Posts tagged manipulation

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

“I have not used the term “dry drunk” since I left AA and one of my (former) AA comrades accosted me in the grocery store and accused me of being one. Right there in the produce section! To her, my actual state of mind and health was unimportant: the only thing that mattered was that I had left the program, and to her, that equated with drinking. Since I was physically sober, that had to mean I was a “dry drunk”.

The term COULD be useful if it was uniformly used to describe a person who is not drinking, but is still exhibiting some of the behaviors of someone who is actively addicted to alcohol. However, as long as it continues to be used as a pejorative term, applied by AA members to outsiders, it is of dubious utility.”

– “onlythetruth“; a former AA in a thread about the term “dry drunk,” sharing his/her experience with a current member of the fellowship after leaving AA.


Pigeon [pij-uhn] noun – a person who is easily fooled or cheated; dupe.

Pigeon is the oft used term that AAs call their newcomers and sponsees. It is also the term con artists use in reference to their “mark”, or the person they are about to manipulate out of something.  It was first coined and used by Dr Bob, a con artist extraordinaire, and has carried on to this day. Below is a quote, taken from a Dr Bobblehead on the Souix Falls AA Intergroup website, which is a fairly good example of how the term is used within AA:

“As for my sponsoring, I sponsor much the same as John sponsored me. I had six pigeons in New York over the years. They still call me every week to keep in touch: Three cops, two priests and a regular guy. I’ve only had one guy I took from a Twelfth Step call to the present. He’s 86 years old, and very active in AA. He lives in Pennsylvania now and is very active in AA there.

I don’t push my pigeons into the Big Book  or Steps. I try to get them to feel the Fellowship of AA first, the way it was given to me. (Yes, I said pigeons.) I was a pigeon, my sponsor was a pigeon, and his sponsor was a pigeon. I let them know that if they want to be a sponcee, find another sponsor.”

Artie, an AA old-timer; from his advice piece titled  “Art of Sponsorship“.

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.”

“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.” website on “The Birth of AA.”


Recently the subject of suicide came up in the comments. It’s a subject that we touch on, but haven’t focused on. It’s an important one, and so I wanted to open a thread to discuss the topic, to cull information, anecdotes, research and resources. I would really like to understand this subject better than I do.

So far, I am aware of the Vaillant’s results: Alcoholics Anonymous 3% suicide mortality rate [I corrected this, based on raysny’s clarification in this comment. Sorry for botching that. It’s an important distinction.]. And also aware of a great deal of personal testimony. But not much more.  Has anyone followed up on Vaillant’s results? Is it even possible?  I’m also aware that the subject is controversial, even among the muckrakers.

A couple of very close friends of mine died from their addictions in such a way that couldn’t be classified as suicide, but which I believe were deliberate, or perhaps suicidally reckless. For example, one friend, who didn’t die, told me that one night he decided to kill himself by doing all the cocaine he had in his possession at once (he had been a dealer, so he had a lot), but that if he survived the night, he would give it up for good. He survived, and gave it up just as he promised himself. But if he had died, would that have been a suicide? It would have been classified as an OD or an accident. I’m sure that we all can think of similar tragedies. And I wonder, when we consider suicide, do we count these, too?

I think that some people might find that the connection isn’t between AA and suicide, but between alcoholism and suicide, and that highlighting the correlation is specious. What is your take on that?

Clearly, I have a lot of questions, which is why I never tackled the subject. I just don’t trust myself to address it responsibly or thoroughly. Perhaps, together, we begin to trace an outline.

Angie the Anti-Theist on Al-Anon

Angie is writing a series on her experience in Al-Anon. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

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…)

Please Advise…

I shouldn’t have to pay taxes for schools. My kids are grown.

Why should I call the cops? I don’t even know those people.

Health Care Reform? I’m healthy and I don’t want to pay for anyone else’s problems!

I don’t know why you say such hateful things about Father Bollier. He never touched me.

Well, so what if he was getting bullied or whatever? He didn’t have to be there.

Of course she got raped. Did you see what she was wearing?

You should have seen this woman slapping her kid around in the store today! No, of course I didn’t. It’s none of my business.

Climate change? Whatever. I don’t see anything. (Besides, I’ll be dead by the time California floats away.)

We really shouldn’t publicize how many children have been killed or have died because of the Iraq war, because it will just erode our morale.

I won’t speak to whether or not people get abused in AA. All I know is that it saved my life.

Dear AA Members,

What profound level of spiritual awakenedness allows you to respond to trenchant criticism of AA – and to the alarming evidence of its lack of accountability and oversight – by saying that the only thing that really matters is that it worked for you?

I’m only asking, because I’ve heard variations on this response so many times. It seems to be the last word — the AA Trump Card.  I’ve been mulling this over for a couple of days, but just had to ask, finally, after reading the comment I. N. Gratitude just posted:

I live a fantastic life today………… If AA & 12steps can be construed as religious or you have a personal dislike of it….. then I am sorry AA was or is a bad experience for you………. Regardless of how others percieve AA…… all I know is it saves my ass and many of my dear fellowship friends……

Well, AAs, thanks in advance for your detailed responses,


New from blamethenile

Thanking Alcoholics Anonymous

The @#$%&! Huffington Post

The site is a clearinghouse for self-promoting charlatans… I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Sylvia Browne is the managing editor of their Living section. Not a day goes by that there’s not some kind of 12-Step bullshit in the headlines:

Do You Have A Dry Drunk in Your Life?

These 7 characteristics of the “dry drunk” can hit the recovering alcoholic hard in the honest light of sobriety. Because they may not know how to handle these realizations, they may use you as a punching bag for their frustration and discontent.

  1. Resentment at a spouse, parent or whomever that has made them stop drinking.
  2. Realizing that because of their drinking, they may have not realized goals, dreams and potentials.
  3. Wondering if it’s too late, or if they are even capable of achieving those goals or dreams.
  4. Because of their drinking where unable to sustain a loving relationship with a partner and subsequently never experience having a family of their own.
  5. Having to accept the wasted years due to drinking.
  6. Anger at not being able to venture out or challenge themselves for fear of failure. The alcoholic may not have had any normal life experience with failure and success, which in turn would make them stronger and wiser. Instead those years were consequently shut out of dealing with life on life’s terms due to the alcoholic addiction.
  7. Jealous of others for their stick-to-it-ivity, perseverance and strength. Resenting the family member or friend for their dreams and therefore not being supportive, questioning their ability to pursue their passion and dampening their spirit for success.