Archive for the The 12 Steps Category

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.

Clowns to the left of me…

AA Toronto

[UPDATE: The Friendly Atheist blog picked up the story. It’s a good blog for any of you godless creatures].

AnnaZed just found a story about a couple of secular AA groups in Toronto whose meeting schedules were purged from the local AA rosters. The groups, called Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, use an altered version of the 12 Steps, which they edited to remove all reference to God or a Higher Power in order to be more welcoming to non-believers. Toronto AA holds the position that since they changed the language, their meetings no longer qualify as AA and therefore have no place on the AA meeting list. The distilled version of Toronto AA’s explanation is that God is central to recovery. If you take God out, it’s not AA.

Continue reading Clowns to the left of me…

The Family Foundation School Investigation Update

I just received and update from the Family Foundation School TRUTH Campaign. The investigation is complete and The office of Mental Health and the Center for Quality Care for Youth with Disabilities have published their findings. I guess it’s not going to come as a shock to anyone to learn that this school is run by a bunch of 12 -steppers all suffering from a debilitating case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
It’s an outrage, and I wonder why this school wasn’t shuttered altogether. These people have no qualifications or even the means to fulfill the promises they make to the children and their families; they use dangerous restraint practices as a matter of course; have no proper channels in place for discipline, supervision, medical or psychiatric care;  impose shockingly inappropriate responsibility upon children (requiring them to restrain each other or supervise other students who are having psychiatric problems); and provide housing that ranges from sub-par to downright hazardous.
Here’s the email I received this evening. Congratulations Kenny! Congratulations TRUTH Campaign! I hope this receives the publicity it deserves.
As founder of the TRUTH Campaign, I want to let you all know that the State investigation into the Family Foundation School has been released.
Refer to this LINK to access the investigation, or go to our homepage on our main website.
I know many of our supporters have been waiting for this day….well, it’s here.  The Family Foundation School was investigated by four state agencies.  They did not find any physical abuse during their visit, but they found many other issues that are means for serious concern.
Thanks to all those who came to Albany with us for the meeting with State officials.
Keep on keeping on,
Dedicated to exposing a more than 30 year history of abusing kids, all in the name of “TREATMENT”
Founder & Campaign Director
The Family Foundation School TRUTH Campaign

Like Gardners

AnnaZed found AA’s current promotional campaign.  What else but an evangelical religion has the nerve and obliviousness to promote themselves the way they do.

About AA – Collaboration: Paving the Way to Sobriety

Here are some excerpts

Committed to helping those with alcoholism regain their lives, Judge Hueston relies on the relationship she has developed with the A.A. community in her district and throughout the state. “I hear these stories every day in my courtroom, tales of horror and heartache, dysfunctional backgrounds, people who have lost jobs, lost kidneys, lost limbs; people who are living in abandoned buildings….”

“You and I are like gardeners,” she says, talking about the role that A.A. can play in helping alcoholics who come through drug courts. “We have to plant seeds and hope that at some point they get it.” Describing one of the people who came before her court whom she had remanded to A.A., a woman who had been actively using drugs and alcohol for many years—“she was strung out, her eyes were sunken, her kids were in foster care, she was homeless”— Judge Hueston witnessed the incredible miracle of A.A. The judge detailing how the woman complained bitterly about having to go to
A.A. and would have preferred simply being in jail. “It’s too hard,” she said. The woman, however, returned a year or so later to Judge Hueston’s court—with flowers for the judge—sober and slowly regaining her life.
“Drug court is creative and it’s holistic, and we’re trying to wrap around our services and our support in a meaningful way. But I cannot do it alone. I need help. I need a team. And A.A. is a very powerful part of the team.”

It sounds like you can’t be too stupid for Yale, either:

Richard S. Sandor, M.D., graduated from Yale University in 1968 and received his M.D. from the University of Southern California in 1972. Prior to full-time private practice, Dr. Sandor was the Chief of the Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center and then Medical Director of the Saint John’s Hospital Chemical Dependence Center. He has lectured and written on the subject of addictive disorders and was President of the California Society of Addiction Medicine from 1993 to 1995. According to Dr. Sandor, when it comes to using A.A. as a resource for healthcare professionals, “You in A.A. have a great deal to teach those of us in the healthcare field.” Dr. Sandor, who began treating alcoholics when he was director of a care unit at a California hospital, attended A.A. meetings as part of his early training. There, says Dr. Sandor, “I learned about recovery, which in all my fine academic education, I had never learned anything about. I knew how to detox people, I knew how to treat all kinds of physical and psychiatric illnesses; but I knew nothing about recovery. And these wonderful people in the meetings taught me about how recovery comes as a result of working the Twelve Steps.”

Thank you, Truthseeker…

Our new commenter, Truthseeker, revived and old post about Lance Glock — generating more hits to that post, and, thereby, increasing its page ranking on google. He also inspired MA to post an update to that post, in which MA called Glock a scumbag in the title. All this is a good case in point for how sometimes it’s really best not to poke at old dogpoo with a stick.

Lance’s Hot Tub. Ew!

In his righteous indignation, and blustering obfuscation, Truthseeker also accused a competitor of Glock’s of maliciously conspiring to take him down on a bogus rape charge — and he mentioned this woman here by name: Verna Sanchez.

Now his mention of this woman’s name sent me off on a google mission, and what I found was a very interesting thread, in which people who know Glock personally, are part of his community and are acquainted with him, speak out about their personal experiences with him. Check it out: Continue reading Thank you, Truthseeker…

AA and The Treatment Industry

I’ve been seeing reviews of The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations around lately, because the Tea Party is using this book, and specifically, the Starfish model, as its organizing principle. The quote that keeps popping up is this:

The title is based on the contrasting biology of spiders, which die when their heads are chopped off, and starfish, which can multiply when any given part is severed — a trait the book’s authors posit is shared by decentralized entities ranging from Alcoholics Anonymous to Al Qaeda to Wikipedia. — Politico


It’s always fascinated me how easy it is to find analogies in nature, for just about any phenomenon. The rhizome and the taproot work well here, too. And I’ve always likened Alcoholics Anonymous to a multi-level marketing outfit, which seem to me to spread like rhizomes. Also, I can definitely see Brendan Koerner’s analogy to an open source program, though it might be more accurate to compare it to a computer virus. I don’t think he could have actually said that, though. AA has it built into its structure to develop both symbiotic and parasitic relationships with outside entities, insinuating itself into every facet of public life in such a way as to maintain its integrity (and by “integrity,” I’m talking mechanics, not character). See, for instance, Bill Wilson’s own vision. Here, he is discussing the reason why AA needs to be receptive to outside agencies, and it is mostly because “most of the work and the money will have to come from elsewhere.”

More than anything, the answer to the problem of alcoholism seems to be in education – education in schoolrooms, in medical colleges, among clergymen and employers, in families, and in the public at large. From cradle to grave, the drunk and the potential alcoholic will have to be completely surrounded by a true and deep understanding and by a continuous barrage of information: the facts about his illness, its symptoms, its grim seriousness.


Now who is going to do all this education? Obviously, it is both a community job and a job for specialists. Individually, we A.A.’s can help, but A.A. as such cannot, and should not, get directly into this field. Therefore, we must rely on other agencies, on outside friends and their willingness to supply great amounts of money and effort – money and effort which will steer the alcoholic toward treatment as never before. – Bill W. “Let’s Be Friendly with Our Friends: Friends on the Alcoholism FrontContinue reading AA and The Treatment Industry

Addicted to Rehab…

Published in the Washington Post:

We’re Addicted to Rehab. It Doesn’t Even Work. By Bankole A. Johnson

For decades, Americans have clung to a near-religious conviction that rehab — and the 12-step model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous that almost all facilities rely upon — offers effective treatment for alcoholism and other addictions.

Here’s the problem: We have little indication that this treatment is effective. When an alcoholic goes to rehab but does not recover, it is he who is said to have failed. But it is rehab that is failing alcoholics. The therapies offered in most U.S. alcohol treatment centers are so divorced from state-of-the-art of medical knowledge that we might dismiss them as merely quaint — if it weren’t for the fact that alcoholism is a deadly and devastating disease.

And the way we attempt to treat alcoholism isn’t just ineffective, it’s ruinously expensive: Promises Treatment Centers’ Malibu facility, where Lohan reportedly went for her second round of rehab, in 2007, has stunning vistas, gourmet food, poolside lounging and acupuncture. It costs a reported $48,000 a month.

Read the whole thing.

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.

The Case for Malpractice

Go read this article by Paul A. Toth at The Nervous Breakdown:

Alcoholism, AA and the Medical Industry: Nationwide Malpractice

Toward the end of the comments section, the author poses a topic for discussion:

Question:If alcohol really is a disease, shouldn’t it primarily be treated by physicians?

No one seems to have engaged him on this question yet.

God's Will [updated]

I lopped off the corner of my finger with a chef’s knife last night, so this post is gonna be a little clumsy. Typing is hard, but unpacking moving boxes is harder (I bashed my finger one too many times). I’ve been meaning to write about this for a couple of days, anyway… So, sorry about any half-formed thoughts and unedited messes to follow:

Aside from the appalling absurdity of the fact that the addictions treatment industry in this country has been co-opted by a juggernaut of quackery – by a program of spiritual awakening, for which sobriety is only a perk (or evidence that one has achieved enlightenment) – and is treated with all seriousness by conventional wisdom, which would never in a hojillion years put up with this kind of crap from any other branch of medicine, there is also the utter lunacy that it fosters among AA members and 12-Steppers, generated by the nebulous standard of transcendence called “Getting It.”

The 12-Steps are not a recipe for sobriety. They are a recipe for opening up a direct line to God, to whom you have turned over your will, so that you may now do his. But, as one poster over a SoberRecovery asked, How do you know what God’s will actually is? This is the essential question that newcomers to AA must ask themselves, because their recovery depends upon knowing the difference between one’s base desires and God’s will. Continue reading God's Will [updated]