I don’t know how I found myself standing in front of the stack of unopened Grapevines this morning. And I don’t know why they keep sending them to me, since my subscription ran out long ago. And I don’t know what possessed me to pick up that specific issue and tear off the black plastic porn wrapper. All I know is that it happened, and it was a miracle.
When I looked at the cover of the April issue and saw that the theme was “Getting Spiritual,” I just had to drop to my knees in amazement – there are no coincidences in AA! If I’d been playing God with my own life this morning, I might have just done my taxes.
(OK. Gah! I can’t keep that up. No wonder AA has such a miserable retention rate.)
Now, then! This issue of Grapevine is devoted to the distinction between Religious and Spiritual, and it just proves everything all of us here have ever thought or said about AA. Not only that, but it puts an end to this interminable argument.
First thing: The foundation of AA is bald contradiction, and for that reason, it requires faith or suspension of disbelief. There’s a good reason for slogans such as “Ain’t nobody too dumb for AA, but plenty are too smart,” and “Don’t think. Don’t Drink. And go to meetings” and “My best thinking got me here,” and “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth,” and “Let go and let God,” and “The alcoholic’s mind is like a bad neighborhood: Don’t go there alone,” and etc. The good reason is simply that AA makes no freakin’ sense.
And this is not a point of contention – I don’t think – between us muckrakers and the AA faithful. There’s not much to be gained in arguing with religionists by telling them that they make no sense, because they take that fact as a point of pride and as evidence of their having “got it” – and, even better, of our not having “got it.” We don’t agree on much, but we agree on that.
But this agreement leads, naturally, to another question, a more important contradiction, which actually is a point of contention: Is AA an alcoholism recovery program or a road map to spiritual awakening, of which sobriety is just a benefit? Do you go to AA to get sober, or do you go there to get God? Continue reading What Would Plate Tectonics Do? Spiritual vs Religious Double-Plus-Redux