so I see him as promoting it and therefore still attraction people to something that is so much more benign from the outside…. Like it did to me

    So again… Fuck dick B

  • http://deleted Hyacinth

    @Zoo; the court mandated rubbish would have to end. Anyone contemplating sending anyone near corporate AA would read Massive’s blog first. So only men in their sixties would ever go near. Fine by me.

  • mikeblamedenial

    Here is someone I can easily hate on. I believe this has been linked before, but it is worth another look.
    http://www.aabacktobasics.org/New-Court%20Ordered%20Back%20to%20Basics.html

  • DeConstructor

    The problem with Dick is the overstating of the success of the AA faith. I would have no problem with AA if it were like minded people doing their thing.

    I have a huge problem with the fact that the faith is not only forced and coerced upon people, but also ‘rock bottoms’ become routinely induced having a tendency to kill people.

    In addition the professed and prosyltized perfection of the program has stifled solutions that actually work.

    Any time an AA evangelist proclaims the success rate of the AA faith they should be immediately reminded to figure in the failures in the form of documented increased suicides, documented increased binge drinking by AA newcomers, and worst of all innocent people killed by drunk drivers that have been wrongly trained at tax payer expense they have some type of concocted brain ‘disease’ that is incurable and prograssive.

    The AA faith needs to be exposed for what it is-not only a fundamentalist religion but also a multi billion dollar industry-which dick continues profit from.

    If dick really wanted to show credibility and his ‘christian’ nature- he would document for those of us critical to his actions-that all his profits were donated to charity.

    As long as he is bilking insurance and vulnerable newcomers for his snake oil he has NO credibility.

  • Zooromeo

    Well if only men in their 60s would be attracted then fine by me too.

    I doubt that stopping the court stuff is enough

    I’m hoping to see aa shrivel and die during my lifetime !!

  • MA

    @Mike. That’s an interesting spin on the “attraction, not promotion” thing. Aren’t these fundies the same ones who claim AA’s low success rate is because of court ordered attendees?

  • Jonny Quest

    @mikeblamedenial:

    You guys should do a couple videos on back to basics and primary purpose AA.

  • joedrywall

    I have to say that this 75% success rate is the biggest of big lies that AA members have spread. First of all it is supposed to be a 75% success rate of those who “really tried”. So if you drop out, then you automatically didn’t really try.
    Folks who believe such a rate are probably about as deluded as those who thought the world was coming to end just recently. So folks who drop out don’t count, folks who relapse and are agnostic/atheist don’t count, they have too much intellectual pride- and obviously never “really tried” because if they did they would “supposed” to have the miracle happen.
    See its the “hard core” AAs who believe that AA has lost its roots through the centers, the courts, professionals in the field etc are the ones who believe that AA had its 75% success rate. Of course, if not for the centers, courts, and professionals, AA would not have nearly the business that it has had. And if it ever did have such an astonishing success rate why on Earth would anybody dare change one word, and why not force people into it, anything that successful has to help right?

  • http://deleted Hyacinth

    This is the take of aacultwatch on recovery:
    http://aacultwatch.co.uk/recoveryrates.aspx

    You need to really work the program for it to, er…

  • AnnaZed

    The plural of anecdote isn’t data.

    just sayin’

  • zooromeo

    @Mike

    How are ya ?

    Remember sparring with godlyguitarman on YouTube ? Is he still there ?

    After about 3-6 months of YT wars against the steppers I just couldnt cope with the BS anymore and gave up !

    Zoo

  • mikeblamedenial

    Yes, what Godly lacked in content, he compensated for with tenacity. We indulged him for so long because he never really became personally abusive. He closed his account and vanished after his personal info was discovered by a different listowner. He was one of the few genuine steppers who campaigned on our site. Most of the others were merely troll posers who had a stack of userids which we block as soon as they become personally abusive. McGowdog, for example got blocked and deleted after about one post. Some of them are still around, and roll through here from time to time. Quarreling with trolls is an endless exercise in futility.

  • http://ben-bradley.blogspot.com Ben Bradley

    HOT DAMN! I just left a long rant and response to a couple of stepper comments on the Friendly Atheist blog as the last of 55 comments. Everyone please read it! Here’s a direct link:
    http://friendlyatheist.com/2011/06/04/secular-alcoholics-anonymous-groups-in-toronto-have-been-kicked-out-of-aa/#comment-754242
    Wow, that’s even longer than I thought. Looks like I’m on a roll!

  • BusBozo

    I see The Freethinker is featuring the Toronto story:
    http://freethinker.co.uk/

  • mikeblamedenial

    “You guys should do a couple videos on back to basics and primary purpose AA.”
    Here is one our Swedish pal did on Chris R., well-known Primary Purpose spokesperson.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/chihuahuazz#p/u/7/hcGtSzd9Tzo
    It may have been posted here already some time ago. It is a fairly upsetting serenity rant.

  • BusBozo

    Disturbing is the word. I certainly hope this clown Chris R, does not have children.

  • zooromeo

    ahhh McGowdog…

    A pinnacle of serenity & Love :)

  • http://deleted Hyacinth

    @Ben; read it. Great. Keep rolling!

  • BusBozo

    Thanks for the link Ben. It is good to see the secular groups taking an interest in AA, and thus pointing out the religious nature. I think most people who are not involved with AA, just assume it is a place where alcoholics go and get sober. They have little understanding of the steps, and the nonsense that most members preach. Exposing the nature of the beast, such as your link does, is all to the good.

  • SoberPJ

    Does anyone else think the “gawdless 12 steps” are still ridiculous?

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable. ** Same crap
    2. Came to accept and to understand that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity. ** All I really need is information to help me change my behavior.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the AA program. *** Is this totally wacked or what ?
    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. *** Right, look really deeply and crank up the depression.
    5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. *** Confession is not religious..oh, wait..
    6, Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character. *** Maybe…
    7. Humbly sought to have our shortcomings removed. *** This is very confusing. Who exactly is doing the “removing” ?
    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. *** Same stuff
    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. *** Same stuff
    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. *** Yep, keep the self-microscope cranked up to stay in that depressed state.
    11. Sought through mindful inquiry and meditation to improve our spiritual awareness, seeking only for knowledge of our rightful path in life and the power to carry that out. *** This one is actually a joke, right. Those wacky, fun loving atheist AA’s have a great sense of humor, don’t they?
    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. *** Don’t they see the maniacal ridiculousness of this?

    The whole AA Corporate ecosystem needs something to restore it to sanity.

  • http://anonymousjr.keepandshare.com JR Harris

    This article sure has brought a lot of attention. There are people following it all over the net. I just found an interesting article from a group of people who believe that Religion and AA are a virus. Interesting the “Virus” theory……….

    http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/2011/06/aa-is-religion-atheists-kicked-out.html

  • http://deleted Hyacinth

    Why have the atheists not taken up this cause? Richard Dawkins is friends with one of Penn and Teller, who are anti-aa. Stephen Fry, the intelligentest person in Great Britain is a staunch atheist.

  • AnnaZed

    @Sober PJ, absolutely ridiculous. I made a serious effort to go that route at one time, but (come on) without higher power there is no steppism. Dilute it how you see fit; it’s still the same kool-aide.

    ::feh!::

  • AnnaZed

    @JR, I like this post of his:
    http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/2010/04/christian-shocker-god-based-aa-program.html

    Pity no one reads him or has ever heard of him.

  • http://anonymousjr.keepandshare.com JR Harris

    I didn’t even know they had a book about the “Virus” theory of Religion:

    http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/2010/10/29/book-review-the-religion-virus/

  • http://ben-bradley.blogspot.com Ben Bradley

    Oops, I did it again! Thanks to JR Harris’ link (at 8:24AM) – I responded with a longish rant there too:
    http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/2011/06/aa-is-religion-atheists-kicked-out.html?showComment=1307475941304#c8531558013628278693

  • http://ben-bradley.blogspot.com Ben Bradley

    JR, I haven’t heard of THAT book, but Dr. Darrel Ray, author of “The God Virus” spoke at the Atlanta Freethought Society shortly after his book was published:
    http://www.amazon.com/God-Virus-religion-infects-culture/dp/0970950519
    I’ve got my autographed copy, but haven’t done more than skim the book. It might be interesting to compare the two books.

    He’s started a chain of support groups for those leaving religion that he said “operate like Alcoholics Anonymous.” Fuck no, they don’t, or if they did… I’ve never been to one and don’t know for sure, but what I think he’s saying is the groups operate like THE PUBLIC’S PERCEPTION of how AA works. I did tell him at the book signing that he shouldn’t say that, but I saw him on a video online, I think it was a Texas public-access atheist TV show, months later saying the same thing.

  • http://ben-bradley.blogspot.com Ben Bradley

    My post at http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/2011/06/aa-is-religion-atheists-kicked-out.html showed up initially (I had to enter a CAPTCHA code) as comment #13 but it now only shows 12 comments. I don’t know if it has to be approved first or what, but I have what I wrote saved in a local file.

  • http://ben-bradley.blogspot.com Ben Bradley

    The comment post on the religionvirus blog is FINALLY up!

  • http://anonymousjr.keepandshare.com JR Harris