Posts tagged cult tactics

AA Plays Doctor [UPDATED]

It’s so interesting how Alcoholics Anonymous members will deny that what happens in AA actually happens there. They know it happens, and they participate in it, either actively or passively (equally bad). They know we know it happens: the mindfucking, gaslighting, isolating, demoralizing, abusive tough loving, passive aggression, and playing doctor.

Within their creepy little bubbles, this stuff is all normal, and I’m sure it sounds reasonable to them in The Rooms. Our “Comments of the Day” show how unselfconscious they are about being freakin’ nuts with each other when they think no one’s looking. And they do know what it looks like to the reality based community, because when it’s exposed, they don’t own it or say, “Damn right, we do that.”

They deny it. They scoff and bluster. They blame the victims. They minimize it.

After reading Sarah’s, Mona Lisa’s and violet’s experiences in the comments, I would really like to know what people’s experience has been: Have you been told to go off your meds? Told not to get any mental health help outside of AA? That the steps are all you really need? That if you’re on depression medication that you’re not really sober? Did you witness this happen to someone else?

[Please, AAs, please resist the temptation to mansplain the official policy to us. We know what it is. Really.]

UPDATE: Recent Tweet from BigBookRecovery:

Click to Embiggen

(Well, not that recent…)

Treatment With A Bang

The founder of a California 12-step treatment facility has been arrested and charged with rape. Lance Glock, who owns the Johnson Sober Living House along with his wife, decided to take time away from her to have a sexual encounter with another AA:

The 27-year-old alleged victim was the only prosecution witness to testify at the preliminary hearing for Lance Glock, co-owner of Johnson Sober Living House.

The woman testified that in August she and Glock took a motorcycle ride into Azusa-Canyon, where she said he forced her to perform oral sex.

After leaving Azusa-Canyon on Glock’s motorcycle, the woman testified, Glock brought her to another one of his sober living homes in Azusa and raped her.

“I said, `No, you’re hurting me. Ouch. You’re hurting me. Stop,”‘ the woman said. “We think and we blame ourselves, but this is not my fault.”

The woman said she initially told the owner of a competing sober living home and another woman about the alleged rape during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in September.

Not knowing the facts of the case, I have no opinion as to whether this guy committed a crime or not, but I do know that at a minimum he abused his authority and status in AA in order to receive sex from an AA subordinate who was not his wife. Even if this is not rape, it is 13th stepping to the degree of which Bill Wilson would be proud. Of course, in true AA style, he paints a different picture of himself on his website:

“Lance believes a Sober Living community is an integral part of the process of recovery, and that sober living helped him to become a better person, teaching him compassion and concern for the well being of others. He says sober living houses offer viable, tangible solutions for homelessness, starvation, employment, and an opportunity to learn to care for the well being of others.”

This is standard AA nonsense, and this piece of shit – who boasts 23 years of being in Alcoholics Anonymous – is typical of the narcissistic jackasses who serve AA as old-timers and role models. The saddest part of this story is that it is not uncommon. I’d bet my dog that his isn’t the first time this asshole has done this sort of thing, but hopefully it will be the first time he is held accountable.

Belladonna Boost

Here is an interesting article from the New York Times about about belladonna and its use in treating alcohol addiction. Bill Wilson used it when he had his famous “white light experience”. For any AAs out there who are working those steps with rigorous honesty, and have still not had their spiritual awakening, you might consider tossing a bit of belladonna into the mix. That picture of Jesus or chia pet or pine tree or whatever you happen to be using as your higher power, is sure to come to life:

On the second or third day of his treatment, Mr. Wilson had his now famous spiritual awakening. Earlier that evening, Mr. Thacher had visited and tried to persuade Mr. Wilson to turn himself over to the care of a Christian deity who would liberate him from the ravages of alcohol. Hours later, depressed and delirious, Mr. Wilson cried out: “I’ll do anything! Anything at all! If there be a God, let him show himself!” He then witnessed a blinding light and felt an ecstatic sense of freedom and peace. When Mr. Wilson told Dr. Silkworth about the event, the physician responded: “Something has happened to you I don’t understand. But you had better hang on to it.”

Tell Us Your Story

One common theme I have seen with former AAs is that there is often a moment of clarity when they finally agree with that voice in their head that something was amiss, and that the program that they had signed up for – a quit drinking fellowship – was indeed much more. Sometimes it is a single incident, like the actions of a sponsor, or something said by another member that was particularly absurd, that gave their head a shake. With others, it was simply the totality of it all, and they knew that if they were subjected to one more aphorism, or one more trite slogan, they felt like their heads might explode.

What was your moment? When did you finally have enough? Was it a particular event, or was it a process. I would be interested to hear from those who have left AA. A reverse drunkalog, if you will. What caused you leave, and what difference has it made for you.

Quote of the Day

“You amaze me. Why so bitter and angry ? Why do you feel the need to bash AA every chance you can get. You should know by now there is a big difference between religion and spirituality. I have been a member of AA for almost 8 years — highly involved in service. I am only 26 and am the future if you want to say.

My own
conception of something greater than my self has enabled me to live an incredibly productive life. My Higher Power is so far off the beam than conventional religious beliefs it would make peoples toenails curl. But, above all else it works.

AA does not demand a Christian God. It only suggests a God of your own understanding. So if you read the big book a little closer and lay aside your prejudice, even the biggest atheist or agnostic can recover. If you really want to get technical; if it was not for AA you would not be here. AA is the granddaddy of all 12-Step programs.

love and service,

KB.”

KB, AA, explaining to Cliff Walker at Positive Atheism the difference between Spirituality and Religious.

AAmwaying the Alcoholic

Yesterday, one our readers wrote:

“As to “corporate AA”, I think it would be hard for me to care less than I do. I tried Amway about 15 years ago and ditched it when it became apparent that it wasn’t about selling soap; it’s about getting other people to sell soap for you. The analogy breaks down at that point because I don’t see a significant money trail in AA, but again, I don’t really care. The only money I’m expected to put into AA is the 50 cents in the piggy bank if I want a cup of coffee.

In my experience, AA meetings are a place where I can be with people who used to be desperately sad, hope-less drinkers who couldn’t stop their self-destructive behavior. And now we aren’t like that any more. And some poor schlub who is *now* where I was *then* might ask me how I got from there to here, and I can tell him.”

We appreciate the comment, and sincerity and thoughtfulness with which it was written. I wanted to highlight it, because I know that Amway has been compared to a cult, much like with AA. Cult expert Steve Hassan does not have Amway categorized as a cult (nor does he label AA a cult), but he does believe there are disturbing practices, and he shows how it fits into his BITE model. Like AA, it doesn’t meet all of the criteria, but it does meet most. Read through Hassan’s description of Amway, and see if you find any similarities.

I thought it would be interesting to compare Amway to AA, and in the process I found this analysis of Amway as a cult, written by a former Amway distributor. This person uses the criteria of a destructive cult, set by Robert Lifton. It is plain scary how similar the groups are to one another. Below I’ve taken some relevant parts of this analysis to compare to the AA experience: Continue reading AAmwaying the Alcoholic

Quote of the Day

“I’ve heard this argument before and it rubs me the wrong way each time. No one has to go to AA/NA, they can refuse the drug court and go to jail instead if their [sic] that against having to say the word “God”. They should be happy their getting a second chance at all. You would never get a secular program passed in the courts. The religious rights of someone that was caught with a handfull of crack is that last thing on anyones mind.”

jbit, explaining in a conversation about whether or not compelling a person to attend AA breaks the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, and that a person being coerced into AA really does have a choice: It’s either go to AA, or go jail. Therefore, it is not forced.

Note: Notice jbit writes “you would never get a secular program passed in the courts”. Secular? I thought AA was secular. This slip of the tongue happens all the time from a group that claims to be non-religious.

Quote of the Day

“dude this is how i look at it, the higher power doesnt have to be god, or budda, or vishnue, it just has to be bigger than yourself. for instance a mountain or ocean, just something that is a lot bigger than yourself. For me, for a long time it was the golden gate bridge….”colinphw, suggesting to a newly recruited AA who (or what) he might use as his higher power™.

Quote of the Day

“Our 1992 Survey showed that only 5% of newcomers to AA are still attending meetings after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic. Again we must ask ‘Where does the fault lie?'”

– Dr Ron Whitington, Chairman of AA Australia General Service Board
Comments made in AA Around Australia, Spring Edition, 1994; Commenting on a survey of more than 100 of Australia’s AA groups.

The Double Bind – Damned if you do, Damned if you don't

One of my favorite jokes starts out with a guy on his first day in prison, who upon meeting his new cell-mate is confronted with the question, “would you like to be the ‘husband’ or ‘the wife’?” Neither of those is a particularly favorable answer. Back in the days of the Salem witch trials, defendants were tossed into a pond. Those who sank and drowned were found innocent of being a witch, and those who floated were found guilty and executed. Given the choice of being tried as witch, or confronted with the two options that were given to the new prisoner, I’m not sure which one I would want to take.

The two examples above are known as double binds. A double bind is one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of dilemmas. The term was created by Gregory Bateson, a British linguist who studied schizophrenia, where he used the term “double bind” to describe as a symptom the stress that schizophrenics feel when perceiving two conflicting messages. A double bind as used by Bateson is a communication dilemma, and can be conveyed both verbally and non-verbally. Double binds are used by abusers of all sorts, particularly among authority figures. I recently read about a priest who had molested a number of kids over the years, always telling him that he loved them, God loved them, and they should not tell anyone about the abuse because nobody else would understand, so they should leave it between the child, the priest and God. The double bind for the children were:

If they did tell anyone: They would be breaking a covenant with God.
If the didn’t tell anyone: The abuse would continue. Continue reading The Double Bind – Damned if you do, Damned if you don't