Archive for the Gratuitous AA Bashing Category

Ambiguous Ambiguity

I always get a chuckle at the various forms of mind-bending responses when a newly indoctrinated stepper starts to realize that they are being asked to acquiesce to believing in God, while at that same time being told that AA is not a religious program. I thought the answers to this question over at Sober Recovery were particularly entertaining. Specifically, this post by “RufusACanal” (20 years sober! yea, Rufus!), who scored a full 10 out 10 in passive-aggressiveness:

I struggle some days with God, mostly because I am power hungry. Today, at this moment I do not. I see His results, because I look for His work rather than mine. Keeping it simple, could I have stayed sober these last five plus years via my own will? No. I am a real Alcoholic and there is no human way I could have relieved my malady, I tried for twenty six long and painful years and failed utterly. AA has never been the problem for me, God has never been the problem for me, I have been the problem for me. When I take my petty and insignificant wishes out of the picture, I can see clearly the hand of God and I believe.

If not God then who, you?

Best to you in your journey.

There were a couple of honest responses from Robb B and bugsworth, but the rest of it takes the reader deep into the rabbit hole of AA lunacy.

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:

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.

Dr. Drew Is on Fire

Dr. Drew

In my 20 years of treating addicts, I’ve never seen anything else that comes close to the 12 steps. In my world, if someone says they don’t want to do the 12 steps, I know they aren’t going to get better. — Dr. Drew Pinsky

Jeff Conaway died today.

When he first went into a coma, America’s Favorite Anthropophagist, Dr. Drew, denied that there was any connection to the addiction that he “treated” Conaway for:


As the troubled 60-year-old actor fights to survive, Pinsky denied that Conaway’s substance abuse was behind reports of a coma.

On Friday, the doctor tweeted: “Just visited Jeff Conaway. He is stable & looks like he will recover from his pneumonia….Not an OD, like press is alleging & certainly not dead.” He also criticized Conaway’s manager for asserting that Conaway was comatose, when in fact, according to a Pinsky tweet: “He’s in an induced coma…a Propafol drip.”

The reports I’ve been reading seem to corroborate this. They’re not indicating that his pneumonia was brought on by any substance abuse. So, either Pinsky is privy to information that no one else has right now, or just took the low road when faced a choice between taking some responsibility for fucking Conaway up further and making Conaway’s death all about Dr. Drew. In response to the news about Conaway’s death today, Dr. Drew says:

“I’m saddened to report he has succumbed to his addiction, thus far we have no evidence of an intentional overdose,” Pinsky tweeted on Friday after Conaway passed.

Similarly, when Mike Starr died, Pinsky tweeted (Doesn’t Pinsky have a mom? Who tweets condolences?):

“Devastating to hear of Mike Starr succumbing to his illness,” he posted on Twitter. “So very sad. Our prayers are with his family.”

Cramming a bunch of mentally ill substance abusers into close quarters and instigating cage matches has been working so well for 75 years. What’s going wrong here?


Who Knew?!

Alcoholics Anonymous As A Spiritual Experience

That poor woman in the picture looks like she’s sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Has anyone heard about this Alcoholics Anonymous thing?

This @#$%& Woman!

Remember Carole Bennett, MA, from the Huffington Post? The woman who wrote that bitter, ugly, shaming expose about her daughter (the garbage pail), in the guise of helping other people? I know I should stay out of her blog, but for chrissakes, I can’t understand how a person like this is granted the legitimacy of a public venue. I stumbled upon her latest post today, which is just…whatever (don’t bother). But, then had a look through some of her recent posts, and found another egregiously irresponsible piece of bullshit. It’s her advice to people who have to share custody with an addict. She suggests laying down the law, in letter form: Continue reading This @#$%& Woman!

Crash This Poll

OK. I've really had it. I cannot get my head around why the Skeptics and New Atheists bloggers do not treat the religious, faith-healing takeover of an entire field of mental health with the same level of alarm and righteous advocacy that they bring to subjects like Creationism in science class and homeopathy.


It's not that I don't think the subjects they cover are important – and we all have our bailiwick. But the plain fact is that the 12 Step addiction treatment industry is a prime case in point for why it is so dangerous to allow crackpot science and religion to influence public policy. If you want a fantastic example for what can go wrong if you let the Creationists influence the curriculum, this is it!


Addiction is such an enormous crisis because our primary treatment for it is a program of spiritual awakening. Spiritual Awakening — for chrissake.


So, what's with the dead air on the subject, from the rational community? The bloggers and science writers, like PZ Myers  – people who fight to keep religion out of public policy? This is religion in public policy on a epic scale, and it's an apocalyptic disaster! A while ago, I went on a polite little campaign to see if I could get Stinkin' Thinkin' on the skeptics' blogrolls, but haven't had any luck.


Why are we out here on the outer fringes of crankland?


I have a few theories about this: It could be that addiction is just a subject that no one really wants to touch. It's messy, and everyone knows someone who's been through AA, or someone who's life has been saved, or has their own addiction issues. Or maybe it's just not as fun as antagonizing the odd creationist school board member. Perhaps they don't realize that AA is religious, and just take AA at its word that it's an altruistic group that offers suggestions and community, and saves lives – and that you don't have to believe in god. Could it be that we really are a bunch of cranks?

Why do skeptic bloggers ignore the 12 Step industry?

We really are cranks.
Creationists are just more fun to pick on.
Genuine ignorance.
Addiction is too scary.
They really believe in the Higher Power.
Web Polls

You Exhaust Me.


Continue reading You Exhaust Me.

Observations on “No Big Deal”

Big Deal, Real Deal, Book Deal

by English Rose

Thank you, friendthegirl, for giving me the opportunity to post this on Stinkin’ Thinkin’. [Thank you, English Rose!]

I don’t really know where to start with this one. This person has spent the last 18 years making a living out of 12-step quackery. He is a director of a 12-step rehab centre in the UK and has written a book called No Big Deal promoting AA and the 12-step programme. And now he has unashamedly come out with this (posted on Amazon): Continue reading Observations on “No Big Deal”

Quiet My Imperious Urge

After a romantic dinner of Maalox and Chex Mix, you can really get down…. on your knees! Bow-chicka-bow-wow:

An Example of Pre-Sex Inventory Prayer:

“God, please help me to be free of fear as I attempt to shine the spotlight of truth across my past sex relations. Lord, please show me where my behavior has harmed others and help me to see the truth these relationships hold for me. Help me see where I have been at fault and what I should have done differently.” (From the thoughts on pg. 69)

“God, help me review my own conduct over the years pas. Show me where I have been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate. Show me whom I have hurt and where I have unjustifiably aroused jealousy, suspicion or bitterness. Help me to see where I was at fault and what I should have done instead. Help me to be fearless and searching in my endeavor to write my sexual inventory.” (69:1)

A Sex Prayer:

“Father, please help me mold my sex ideals and help me to live up to them. Help me be willing to grow toward my ideals and help me be willing to make amends where I have done harm. Lord, please show me what to do in each specific matter, and be the final judge in each situation. Help me avoid hysterical thinking or advice.” (69:2, 69:3)

“Father, please Grace me with guidance in each questionable situation, sanity, and strength to do the right thing. If sex becomes very troublesome, quiet my imperious urge, help me not to yield and keep me from heartache as I throw myself the harder into helping others. Help me think of their needs and help me work for them. Amen.”(69:2, 69:3, 70:2)

Here’s the link.

Today’s 12-Step AAllstar: William Hay

UPDATE!: Here is a link that DeConstructor found with reviews from Dr Hay’s patients. This whack job is perfect for AA!


Here is blog entry from William Hay titled: Stinking Thinking and Dry Drunk. This guy is an AA poster boy:

“In AA the characteristic of being a ‘legend in one’s mind’ was recognised as evidence of close mindedness and isolation and not attending enough face to face AA meetings. When one goes to enough meetings, sometimes to break out of the insaneity of ‘dry drunkeness’ one needs to do meetings daily or more, or whatever it takes to recognise that others have problems too, that one isn’t terminally unique and that no one, especially drunks, have a monopoly on suffering. Specifically drunks learn that they are more likely themselves to have been victimizers than victims and that they need to make amends routinely because they are by nature of their disease very angry people who carry resentments to people, institutions and especially to principles.
Further, the strange malady of alcoholics is that they rarely can see or hear themselves but must see and hear another alcoholic’s emotional drama before they can identify, empathize and realize that they too are in that state again.”

How would you like to be stuck on an elevator with this guy? Sheeeesh.