Posts tagged lindsay lohan

Picking Cherries

David Colman just wrote a piece on anonymity in AA, in which he breaks his own anonymity [Challenging the Second “A” in A.A.]. I don’t really have a opinion on his opinion, other than to say that it is a thinly veiled puff piece that omits many of the ways AAs use or break  their anonymity in order to promote a specific agenda. I posted on a few of those ways here a few months ago. Of course, I could never make my point as well as our resident troll, JD, does when he wrote:

“You do have some idea how many judges and lawyers are solid AAs, right? They are a firewall against this kind of thing. And the members in all the media. Plenty more in government than you can imagine. Plenty in the medical and all science professions, lots of people highly placed throughout business, ect [sic]. Like any facinated [sic] groupies you keep track of entertainers, but there are a ton you’ve no clue about.”

At least with this New York Times writer, he was open about his affiliation with AA — although I wonder if he would have disclosed his AA affiliation had the subject of the piece not been about anonymity itself. As JD correctly points out, many of the stories promoting AA and 12-Step recovery are written by AAs who never disclose their AA memberships.


What interested me more than the piece itself, was this bit written in the comments section. Specifically, the second paragraph, which I have emboldened:

“As a member of AA for many years, I have always understood that keeping anonymity (especially at the level of press, media and films) is not only for the well being of single members, but for the group as a whole.

When an individual identifies as a member of AA in the public, and then proceeds to relapse over and over again or engage in other “bad” behavior (stealing, lying, cheating, hookers), people who do not understand the program will often use that individual as an example of how AA doesn’t work.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to defend the institution, which saved my life, because some celebrity decided to go blabbing about their “membership” only to relapse (like many of us do!) and have their mugshot splashed on the cover of a tabloid.

Although anonymity is unrealistic in this day in age [sic], and that at a personal level it is an individual’s right to divulge their sobriety, I still believe it should be an ideal to uphold—at least in the public eye.”

Now, anyone who has been around AA for long enough understands what this person will tell those people who don’t “understand the program”: The offending person is either not a real alcoholic™, in which case the program could not possibly work (it only works on real alcoholics, ya know). Or, they did not properly work the steps, which is the only explanation for someone who fails a fail-proof program. And, of course, it will be peppered with the usual buzzwords of “angry” and “resentment.”

What really caught my attention was the irony of this AA complaining that using a singular example is a fallacious way of judging the whole program. It’s the “few bad apples” argument: Sure, there are rogue members who are either not real alcoholics™ or did not properly work the program, that go out on occasion and pick up a hooker or slap their wife around or fall off the wagon; but these are isolated cases. What you should do is focus on the millions of people who bettered themselves through AA.

We’ve all heard this argument countless times, both in AA and from AAs commenting on this blog. It’s another example of AAs wanting it both ways: on the one hand, they don’t want us to point out anecdotal examples of AA’s failure; but on the other hand, they want to hold up anecdotal examples as evidence, and as proof that AA really works. You know…cherry picking and special pleading. It’s among AA’s most ridiculous arguments, which is saying something for a group who thrives on the ridiculous. The entire program is based on the anecdotal, from its ‘Big Book’ scripture to the way they carry the message™.



AA Memories for Lindsay L

OK, kids. It’s time to step into our wayback machines and head to December of ’06, when a fresh-faced Lindsay Lohan first started her serenity journey. Here is an AP article from that time:

NEW YORK — Lindsay Lohan says she’s been going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a year, but hasn’t talked about it because “it’s no one’s business.”

“I just left an AA meeting,” the 20-year-old actress tells People magazine in a story posted Tuesday on its Web site.

“I haven’t had a drink in seven days. Or anything,” she says. “I’m not even legal to, so why would I? I don’t drink when I go to clubs. I drink with my friends at home, but there’s no need to. I feel better not drinking. It’s more fun. I have Red Bull.”

“I’ve been going to AA for a year by the way,” Lohan adds. When asked why didn’t she say so until recently, she replies: “Well it’s no one’s business. That’s why it’s anonymous!”

Lohan says she’s been going to AA for a year

I’m not big on celebrity gossip. Could anyone here update me on what’s happened in Lindsay’s life since then?

"Religion is for people who fear Hell, Spirituality is for people who have been there"

Bullshit slogan of the day:
Religion is for people who fear Hell, and spirituality is for people who have gone through Hell

This is actually a new one to me. I just heard this from an AA member, so I googled it thinking he may have invented his own cliché. There must be some special place in AA Heaven for a person who invents one of these things. It turns out that this was a preexisting, though rarely used, slogan. I found it used here, which is a good link for anyone looking to see an AAer make a jackass of himself.

I thought that I would take this opportunity to go over some of things one should look for when analyzing an AA slogan. There are three key elements: Context, Degree of Difficulty and Effectiveness. Here is a brief description in what to look for in judging an AA thought stopping slogan:

Pulling a rare gem of a slogan out his ass must have made my AA friend feel good about himself. Much like I feel when I seize the opportunity to interject the word “nonplussed” into a conversation (If you want practice with this word, go to an AA meeting. You will be nonplussed early and often). Context is the key element in reciting any slogan, and it is important to say it where it appears to role off the tongue naturally, as though you thought of the expression yourself.

Degree of Difficulty:
The less often a slogan is needed, the more difficult it is to regurgitate, and the higher it is on the on the AA point scale of difficulty. “It works if you work it” and “it’s spiritual, not religious” are both fine slogans, but they are at the lower end of this scale. These slogans are like a Chinese rice cooker, or Lindsay Lohan’s cocaine straw: they get used every day. These easier slogans tend to react on the edges of the brain, and are used like a temporary, local anaesthetic. Today’s slogan is on the high end of the difficulty scale, and is used on rare occasions. The high end slogans tend to dig deep into the brain; and they do to critical thinking what a core meltdown does to a nuclear power plant.


The effectiveness of a slogan is judged based on the Delayed Auditory Response Time – DART – of the slogan’s recipient. The DART is simply the amount of time it takes to respond to a shocking or inane comment. The more ridiculous the comment, the greater the amount of time it takes to come up with a response, and the greater the chance of cognitive meltdown. A father’s reaction after hearing from his teenage daughter that she is knocked up, or a reporter asking questions of George W Bush, are examples of high DARTs. The higher the AA slogan is on the DART scale, the more effective the slogan. Today’s slogan is great, because it takes a few seconds to realize it makes no fucking sense.

I’m scoring today’s slogan, and my friend’s use of it, a 9 out 10. The timing was good, and the slogan is effective in its inanity. It’s really just a fancier way of saying that AA is not religious, but it takes awhile to come to that realization. I was told that in AA, I’ll always be learning. They were right. Today I learned that there is no upper limit on the scale of AA inanity. Just when I thought that there is not a more ridiculous way to express a ridiculous claim – that AA is spiritual and not religious – a Hemingway of a slogan came along to prove me wrong.