Archive for the The Steps Category

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On appeal, Center claimed the sentence was illegal and his right to due process was violated in the way his placement was revoked.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

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

When Richard Heene, part time pseudo-scientist and full time wingnut, set his balloon adrift above the skies of Colorado and falsely claimed that his six-year old son was inside the thing, he did so with the expectation that he would not get caught. When he eventually did get caught, he made what appeared to be a heartfelt apology when, choking back tears, he said in court, “I want to apologize to all the rescue workers out there and the people who got involved in the community.” A month later he told Larry King, “It wasn’t a hoax.” He then went on to explain to Larry that his courtroom apology had been misinterpreted, and he wasn’t apologizing for trying to dupe the world, but was apologizing for causing people such an inconvenience. I’m not sure if this guy is a narcissist or a sociopath. I’m not a shrink, and there is a lot of wiggle room in diagnosing him. One thing I know for certain is that he is self serving, and his apology didn’t ring true to me, even before he pulled his 180 apology reversal on the Larry King show. Some things a person just knows, I knew that Balloon Man was only sorry that he got caught.

We see this type of public display of contrition with a lot with sports figures who get caught cheating, or public figures who get their hands caught in the cookie jar (or other their body parts caught in…well, you know). Mark McGwire, Eliot Spitzer, Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Charles Barkley, Ted Haggard, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Swaggart and John Edwards are among a long list of famous people who looked us squarely in the eye and told how sorry they were. Tiger Woods will be added to that list once he speaks to his handlers and public relations firm, who will advise him on how sorry he needs to be. The one thing they have in common is that they weren’t sorry until they got caught doing whatever dastardly thing it was that got them into a pickle in the first place. It is much like the time back when I was in grade five, and I got caught sneaking under Becky Johnson’s desk to get a peek up her skirt and at her unmentionables. Our teacher, Miss Scarborough, forced me to confront Becky and apologize. Sure, I was sorry – sorry that I got caught. Continue reading Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Any program where almost everybody fails is in need of an effective recruiting strategy in order for it to sustain any sort of growth. Walk into an AA Chapter that has been around awhile, and the room might look like a nice mix of a few old-timers, some people who have been sober for two or four or six years, and a larger percentage of people who are fairly new to the group. This is deceptive, and when an AAer says that they know the program works because they have seen too many people in their meetings, who have been sober for too many years for it not to be effective, then that person is most likely telling you the truth. Or, should I say, the truth as they see it. The problem is, they either have no understanding of basic statistics, or they have not made an effort to run the numbers.

To fully understand this, all one has to do is imagine a chapter that has been newly formed, that consists of 100 brand new members. Within three months, half will disappear; after six months three-quarters are gone; and after one year there is only five left standing. (source:aa_triennial_survey) There are three ways of keeping the rooms full to replace so many dropouts: one way of filling the rooms is with court ordered attendees, but is actually a small percentage of AAs; the other is to feed them in from 12-step rehab clinics; and the other is to use manipulative recruiting and retention tactics. The third way is how AAers utilize step twelve, and they do so with instructions right out of The Big Book that would serve Amway proud. Like Amway, AA instructs their members to be deceptive about the nature of the organization:

When dealing with such a person, you had better use everyday language to describe spiritual principles. There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don’t raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are.” The Big Book, Chapter 7

There is another curious quote from Chapter 7 of The Big Book that demonstrates AA doublespeak – “Let him see that you are not there to instruct him in religion”. Why would this be part of the recruiting instructions if this was not religion? Why not also instruct the AAer to tell the prospect they aren’t there to instruct him on football or weaving or politics? It specifically tells them to deny it is religion, and the reason is because it is religion, and that will be an obvious objection. The instructions continue:

Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer.” The Big Book, Chapter 7

How do they reconcile the the above with their 11th Tradition that states that AA is a program of attraction, and not promotion? They don’t. It’s just another contradiction with the big contradiction, which is AA.

Orange Papers on the deceptive recruiting tactics.

The Big Book, Chapter 7  Working With Others

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, or My Cat Answers All Prayers. Sometimes the Answer is 'No'

“And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.” – God

Those are some heavy duty words right there, and a person does not need to be a biblical scholar to understand them: Worship other gods, and you are going to spend all eternity in the place where the guy with the horns and a pitchfork conducts his business. Worshipping false idols is not just a sin, it is one of the biggies. Heck, it is probably the biggest of all, considering the fact that it is the number one sin on God’s top ten list. This leads us to Step 2:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

A person of faith would have no problem with Step 2, at least in terms of accepting God as their higher power. It might get tricky if that person believes in freewill, and that God is not manipulating them from above, but I won’t get into that here. Take a critical look at how this step is explained to a stepper, and you will find it full of everything from blasphemy, absurdity and manipulation – a regular trifecta of cult goodness. Below is what Bill Wilson wrote:

“At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was. We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. – “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.” – The Big Book

In other words, ‘you may not be a believer now, but if you are willing to open the door to believing just a crack, that will do for now’. Once a person does their 90 meetings in 90 days, and are beaten down with thought stopping slogans and conditioned to believe that they are morally bankrupt, they are more likely to be converted to the real god. Sure, worshiping false idols is wrong, but in Bill’s mind it was justified, because he used it as simply a gateway drug to the ultimate objective, and that was a full conversion. “We had to begin somewhere”, he wrote. In his mind, the ends justified the means.

When dealing with such a person, you had better use everyday language to describe spiritual principles. There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don’t raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are. – The Big Book

Giving oneself over to a higher power is one of the most common objections. Either a person does not believe in a god, or they don’t believe that they are puppets on a string to a god who suddenly will guide them to sobriety, but did not give a shit about them before they joined AA. The answer to this objection is a simple one. Ridiculous, but simple: “Your higher power can be anything you want it to be – a rock, a doorknob, a Pez dispenser, a tree, a penis, a rock band – whatever you want it be. The sky is the limit!” The most common suggestion is to make AA itself your higher power, which is really the objective, anyway. Here is a true example of this in practice:

Jill made her cat her higher power. Let’s apply this to the steps, and see how this works in helping here to gain sobriety (the names have been changed to protect the identity of the person and the cat) –

Upon admitting that her life is unmanageable, Jill…

• Came to believe that Fluffy could restore my sanity. (step 2)

• Made a decision to turn her will and her life over to the care of Fluffy. (step 3)

• Admitted to Fluffy, to herself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. (step 5)

• Were entirely ready to have Fluffy remove all these defects of character. (step 6)

• Humbly asked Fluffy to remove my shortcomings. (step 7)

• Sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with Fluffy, praying only for knowledge of Fluffy’s will for me and the power to carry that out. (step 11)

So, what Jill was told to do was turn her life and sobriety over to a house pet with the brain the size of a walnut. She was told this with a straight face from the other steppers that this was a great idea. In fairness to the others, I’m sure they felt this was rational thing for Jill to do. This is because once a person has been conditioned and beaten down by the group, the absurd seems normal. That is the very nature of a cult, and why it is impossible to reason with a stepper who has drank the kool-aid.


In a sad and predictable conclusion to this story, both Jill’s sobriety and Fluffy the cat were lost in the same night, when Jill fell off the wagon and left her front door open in a drunken stupor. Nobody knows where Fluffy is now. My guess is that she is no longer with us, which is not a bad thing. That would put her up in heaven, which is where a higher power really belongs.

There is laughter in this, but there is seriousness, as well. AA believes alcoholism to be a disease. Imagine this same form of treatment being applied to any other disease. How would you react if a doctor walked into your room and, with a straight face, told you that you did indeed have a heart murmur or alzheimers or clinical depression or cancer – and he told you that what was needed was for you to pick an object, group, person or or living thing of your choosing – to manage it for you. What if you objected, and he told you that was “stinking thinking” or “take the cotton out of your ears and put in your mouth”. How would you react? This happens in AA every day.