Archive for 29 June 2011

Silly Slogans and Other Sayings

Here is a link to a fantastic if sometimes crude article regarding AA’s slogans:

I think it is from the old Agent Apple site but I remember the first time I read it years ago and it made perfect sense to me.

B l A m E

Here is one of my more favourite extracts:



Fuck you, you abusive and insulting asshole. Say it again and you’ll be shitting teeth, Johnny.

We utterly reject the crude and oppressive anti-intellectual attitudes and atmosphere so prevalent in AA and NA. We reject as harmful and abusive the sneering by old-timers, who mumble out of the sides of their mouths, “Keep it simple, stupid.” This phrase is abusive, insulting, and insensitive. But we also take it to be often an admission of ignorance and intellectual bankruptcy, and think it is a testament to the power of recovery that such people can stay clean. We would be justified in referring to such abusive people as the keep-it-simpletons.

We certainly appreciate the sentiment behind the slogan, “Keep It Simple.”

We understand it to mean that processes do not require extra-added, unnecessary and superfluous assumptions to explain them. This is what is understood by “Occam’s Razor.” It refers to a rule put forward in the 14th Century by William of Occam, in England. It is a scientific or philosophical rule that “entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily,” which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex, provided it adequately explains the process, and that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities. This is one of the bases upon which we dispense with supernatural explanations of addiction and recovery. Such hypotheses, including the hypothesis of God, are unnecessary.

On a very practical level, we also understand “Keep It Simple” to mean that addicts should not unnecessarily complicate, or get caught up in elaborate meanderings about, the issue of whether or not to get high. On that subject we agree: “Keep it simple: Don’t use, no matter what!”

But beyond that we encourage our members to think, to exult in our human power to think, and to explore and analyze everything.

Every process is not the same. Some are more complicated than others. Each has its own “minimum level of complexity.” To unnecessarily complicate it above this level is to over-complicate it and violate Occam’s Razor. But to unnecessarily simplify it below this level is to commit the grave error of over-simplification. Both must be avoided. But people who do not have, or do not choose to exercise, the normal human mental capacities to understand and explain progressively more complicated things or processes, are rightly called simpletons. They may be very nice people, and may stay happy and sober till they die, but they are probably not the people you want to take suggestions from.

People who sneeringly insist on keeping our understandings and explanations of all things and processes, regardless of their minimum degree of complexity, below a very primitively low level of simplicity, are rightly called keep-it-simpletons. And this is so regardless of how long they have been abstinent.

This ignorant ridicule of intellectual capacities, powers, pursuits, endeavors, curiosities, analyses, explorations, discoveries, and originalities, is an example of the stultifying, traditional faith-based hostility to human knowledge characteristic of religious fundamentalism for the past twenty centuries.”


Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies in Conflict

I was listening to Mike and Blame this morning on Massiveattack’s radio program, and Blame referenced this, originally posted in Journal of Counseling & Development. It’s an interesting read:

Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies in Conflict

“Although AA believes in a medical cause for alcoholism, their treatment program is a nonmedical one that includes both social and emotional elements. At the core of AA’s treatment program lie the 12 steps. These steps were originally adapted from a Christian organization, the Oxford Group. The group emphasized changing one’s life and removing sin by passing through five stages known as the five procedures. These stages involved giving in to God, listening to God’s direction, checking for guidance, achieving restitution, and sharing (Kurtz, 1988). Continue reading Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies in Conflict