Essential Reading

Since we have been updating Stinkin’ Thinkin’ pretty regularly over the past year or so, some of the posts that offer the best snapshot of where we’re coming from, what Stinkin’ Thinkin’ is about, have been buried. So, I’ve culled the archives, and present to you:

The Definitive Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Greatest Hits of All Time

Keep Coming Back

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

Why Addiction Recovery Should Be A Feminist Issue

AA’s Own Stats Show Slow Demise

AA and the Treatment Industry

The Knickbocker Paradox and the Evolution of 12 Step Quackery

Dry Drunk

Top Ten: You Know You’re An AA Member If…

OK, Here’s The Thing About Alcoholics Anonymous…

What Then, If Not AA?

How Alcoholics Anonymous Lies with The Truth

How Alcoholics Anonymous Lies with Front Groups: Project MATCH and Hazelden

How Alcoholics Anonymous Lies with Statistics

“Every time I walk into an AA meeting, I’m reminded I’m a liar and a sneak.”

Criticism as Deviance and Social Control in Alcoholics Anonymous

Learning to Believe in the God of Alcoholics Anonymous

Stinking Thinking

The Double Bind: Damned If You Do – Damned If You Don’t

Authoritarian Alcoholics Anonymous

The Pseudoscience of Alcoholics Anonymous

Unofficial, Unofficial AA Slogans

There Is No Such Thing As A.A.: The Gloves Are Off

These Are Just Suggestions

Drunkalog: The Conversion Narrative

Tearing Down the Ego in Alcoholics Anonymous

Saving the World

An Examination of the Cult Aspects of AA

[not finished]

  • Clyde Strunk

    I did. Wassa matter…did I say sumthin’ wrong??? You can feed me back @ my email address. the “name” you required is a nom de plume. a nickname. is that O.K.?

  • causeandeffect

    Clyde, I’m sure you said nothing wrong. Your comment may have gone into a spam filter. I’m sure as soon as the moderators realize it they will post your comment.

  • I can’t find the comment in the spam file and there’s nothing in moderation… Can you try it again, Clyde?

  • Clyde Strunk

    More Bullshit, or “A Desire to Start Thinking.”
    Whatever god there may or may not be, contrary to widespread belief, He, She, or It is not in the power business. It doesn’t have any power-none at all. That shit is obviously completely in the hands of human beings; Gods’ magnificent crowning creation achievement. Whatever god there may or not be, it doesn’t exercise any authority either. There can’t be a loving god who’s all about power & authority too. A cretin with his brains beat out understands that. Anyone wishing to prove it need only observe human behavior – listen or watch the news. Go where people gather and just watch what they’re saying & doing. Reflect on our own dubious pursuits of power & control. Understand that we all go around deceiving ourselves and others in so many big & little ways. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see we want as much of whatever we want, however we can get it, to whatever extent we can get away with getting it. The pursuit of power, control, and authority is exclusively entrenched in the human condition.
    The exception that trumps everybody is “Mother Nature”…The gardener who keeps this whole physical gag cooking. (that subject’s covered in an upcoming book) She’s in charge of life in capital letters. Human beings only run the lower case, or sometimes think they do. Good and evil, likewise are exclusive to the human species. God, good, and evil manifest mainly in human consciousness, though I could swear I’ve detected those qualities in dogs, birds, and, I’m told, horses. It could be argued that god needs humans at least as bad as humans need god. That’s something to meditate on.
    We go to places like church, or the ladies’ auxiliary, or the People for the Ethical Treatment of People, or a Masonic Lodge, or some kinda “let’s all get together & yak it up” sorta thing, such as AA, (which is obviously the target subject of this shocking, tell-all expose) where we’re supposed to learn to be better subjects. What most of us learn is how to be better hypocritical egomaniacal bullshitters -more deceptive hypocrites. We learn to mask our selfish, self-serving selves with a piss-thin layer of claptrappery, ostensibly packaged & promoted in the first hundred and sixty-four pages of ”The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous”. Of all such groups, AA is the worst, (or the finest) example of “hypocrisy in action” How and why does all that crap perpetuate?
    Most of it boils down to ego, stupidity, and fear.
    Fear. Alcoholics Anonymous hit that one on the head. It just misunderstood, of what, are we all so fearful? The book rightfully named one of, if not the greatest of human quagmires, fear, then went oblique. Jumped the track & lumbered off into a cornfield; a real corny one. It has a habit of doing that. Gives a fairly good general description of the behavioral characteristics and dilemmas that people who drink too much experience, announces: ”but there is a solution…”, says: “Hey, you better jump on this ride or else & retreats mysteriously way deep into that cornfield rather than spell out the only simple answer to the “drinking problem.”
    Instead of pushing a truthful, factual, practical method for dealing with the alcoholic condition; the over-consumption of alcohol and the peripheral damage it causes, AA goes on a long, rambling, kooky, “spiritual” hayride through Cornelius J. Clutterbutt’s (AKA William G. Wilson’s) tall cornfield, with Uncle Cornies’ right-hand-man (God) at the reins. Cornelius calls the turns. God’s just the chauffer… j’ ever notice that? Well, shit-fire, Clutterbutt had a goddam book ta write, don’ ‘cha know? He’d had a bona-fide drug-induced spirachal experience; the result of a hallucinogen/opiate induced “treatment”, combined with his own competitive/dramatic inclinations. …his old friend & drinking buddy had one, & goddamned if he wasn’t gonna have a better one; make it pay, too.
    It’s known he used a bunch of his disciples to critique his allegedly inspired work, help him do some editing, but he made sure the royalties stayed in his pocket… Shrewd.
    Wilson couldn’t copyright The Bible… specifically, The Oxford Group’s take on The Bible, & he found himself in competition with that wacky outfit, besides all them bible-thumpin’ preachers. He kicked off his book with mostly Oxford bullshit; essentially Fluffing Oxford’s 6 steps into his 12. Ya examine them steps and ya see them for the contrived contraption they are. The Oxfords were crumbling under the weight of their own bullshit about the time the big book was being written. They tried to keep it going by renaming it “Moral Rearmament” – didn’t work.
    In any case, there was quite an ego battle raging between Wilson & Oxford when they booted him. He was too radical for ‘em & he kept bringin’ all them stinky drunks to their meetings. He’d been bitten by their Jesus & spirit-channeling bullshit though, and he certainly did plunder freely from their foundation for his building material. The other “New Thought” books he pilfered from, (There were quite a few kickin’ around back then, as well as today) well, he’d change the wording just enough to avoid getting sued. He probably also calculated that few would want to litigate such a noble, well-intended, all too istic effort…Though one can’t help notice gobs of ideas & phrases lifted damn near verbatim out of Emmett Fox’s “Sermon on the Mount,” (1934) among others of that era.
    One great fear most human beings harbor, here specifically members of AA, whether they have been sober 30 years or thirty days, is fear of not being socially accepted. That fear is rooted in thoughts regarding the consequenses of not accepting AA’s “program.” That fear is one big reason they become, and remain attached to all that claptrap.
    With the help of a good sponsor, their first impressions are stifled and a standardized perspective is installed, (The Program) one that assures they’ll think or say nothing critical or negative about those first hundred-sixty-four pages; they’ll understand it’s for their salvation; their own good, and they’ll be thankful and endeared to their sponsors for saving them; setting them straight, getting them in line-on the one true path, in tune, singing from the same songsheet; maybe even coincidentally keeping ‘em from takin’ another drink. At least they’ll feel like they’re just like everybody else. Now I ask you… what more could anyone ask for?
    They fear, correctly so, that they will be shunned, cold-shouldered by the group, essentially burned at the stake, should they not conform to the quasi-religio-socio-dogmatico-doctrino-horseshoot which is the words-on-paper, party platform choir sheet the AA faithful must sing from or be damned. One must, at the very least, toss a little lip-bone on the pile. Listening to and watching the art of that dance is a great source of interest & amusement at AA meetings; “and I’m gonna get into those steps this time for sure,” & “yeah, I half-assed it through the steps, but ahhh…” & “so I finally got into what it’s sayin’ in this book (Pats the book) when I got to hurtin’ bad enough” & “Uh, so…I’m startin’ my steps uh, next week, uh…” & “ I find that there’s some really good shit in here when I read the book,…but I really don’t read it much, as I should, y’ know, y’know what I’m sayyin’? But I’m gonna, fer sure….next week” Everybody keeps score… it’s variations on a theme. (but nobody ever cops to those observations; they practice acceptance, love & tolerance… and you know what they say…”You’re only as sick as your secrets…”)
    GOD – We inanely use that word to describe something no one has ever proven the existence of. Whether or not it does, it totally defies description, unless by fools, charlatans or con men. God. The not a boy, not a girl, not a “it” kinda thing. Out of our hands, out of all that we call “real” or “reality,” not anything that exists in the physical universe, out of our minds to try to describe the simply indescribable, let alone namable. The Buddhists say “those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know.” The god of Abraham said “I am who I am.” (so did Popeye) Jesus said: ” I am who you say I am.” C.J. Clutterbutt said: “God is who I say he is.” The charlatans & the conmen say: “There could be a lot of easy money in this religion & spirituality stuff.”
    When I was a Katlikker, (Catholic), they told me I was a “temple of the Holy Spirit” – my conscious being was the place where God was… within my consciousness. If there is any truth in that, it means that all that I am, the sum of my parts, both tangible and abstract, was, and is, (should I choose to believe it so) holy – sacred – and therefore, is every other being likewise, and I should treat myself and them as such, in matters of degree,…I don’t mean that “turn the other cheek” ‘til your head looks like a shoulder clod idea, I don’t mean be a sucker, but the thought that myself and every other self is a worthwhile person unless he proves himself otherwise sounds like a good idea to me, no matter how or where I first heard of it.
    That moral, ethical (call it sacred-spiritual if it pleaseth thou) concept, commonly called “The Golden Rule,” is really all there is…all anyone needs to know, in order to be a peaceful component of the functioning whole. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with religion or anybody’s god, even though it is cited throughout religious & spiritual teachings from Genghis Khan to the Fuller Brush Man. It could be called the law of reciprocation if ya don’t wanna get churchy about it. It’s cited in Judaism, Buddhism, Hindu, Sikh, Jainism, Tao, Confucianism & repeated about a dozen times in the Bible, starting in Leviticus & ending up being mouthed by Jesus. The significance of that simple idea, applied to all of ones’ dealings with others, is the whole ball game, all anyone needs to know about how to live a decent, ethical life.
    That knowledge, applied, eliminates the whole nutty idea, and the necessity of Steps, Sponsors, Sponsees, and that crazy-ass Big Book. Everything, including that crazy-ass big book, is built into that one ancient law, and should persons wish to gather to “study” spiritual ideas that have practical applications, they need only that one. There is no room within that ethic for any hierarchic malarkey, thinly masked big egos, heavy with hypocritic, cloned, manufactured false humility and all-too-ishtick bullshit, just mutual friendship and support among one another, and the group as a whole. Kinda family-like stuff. Knock off the bullshit and the problems that go with it.
    The drinking too much problem is solved by applying the notion of not picking up a drink & pouring it down ones’ throat. Stop. We’re done. There’s no more need be said. Difficult at first, yeah, and it is. But it really ain’t near as tough as we make it, It’s a learned thing; it’s a learning how to just watch those obsessive thoughts come & go, instead of acting on them. Again, it’s fear that makes quitting look so tough. We project our fear onto the world around us, and it’s magnified on the big 360-degree wrap-around screen, and the fix is just as near as the liquor store, and it’s our fear alone that drives us back to the liquor counter, not a disease, not because alcohol is “cunning, baffling, powerful!” The only thing that’s cunning, baffling, & powerful is our desire to wanna fool ourselves into believing it’s any more than that. Just understanding that fact makes it no big fuckin’ mystery, it’s 100% possible, especially when we consistently go and let a bunch of other people remind us of all the reasons why grabbin’ a bottle ain’t a good idea. The more distance one gets from his or her last drink, the easier that habit becomes, the more ones’ life improves, physically and mentally.
    In 164 pages, AA does a roundabout, fuzzy, confusing, feeble job of trying to turn that simple “golden” axiom into a dogmatic set of hard absolutes, numbering twelve, no more, no less, that must be adhered to, otherwise, those who don’t…”…surely sign their own death warrant.”…AA 12 & 12, Tradition Nine, (long form) page 174. If that strikes one as sounding kinda nazi-like, it’s probably because it is kinda nazi-like. It’s at least kinda nutzy-like.
    Whether we choose to steep ourselves in all the claptrap, religiously, fervently, drape ourselves in the circle & triangle “bigbook blue” flag, or just make a decision to stop hurting ourselves, stop hurting others, contribute in some way to the common good, and live a decent life; once we internalize those behavioral changes, it’s all about going on-chopping wood, carrying water-being responsible. Alan Watts, a popular Zen lecturer in the 1960’s, said, among other things, “When you get the message, HANG UP THE PHONE.” It’s a shame a lot of AA doesn’t see the wisdom in that.
    Regarding those other than drinking too much problems (other than some kinda true insanity) – Because AA is is a gathering place for human beings; a part of life, a percentage of meeting goers will be in the borderline personality category-Psychopaths & sociopaths clever enough to avoid getting arrested or killed while they’re out & about plundering and pillaging. There’s a concentration of them in AA… swarms of ‘em, & our present society’s breedin’ em like maggots these days. AA’s a natural lodestone nut magnet.
    There’s never been a shortage of too-shrewd-two-eared pricks, either. Takers. Someone’s always cookin’ up an angle – manipulatin’, wheelin’ & dealin. Stabbin’ a fat hog. Seeing others as utilitarian objects. “What can this guy or gal do for me?” kinda thinkin’…”Nothing??… Fuck ‘em, then. They don’t count.” What a fabulous arena AA affords them. The takers love the givers….love to take and take from them, whether it’s money, marbles, chalk, flesh, or just plain peelin’ out on their eardrums – stealing their time with their claptrap “Lemme run your life for ya” power-control games. The givers too often don’t know how & when to stop allowing the greedy takers robbing them of everything they’ve got, and AA, with its goofy “code” of love, tolerance, and acceptance, swell in an ideal world, maybe, but in this one, it sure in hell offers no defense, no protection from those aberrant personalities. That’s how it’s always been; before Buddha, before the Bible, long before AA came along, and that’s likely how it’ll be long after, until Hell freezes over and thaws out again.
    I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ new here. Nobody ever says nothin’ new, nowhere. This is just another slant on the same bullshit. Maybe someone who reads this will find it more direct. Somebody who, for whatever reason can’t swallow AA’s pile of wang, can’t get it to stick to them, yet has a need, perhaps a desire to be sober, find some sober friends to hang out with and be somehow useful to one another. For those,
    There is a solution
    There is a substitute, and it is far more than that. My intent, other than having nothing better to do, in putting these words on paper is to suggest what that solution and that alternative might be – maybe eliminate a lot of time and effort and redundant, unnecessary middlemen-“sponsors”- and their neurotic agendas of power & control….unless you go for that sorta thing…some folks do, and should you prefer that, Don’t let these words get in your way. Forget the whole thing.
    Is there really an AA “program?” Some say there is. I guess if you wish hard enough, you can conjure one up. Wrench it from those 164 pages of words on paper. Does that make it so? Does it have to? I guess it’s up to you…or your sponsor…or you & your sponsor. Many see it as a pile of crap. You’ll ultimately be the one who has to make that decision. Bullshit’s only bullshit if you choose to think it’s other than bullshit. A lie is only a lie if you believe it. The only way you can find out is by investigating. With your own mind. Your O.E.M. equipment. Read that book. All by yourself. Read it carefully. Notice how it’s written. Stay objective. Remember the old adage; “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…”
    It’s often heard , among the AAliens: “My best thinking got me here.” Bullshit! Your worst thinking got you here, for chissake. The only reason people say that is ‘cause they heard some other asshole say it. …That’s that “monkey do” bullshit. Somewhere, sometime, someone said something, then it becomes so often quoted it’s believed then it becomes part of dogmatic AAspeak. Think about that one.
    It certainly has to be ones’ worst thinking, or not thinking at all that brings him to that “jumping-off place”, his life ravaged by alcohol.
    The human will is the strongest abstract force in the universe, it’s the operant power behind belief, or faith. It’s what got us here, and what keeps us going. We’re selfish, self-centered by design; it goes into high gear at birth, when we’re brutally evicted from nirvana. Paradise Lost. The initial smashing of the initial illusion. (this universal experience could be the foundation of the being cast out of the Garden of Eden bit.) There we are…blind, cold, terrified, enraged, hungry, the chow line’s been whacked; shut down forever, we’re surrounded by alien beings, and for the first time we must do something for ourselves if we wanna stay in the game. We gotta breathe, & we gotta get warm, & we gotta eat. Our only resource available is screamin’, and it does get those aliens’ attention. Self-will run riot. That’s how we start out.
    There, we were…and here, we are. We gotta play our ball from where it lies. Dwelling on whatever occurred between then and now really doesn’t count for much. It’s far more important to get the donkey out of the ditch, and keep him out than it is to hold a grand-jury investigation on how he got there. That stuff’s for politicians & high-ranking military people.
    Now about Herbert Spencer…The man and his quote, the final word, capping AA’s oft- referenced, oft-asterisked Appendix II – “Spiritual Experience.” AA self-servingly, pervertedly, twisted Herbert’s quote into a device to suggest (demand) blind acceptance of their doctrine, when his intent was anything but.
    After Uncle Cornie did the twist on Herbert’s pivotal quote, I wonder if he pissed on his grave on his way out of the cemetery. Spencer, (an atheist and an evolutionist, FYI) in his quote, was talking about the necessity to utilize unprejudicial critical thinking when deciding whether & to what degree & why one may or may not wish to give credence to whatever modality one may be considering, whether it be an institution, a science, religion, a philosophy, or a particular brand of beer…rather than walking, or being led blindly, naively & ignorantly, without question, into a situation that is, or should be a serious undertaking; practicing abstinence from alcohol, lest we forget, There’s a lot of bullshit out there, and it’s wise to watch where you’re walkin’, especially when you’re comin’ off of a long run, & are bleary-eyed lookin’ for one good day in a row.
    Count the daily failures. Count the number of ones who announce their time sober – between 2 & 87 days. Watch ‘em come & go, and sometimes come back. They make up the bulk of any given meeting. They may at one time have been “the lifeblood” of AA, today they’re just the rising and falling flotsam & jetsam tidal ebb & flow.
    Everything happens a lot faster these days. Most, if not all AA newcomers have already been rocketed far beyond the fourth dimension. Most of ‘em are spun to the hubs before they’re 21 years old. Unless their brains have been so severely damaged from their adventures in space, (not uncommon) They’re about as interested in AA’s program as they are in Barbara Streisand or John Denver music, or how the supreme court functions.
    Once in awhile someone has a strong enough desire, (will, determination) to “sit on his hands” & not drink while his mind & body heals. Once in awhile someone gets thumped & attaches to the claptrap. Them that do are coaxed; coerced into believing that some Big Daddy hangin’ out somewhere in the middle of nowhere is the reason they’re able to get and remain sober, and their lives are quasi-psuedo-AA wonderful, more or less, either way, it’s because They put down the booze & the dope & their lives improved… because they stopped.
    They stopped drinkin’ & druggin’. That’s why the peripheral damage stopped. That’s why their lives got better. The AA dogma & doctrine was superfluous to their improved lives…Had no bearing on their status outside of AA meetings, but inside, is claimed to bear witness to the faithful, as well as the doubters and skeptics that the AA horseshit is great & godly truth.
    Alcoholics anonymous does this clanky, mechanical left turn through the cornfield toward an old-time tent revival gatherin’, a-thumpin’ an’ a-bumpin an’ a’ getting’ salvation by confession and atonement, just like it says in the Bible, thus throwin’ the haywagon in front of the horse, somewhat to the drivers’ chagrin & bewilderment, but he checks himself, remembering that he’s only God, & has no sayso in this matter; ( besides, he’s been down this road billions of times before) this time, it’s Uncle Cornie’s ride & he says that ya gotta get saved (the aa way) before ya can’t get sober!
    The gatherings all begin with the “serenity prayer” habit, the senseless, mind-numbing, mind-absent “ God, gimme” “prayer”. …the one where everybody asks god to make it O.K. for everybody to accept anything and everybody they don’t like…(Now, why the hell would ya wanna accept everything ya don’t like & don’t want, & what kinda god do you think would wanna make ya do that? Huh?) Nobody’s gotta accept shit they don’t like. Send it back! For chrissake. Ya might hafta accept that there’s a lotta shit ya don’t like, but goddam…you don’t have to accept any of it, or any asshole that says ya gotta either. That’s plain silly. Ya don’t have to accept things you can’t change. Ya only gotta accept the fact that you can’t change ‘em. Y’ unnerstan’ what I’m sayyin’? an’ ya don’t have ta pray to no god about it neither, ‘cause if you can’t change somethin’, ya can’t fukkin’ change it! Jeez! A rose is a rose, ain’t it?
    The serenity prayer… the Chapter 5…How it werks…The Promises! The words on paper…aren’t really important, it’s their intent. They soothe. They numb. They bring about at least a partial hypnosis. A semi-consciousness. It’s a known thing, a familiar thing. By itself, it’s fairly harmless. Who can argue with being relaxed & reassured by the familiar? I can’t argue with that, yet what I would be welcomed to hear is some kinda variation. Say it in Chinese, for Chrisssake. In Gaelic, or some exotic language. Pick a different philosophical thought from a non-approved AA text. Something thought-provoking. …something to wake the mind, shake the dust off. Kick the thought box in a different direction.
    AA’s in a rut! … Whassamatter,’d I say something wrong? Oh, Jeez, I blasphemed! Thought-provoking…I said Thought-Provoking! Guess I better call my sponsor….No, I better call my grand-sponsor. I heard he can channel Uncle Cornie when there’s a ring around the moon. We better all keep our heads buried in the familiar collective claptrap sandtrap.
    Once that partial hypnosis is obtained, once the thinker is unwittingly put in a pleasant twilight sleep once the guard is down, the claptrap marches in.It’s that overall mind-rotting rut that’s the clear & present danger in all that, and some get it; most don’t. They don’t want to upset their social apple cart, or else they’re workin’ an angle. One that usually involves some kinda power-control function, or meat. Flesh. Flesh, and just how to go about getting ahold of a few pounds of it for awhile….Yeah. Is that all there is? Guess it beats the crap out of mere sobriety.
    Meanwhile, back in the meetin’…
    Then persons are chosen, or volunteer to say whatever they will, which is mostly a bunch of rehab-freshmen, spewing AA claptrapspeak, or the 15-20 usual suspects, those who can be counted on to sing from the “AA songsheet”, or deliver mostly chicken-shit details of their daily experiences, or unchanging drunkalogs that everyone knows so well, they might as well assign numbers to…just get up and say: “Number 17!” & sit down. Sure would save a lotta time.
    There’s the stand-up comedians who really ought to stay seated. This goes on for an hour and a half, then everyone recites the gimme chant again, eyes closed, (blind) heads piously aimed toward “Heaven” like ready-to-fire ICBM’s. … (Used ta be they’d wind it up with “the Lord’s Prayer” exclusively, but AA’s “Trusted Servants” cowed, caved, turned their collective back on that recitation, all too readily and easily threw that prayer & its’ traditionally presumed author along with it under the wagon when one chicken-shit litigious non-adherent squeaked his outrage; that a court had demanded he attend a group he determined was religious; Christian, to be specific. [Jesus was a Jew] How could “One who has all power” allow such a sacrilege to occur? Well, He surely did, and it just shows how anybody’s god really has no hand in matters AA. They’re all dealt with by human beings, many not even alcoholics…Lawyers, leftist lobbyists, mass-psychology statisticians, politicos, damage-control analysts, & other high-paid professional bullshitters. Our donations at work.
    That gets overwith & then the yak-yak gets real loud, sounds like Babylon musta’ sounded, cause ya can’t pick one discernable phrase out of all the clamor, That phenomenon’s either because everyone’s suffering vocal compression after playing “pretending to listen” for so long, or it’s a fear-ego based mechanism; no one wants to look like a logbump loser nobody wants to talk with, everybody wants to be cool & popular and all that crap, so that goes on awhile & fades, the crowd thins out, people start driftin’ off, most of ‘em to put their other faces back on, etc., and go back to their video games, or pillaging & plundering & conniving through life, satisfied at having endured another AA meeting, now back to “Free will run riot.”
    The more I hear, the more bizarre it gets. The phrase: “willing to go to any lengths” is quite an understatement for me. That big book talks about a lot of moralistic ideas. Bible-esque stuff, and its’ ineffectuality is painfully obvious as I observe the behavior of my AA brethren and hear of their strange habits now that they don’t drink anymore…The harder they thump, the further they fail…to measure up to the standards they try to push. They can’t even live up to their own hypocrisy. Many seem barely aware of just what “The Principles” they so often blabber about are, let alone what they mean -to them, or to anyone. They’ve learned AA claptrapspeak, canned a pitch, & spend the rest of their lives counting – keeping track – from here to eternity. Announcing their Years, months, weeks, days, sometimes hours. Hangin’ on, attached – anchored – unmoving – unmoved – static. Murder by Pride, in a sense.
    I suppose it’s a good idea to remember the day one took ones’ last drink; honestly, who can forget. So who cares? Who cares how many years, months, weeks & days anyone’s been sober? ‘specially if they’re assholes. It makes far more sense to remember that one half-shot of whisky will take care of all that time, yet it’s a habit; and habits are hard to break, ‘specially ego attachments. Ain’t it?
    “Why don’t you choose your own god?” Well, so I chose my own god…an’ guess what. I start doin’ my double-A steps and my chosen god says to me No, Noo, Nnnooo! I don’t like those fuckin’ steps. If you wanna do it that way, you gotta get another god, see. Well, I didn’t want to do them fukin steps either, so I guess I’ll keep you; You’re my kinda god, I says, y’know what I meen? See how this thing works? Don’t you like the spirachual part of double A?
    Go ahead…choose your own god. It don’t matter, ‘cause when AA’s done endoctrinating your own god with its twelve steps, he’s gonna goddam be in compliance with AA’s claptrap. He ain’t gonna recognize his own image…”Vat da hell hath happenent to me on dis broadt highvay vit all’ tha mashugina goys, I vants to know? Fetch me my carpenter boy. Ve gotta talk.
    Tell a selfish, self-centered, egomaniacal drunk to choose his own god, and who do ya think that’ll be? The all-too obvious answer, with ample evidence to back it up…his “own god” inevitably turns out to be an extension of his own ego.
    “ Now about sex”… the big book spends about three pages talking about how it’s not gonna talk about S-E-X…Fuckin’ causes children. Lust – Where would we be without it?
    Desire. The Big Apple. All kinna desires…Desire to drink… Drinking sometimes causes some people lots of problems. Alcoholism is but a symptom of drinking too much. Bad behavior is bad behavior. Too much alcohol sometimes leads people to commit bad behavior.
    The consumption of alcohol and screwball behavior are not one and the same, though they are generally assumed to be, according to AA claptrap, just one more instance of a half-assed generalization mystically transfigured into absolute, irrefutable sacred dogma. This is another instance where AA tries to create a nexus where none exists, builds a whole platform on that assumption, and pushes it as fact. Everyone is entitled to his own opinions – no one is entitled to his own facts.
    These two things are self-evident: Truth and bullshit. Both stand on their own merit, although they’re easily confused. (Clue: Bullshit stinks. Sometimes one has to use discernment here to determine “stink” from “aroma.”) Here’s where critical thinking is of utmost importance. Truth is far more visible when the bullshit is removed. Double A takes their 12 step program and promotes it as a cure for that condition people who drink too much are commonly known as: “Alcoholics.” Ones having “Alcoholism.” It’s not clear to me whether “having alcoholism” is describing a problem, a possession, a belief, or a vocation. It certainly seems to be a way of life, a devotion, to those who choose it (or are chosen by it, depending on which side of the debate one chooses to rage on).
    I don’t even like saying I’m a “alcoholic”, or that I have a condition called alcoholism, anymore than I wanna say I practice Communism. It’s an archaic stigma. It’s really a kind of punitive interrogation- a 500-WATT light bulb-in-your-face: “Whose Your Boss!” demand AA makes of a “newcomer”; wrenches it out of his drug & ethanol saturated carcass before they’ll let him have a cigarette & a glass of water… He’s obviously been clobbering himself on the head with a ball-peen hammer; some goddam alcoholic drink is his “boss”…Lose the bullshit already! To require that admission of him as a requisite for entry into AA, or the right to address his fellow knot-heads is just way dumb. The more I think about it, the farther dumb it gets.
    In the case of the AA newcomer, to bite pieces out of any dignity he may have left is a childish attempt to beat him down psychologically; to tenderize him for the sponsor/sponsee barbeque; as if the alcohol & drugs haven’t already beat him bloody. AA confuses being humiliated with being humble. There’s more sanity, more integrity; honor?, in stating: “I drank too much.” It’s extremely doubtful these days, with so many drunken encounters with police, busts, jails, lawyers, courtroom procedures, rehabs, and treatment centers, (all fantastic moneymakers & sources of revenue) and general awareness that no one naively walks into an AA meeting without a pretty good knowledge of just what his situation is. . He knows the drill. He knows his role. Everyone knows their roles.The whole schmahoola is ridiculous. It’s time. Time for a change. Changing of the guard. Which is also ridiculous. The guards are all dead…or dead drunk…or deserted their posts. The smart ones Drifted off to a place that’s lighter and brighter. Got the message. Hung up the phone. Saw the light. Became enlightened. Lost their fear…of today, tomorrow, the hereafter, and after the hereafter. Lost their fear of not going along with AA’s ridiculous wacky “program” process, and the boogieman ghost of Bill Wilson, hot on their heels. Stopped feeling sorry for Dr.Bob feeling sorry for them. Rest in peace, Dr. Bob, You were a good man. Rest in peace, Cornelius J. Klutterbutt, you were a good bullshitter…just a bad wizard.
    What any of us really are, is simply, utterly, Human Beings, we all pretty much agree there, and even that’s just another descriptive term we use in attempts to communicate the fact that we find ourselves conscious here in this dilemma; life, on the cutting edge of now and just what the hell to do about it all, now that we quit drinking, now that it’s 2011, later than it’s ever been before, in history, now that we know that we really don’t KNOW anything ,except everything’s really all fucked up, really real fucked up, more fucked up than it’s ever been, and we don’t have to accept it. We might have to accept that we might not be able to change some of it, but we haven’t got any fuckin’ idea what that is, until we try to do something about it… That’s something to think about…just how courageous are we, anyhow…? How much courage is anyone capable of anymore? Is it possible to be courageous? or are we just all gonna haf ta eat crap as we slide into the abyss, reciting our beloved, sacred serenity prayer? Did the bastards finally win?How ‘bout we should turn AA into a rallying point for a militia (drunk or sober) to go after all the rotten bastards responsible for the big mess out there.
    Courage to change the things we can…Indeed. Hmm… how about we start with giving those first hundred and sixty-four pages a proper burial. A bonfire. Have one bronzed for a museum. Send one up in a rocket ship…to the fourth dimension!
    So I’m an “alcoholic.” Does that mean human beings then suffer from “Peopleism”? Are teenagers “acneholics”? AA uses that “alcoholic” label as a schmoozy way to get off the hook, to avoid taking responsibility for what one does to oneself, to falsely perceive that one has a “disease” rather than a chosen addiction, a product of ones’ free will, and with that disease model is therefore not culpable, nor capable, on his own, of not drinking,(here’s where the woo-woo insanity enters the picture, (“God could and would,” if only we could get him off that haywagon) as part of its indoctrination methodology, in order to get fresh meat to accept the dogmatic, doctrinal yoke, as well as to put forth that idea in the double A claptrap as part of a ploy to make AA something more than it is; to create a false sense of credibility that it really doesn’t have and really doesn’t need!
    That’s the crazy part! AA can and will survive just fine, and a whole lot better, sans all the bullshit. Will it happen? Jumping Jesus, I know I’m not the only Son of a bitch that has these kinna musings. When is the hundredth monkey gonna sling a well-aimed pile of shit in the right direction? All them old crustations are dyin’, myself included. No one’s buyin’ the crap any more. Not for long, at any rate. Just listen…. 27 days sober is a long time nowadays…. That’s a sho’nuf ol’timer!
    Once the newcomer swallows that candy-coated horseshit, then working the AA “program”, “studying” the Big Book, having a sponsor, and practicing blind acceptance of “these principles”… serves to teach, cultivate, and perpetuate a learned helplessness. By now the new guy has invested a significant amount of time & effort in this thing with so much history, and so many fuzzy hints that some kind of powerful, magnificent being is behind it all and will satisfy his or her aspirations and fix all his or her problems; wipe his ass for him, so that a mindset develops that is a bar to questioning any AA dogma or doctrine. Inevitably, an attachment to the bullshit develops, and with it, an ego-driven defensive posture – The antithesis of Herbert Spencer’s often referred to quotation regarding the wisdom involved in investigating … the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, in this case.
    Spencer’s quote suggests stepping back and looking at the material – checking its soundness, asking important questions like: Who are these people that put this thing together? What’s their history? What kicked this thing off, really? “What’re they really saying here? And what do they mean by what they’re saying?” and how much sense, if any, does it make? Herbert Spencer was suggesting a cool, impersonal, objective search into what something’s really all about before buying in lock, stock, and barrel, because what often occurs, as many who find themselves involved to some degree in AA find at some later date, that they’ve purchased a broken-down old nag with a fresh coat of paint that washes off the first time it rains. That occurs all too often in AA’s case. Now what? Most just go back out & get fucked up again. The few who see through it all but hang on anyway, not wishing to admit their error, even to themselves, (let alone AA’s god) paint the poor old horse anew, and…”Pass it On” – carry the message – Ya discover you’ve bought a lemon & the best thing to do is promote whatever positive features it may have and hide its glaring defectiveness, then peddle it to someone desperately in need of wheels. It’s another example of AA methodology backfiring – creating a more cunning, confused, deceptive, blame-shifting being than the one it’s trying to make honest & aware & responsible…uh, oh, and I almost forgot…sober.
    What AA tries to spin Mr. Spencer’s advice into breaks down to something like: “Put your brains in your back pocket and hand over all your decision-making processes to another person, who often turns out to be ten times goofier than you could ever have imagined being. Many sponsors are problem-laden people themselves, and, more often than not, really get off on having power and control over other individuals’ lives. ‘ Specially those with a few bucks in their pockets, an obsessive-controlling nature,& a lotta thumpin’ time on their hands. I’ve seen & heard a lot of ‘em playin’ this sadistic, sarcastic game of “Simon Says” with their sponsee victims. ..& other crazy shit.
    It’s the notion of establishing solid, long-lasting friendship twisted into something perverse & wacky. Bait-and-switch. Ya pay for this but they give you that. Ya gotta remember; the guy who kicked off the whole deal was a con man – a stock swindler, & not a highly successful one either, besides being nuttier than a carload of bedbugs.
    Bill Wilson’s big book says alcoholism is caused by everything but drinking alcohol. Creates a hundred-sixty-four page schmooze job out of a very simple cause-effect phenomenon with a likewise very simple fix. Like sayin’ “the sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken.” (Bob Dylan) Sacrifices truth for bullshit.
    Understanding how and why ones’ thinking is haywire is a good idea if one finds oneself bumping hard against people, places and things whether one drinks or not. Certainly not all, but much of troublesome behavior is tied to excessive drinking. Human behavior is generally calmer, more rational, less violent when alcohol is removed from the equation. There are those too, who need no alcohol to get in trouble. They have grave mental and emotional disorders. The other ones are just drunks.
    That’s really about it. That’s all there is. That’s the how and why of it. Alcoholics drink alcohol, paranoid schizophrenics and psychopaths are nuts. The latter sometimes drink alcohol. Then you get double trouble. That’s another situation where AA fucks up. Pushes the completely false idea that every human malady is but a symptom of drinking too much …”alcoholism,” and “alcoholism” is but a symptom of every human malady. Horseshit.
    In many AA meetings I attend, I find a percentage of the faithful go to the podium to literally shit in their hand and throw it at the crowd. I guess it’s the primal instinct, like monkeys & apes at the zoo. Maybe their sponsors tell them that’s what AA meetings are for. “Dumping”. That shitting and heaving is a cathartic, therapeutic sorta thing. Swell.
    This is not a nice thing to do.More un-progress. We, the people are supposed to love & tolerate them for their monkey business. It’s our “code”, after all. I wanna throw their shit back at ’em and somma my shit too. They threw the first pile, & if they did it anywhere else but in a AA meeting, they’d get a faceful back. I’ve had shit slung at me by experts over the years. Professional shitslingers. That isn’t why I go to AA meetings, that isn’t a reason why I go anywhere. Maybe some people enjoy that sorta thing. Maybe they should start a “Shitslingers Anonymous meeting. I came to AA to maintain my sobriety. To not drink, and “share my common problem” with other sober alcoholics. I didn’t come to AA to be thought of as someone’s toilet. Thank you. The bathroom’s back there on the right. Don’t forget to flush it.
    The vision of whatever AA was supposed to be about seems clear enough in their preamble. It all goes to hell from there.
    There’s an infinite number of interesting things people enjoy hearing about if the speakers are good communicators and enjoy telling things. They don’t need to be terrific wordsmiths or literary scholars, neither, & shouldn’t necessarily have to confine their yak-yak to “alcoholism”, as long as it’s makin’ some kind of a point that may help someone think better about something.
    99% of what is heard in AA is unfortunately canned, cloned, parroted, plagiarized, platitudes, broken off from maybe 2500 phrases , give or take, in any case, a finite pile of doctrinal dogmatic horseshit AAspeak. So driven into the dirt, dirt between the ears of the congregation, so densely compacted that the head & its contents only serve to hold their ears apart, those organs themselves now being useless appendages, but for places to hang things on & stretch holes in.
    Keep comin’ back – it works…as long as ya don’t drink.
    More will be revealed.
    Always remember this:
    never forget

  • Z


    That’s a good point – plagiarized / cobbled together stuff is usually incoherent.

  • chris

    I want to apologize to Matt 1st, and MA and FTG and everyone else also. I feel like a GIANT ass, I promise I will NOT do that again.

  • Clyde Strunk

    I donno what happened to alla the punctuation, italics & sub-headings in my last lengthy tome, but it certainly made it appear far more tedious a reading affair with that loss. I donno whether “Z” was knockin’ it, or AA, It was, I suppose, “Preachin’ to the choir”. (Stinkin’ Thinkin’) What interests me is the fact that all the conclusions drawn by those who’ve taken Herb Spencer’s advice, been rigorous, honest & fearless in their investigatoins of AA & its’ history ALL come to the same conclusions independently. There was nothing plagiarized in my post, if that be anyones’ notion. Like causes, undertaken by like aptitudes generally achieve like results.

  • Primrose

    I am not quite sure what this post is responding to but I have read the whole thing and I can confirm that Clyde is one of us.

    Clyde, there is controversy around the use of the Spencer quote. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable will come along and fill you in. I think I read about it in the Orange Papers letters. Have you read the Orange Papers?

    Welcmome st st!
    Perhaps you could post your story in ‘Why I left AA’?


  • Clyde Strunk

    Hey there, Primrose… Upon further * Investigation * of that quote, it appears Herbert plagiarized it himself, perhaps “ripped it off” is a more applicable phrase. It looks like he had a lot of funny ideas he should have taken his own advice on. According to Wikipedia, It appeared in print at least twice, nearly verbatim in one instance, prior to Herb’s inking it, yet whenever & wherever it first showed up, (probably occurred to a caveman regarding whether he do a taste test on some rotting carcass prior to feasting on it; in order to determine whether it would nourish him or make him sick) AA uses it as just one more device intended to sway the desperate into accepting (AA translation: relenquish ones’ integrity) without question, AA’s mechanical contrivance as THE means to salvation, not merely from drinking too much, but as the panacea to all of life’s troublesome issues. Yes, I’m one of us.

  • Clyde Strunk

    Yeah, Primrose, someone told me about Orange…I was yakkin’ with that person & showin’ him a bunch of the notes I’d made. I kinda wrote my own big book, I had a couple books worth of notes on what AA is, and isn’t.That’s where this all started out for me, after going in & out of “The Last House in the Universe” for 30 yrs. I’m not bent on seeing “AA” destroyed, I’d really like to see it get real; become a group of human beings interested in improving their lives and their relationships and get on a train that’s going somewhere worthwhile, somewhere real…wondering if that is even possible, y’know what ahm sayyin’?

  • Thats an excellent list!
    We are writing our own book on the horrors of rehab. We will advise soon on its completion.
    We must all get the word out about the horrors of AA/NA.

    • Lech Lesiak

      Can’t say I ran across many horrors in my time.

  • Clyde Strunk

    Page 51, 2nd paragraph. AA bigbook describes its mainstream agenda near-perfectly: “…men’s minds…fettered by superstition, , tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas.”
    Boy, howdy! Thumped back to the stone ages.

  • darkroast

    Friendofgirl this is darkroast>>>!!! i wanna talk about my only 2 days of aa!!? please email!!!!!!!

  • Alex

    Wow I just found out you back up. YEA!! how long have you been back up? Alex

  • Cindy Williams

    The internet has become and open cesspool.

  • john

    this reads like a rant orgy of people who didn’t like AA and are spending their lives trashing it’ a poster said another poster wrongly attributed a Hazelden quote to an AA book. He was called a passive aggressive asshole. many posters equate AA with rehabs which send patients to AA because it helps some of them. AA doesn’t accept money or support from rehabs per the traditions but if rehabs send patients who want to stop drinking to AA the are welcome.

    If you are staying sober without AA that’s wonderful. If you’re not sober and you want to be, try again. I didn’t find much accurate information here and won’t be back. I was misled by the name of the post into thinking it was about recovery and not just griping.

    • Lech Lesiak

      Not sure it’s all about griping. There is some pretty good analysis about some of the fallacies and contradictions rife in ‘The Program’.

  • I have found that in a crisis situation, people show their true colors. There was a family crisis last week, and my father (blackout drunk between the ages of 15 and 30, member of AA since 1984) began to act….strange. When I say strange, I am talking about things so creepy that they exacted the same feeling of horror that you may get from watching a movie like The Shining. And then, we started digging into his past pattern of behavior and his current pattern, asking around in the family, and things began to make sense. My father does not go to church each weekend. He goes to AA. For the past three years, he has been quietly manipulating the family. He jumped at the opportunity to indoctrinate a family member. He failed. Now, I realize that he has been going behind my back for 2 years to convince my own personal psychiatrist that I am an addict, because I take benzodiazepines to stop chronic panic attacks. These drugs are inherently physically addicting, however, it is the only class of drug that can prevent me from having 20-30 panic attacks a day. Now, my doctor regularly refers to me as an addict. The last time that I saw this man, he gave me 60 days to recover from my PTSD and move on with my life, get a job, and become financially independent or he will take away the only medication that helps me and do it inpatient. My father wants to mentally cripple me and bring me into his religion. My doctor, his reason for discontinuing the medication is, “A family history of addiction.” He is suddenly of the persuasion that because my father is incapable of controlling his own actions (i.e., an addict), I am just like him and cannot be trusted with the medication. I have no history of drug or alcohol abuse because I use….self control. I am an addict without even knowing it, this is a medical doctor telling me this, a good doctor mind you, that has been manipulated by my father. Unfortunately, now that I am aware of what is going on, there will be hell to pay. This doctor will lose his license for breaching doctor patient confidentiality (I always am recording audio with my iphone mic in my pocket), and my father’s boss will be informed of his increasingly erratic behavior, sent video and audio clips (the worst of the worst) that can lead an employer to believe that my father has gone back to drinking. This is worst case scenario, it will literally take me 5 minutes to find a new doctor, one that does not confuse the religion of AA with medical science. And here is the kicker….my father contributed largely to the PTSD and refuses to accept any responsibility for his actions. No matter what I do, he will always insist on me getting ‘A little extra help.’ I figured out what he really wants, he wants me to convert to AA so that he can be the hero and be praised. I know that this is a public comment on the internet, I have thought about the situation and every single move that every player can make, and this is part of it. I already have worked out my employment status and am leaving the state ASAP to help lead a project team in Providence.


    Found this a few days ago, and it has ALREADY helped me so much! It solidified concerns I had about the 12 step approach, and put into words anxieties that I have had for years!

    For my whole life, I have struggled with “food addiction” in various ways: binging, dieting, obsession with weight and food, etc.From 2005-2008, I DID experience a good “recovery” by entering the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous, a group similar to AA.
    I lost 70 pounds, worked through all 12 steps, surrendered to a Higher Power, and basically just lived the “pink cloud” of recovery…

    However, I soon relapsed. I NOW know that my relapse was partly caused by the UNSUSTAINABLE tools and tenets of the program: I had to call my sponsor at 6 am every day; I had to abstain completely from sugar and white flour; I had to give service and make meetings, etc etc etc.

    I was blessed that my first sponsor was awesome (a kind, humble, reasonable person with true spiritual wisdom—a rarity, to be sure), but I lost her once she relapsed, and I was left scrounging around for new sponsors…..
    I had “sponsors” who tried to sell me protein powders, sponsors who would tell me I was no longer “abstinent” (sober) because I had used KETCHUP, and “ketchup contains sugar”, sponsors who would psychologically terrorize me by trying to act like my therapist, despite having no training.
    Sponsors who “hired” me to pet-sit for them, or do freelance writing for them, and then refused to pay me. And questioned my serenity when I dared address it with them.
    And in OA, it is common practice to call your sponsor every morning, “commit” (promise) what foods you will eat that day, and if u later want to make a change (ie: your friends invited u out to lunch), it is “suggested” that you call your sponsor first, explain why u are making the change, and clear it with them.

    Yeah. Unsustainable, I now know.

    From 2008 to present, I have been addressing my food issues on my own, with varying success. I slowly regained most of my weight, but afterwards I maintained a healthy weight, stayed active, and generally lived my life.

    However, after really struggling for the past year or so with a cycle of binging/dieting/binging/dieting, I was feeling desperate, so I decided to give “the rooms” of OA another try.
    Right away, I could tell this was no longer the approach I wanted to use. Returning to meetings WAS comforting, and I saw a lot of familiar faces, which was nice—(however, all these old timers are there, struggling with the same weight, same issues, still just as obsessed…i DONT want what they have)….but the COMMANDS to get a sponsor, eat a certain way, etc etc were annoying.

    I briefly tried to call a sponsor. She proudly told me the first day, “I don’t do flexible” and “once you start getting flexible, it’s like, ‘oh, i can have a cookie’…I don’t DO that” and “you have to work the steps”…and in my heart, i KNEW this was NOT the way for me, at this point in my life.

    I found this site, and it was exactly what I needed to read. I LOVE that it encourages people to GET HELP…but also teaches that 12 Steps is NOT the “only way” or the best way…or even that safe of a way….

    In the past week, I have SPOKEN HONESTLY with program people about why I do NOT want to return to the 12 Step approach (they seem kind of stunned, and don’t really know what to say). I have found a qualified THERAPIST in my area who specializes in eating issues, meditation, mindfulness, and positive thinking, and I hope to work with this person soon. I have been reading books to better understand my issues, and I have been eating in a way that is healthy, sustainable, and realistic for me.

    I enjoy this site very much. It comforts me, and also makes me laugh at the craziness of many recovery tenets.

  • Lech Lesiak

    I never drank the Kool-aid. I concluded pretty quickly that AA dogma was crypo-christian claptrap. That was 34 years ago. I still go to meetings for social reasons. I have made some good friends in the fellowship.