Posts tagged brainwashing

Alcoholics Anonymous and the TABOO of the GEOGRAPHIC change.




Geographical Cure (a.k.a Geographic ):
An effort to cure our alcoholism by getting a ‘fresh start’ in a new location. It doesn’t work. There is a saying around AA, ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’

I remember having about five years sober in AA and approaching my sponsor for guidance. I had done well and established a very successful business. In my success I started to look at property in an idyllic location where my family and I had always wanted to live. I had saved enough money to buy a house there for cash. My wife and I had picked out a house and were ready to make our move. Being a good AA I decided to check with my spiritual advisor and sponsor first. Much to my disappointment, he told me that it was dangerous for me to buy this house and move so far from my support group. Clearly I was brainwashed; AA and my sponsor had become my lifeline. I had such a lack of confidence in myself from working the AA program and listening to the rhetoric of the group that I was unable to stand on my own two feet. I was completely dependent on the program and fellowship. As someone who has disconnected from AA, I can look back and see what a shame this is. I see now that AA did not give me power but that it completely crippled me. I have not been living my own life but have been living the lives of others. I remember hearing how bad it was to move away from a persons AA group but never recall hearing anyone share about experiencing a move in which they drank. Members would share that if an alcoholic were to move away from their group they would drink. They would even share that subconciously it was probably an underlying reason for the move. Remember, the great obsession of every alcoholic is to drink normally.

Another factor that plays into the AA’s management of the geographic move is the God implication. Whether implied or by direction the AA seems to rely heavily on the notion that God will do for the alcoholic what he cannot do for himself. Live and let live and let go and let God would seem to directly conflict with any sponsors direction regarding a geographic change, unless of course the AA sponsor is a direct channel from God.

Bottom line; what business does any AA have meddling with the personal life choices and goals of anyone who wanders in their door?  Have you been incapacitated by a sponsor who told you not to make a geographic change?  Were you pressured to stay in your community?  This may be the place to talk about it and share opposing viewpoints so that those who are still crippled by AA can gain insight and make their own decisions.

Quote of the Day

“…For instance, last week, I shared that in addition to AA, and all of the wonderful people there, that my therapist had also been another very helpful pillar of support. After that, the next five people who shared all went on to have something or other negative to say about therapists and therapy in general, as if I had stepped out of an AA meeting and into a Scientology group. It was bizarre, as I meant no disrespect. It was instructive in how quickly the group reacted to reject the incursion of an idea that they clearly did not want to gain general credence among the members: it was as if an outside force had attacked, and they mobilized against it. It was a very striking example of group dynamics, and, to that extent, a learning experience….”

HuskyPup, an AA. Commenting in the Sober Recovery forum.

Quote of the Day

“This book is equivalent of telling Type I diabetics that they can live without insulin injections and can eat candy daily. Either way they eventually die from the disease because of their actions. Alcoholism is an allergy. Just like someone who has a peanut allergy, having just a little peanut still results in a reaction – sometimes deadly. When alcoholics intake alcohol, the reaction is a mental obsession for MORE!
The ONLY real “cure” for alcoholism is AA. I have an alcoholic allergy, and I treat it with AA meetings. This has worked for me and MILLIONS of others. There is no real “cure” for this disease – only in AA have I been able to find out how to live life on life’s terms without alcohol or drugs. I would highly suggest reading the Big-Book of Alcoholics Anonymous over this book.”

Deb Reinig. An AA. Commenting on Amazon about the book, The Cure For Alcoholism: Drink Your Way Sober Without Willpower, Abstinence and Discomfort; a book about the Sinclair Method.

(I’m guessing she hasn’t read the book, and might just be guilty of “contempt prior to investigation.”)

Insanity is…well…nevermind.

“…For you to denounce AA is ludacris [sic], I see nothing wrong with looking for an alternate approach to addiction but there is no reason to denounce something that works so well. I have been in 14 treatment centers in my life and all of them use the disease 12 step model….”

Daniel, an AA. In a letter to Stanton Peele.

Douchebaggery 101

“You do realize that the founder of Rational Recovery is in prison after killing a family with her vehicle while she was drunk.

It’s always enlightening to hear criticisms about AA from people who know nothing about it.

Do you get your research from the back of a cereal box?

24 years sober”

Bobmom, an AA, in the comment section on article about Rational Recovery.

This comment made me chuckle. “Bobmom” cites the fact that the founder of Rational Recovery killed a family while drunk driving, as an example of it being a failed program; and them chastises the writer of the article for not doing proper research, and claiming he “knows nothing about it.”

Unfortunately for this serenity hornet, he (or she) is the one with his/her head up their ass. She is confusing Rational Recovery with Moderation Management, a program founded by Audrey Kishline. Indeed, Ms. Kishline did kill a family in a traffic accident while driving drunk. She did it as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, which she joined after resigning from the organization she founded.

So, do ya think that after learning the truth, this matters to Bobmom? Nah. It’s just another inconvenient truth.

Quote of the Day: “Gary”

“They told me to stick with the winners, to get involved in service, to help other alcoholics, to feel part of the fellowship and stop saying ‘me and them’ but think about ‘we’ or ‘us’. AA is a part of me now. It gave me life, a happy, sober life, a reason to keep going. That is why I am a happy person today: I am alive….”

– “Gary,” an AA, parroting the clichèd, cultish nonsense that he has been conditioned to believe in this puff piece from The Independent. Poor bastard.

An Examination of the Cult Aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’ve seen a number of examinations of whether AA is a cult or not, with each using criteria set by various cult experts. This one is a pretty good explanation, and I thought it was a good time to post it here, because we have recently had some feedback telling us why AA is not a cult, using such reasoning as “a person is free to leave whenever they like” or “if we were brainwashed, we would all think exactly alike”.

One trend I have noticed on our blog is AAs never rarely respond to posts such as this, and when they do so, it is with a “that is all bullshit” type of answer. I would love to hear some feedback from some of our AAs on the specific points of this article.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult? An Old Question Revisited
L. Allen Ragels

The “alcoholism cult.” That’s what Sheldon Bacon, for many years the director of the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, called overly avid supporters of Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous – AA as it is generally known – was started in the 1930s as a spinoff from the Oxford Group, a religious movement whose ideas were sometimes alleged to help chronic drinkers. With the aid and approval of key members of the power elite such as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., AA grew from an obscure idea to what many have come to regard as a national treasure: society’s premier (practically only) way of treating alcohol, drug, and related addiction problems. By now, AA certainly must have more than a million members, with groups organized in virtually every city, town, and village, along with numerous foreign countries. Moreover, AA’s core doctrine, the famous Twelve Steps, has been adopted by hundreds of parallel organizations with programs that address problems such as gambling, overeating, emotional troubles, and related family issues. Without question, AA and the Twelve Steps are among America’s most well known and revered institutions. Continue reading An Examination of the Cult Aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous

Unofficial, Unoffical AA Slogans

[This goes under my new category: Gratuitous AA Bashing. Alternately: kiss my ass.]

pollution sunset

pollution sunset

After having participated in many discussions with AAs, I have noticed that, while they often disown and dismiss their slogans, they also tend to be Carbon-Based Random Slogan Generators in their own right, responding to any given argument by stringing several slogans together in response to any criticism of their program.

A good case in point is the AA’s response I received in the comments to my Stinking Thinking post, in which the commenter politely handed me my ass for assuming that AAs treat these slogans as gospel, when, in fact, they are just guideposts — even while he unconsciously uses nonsense slogans to make his point, specifically: a variation on “None are too dumb for AA, but some are too smart,” and “One might accuse groups of ‘brainwashing,’ but the fact is, lots of brains NEED a good washing…” Using only two slogans in five paragraphs shows uncommon restraint, and I commend that. But I’m gonna address these.

Being smart isn’t anything to apologize for, as I’ve mentioned before. Neither is there such a thing as “too smart.” Smart is just a thing you are, like blonde or funny. Imagine telling a toddler he’s “too smart.” Not that I don’t get what they’re trying to say: AA works, but not if you sit around trying to analyze it until you suck all the God out of it, like taking the magic out of awe-inspiring sunset, by explaining that all the brilliant colors are generated by pollution.

And clever as it sounds, the brainwashing slogan is just bullshittery on so many levels, no matter how you interpret it, which could be a few different ways: First, “I’d rather be brainwashed than drunk, in jail, institutionalized, or dead.” (That’s a false dichotomy.) Second, “The antidote to my brainwashing is more brainwashing.” (Another false dichotomy.) Third, “Ha ha! So what if I’m brainwashed? I like it!” (“I know you are, but what am I?” To which there is no response, except “Honey? Hide the kids now.”) Fourth, they are making some kind of distinction between brainwashing (which is real) and washing one’s brain (which is not), which sounds kind of Yodaesque, but doesn’t make any sense at all if you’re smart. My gut feeling is that this slogan is simply damage control – a way of offering up just enough of the truth, in a light-hearted way, to diffuse further inquiry. Continue reading Unofficial, Unoffical AA Slogans

"Sometimes your brain needs washing"

Bullshit slogan of the day:
“Sometimes your brain needs washing”

The AA faithful have an amazing ability to deny the obvious. Saying an organization is not religious, while teaching written commandments that tell the flock that they must turn their lives over to God, is a good example of this absurdity. I believe that if The Big Book wrote that it never rains, a person could have an argument in a rainstorm with an AAer who is declaring it be sunny and balmy. An AAer will also tell you that AA is not cult, while in the same breath tell you that “there is nothing wrong with brainwashing if your brain needs washing”. This saying is big with the old-timers, and it goes along well with its ugly cousin “you need a check-up from the neck up”.

This blog was referenced below under “related blogs” titled “What I get out of the twelve steps”. This quote is typical:

“Someone asked me what I get out of the 12 Steps. Well, I get faith, serenity, happiness, friendship, comradery out of the 12 Steps. I know most people will think I am brain washed, but you know what I heard a great line: Sometimes our brains need a good washing. I’ll take positive brain washing to being an active addict any day of theweek.”