Archive for the Cult Aspects of AA Category

This guy thinks AA is a cult

When I saw that this youtuber publishes Christian videos [edited to add that his other videos are actually skeptical, posing questions about inconsistencies in the Bible], I thought he was going to have a similar position to John’s, over at My Word Like Fire. He recommends Reformers Unanimous [which is an overtly Christian recovery program] but his commentary is more about the nature of AA and its relationship with the court system. He anticipates getting some ugly responses from AA members, so I thought I’d support him and post his video here:

 

Featured Comment: humanspirit

humanspirit’s comment deserves it’s own post.

In response to Bobmack, who wrote:

AA works for some people and not others. That’s the beauty. Yes we must conform, imitate, give up and just abandon our previous ways of thinking and acting. Again many of us needed the directions outlined in the program.You can’t deny it has help millions recover from a hopeless state and in many cases recreating a happy, loving family. What other means would you suggest? Like I said it’s great for some.

humanspirit wrote:

@Bobmack says: “Yes we must conform, imitate, give up and just abandon our previous ways of thinking and acting.”

I’m interested in this statement, not least because words to this effect are often bandied about by steppers as absolute truth, when there is nothing that makes sense in them at all.

“We must conform” – Conform to what? To the nonsensical religious ramblings of Bill Wilson, which do not give any advice whatsoever on how to overcome addiction? To the self-defeating evangelical rubbish and practices of the 12 steps? To the specific rules of the group you find yourself in? To the instructions of some unqualified “sponsor” who knows no more about quitting addiction than anyone else and may even give harmful advice? Continue reading Featured Comment: humanspirit

Separating From the Normies

“Last year, a close friend confided that he had joined Alcoholics Anonymous. He never seemed alcoholic, but I supported him because it was important to him. We grew even closer. Then he began pushing me away for A.A. friends, who exclude me because I’m not part of the program. I don’t want a dramatic showdown, but I can’t pretend we’re still close. We’ll probably keep drifting. What should I say to friends who ask about us and may try to mend fences?”

– From a letter to Social Qs advice column in the New York Times.

AA’s GSB Turns a Blind Eye to Child Predators in Meetings

Has anyone seen this?

It seems that in 2010, Paul E. Clearly, Trustee of the General Service Board of AA, Inc. submitted a report about child sexual abuse in AA to the GSB’s Subcommittee on Vulnerable Members in AA (I know!). He detailed several shocking instances of predation and implored the GSB to take responsibility for the safety of AA’s most vulnerable members. He concludes:

For a host of moral, ethical, and legal reasons, it’s time for the General Service Board to provide leadership in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse in AA.

Read Paul Cleary’s very revealing 7-page report, “Predators in AA,” and don’t miss the GSB’s predictably despicable abdication of responsibility on the last page. There is some reference to GSB’s response around the web, for instance here,  here and here, but I could find only one  reference to Cleary’s original report (which I was unable to download as a pdf, but could view in google docs).

ATTACHMENT_TO_TOPIC_002-PREDATORS.doc

Why We Were Chosen

Why We Were Chosen Group

Sometime in the 1980s, a meeting chairman in San Francisco gave me a wallet-sized card engraved with a portion of the text from “WHY WE WERE CHOSEN,” an eponymous speech given by Judge John T. on the fourth anniversary of Chicago’s first AA club in 1943. He said that, although GSO Conference had declined to approve the text as AA literature, the San Francisco groups had thought it such an important message that they handed it out to newcomers and visitors.

“WHY WE WERE CHOSEN” talks about drunks as prophets and saints, and places AA as a movement as important as Christianity. It’s both grandiose and inane at the same time and a real Christian might find it offensive, as Dr. Arthur H. Cain did when he called it “idolatry” in his Saturday Evening Post article. You can read both the tract and Cain’s response on Orange’s blog: http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-Why_We_Were_Chosen.html

By the time I first saw the tract, I had already heard all kinds of BS, from an aging hippie explaining that Bill Wilson’s birth was the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” to how AA was so “cutting edge that science was trying to catch up with it.” I considered most “Meaning of AA” proclamations as either psychobabble or Godbabble, and I thought it was harmless drivel. But, twenty years later, I got to see harmless drivel in action.

A friend asked me to speak at a “Chicago” Group here in my home state. She explained that Chicago Groups follow the 90 minute format of the groups in that city using a speaker who introduced the topic, and a chairman who “calls up” responses from the group. She didn’t particularly like the group format, because she thought the men used it to exclude women. She had been going simply because her daughter attended, and now she hoped to change the group by bringing in women speakers. She wanted me to be her first speaker, even though she wouldn’t be able to be there that night. I didn’t know what a Chicago Group was, but I liked her and I thought it would be fun. I also wanted to encourage young women.

On the day of the meeting, I got a call from a man who introduced himself as the Powerfully Recovered Alcoholic who would give me the Chicago Group speaking rules. I needed to wear a “modest” dress and make-up, to introduce myself as a “Recovered” Alcoholic, to give both my sobriety date and sponsor’s name, to not use curse words, and to limit quotations either to the first 164 pages of the Big Book or to the “Other” Big Book.

Well, okay.

When I got to the clubhouse, a young woman wearing a flowered Sister Wife dress opened the door. She was in the middle of introducing me to the other similarly dressed Sister Wives when I realized she was the daughter of my friend. Her Andrea Yates thousand-mile stare had been so flat that I hadn’t recognized her. She handed me to a faded young man in a baggy suit, unpressed tie and scuffed shoes, and then she faded into the wall.

The young man was the Powerfully Recovered chairperson. He showed me to my seat, and began to read “WHY WE WERE CHOSEN” from the podium. He was near the end of the tract when I noticed that everyone wore oversized clothes.

I picked an innocuous topic and I told the usual jokes, but I just couldn’t connect with anyone. I was the only person wearing the right size and a smile in the room. I realized that looking like a normal person might very well constitute immodesty in this crowd.

After I spoke, the Powerfully Recovered chairperson began choosing men (not women) from the audience to give short responses. The gloomy men spoke about duty and privilege, and the (nearly) cheerful men talked about their new lives. They inserted “Praise God” an average of once every 90 seconds, and thanked their tireless sponsor, who was the Powerfully Recovered chairperson.

I was glad when the meeting was over and, for the first time in AA, I did not stay and talk to the crowd. I never went back.

My friend later told me that she had gotten her daughter into therapy and that the therapy had caused her daughter to leave the group. The daughter had the divorced her husband, mainly because he lost his job because he was missing work to be at the group. He then left the group and moved back to Iowa to live with his parents. Both of them blamed the group for destroying their marriage.

The Powerfully Recovered chairperson admitted that he has twice been hospitalized for depression, and he has left the group, which shrunk from a club house to a weekly meeting.

All Charlie All The Time

As we head into day 3 of The Great National Head Explosion about Charlie Sheen there are two items on the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ agenda:

1. In case you missed it, here’s the link to Stanton Peele’s GMA appearance.

[UPDATE: Hey, is there any tech support here that can help Stanton pull this video off the CBS site so he can post it on his blog? If so, can you write to me? friendthegirl@stinkin-thinkin.com]

2. mikeblamedenial brought up an interesting question in the comments, which deserves a thread:

Question: Why would the producers pull the plug on a billion dollar franchise shortly after its star publicly attacks Alcoholics Anonymous?

http://www.clarefoundation.org/2009%20Journal%20Inclds.%20Inserts.pdf

This is a long download, but worthy of a look. Chuck Lorre is the exec who Charlie also had harsh words for. Perhaps Charlie’s ostensible paranoia and anger have more basis in reality than is being disclosed.

And he adds:

Lest there be any doubt regarding CLARE’s direction: http://www.clarefoundation.org/faqs.html

LISTERINE-JACK

If you’re ever at City Hall Plaza in Boston, stop by and say hello to Listerine-Jack.

Between the back door to The New England Center for Homeless veterans and the golden teapot marking the entrance to Starbucks there is a sort of brick pylon that serves as the entrance to the MBTA green-line. At the back of the pylon is a short brick wall that the residents of NESHV refer to as, “The Wall of Shame.”

Each morning at 7: AM the veterans of NESHV are shuffled out the door and sent about their business. Some of them head to local libraries or educational programs… some of them stem for change at various locations throughout the city… some, who either don’t have a plan in place yet, or have no intention of improving their situations head for the wall of shame.

There they’ll congregate in the rain and snow. It’s a gathering place for those who have nowhere else to go… and there you’ll usually find Listerine-Jack. Continue reading LISTERINE-JACK

AA Plays Doctor [UPDATED]

It’s so interesting how Alcoholics Anonymous members will deny that what happens in AA actually happens there. They know it happens, and they participate in it, either actively or passively (equally bad). They know we know it happens: the mindfucking, gaslighting, isolating, demoralizing, abusive tough loving, passive aggression, and playing doctor.

Within their creepy little bubbles, this stuff is all normal, and I’m sure it sounds reasonable to them in The Rooms. Our “Comments of the Day” show how unselfconscious they are about being freakin’ nuts with each other when they think no one’s looking. And they do know what it looks like to the reality based community, because when it’s exposed, they don’t own it or say, “Damn right, we do that.”

They deny it. They scoff and bluster. They blame the victims. They minimize it.

After reading Sarah’s, Mona Lisa’s and violet’s experiences in the comments, I would really like to know what people’s experience has been: Have you been told to go off your meds? Told not to get any mental health help outside of AA? That the steps are all you really need? That if you’re on depression medication that you’re not really sober? Did you witness this happen to someone else?

[Please, AAs, please resist the temptation to mansplain the official policy to us. We know what it is. Really.]

UPDATE: Recent Tweet from BigBookRecovery:

Click to Embiggen

(Well, not that recent…)

How AAs Play Doctor

I know from that title that you are probably thinking I have some salacious descriptions of 13ths stepping. Well, get your minds out of gutter, people. I’m talking about playing doctor for real, and discouraging people from taking their prescription medications. It does not just happen, but it is rampant, and it is very common among the more hardcore AAs. “You’re just replacing one drug with another,” is the common line.

Below is a link to a survey done among AA members on their experiences with playing doctor in AA. Almost one-third of members have had another member discourage them from taking their prescribed medications, and an additional 20% know of other members who were pressured to discontinue their medication usage. That is just about half of the AA population. Ask an AA if they have ever seen it, and they become like a witness to a mob hit, and deny having ever seen this type of thing happen.

Alcoholics Anonymous and the use of Medications to Prevent Relapse: An Anonymous Survey of Member Attitudes

Quote of the Day

“I gave up drinking for good on 12  September 2002. The earth did not crack open and give forth fire-breathing three-headed dogs, no trumpets sounded in the sky, and I didn’t get a telegram from the Queen. I tried Alcoholics Anonymous because lots of people said I should, but it didn’t work out. Disturbingly, a well-known media figure, who is a recovering alcoholic, refused to give a cover quote for this book, not because they thought it was bad (they didn’t, apparently), but they felt it was critical of AA. This appalled me. That kind of collusion, that kind of self-censorship, is simply wrong, and no one can persuade me otherwise.

For the record, AA has helped many, but it was not for me. I had work to do on myself. When I was newly sober, I wasn’t interested in anyone else’s problems. I had basic survival to think about. And there was too much tormented male sexual energy in the counselling rooms that I saw to be any kind of a safe space, especially for a woman. The 12 Steps in themselves are useful, and can be applied to almost any situation in life, but you don’t have to be “in the programme” to do them. I’m aware that what I’m saying is terrible heresy. But I’m disturbed by the fact that some long-term members take on a faintly creepy mantle of priesthood that is intolerable to be around; the same kind of people who told me that my sobriety “wasn’t real” because I hadn’t been going to meetings.”

– Tania Glyde, author of the book Cleaning Up: How I Gave Up Drinking and Lived, from this piece in The Independent.