Archive for the Slogans Category

Godbotting

“OBVIOUSLY u people ARE NOT alcoholics or are going to the wrong meetings…It IS a BS saying though…It is NOT in the big book–some idiot made it up…”

This scolding was left by Jeff, an AA, in our comments section here. It’s such a great example of “godbotting,” that I thought I would highlight it here.

Remember: if it isn’t the ‘Big Book’, it’s made-up bullshit.

Give ‘em hell, Jeff!

That’s not A.A.

“That’s not A.A.” is one of those Unofficial, Unoffical AA Slogans. I use the word twice because AA members claim that their official slogans are not official AA slogans. The unofficial, unofficial ones are the ones that are just as common as the regular unofficial ones, but that you will never see on a bumper sticker.

The comments in the post below reminded me of this “That’s Not AA” slogan, and also reminded me of a post I read last night on PZ Myers’ blog, Pharyngula, which is a  back-and-forth with Andrew Sullivan, who is a gay Catholic man who is married (no, not to a woman) and writes for The Atlantic. He often blogs about the distinction between true Christians and Christianists (and it almost makes sense, until PZ gets ahold of it). Continue reading That’s not A.A.

"A Drug is a Drug"

Bullshit slogan of the day:
A drug is a drug.

Among the most dangerous things that happen in AA, is the practice of talking people out of taking their prescribed medications. A common belief among AAs is that the use of any drug is abuse, and taking something such as an antidepressant is no different than chugging a beer. Many believe that one cannot have a proper “spiritual awakening” if our consciousness is tainted by medications. This is laughable when one considers the fact that Bill Wilson was hopped up on hallucinogens when he had his famous “white light experience”, which he wrote about in great detail in Pass It On: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World. Somehow, he forgot to mention that he was tripping at the time:

“…After a night of wrestling with his demons, Bill called out, “If there be a God, let him show himself.” …The effect was instant, electric. Suddenly my room blazed with an incredibly white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. I have no words for this. Every joy I had known was pale by comparison. The light, the ecstasy. I was conscious of nothing else for a time.

Then, seen in the mind’s eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its summit where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. In great, clean strength it blew right through me. Then came the blazing thought, ‘You are a free man.’ I know not at all how long I remained in this state, but finally the light and the ecstasy subsided….. As I became more quiet a great peace stole over me, and this was accompanied by a sensation difficult to describe. I became acutely conscious of a presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit. I lay on the shores of a new world. ‘This,’ I thought, ‘must be the great reality. The God of the preachers.’”

Yep, AA was built on the drug induced delusions of a narcissistic leader who believed he had experienced a direct, and literal connection with God. I had a similar experience in college, but I came back to reality once the drugs wore off. I can’t help but think how better off the world would be today if Spanky and Buckwheat, and not God, had shown up in Bill’s drug trip. We might have wound up with the Hee Man Women Haters Club, instead of some religious cult.

AAs don’t like to talk about any of Bill’s drug use, and one is about as likely to have a Mormon missionary show up on the front doorstep to give a lecture on the polygamous world of Joseph Smith, as they are to hear an AA acknowledge the deluded ramblings of their deity. They look at it like a fart in a room full of strangers: Everyone knows it is there lingering, but nobody says anything. It also does not prevent them from dissuading others from taking their needed medication. “A drug is drug” simply means that a person who quits drinking while taking legally prescribed and needed medications, is replacing one drug with another, and they aren’t truly sober. This applies to any type of drug, including those created help curb drinking craving, such as naltrexone. After all, why would a person use a drug to address a spiritual problem? God will be there to fix a person up, whether that be an alcohol craving or acute depression. Those for whom it doesn’t work, just didn’t ask God hard enough.

"Fake it 'til you make it"

Bullshit slogan of the day:
Fake it ’till you make it

Translation: Go against your basic instinct to avoid what seems like a lot of crazy, religious hocus pocus. As ridiculous as this nonsense appears now, stick around and you will soon fall into the role of a proper AA.

One of the more common persuasion tactics used by an old-timer, is to use him or herself as an example of someone who ‘thought they knew it all’, failed, and eventually came to see the light. Example:

“Yeah, I was a lot like you. I didn’t want to do these things, either. I thought I knew it all, and those who had been there before me were stupid – and guess what? I failed, and I failed because I didn’t want it badly enough. Not until I decided to do whatever it takes to sober up, did I start to change. So I held my nose, followed the program, and soon I ‘got it’, and it started making sense. Do you think you are different? Do you think you are special? Hell, maybe you are, but I doubt it. Until you decide to do whatever it takes, like I did, you are going to wind up in the same place. You don’t like what we are telling you? Fine. Do it anyway. It doesn’t have to all make sense to you now. Eventually you’ll get it.”

The key in mind manipulation is to make sure there is a captive subject, and a problem in AA is that most people will leave the group within a short time period. Fake it ’til you make it is simply a stall tactic designed to give the newly recruited alkie time to “get it”, and “getting it” does not mean a person comes to greater understanding of what the dogma means. “Getting” AA is simply overlooking certain realities, which is essential in maintaining the cognitive dissonance necessary to advance in the program. Continue reading "Fake it 'til you make it"

"An A.A. meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings."

Bullshit slogan of the day:
An A.A. meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings.

Among the most often heard utterances at an AA meeting is, “As alcoholics, we are…” This is followed with some negative stereotype such as “angry” or “selfish” or “overly sensitive” or “argumentative”. The list goes on and on and on….

There is no basis in fact for any of these claims, as alcoholics are no more selfish or angry than the general population. These are simply myths created by, and perpetuated by, Alcoholics Anonymous. The ‘Big Book’ and the ’12×12′ are littered with degrading references to alcoholics, as is the vocabulary of any hardcore 12-Stepper. Pick a pejorative, and the chances are good that you will hear it applied to alcoholics as a group.

There are a couple of reasons for this self-degradation. Continue reading "An A.A. meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings."

"Religion is for people who fear Hell, Spirituality is for people who have been there"

Bullshit slogan of the day:
Religion is for people who fear Hell, and spirituality is for people who have gone through Hell

This is actually a new one to me. I just heard this from an AA member, so I googled it thinking he may have invented his own cliché. There must be some special place in AA Heaven for a person who invents one of these things. It turns out that this was a preexisting, though rarely used, slogan. I found it used here, which is a good link for anyone looking to see an AAer make a jackass of himself.

I thought that I would take this opportunity to go over some of things one should look for when analyzing an AA slogan. There are three key elements: Context, Degree of Difficulty and Effectiveness. Here is a brief description in what to look for in judging an AA thought stopping slogan:

Context:
Pulling a rare gem of a slogan out his ass must have made my AA friend feel good about himself. Much like I feel when I seize the opportunity to interject the word “nonplussed” into a conversation (If you want practice with this word, go to an AA meeting. You will be nonplussed early and often). Context is the key element in reciting any slogan, and it is important to say it where it appears to role off the tongue naturally, as though you thought of the expression yourself.

Degree of Difficulty:
The less often a slogan is needed, the more difficult it is to regurgitate, and the higher it is on the on the AA point scale of difficulty. “It works if you work it” and “it’s spiritual, not religious” are both fine slogans, but they are at the lower end of this scale. These slogans are like a Chinese rice cooker, or Lindsay Lohan’s cocaine straw: they get used every day. These easier slogans tend to react on the edges of the brain, and are used like a temporary, local anaesthetic. Today’s slogan is on the high end of the difficulty scale, and is used on rare occasions. The high end slogans tend to dig deep into the brain; and they do to critical thinking what a core meltdown does to a nuclear power plant.

Effectiveness:

The effectiveness of a slogan is judged based on the Delayed Auditory Response Time – DART – of the slogan’s recipient. The DART is simply the amount of time it takes to respond to a shocking or inane comment. The more ridiculous the comment, the greater the amount of time it takes to come up with a response, and the greater the chance of cognitive meltdown. A father’s reaction after hearing from his teenage daughter that she is knocked up, or a reporter asking questions of George W Bush, are examples of high DARTs. The higher the AA slogan is on the DART scale, the more effective the slogan. Today’s slogan is great, because it takes a few seconds to realize it makes no fucking sense.

I’m scoring today’s slogan, and my friend’s use of it, a 9 out 10. The timing was good, and the slogan is effective in its inanity. It’s really just a fancier way of saying that AA is not religious, but it takes awhile to come to that realization. I was told that in AA, I’ll always be learning. They were right. Today I learned that there is no upper limit on the scale of AA inanity. Just when I thought that there is not a more ridiculous way to express a ridiculous claim – that AA is spiritual and not religious – a Hemingway of a slogan came along to prove me wrong.

“My disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot.”

Bullshit slogan of the day:
“My disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot.”

Translation: Your addiction is waiting for you to leave Alcoholics Anonymous and stop working the steps, so it can pounce on you once again. Your cravings and urges to drink do not diminish, and the lessening in your desire to drink is owed to the invisible friend of you created in step 2. If you leave AA, your invisible friend will not go with you, and those cravings to drink will overtake you.

AA has created a kind of separate reality, complete with a Heaven (Alcoholics Anonymous), Hell (Drinking outside of AA) and Limbo (Dry Drunk Syndrome). Bill Wilson is the savior, and that little voice in the back your head telling you that what you are witnessing in AA is certified, batshit, dyed in the wool crazy – is the devil. He is the little guy AAs are referring to when they spew out this slogan. Continue reading “My disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot.”

"It's in the book"

Bullshit slogan of the day:
It’s in the book

Translation – any answer to any question or objection can be settled with a quote from the ‘Big Book’. The ‘Big Book’ is the bible of AA, and its authority is unquestioned, which is baffling when one considers its origin. This is nothing more than a compilation of stories put together by a group of religious zealots with no scientific understanding of alcoholism, many of whom actually failed in their own sobriety. AAs study the book as though they are holy scriptures, no different than a group will study The Bible in Sunday school. It is considered infallable. The final word.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over, and over again, expecting different results.”

Bullshit slogan of the day:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over, and over again, expecting different results.”

This expression, like so much of the Alcoholics Anonymous dogma, has no clinical or psychological foundation. In fact, the word “sanity” is a legal term denoting a person’s ability to take legal responsibility for their actions, and not a psychological term. So, even if God were to restore us to normal psychologically, he would not restore us to sanity, unless we were in trouble with the law. In that case, I would want to be considered insane, because I would not want to go to jail – I would not be asking God to restore my sanity. Bill W used the term “sanity” in step two, but he obviously had no training in psychology.

Obviously what is meant by “insanity” here is “crazy” or “nuts” or “irrational”. The objective of this expression is to point out to an alkie that if they keep trying to quit on their own, they will continue to fail. This would make absolute sense if the alternative that they propose had any efficacy at all, which it does not. Since 1939, AA has not changed, and since that time, it has had the same miserable rate of success. Still, proponents of AA still advocate the same tired program – without change – as the only viable approach to quitting drinking. To the vast majority who fail, no alternative approach is offered, or even allowed (no outside literature is allowed in AA meetings, for example).

Any person who fails AA is told that they, not the program, have failed. The only change that is suggested upon his or her return from a slip is a change in attitude. Many will say that they kept coming back until they finally “got it”. Commonly heard are such things as “I thought I knew it all” or “I was too smart for the program”. The twelve steps is a program in ego deflation, and most often people leave before they are fully beaten down and indoctrinated. The AA flock will equate their unwillingness to change their sense of self worth to one of shame, with the idea of doing the same thing over and over again. Change to AA is not toward greater empowerment for the individual. Change for the individual in AA is defined a self-degradation.

Why is AA unwilling to change itself? Because AA is not science. Science refines itself over time. AA is religion, and change in religion is tantamount to heresy. AA may have a miserable rate of success in keeping people off the sauce, but they have great success in perpetuating themselves as an organization, and that is their stated objective. The welfare of individual members comes in a close second. Any evidence showing another approach to quitting drinking is more effective, is a threat to organization and to individual groups. This is why AA has no interest in even exploring new ideas beyond their 12 commandments.