Back by popular demand.
Fast forward to around 3:20 if you can’t sit through the whole thing.
“One turned up the other day calling himself Boniface. Said he was a Benedictine missionary and English. Had been a man of learning, knew missionary work and a lot about structures. I think he said this all the more modestly but that was the gist of it. I’d never heard of this gentleman but he checked out pretty well in the Encyclopedia. If this one is who he says he is—and of course there is no way of knowing—would this be licit contact in your book?”
– Bill Wilson; AA co-founder. In a letter to Father Ed Dowling. Describing his encounter ghostly encounter with Boniface, the 15th-century monk who Bill claims dictated to him the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Some of you may be unaware that AA historian and California Raisin, Dick B., has a new Youtube channel. I highly recommend it for any of you who subscribe to Dick’s brand of AA, and made it to our blog by mistake; or for anyone with sadomasicistic tendencies. HERE is a link.
Speaking of Dick, it looks as though another of his lectures to Jesus wound up in in the comment section of our old blog, donewithaa, by mistake. This often happens when a person channels Jesus through the ‘Big Book’ instead of the ‘Good Book’. It’s like reading a Windows document on a Mac, or using translation software to read a foreign website. Sometimes things get lost in translation.
Knowing Jesus reads our blog, because He is as perplexed at using a doorknob to perform miracles as we are – I figured I would link Dick’s post here, where Dick answers Jesus’ question, “what the fuck you are muttering about, Dick?”:
I make every effort to reply to any courteous email that comes to me at DickB@DickB.com. However, some people try to send me messages by clicking on the “Reply” button when they receive one of my “Dick B. FYI Message” newsletters. Such “replies” have been going to a different email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) that is associated with the program we use for sending out the “Dick B. FYI Message” newsletters. Those “replies” have not been going directly to me. In fact, most never reached me until today, when my son Ken discovered this “secret cache” of backlogged responses and forwarded them to me in a large batch. Sadly, I do not have the time to sift through them all for happy birthday cards vs. genuine questions.
One other point about how people identify themselves when they contact me. When someone writes me—through any medium—and just uses initials like “J.C.” or “Jim C.,” I really don’t care to reply until and unless they identify themselves by using a fuller form of their name and by including their regular (“snail mail”) address. You have no idea how many “Jim’s,” “Jim C.’s,” “JC’s,” and even “James’s” and others—not including spammers—cross my path.
“…He lifted the phone, and set in motion a process which led him, providentially, to “still suffering” alcoholic Dr Robert (Bob) Smith.”
– Charlie McGuire, an AA in Scotland. Explaining in a letter to The Herald how God played matchmaker to Bill W. and Dr. Bob.
Here’s a real dilemma: Where does a judge send a guy who claims he bilked a bunch of people out of their savings because he is an alcoholic, when the people he scammed were fellow AA members? I guess we’ll soon find out, when Richard M. is sentenced:
A Fort Collins man accused of defrauding 22 Larimer County investors gained people’s trust through Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, an alleged victim said Thursday. Richard Horace Mayfield, 72, was released from jail Thursday on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. He faces six counts of securities fraud, three counts of theft and one count of theft against an at-risk adult, according to his arrest affidavit. “He’s like the antichrist of AA,” William Nies, 61, said of Mayfield, adding that he “trusted him personally, because we (attended) meetings 1,000 days in a row.”
Man says he was approached about scheme in AA meeting
I had a teammate on my college baseball team named Jake who wore an unwashed Billy Squire concert t-shirt under his uniform for the better part of thirty games. Our uniforms, including what we wore underneath them, were standard issue. One particularly cold Saturday, while getting dressed in our hotel room prior to boarding our bus to a double-header, he had discovered that he had failed to pack a long-sleeved undershirt – so he slapped on the Billy Squire shirt, because the black sleeves matched the colors of our team. The rest of the shirt was hidden by the uniform. That day, both a hit streak and a superstition were born.
He first wore the shirt in mid-March, and by early April, that shirt was a most odor-ridden, offensive piece of cloth. He even packed it for road games a separate plastic bag, so it wouldn’t compromise his other clothes. By the time May rolled around, we were hesitant to sit next to him on the bench. It became a running joke. We may have questioned his hygiene, but nobody questioned his belief that the smelly undershirt somehow made him play better.
Athletes and coaches are notorious for their superstitions. Bill Parcells, the onetime coach of the New York Giants football team, arranged for an airline pilot to come out of retirement and fly his team to the Super Bowl, because he was the same guy who had flown them to the championship game a few years earlier. A game that they had won. Wade Boggs, a baseball player, ate chicken before every game. Their beliefs were proven true. Parcells’ Giants won that second Super Bowl, and Wade Boggs is sitting in the Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t question these guys, any more than I (or any of my teammates) would have questioned Jake. We knew as an undisputed fact that it did work for him, because we saw it first hand. It worked, because he believed it worked — and if he believed it worked, we all believed it.
I’m a big sports fan, and I even have a few superstitions myself. Still, if I were a coach or a hitting instructor, I wouldn’t teach that a player should always eat chicken before a ballgame, or go weeks without washing his clothes. No rational person would, because we know it’s really just bullshit. It’s just something that helps make sports fun, and when superstitions are applied in the right way, they don’t harm anyone.
Of course, sports is not real life. Continue reading Why AA Is Not A Valid Treatment Approach, And Why We Aren’t Obligated To Treat It As Such
BEDFORD HILLS — Anyone who has ever loved a drunk knows how much a pledge to quit drinking is worth.
But these are not ordinary broken promises.
The quit-drinking oaths that a certain Bill Wilson swore to his wife 80 years ago on the family Bible are now considered so valuable to the Alcoholics Anonymous story and to American history in general that they can no longer be entrusted merely to safe storage here at the couple’s historic home and grounds.
“Those archives are a national treasure,” said Manhattan writer Susan Cheever, who used the archives extensively for her 2004 biography of Wilson. “AA is one of the most extraordinary things that has ever happened in our world, and he was one of the three or four most important men of the 20th century.”
Wilson proclaimed alcoholism a disease three decades before the American Medical Association did. The 12-step recovery solution that Wilson and co-founder Dr. Bob Smith created reversed the historically held belief that hard drunks could not stay sober, and it became the standard treatment in U.S. hospitals and clinics.
“It is the only way we have to deal with addiction, and we live in an age of addiction,” said Cheever, whose memoir of her father, John Cheever, documented the writer’s battle with alcohol. “Bill Wilson truly changed the way we think about ourselves.”
(Thank you, G2K)
[I updated the title of this post because it was grating on me. When I read this article, I thought "Now here's a guy who wishes he weren't too smart for AA." He found a way to make it sound smarter.]
From The Guardian:
This is not a plea for the legalisation of street drugs, nor is it a flippant counter to vague public health measures that have been described as “window dressing” and “lacking in detail”. What I would suggest, however, is that the best method of treating alcoholism, smoking and obesity is a religious one.
The basis of Bill W’s recovery was the renewed sense of purpose that his religious experiences offered and, in his 12-step plan, he stressed the need for AA members to surrender themselves to a “higher power”. This higher power didn’t have to be a deity; what mattered was that people believed that, while they were not in control of everything, they lived in a meaningful universe. It was the classic prescription for a way out of the “age of anxiety”: if he or she wanted to survive, the recovering alcoholic or drug addict had to learn what Alan Watts calls “the wisdom of insecurity“.
Anonymity – a cornerstone of the AA program, which is steadfastly protected, unless breaking it will serve a greater purpose for an individual AA, or AA as a whole – in which case it is dropped like a bad habit.
Among the most important and revered traditions of AA is the practice of anonymity. To any reasonable person it should seem like a good idea, and on its surface, it is — but like with all things AA, they have taken this simple concept, bastardized its meaning, and nefariously use it in ways ranging from the exploitation of others for the greater good of the organization, to an excuse for absolving themselves of accountability. Like their other traditions, anonymity is used selectively, and only when it is of benefit to a member or the group; but it is quickly tossed aside when their AA affiliation will help them in some way. Take a look: Continue reading Anonymity