The Daily Crazy

Wendy is a stepper down under, and she has a problem. She recently moved, and she’s dealing with a lot of crazy in her new group. So, she came to the good people at Sober Recovery for some advice. The whole post is a nice summary of a typical AA experience. Below are the last couple of paragraphs, which cover a lot of the lunacy in a short few sentences: You’ve got your 13th stepping, your suicide, your affirmation that she will be in jail were it not for AA, and a crazy AA buddy.

The responses are interesting, too. There is a lot of subtext to them, including Boleo’s implication that those non-fundie, “back-slapping” groups aren’t really AA, and CarolD’s suggestion that God put her in this situation for a reason – with that reason being to start up her own group. Shockingly, nobody has suggested she get away from these nutbags.

Being assertive in AA

And finally, there is a woman here I’ve begun to make friends with, a gay woman who is very strong from the floor, “men are for men and women are for women and the 13th Step” in terms of sponsoship and suppport – and she’s very strident because her last sponsee suicided shortly before I came here, partly due to the 13th Step from a guy . But she’s started to make it clear she likes me “that way”. That wouldn’t worry me so much – I’d just give it to her straight (excuse the pun). But our phone calls are endless diatribue of what her male sponsee is or isn’t doing and it’s truly, in my view, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” – ie, he calls her at 6pm everynight and it’s the same old thing. But SHE TAKES THE CALLS, and at 23 years sober she won’t do the Steps and seek psych help for some genuinely awful stuff that’s happened in her life. So I’ve had to make a major boundary with her, even though she scares me. (She’s done hard prison time – a YET for me)

So, while I know this is just the fabric of AA, we’re all cracked in our own special way, I’d just LOVE a period of quiet when I don’t have to deal with these exhausting dynamics. I work my arse off in AA, with my psychiatrist and psychologist and on my spiritual journey and I refuse to have anyone derail me. But it’s all been a bit of a shock to the system.

  • FKABB

    I love mOreOver’s response (mainly because I had the same thoughts before I read it)

    “I’d just LOVE a period of quiet when I don’t have to deal with these exhausting dynamics.”

    So why not just stop going to meetings? You’ve been sober for twelve years, right? Do some other kind of volunteer work if you need to get out of the house.

    With the multiple mental problems that Wendy struggles with (her own description), why does she need to be around the drama that is found in AA? Seems to me her psychiatrist and psychologist would suggest to her that the atmosphere in the rooms is not a healthy place for her

  • http://badrecovery.blogspot.com PersephoneInExile

    Wow. Is anyone here over there? When I started looking online about these issues I got so many google responses for this site….then I’d go and it would be something I found repellent seconded, thirded, and hundredthed by the same BS I had already run from.

    I love the “…prison time–YET” bit. These cats honestly believe they’re headed for jail. Unless they get to the meeeeeeting…..don’t they? Isn’t this the same force that drives the ACTUAL addiction experience? Panic that the drug won’t be replaced in the body in time to stave off withdrawal (which equals REALLY bad things if you’re using)? Just asking, it seems the same need is replaced there. Not just “addicted to meetings” type of replacing, but not letting anyone out of the fear & panic and just giving them some even worse things to fear and panic. Does this make sense to anyone else, seeing as I’m talking out of my ass here?

  • http://badrecovery.blogspot.com PersephoneInExile

    Anyone have any stats, just out of curiosity (I am ignorant of any stats on us EXes out here, well, as I just found you guys in the 1st place) on how many 12 Step Refugees/ Ex-steppers claim a multiple number of mental illness DXes? Because it seems everyone in “recovery” does. Like badges of honor.

    I, again, I am NOT mocking this woman if she actually has any of these things, but I’ve just seen this string of similar “clinging to my DXes” behavior too often. Oh, I’m convinced these people are convinced they have these things and have even been diagnosed by professionals who aren’t even two-hatters.

    Again, not knocking her if it’s a serious problem. Bipolar disorder is very serious. And needs to be treated very seriously, and who knows. But do not half of females who take well to recovery culture not start running around saying they’re bipolar? Perhaps controversial thought here, perhaps a common observation. Dunno, just wondering….

  • Doreen

    Maybe that’s why I didn’t find AA a good fit. I’m a woman but I am not bipolar. Sometimes I wished I was so that I could at least have some manic periods along with my lifelong struggle with depression. After a certain point, AA just made me more depressed!
    Actually, though, I think my main problem with AA is that I think and I found it impossible to leave my brain at the door. Not only impossible but the whole idea of trying to do that was insulting and repugnant.

  • http://badrecovery.blogspot.com PersephoneInExile

    I just don’t buy blanket diagnoses of people having mood swings while in detox or treatment as meaning they have that actual chemical imbalance lifelong. Once people are placed on mood stabilizers (and from the amount of “Seroquel” pens and clipboards in these places, you know the drug reps are there constantly), well, I won’t pretend to know what that does to the brain long-term. Not to mention anti-psychotics.

    I see your point about leaving your “brain at the door”. Somehow I’ve never heard that one. LOL….that is a first for me to hear too, wishing you could have a manic period to remove the tedious and boring depression -inducing/enhancing drunkalogues? Nice!

  • Dick Conley

    Isn’t SoberRecovery a Buchmanite forum?

  • SoberPJ

    Sure seems so…

  • Mona Lisa

    SoberRecovery purports to be friendly to all recovery pathways, but in reality it’s a very thinly veiled Buchmanite forum.

  • MA

    Sober recovery simply humors all other recovery forms. What I find amusing is they have a separate forum for “secular recovery.” If AA isn’t religious, as they say it is, why the need for a secular forum? They’re just so full of shit.

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

    In 1936 Time magazine (April 20, 1936 | Vol. XXVII No. 16) profiled Frank N. D.Buchman with a picture of Buchman on the cover entitled “Cultist Buchman: Isn’t God a millionaire”

    http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19360420,00.html

    What happened? Weren’t people warned enough?

  • SoberPJ

    It shifted … Bill made sure it didn’t look EXACTLY like Buchmanism, but retained all the key elements. I wonder how much of AA support comes from the Buchman hangers on? I mean, he had some very well heeled converts and I would imagine it os very hard to destroy wealthy cults. Poor cults, no problem, one’s with money, different story.

  • SoberPJ

    Wow, was Buchman nuts or what?

    Cried Frank Buchman: “I challenge Denmark to be a miracle among the nations, her national policy dictated by God, her national defense the respect and gratitude of her neighbors, her national armament an army of life-changers. Denmark can demonstrate to the nations that spiritual power is the first force in the world. The true patriot gives his life to bring about his country’s resurrection. All those who oppose God’s control are public enemies!”

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,848514,00.html#ixzz1Y46qKhOF

    You do realize that staunch AA’s regard anti-AA’s as public enemies, right? Hence, the “we are killing alcoholics” offense/defense. This is turning out to be sick shit. JD is a defender of the Buchman religion and there are many more like him and WE are the enemy. Did I already say sick shit?

  • Rick

    I wonder if Frank was tripping on belladonna when he had his ‘religious experience’.

    “In 1908 in a rural English church he says he had a stirring, heart-warming religious experience which set his life on a new course, revealed new spiritual powers to him.”

  • SoberPJ

    That would make more sense. And it may not have been Belladonna. I think there were all kinds of pills and elixers available in 1908 in England. I couldn’t find if Cocaine, etc was actually regulated, but it is very possible he was high on something that was actually legal and not immoral at the time. I knew a very old preacher when I was in high school whose sinuses were ruined from doing cocaine before his sermons for years in the 20′s and 30′s. He was probably far more entertaining and enlightening than the pot smoking preacher down the street.

  • Rick

    SoberPJ, I wasn’t familiar with Frank’s claim to have had that epiphany or “religious experience”. I may have read it elsewhere and just forgotten it. It’s easy to see just how much Bill copied everything about the OG, and that story would have been part of Buchman’s routine. I’m sure these stories were common among the groupers, but only a true con-artist would look for ways to parlay them into much bigger schemes like they both did.

    I think it’s interesting that the phrase, “spiritual awakening” also appeared in that Time article. I think I’ve read that some gave Bill credit for that as part of the effort to sell the “spiritual, not religious” approach, but that quote shows that Buchman was using it too.

    “Though the Group’s actual conversions were numerically small, Buchmanism found Danes receptive to its prime idea that the world needs “a moral and spiritual awakening” on the basis of Absolute Love.”