Archive for the AA Terminology Category

Alcoholics Anonymous and the TABOO of the GEOGRAPHIC change.

 

 

No.

Geographical Cure (a.k.a Geographic ):
An effort to cure our alcoholism by getting a ‘fresh start’ in a new location. It doesn’t work. There is a saying around AA, ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’

I remember having about five years sober in AA and approaching my sponsor for guidance. I had done well and established a very successful business. In my success I started to look at property in an idyllic location where my family and I had always wanted to live. I had saved enough money to buy a house there for cash. My wife and I had picked out a house and were ready to make our move. Being a good AA I decided to check with my spiritual advisor and sponsor first. Much to my disappointment, he told me that it was dangerous for me to buy this house and move so far from my support group. Clearly I was brainwashed; AA and my sponsor had become my lifeline. I had such a lack of confidence in myself from working the AA program and listening to the rhetoric of the group that I was unable to stand on my own two feet. I was completely dependent on the program and fellowship. As someone who has disconnected from AA, I can look back and see what a shame this is. I see now that AA did not give me power but that it completely crippled me. I have not been living my own life but have been living the lives of others. I remember hearing how bad it was to move away from a persons AA group but never recall hearing anyone share about experiencing a move in which they drank. Members would share that if an alcoholic were to move away from their group they would drink. They would even share that subconciously it was probably an underlying reason for the move. Remember, the great obsession of every alcoholic is to drink normally.

Another factor that plays into the AA’s management of the geographic move is the God implication. Whether implied or by direction the AA seems to rely heavily on the notion that God will do for the alcoholic what he cannot do for himself. Live and let live and let go and let God would seem to directly conflict with any sponsors direction regarding a geographic change, unless of course the AA sponsor is a direct channel from God.

Bottom line; what business does any AA have meddling with the personal life choices and goals of anyone who wanders in their door?  Have you been incapacitated by a sponsor who told you not to make a geographic change?  Were you pressured to stay in your community?  This may be the place to talk about it and share opposing viewpoints so that those who are still crippled by AA can gain insight and make their own decisions.

Bill Wilson and his Library at Stepping Stones

Example of husband and wife research early 1900's

To understand the inner thought processes, friends and outside influences of Bill Wilson you can gain incite from his personal Library at his home of Stepping Stones in Katonah, New York. While this is only a snap shot of the collection of books that Bill Wilson owned during his entire life, the publishing dates and inscriptions from people who gave them as gifts are available here.

Your library is your portrait. - Holbrook Jackson

Libraries are as the shrine where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed. - Bacon

What is nice about the site that this post links to is that the entire inventory of 96 pages can be searched using keywords which can show the manuals and text books that Bill Wilson was using to research the vast empire and influence of Alcoholics Anonymous he was building. You do have to bear in mind that the search not only searches the title of the book, but also any inscription put in it. The keyword “dictionary” brings up 29 instances which can be used to understand the definitions of the words Bill Wilson was changing. The keyword of “bible” brings up 10 hits. The keyword “spiritual” brings up 14 results. I can find no references to the keywords Jewish, Muslim or Atheist in any of Bill Wilson’s personal library. Where did Bill W get his information from to rewrite the definition of Spiritual for the non-Christian prospects he sent the fellowship out to recruit?

AA Troll Self-report 4 point Questionairre

AA Troll Self-report 4 Point Questionnaire

Guidelines: When answering remember that a “prospect” for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is someone that you think may be an Alcoholic, but you aren’t sure. Only circle the best answer and only one.

A. When you meet someone new do you?

  1. Become their friend.
  2. Immediately identify them as a prospect for AA.
  3. “When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him.” BB p.90, Working With Others
  4. “If there is any indication that he wants to stop, have a good talk with the person most interested in him — usually his wife.” BB p.90, Working With Others
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

B. When you find a prospect for AA do you?

  1. Become their friend and nothing else.
  2. Invite them to meet your home group.
  3. Recommend Al-Anon to the spouse and/or Alateen to the children.
  4. “Continue to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady.” BB p.92, Working With Others
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

C. When a prospect resists indoctrination into the faith of Bill Wilson do you?

  1. Just be their friend with no strings attached.
  2. “We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you.” BB p.96, Working With Others
  3. “Approach through a doctor or an institution is a better bet.” BB p.91, Working With Others
  4. “If your man needs hospitalization, he should have it, but not forcibly unless he is violent.”  BB p.91, Working With Others
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

D. When a prospect is having trouble with family life do you?

  1. Tell them to spend more time with their family and work it out.
  2. Tell them to go to more AA meetings where their family is not present.
  3. Replace their family with the family of the home group.
  4. Make sure they spend ALL holidays and weekends at AA sponsored events.
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

Scoring: Count up the circled answers above and apply to the scale below.

  • 5 – No narcissistic Bill Wilson infection detected.
  • 5-10 – Slight infection but still treatable.
  • 10-15 – Needs a 90 meetings in 90 days booster shot.
  • 15-20 – Intergroup management material. Will make an excellent Sober House Slum Lord or Addictions councilor.

AA is not cult – but its members are my gods!

Ruth Fowler wrote a piece for The Fix busting some supposed 12-step myths. I’ve gotta say with this and another mythbusting piece they published, The Fix has done the worst job of busting myths that I’ve ever seen. Most of their myths are simply strawmen, or the discussion which follows the “myth” either confirms it or has nothing to do with it!

Fowler’s first few myths have to do with the suggestion that AA is a cult – which makes this excerpt all the more hilarious:

But many AA-ers are non-believers. It’s perfectly acceptable *not* to believe in God. It’s perfectly acceptable *not* to hand your life over to Him. I always understood this step to mean: I came to AA a total mess, and I needed to be willing to take the suggestion of everyone around me and have enough faith to trust that things will get better so I can piece my life back together. These people became my quasi-gods, and their advice became my commandments, if you will. And I kind of liked them more because they were real, flawed, screwed-up human beings, not a big old bearded man in the sky. It’s okay not to “get” God.

I couldn’t begin to pick apart everything that’s wrong with this article – so maybe you guys should check it out and report back with your favorite quotes.  I almost think it’s supposed to be a humor piece for Mcsweeny’s.  It makes me wonder why people like this are in AA at all when they claim their interpretations of the program are so different than what is clearly stated by AA literature, experts, and members everywhere.

For a good laugh, check out the full article: 12 Steps To The 12 Steps

Also, I hesitate to mention this, but a commenter on the article going by a name we all know too well ironically posted a link to Rational Recovery.

Addiction and Mental Illness

Yesterday, Gunthar2000 posted that he’d lost a good friend and fellow veteran, who had been relapsing while trying to work AA.

I just got some terrible news.
I friend who I met about a year and a half ago is dead.
I spoke to him several weeks ago… He had been living in a halfway house in New Jersey and had relapsed. He said that everyone in the halfway house was getting high. All the time I knew him he was very involved with AA. Ended up living on the streets in Florida… tried to get into a program and was rejected because of a dirty piss test.

The last time I spoke to him he said that he had slept in a ditch on the side of the road the night before that had alligators in it. He said it was the worst relapse he had ever had. He swore to me that he finally understood that he hadn’t worked the steps the way they were laid out. He insisted that he was finally ready to turn his life over to God. He was 55 years old… a really wonderful person. I don’t even know how to sort this out.

JD, our resident AA member showed up, like clockwork, to use his “condolences” as a platform to bloviate about working the program:

We encourage people to take the steps as they’re laid out because they don’t seem to work well any other way, not because we want to run their lives or control them. Those who don’t get that (most newcomers) and do things their own way get what their hands call for, which usually isn’t good. AAs would like to see new people do the stuff that works, but we can’t do more than encourage them. The ones who have a better plan we wish well and often watch return to drink and further disintegration.

At least he displayed a little more restraint than he did in his response to the death of another addict, though the gist is essentially the same:

Continue reading Addiction and Mental Illness

4 Reasons Why AA is Religious

4 Reasons Why AA is Religious and Not Spiritual

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t know the difference between religious and spiritual. I know what people mean when they make that distinction. By spiritual, they mean something like a deep, unmediated connection to the universe and a sense of their place in it. And by religious they mean a that this connection to the universe has been corrupted by human mediation and codification.

I’m also not making a judgment about whether or not spirituality is real or correct – if you’re religious (and object to AA on the grounds that it betrays your beliefs), you shouldn’t take offense to my definitions. I’m just saying that I know what people mean, I’m going use that universal understanding to say why AA is not spiritual, but religious.

Continue reading 4 Reasons Why AA is Religious

Anonymity

Anonymity – a cornerstone of the AA program, which is steadfastly protected, unless breaking it will serve a greater purpose for an individual AA, or AA as a whole – in which case it is dropped like a bad habit.

Among the most important and revered traditions of AA is the practice of anonymity. To any reasonable person it should seem like a good idea, and on its surface, it is — but like with all things AA, they have taken this simple concept, bastardized its meaning, and nefariously use it in ways ranging from the exploitation of others for the greater good of the organization, to an excuse for absolving themselves of accountability. Like their other traditions, anonymity is used selectively, and only when it is of benefit to a member or the group; but it is quickly tossed aside when their AA affiliation will help them in some way. Take a look: Continue reading Anonymity

The Big Book

AA Original Manuscript Reveals Debate on Religion

After being hidden away for nearly 70 years and then auctioned twice, the original manuscript by AA co-founder Bill Wilson is about to become public for the first time next week, complete with edits by Wilson-picked commenters that reveal a profound debate in 1939 about how overtly to talk about God.

(Thank you for the head’s up, Cherokeebride!)

Willy Loman’s Higher Power [UPDATED]

“What’s the toughest sales challenge you can face?  Denial.”

AA teaches that when someone is in denial, you can’t win them over with facts.  You can’t convince them with data.  Every time you try, the walls go up.  The ‘prospect’ says, “that’s not me.  I don’t have that problem.”  It’s the same thing that happens to you when your prospect says, “I don’t have a security problem on my network.”  Or, ”We don’t need better processes.”  Or, “We’ve got good visibility into our situation/data/environment already.”

From “What Alcoholics Anonymous Can Teach You About Messaging,” at CorportateVisions.

By the way, did we just get sucked into a black hole?

[UPDATE] It’s not just salespeople who can learn a thing or two about selling garbage from Alcoholics Anonymous. The church is also taking a lesson!

Alcoholics Anonymous, The Twelve Steps and the world of recovery at large represent an untapped and highly valuable resource for the Christian Church. Not only can the church learn a great deal from AA about the nature of addiction, but also about the reality of how God works in the lives of troubled people. In this sense, AA can help the church rediscover a great deal about itself, much of which has been sadly lost, at least in the majority of the church’s current mainstream expressions. Specifically, AA can recall to the Church its understanding of the human condition as intrinsically impaired, of God primarily as rescuer and of spiritual growth as a cyclical rather than linear phenomenon. AA also offers an extraordinary model for how those understandings play out on a corporate and organizational level. [Emphasis mine.]

The Three Most Toxic Aspects Of The 12-step Movement by mikeblamedenial

The Three Most Toxic Aspects Of The 12-step Movement

by mikeblamedenial

Much has been said about all the unhealthy aspects of steppism–  its bad psychology; thought-stopping slogans; parroted gibberish; disengagement with the real world and real problems, etc, etc. While all valid, and certainly worthy of discussion and consideration,  the qualities I find most toxic about steppism are these:

1) Its self-denying religiosity, based solely upon its need for coercion  from  the legal, medical, and human services industries to maintain a fresh supply of potential indoctrinees;

2) The diseasing of its membership, first contrived by Marty Mann, to legitimize that coercion and referrals from those industries;

3) Its false doctrine of powerlessness, designed to foster a sense of dependency on the movement, and to make the commitment to steppism by its practitioners life-long, and deeply ingrained.

Without referrals/coercion from outside agencies, AA membership would likely have flat-lined, then began to diminish, in the 1970s. The Hughes Act made the addiction industry profitable. The war on drugs began over-taxing the judicial and prison systems, and made the options of treatment in lieu of, and sentencing of offenders to AA more and more attractive.  A “religious” label on the 12-step movement would remove these sources of new members.

The “addiction is a disease” ruse further legitimizes the addictions industry, and gives AA a nearly-endless source of new and recycled chair-warmers in its never-ending cycle of short-lived individual memberships. With the typical referral staying in the rooms for less than one month, the need for fresh court slips and half-way house vans in the parking lot is never-ending.

Powerlessness  is, of course, the biggest hammer in the 12-step tool-box. Without it, who would want to stick around the rooms very long?  Sadly, along with powerlessness comes the sense of disempowerment, and a very real dependence  upon a model which does little to serve as an inspiration for self-empowerment, self-improvement, or much else beyond the admiration of one’s co-indoctrinees. Powerlessness is right beside hopelessness in the catalogue of delibilitating emotions, and AA has staked its very essence upon instilling it in its practitioners. Toxic, untheraputic, and unhelpful as it is, it is the very core of steppism.