Posts tagged lies

AA DictionAAry: Stockbroker

To understand AA, one has to learn – or should I say re-learn – a whole new set of terms and definitions. They have a unique definition for so many different terms, it is sometimes difficult keep up. So, I thought it would be helpful to create a new “DictionAAry” category in order to help those not familiar with terms.

I thought that I would start with a term that with which we are all familiar: Stockbroker.

Stockbroker [stok-broh-ker] noun – a huckster who was never licensed to sell stocks, never bought or sold a stock, never had a client, and was never an employee of a member of a stock exchange or any securities firm.

AA Eddie: “Did you know that AA was created by a stockbroker named Bill Wilson after he was confronted by God?”
Doubting Thomas: “Really? I thought he was just some unlicensed shyster who took part in ‘pump and dump‘ scams, and he saw God during a belladonna hallucination.”
AA Eddie: “Yeah…whatever.”
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“James Woods puts in the most magnetic performance of his career in this stunning neglected classic. Normally known as a tough guy,Woods is profoundly affecting, and heartrendingly vulnerable as the charming and brilliant young stockbroker who succumbs to alcoholism, before going on to found AA, and help so many to find the strength to stay sober….”
IMBD movie review of “My Name is Bill W.”

“A.A. had its beginnings in 1935 at Akron, Ohio, as the outcome of a meeting between Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon.”aa.org website on “The Birth of AA.”

Quote of the Day

First off, if you don’t do the steps of course you go back out. Heck, if you don’t get a sponsor, and won’t do 90 in 90, and won’t do the steps, you were never in! How can you go back out? How can you relapse if you never attain?

When I was taken through the steps I was told that AA required constant and unending spiritual growth until I died. I was told that the character building never ends, and that I was responsible when a suffering alcoholic put out his hand for help. But much more than what I was told, it was what I was shown. My sponsor and his circle of friends were all in their late 60s, and they were 12 stepping machines. You could ask them any day what they were building in their character, and they could and did come right back with the answer of what they were working on.

My sponsor once drove through a hurricane to do a 12th step. Believe me, he wasn’t crazy, just willing. The person he went to told me that he arrived moments before the suicide. On the night he died my sponsor went out on a 12th step at 9pm, and died at 2pm. I might add that he died in his sleep, sober, serene, and loved by very many.

My sponsor was always taking people through the steps. When ever he made an assignment of any kind for a sponsee he went and did it again himself. He said he had seen too many old timers falling into telling people to do things they had long since stopped doing. This approach to serving and character building kept him constantly recycling the steps, and it caused him to apply AA principles in all his affairs.

To the best of my knowledge, all the people he sponsored are still sober. It is my intention to keep doing the actions he took, that kept him sober, and that gave him such a clean and serene end.

From a response posted yesterday on a year-old thread over at Friends of Bill called “relapse is ‘stinkin’-thinkin'”.

The original post is some bonus crazy:

We are speaking of those who are capable of being honest with themselves. Relapse is caused by a lack of spiritual development and we believe in a spiritual solution that recovery is completely and directly dependent on the integrity of the individuals spiritual program. It is not based on support groups from finite man, ((b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism..) but upon the individuals spiritual fitness- how well one “trust God, and cleans house”.

Quote(s) of the Day

“Well, I have been called a Big Book Thumper. I take it as a compliment.

However do not refer to me as a Big Book Nazi or a step nazi. I find it offensive that anyone would associate something that is about love and service with something that is perhaps the greatest smear on the face of humanity in history. AA members that refer to fellow members in that fashion are an indication of the sickness that permeates our fellowship. I don’t look down on these people. Like Dr. Bob, I feel sorry for them. They are the walking dead, all that is missing are the tags on their toes.”
Jim; a Big Book Nazi

“I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism”
– Frank Buchman; leader of the Oxford Group, from which AA is derived.

Attracting with Promotion in AA

The Queensland diocese of AA has put a unique spin on the AA tradition of “attraction, not promotion”, by offering their spiritual wares in a ‘public education seminar’:

Local AA groups came together last year to form a district group, and have organised a public meeting next month to educate the wider community on services available to those suffering from alcoholism.

No doubt if asked, these AAs would come with a ridiculous rationalization as to how this is not promotion. Something akin to “it’s spiritual, not religious”.

I feel sad for those with a real problem who think they are going their to get an education on alcoholism and treatment options, and will instead be suckered into a meeting by a bunch of Moonie-like drones spouting nothing but AA dogma.

Stinkin' Thinkin' Slogan Contest!

Update Update: We have some pretty good ones. Agent Mango came with some nice ones. It is kind of nice to see that most of our AA friends don’t like the slogans and aphorisms, either. Just so you folks know, I am using one of these pens, and it writes really well. It has nice feel to it.

UPDATE: These are supposed to be your creation, not slogans already in use. I’ve seen three pretty good ones so far:

“AA: Because thinking is hard” by Sunny
“It’s time to harvest the crust from your eyes” by Sunny
“Just Quit, It’s the Bees Knees” by Tony (must be said sarcastically, but still not bad)
“I have a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease” me, which I stole from Corky the Twelve-Step Monkey
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It’s time to put on your thinkin’ caps and stir up those creative juices, kids. We are having a competition to see who can come up with the best thought stopping AA slogan. Submissions will be graded on catchiness, inanity, wit, thought stoppability, serenity, flavor and rigorous honesty. Everyone is eligible. Easy does it!

The winner gets this inspirational serenity pen (really, we’ll send it to you):

Good Luck!!!

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
By
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

Quote of the Week: McGowdog

“The only reason why God is mentioned at all, is because without God, alcoholics perish. But, it’s not good to present that fact until the alcoholic sees the hopelessness of their condition in the 1st Step” – McGowdog (Stinkin’ Thinkin’ reader and AA zealot)

“It all goes back to building our Program on a Truth or a lie.”
– Also McGowdog, written less than twelve hours after the first quote.

Quackwatch

I’ve been perusing quackwatch.org this morning, and in case any of you are not familiar with this site, I thought I’d direct you to it, and also highlight some interesting points. The site is like an enormously detailed PSA and consumer watchdog, focusing on quackery in all its forms (mostly the kind of quackery that is epitomized by the likes of Kevin Trudeau, people who are cynically exploiting vulnerable consumers and getting very rich in the process). Here is their detailed definition of the term “quackery.”

There are a couple of things I wanted to pull from this site, that I thought would be of interest. Continue reading Quackwatch

These Are Just Suggestions

People in AA lie a lot. Most often it is a flat-out lie, but often they will lie by omission, and by deception. Among their favorite lies is “these are just suggestions”. They tell newcomers this to rope them into the group. It is a bait and switch tactic that is common with any cult. When you hear someone say that AA is “attraction, not promotion”, this is another lie that can mean many things. In the case of this slogan, it means they attract people into AA by not promoting the truth about what they mean by “suggestions”.

The following quote was taken from an AA zealot’s website. Here she gives an accurate description of what AAs really believe while they are sucking people in by saying it is a program of suggestions:

Obtaining and maintaining a “Spiritual Way of Life” means to me that I “MUST” do the things pointed out in the Big Book (the Book called “Alcoholics Anonymous”) It says in this book that there are only suggestions there. However, someone has counted the “Musts” and there are about 122 of them.

The “suggestions” in the Big Book, are things I MUST do if I wish to obtain and maintain a spiritual way of life without drinking. It is like this: these are “suggestions” in the same way as if I am in an airplane about to jump because it will crash land (like me before sobriety) “it is ‘suggested’ that I pull the rip cord.” – Linda AA zealot

Next time you hear an AA say “these are just suggestions”, remember this: they are lying to you.

Dr. Dave and Bill

I just followed a blog link that AnnaZed provided, which reprints a BBC article about a study by Dr. Keith Humphreys from Stanford, which says that,

Problem drinkers attending the faith-based Alcoholics Anonymous groups are 30% more likely than others to remain sober for at least two years, according to research published this month. The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found their treatment also costs 30% less than conventional cognitive behavioural therapy. According to lead researcher Dr Keith Humphreys, based at Stanford University, this is because it requires fewer hospital visits and admissions.

These articles always publish “findings” without offering any relevant details of the studies: who are the participants? Are they people who have been through treatment and have joined AA as an aftercare program? How were they selected? At what point in their recovery does this study start? Are these “problem drinkers” different from “real alcoholics” as AA defines them? Leaving us with these questions is standard as far as these studies go.

Next case.

So, as I was looking around for the answers, I stumbled into a regular column published in the New York Daily News, by Dr. Dave Moore and Bill Manville. This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself reading their creepy, watered-down, lifeless imitation of “Click and Clack” for the evangelical 12-step crowd. Their forced banter is utterly impossible to follow, because it’s not a real conversation and it has the same agenda every time (“OK, you say this and then I’ll say that, so that we can fit this slogan in and make it seem natural…”). But I guess that if they weren’t pretending to dialog, the column would look exactly like what it is: run-of-the-mill, bald-faced proselytizing for AA.

They have new column out today called “Religion Isn’t for Everyone, But Spirituality Can Help in Recovery,” in which they pretend to be interested in some current events (Eliot Spitzer’s sex addiction). If you’re versed in AA coercion, the title of this article will be enough to fill you in on exactly where they are headed: AA is not religious, it’s spiritual, and here, let us help you skeptics define spirituality in a way that doesn’t freak you out. It could even just mean connecting with other people – that’s spiritual, isn’t it (yes, they actually trot out the old GOD = Group Of Drunks slogan)?

BILL: Anna David, author of “Bought,” a story of high-class Hollywood prostitution, tells me an addict “is someone who feels ‘I can’t stand what I’m experiencing right now and will do anything to change it no matter how terrible it makes me feel later.’ So recovery isn’t only about subtracting dope from your life,” she says, “but more important, learning to deal with your life so that you don’t ever feel the desperate need to get out of your skin or die.”

DR.DAVE: Which brings us to AA’s notion of spiritual values, doesn’t it? There are two 12-step programs I can recommend: Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous. Both put the same strong emphasis on spirituality as Alcoholics Anonymous.

BILL: Which — despite the great lip service accorded religion in everyday life — keeps many away from any 12-step program.

DR. DAVE: Don’t suddenly go shy on us, Bill. Didn’t you start out like that yourself?

Yeah, Bill, c’mon, tell us all about how a skeptic like you finally “got it.”

Their previous column is called “AA Alternatives: Do They Work?” The answer is “No.” In response to an “anxious wife” named Maude’s email to them, asking if there are viable options to AA for her alcoholic husband, Dr. Dave responds,

DR. DAVE: First of all, getting the facts right is critical. And a good place for Maude to start is the forthcoming September issue of Al-Anon Outreach Magazine. It will carry an article called, “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2010.“ It’s about the need to do more than just pay lip service to the fact that alcoholism is a family disease.

BILL: Maude needs facts, not just hope and hype if she wants to help her husband?

DR. DAVE. And help herself. For instance, she needs to know that alcohol does indeed relieve anxiety – so do Valium, Librium and the other anti-anxiety medications. Second, there are indeed treatment programs other than those that parallel the Minnesota Model 12-step philosophy.

BILL: I never thought I’d hear you recommend anything like that to our readers.

DR. DAVE: Bill, slow down. By offering an alternative idea, Maude sidesteps her husband’s denial, and opens the door to discussion.

BILL: Thus giving him a chance to compare different paths to recovery?

DR. DAVE: The 12-step “friendly” Minnesota Model helps the addict through remembering the pain of drinking; which is called covert sensitization. One popular alternative is called Chemical Aversion Treatment –

BILL: Which the ads call, “a Medical Procedure to overcome your cravings.”

DR.DAVE: Sounds great until you realize that the procedure is for you to drink alcohol, and then chemically induce vomiting. Every other day for ten days.

Did you get that? They promote acknowledging alternatives to AA as a bait-and-switch tactic, “By offering an alternative idea, Maude sidesteps her husband’s denial, and opens the door to discussion.” And Maude, armed with the “facts” she has culled from her Al-Anon magazine, will be prepared to lead this discussion straight into AA: “So, armed with these facts, Maude can help her husband see that these ten-day cures will not alleviate his basic ‘sense of impending doom.’”

What’s more, the only AA alternative they discuss here is some Chemical Aversion Treatment — which Dr. Dave calls “popular” — which requires you to vomit every other day. This is plain horseshit. They may as well say that one popular alternative to AA is to flap your arms and fly into the sun.

They have a limited space in which to completely invalidate any other recovery option, so they choose the most heinous of these, and still cannot make it sound worse than AA. Dr. Dave says, “the CAT program includes coming back for two-day follow-ups every six months the first year? That’s really something the addict can look forward to, isn’t it?” Yeah, two days out of every six months in the first year is so much more of an imposition, compared with 90 meetings in 90 days, regular meetings after that — for the rest of your life — relentless working of steps, service work, pairing up with some tough-loving, panty-sniffing whackjob of a sponsor, and no hope of recovery.