Archive for 19 June 2011

Going to any length

Patient gets drunk on sanitizer in Australia

A.A. Alfie: The Iron Man of Alcoholics Anonymous

A thread started over at the James Randi forum almost a year ago, and since that time “A.A. Alfie” has been trying to convince a group of skeptics that they aren’t seeing what they’re seeing, and that AA is not a religious program. They aren’t buying it, of course. I haven’t read through the entire year’s worth of comments, but Alfie seems to have knocked out multiple opponents with filibustering and quirky rationalizations. It’s an impressive display in stamina. He’s the Lou Gehrig of AA apologists.

I double-dog dare anyone to take this guy on. The first person to get him to concede a point gets a “One Day At A Time” serenity calendar, and my ever-lasting admiration.

Here is the original post that started it all:

Why Do People Insist AA Is Not Religious?

“I’m dealing with a spouse who has alcohol issues. His first therapist (social worker) told him to go to a Beginner’s AA meeting, and to “Keep An Open Mind.”

He went, and was instantly uncomfortable. Not only was Jesus Christ mentioned constantly as the Savior, but the meeting ended with, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

He related this to the social worker, who berated him for not going to a Beginner’s meeting. (Which it WAS listed as.) And then told him that, “The Lord’s Prayer” is not really religious, anyway.

My husband now sees a psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavior and doesn’t push AA.

Now I’m furious that MY new therapist is telling me that AA would be a good resource for my husband. “It’s not religious, it’s spiritual,” and “Your higher power can be anything at all, the ocean, even yourself.”

I’m not confrontational, and I tried to remember some of the advice I’ve received here about debating. I told her that I had done research on AA, that it had a 5% success rate, and that the Supreme Court had ruled that it was religious. Then I started to get emotional and told her that it was all based on a Buchmanite group designed to get people to accept Christ as the Savior, and that the Higher Power stuff was nonsense, since sure, it starts out as, “the ocean,” but ends up referring to God. And the “higher power” definitely CANNOT be yourself, since it has to be some outside force. As Henry Ford said of his cars, you can have any color you want so long as it’s black. Well, you can have any Higher Power you want so long as it’s God.

As former Catholics, my husband and I tend to get a bit touchy when religion is sold to us. It is very difficult to get away from, “Magical Thinking,” and I’ve been working so hard to restructure my thoughts, to think more critically, to learn about logic, and to question things. And it took a lot for me to “talk back” to my therapist about this, and I still feel guilty, like I should just accept it as good advice. Such is the mark that being a good little Catholic girl leaves on person.

I feel so angry that the majority of people don’t question AA at all.”