Archive for the manipulation Category

How You Were Duped, Why You Believed, The Reason You Stayed

Back in the late 1950s, a couple of researchers designed an experiment that was meant to measure a person’s cognitive dissonance. The subjects were put into a room, where they sat in front of a box full of a dozen spools, each sitting upright in rows of three. They were told to take the spools out of the box in a certain order, and then to put them back into the box as they were before. Then to do it over and over again until they were told to stop.

Next, the subjects had some wooden cubes placed in front of them in rows. They were asked to take each cube, and rotate it clockwise one turn. And then they were asked to do it over again with each cube, and to keep repeating that until they were asked to stop. Both tasks were by design boring and tedious, and took about an hour. Continue reading How You Were Duped, Why You Believed, The Reason You Stayed

Slate on “Surviving Straight, Inc.”

Please go read Steven Slate’s piece on the new documentary about the “troubled teen” industry, created by survivors of the Straight, Inc. nightmare. He makes the connection between what some might consider a sort of isolated issue and draws a very clear line to the addiction recovery movement whose psychotic mythologies influence our culture so profoundly.

Here’s Steven Slate’s article. It is essential reading. When you’re done, please friend it:

Surviving Straight Inc, a Controlling Approach To Addiction Treatment Brings Disastrous Consequences

I wanted to also point out that one of the creators of Surviving Straight, Inc. started a website that we linked to in the blogroll. Troubled Teen Industry is a powerful resource and a compelling read.

[UPDATED]: I guess Steven and I were writing posts for ST at the same time, and I just happened to hit “post” before he did! Sorry, Steven… I scooped you on your own story.

Steven Slate says:

As of now, distribution plans for the movie are up in the air, and they’re submitting it to festivals. One thing that may help is making noise about it on the net, and showing that there’s demand for it. I don’t know the best way to do that, but here’s where to start:

The film’s website: http://www.survivingstraightincthemovie.com/

Troubled Teen Industry: http://www.troubledteenindustry.com/

Reddit Troubled Teens: http://www.reddit.com/r/troubledteens

I can’t stress how much these people have put themselves on the line by making this film and appearing in it. Along the way, one of the filmmakers even received a message ominously taped to his door which read “You won’t survive Straight Inc.” I’d hate to see their efforts go to waste. I don’t know the best way to support them, so I’m just starting by spreading these links around and talking about the movie with the means I have at my disposal. Many of the abusive methods of Straight Inc are still in use in Therapeutic Communities all over the place, and this stuff needs to be stopped.

 

 

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.

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Over at the Sober Recovery Forum

What happens when there is dissension in the AA ranks? It depends on the platform. In real life, anyone questioning any part of the program will be derided. On an internet forum run by 12-steppers, they get censored. Even if it is not their AA section.

A few days ago, we were directed to a thread that was started at the Sober Recovery forum titled “The Concept of Powerlessness.” As is most often the case in these discussions about ‘Big Book’ scripture, it devolved into a circle-jerk of pseudo-intellectual mental contortion and philosophizing. I find it difficult to make it through more than three or four posts before my reading voice morphs into the “wah wah wah” of the teacher’s voice in Charlie Brown.

This time, I paid closer attention to the conversation, because a rare voice of trenchancy – “John Barleycorn” – jumped into the conversation. Knowing this was would go over like lead balloon, and knowing the AAs moderating the Sober Recovery forum would delete any challenge to the dogma quicker than one can say “rigorous honesty,” we took a screen shot. Click on the image below to enlarge:

It was followed up with this, which has yet to be deleted, but I’ll go ahead and include it here because I suspect it will be. It’s just makes too much sense:

One problem with using examples from internet forums is, AAs tend to couch their language more than they do one on one or within the confines of a group. What John Barleycorn is asking for is an alternative to tell a person who repeatedly fails. Something beyond a slogan. The answer, of course, is that the program cannot fail. It can only be failed. The onus, and the fault, is always on the individual. Always. It says it right there… in the ‘Big Book’.

It’s almost unfair to ask this of a group that is currently under the AA spell. They’ve been conditioned, and have no point of reference other than the insular world of AA. To a worm in a horseradish, the world is a horseradish.

UPDATE:

Jonny Quest, aka “John Barleycorn,” advised us SR deleted another post that would dare to criticize AA. Here it is:

Recovery Thought Police

Wyoming Supreme Court: Sentence Unusual But Not Illegal

CHEYENNE — The sentence of a Campbell County man convicted of aggravated assault and battery was unusual but not illegal, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a split decision.

Willis Center Sr. pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced by District Judge John Perry in November 2008 to 36 to 80 months in prison. But the judge stayed the sentence and granted Center a furlough so he could enter an alcohol rehabilitation treatment program.

Center failed the program primarily because he refused to complete the written first step of the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program in use at the WYSTAR center.

He was then sent to the state penitentiary.

On appeal, Center claimed the sentence was illegal and his right to due process was violated in the way his placement was revoked.

The supreme court majority, in an opinion written by Justice William Hill and including Chief Justice Marilyn Kite and Justice Michael Golden, said that while the sentence was “unusual and perhaps ill-advised,” it was not illegal.

Read the rest…

First, the judge diagnosis Center’s real problem as alcoholism, not violence, and sends him to an alcohol rehab program, which turns out to be nothing more than AA. Center cannot bring himself to admit he’s powerless over alcohol, so they “fail” him and send him to the pen.  I think the state has put itself in the position of having to prove that the 12 steps are effective and necessary for the treatment of alcoholism.

Maybe he should have gone to the pen in the first place for whatever violence he comitted, but now he’s being sent there for not taking the First Step, which is nothing more than a statement of belief. Insane.

Nine Months to the ‘Miracle’

Lucy wrote this in our comment section. I thought that I would highlight it here. It illustrates what happens when controlling sponsors are allowed to do their thing, unchecked and with no accountability. When some 12-step Nazi like our resident trolls JD or Mr AA point to the costs of a sobriety coach, or a secular treatment approach (as they did yesterday about Steven Slate), implying there are no costs to those who involve themselves in AA – I point to stories like this. Unfortunately, these type of stories aren’t uncommon. Sometimes the costs are nothing more than a loan to an AA grifter. Sometimes the costs are a lot more….

“A woman I sponsored has mild cognitive deficits from a birth trauma. Her problems include a learning disability and balance problems. She understands what is happening, but she is a few beats behind everyone else. She comes from a wealthy family, and she was able to make it through a small college with an adjusted curriculum.

Her learning problems led to depression which led to heavy drinking. Her marriage broke up and she landed in an AA group in the town where her parents lived. She was told to get a sponsor, and was told that the entire group was sponsored by M, an older man who was a retired mechanic.

M told her to stay away from her parents, whom he said would make he want to drink. He invited her to move out of her apartment and into his house.. He said she could either sleep on the couch or share a room with his teen-aged son, a high school drop-out, whom he also sponsored. He suggested that they would even make a good couple. He also told her to quit her job, as he would take care of everyone.

Three months later, she was pregnant with the son’s baby. She called her parents to tell them the good news, and was surprised when they begged her to come home and go to the psych ward. By now she was worried about taking care of the child and, over the strong objections of her sponsor and his son, she went to the hospital.

It took a long time to deprogram her from the things the sponsor had said to her when she was depressed, terrified and alone. When what had happened sank in, she and her parents spent a hefty legal sum paying M to get the son’s parental rights revoked so that she would no longer have to have contact with M. (The son later killed himself.)

I don’t care about who has sex with who, or even what kind of sex they have. Nor do I like the “fucking a cripple” comment, which I find ugly and degrading. However, I know what Massive is talking about when she talks about predators.

AA has plenty of sex offenders, but most women (and men) know better than to spend much time with them. The real problem is the controllers, the ones who delight in running the lives of others and leaving other people to clean up the mess. They fuck people up and then tell them it’s their fault for being angry about it.

AA has three types of members – the uninformed, the predator and the mentally ill. If you know what AA is, it is hard to go there with a clear conscience.”

Projection

Anyone who has studied psychology is familiar with the term “projection,” which refers to the tendency of an individual to deny his or her bad attributes, and project them onto another individual. It is a normal defense mechanism that all of us possess to at least some degree, but is amplified in people with certain psychological disorders. In a room full of AAs, which is a human sized petri dish of psychosis, projection is a staple of the interaction which takes place between the participants. It serves as the grease to the gears of the inter-working parts that make up the engine of AA manipulation – and can be seen in its many forms, from displacement to bullying. I’ve often thought about what a shame it was that Freud, who came up with the concept of projection, missed out on his chance to study an AA group, as it would have been his treasure trove of all things crazy.

AA’s very definition of an alcoholic as being selfish and ego-driven is a study in projection. Bill Wilson, who was an ego-driven narcissist, and who also happened to have a scorching drinking problem, simply applied his own shortcomings to all alcoholics. Where Oxford Group believed in the idea of original sin, and that we are all selfish by our very nature – Bill Wilson, Dr Bob and the early members of AA, separated those with drinking problems as being uniquely morally deficient. Continue reading Projection

Quote of the Day

“I was sitting in a meeting and my sponsee who had about 2 months was also attending. We were working on his fourth step and we had just gone over his sexual inventory and I had pointed out we are not the arbiters of anyone’s sex conduct but I also shared about the suggestion about no new relationships for a year, and explained why I thought it was a good idea based on my experience, that that rule wasn’t in place to protect the newcomer but to protect people FROM the newcomer, and how harmful I had been in my first year of sobriety, so I basically told him he could get his ashes hauled but try not to start a new relationship because we change so fast the chances were he would be harmful to whoever he got in a relationship with.

So anyway, there we are in this meeting, and he’s sitting there grinning like a possum eating s**t, and he raises his hand to share, the topic is gratitude, the chair calls on him and he starts sharing about how grateful he was for the program, and how he just got paid thx [sic] to the grace of god and the program blah blah blah, then he starts sharing about how he stopped at the massage parlor on the way to the meeting and got a b***job, then he points at me beaming and says ‘and it’s all thanks to working the program and my sponsor, he said it was OK to get laid my first year!!!!’

Ago, an AA.

Pigeons

Pigeon [pij-uhn] noun – a person who is easily fooled or cheated; dupe.

Pigeon is the oft used term that AAs call their newcomers and sponsees. It is also the term con artists use in reference to their “mark”, or the person they are about to manipulate out of something.  It was first coined and used by Dr Bob, a con artist extraordinaire, and has carried on to this day. Below is a quote, taken from a Dr Bobblehead on the Souix Falls AA Intergroup website, which is a fairly good example of how the term is used within AA:

“As for my sponsoring, I sponsor much the same as John sponsored me. I had six pigeons in New York over the years. They still call me every week to keep in touch: Three cops, two priests and a regular guy. I’ve only had one guy I took from a Twelfth Step call to the present. He’s 86 years old, and very active in AA. He lives in Pennsylvania now and is very active in AA there.

I don’t push my pigeons into the Big Book  or Steps. I try to get them to feel the Fellowship of AA first, the way it was given to me. (Yes, I said pigeons.) I was a pigeon, my sponsor was a pigeon, and his sponsor was a pigeon. I let them know that if they want to be a sponcee, find another sponsor.”

- Artie, an AA old-timer; from his advice piece titled  “Art of Sponsorship“.

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”