Why I Left AA Stories

This is the only thread on the blog that will be moderated for hassling and bickering, because it serves as a sort of welcome mat for new people, who are interested in reading other people’s stories, and who would like to post their own stories. Of course, this thread is open for wide-ranging discussions, but, if you want to brawl, and don’t know where else to go, you can choose another thread — any other thread — or go pick a fight in the Neverending Thread.

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.

[This thread was published by MA on March 16, 2010. The stories that people have posted in the comments shouldn’t be buried, so we’re making this a permanent page. Please go read the comments on the original thread, and if you’re inspired, post your story here or in the original thread.]

  • Michael

    After reading Orange Papers for several months, I refused to believe the "hyperbole". I thought Orange was missing the point. I was still convinced that 12 Steps, no matter what the controversy, offers a path to wholeness. Then, after 2-3 years of marriage issues, to include tons of verbal abuse, my sig other threw in the towel to Al-Anon to get help/support dealing with issues stemming from her Mom. She was followed out to her car alone, on 2-3 occasions by same perpetrator. I went to an Al-Anon meeting to confront this man. I told him what he had been doing. In all empathy, he was in a stage of grief because his wife had been on her deathbed. His legs folded to the floor. He did not know what to think, or say. He was so pathetic. At that point I walked from the 12 Stepp rooms forever after 10-12 years as a very vocal (and sometimes disturbing!) member. I haven't returned in about 4-5 years. I am 20 years sober. About that..I stopped counting. Doesn't matter. I wasn't a drunk to begin with, yet AA said there are no accidents. I

    • Zola

      so i am trying to break free but find it’s a tough habbit to break. stopping meetings. i feel i need a “reverse intervention”, and now that i’m convinced it’s not for me–AA–i get angry when i go to meetings. i realize how many years ive had to endure the toxic same downer stories–from the same people. i can’t listen to tom s tell it one more time.

      • shelly

        Oh Zola…I just read ‘To Wives’ again recently, for the first time since leaving AA…I am so sad that I spent 7 years of my life accepting this misogynist bullshit. ‘If you don’t have good temperance and patience in response to repeated abuse, then you need to own ‘your part’ in your husband’s terrible behavior. Don’t be a wet blanket or a killjoy!’ No, the first 164 pages are not some glowing words handed down straight from God to Bill W. – just the overrated ramblings of a zealot. But even that zealot would probably turn in his grave if he knew what AA had become.

        • Zola

          Thanks Shelly! I can totally relate.

      • Eric Fisher

        You haven’t lived until you’ve attended a meeting of 30 gay men reading To Wives and trying to tease relevance from it.

        • Rosie Elen

          This is HILARIOUS.

        • codefool

          LOL I already know the meaning of it. 1) Your husbands drinking is your fault. 2) If you nag him he has all the reason in the world to relapse. 3) Don’t you dare confront your husband about his affairs. 4) You are a codependent piece of crap, you need to join our crazy spiritual program too.

        • Brian Richard Allen

          Long as you realize that’s all you’re at. Not an AA Meeting (of a fellowship of men and women) — but simply a meeting of 30 gay men. Might cause you to wonder why anyone is there.

          • Eric Fisher

            Well if you aren’t just the cutest judgmental nuclear family,
            on the side of the angels.

          • Brian Richard Allen

            Nope. Just a believer in the adage, “when the pupil is ready, (and most never are) the teacher will appear.”

            And not an instant earlier!

            Love and fellowship – Brian.;

          • Erin Keller

            Hey Brian, why don’t you go catch yourself a meeting?

      • margaretpaine

        Yes there comes a time when one just wants to live and not have aa books and alanon be our bible. There is more to life.

  • i know this is prolly obvious to the owners, but "the original thread" is gone, i think?  i loved reading it.  though, i also loved reading michael's comment, too.

  • Thanks, violet. Fixed!

  • JPR

    I feel I am now on the point of quitting AA. My last "chair" will be on Wednesday and I have given meetings a good and fair chance. Last Wednesday I saw a poor woman told off along with other group members, because they were "not confining their discussions to their own drinking problems"………apparently as per the blue card. They were discussing this woman's husband, also an alcoholic, and how she should cope with his behaviour in her sobriety. This is just one of many incidents typical of AA where the big book thumpers try to control the others under the guise that they understand the programme better.

    In my 2 years of sobriety my own personal situation and happiness has not improved even though I never feel like drinking. My rational thoughts tell me my drinking behaviour got me here and that is enough really. When I look around the rooms, even those with the strongest AA message have nothing I want. I really mean that. They sound like the meaning of life is understanding a 12 step step programme. For me it's not and this is not a way to go forward in life. It may be something that keeps others from drinking but in truthfulness there is nothing more likely to send me back to the bottle than doing AA any longer.

    I feel genuinely sad that I have arrived at this conclusion but I'm not a quitter and you can only try something for so long before you have to change. This is exactly like my drinking. I had to change. It's sad for me to see so many other folk wasting their lives here too but I need for once to look after what's best for me.   

  • true believer

    I think it was the third friend who committed alcoholic suicide because he believed his only options were jails, institutions, or death. They all had other options but had accepted the cult doctrine through repetitive brainwashing and the acceptance of the AA alternative reality.


    Or, it could have been when my sponsor told me who I could talk to.


    Or it could have been being attacked physically by mentally deranged AA members that didn’t like what I was saying.


    All that matters now is that I know the truth, AA is dangerous.

    • John B

      I agree! AA sets people up with their doctrine: us or die. Jails, inst. or death…as you mentioned. We are handed an agenda,and if we question that agenda or fail to adhere, the blame is given to us and us alone as individuals, and the “disease” label is attached to every failing, every time we fail to agree with the agenda. I think that for the most part, long term members believe they are doing the right thing in carrying their torches, but it is entirely deadly.

      • recovered alcoholic rich

        any deadlier than our alcoholic plight before we got to aa?

        • itsacult

          lovely use of the “our” and “we”. Bill Wilson style. Talk in generalities much and include people you don’t know in your conversations? The point is there are other, more effective and actually less deadly ways to get sober or reduce the harm around excessive drinking. You just don’t know them and have come here as a fully indoctrinated believer in the faith-healing nonsense of AA and the 12 Steps to defend said organization and approach. Once again, do some research on the effectiveness from credible research done from outside of AA and the light will shine brightly on the truth and it may not be the truth you seem to hold today. It’s going to take courage though and it is gonna sting a bit, but you are after the honest truth, aren’t you?

        • Northof60

          Yes, many. Several people in AA would divest you of your life earnings if given half a moment. I got a call the other day from someone who wanted my money.

        • Zola

          yes! aa is much deadlier!

        • Donna Hewko

          Wayy way worse

        • Erin Keller

          Hey Rich! You’re all RECOVERED, so you say. Well then, take a load off. You don’t need to defend your cult today. You’re cured!

    • Zola

      i always had a strong intuition that aa was dangerous and i ignored my feelings for so long that i injured my instincts. Just like a captive wolf, you can lose your natural God given instincts and become like a caged animal–lifeless and dull after years and years of dumbing yourself down.

      • Rosie Elen

        EXACTLY how I’ve felt! I feel like I am waking up after a five year long confusing, bad dream complete with the bullying and predatory behaviour that is so often heard of in 12 step meetings. It has been tricky extracting myself from the herd, and my sponsor in particular who obviously totally turned on me as soon as I started questioning anything. I remained really friendly and diplomatic with her which clearly drove her crazy as she just got more and more nasty, defensive and abusive. I have now blocked her from Facebook, emails and my phone. This has been really stressful but I’m so relieved I’ve seen the truth, woken up, and aside from the stress of leaving, I actually feel better than I have done in YEARS 🙂 Myself again!

        • Gorbadoc Oldbuck

          Yep, I have found that too! Leaving AA has actually given me a new freedom where I don’t have to watch what I say in case I offend somebody else. I was beginning to wake up after 5 years continuous sobriety in AA, going through the program, doing service etc but when I realised that I actually don’t get any release from sharing and that I have nothing much to talk about, that’s when the penny dropped. I also know of many other former AA people who left the meetings and are doing fine.

  • I was in and out for a while.

    It  was difficult for me to break away.

    Jack Trimpey first introduced me to the idea that AA was a cult. I think that someone in a yahoo chat room may have reccomended "The Small Book."

    It was like a veil was lifted. After years of relapse and blaming myself, I finally understood that faith healing is not a valid treatment for alcoholism.

    I discussed my concerns at meetings and people did their best to convince me that I was crazy, and that I was gonna die.

    I left for a while… I relapsed and went crawling back.

    Tried their steps again and again.

    Then I started noticing how disfunctional the whole thing was.

    I was four months sober at one point, and a former sponsor (one who had insisted that I stop taking depression meds, leading directly to a suicide attempt)  insisted that I needed hospitalization, because I was homeless and living in my truck.

    I told him I was gonna quit smoking and he scolded me saying… "You are one fucked up alcoholic! Next you'll try to quit jerking off!"

    I had a job selling tickets in the hallway at a Saturday night meeting in Franklin Massachusetts. I was just outside the door in the hall when a guy approached with tears in his eyes. He asked if he could speak to me in private, so we stepped outside the door and he burst out crying, "I am bicurious and I was wonderign if you are too! I was hoping we could get together!"

    On another occasion, I had been attending a mixed ALANON and AA meeting every monday night. It was a Big Book meeting with usually around a hunderd people in attendance. I had asked my mom if she'd like to come along and learn more about AA. Halfway through the meeting a guy raised his hand and began to speak. He went into gret detail about how he was having urges to have sex with his mother and what positions he'd like to get her in. My Mom was shocked.

    I tried AA over and over… It never worked… They always blamed it on me… and I had little reason to doubt them.

    I've been sober for three and a half years now without AA. Dumping the doctrine was the best thing I ever did.

    I had to work real hard at deprogramming.

    Thank you all for your participation in moving to expose AA  for what it really is… A dangerous religious cult.

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      None of what you describe there is REAL AA. Im ashamed to be associated with a program that has wondered so far from its roots.

      • tcross

        I have decided to make peace with the spirit named Dave from AA. We have decided to leave each other alone. This does not mean that I give Dave permission to steal my Hollywood Dream Spirit however. I don’t think that he will do that as I think that he has integrity.

  • godISlove

    WOW I feel like I have been living behind the Iron Curtain and through the internet just contacted the outside world for the first time!

    god is love but it wont keep you sober.

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      with all due respect, i believe he has with me.

      • Izzy66

        And therein is a big issue with me: Why must I hear God referred to as a humanoid MALE with every reading of the steps and traditions? Most evolved and dedicated people with spirit realize the ancient Hebrew Old White Guy in the Sky routine is childish. If that is what some Acoholics need as a “God of their Understanding” fine; but why insist it remain in the steps? In place of every Male Pronoun put “God” and the message would be just as profound.
        But AA refuses to change, its stuck in a 1930’s culture, offering the same Male God of old. Bill’s message of “More Will Be Revealed” has been squelched by the Old Male Members who like the patriarchal structure of AA: Lots of Pseudo ‘Control’ with no Accountability. What a perfect set up for men to preach at meetings, then cheat on their wives afterward. I’ve seen a lot of THAT.

        • recovered alcoholic rich

          AA claims to have a solution to the drink problem. Not the sex and love problem!! Furthermore, “God” as we use the word in AA means a power greater than yourself and of your understanding. No one elses! For myself, I stopped letting prior prejudices stand in the way of recognizing a universal power.

          • Frank

            Actually they do claim to have the solution to sex and sex/love problems. It’s called SA (Sexaholics) and SLAA (Sex/Love Addicts) and they both are 12-step knockoffs of the same bs as AA!

          • Frank

            Also SAA (Sex Addicts)… All three groups are 12-step and AA clones.

          • Scot Fourowls

            Trolling the site for those leaving AA when you are obviously still a fan, “recovered alcoholic rich,” is being a bully. Go back to your meeting cronies where you belong!

  • Sarah

    My moment would have to be when a so-called friend told me to beware of my six year anniversary. He said, "people get their minds back." All I could think was, you mean I lost my mind in AA? Uh oh! From that point on I noticed how people were always talking about "dedicated" members that disappeared somewhere between six and eight years.

    Interesting, I stopped going to meetings completely in year seven. I got my mind back, and boy had I missed it!

    • kate

      Yes… I was told I was thinking to much… to “smart” for the program… Oh my God… how scary that is. Thankfully I too got my mind back!

      • recovered alcoholic rich

        i agree as well. it actually says in the book that God gave us brains to use! God is found within. Bring him to your everyday activities!

    • Ingrid

      Amen!! I don’t completely regret the day I walked into AA, but had I remained any longer than I did, I’d be just as twisted and brainwashed as 99% of the members. I’ve had mostly horrible experiences with members and especially in the dating realm. I never would have put up with the screwed up behavior, thinking and lack of respect from any person/man, even in my drunkest days. It really did a number on my self esteem. I had to cut ties completely in order to regain my self worth which was compromised tremedously for a bunch of complete losers who can’t even think for themselves as grown adults, let alone so-called “men” (and I use the term loosely), having an equally or even more fuckedup “sponsor” with no experience whatsoever in the “real” or professional world . In fact I don’t think too many of them even held a job period, yet they have the know how to run another’s life. WOW! It nearly makes me sick to think I immersed myself into that warped, destructive mind set, but I thank God now that I’m free… free to think CLEARLY for myself and realizing that I was really selling myself short. I’m in the process of letting go of regrets of any affiliations with this cult and its members. I’m just so GRATEFUL to be removed from it all. I feel like a real live intellligent grown up again who can think for myself and form my own opinions. Oh ya, and I can even wipe my own ass without a sponsor too. How about that? LOL!!

      • Natalie

        Same here Ingrid. I didn’t even recognise myself after a year of being in that programme and how I responded with men! I was unfortunate to end up dating a narcissistic predator who my sponsor knew about and didn’t warn me off – explaining later that I needed to make my own mistakes to learn. The 8 months that I dated him totally destroyed my self-esteem, my friends didn’t even recognise the person I had become! I had other married men constantly messaging me. Terrible predatory environment for someone that is working through issues. I’ve got myself a qualified therapist, I have a life outside of AA and doing working on myself without the constant bullying and knocking down of self-esteem!

        • Gorbadoc Oldbuck

          I have had similar experiences and one thing I can say about leaving AA is I have REALLY found a new freedom! There are some really fucked up sociopaths & psychopaths hanging around the rooms under the guise of being in a 12 step program. Get comfortable and confident with your sobriety and run out the doors of AA!

    • WyleeLu

      I “turned 7” lats month and I finally just couldn’t take it anymore. I resigned from all of my commitments and I have never felt more free!!! I’ve noticed the weird time span, too, but I just couldn’t remain stifled anymore.

      • Gorbadoc Oldbuck

        I turned 8 a few days ago but haven’t been to meetings regularly for nearly 3 years. Now I know what REAL freedom is!

    • Rosie Elen

      Hahahaha this made me laugh! “people get their minds back” – the ultimate fear for a cult!! Something I heard a while ago made me nearly throw up (and also laugh) in a meeting: “Maybe it is brain washing, but my brain needs washing”. Aaaaa! Get me out of here! I like my brain just how it is! Get me out of here! 🙂

  • Interesting, I have heard this same thing.  I have heard this referred to as "The Twilight Years."  I have heard other names, too, I just forgot them, is all.  I have also heard–as I am sure you have too, that you get your marble back at five years. Um?  Just a trick to get people to stay.  Te miracle happened, and it continues to happen more and more upon LEAVING AA.

  • Murray

    The cult of suggestive threats.

    Examples include: Dont work the steps and you will not lead a fullfulling life, Dont become rigorously honest and you will drink, Do service work if you wish to gain acceptance, Stick with the winners if you want to become a winner, Study the big book if you want the answer to all your problems, Leave AA and you are doomed.

    One thing I have noted however is that AA does condone seeking outside help. I asssume this is its attempt to have its cake while eating it.

    I did feel extremely guilty about taking anti depresssants while in AA but luckily my sponser was on meds as well.  It was our dirty little secret 🙂

    Peace out

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      aa does not pretend to be smarter than a doctor. it actually says in the book to not hesitate to take your health problems to doctors, etc. Maybe those who have read the book would be so secretive about such matters.

    • SerenitySought

      I would like to add “don’t do a 4th and you’ll pick up a 5th”
      I left AA after about 25 years because of complacency…
      I came back after several years of sporadic meetings and I am so much better off for it..
      These so-called “threats” are only slogans that come from the experience, strength and hope of those of us who have been there and done that.

  • Michaael

    AA owes its origin to Christian fundamentals (except for 12 Steps influenced by OxFord cult and Ouija boards).  The irony is that AA does not thank the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere in any of its literature.  It will thank doorknobs, Allah, Bhudda and motorcycles, but not Jesus Christ.  Odd for an organization who owes so much of its beginning to the humility and grace of Sam Shoemaker.  What does this say about the intent of AA??  It says that AA Pharisees will appease to hedonists and pagans, but to legitimize Christ in a single sentence is unacceptable.  Yet, billions have found peace and serenity through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    • Lars Pallesen

      Well, good for them. How ever there is a very good reason why Big Book doesn’t mention Jesus Christ even once: AA is not a Christian organization! If it were, AA would immediately exclude people of other religious beliefs, Jews, Hindus, Muslims etc. As far as I understand there is another “big book” where you can read about Jesus Christ? Read that if you want to save your soul. AA is just trying to save alcoholics from hell on earth!

      • billy liverpool england

        I just flipped thru some of the comments , I would like to say AA is a annoying place to be when you are sober …………. its very transparent , and a case of the king is not wearing any clothes today , you have to pretend its difficult and people who are creating a Disneyland of false beliefs that others agree sets the ball rolling you don’t wanna drink but this place is crazy , the lies and shit drive people away , I found you have to dismiss everyone that is everyone as they are but personalities , and live by principles so , you laugh when you feel like not when everyone else does , and you do not follow suite , speak random shite, if someone has just died , tell them about the holiday you have planned or how well you job or begging is going , and that the tea and coffee is shit too , and you don’t identify with anyone at all , that you are living in the answer , and perhaps it may not be the drink with some people , they need liars anonymous, but you can never find a meeting because they well enough said liars anonymous it is , and one last word , and I will finish on this pharhahahhha keep your head when all about them are loosing there’s

  • Ex-SOB

    I was a devoted member of AA for 7 years. I went to 1-2 meetings every day for 4 years and then cut down to 3-4 meeting a week. At 7 years of sobriety I gave up my service positions and cut back to 1-2 meetings a week and returned to study. I became isolated in AA and I felt used up. I would feel depleted after going to a meeting. I would hear things being said about me like "stay away from her she doesn't go to enough meetings" Or "she's dangerous". Members would say to me comments like "what meeting have you been going too" "How's your head" 'Be careful" "You know what happens to people that don't go to meetings, they end up busting, going insane, committing suicide or in prison." After 9 years of AA and not drinking or taking meds I felt like I was going insane. I was still was suffering from panic disorder and chronic anxiety which I had been diagnosed with as a child. I had been acting "as if " in AA for so long I had lost touch with my true feelings and emotions. I was told by members I wasn't working the steps hard enough that's why the miracle hadn't happened yet. "meetings meetings meetings". I had had many  sponsors over the years and I slept with the big book by my bed for 9 years and had a small one in my handbag. I would read it on the bus and almost every night, I would say the serenity prayer obsessively (and still do) and then say the step 2,3, 7,11 prayers and then write on step 10, go to my home group, and share every thing with my sponsor at the time.

    If I spoke my truth about my anxiety and phobias AA members would say "go to another meeting" "Your level of anxiety is the distance between you and God" "do another 4 & 5 step" "do more service" "If you don't have it you can't give it away" " you don't have emotional sobriety" etc..and the list goes on.

    In the end I felt I burnt out in AA. I dropped my meeting down to 1 a month out of fear of leaving. Then in a space of 4 months two members from my home group died, one from suicide at 20 years of sobriety and service in AA and the other devoted member from falling over drunk. And then two other respected members died, one from binge drinking and the other shot himself in the head.

    That was when I realized how depressed I was, how desperate I felt, and I realized how unsupported I was by my fare-weathered friends in AA.  I felt like I had hit a brick wall and had no one who would listen to me. I stared paying attention to my feelings and notice how much fear I felt around people. I dropped my study's and I started seeing a drug and alcohol counselor at 9 1/2  years sober and sharing my truth, without being judged as someone who is dis-eased, immoral or not working the steps. I then ended up taking mindfulness meditation classes, art therapy and stopped going to AA.

    My sponsor freaked out and told me my head was setting me up to bust. "You don't need counseling" she said "you shouldn't be feeling this way, you've come to far in your recovery" "I know you better than you do" she said. "Your not your self".  "You know what your problem is ?" "Your too shy, insecure, and you have low-self esteem." "I can't be friends with you if you don't change." "You need to change." " You need to work the steps" "Oh my God, your at a rock bottom""This shouldn't be happening""Get back to AA and pray for your defects of character to be removed right now." then she yelled" Get on your hands and knees now and pray, pray for your defects of character to be removed now." "You are going to bust  if you don't change" "I'll call you back tomorrow to check in to see if you've busted." I'm now over 10 years sober and I've cut all ties with AA.






    • recovered alcoholic rich

      again, this is not the REAL AA you have described and im glad you have found your way out. Im willing to bet 90% of every real alcoholic could use a good therapist including me! lol

      • somemonkie

        rich, go home, you’re drunk.

        Just kidding… but you do realize you’re responding to posts that are 4+ years old… by AA standards these backsliders would all be in prison or dead by now. I agree that you need therapy 😉 Myself included.

        I’ve not done AA but my brother recently discovered it’s magical powers and now it’s all he’ll talk about. While I’m happy he’s sober and appears happier and healthier and doing better in many aspects, I’m disappointed that 90% of his personality has been consumed by the organization that is AA. I miss talking to my brother about subjects that reached beyond his recovery. In my opinion AA hasn’t cured his addiction, it’s just been redirected. What upsets me is that he honestly believes that without AA he will die. Any club or organization that believes and teaches that non-membership will result in death or damnation is considered dangerous in my opinion. They usually are filled with zealots who have given up their lives to the cause of the group, in some extremes to the point of death.

        This same effect happens to people when they find God and are “born again” or “get religion”- they usually feel and behave better – but their personality (and lives) become overrun by doctrine and “truths” that discourage or even condemn independent thought. The convert then spouts out propaganda uncontrollably while “sharing” what they have learned and how great it all is and should be peppered into every conversation.

        Perhaps it’s the nature of the addictive personality. Everyone enjoys things that are pleasurable. Some are better at self restraint than others, not diseased or doomed.

        Am I happy my brother is alive?

        Am I disappointed and annoyed in how this was achieved?

        Ironically, I find myself taking more anxiety medication before or after I speak with my brother because dealing with him has become so tedious and frustrating lately.

        • Izzy66

          Beautifully written. Well said.
          They don’t call it a “Program” for nothing….

        • recovered alcoholic rich

          your brother is just excited. you would be too if you found the answer to a problem that had been plague you your entire life. relax, he will come back around. the book actually encourages you get back out into life and LIVE! there is a chapter at the end of the big book entitled “the family afterward”. You might consider reading this to maybe help better understand your brother’s position.

      • Sober No Serenity

        Agreed. This is my problem with AA. sick people working with sick people. It’s really damaging. My problems have not gotten better in sobriety and I’m met with replies such as, “well at least you didn’t drink.” I agree with that, however, I’m
        Told not to seek help for my issues but instead label them as character defects and give them to God.

        • recovered alcoholic rich

          i seek outside “professional” help all the time while using aa as well. However, ne of the major problems with mainstream AA these days is an overwhelming belief that we should share our problems with the group and let the group solve them and this is just NOT what AA was intended to be! The only thing I, as a recovered alcoholic in AA, am qualified to do is to present and explain the steps. The steps get you to a higher power which in turn gives you the insight and direction to the solution to “ALL” your problems.

    • Izzy66

      You have a powerful story and one I can relate to. I had 8 years and I left – just so tired of the male god bit. It really damaged my relationship with my higher power. I’ve heard the sexist comments like “There’s a Slip under every skirt.” or “Have sex, but don’t get involved with any women the first year, they’ll get you drunk” given to new men in the program. The misogyny and patriarchy is thick there. Anyone who would still sanction any book written in the 1930’s with a chapter titled: For The Wives is simply old time evangelists clinging to an ancient paradigm.

    • mrcanada976

      So true about the meetings. That was my first tip off that something was “off” with AA. I am doing an outpatient program after my release from detox and after spending 8 hours there one day I was going to just go home and skip the AA meeting. 8 hours of talking recovery was enough. They were all over me to not skip a meeting, to keep up the momentum. I went, but didnt eat dinner until 1030 that night, and was exhausted. I was also encouraged to attend lunch meetings as well as evening meetings. All this when i am doing 5-7 hours of outpatient treatment and seeing an addictions psychotherapist.

      Seeing the addictioms psychotherapist too, was a big red flag to them that they said would ultimately lead to my doom, because it wasnt the AA way. This alarmed me. How is it that seeing a trained profesional would lead to my destruction, while lingering around with a bunch of old drunks would save me?

      What a crock.

  • Dan

    Powerful testimony to the dysfunction in AA.  I'm grateful for so many insights and the opportunity to  write about my own regrettable experiences in AA. Ex-SOB's saga of mind-control abuse from her sponsor sounds like the kind of stuff I heard over and over again from people who needed my help, not the other way around.

    My first sort-of sponsor ended up leaving his wife for some gal in the group half his age, and the second sort-of sponsor reminded me at once of Rasputin.  The latter's main job in life appears to be sponsorship, and he's got the time since he lives off his wife's family's money.

    There are a lot of very seriously troubled individuals in AA, and the most troubled of them all comprise that cadre of true believers who pounce on newcomers to be their sponsor.  The incessant drama and intrigue, servile praising of the program that takes up half the meeting, inane slogans, and abuse and indoctrination of newcomers "keeping it green" for the oldtimers was enough to leave me feeling depressed after just about every meeting.

    After one meeting where I'd raised objections to some nonsense, one old creep with 40+ years gave me the evil eye like he'd kill me if he could, and another brushed into me on his way out.  The fellowship in AA is pure bull, and relies on nothing less than instilling the fear of death in people.  Some "fellowship".  They never got to me, and so I payed the price by being effectively marginalized despite all my time.

    As they love to say, "If you want what we've got…," and all I can say is they can keep it.  I now look forward to meeting these people outside the rooms to make a particular point of telling them how well I'm doing without them.

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      sounds like youre doing ok without aa. best of luck!

  • Murray

    Another reason why I left AA was the 5th step.

    After doing it(fearlessy and thoroughly) I realised all the fluffy promises that were mentioned were definately overrated.

    To be honest I felt cheated and would really like to know what you guys felt like after doing this life changing step. (if you got that far of course 🙂

    • Rick

      I felt nothing and I did it with absolute “rigorous honesty”.

      • I Mean Well

        5th step was not bad – helped me feel the embarrassing things I had done weren’t particularly earth-shaking, and maybe I could just get over myself and move on.

    • jaswim

      Realized the promises were nothing but a lie. When I questioned this, I was asked stupid questions such as, “Are you sure you did a thorough inventory,” “You must be keeping secrets.” You must not be working the steps.” No, the real truth is I finally got honest with myself after a year in the program, I wasn’t buying this crap anymore and I got out. Alcoholism is not a disease, it’s a choice that if abused can lead to addiction. Today I am a RECOVERED alcoholic and now that I’m not in AA I am enjoying life again.

      • recovered alcoholic rich

        it says in the book that if when you want to you find you can not quit entirely, or if you have trouble controlling the amount you drink, you are probably alcoholic.

        • Zola

          why don’t you go to a meeting and leave people alone!

        • jaswim

          Sorry, but the book was written by a bunch of liars and I could care less what it says. As a matter a fact, if I didn’t know better it sounds like they were on something when they wrote the book or maybe they needed to be.

          • recovered alcoholic rich

            Do the world a favor and step off a bridge

            Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

          • jaswim

            Such a loving cult your following. Is that the kind of advice they give in your meetings to give to people who disagree with your narrow minded thinking. Do a little research on the beliefs behind the founders of AA, the men from whom they drew their ideals, and if the red flags that indicate cult are not raised then I would say you must be living in a fairy tale world, which probably came about from reading that crazy book. Thank goodness I found the one true God before I entered the rooms of AA and was able to quickly recognize that there was something deeply disturbing about this program. The book I read considers making a doorknob your god, idolatry. For me that was one of the first red flags and the reason I did research. Sorry if my dislike for AA bothers you, but I have my reasons. I entered rehab at a time in my life when I suffered many losses and as a result began to drink heavy. I realized I was drinking too much, tried to quit, and was unable to do so safely and was referred to rehab. I was referred by fellow Christians and I trusted I would receive help. Instead I spent a fortune to be told a pack of lies. I received absolutely no help what so ever for the grief I was experiencing and the deep depression I had entered. Instead my depression deepened and continued to worsen after I left rehab and started 90 meetings in 90 days of further brainwashing. It got so bad that for the first time in my life I saw institutions and almost death, though a bridge was not my chosen method. Kind of odd, I thought this stupid program was to keep me from them, not lead me to them. After my dismissal I did my research, got the heck out of AA, got a counselor to help me deal with my losses, and finally turned the corner. What disturbs me so much is I was sent to a program to get help and was hurt more than helped and those that sent me have been so brainwashed that while they are Christians they cannot see that this is a dangerous cult. One of those people is my own brother and this sickens me that he buys this nonsense. No wonder he has turned into the man I no longer grew up with. Thank goodness he’s not drinking anymore, but he believes he’s so powerless it’s pathetic. Maybe that is why he let’s his rude wife tell him everything he can and can’t do. You can have your program. I will stick to my Bible and what I recognize and no longer have to refrain from mentioning I believe to be the one true God.

          • recovered alcoholic rich

            The thing is jaswim, I actually agree with a lot of what you say.  Unfortunately, the people who you believe to be a cult kind of are!  This is nowhere near what the principle author of the big book intended!  The book actually explains that if you work the steps correctly you will be empowered!  Not powerless!  I myself got sick of AA after I found a solution that worked and it became apparent everyone else just wasn’t on board.  I’m glad you found success with a counselor as a use one as well from time to time.  🙂
            Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

          • jaswim

            Thank You!

          • KrissyO

            Don’t listen to him. That was reprehensible what he said. I feel just like u do.

      • mrcanada976

        Amen to that. My addictions psychotherapist is working with me on exactly that – choices. Little choices and how they lead to big choices. Deciding to buy, or not buy, that drink. Deciding to drink water between drinks. Deciding to do a non alcohol centric activity. Deciding to call a friend for a chat to kill some time and catch up. Deciding what to eat. All these little choices stack up, and if you continue to choose to buy and drink alcohol, you end up making a bigger choice to have an alcohol problem and choose to let alcohol screw up your life. You have to learn to make the choice not to let alcohol be the focus of your life, and that doesnt necessarily mean abstinence. It means consciously making smaller choices to do other things.

        • KrissyO

          I agree. I do not believe in the disease model AT ALL and never will. Drinking is a choice, cancer is not!!!

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      i agree with mean well lower but the particularly large change i experienced in the 9 to 10 step period

    • Zola


    • codefool

      This is like years late… But after doing the 5th step, I really didn’t feel any difference at all. Writing the 4th step just made me irritable and my wife noticed a big negative change in me while doing the writing. I felt that the resentment list was worthless and all it did was try to make you come up with reasons to blame yourself for everything. The last column of the resentment list says, where were you selfish, dishonest, self seeking, fearful, and where were you to blame. Even if you weren’t you are just kind of forced to make stuff up or bend the situation to make it your fault. There is no resolution or forgiveness obtained.

      The fears inventory was useless. Just list your fears and why you think you have them. Then after you do your 5th step, your sponsor will tell you well you need more confidence, and you need to feel equal to others. Just meditate every day on confidence and being equal god will remove them. This is just a very crappy form of self hypnosis or weak affirmation. The problem with that is you are just trying to over power the fears and not addressing them. It won’t work in the long run.

      Then theres the sex and harms inventory. Dredge up all the bad things you’ve think you’ve done to people and then do nothing to resolve the feelings.

      So in short the 4th and 5th step just dredge up a bunch of negitivity and do nothing really to resolve the issues. Just let god remove it, its just hocus pocus.

  • Gail Stone


    OMG that is very scary! Love and tolerance is our code for a reason. It I quite going to meeting because the members are still sick then I am not practicing the 12 principles.. even if I think I have recovered.. I am wrong. If I have true love and tolerance for the members of the group then i will have serenity even if sick shit happens. On the days I am irritable and discontent.. I pray and do what I can to model a good recovery program. And I remember that love and tolerance is my code! the 12 step programs works!

    • avd420

      Hey Gail, thanks for your reply, but you’re on the wrong website. Sorry.

    • Scottsteaux63

      No, they do not. The Twelve Step programs are mostly the result of a lack of competition and good public relations. The fact is that their “success rate” is horrible and any other organization with their track record would have folded decades ago. They are also a cult: believe what we believe or you will die.

      I hate AA and I have good reasons to hate them, They not only failed to help me but they destroyed my family.

      • jaswim

        Couldn’t agree more. I entered the program when I was going through a really hard time, which is what led me back to drinking after 30 years of abstaining. When I entered the program I was really depressed because of personal problems. I couldn’t figure it out at first, but the program seemed to be worsening my depression and I even considered suicide. I was fortunate, my faith in God woke me up to the truth, and I got out of there. Today my depression is gone and I don’t have to endure those boring meetings with the robotic clichés being spoken, brainwashing, and controlling sponsors.

        • recovered alcoholic rich

          i agree i hate boring meetings, the misinformation of being powerless over everything, and sponsors who get a kick out of running someone elses life. But im not sure i understand you. you were sober for 30 years, ran into hard times and went to aa for help and then aa caused you to drink?? doesnt make sense.

    • Rick


  • filmrevu

    I have read all of the above comments. To all of the posters, except the last one, I will say, the 12-steps didn't let you down, people did. It's all about the message, not the messenger. Principles, not personalities. People are not perfect, therefore they will let you down. How about focusing on the universal message of "spirituality." And to the individual who posted about suicide and death: People in all walks of life who have never stepped foot into a 12-step meeting have committed suicide or died from drinking. So, what are you talking about? The whole world is filled with chaos. Are we going to blame 12-step programs? How silly! Think about it!

    To each his/her own on their spiritual journey in life. Whatever it takes. Some of those who have decades of sobriety are out working and living their lives in the "real" world, setting examples and planting seeds, thus not in meeting rooms. And some spend all their time in meetings. It doesn't matter. Whatever works! Live life and stop complaining! It's not about the "blame game."

    • avd420

      I have a question, if people let him down but not the program does that mean when someone gets sober in 12 steps, it’s because of themselves, and not because of the program?

      • pat

        before I entered recovery and went to meetings my life was a mess. I had no hope. I have been in recovery for 12 years. I’ve been in a treatment centre, a psychiatric hospital twice. Not AA’s fault. I didn’t do what is suggested and was caring for my elderly parents. Because I hadn’t drank with the help of members I was able to be treated for depression and suicidal thoughts. I’m in recovery for that with the help of professionals and am doing well. The 12 step program doesn’t fix everything. It doesn’t claim to. We’re not all sweethearts in AA or in the world. That’s real life. I’m an alcoholic not a victim. I have had to deal with assholes inside and outside of AA. It’s a way, not THE way. It suits me. If it doesn’t suit you nobody will herd you back in. I wish ye all well on yer journey’s.

    • Rick

      You’ve got a point. I disliked the people in AA much more than the program itself – well 9 out of every 10 of them atleast. They are just proof that I really DONT want what they have. This is the last place I would go to find spirituality.

    • jaswim

      Can’t agree with you. The program did let me down. When I really needed help I entered a program that today I believe is based on lies. I do not believe it’s founders were honest people, I don’t believe most of the nonsense I read in that stupid book, and I am totally convinced that alcoholism is not a disease. I believe that the AMA finally pronounced it a disease so that doctors could receive payment for their services to alcoholics. Sound familiar, just this past year the AMA has now declared Obesity a disease. Good timing, now that we have all these new surgeries for reducing weight. Guess what was developing about the time the AMA approved the Disease concept of Alcoholism, “Treatment Centers.” When I was in a deep depression, they sucked me into believing I had a disease from which there was no cure, that my only choice was to adhere to their program or die, I was told I must work the steps and listen to my controlling sponsor. My depression deepened while in AA and I thought about ending my life. As for my spiritual journey, I’ve been a Christian since my childhood, and that is what finally woke me up to the truth and I honestly believe I was led to get out of there. God gave me free will, I chose to drink too much and get smashed every time I did. I abused alcohol, in my view I sinned, and I paid a price called addiction. Now that I detoxed, I now have a choice to drink responsibly, which I don’t consider a sin, or not drink at all. The program teaches the Disease Concept, which I find harmful in so many ways. To sum it up it replaces alcoholism with a dependence on a program I find harmful. It does not teach one to take control and responsibility for their decisions and sadly places them in the role of a victim. The program may be working for you, but those such as myself who speak out against AA, do so, for good reason.

      • happy now

        That was a lot of my experience, I choose to drink when I had 12 and half years, after learning a lot of good things as well as a lot of sad sick things I came to a point that if I went to one more meeting and heard one more slogan thrown at me, from all the self proclaimed mouthpieces of God, after witnessing years of absurd behavior being used financially , physically, emotionally and yes sexually by the beloved saintly Guru’s, watching people totally form little gangs that they call Their posse, The IT groups the IT sponsors that sponsor that they train up little mini me’s that they love to appear at birthday meetings to award their babies their chips the latest crazy spiritual fad, a lot of I’ve watched gay sponsors convince the people they sponsor that they are gay one poor women left her 6 children and husband its, ok because her sponsor fixed her up with her life partner. That same sponsor used to try to converting me while gropping me. I had been physically attacked on two occasions one by a poor girl, another Guru that had “the only true steps to God” a recovery program, her parents spent thousands on to try to save their daughter he made her give up her meds for bipolar. He is in prison for Medi Cal fraud but I’m the crazy one. It got to the point I was either going to drink so that I would not go to meetings, or blow my brains out. I’ve been completely sober for almost ten years and I have a host of healthy well balanced people in my life now, I was really able to get back to who God intended me to be. I still go to one meeting a week but I just let it be known I now know what not to do. I have a real God and he provides for me I’m not an adult child God has grown me up.

        • Izzy66

          You just told my story. (lol!) Srsly, the Highschool paradigm at many meetings was so pervasive. There were the Sages, The Comics, the Beautiful, the Handsome, the Weird ones and those poor schmucks on the fringe desperate to be invited by any of the “popular” people out to dinner after the meeting. What got me down was the message I wasn’t supposed to hang out with anyone outside the meetings or I will get drunk. Being stuck in that loop of the same people, acting out outside of meetings, yet pretending to be so spiritual began to turn my stomach.

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      well said!

  • filmrevu

    Sorry for the double post.  It was there, then disappeared.  I hit the submit button again and now it's there twice.  Must be a lag in the system.

  • Hi filmrevu, I deleted the double post… Sorry about the delay. We have it set up so that a new IP address goes into the pending file automatically — just to make sure we're not letting spammers through. Once your first post is approved, all your future comments will appear immediately.

  • tintop


    that is a distinction without a difference.   AA is AA.   The people are AA; 12 step is AA.  They are indivisible.

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      thats just stupid. cmon.

    • karmasoda

      I am strongly considering leaving AA after 7 months of light attendance. I am a little skeptical of any system (like AA) that claims to fit any and all who enter. The 12 steps are OK but in my opinion, surface level psychiatry that implies living ritualistically and by means of repetition. I mean, most people in my group seem stigmatized like they’re under the hammer of their chosen God and are so loyal to the blue book and 12 Steps, that their personality, initiative, and accountability has been sucked right out of them. In addition, I started my steps reluctantly after my 4th or 5th month because I was not up to working the steps and I’ve been fortunate enough to have gone to really good psychologist a while back. I decided the program was like any other club and you should earn your place…so I gave in and gave it a shot. Turns out it’s not for me.

      On the positive side, AA meetings did help me early on in sobriety, and I’ll go to meetings every once in a while. I picked up the premise and some good phraseology to label my thoughts and alcoholic tendencies. But like another posted, I don’t ever “need to go to a meeting” and will never be in a life situation where I’ll call my sponsor for advice or consult the blue book. LOL. I talk to God who is my higher power many times throughout the day.

      It’s time to be free and apply what I’ve learned to living life sober without making my perception of self turn to mush.

      Wishing you well,


  • filmrevu

    @tintop – I don't think so.  That is the same as saying all people representing every organization or religion in the world "are" the religion.  There are convicted murderers, rapists, thieves, who claim to be Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, etc.  Are you saying they define their religion?  That's called prejudice and stereotyping.  Written doctrines and philosophies are practiced differently amongst all of us.  How can you label a whole group by a handful of individuals?


    • filmrevu,

      I want to make our position clear here: AA has no accountability. AAWS, Inc. has no interest but its bottom line. It's a publishing company, and its concern is its copyright and its profits. The GSO does not take any responsibility for what happens in AA meetings. It is the public face of AA, but it denies accountability for anything that happens in AA. AA members are not representative of AA. Legally, they cannot speak for AA.

      See how that all works out? AA answers to no one, and answers for nothing. The organization and the corporate entity do not involve themselves in AA meetings. And AA members are not representative of AA. But all of these entities support each other in their lack of accountability (co-dependent?) And so if anything unethical or irresponsible or abusive happens in an AA meeting, no one is responsible. It's pretty nifty! Not only that, but AA doesn't have to hold itself to any scientific or medical standards. Nothing: it doesn't have to prove that it works and it doesn't have to acknowledge any abuses and it is not legally accountable for anything.


      But just because it all works out that way legally doesn't mean that no one is actually responsible for what happens in AA. People are responsible, and, here at Stinkin Thinkin, we hold the very people on the front lines of AA responsible, the people who are either treating others abusively or covering for those who are. You are one of those covering for the abusers by making that "but isn't that bigotry?" argument.

      "That's not AA" doesn't wash. The legal structure makes sure that nothing is AA.

      Just because you AA people, from the corporate level down to the lowly meeting-maker, have it worked out so that no one is legally liable, that doesn't mean that no one is actually responsible. And because AA members are just as human as we are, we hold AA members responsible for what happens in meetings. If this shit happens in meetings, then the people who do it, and the people who whitewash it, are responsible.

      You can either not give a good goddamn and continue to blow smoke up your own butts about your spirituality and your serenity and your success, or you can acknowledge that there's a big freakin' problem and do something about it. But, as long as you're not doing anything about it, we will hold you responsible.

      It's pretty interesting that you'd compare AA to a religion, considering that AA denies that it is one. I don't acknowledge the taboo against calling someone out for their retrograde beliefs. So, yeah, indeed, I would, and do, for instance, hold a Catholic person responsible for the abuses that go on in the Catholic Church, if they make a decision to deny fallibility — if they blame the victim, make excuses, or turn a blind eye. I do. The dysfunction and the abuse thrive because of the blind-eyes and the defenses of actual people. They are the only ones who can inspire change, and so they are the ones I hold responsible.

      If you have a problem with being held accountable for the abuses that characterize AA, then you can either leave AA or you can work for change.

      • Izzy66


  • tintop

    The principle is that of calculated risk.  I am very aware that most AA attendees are harmless.  It would have been far better for you to have accepted the truth of their stories.  Instead, you used the old "not AA" line.  Sorry, but I do not buy that line.   AA is what it is.

  • I was introduced to AA in 1975 and had a lot of the experiences the posters above have had. I went on to 23 alcohol and drug treatment programs none of which brought me any long term sobriety. in 2001 after over 7 years on the methadone program I gave up and went to my last treatment program of which AA was it's main focus. The main difference between AA and treatment is; treatment wants you think your way into a better way of living and AA wants you to act your way into a better way of living. Today I have 9 years of sobriety and am free of bi-polor meds and my ptsd is manageable, I have pain issues but as of yet don't require medication for my problems. Did I do this all through AA expletive-no. Did I use the principals laid out in the big book, which are the same principals laid out in the bible, the Koran or learned by the lucky in kindergarden yes. Will I stay in AA don't know. I applaud   anyone working on recovery and wish them success how ever they get there if cutting the heads off of chickens and dancing around the fire naked had a large provable success rate move over I'd be there. The bottom line is I am responsible for the choices I make and I am the one who will suffer the consequences of my behavior and the results are an indication of what course corrections I will need to make. Thanks for the thread and all the comments here all food for thought.

  • filmrevu

    @Stoneseeker – Thank you for your story.  You made an important point:

    " … responsible for the choices I make …"  I'm all for what ever method it takes for all to be (excuse the cliche') "happy, joyous, and free,"  as long as we don't step on other's toes along the way.  I am enjoying my ride through life with all it's challenges and ups and downs.  I was given what I call a gift of the 12-steps 25 yrs. ago and am grateful that I can cope differently than I did when I was younger. It's my journey and I take full responsibility for it.  Do I still make mistakes.  Of course!  I think none of us would be human if we didn't.  The difference now is that I make less wrong choices and have a higher since of awareness.  My motto is: Focus on the solution, not the problem.  I wish nothing more than happiness for all posting up here and hope everyone finds their way. Happy Friday and Happy Earth Day week to all.  Peace!

  • tintop

    I did all that without aa.  I did not need soul surgery or moral rearmament or a sponsor or the 12 steps or good orderly direction [ aka "god"].  I am as happy joyous and free as I decided to be.  I have been 'recovered' for years.  I determined what I needed to do and got on with it.  You can do the same any time that you decide to.  Your call.

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      if you can stop drinking on your own will power, then you are not alcoholic. the book makes that abundantly clear.

      • Mark

        Godbotting – quoting the ‘Big Book’ of AA to settle arguments or disputes, as though it is infallible holy scripture.

      • itsacult

        Yeah, its right there in the book. You know, the BIG BOOK. Bill Wilson even wrote it so it must be true. Oh, wait, you mean there is no actual medical or scientific research in the BIG BOOK? Well, then, it must be divine revelation. Yeah, that’s it. Gawd guided his fingers to just write the absolute truth about everything related to a supernatural solution to the behavioral problem of alcohol abuse. The BIG BOOK is infallible, gawd-inspired truth and everybody knows it. Wait. What? Some people think the BIG BOOK is absolute horseshit and not worth the thick paper its printed on? how can that be? Oh, they must not know what they’re talking about. I mean, certainly a fake stock broker and a butt doctor from the Oxford Group know more about alcohol abuse than, say, life long addiction researchers like Stanton Peele and Lance Dodes and many, many others. They just don’t “get it” but us AA people do. We’re special and more informed because we’ve been there and we say so. So there.
        There is no rational reason for using faith-healing to address the growing problem of substance abuse in the world. AA and the 12 Step model for addressing behavioral issues around substances is a national disgrace. The good news is, it is changing and real solutions will take its place.
        Oh, and the “real alcoholic” is as mythical as the unicorn.

        • mrcanada976

          AA might work for those with strong monothiestic beleifs or those who are so desperate they will try anything with vigor.

          Unfortunately, it is 1930s technology – and should be treated as such. In the 1930s we treated depression by tying wires to peoples heads and frying them with high voltage, mental illness was treated by cutting peoples skulls open and scooping out parts of their brain, opiate addiction was treated with LSD and womens fainting was treated by the doctor giving her an orgasm by him fingerbanging her.

          We have to keep the big book in the context of when it was written.

      • MyOpinionTrumpsAllOthers

        Rich read it again, just maybe he or she did not lose their power of choice. Perhaps they fall under what the big book refers to as the “potential alcoholic” Why are you fighting Rich?-lmao

      • Brock Lesnar Fan

        Will power has absolutely nothing to do with quitting drinking permanently and is the least effective way. On the contrary, it is actually will power that makes people drink. Read Allan Carr’s book and he will explain it. Carr focuses on removing the desire to drink completely and if there is no Desire to ever do something, then no will power is ever needed. Example from Carr: If you and I were standing on a street corner talking and a city bus pulled up next to us and opened it door’s, would it take you any willpower to “not” get on that bus? Of course the answer is NO! Why not I say? You would say it never to willpower to not get on that bus because I never had the Desire to get on that bus! Did bells just go off? Alcohol is no different. Remove the desire completely and willpower is never needed. Game Over. You win. Alcohol loses. Sounds pretty powerful to me and far from powerless! Is it that easy. Yes it is. I read the book and never drank again. I drank 27 years steady, so please don’t insult me and imply I don’t know what it’s like to need help. Been there, done that.

        • Blue nat

          So you’ve moved on from one piece of bonfire fodder to another. These 2 great medical minds, Bill Wilson and Mr Chatty Man hold the secrets to controlling our desires.
          I actually spat my tea out when I read your comment….. The fact it was delivered with such vigour made it all the more amusing.
          Such medical Giants.
          Try not buying self help books and actually educate yourself on the physiological causes of addiction.
          I’m actually saddened that so many clearly smart and erudite people are taken in or happy to believe this buffoonery without question.

      • Blue nat

        Yes, one of the many cup de sac dead end arguments aa provides. Firstly, if you don’t go to enough meetings, you die. If you do the steps and still feel as though nothing has changed, you haven’t done it correctly. If you question anything, that’s the ‘disease’ talking. If you leave and remain sober, your a dry drunk…..
        The list is endless. You cannot win or hope to have any reasonable debate involving your doubts, concerns or even scientific evidence…… It’s all ‘stinking thinking’. For Ny efforts to the contrary of their doctrines, you are ridiculed, scorned and talked about. You are required to become a mindless drone.

        They don’t want people to think, just listen, follow then recruit.
        The ultimate pyramid scheme offered by many … In fact ALL cult organisations.

        I would like to thank myself and my own common sense for stopping drinking, not some quack book (which I ve read plenty). That is my strength, hope & experience! And if anyone told me I was not alchoholic, I would laugh in their face. I can assure you…. I was an alky all right!

        This organisation turns people into the worst versions of themselves. Selfish, controlling and using the steps as a confessional. The purpose is to learn from mistakes, not confess, offload guilt then go and do whatever it was again…. Rinse and repeat. The hipocracy within the aa rooms is sickening…… Of course we are back to the cup de sac of ‘well we all make mistakes, we are human’

        As an intelligent person, I’m appalled that I allowed myself to entertain any of this nonsense

  • filmrevue–suggestion: as you are clearly a 12 step zealot, try alanon.  you will learn there to focus on yourself and not to focus on others.  try focussing on your own '"spirituality"' and and not worry about ours.  i am not sure i am really blaming aa; i  am pointing out how sick of an organization it is–the people and the program.  the very 12, religious, not spiritual steps, are not ok as well. they might be for you.  have fun with them. and gosh golly, well, i will try to refrain from callin' ya silly.

  • Rick045

    filmrevu writes, "To all of the posters, except the last one, I will say, the 12-steps didn’t let you down, people did. It’s all about the message, not the messenger. Principles, not personalities. People are not perfect, therefore they will let you down. How about focusing on the universal message of “spirituality.”

    It’s interesting that the “principles before personalities” card only seems to get played when discussing negative attributes of the membership. AA’ers rarely bring that up as long as they deem the ‘message’ to be positive.

    It seems you don’t even hear many complaints when tradition-busting puff pieces get planted in the media, but as soon as a negative story appears, we get reminded about “principles before personality”.  Apparently, it’s okay to share your experience as long as it follows the script, but if not, then people should shut up and focus on ‘spirituality’…

    • MarisCrane

      Seriously. They say if AA doesn’t work for you, then it’s not the program that failed, it’s you – bullshit. There’s no other illness or disorder or whatever you want to call alcoholism/addiction where we tell people that if the treatment doesn’t work, then obviously it’s the patient’s fault. Maybe a superstitious 80 year old method concocted by a weirdo misogynist is a bit off – maybe we need something else. Something based on science. Obviously, there’s some sort of emotional/existential component to addiction, but to tell people they have an “allergy” and a “disease” and then tell them prayer and rehashing the past will cure them is baloney. And I believe in prayer. Also, when I realized that the BB hasn’t been edited to include anything about sexual assault, that was a huge red flag for me. Maybe they don’t want to change the book from its original form by including things like that – which is a weird, selfish bunch of shit.

  • jcal

    I stopped going to  anything AA  after  9 yrs. People in AA tend to stay sick. I mean really, why would you want to talk about alcoholism for the rest of your life.  The last time I attended an AA anything it was a group anniversary and I thought I would stop in to see my ' old friends'. I had been an active member of that group for 4 years but i moved out of town so I couldnt attend there anymore. I sure wasnt greeted with open arms (or even many handshakes ) . A woman there who I knew pretty well over the years came up to me and looked at me and said "didnt you used to attend this mtg?' I remember you. You better keep going to mtgs, remember the guy in the BB that was successful for 35 years then put his slippers on and drank himself to death!' I couldnt believe it. She didnt say Hi Johnny how have you been'or anything like that. I guess thats what happens when your whole life revolves around AA   for  over  20 years. So sad.

    • recovered alcoholic rich

      sad to hear. the fellowship has become far from what it was intended to be.

      • itsacult

        Quick.. OMFG an expert on the original intended trajectory of the Oxford Group Buchmanite religion offshoot originally called the alcoholic squadron, that then became AA. He has to be like the only person on the planet that knows the super secret trajectory of this super secret anonymous organization.
        So, ra rich, please enlighten us all with what the original fellowship was intended to be? And whose intention was it? And, when did said intention occur? There are two basic epochs – BBB, which is Before Big Book, and then there is ABB and I’ll let you figure it out. This is going to be so special…

  • Murray

    Well said.

  • Murray

    To critics of our muckracking, I think this site provides a fantastic educational tool for people unhappy in AA and scared to leave due to the brainwashing policies.

    Without this site i would have still clung to the belief that turning my back on AA would spell certain doom for me.

    • Jay

      You said it. I was trapped in an AA cycle for 25 years. I really believed that because I couldn’t stay sober, I was letting not only myself down, but AA. I was taught through AA that any feeling of anger or sorrow or insecurity was a direct result of my “disease” and therefore I wasn’t “working my program”. I came from a pretty screwed up childhood…no physical abuse but mental abuse galore.At 15 yrs old, I entered AA from a treatment center, and I had zero sense of personal identity nor did I have any foundation of self worth or inner security.I’m not blaming..just illustrating. So I enter AA, and suddenly I am thrown into this world where all of my problems are because of my disease and my lack of willingness to work the steps (in subsequent years) So now am I not only insecure and fragile, but I am told by AA members that I am entirely to blame for any problems I have. I just lifted a huge cloud from my life..the AA recovery model. I see a personal counsellor once a week, I am building my self esteem and I am happily sober sans AA. Local members have told me that I will be drunk again, as I have turned my back on AA…this is sick cult thinking, and there is no personal identity within those members…it is all for “the program” I work hard on myself, and my path now is far more reality based than the 12 steps can ever be, although it does work for some I suppose.

      • KrissyO

        Me too! And I agree, this site is really helpful and healthy when it comes to trying to leave AA. There is SUCH a strong backlash to AA on here from us because we went in really needing help and TRUSTING that “they” might be able to, as they claim. I was scared, ashamed and vulnerable and I had never considered myself an alcoholic until fairly recently when my depression fueled my drinking. It was a vicious cycle, I couldn’t seem to stop. So I went in with my tail between my legs and this sponsor got hold of me, well she was really nice at first, then slowly over time started baring her teeth. Jesus, my group is really bad too, the Atlantic Group, and my sponsor told me I was spending too much time with my husband and daughter! WHAT???? She declared to me one day when I wasn’t going to one of their sacred meetings that I was “hiding behind my family.” What kind of a controlling sick fuck is that? This psycho is a social worker wanna be too! Sick, sick, sick! I told her I was accepted into grad school. You’d think she’d be happy for me but no, she was mortified that I wouldn’t be able to make AG’s meetings every night. RIDICULOUS! And, oh…Clancy is their GOD. Very, very scary cult shit going on there.

        • massive

          do you think there are some who have left who will speak on camera in y film as to why they left AA? I am coming to NY to film interviews of people who have been harmed by AA

          • Rosie Elen

            If you ever need any more testimonies then get in touch!

  • Murray

    Well said Friend.

  • Ex-SOB

    <cite> filmrevu</cite>

    And to the individual who posted about suicide and death: People in all walks of life who have never stepped foot into a 12-step meeting have committed suicide or died from drinking. So, what are you talking about? The whole world is filled with chaos. Are we going to blame 12-step programs? How silly! Think about it!

    <cite> filmrevu</cite>

    Please have some compassion.

    I don't believe I blame AA for the suicide and death of my friends. I'm just sharing my experience in AA.

    <cite></cite>I had found it devastating that my friends had died. I'm not blaming AA for their deaths.  They were in my AA group for many years and had been of great support. What I found disturbing was peoples reactions to their deaths. People's attitudes were "they weren't working the steps" and "they are not at fault, they were incapable of being honest with themselves." I was grief stricken and need someone to talk too, I had no one left in AA I could talk to therefore I sort outside help from a counselor.. And thank God I did…

  • FTG, I wish this site were more popular than it already is.  What I mean by this is that I wish there were more acclaimed literature out there that is anti-aa.  I think your writing is good. This is saying a lot, as I am super picky.  I cannot even bring myself to read what is on the best seller list much of the time, as I think it crap.  I wish you would publish something.  Just saying. I mean, your arguments are strong, you are not verbose, you have a definite voice that is interesting and easy to read.  Have you thought about making your writing more public?  It is better, in my opinion, than much of the published anti-aa stuff that is out there–not that I do not appreciate all the work that is out there already. Just saying is all.

    • Jay

      Check out “The Art of AVRT” good reading…there is a site on it.

  • @ jcal re: murray and his fifth step.  i felt the same.  then i worried that i did the fourth and fifth wrong!  a few people told me, we;;, you need to do the steps right outta the big book.  i knew on a deep level that there was no way to really do the steps perfectly and to try this hard was in fact ridiculous.  i mean, i spent hours, and hours writing resentments–at age 22.  what a shitty way to spend my time.  i hate to say it, but i would been better of at some ridiculous party, drunk, making out with some nameless guy.  ok, well, maybe not.  i realized gradually that the way i did the steps was fine.  i did the best i could.  it is my belief that people who go on and on about being rocketed into another dimension after doing the steps are exaggerating and also are not that deep or smart.  they are prolly people who have never been to therapy and who have been super tigh lipped all of forever.  i am not this way.  the stuff in my fourth step was just repeating what i had said in therapy.  a lot of people with ptsd (like moi) feel resentments basically in a scary way, um, cuz we have ptsd.  this is NOT something aa can fix. for me anyway.  i did feel cheated at times.  but i look at who was making this promise.  i feel sad that i was naive enough to believe it.

    • shaun

      do you ,mind telling me how severe your ptsd is? I am suffering with this, as well, with depression, as well. I just relapsed again, after another tough and painful year sober. I’ve never had more than 3 yrs. I am certainly old enough to know better…but the feelings that overwhelm feel as if they will literally split me apart. I have also had, most recently, quickly explosive anger and have even started hitting myself…a new behavior. All I could think was “Here I am, over a yr sober and this is the behavior I exhibit’. To be fair’ I have had much theft and even vandalism recently where I live (so do not feel safe), but I’m told that this is not so odd…that people who have suffered severe trauma, life threatening situations where they were totally helpless and at the mercy of others’ that this is normal. All I could see and feel was the abuse, threats, hatred, etc.

      • massive

        I would try Smart Recovery, SOS and Hams Network and or Moderation M …anything but AA

  • I wish you would publish something.

    Hi violet. I really appreciate that! Thank you.

    I sometimes think that the subject would be perfect for an expose in a magazine, like Harpers, but then I think it would be like trying to sell them a hit piece on Mr. Rogers.

  • Murray

    Yeah I think my rocket was a bit faulty when i was trying to rocket into another dimension.

    I ran out of fuel next to some poxy roadside diner inbetween dimensions.

    Man this inter dimensional travel is tough.

  • jcal

     Murray says

    Another reason why I left AA was the 5th step.
    After doing it(fearlessy and thoroughly) I realised all the fluffy promises that were mentioned were definately overrated.
    To be honest I felt cheated and would really like to know what you guys felt like after doing this life changing st

    When I did my 5th step I felt nothing. There was no big release, i didnt feel at peace and 1 with the universe (laughing).  To be completely honest all the steps were a letdown. I mean Bill W never had a spiritual awakening after doing his own steps (if he did em) .   Dr Bob never had one either according to his daughter Sue. But yet 70 some years later people still tout that they are happy joyous and free all the time from having worked the steps. I say its from not drinking anymore and has nothing to do with the steps. Stop drinking and your life should improve.

  • filmrevu


    Dear “Ex-SOB,” I would like to offer you a sincere apology  regarding how I addressed your comments.  I am truly sorry for the loss of your friends, and I can clearly see that you did not receive the kind of support that one would expect when losing a loved one.   I’m glad for you that a counselor could help and hopefully ease the pain that you were or are going through.  Again, my apologies.

  • speedy0314

    why i left the a-of-a

    by speedy (pete)

    i left the a-of-a so that i could re-join the human race.  my life is infinitely happier & full of love, friendship, & genuine NON-CONTIGENT support — support i'm humbled & honored to give in return.


    the end

  • delguy65

    My experience was with ACOA and Al-anon. I belonged to the same group since 1997. It was a help in the beginning, but the group got hijacked by this very controlling woman who took over the meeting in steps. She became the meeting guru and basically thought she owned it. Chairing all the meetings, giving unwanted advice, and basically dictating to everyone that was present.

    She gave advice on meds., family issues, finances, just about everything. She got worse as time went by. She was the treasurer for 8 years and I never saw a financial report. Finally, enough was enough when she started taking attendance at meetings. I stopped going, but then talked to her about my concerns. She went ballistic! Said she was the meeting leader. I called WSO, which was useless. Then said I was coming to the meeting myself to raise these issues of dominance, control, and anonymity. She called a family member (she knew my last name, big mistake don't think you have anonymity in these groups) and told them of her "concern" for me. Fortunately this person knew the story and cut her off. Bottom line: when I pushed it, she left the meeting with the treasury (200-300) and refuses to have any contact with anyone. I have since graduated (I was questioning a lot of the BS anyway). Feel much better, and more positive.

    There are a lot of control freaks in these groups. Anyone have any similar stories?


  • tintop

    speedy — aa is not the real world.  Most normal people are fine 99%+ of the time.  They provide aid, support, friendship , good advice, etc on a regular basis.   That is the way people act most of the time.  And, when they do not, there are reasons which can be discerned.

  • Heather

    After reading the comments, I can't help wondering if you all went to the same program I did. No one ever told me that AA was the *only* way to stay sober. In fact, it was my sponsor who suggested I find a therapist, telling me that when you need help, you get it.

    AA works for some people and not others. It didn't work for most of you, and you left.  That should have been the end of the story–you found something else that worked for you and went on with your life, right? Except you didn't–you spend valuable time sitting on line talking about how much you dislike AA. What do you hope to accomplish here?

    • Curious

      I place to voice hurts in the transition.

    • Sx

      Because for a lot of people AA is an abusive organization in how it is run. It’s a public duty for people to tell their stories. Then other people considering treatment options can have a balanced set of opinions.

  • JPR

    AA is not the real world. Being a sportsman (yes!) I tend to start playing more tennis at this time of year in preparation for our league matches. Invariably this gives rise to much consternation within the rooms about how I could possibly chose tennis over AA! Well it's quite simple really. One of the fundamental flaws I see within AA is people don't have normal lives. They do AA in everything they do and forget everything they ever did before drink took over. No wonder they seek a Higher Power and spiritual guidance to relieve the boredom that prevails…………… 

    • mrcanada976

      So true. I entered detox and was figuring i would need to start reclaiming segments of my life that got pushed out by drinking. I entered AA and the colossal demand of attending nightly meetings, being pushed to attend lunchtime meetings, all of which were hour long rants about alcohol, and i couldnt help but immediately to start to feel that this was going to get in the way of me choosing a healthier lifestyle.

      Tennis practice is an excellent reason to skip meetings. Its great exercise, league matches give you something to work towards, and it is an activity that you not only couldnt do drunk and drinking but that would naturally encourage you to not drink outside of practice so you would be in tip top shape so youd be on top of your game and not hung over.

      What a stupid thing for them to criticize.

  • tintop

    JPR  — quite so.

  • Mikeblamedenial

    I'm trying to figure out why I stayed in AA for so long.  My mind was made up, and conclusions arrived at many years before I finally left for good.

  • @Heather says:

    That should have been the end of the story–you found something else that worked for you and went on with your life, right? Except you didn’t–you spend valuable time sitting on line talking about how much you dislike AA. What do you hope to accomplish here?

    Are you kidding, Heather? Did you just drop in here, insult everyone and then demand an explanation written just for you?


  • Murray

    Hi Heather

    There are countless explanations all over this website.  Take the time and have a look if your interested.


  • Ben Franklin

    Heather,I'll stop coming to these sites when they stop forcing people into your religion. But then again maybe not. I will still probably bash your dipshit religion unmercilessly because it's stupidity demands it.

  • Murray

    Here is a suggestion on worked for you Heather 1. you stopped ingesting alcohol 2. You got to relate with other alcoholics and 3. you went to therapy.

    Guess what. you can take that and leave the rest(meaning 12 step drivel )

    All the best

  • Murray

    Off topic a bit, but I am a little vexed.  Id like to know if the old christian saying "god only helps those who help themselves" is a paradox.

    To me this really sounds like a mind f**k.

    If I helped myself I guess I wouldnt need Gods help.

    If we were to put this into an AA context asking God to remove our dastardly defects would fall on deaf ears.  Perhaps the big G would want us to help ourselves by seeking therapy etc thus absolving him from needing to take these defects away in the first place.  As we all know he has alot on his plate what with creating planets etc.   Perhaps this saying is just a simple memo to say I dont have enough time in the day to micro manage your lousy drunk ass.

    I wish he could have told me direct via a spiritual experience.

  • Murray

    correction Here is a suggestion on what worked for you Heather

  • Murray

    Also a note to the editor:

    I resent the fact that my visual representation here is a purple mutant crab with green dreadlocks, red clammy pincers and what looks to me like ducks feet.

    Actually after seeing some of the other ones I think I could get accepted on beautifulpeople.com

  • JPR

    That was a “typical AA” answer from Heather………I can’t help wondering if you all went to the same program I did. Yes I did, Heather. The same one that has no factual basis and which has let most of us down. Same old drivel, dressed up slightly differently, if you can’t get the programme it’s your fault blah blah blah.
    As for that Sponser suggesting a therapist, he obviously wasn’t working the steps hard enough as I thought all you ever needed was a Higher Power. I knew the programme was too complicated for me. Oh no…..it’s a simple programme for complicated people…….there I go again. 
    It is utter crap!  

  • Ex-SOB

    <cite>To filmrevu Apology accepted 


    <cite>Mikeblamedenial</cite> says <!–.vcard–> I’m trying to figure out why I stayed in AA for so long.

    Same here, I stayed in AA for 2 years miserable and not realizing I had a choice to leave, other than death, or insanity.

    To friendthegirl,  Thank you for this site, I've found it freeing to share my experience with AA on this site and to let it all go.

    Since I'd started to question things in AA, as you can imagine I hadn't been asked to share in AA for quiet a long time. It's been a long and not so easy transition to leave my life in AA and start over on the outside. I have no regrets, I've learned a lot from my time spent in AA but I'm now ready to move on to new experiences.

  • Heather

    @friendthegirl: Generally speaking, I don't see the point of wallowing in misery.  It's like what some men do after a divorce. Their wives were awful people–they cheated on them, ran up debt, kept a nasty house, etc. So they got divorced. BUT–when you talk to those guys, they go on and on and on about how awful their ex-wives are. Some of them go on for *years* like this. If she was that awful, why in hell would you keep talking about her? She's gone and it's time to move on with your life.

    Same idea with AA–you're free! You never have to go to another meeting, read the big book, etc. again in your life. You must feel a great sense of relief and want to put that behind you, right?  To judge from this site, no. You want to wallow in it. Your mileage may vary, but that's never seemed helpful or productive to me.


    That's why I mentioned the fact that my sponsor was the one who suggested therapy–she certainly did not suggest that if I worked the steps "all I needed was a Higher Power." She understood that sometimes help outside of AA is necessary. If you need psychiatric help, you get it. You need medication, you get it. I'm sorry your sponsor was a  zealot, but that doesn't mean everyone else's is too.

    In life in general people assume that their experience is representative. It isn't. Yes, people have negative experiences in AA. Some have positive ones. Mine has been positive, but I *don't* assume that means AA works for everyone. You and a relative handful of others had a negative experience and conclude from your experience that the program as a whole is horrible.

    In all seriousness, I hope every one of you finds what you need to live  a less angry, happier and more contented life. I probably won't be back, so God (or the Great Spaghetti Monster, or the universe or whatever) bless you.

    • @heather says:

      To judge from this site, no. You want to wallow in it.

      Heather, don't you people have a slogan about contempt prior to investigation? You simply have not read the blog and you don't have the remotest understanding of what we're doing here. Your analogy is just plain bogus.

      I probably won’t be back.

      How very passive-aggressive: Drop in with nasty insults and ignorant mischaracterizations couched in serenity and blessings, and then split before anyone engages you.

    • MA

      To judge from this site, no. You want to wallow in it. Your mileage may vary, but that’s never seemed helpful or productive to me.

      Hi, Heather.

      We answer a lot of questions, including yours, in the FAQ tab on the top of the page. Many other questions are answered in the posts themselves.

      I did want to add that the reason we created this blog, was to help others who are struggling with AA, and are led to believe something is wrong with them when they question AA, like you are doing with us right now. If AA were a benign organization, we would just leave it and move on. The problem is, and this might be difficult for you to understand if you are currently under the spell of AA, it does a great deal of harm. It is ineffective as treatment, and regardless of what anyone in AA might tell you, no brain needs washing. This site raises awareness, but more than that, it helps people get out from under AA, and helps them to de-program. Hopefully, you will be among them sometime in the future.

      We have had a tremendous response from people thanking us. More than we ever imagined. What started out as a lark, has turned into something more. We do appreciate you being here, as well as your comments. Stick around!

  • tintop

    heather — see ya

  • Mikeblamedenial

    Hey, Heather, I have been hearing the same "why don't you just shut up and leave" admonitions from the indoctrinated since I first began questioning steppist dogma, methods, religiosity, outcomes, and contradictions. Similarly, the "you seem really angry" chidings grew wearisome years ago. Here are three more pertinent ideas for you to mull over:

    a) I did leave AA, as do most others who find themselves there for whatever reasons.

    b) I am angry, since nothing AA promised was actually delivered, to me or anyone else.

    c) I'm not going to shut up about my experiences there, so you might just as well get used to the fact that AA's critics are becoming more numerous, and more vocal.

    In all seriousness, happy trails.

  • tintop

    people like Heather do not matter very much.  What matters is the people are able to debrief and clarify their experience in AA.  The attitudes expressed by Heather belong to her.  I do not want anyone here to detained by them for long.

  • Heather,

    People who have been subjected to mind control tactics of AA may need to justify leaving AA by interacting with others who have suffered in similar ways.

    Personally, I think it's important to warn unsuspecting newcomers about the damage that one can suffer through the self-defeating recruitment process of your twisted little cult. As time goes on you will see that more and more of us are getting together to speak out against your outrageous religion.

    I don't know about the others here, but my goal is to bring AA down… to force Alcoholics Anonymous back into the church basement where it belongs. I have no intention of being polite about this. This cause is as important to me as writing that bogus AA bible (The Big Book) was to your patron saint Bill Wilson.

    Exposing AA as a religious cult helps me to regain a sense of who I am. I care about people who have no clue as to what they should do about their drinking problems. I'll always be here with my keyboard and the knowledge of what actually happens when an unsuspecting newcomer gets sucked into the AA mindtrap. I have a big fat soapbox now, and I intend to use it.

    My goal in confronting AA is to regain my sense of who I am while relieving myself of those notions that were forced on me in AA.

    AA was like mental rape. No one will ever scam me like that again. You are right… I'm free! I'm free to rant and rave… I'm free to live life without AA and the mental masturbation that goes along with it. I'm free to hate the frigging guts of sick people who ruin the lives of others. I'm free to share my experience, strength and hope with people who may have never known what you and your gang of religious thugs were up to.

    You are also free… Please remember… No one forced you to participate in this discussion… You’re free! You never have to visit this blog, or read it, again in your life. You must feel a great sense of relief and want to put that behind you, right?

  • Other than that… I have no strong feelings about Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • @Donald Quinn

    Please remember… No one forced you to participate in this discussion…

    Ha. She split. That was a Serenity Bomb: "Why are you so angry?! I'm happy! Namaste! Bla bla bla bla I can't hear you!!"

  • friendthegirl,

                                 Maybe she'll come back and bless us again.

  • Ben Franklin

    Heather please come back. We need someone to bitch slap

  • speedy0314

    @ heather

    "After reading the comments, I can’t help wondering if you all went to the same program I did."

    somebody isn't paying attention when the preamble's being read.

    it's a 'fellowship' where you go to 'meetings' in order to share & enhance your 'program'.

    errr … wait a second …. .

    is it THE 'program' or THE 'solution'?  (hold on.  how's it go again?  … ain't nobody too dumb … for … this … PROGRAM … right … it's all coming back to me now.  kinda like riding a bike — only it's a bike that really, really sucks & the majority of people who ride it are empty & fatuous or loud & criminally stupid.)

    yeah, we probably went to different 'programs'.  as evidenced by your fluent use of the 'steppish' tongue, apparently you  stayed programmed.

    peas, wuv, discrete logical operands,


    real live recombinant  angeraholic

  • Ben Franklin

    Heather, you wouldn't happen to be Mcgowdog. The 12 step dog,even though permanently banned from this blog has a running commentary about this site on his blog.If you're not Mcfry, why don't you go to his blog-maybe it will be more to your liking. You can read about how this site is going and spout platitudes with the five other people there. You can also read his post about being unemployed for the last 8 or so months and how fellow steppers call him a bum. You know times are tough. I have two part time jobs and go to professional school full time. No time for a meeting. I do have compassion for the unemployed but Mcdowg was such an asswipe when he was here  that  I can't help but say this: Hey Mc Puppy how is that happy,joyous and free shit working out for you? Promises come true yet?

    Ben F, real live relative free thinker

  • Rick045

    Heather wrote, "Same idea with AA–you’re free! You never have to go to another meeting, read the big book, etc. again in your life. You must feel a great sense of relief and want to put that behind you, right?  To judge from this site, no. You want to wallow in it. Your mileage may vary, but that’s never seemed helpful or productive to me."

    I guess Heather has moved on, but I wanted to thank her for the lol I got from this comment.  Steppers don't do irony.  Wallowing in the past isn't just a way of life in AA, but ones very identity as a recovering alcoholic in AA demands constant comparison to the past,  it's the only way to make the idiocy seem reasonable.  Steppers are constantly reminding each other of the importance of remembering "what it was like", or the importance of not forgetting "that last drunk".  I sat through hundreds of meetings listening to people complain about the same things over and over again, I guess they weren't so good at "letting go" either.  Nearly every drunkalog I ever heard involved a good deal of wallowing in the past, at least until they got to the infomercial part.  I know I reached a point where I got good and sick of rehashing my past because I really did want to let it go.  It is a relief to be away from AA, and even more of a relief to be able to freely express a perfectly normal human emotion like anger.

    Rick,   (formerly Littlebuddy)

  • Michael

    World of warning.  Alcohol does want you to die.  Death of religion, socially, professionally, etc.  I went to meetings for 12 years.  Been free for 5 years.  Everysooften I fantasize about what it would be like to drink a cold beer.  It doesn't take willpower to stay from a drink. It's a simple decision making process.  Am I willing to lose whatever it is that I have done in life to life the life of hypocritical hedonistic pleasures??  Or lead a life of stoicism and have an opportunity to draw closer and nearer to G-d at will?  I choose the latter.  Because man is able to choose.

  • MGM

    I quit drinking 16 1/2 years ago and I am more than happy to say that I have not stepped into a meeting room for 3 years now.  I began to wane from my regular meeting schedule in 1999 when I discovered that there is a real world beyond my AA circle.  Looking back, that was my initial moment of clarity when I made a decision to participate in a non AA activity and wanted to meet regular people that did not spout cliched slogans and rambled on about past dunkalogues ad naseum.  As I progressed in weaning myself off of meetings,  I began to question the dogma that was being spouted in meetings and realized that the subjects that the know nothing 12 steppers treated as taboo were nothing more than ways to shield me from seeking the truth.  As a free thinker,  I realized that the best thing I could do was to sever myself completely from the AA meeting rooms altogether.  Needless to say,  I'm not drunk or in jail but am a productive member of society.  I am living true freedom today and that is freedom from conformity, collectivist group think and a stale cliched life. 

    • lisa

      This is SO so well stated!!! I feel totally the same way! I am newly free of AA and still reeling a bit…but also also feel incredibly excited about my new FREE THINKING life! Lisa in NY

  • Welcome, MGM. I'm really glad to hear that you are living free of all that.


  • Murray

    Hey guys

    I was wondering if there was any chance of letting those angry aa guys back on the forum? Its just I found it more interesting when we had aa zealots to debate with.  I know that they got very unserene like when they were here last but maybe in there absence they have been working steps 6-9 really hard. Maybe they had a spiritual awakening and we can all just get along and trudge the road of happy destiny together.



    • MA

      I was wondering if there was any chance of letting those angry aa guys back on the forum? Its just I found it more interesting when we had aa zealots to debate with. I know that they got very unserene like when they were here last but maybe in there absence they have been working steps 6-9 really hard. Maybe they had a spiritual awakening and we can all just get along and trudge the road of happy destiny together.

      The problem was not what they said. We know what they believe, and we want them to give their opinions. We even invited them to post on the blog, and we still would allow that. The problem was their shutting down any reasonable dialog with racist tirades and name calling, in comments which had nothing to do with the topic being discussed. It caused others to respond in kind (only not so vitriolic), and created a pissing contest. It ran off other, thoughtful AAs. Even after we cut them off, they tried using different IPs and proxy servers to come back and spew their filth. We are not the only site that has banned them, and whenever they get run off from somewhere, they project the idea that they are victimized and misunderstood. It is a common character trait of sociopaths, actually. So is their sense of entitlement. They have an inability to look at themselves. My guess is this is how they conduct their regular lives.

      We know that not AAs are like this. We have a lot of really nice, thoughtful AAs who read here, and I don't want them to think that they are unwelcome. These guys are simply internet trolls. We also know that the tone of our site has a smartass tone, and it can cut to the core of what people understand about themselves. Coming to the understanding that the belief system from which we operated, is simply manipulative, cult-like dogma; is an uncomfortable experience. It is going to provoke an angry reaction, because it is impossible to use reason against the unreasonable. So we know we will get anger, name calling, meaness. That's fine. All we want is some reasonable dialog in the process.


  • tintop

    murray, I am real weak on that. 

    they are boring, fatuous and take up space.  my 2 cents

  • JPR

    I sort of agree with Murray's comments here. It's interesting to see AA steppers have their say. I do actually believe that for some alcoholics the brainwashing, AA big book method is the only way to stop drinking. For the vast majority here, it wasn't and certainly not a way to lead a balanced and happy life.

    As I've mentioned here before, I got sober in AA. I don't know what would have happened without it, but it has given me the knowledge to let others know it's strengths (it has a few) and shortcomings. Luckily I now have the choice to avoid meetings and seeing some of the stuff posted on here just reinforces that view.   

  • speedy0314

    @ murray –

    "Maybe they had a spiritual awakening and we can all just get along and trudge the road of happy destiny together."

    ummm … not very likely.  having tussled more than a bit with the banned 'commenters', my opinion is that they would simply look to drag the dialogue down into witless ad hominem invective, circular reasoning, & endless 'steppish' drone.


    it wouldn't be congenial, civil, or terribly informative.


    the odd 12×12 advocate does stop by to evangelize in a semi-lucid way before turning tail and running back to the sanctuary of the rheumz (e.g., heather).  heck, as far as i know neither danny nor dick b. — both unapologetic 'real AA' proselytizers — have been banned.  they, like heather, just took their toys and went back home.  maybe they'll be back, maybe they won't.


    go re-read ma's "The EstAAblishment Clause" post if you need a reminder of just how uncivil, uninformed, & downright hateful those banned individuals can be.

    the 1st amendment does not extend to my standing on your front lawn with a bullhorn shouting insults and bizarro world quasi-theology at you.  that's harassment not free speech.


    don't mean to be snarky, but i'd suggest you take yourself to a meeting, raise your hand come 'sharing' time, and share even the slightest a-of-a critique.  you'll be trudging that road of happy destiny alone right quick.


    i've gotten myself banned on both pro- and [ugghh] anti-AA boards & blogs for taking their respective administrators to task on obvious absurdity.  no big deal — you just move on.


    on the web, debate and inquiry tend to emerge organically.  heck, there's debate right in this very thread.  and i've read plenty of things on this blog & on other sites that have — at the very least — shifted my thinking on the subject (e.g, ftg's "keep comin' back" series).


    the extremely small group of commenters who've gotten the boot here at ST are not interested in debate, dialogue or inquiry.  this blog is one of the few "safe places" where people (steppers and ex-steppers alike) can write and read open, honest, and informed criticism of the hallowed a-of-a.


    i for one can live just fine without the throbbing headache that comes from merely looking at a comment by mcgowdog or cuda.



    let the debate begin,




  • true believer

    Speedy, I took an anti AA cake the other day and got more love bomb than a true believer. Lots of folks hate the BS, but like the people. No one has the courage to stand up and call the bull shit what it is. EVERYONE says they are an alcoholic whether they are or not, NO ONE has the courage to say anything different! My X-sponsor hates me because I took his prize. His little opposite sex sponsee that he threw me under the bus for does not listen to his crap any more. Life’s a bitch when someone tells the truth and you can’t find anymore suckers.

  • JPR

    It is quite funny this! I don't think you are quite right in saying "no one has the courage etc"……..I did and I would say 50% of the room looked very uneasy as if they totally understood and yet didn't want to accept it. I've heard people say things like " I don't want to upset my sponser" also.

    I  understand the site cannot tolerate racism etc but I do think the AA'ers should have their voice. There is something in me which wants to argue our message as they do theirs. It would be pretty boring if we just agreed AA was useless all of the time. I didn't think I was particularly affected by AA until I came on here and realised actually I did have a point to prove. It's the same with some of my friends, who are still friends, who are in AA. Inevitably we end up discussing AA even though I don't want to because it's such a massive part of their lives. Almost always my heckles go up as the ridiculous comments come out………and I just can't help myself from launching into an attack. 

    So maybe this site gives me some freedom to speak my mind about AA, it's shortcomings and how it made me feel without punching someone!   

    • MA

      JPR – We haven't banned all AAs. We have had a number of AAs who believe we are full of shit, and do not mind sharing that belief in harsh a colorful language, and that's dandy. I really like them. We just banned three who were working with the same brain in order to shut out dialog completely. They just happened to be horrifically mean in the process. It was not because one of them is racist or any specific things they said that got them banned. I'm not sure if you were around then. Just for the record, if any non-AA were to pull the same nonsense, we would have to shut them out. Anyone has to be a class A prick, to a very high degree, to get banned from here. I actually thought it was impossible to meet the standards we set, but I'll be damned if it didn't happen anyway.

  • humanspirit

    MA For what it's worth, I think it's good policy, and I for one have viewed this site much more since those individuals were banned. Of course no-one objects to AAs having their voice – as we all know, there are some good, decent people in AA and any thoughtful responses from them are welcome. But there's no reason why a forum like this should be hijacked into arguing within an AA/12-Step frame of reference or have to get into minute arguments about its doctrine. Some of the banned people just came across as bigoted bullies, which is not what I imagine this forum is here for. I'm sure many of the people who post on here are mightily relieved to have somewhere to be able to talk about their experiences freely and in a supportive environment, without being drowned down by the 12-Step nutters – who presumably are exactly the kind of people they're trying to get away from.

  • humanspirit

    <cite>Murray</cite> says <!–.vcard–>

    "Also a note to the editor:

    I resent the fact that my visual representation here is a purple mutant crab with green dreadlocks, red clammy pincers and what looks to me like ducks feet."

    I actually quite like my "angry crab"  representation. I look so much cooler than I do in real life.  And I couldn't get away with wearing a mini skirt like that in normal circumstances . . .


  • I just started the topic and moved this discussion to the message board… My response to the subject of the ban is there.



  • Murray


    did not realise the little trolls had gotten that bad.

    I guess I just missed the glaring evidence of AA not working in the ramblings of its members finest.  It reminds me I dont want what they have.


  • Susan

    I'm glad they got banned. They were nasty and I felt that I couldn't express an opinion for fear of personal attack, not just debate.

  • JPR

    MA………I wasn't saying ban AA'ers…….I think tintop said erlier he didn't want them full stop, or did I misunderstand? "they are boring, fatuous and take up space etc." That was what I meant in my reply, let them speak so long as they're not doing stuff they shouldn't! 

  • humanspirit

    Administrator – this is off topic, but relevant to the website generally. Shift it somewhere else if you want – I just don't know where to post it. Trying to give the point of view of the Al-anon unfortunate . . .

    My name is humanspirit, and I’m not an alcoholic. But I am appalled at the way the AA 12-Step program is allowed to stand in the way of anyone’s attempts at get real help for alcoholics or addicts. It is disgraceful that AA, with its worse than useless program and cod religion, has managed to establish itself as the only organization to help alcoholics or addicts.


    So, not being an alcoholic, why do I feel so passionately about this? It’s because the man that I love descended so deeply into chronic alcohol addiction that he could hardly function. Because he knew he was dying, and would die if he carried on much longer and was crying out for help – any help – which wasn’t forthcoming despite our best efforts. It’s a long and very sad story. I moved out of our mutual home because there was no way I could cope with it and could still carry on going to work, etc. He wasn’t violent; he wasn’t nasty – just hopelessly addicted. The sight of him, sitting in the garden in the early morning light, clinging to his bottle of wine in a silent, confused daze, day in, day out, absolutely broke my heart.


    I went to an Al-anon meeting, naively hoping to find some support, and maybe some practical suggestions. Forget it. The first 20 minutes were spent with each attendee reading out one of the 12 Steps and 12 traditions in turn, as though we were 6-year-olds just learning our ABCs. There was no discussion or questions allowed about the 12 Steps or traditions themselves. Then there was an incredibly trite reading about ‘live and let live’ (in my case, and at that point, it was literally ‘live and let die’, i.e., if someone didn’t do something soon, my partner would die). And then there was a discussion in which each person was allowed exactly five minutes to whine about how hard it was to live with the drinker in their lives and then to declare how the 12-Step program had made them incredibly happy. Fine, but it was all TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to the issue of helping people overcome addiction.


    I talked to some Al-anon people on the phone, out of desperation. My concern for my partner was dismissed as either ‘controlling’ or as ‘co-dependency’ (whatever that very odd concept might be). ‘Live and let live’, I was told again. Well, this is a reasonable principle to follow in everyday life and in normal circumstances. But in this case, such an attitude was hugely unhelpful. I tried to do all the mind-fuck rationalizing I could for a short time, hoping that in some way it could make any sense and could help. But then I just cut through the crap, did the age-old trick of putting myself in the other person’s shoes, and asked myself: If it was me in this situation, where I really couldn’t help myself, wouldn’t I appreciate having some loving people around trying to do something? Instead of those people just having the indifferent attitude of ‘live and let live’ and then leaving me to die? The answer is obvious to any normal person with an ounce of humanity.


    But clearly, this is also a hugely dishonest attitude on the part of Al-anon. The idea of anyone trying to ‘help’ an alcoholic is treated with absolute derision, unless your desire to help leads people to AA and their ridiculous programme. You’re definitely allowed to ‘help’ in those circumstances – none of this ‘let and let live’ crap applies then. And once you’re in their clutches, absolutely no-one allows you to ‘live and let live’. You are not even allowed to define yourself or your loved ones in any way that makes sense to you or gives credit to your own experience. I was told I was ‘in denial’ about my partner being an alcoholic (er, no, actually) because I mentioned what a great guy he was in the majority of years I’d known him when he wasn’t drinking too much. I was assured I was kidding myself. He was an alcoholic who hadn’t found the 12-Step program and hadn’t had a spiritual awakening, so how could he ever in any way have ever been a ‘great guy’? Ever. In his whole life. (They didn’t think to ask why on earth I would have been in a relationship with him in the first place if he wasn't.)


    I was told by Al-anon members that I should ‘detach’ myself (as if moving out, at huge regret and extreme sadness to myself, wasn’t ‘detachment’ enough). But the thing that really got me about this mind-fuck was that I was told that if I still cared about my partner, I had an ‘obsession’ myself. Whatever happened to the idea of pure natural human love and compassion for a fellow human being? AA defines such love and concern as a ‘disease’. If the person you care about is an alcoholic, you are as ‘diseased’ as the alcoholic himself, the line goes. And the only way you can cure yourself of this disease is by (surprise, surprise, folks!) entering into the 12-Step programme and practising the steps for life!


    Which would all be absolutely fine if it had any effect whatsoever on anyone’s drinking and would help them overcome their addiction, but it just DOES NOT.


    Where exactly is the bit in AA’s big book or in the 12 step programme that gives any advice on how to stop drinking? Please let me know, because after several readings I still can’t find it.


    I’m sorry about this long rant, and thanks for anyone for reading it. I’ve posted at other times about the rehab place we eventually managed to get my partner into and how I was absolutely terrified that, after all we’d been through, all the religious rantings he was then subject to would seriously hamper his chances of recovery.


    And yes, I’m fucking angry. Because this was to me a serious matter of life and death. Far too serious a matter for it to allow a bunch of fringe religious nut-jobs to even get a look-in, let alone rule the show.



  • HS, I am going to leave this post here, but I'd also like to post it right on the front page. This is a perspective we have neglected on this blog. Thank you.

  • tintop

    those three comedians earned being sent off.  If some other comedian appears to romp and play, send them off as well.  But, the great majority of AA members are OK.  So,  most would behave well. But, I do not see the point of inviting any aa person, whether they be OK or not.  I consider afflicting the comfortable futile.  I find it much more useful to comfort the afflicted.

  • JPR

    Just wanted to write to say no meetings now for 3 weeks and I haven't grown horns or any of the other things I once thought would happen. It feels truly great to be out of AA even though I seem to be receiving quite a few phone calls asking whether my relapse was as bad as I thought?

    It's great to be free, great to be sober and to have direction back in my life. I sort of compare it to having had a headache for the past 3 years and now I've had an asprin. (probably not the best analagy but there you go.)

    • lisa

      Bravo! I’m also just recently out of meetings and found that…voila! NO horns sprouted nor vague “666’s” appearing on my forehead. That my ex fellow STEPford wives (get it?) Are assumimh I’m relapsing my ass off is THEIR problem…not mine. I’m staying booze free for ME this time…cuz I value my life and my liver deserves my respect! (Not to mention apologies!) I’m not longer doing things to please others…of THEIR idea of a higher power. I’m simply a happier human being when not drinking. So glad these forums exist!! Whar a sanity saver! :))) Lisa

  • Murray

    great stuff JPR

    I think we should start a forum on the message board for people who are out of AA and want to talk about lifes ups and downs. Would be nice to have a sounding board for anyone who is struggling or just wants to vent.

    Anyone got any ideas for a name?

    Ill throw out "Hows your sobriety?" as a starter for ten.

    • lisa

      I have a thought for a name! ” STEPford No More”…..; a play on the Stepford wives, and their zombie-like ways! 🙂

  • Great idea! How about "Happy, Joyous & Free"

    (Maybe not — that mouthfulla words makes me want to spit).

    Anyway, let me know what the consensus is and I'll create the forum on the board.

  • tintop


    make it so.

    "Life afterAA"  sounds useful.

  • Murray

    One life at a time?   snark

  • speedy0314



    "life after the a-of-a" is just plain life.  it sucks; it doesn't suck; it kicks ass; it bores you to death.

    the "happy road of destiny" is hyperbole i'd give anything to force-feed down its author's throat multiple times.  EVERYBODY trudges the "happy road of destiny" & f**kface the "inside trading machine' was well aware of that.

    the a-of-a is the modern equivalent of applying leeches to alleviate disease.  the medical/therapeutic community should hang their heads in shame for endorsing it — however weakly.

    if you're new to this blog & you're questioning the bulls**t dogma you're being force-fed by the a-of-a-bots, you are right to trust your intuition.  AA does not want individuals seeking 'recovery'; It wants cannon-fodder to spread the great good news of the disastrously ineffective a-of-a.


    i kid because i love,



    real live infringer of 'real' alcoholic signatures

  • tintop


    I have been thinking the same thing.  “How is your sobriety?”  is a good idea.

  • Ex-SOB

    “Life after AA” sounds good to me (-:
    Dear humanspirit
    Thank you for sharing your Al-anon story with us. I really enjoyed reading it.
    My AA sponsor had the same Al-anon attitude concerning my family. She said that since they didn’t have the program (12steps) they were dry drunks and I should have nothing more to do with them. That I would have to make a choice between her and AA or my family, because my involvement with my family was hindering my recovery, and as long as I continued to stay in contact with them, I would never achieve emotional sobriety.  My family may have there issues, create a bit of drama, and at times drink too much but they have always been there for me. They are loyal and supportive of me in what ever I choose to do. They are not bad people. I was looking after my mother at the time when my AA sponsor suggested this. My mother was going though a tough time and was very emotional. She’s a non drinker. My AA sponsor told me I had to kick her out because she was acting as a emotional vampire. I stuck by my family. I was an easy choice. My supportive family or a random phone call from my AA sponsor to tell me how I was traveling. As it turned out the doctor had changed my mothers diabetes medication and this was part of the problem. Since her medication has been sorted out she is now back to normal again.  

  • humanspirit

    Ex-SOB Thanks for your reply.  What kind of person or organization would tell you to abandon your family because they weren't following some weird religious program? What on earth is 'emotional sobriety', for heaven's sake? (It's a new one on me.) There is no such thing as a 'perfect' family or a 'perfect' relationship. We're all flawed human beings; we all have our 'issues'  – which is exactly what makes us human. Did your sponsor never think about the lifelong hurt and grief it would have caused to your mother if you had completely rejected her?  (I say this as a mother myself.)  She was a 'dry drunk' even though she didn't drink? This is outright lunacy. What IS THE MATTER with these people??  What right do they have to advise such things, and on whose authority? I'm so glad you saw through all the bullshit and sheer malevolence of all of this.

    Sometimes I think AA are just a bunch of harmless, deluded, happy-clappy god-botherers who should be left alone to get on with it. But testimonies like yours reveal the very dark flip-side which can't be dismissed so lightly.  So you got addicted to something – that doesn't make you or your family bad. It sounds like you're a whole lot better as a person than some of the nutters you got involved with.

    Good luck with it all  (and best wishes to your family too).


  • humanspirit

    Oops – random repetitive paragraph posted by mistake there . . . Possible to get a facility to view posts before submitting?

  • tintop

    sort of half serious:  my definition of 'god botherer' is:  he who bothers god by praying to it incessantly.

  • humanspirit, I deleted that extra paragraph there… I'll check to see if there are any plugins that allow you to edit after hitting submit. There must be. I've seen some blogs that have a "timer" on the comments, so that after you hit sumbmit, you have a window of a few minutes in which to edit it.

  • Terry

    I wasn't welcomed in AA and went to NA and CA in the beginning. I walked away from CA in '89 and only did NA until 2000 when I walked away from them all with 12 years clean. I went to maybe 1 meeting a year for the next 6 years. I was just too busy living my life and was no longer interested in being a part of the fellowship.

    I spent a month back then going to meetings and asking myself after wards if attending was worth my time. The answer was no, and I stopped going.

    Today 8 years later I do go to meetings. One most weeks that is filled with people like you, and now and then other meetings to look for people like you.  I don't speak or share in the meetings, I just sit and do my best to listen.

    I am the disruptive guy who doesn't buy into the dogma. I'm the guy who doesn't ask for validation and refuses to give validation to anyone in the rooms with more than a few months clean. I don't assume people with time have value anymore than I'd assume a hot looking woman has value because of her looks.

    I'm the old-timer in the rooms who won't be told what to do or how to act. I'm the pied piper leading people like you to a new paradigm.

    I specifically look for people like you all. People who have seen behind the curtain. There are choices to make when the curtain falls. Some get angry at the fellowship, some get angry at themselves, some get busy with their lives.

    I work with people caught in the anger. I don't sponsor them – most have sponsors they don't call anymore. I talk and listen to them and help them build a new paradigm.

    It's a paradigm shift. I never joined anything in my life until I went into the rooms. They say to surrender, and I did. Later I realized I'd forgotten who I was and what I wanted out of life.

    Cheap Trick has a song called surrender. The chorus is "Surrender, Surrender, but don't give yourself away."

    You are at the point where the curtain is falling. This site seems like a good resource as you build yourself a new paradigm. Build a vision of your future and move toward it.



  • i cannot decide if this was well meaning or creepy.

  • tintop

    I vote:  twee

  • JenX

    Wow!  What a great site!  I wish I would have found this sooner, but better late…

    My experience was with NA and it was short lived, but still thoroughly upsetting. 

    The short story is that I went to outpatient rehab for an opiate/benzo problem and was forced to attend 12 step meetings.  I completed my 90 in 90 and was ready to start the step work.  I actually really wanted the program to work as I couldn't wait to experience the joy other members talked about after completing certain steps.  I truly believed that the only other option was jails, institutions and death.

    My first sponsor who had 10 years clean was a very controlling woman, who ended up abandoning me in what was my greatest time of need (attending my first Phish show  which was also out of state with only 3 months sobriety) because she actually started using again.

    So then even though I had some doubts I still believed and continued attending meetings and reading just for today, and the basic text, and I was excited to start my step work.  I found a new sponsor this one had 17 years clean.

    When it was time to start my step work I called my sponsor, because I was having serious problems with the language in step 1 and told her that since it was indeed my choice to get help and that I am able to control my use of some substances that I did not feel comfortable in saying that I was powerless.  My sponsor responded by laughing at me and recounting all of the terrible stories I told her about my previous drug use as ammunition.  She said that I have no idea what I am talking about and that I cannot trust my own thinking, because it got me here and that I am an addict.

    I was upset, but decided to give this woman the benefit of the doubt and decided to put my stepwork off for awhile.  I was feeling pretty miserable and I decided that I needed to do something else to help myself, and I joined a coed soccer team.  I was excited abou this decision and thought my sponsor would be proud so I called her up to tell her and she ended up yelling at me.  She said that I had absolutely no business making major decisions without first consulting her, because I cannot trust my own flawed thinking.

    This really shot up some red flags for me, and I looked at the step work again and told her that I found it to be very unempowering.  We got in an argument where she insulted me again, and I hung up the phone and googled NA and unempowering and I discovered the orange papers.

    The next couple months after that I was completely consumed with reading about how NA is a harmful cult.  I read a wonderful book called the truth about addiction and recovery by Stanton Peele, and this reinforced my great dislike for 12 step groups.

    I find it now to be my personal mission to let all of those scared and confused people in early recovery know that NA/AA are not the only way to recover and that actually alot of times it does more harm than good.

    Thanks for making this sight.  I plan on sticking around!

  • Mona Lisa

    I vote creepy.

  • weedeater64

    I finally finished with aa in june of '10 shortly after a 10 day retreat in the county jail for an alcohol related arrest. I was introduced to aa back in '90 or '91 by a rehab center (is that attraction or promotion?) . I was uncomfortable there imediately, but I was kind of desperate, and there was no other game in town that I was aware of. I was told that I was powerless over alcohol, and that I had a disease that would only get worse. I believed  that steaming pile, and promtly set out to prove it.

    1996 found me looing at felony assaulting an officer charges. I wasn't kinda desperate anymore, it was the real thing now. Once again I sought help in rehab, as instructed by my probation officer. Once again I was taken to aa/na and told the same lies ie.. I'm powerless over alcohol, some sky fairy is my only hope,…. the list is long.

    At that time I grabbed ahold of the lies and embraced them, as I said I was desperate for real this time.

    A little over five years later I picked up a drink with the guys after work, I mean what the hell right? We just got through doing a hard days honest work and everyone was having a beer, why not join them. This is after being a "true believer" for over 5 years. hmmm??

    2002 finds me once again seeking external help for what I now know  is an internal problem. Back to rehab, yet again, told a lot of lies about the nature of my problem yet again. And yet again told the solution is the aa/na 12 craft lies. I was at that point still unaware of any other trains of thought concerning alcohol/drug abuse. Only that I had defects, and I'd get worse over time, and that the only solution was the god delusion. hmmmm.

    I now know that my problem was delusional thought, and that the god delusion would/is only more of the same problem, delusion. I no longer by into the BS about a blank spot, I mean come on people we all know that's BS. I know I'm not powerless over an inanimate liquid. I'm drinking as I write this, but guess what I do indeed have control over my appendages, and each drink requires me to make a conscious decision. Is there a god, I don't know, maybe. But those of you aa/na who claim knowledge of such a thing without any evidence are quite simply asking people to follow your direction not any gods direction.

    The simple truth of it is that if I drink too much, problems often follow. There is nothing mysterious about it. Too if I choose to put the drink down, it requires no special treatment by an imaginary sky fairy. It's simply a rational decision.


  • JPR

    I listen to what Terry has to say and the theory is fine. The problem in the meetings I frequented, probably circa 50, is that unless you "toe the line" you are made to feel very unwanted and deemed to be a trouble maker. I constantly maintained that I went to AA for some form of comradeship and that I believed the only requirement for membership was a desire to stop drinking. But this is very clearly not the case and everything revolves around the steps and the cult AA is.

    For a while I attempted to speak my mind in a clear, concise and non confrontational manner but this just doesn't work. I received some advice on this forum and unfortunately, the folk who responded here were right, I was wasting my time. I now no longer go to meetings as it just winds me up listening to the rubbish. AA is rather like our drinking careers and you know when you've had enough of it. I don't knock people that go to the rooms but in the very same way I can now not tolerate being in the company of drunks I chose not to associate with them.

  • tintop

    Well, JPR, AA has a sell by date — however useful it may have have been.  I suggest that there are groups of ordinary people more edifying.

  • weedeater64

    I went to a meeting last night in Conway arkansas on willow street. I waited patiently as we went around the room letting people have their "share". It came to me and I questioned the existence of god and bill wilsons knoweledge of god and a guy interrupted me clainming that I should shut up and not have my "share". I reminded him that I had allowed everone their turn, and about the third tradition. He became very hostile and threatened me with physical violence. I stood my ground and insisted that I met the third tradition requirment for being there and that I had as much right to "share" as anyone else there. He continued with his belegerance and threats of violence. And the group decided to back him up threatening to call 911 to have me removed. WTF? So much for the third tradition or any kind of anonymity, huh.

  • in the past two years, i have seen three (including me) people been either asked to leave a meeting or had the cops called on them.  interestingly, these three people had the most education, were the most attractive (what kind of person says this about herself–take me with a grain, i guess), and were the most honest.  aa is a room filled with low lifes. you are not safe there.  think of it this way: now you can'y go back, even if you really wanted to.

  • JenX

    Oh, by the way since I was in NA and not AA, am I still welcome here?

    To Violet,

    I like the fact that you consider yourself to be attractive.  So many beautiful women have terrible body images.

    I also know what you mean about the rooms being filled with low lifes.  I'm not trying to be arrogant here, but I very succesfully abused drugs.  I never lost a job or turned my back on family members or had legal problems.  That's not to say that I didn't do tons of awful and illegal things that I am not proud of, it's just that some of the people in the rooms were completely consumed with guilt over how they ruined their lives and the lives of their friends and family.  These people really felt bad about themselves, and I wonder if taking constant moral inventories was a good thing for them or not….

  • JPR

    I did hear a funny story from a friend the last time I went to AA. I'm sure it's not unique and I don't quite know the moral here!

    But……a local AAmember recently confessed to one of his former "victims" how he had previously burgled him and arranged to call around to try and make amends. Good 9th step stuff. On arrival he met the Police, was arrested, charged and is now serving 7 years for this crime.

    I think he needs to ask his HP what to do here? I had to laugh though ……..  

  • @JenX

    "Oh, by the way since I was in NA and not AA, am I still welcome here?"

    For sure, JenX! Welcome! We definitely value your experiences and insight.

    I'm glad you found us.

  • alohadreams

    Hi, I just stumbled onto this site and relate to a lot of what's being said.  I was in AA for a year-and-a-half and actually "went out" with a single glass of wine on a date.  Nothing bad happened, and now I drink moderately, and have never touched hard drugs since.  I never really believed I was an alcoholic or addict, but I definitely was partied out after years of bartending, and at the time I went into the program I craved cocaine every time I had a drink.  I never bought the concept of a Higher Power, and certainly found the chapter in the Big Book about Agnostics to provide some pretty lame evidence to "God's" existence.  I tried to work the steps, but could not wrap my atheistic head around the 6th and 7th (I too worked the 5th, and the only thing I felt and still feel is silly).  The main reason I stayed is that I like SOME of the people, and felt that I had made some true friends.  And that is what's bothered me about leaving the program: all but one of my AA friends stopped talking to me immediately, and without bothering to have a conversation as to why.  This includes one of my closest friends, someone who was my friend well before we both got sober.  This sort of emotional blackmail is what will keep me from ever entering those rooms again, or suggesting the "program" to people with addiction issues.  Turning your back on friends because you need to "stick with the winners" seems to me to be extremely cruel, and immoral to boot.  Thanks for listening.

  • that is immoral.  my mom was in alanon when i was in high school and would leave my sister and i with my father who was pretty nuts for extended periods of time, as she needed to "take care of herself."  i mean, 12 stepper TOLD her too, right?  so, she hada do what they said. this here is just another example of immorality.

  • JenX

    Thanks FTG! 

    I'm very "grateful" to have found others who feel strongly about what a creepy, sad, brain washing cult 12 step groups are.

  • JenX

    I apologize for my atrocious grammar in my previous post…

  • JPR

    It's quite funny how none of the other AA members ever bothered to contact me once I stopped going to AA. I never announced I was leaving but you would have thought all of these "caring" people would have been worried aboout my health and sobriety? 

    No, the truth is AA is all about protecting the group as a whole and it doesn't care at all about the individual. I'm so glad I'm out for good, 

  • tintop

    JPR   I think that it is logical that none would.  The relationship was controlled by participation in AA.  When your participation in AA ended, there was no reason for any to remain in contact with you.

    It is true that the individual counts for nothing in AA.

  • stuggie

    Hello there!

    I have been sober for 5 months now. I went to AA after already being 42 days sober! I got a sponsor, went through the bullshit steps and then was told to sponsor! All within 3 months!! I was told to never take credit for my sobriety and to give all credit to the program. I simply don't believe AA helped me at all, it just tried to turn me into some kind of crazy preacher man! I truly believe I am in control of my life and Iwill have to deal with crap as and when it happens, not talk to my god damn sponsor everyday!!! Thank you for this blog!! Lovin' it, lovin my sober life!!! I'm moving on from AA, I loath and despise it!! ooooh I have a resentment, I'm sick, I'm a dry drunk! Whatever bum holes, call me what you want, I got a life!!!!

  • MA

    Nicely done, Stuggie.

  • JenX

    Oh, I think I forgot to mention also that my sponsor in NA told me to leave my husband of 4 years who was/is totally supportive of me.  My sponsor was a single mother who came into NA in NYC at the very beginning when she was barely 20 years old. 

    I think my sponsor probably meant well but she was terribly messed up and had no life outside of work and NA.  She told me that she has a habit of getting too involved in her sponsee's lives and admitted to me that she had some problems with the family of her last sponsee.  Apparenlty this girl was only 22 and my sponsor became a major figure in her life, moreso than her own mother even, and to the point where they were going away on vacations to NA conventions together, speaker jams on weekends, sober BBQ's, etc. 

    My sponsor told me that her family had become very jealous and that they did not understand that their daughter needed to put her recovery first even over her family.  Anyway, all I know is that it was a pretty big deal and apparently my sponsor was asked to completely stay away from this girl and she left NA and her family was very upset.  My sponor told me this because she said that she "didn't want me to hear it from someone else".

    I was in a fragile state when I went to NA which is why it took me 3 months to figure out what a creepy, bullshit cult it was, but I did put the pieces together when my sponsor started to say things about my husband.  The short of it is that I had a problem with opiates and benzos not alcohol, but of course I was abstaining from everything as to not "switch seats on the titanic" (ugghh I hate those sayings…)  My husband was still having a few drinks hear and there and would occasionally ask me to meet him at one of our neighborhood bars or restraunts where inevitably everyone was drinking.

    My sponsor started out very subtly asking if my husband had a drink last night or if he wasn't home because he had stopped at  a bar, and dropping passive agressive digs at him.  Then she waited unil I was angry with him for something simple and unrelated to drinking and dropped a hate bomb.  About how she thinks that he is an alcoholic living with an addict and how we have a very sick co-dependent relationship, and how an alcoholic does not love anyone but alcohol and how I need to lay down some ulitmatums about his drinking.  How I could never maintain my sobriety while living with an alcoholic, and that if I was serious about getting sober I need him to get sober as well or get out.

    It was truly an awful experience, and I am very thankful that I did not waste more of my time in such a sick and disgusting environment!

    Thanks again for making this sight!

    I will definitely keep coming back here!

  • JenX, There's a lot of debate about whether AA is a cult, or whether we should call it a cult, whether it qualifies… But, if there's one element of AA (and all its off-shoots) that screams cult, it's the very thing you describe here: Sponsors invading sponsee's private lives and the group's isolating members from their families and friends, or trying to get the families into the program too.

    I mentioned a few days ago that I had watched an episode of Addicted — I had never seen it before, and I thought I should just to see what's going on. There's a scene on there in which the interventionist — who apparently knows everything there is to know about addiction, but can only express it in the cliches that everyone else already knows — is badgering the addict's father into going to a 12-Step program and insisting that he stop drinking the one beer he has in the evening. The scene was set up to make the dad look resistant (he finally agreed to go to one meeting), and it was some high drama. But there is simply no logical reason for him to participate in a 12-Step program, but they sure made it look like he was some kind of sonofabitch for not going.

    There are some more examples of the sort of thing you describe on the horror story section at morerevealed.com — people's relationships ruined.

    One of the most bizarre things about AAs is the way they talk about their sponsors and quote their sponsors as if these people were wizards, when all they're doing is spouting cliches:

    "…and my sponsor chuckled knowingly and said, 'well, son, the only thing you have to know about God is that he's not you.' "

    I guess it's part of the whole game: the sponsees have to pretend that being an "old timer" somehow elevates people to some higher spiritual plane. There's no other way to describe this but as an emperor's new clothes situation… They discuss how awesome it is to be AA, and how the rest of us just "don't get it," all of them unable to actually describe what it means exactly ("Oh, you'll know!" and they all nod at each other…). It's mass gaslighting — and it's the entirety of our addictions treatment industry! What a mess.

  • Im sickened by what I see going on in AA. Its pretty depressing to go to a regular meeting these days. 🙁

    Where are the spiritual Warriors that care any out there???

  • 13th-stepper

    I've always found the insistence that I get a sponsor and a “higher power”  rather curious.  In the first step all A.A.'s are told that they need to admit their life was unmanageable.  In step two they come to believe that they are insane and only a mystical being that nobody can see or prove exists is somehow going to make them well again.

    Hmmm … let me see.  So I walk through the door or A.A. and you want me to entrust my sobriety to someone who believes they were insane and could not manage their own life?  Worse still, that I can believe in the power of any spook, fairy, ghost or goblin to make and keep me better?  Yet if I use my own thought, reason or will-power to stay sober on my own I am somehow deluding myself and in mortal danger of relapse?


  • Exactly, 13th-stepper!  Now you "get it"!

    It works if you work it.

    ; )

    Really, the list of contradictions you have to accept to be an AA is mind-blowing. You just highlighted a great one: If you can't trust yourself, how can you trust the guy next to you — someone else who's on a 24-hour reprieve — and how can you presume to allow anyone else to trust you?




  • Im sickened by what I see going on in AA. Its pretty depressing to go to a regular meeting these days. <img class="wp-smiley" src="../wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_sad.gif" alt=":(" />

    Where are the spiritual Warriors that care any out there???


    I just can't be convinced that AA fosters any kind of actual spiritual enlightenment, and that if you are a spiritual person, and crave the company of other like-minded people, you might seek them out in an environment that is more honest about what it's doing, like a Unitarian church, maybe?

    The thing is that if, as an organization — at the top of the chain — AA is unwilling to examine itself, to evolve, to do a 4th Step on itself, to make itself accountable — then it's not going to do that on the front lines, either (I mean, in the rooms).

    You're trying, and I hope that your efforts have a Butterfly Effect on the whole outfit.


  • JenX

    FTG – thanks for that I will post more later.  In the meantime, do you think you guys can help me say things a bit less verbose and more eloquently in this thread on the message board I frequent where there happen to be tons of 12 steppers that try to convince people that they need to drink the Kool aid?

    Here's the thread I'm in right now if you want to see what I'm talking about.



  • JenX, I have only read the 1st page of the thread so far, but it is funny that the first person to throw out the word "idiot" (completely unprovoked) is a 12-Stepper.

    I guess when they do it, it's called "tough love."

    Must be nice to be able to rationalize all your shitty behavior, and have a bunch of spiritually awakeneds agree with you.

  • JenX

    Thanks FTG!  You really don't have to read it if you don't want to.  I was just pretty worked up when I posted that link here.  Everyone at my office is at a conference so the handful of us left in the office with literally  no work to do have been spending WAY too much time on the internet. 

    I have been fighting with these 12 steppers for a few months though.  We have a lot of people on the board that are new to sobriety so there are a lot of daily support threads that get started, but unfortunately they turn in to a fight.

    To me it's getting to the point where I need concise intelligent remarks that I have saved that I can just cut & paste when necessary.  Sort of like you did with your FAQ.

    Seriously though, thanks a lot for checking that out and for what you are doing.  It is something that I believe in and feel really passionate about!

  • Thanks, JenX. Feel free to use anything I've written if you want to… Or you can link back to some of our posts. Keep handing those coercive steppers their asses over there. That "your best thinking got you there" response to the original poster really gave me headache.


  • humanspirit

    JenX I've just visited that site (what is is?) and saw some of your comments.

    Obviously I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I often wonder whether it's worth getting into heated arguments with convinced steptards.  Sometimes my approach to these things is to post one comment and then just leave it for a while,  let them get themselves into a heated lather and argue amongst themselves, and then post a kind of collective reply a bit later on.  Pisses them off no end because you refuse to stoop to their level of personal insult and refuse to get side-tracked into minute arguments of lunacy.  But I think that the useful thing about this approach is that someone out there – who could easily get bored with all the to-and-fro arguments  –  might just see the point of what you're saying and look a bit closer.  (But maybe I'm just saying this because I'm personally very bad at quick-fire arguing and get quite upset when people get personally abusive online.)

    But, oh my,  'Your best thinking got you here.'!! That's up there with 'easier softer way' and 'simple program' that we talked about a couple of days ago.  This is no bullshit,  I just never knew what that one was supposed to mean at all.  Is it supposed to mean that you rationally 'thought' your way into addiction and so you should now stop thinking and just obey orders (which obviously no sane person would believe),  or that your 'best thinking' is to be commended because it got you to AA? (Which equally no sane person would believe.)



  • humanspirit

    PS – JenX Maybe you should just ask the people on that thread what exactly  they mean by 'Your best thinking got you here', and the precise meanings of all the other slogans they mindlessly quote.  That would sure be enlightening for the rest of us!

  • Haha, humanspirit, I'd bet money they'll deny they even said it.

  • Commonsense

    Sometimes it can be fun to respond to the slogans when you act as though you take them literally.  I once complained that I didn't think it healthy to take cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth, especially if you have a history of ear infections.

  • JenX

    Ha Ha!  Great response commensense.  I think I will definitely have fun trying that one out.

    Hi humanspirit, thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comments.  I think you are right about waiting and posting more sporadically addressing several comments at once.  

    I think you were also asking what website that is, and in answer to your question it is a board dedicated to the band Phish and its fan base and said community.  We talk about music and just about everything else.  It can be quite the cesspool at times, but I've been a member for a few years, and it definitely helps pass the time if you're a cube dweller like myself. 

    Back to the original topic though, I really would like to create some great anti aa slogans to throw back at the steppers.  I think it might be a fun challenge to create some so that when faced with one of those drones we have a quick concise slogan like they do to throw back at them.

    Just a thought.  If I come up with any funny one's I'll post them.

  • JenX

    FTG, Humanspirit and Commonsense,

    It is with great regret that I inform you that the thread that I linked in here a few weeks ago about the guy that was looking for a non 12 step rehab never actually made it.  He found a place in Florida that he was going to go to the following Monday, and was really excited about starting a new and healthy life.  However, we learned that he wanted to have one last hurrah the weekend before he was to enter treatment and accidentally took his own life.


    He was only 30 years old, and will be greatly missed by his family, friends and dog.


    R.I.P. John O.

  • Oh no! JenX that is just devastating and I am so so sorry. It's heartbreaking.

  • Commonsense

    That is tragic and sad.  Never believe or tolerate the most hateful, disturbing and mindless slogan of all, "Some must die so that others may live."

  • humanspirit

    JenX I am SO sorry to hear that.  What a tragedy.

  • tintop

    That is very sad news.  

  • @c-sense–i usta not even think about how ridiculous and creepy that saying was.  have not heard it in awhile.  fuck, i am glad i am outta there. jenx, sorry to hear of your loss.

  • JenX

    Thanks everyone! 

    It was indeed tragic and so sad.  I really couldn’t believe it when I heard. 

  • Rosie

    I can really sympathize with a lot of the comments here and I know there are plenty of crazy and stupid people in AA, just like there are everywhere in life. I think it's great that there is this blog for people to vent and find a new community of people who agree with them that their AA experience was bad and even dangerous. I just want to say if you are reading this blog and wondering whether or not you should try AA, that I have never had any of this stuff happen to me in three years of sobriety, going to AA. I have never had anyone, including my sponsor, tell me I had to pray or believe in God. I have never had fellow members reject me for not being religious enough or involved enough in the program. I have never had anyone betray my trust. I've found nothing but acceptance and a willingness to be helpful from almost everyone I've met in AA. There are whack jobs everywhere – chances are you are going to meet more of them if you are going to a room full of drug addicts and alcoholics several times a week. Always remember that a certain percentage of the people you meet in AA are going to have mental issues, probably a higher percentage than elsewhere. They have probably been abusing their bodies and minds with substances for decades. I would say that it's a good idea to take with a grain of salt both the testimony from a rabid pro-AA person and the testimony from a rabid anti-AA person. People need to find what works for them personally in order to get and stay sober.

  • JenX

    @ Violet – Thank you!

    @ Rosie – "People need to find what works for them personally in order to get and stay sober."  

    Exactly Rosie!  That is one thing that you'll find that people over here agree with.  I don't mean to speak for other people, but that is one of the main differences between the pro and anti AA crowd.  AA and 12 step groups preach that the only alternative to AA/NA is jails institutions and death, and that is just plain false and dangerous to say.

    If AA/NA does not work for you or someone you know then I urge you to encourage them to try alternatives and find what does work for them.

  • Martha

    I am happy to find this site and The Orange Papers.   As others may be aware the "program" offered by AA is a fragile glass house bulit on sand.  When one decides to stop drinking and a stepper tells them they are powerless it just take a little validation to remind the person that their first impulse to use will power is the right impulse.  When an AAer tells a new member that sobriety is more than abstinence it usually only takes one conversation to validate the truth that abstinence is sobriety.  After I had this conversation with a friend who had been to AA for six months her sponsor actually had the nerve to call me up and tell me to stop undermining "Mary's"  program.   I asked her "you and what army will stop me from undermining her programing?"   She hung up on me.  "Mary"  quit AA,  read about SMART and RR and has been sober almost a year which is much longer than any time in the past decade.  At the encouragement of myself and other friends and family she is full of self confidence and feels empowered to remain sober.

    If we keep reminding people that sobriety is not the clusterfuck that AA makes it out to be and encourage  "self will"  and personal empowerment we can save people from ever having to deal with the 12 step cult.

  • Agador

    Is there any treatment or program available for all of you people and your overgrown image of your own intellect and your disdain for a God that loves you? Geez!

  • Ben Franklin


    Yes there is a program available for people of our intellect. I would tell you what it is but I am afraid you are too stupid for our program.

  • Welcome, Martha! I'm so glad you took a stand for your friend, and pulled her out of that revolving door.

  • @ Agador,  I do not disdain something that does not exist.  Since we live in a secular republic  you are entitled to believe in you God as much as I am entitled to be an atheist.   I do in fact trust my own intellect enough to have it guide my life.  We do not need to believe in or fear an imaginary being in order to me moral people. Morality comes from people not from invisible control freaks in the sky. America belongs to non believers as much as it does to believers.  I am encouraged that recent polls show an increasing number of young people in the USA do not have any religion and that they do not see atheism as being a dirty word.  

    "Holy War:  a bloody battle to determine who has the best imaginary friend."


  • Well, what can you expect from a guy who's wearing his brain as a hat?

  • I like Martha!

    Imagine! Agador believes it is a sin to think for yourself!

    I am sooooo glad I finally saw through the bullshit… don't know why I listened to the AA freaks for so long.

    Now I've finally found something that works.

    It's called me me me! I'm free!

  • k

    Donald your being selfish, your ego will destroy. I suggest do a moral inventory ASAP otherwise God will chuck relapse bolts at you!

  • Hey, k do you suppose that is why the statue of Jebus in Ohio  got struck by a bolt of lightning the other day?

    Another reason I get angry about AA is that they preach that anger is in and of itself a negative thing.  Wrong!   Anger is a natural and healthy response to many things in this world.  Anger does not hold some special place among other human emotions that requires us to deny when we are angry and I'll be damned if I will ever under any circumstances allow anyone other than me to manage my anger.  If anyone ever told me to go to anger management classes I will tell them to go to hell.  As with any other emotion how you handle it is what counts, but never allow anybody to tell you that you should not be angry.

    Speaking of thinking for yourself one of the moments of clarity I had about the cult called AA happened at an AA hall.  There was a bumber sticker on the wall that said  "Think."  My sponsor at the time told me (with a straight face mind you) that the sticker should say  "Don't  Think."   The following day I attended an AA meeting for the last time in my life, fired my sponsor, quit AA and finally felt happy, joyous and free.

  • Rotten Ralph

    Just one of the many good reasons I had for finally renouncing AA was the realization that there were so very many better ways of spending an hour and a buck that AA couldn't be considered a worthwhile option. Besides, if I wanted to drink again AA would be as completely ineffective as a preventive measure as it is as a remedial measure!


  • AA causes slips.  When someone is convinced that they are powerless and that they can only be sober for one 24 hour period at a time it becomes an excuse to drink.  My best thinking got be out of AA.

  • Randy

    I left Al-anon (actually the group ended because I took on the crazy, controlling woman who had taken it over). Some of the stuff I was "advised" to do was selfish, immoral, and designed to sabatoge relationships. I have since learned that the term "taking care of myself" is just a form of manipulation and an excuse for any type of irrational behavior. Been step-free since October and never felt better. None of the people in the group ever have been in contact. Good riddance. Just POed because I wasted my time there for the last few years.

  • I am linking this article about how the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared AA to be religious:  http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-09-08/bay-area/17

    The desicion happend a little over three years ago, but is not widely known.  When I was still in the cult I told my sponsor about this and she refused to believe me.  After I showed her the article she actually called AAWS to ask them what could be done about it.  She became quite angry at me and paid me an unintended compliment when she said that I was  out of control.  I told her that in fact I have always been  genetically and philosophically a noncontrollable human being.  She said I was sicker than she thought.  The more I think about it the prouder I am that I have helped others become sober by undermining their AA program.  And there  AA sits having no choice other than to sit there and take it. You might say they are powerless.

  • Hey Martha, You might be interested in this recent story, too.

    That "out of control" line cracks me up!

  • Thanks for the link about the atheist suing for his rights, Friendthe girl.   I wonder if the parole officer is in AA or just another non  member who blindly  enforces AA doctrine.  It is still all too rare to find professionals who will openly challenge the AA strangle hold on addiction recovery.  I also wonder if he was aware of the earlier 9th Circuit Court Decision or just had that 12 step arrogance  that says they know better.  Don't even get me started about the trips that steppers put on newcomers to stop taking medications.  AA members have an attitude that they know better than doctors and want people to use their faith healing religion for everything.  Another last straw for me was when they decided to serve only decaf coffee at the meetings.  They may label my love of coffee as an addiction, but that is one addiction that I welcome and celebrate.  I'll give up coffee  when they pry my cold dead fingers from my coffee cup!

  • Martha, You so freakin' funny! Yes! By that logic, someone should start Meetings Anonymous, where, if you even show up, you have relapsed.

    Don’t even get me started

    I can't think of anything better than to get you started. Ready? Go!

  • Rotten Ralph

    Martha: I must correct you on the "they are powerless" statement that you made earlier. My life was publicly and very earnestly threatened at my last meeting by a principal officer of the group, just because I had stated that God would not perform miracles on demand, and that quality sobriety demanded individual effort (physical, mental, as well as  spiritual). AA is  every bit a pagan religious cult, and every bit as potentially dangerous to its critics as Synanon proved itself to be! The same may be said of NA, perhaps even more so…


  • k

    Martha.  Read your last post on all I can say is how can anybody say AA isn’t a cult. Also like to say I am enjoying exchanges on this site its helping keep my mind off things through a difficult period.
    I just posted on 12 step forum of SR. To quote a member “AA is not a place for free thinking sober alcoholics”. Say no more I say.
    I remember some so called cult expert saying AA is not a cult, what planet is he on!
    Ps martha yeh the statue clearly got hit by god and was nothing to do with the science of lightening strking the highest points. 😉

  • Rotten Ralph,   it is outrageous and totally unacceptable that you were threatened.  It seems that sort of intimadation in meetings is the sort of power they do have.  However I continue to believe AA is powerless to stop efforts like this forum, the Orange Papers and other projects that expose AA.  They also have no power to take down the many Youtube videos like those of Dr. Stanton Peele.  They  have to accept the decison of the Federal Court that declared AA to be religious.  Personally I have no fear what so ever and they cannot impose any negative consequences on me.  I will "bash" AA at will and with impunity.  As I stated before I have influnced others to quit AA and by doing so helped them achieve sobriety.  I fully indend to continuue my efforts to undermine AA whenever I can.  If AA does not like it their only option  is to "turn it over."

  • Rotten Ralph

    Martha, you're a gutsy lady! However, I suggest that you read the posting "There are no limits to 12-stepper tactics" on the XAA website. Keep in mind that AA is not a static organization, and is constantly changing to become more authoritative, mercenary, less friendly and less tolerant of dissent than ever (a familiar pattern for organizations that have outlived any original purpose). Synanon (an outgrowth of AA) followed that pattern. BTW, local agencies are currently doing an end run around the Federal courts by mandating people into self-help addiction groups without specifying any of those groups by name (knowing full well that translates to mean AA or NA for these people). This was told to me recently by a gloating AA'er.

  • tintop

    Martha:  Determine what is right, then go ahead.  


  • Ralph, I read the "there are no limits"  thread.  I am amazed that those people keep gettting away with those tactics.  I did draw some encouragement form a post where a man mentioned that a therapist encouraged self empowerment to a patient who was staying sober without AA.  My own physcian sends his patients to SMART and gives them a list of non 12 step recovery facilities.  This because she noticed the revolving door nature of AA as well as her common sense rejection of telling people they are powerless.

     While it can be demoralizing to observe how much influnce AA has over counselors and the medical profession I think we should take note and be encouraged that there seem to be a few professionals who realize how bankrupt the 12 step movement has become.  It may be by the one and twos right now,  but that is how change takes place.  I was amazed by the number of resources linked at the Exposing AA site.  Also at the Orange Papers they have a meter of their trafffic and hits that is quite impressive. There are also thousands who have looked at the RR website.

    Now for some really bad news.  I just heard from a friend that a mutual friend of ours in now in detox for the third time since 2008.  She is a classic victim of the AA mentality who after every slip basically says "well I can't help it because I am powerless."  When she is sober and in her right mind she is a very bright woman and is open to hearing my experience.  When she is in the grasp of the steppers she just mouths the AA line and becomes defensive of them.  My dilemma is that I am not sure how much I should do right now to give her a new direction.  My fear is that if she even mentions alternatives to AA in a recovery center that they will try to silence her or even punish her with more mandatory meetings or worse.  What do others here thing is the best thing to do here?

  • Martha, Is she there voluntarily? How long will she be there? Do you visit her there?


  • She is there voluntarily, but her employer said this is her last chance.  She is a couple os sates away and I don't think she can have visitors for the first month of a 90 day stay.  From what I understand she has access to a phone, but not the net.  After she gets out she may come over here to my house to convalesce.  I am going to have her visit my anti 12 step doctor and offer to take her to SMART meetings. Right now she need medical support to withdraw and is considered to be in serious medical condition.

  • Rotten Ralph

    Hello again, Martha! You are a rarity – a true friend! Perhaps your doctor could prescribe Antabuse to your friend, at least for a while. I took it for six months (courtesy of the V.A.), and it worked fine in taking away the daily struggle over drinking vs. not drinking. Of course, the steppers were up in arms against it, but so what? I have never been through a rehab, even though I was given the opportunity. Heck, I needed that time to work and make some money! Hard work is therapeutic for me, and was an important part of my personal program until I retired. Now I work out, read much, and am studying the Bible for the first time in my 65 years. I'm not pushing any beliefs on anyone, just telling what currently works for me. AA does not, and never did. The judge that put me in it for three years was a member of AA, as I later discovered. He was trying to give me a break, I guess, because the D.A. wanted to lock me up. I hated AA so much that I was prepared to go back to jail, but my P.O. relented on the meetings because I was doing so well my own way. Good luck and God bless!

  • Rotten Ralph

    Surprising what the Bible contains: "These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence" Colossians 2:23 (NASB Reference Edition 1996).

    Now, why do you think Paul said that?

  • Primrose

    Martha, your doctor is a rarity.  I would very much like to hear the views of a doctor who has made themselves aware of the dangers of this cult.

  • Brian

    This is a great thread, I'm happy to have found this site.  I'm 25, been in AA since I was 19.  I abused other drugs mostly, but was taught in rehab to quit everything so I haven't touched a drink either.  But over the past year, I've felt that I wanted to be a social drinker with friends.  I've been terrified of these thoughts because of what I'm told at meetings, so I always think that I need to work my program harder.  I still have a lot of anxiety and self esteem issues, and I'm starting to feel that the AA program is contributing to it.

    I'm just scared to leave and try drinking with friends, I've been told that I will die.  I've been going through a lot of stress lately so I'm worried I'm in some sort of denial and I'm looking for a way out by drinking.  But whatever the case may be, I've questioned the program for a long time and I feel I'm just about to call it quits.

    Thanks for any feedback.

  • JPR

    Guess what……you won't die, grow horns or become a bad person!

    However, just be very careful in what you decide to do and use your 6 years sobriety and judgement accordingly! I found that once I quit AA, the actual desire to have a drink disappeared totally……….because I now felt I could drink. Bizarre but true.  

  • Welcome Brian! I believe 19 is way too young for AA. You've spend some formative years with these people… You know, you do deserve to know whether or not you can have a drink with your buddies.

    My advice is this: Disentangle yourself from AA, and do get some professional help with deprogramming. Do this before you experiment, because the indoctrination will hit you hard and you won't have the tools to deal with it. What concerns me is the AA teaching that "alcoholism is progressive" — in other words, even though you have been abstinent, your alcoholism is still progressing, and you will resume drinking right where you would be if you had never quit. ("My disease is out doing pushups in the parking lot.")

    It happens often that — because of these whacky beliefs — people who "go out" on AA, go out on a bender. They believe they're powerless, that they can't control themselves. And then there's the guilt. And the fear.

    So, deal with those things first: Find a good therapist, someone who can help you break the spell, to see the AA indoctrination rationally. If you're still feeling anxious, scared, worried — afraid you will die — then I think it's really really important that you work through this before you embark on new adventures.



  • I am writing a book and starting a new program for those of us who cant take AA anymore.

    I can see there are many who need something else.


    It's time.

  • Brian

    Thanks for the replies.  Friendthegirl, this is one of the arguments that I have had against AA for a long time, that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy once people decide to have a drink.  And since one sip is the same as 20 drinks, both are a “slip” in AA, why not go all the way, right?  And I always hated that quote about the disease doing pushups out in the parking lot.  There are so many irrational and superstitious beliefs being pushed that I feel like a sucker for buying into it.
    I’ve been in therapy for a few months, and my therapist seems to share similar views about AA, so I think she will be able to support me.   Stanton Peele also recommended a therapist that deals with people deciding to resume social drinking, so it may be worth having a few phone session with her too.
    I really feel that to get to the next phase in my life I need to break out of this organization and learn how to make decisions for myself.   I think a lot of personal growth will come from the ability to make this decision even though my family and the whole AA community that I have met will not be supportive.  Some decisions are tough I guess…

  • Martha

    Brian, your decision to leave AA behind is a sure sign of sobriety. Once you internalize the fact that you are not powerless you can make other decisions about your life free of AA indoctrination.  Abstinence is sobriety.  You have been told by 12 steppers that sobriety consists of attending meetings and "working a good program" for the rest of your life. The truth is that once you have quit using and drinking you have by definition achieved sobriety and can get on with your life.   IMHO you should remain abstinent while you shed your AA skin. I am on the fence about wheather or not it is possible to go back to social drinking.  I have read that some people can, but for me it is not worth the risk of getting in over my head again.

    Just to update about my friend who recently went to rehab.  Her medical condition has improved even though she is still quite shaky.  It does look like she will be staying with me when she gets out and I still hope to have her check out SMART and get some professional validation that there are alternatives to AA that work.

    Sorry to end on a tragic note, but I found out recently that a friend I had lost contact with who struggled with drinking for many years recently died form a combination of booze and pills.  I am told that he had been in and out of treatement centers numerous times in the past decade or so and  did several 90 in 90 trips only to relapse each time. When I knew him he was a very strong minded man with a lot of confidence. These are traits that AA brainwashes out of people.  AA would say that his "disease" got him, but I say that AA is a disease.

  • poetwomyn

    To Brian

    If you find that you cannot drink socially, please do not go back to AA–there are other alternatives these days.  The more you "keep coning back," the sicker you will get.

  • poetwomyn

    I agree with ftg:  get all of the indoctrination out of your head before you experiment.

  • poetwomyn

    It was pretty much all over with me after my sponsor told me to make amends to my sexual abuser and find my part in it.

  • Oh god, poet. I'm sorry…

  • andreasheinz

    Brian@stinkin-thing, yes.

    A standard human unit starts drinking at about age 15 w/ trial and error. It may be 5-10 years to learn the how to do.

    If your "drugs" had been pain killers and sleeping pills, forget it for now. Have a two-year brake.

    Else, for "anxiety and self esteem issues" social drinking is such a relief. But only social drinking. Drinking to cope anxiety etc might cause problems over the years.



  • Z

    I must say it is very relaxing to read through this and other threads here — lots of good insight and logic. I had figured out most of these points, with some effort, but I really didn't know this many other people had; what a relief.

  • Z

    @andreas and Brian, I was going to say something about this too; wasn't sure this was the place to give specific instructions on drinking. I agree with Andreas' points. Also: always eat, always drink water too, and realize glasses nowadays are often super-sized.

    My other thought was, beer with a group of 25 year old guys when you're not used to drinking at all, that can be awkward socially if you haven't practiced some cool and smooth ways to be the one drinking the least. To private venues, casually bring a few things to drink that aren't alcoholic; in a biergarten or bar, casually order them on the side, and tip the server for these so s/he doesn't forget about them.

    However, due to the open-ended nature of "beer with the guys" (see up thread!) I wouldn't test the situation this way. I'd plan an evening with a couple of friends where you'll stick to a rough itinerary, in some interesting area of town where you can stroll around. 1. Dinner, no alcohol; 2. ONE beer after dinner at the restaurant bar; 3. Stroll around and look at things, see boats on the river, ride on the ferris wheel, whatever there is; 4. Coffee in some pleasant cafe that's festive but that isn't a bar; 5. Home.

    THAT would be social drinking and I'd actually do variations on this theme before drinking in situations where the alcohol just flows.

  • Brian

    andrea: no, I was not into painkillers, sedatives, or alcohol.  Stimulants were my thing.

    Thanks again for the feedback.  I may end up trying it out with a couple of friends tonight, we're supposed to meet for dinner.  I appreciate your support, I have not done any meetings in a week now and I'm starting to feel more confident in myself already.

  • Brian, I love Z's itinerary for an evening of social drinking… And also, be aware of any AA triggers that may be tripped on this journey, so you can handle them.

    And also, have fun!

    And check back in and tell us about it.

  • Zach

    i was in AA for 36 days. i started reading all these negative and horror stories about it. when i called to check in with my sponsor yesterday about it he went off on me, told me i "wasn't ready for sobriety" and i should work the steps harder. i always felt like a few things were off, because i was told i cant be trusted to think for myself because "you're new, you don't know anything." he then told me "- you, and i never want to – see you at any of the meetings again." and throughout all that drama i didn't even think about drinking and in all honesty…if that's the type of people in AA i want nothing to do with it. if they think i'm "going back out" again, then whatever. people told me to get another sponsor, but what's the point? if we supposedly have no power over alcohol and our life is unmanageable why would i like someone with those things as well be my sponsor? it's ludicrous.

  • andreasheinz

    Brian plz

    not less drinks each day

    less days drinking.

    3 standard drinks (females 2) are a good thumb rule IMO.


    But w/ ftg I would LOVE some feedback.

  • Primrose

    Hi Zach, congratulations on getting out before you got too far in.  What made you question aa?  I would love to know what your trigger to doubt and leave was.  Mine as when I found the orange papers.  Do you think that more and more 'sponsors' might be facing similar critical questions?

    There is some really good stuff on this site under essential reading.  What an escape for you.

  • Brian

    So things ended up going well.  Met my friend after work, and we each had 1 pint at a local bar.  It was a good time and it wasn't really much of an issue to stop after that, I didn't particularly want a second.  We did a bit of shopping after and then went to eat some Chinese food and that was that.

    It was a very enlightening experience.  I did not turn into an out of control fiend, but rather felt that I'm taking back control of my life rather than depending on an outside authority to tell me how to act and feel.

    This site is what got me started on my search for real information about addiction.  Not sure how I stumbled here, but I'm glad I did!  But because I'm questioning everything I've also had ideas that I would be able to moderate other substances as well, which may be a different ball game than alcohol for me…



  • Hey, Brian, I'm so glad to hear that you had a good time! I'm also glad you checked in. Awesome. At the risk of being overbearing in my advice… Why don't you keep a little journal of your new adventure? Write about what you're doing and how you're feeling about it, while you get your feet under you. It's amazing the sorts of things that come flying out of your mind when you write, that you didn't even know were there… I'm just thinking that might be a good idea, because that way, if there are any morbid AA boogeymen slinking around, you might be able to expose them before they have a chance to blindside you.

    I'm also very glad you found us. I hope you stick around.


  • andreasheinz

    Brian, nonsense.

    If stop first, 2 pints after. Then you'd not talk that shit.

    Else, go fuck the world w/ your stupid drugs. Have a "nice" time.

  • andreasheinz, If you want your comments to be taken seriously, you really must do your best to make them coherent.

  • murray

    You sound like nonsense andrea, go pop another diazepam.


  • Z

    Re writing — it does fix things in your mind. When I did my first, disastrous ACOA/Alanon stint, they got me to do a lot of writing re the steps and so on. The suggestion put up a red flag, because I know the power of writing, but I set that aside (we were supposed to suspend disbelief, right?) and doing all the required writing was what undid me. Later, to detox myself, I ended up writing a kind of reverse version.

  • Brian

    @andrea: I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say, but the last time I checked alcohol was considered a drug too.

    @FTG/Z: That sounds like a good suggestion.  I had started a blog about a past interest of mine, so maybe I should start a new one to journal about what is going on.

    I'm not sure if your site is limited to alcohol specifically, if it is I'll make sure not to discuss anything related to other substances.

  • Hi Brian,

    Feel free to post about anything you want (as long as you don't sound like… ^you know who^ up there 🙂 )

  • tintop

    Brian, other substances may be your basic difficulty.  You may be able to drink beer without problems.  That may not be true of other substances.  So, be very cautious; no experiments.   There are safe limits to alcohol consumption, long term and short term.  Not a great deal is known about addiction. Medicine understands cancer or heart disease more than it understands addiction.

  • Rotten Ralph


    If you are truly an alcoholic (i.e. alcohol addict) the return to out-of-control drinking is not always immediate. It may take a few weeks before the old problems return. I know this from first-hand experience. Alcohol is a slow, insidious poison. Beware of those "experts" here that are supporting your risky decision to return to drinking. Their advice is no better than the "experts" in AA who tell newcomers to stop taking their prescription meds!

    Have you taken the precaution of discussing this decision with your doctor? How about your family? They're the ones who you will most likely be calling if drinking gets you into trouble. In my state (NY) even one beer will get you a DUI, and if there is any sort of accident involved….well, I hope that you have funds aplenty for your attorney! You could even be mandated back into the program again.

    The best way out of AA is not through the bar – that's the way back into that program! Don't drink and don't go to meetings! Those here that may be encouraging you have absolutely nothing to lose if you get into trouble, and will be of no help to you if that should happen.

    I am saying all this partly because of recent news of two men in your age group that had "a few beers with friends" and decided to go rock climbing without any equipment. One fell 300 feet to his death, and the other 100 feet. Alcohol can screw up your judgment like that, even for the non-alcoholic. No one gets into trouble by abstaining from the stuff, and it is still possible to go out with your friends as long as you stick to N.A. beers. My friends have actually paid me to go with them, since they needed a sober driver. Now, I no longer am available for that after watching them make idiots of themselves too many times.

    End of lecture. Good luck!

  • Brian

    @Tintop: Thank you for the advice.  Do you mean that you think there is a safe level of alcohol use, but not with other substances?  I can understand on an individual basis if a person has not had a history of alcohol abuse that it may be less problematic for them.  But I don't see why alcohol would have a safe level of us whereas all other drugs would not.  Why would this be the case?  Alcohol is a drug, albeit socially acceptable and in beverage form.

    @Ralph, I appreciate your input.  I have in fact discussed my thoughts with a therapist who knew me while I was an active addict, as well as my current therapist who I see weekly.  Neither of them seemed to think that it was necessary for me to stay in AA, although they left the decision of drinking up to me.  I mentioned before that I never had a problem with alcohol specifically.

    People can run into problems with alcohol, but just because some people have a few drinks and do something stupid and dangerous doesn't mean that most people are at risk of ending up dead after a few drinks.  You don't need alcohol to have fun, that is true.  But if my only reason for abstaining is fear that is not based on actual fact, then that is a problem too.  If the belief that I am diseased and something is wrong with me is spreading to other areas of my life (which I think it has), then that is a problem.

    Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate all points of view!


  • I was watching an empowerment video on YouTube and the author claims to have

    identified 6 human needs. Seemed to make as much sense as any and it became

    clear very quickly that the AA eco-system supplies material for all of those

    needs. It does this because it is not just a stop drinking program, but a way of

    life religious program.

    For many of these needs, it doesn't really matter if the material is true or not. It just has to be accepted for the need to be met. This could be why AA people react so harshly when someone criticizes the program, because it is meeting their life needs and they don't even know it. The response is visceral and illogical in the vast majority of cases. I mean, who can really defend faith healing unless there is more to the story.

    Here are the six human needs –

    Certainty – In AA, many false ideas are presented and adopted with certainty. You have a progressive, incurable disease and you are powerless, period. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Leave AA and it is jails, institutions or death.

    Variety – The steps and traditions provide variety and there are many positions

    to hold and the revolving door of people provides variety as well. If you

    completely commit to the world of AA, there is no shortage of things to do – it can be all consuming.

    Significance – You go from being a drunk to one of God's chosen people, it

    doesn't get more significant than that. Plus, when you become an old timer, your

    mere existence provides significance. Being a sponsor and "helping' a pigeon

    also provides significance.

    Connection/love – Meetings do provide connection, being with like-minded people,

    love you until you can love yourself, hugs, holding hands, etc. I have met what

    appear to be caring people, until they talk about the sponsee they had to fire,

    or when somebody leaves, then they appear kind of calloused. But there is much

    talk of love so it is a key ingredient to AA whether real or not.

    Growth – Coins, chips and birthday cakes are ways to mark growth, even if growth

    is only time in the program. Completing each step, spiritual awakening, getting

    the program and sponsoring people are viewed as growth.

    Contribution – Working with others, involvement in committees, events, GSR,

    Intergroup, Prisons, local business outreach, etc.

    If these observations are true, AA will never go away because being in the group

    meets those basic human needs. People will be in AA regardless of the logical

    arguments against AA, because it appears to meet their unconscious needs. When

    those needs aren't being met, people will leave, like many have done already.

    Using this model, I can see exactly which of my needs stopped being met and

    caused me to leave –

    Certainty – The deceit I have discovered has shattered areas of previous

    certainty and is probably the largest single category and now I am moving

    towards a new certainty in personal empowerment. I may fail, but I don't sense

    anyone is lying to me when they say it is my choice whether to drink or not. Or,

    that all of life is a series of choices and that I need to learn how to get

    better at making decisions and controlling my own mind and actions.

    Variety – There is variety everywhere and I need to get a better "class" of


    Significance – I never really bought the "you are special" crap, but it felt

    really good when I first read the thing that said Alcoholics are God's chosen

    people. Hey, look, when God was picking teams, he picked me! I'm sooo special …I

    don't want to be significant because I used to drink too much. I want to be

    significant because of my accomplishments today.

    Connection/love – Most connections with people in the program are conditional on

    me being a good little AAer. I need to create new connections with people that

    don't have their drinking past as a recurring focus in their life.

    Growth – I don't want their version of growth anymore. From a motivation

    perspective, I am a wreck and my life is suffering because of it. There is

    nothing in the program that provides a focus for self-motivation and

    self-determination. I need that more than anything at this moment.

    Contribution – I believe people need to contribute to feel whole and I need to

    find new ways to contribute. My online efforts at trying to expose a deceitful

    and possibly dangerous program seem to be partially meeting the need of

    contribution today.

  • Ralph,

    <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I bet it was as hard for everyone to offer support to Brian for his decision as it was for me. My instinct is to say “Oh HELL no! Nope! No.” I'm sure that's what we <span style="font-style: normal;">all</span> felt, reading his first post. How could we not?

    <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I took a breath before I offered support, though, because Brian is making a decision for himself, based on how he envisions his life… He intends to be able to go out for a beer with his buddies now and again. That's what his pals do, and he wants that, too. And he has no reason to believe that he can't. And, I might be overstepping here in my assumptions, but I bet, what's even more, is that he doesn't want to have to even worry about it. Maybe he wants to walk right up to that demon and make it disappear. He just doesn't want to have to think about any of that “alcohol is cunning…” “jails, institutions, death,” “my disease is doing push ups,” “I'm not a normie” stuff.

    <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Look, I'm a particularly neurotic and overprotective mother of a little boy, and one of the hardest lessons I have ever, ever had to learn in my life is that sometimes the boy knows better what's best for him than I do. Sometimes I have to trust him to make decisions for himself, because he has his reasons – he can really handle what he's put on his plate. I climb walls, seriously, because I want to tell him what to do. And then I bite my tongue, and it turns out that he had a plan and saw it through to the outcome he envisioned, and no one died of it.

    <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It might turn out that Brian finds that this experiment proves some of AA's aphorisms right in his case. But he is embarking on this adventure with a lot of information, with a therapist, and he is doing it mindfully – even checking in here – and I am going to respect that, and offer support rather than warnings he has heard before. He is checking in. He is making himself accountable. And perhaps, if it turns out that he discovers that it doesn't work, Brian has a community here that will support him in figuring that out, too. Because we certainly will.

    <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Ralph, despite everything I've said contrary to your advice, I do very much appreciate what you said and why you said it, and I understand it. It may turn out that your wisdom and sense of restraint will, ultimately, be the one that strikes the right tone in this particular situation. And so, I hope you don't find that I have devalued it, as much as I have explained my position.

  • Z

    @SoberPJ, very interesting on the human needs and the fact that since the 12 step program fills them, it doesn't matter whether the line is "true." That explains a lot.

    @Brian, Ralph, FTG – well, my tendency is to think that if you tell someone who's 19 – that's when Brian started AA, right? – who hasn't had problems before with alcohol specifically or tried it, that it's dangerous and they shouldn't try it, the project can backfire.

    I mean – I was told in 6th grade that trying marijuana would addict me to heroin, but in reality it didn't even lead me to much more marijuana. On the other hand, I told myself when I was 20 that trying tobacco wouldn't hurt, but it was insidious, and years of trying it occasionally led to eventually buying my own, although I never bought a whole carton because every pack was an exception, the last, etc. THAT was insidious, progressive, everything, and also very hard to quit; I really cannot just have one. Also, based on my reaction to the morphine they gave me when I broke my arm, that wouldn't be a drug I should play with, either! Just from that experience I can see how it would be. I'd say let's take just a little. In a few years it would be more, and I'd be lying on some couch in an upscale opium den next.

    I also mean – look at the results of abstinence based sex education. You tell teenagers, don't have sex, it leads to AIDS, insanity, and death! You do all of this and they end up pregnant anyway, more than before, and also neurotic. I think some information on how non addicted drinking is actually done can be useful, not as a directive to go out and do it, but just as information in case. A lot of people don't seem to know — there are whole cultures where people think they shouldn't drink at all and resist mostly, but then binge madly; those cultures are full of addicts; I've lived in Scandinavia so I know; people with no information on moderation and a lot of fear and also curiosity really get themselves into trouble.

    So, here's some more information on non addicted drinking: I think most everyone watches it to some extent, the way they watch on overeating, or on not eating things that disagree with them.

  • Rotten Ralph

    Diseased? Something is wrong with you? Aren’t you the guy who took positive action regarding his problems, and kicked his habit? Give yourself a pat on the back for that!
    AA doesn’t like what I’ve just said, because my statements encourage people, and give them well-deserved self respect. People like that don’t stick around, and keep the lie of AA going!
    You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Do a positive inventory of your strengths; it sounds to me like you have a lot of them! You are honest, determined, inquisitive, intelligent, brave and more for starters. The true losers never clean up their act in the first place, so why would you even begin to think that you’re one of them (unless it’s the old AA programming coming through). I read back through all your postings, and I see that you were in the program for six (!) years! How could you stand it for so long? You must also have the constitution of an ox!!
    Try this idea, if you would: just have an NA when you are out with friends. True friends will understand if you tell them that “you’re on the wagon”. False friends will not (my real friends never questioned me). See if you have any cravings for “real” beer. If you do, consider this: the only difference is the alcohol content.
    I had a good friend (a Vietnam vet like myself) who always started one of his countless slips with a beer. He never liked the stuff, but it always “loosened him up” enough to enable him to indulge in his real habit – hard drugs! He would soon flip out on those, and his other friends would call me to help them get him to the hospital, or clinic, or rehab, or whatever. Quite an experience, restraining another “Nam vet from jumping out a car window! I don’t know if he’s dead or alive now, since he didn’t return from his last stay wherever…
    Don’t take the chance that this could be you! I like to gamble, and I’d place the odds on you right now being able to drink (it is a drug, right) safely at about ten to one – against you. You’ve been away from it for several years, and don’t have any built-up tolerance. You place yourself in bars where other drugs may be available, and you have a history of substance abuse (like myself). Russian roulette is only five to one, right? So where are you going?
    All this to beat a lousy program like AA that I have beaten for 30 years without drinking?
    Illegitimi non carborundum!
    (Don’t let the bastards get you down)!

  • Brian

    @Ralph: Thank you for the compliments.  I do not really focus on what my strengths are and I would like to change this.  That's a big part of what my decision is about, being able to decide for me what I think is best no matter what everybody at meetings and my family may believe.

    But I just can't accept pursuing a goal (abstinence) out of fear anymore.  For the last year I have been terrified of drinking, imagine that!  I never used to enjoy drinking much, I've been sober for years, and for a year on and off I've been terrified about drinking!  How does that make sense?  One of the benefits of AA, I suppose.  I could no longer continue with that and wanted to just face it and see for myself.  If I am proven wrong, then I learned from the experience and can make a decision not to drink based on actual experience.

    @FTG: I think you really understand my reasoning.  I do not want this to have to be an issue that I even think about, and I want to be able to have the confidence to decide things for myself whether others agree or not.  I'm very happy to have your site as a source of feedback, it's not everywhere that it is easy to talk about these things.  Like you said, maybe my decision will end up being problematic, but then I'll have learned and can begin to focus on abstinence once again.

    @Z: I agree that information on "normal" drinking is useful and should be available.  The majority of people who drink or experiment with drugs do not have a problem with it.




  • Rotten Ralph


    I strongly suspect that you made your decision to return to drinking (and possibly other drugs as you implied in your July 9 post) some time before you posted your first message here. Your "reasoning" is a masterpiece of rationalization – I haven't heard anything quite like it before! I wouldn't assume that a return to any previous state of abstinence is guaranteed, though; you will probably be going to places that you didn't plan to and won't necessarily like.

    One good thing about all this, though: you have shown everyone here just how well AA and therapy really work! I can only guess at the cost to society that you have been and probably will continue to be.

    Good luck to you on your "vision quest", but don't bother to tell me how it goes. I've seen enough already.

  • Brian

    Ralph, I'm not quite sure why you take offense to my choices.  I appreciate the feedback you have given me, but don't pretend to know what the outcome of my decisions will be.  Nor do i appreciate being referred to as a burden to society.


  • Rotten Ralph, This sanctimonious bullying and disrespectful, demeaning language is way out of line. You found a way to make Brian's personal decision about you ("cost to society") in order to justify attacking him.  You don't know him, and he is not asking for permission.

    I didn't "blacklist" McGowdog, but I certainly will blacklist you if you continue to bring this kind of abuse to other members here.

  • Z

    Oh Ralph, I don't know — I have seen too much one size fits all diagnosis and sentencing these days, especially of younger people. I teach at one of the more drunken schools in the country (yes!) so I find out a lot because of learning the reasons why someone has to miss a midterm (court dates, for instance; I've even had people phone from central lockup to say please not to drop them from the class, they'll be back!).

    I know people who should probably be in state prison and aren't; I know raging alcoholics who have been sentenced to 8 AA meetings and have "learned" there that they don't actually have a problem, and on, and on. I also know people who've gotten into some trouble but have taken it seriously and don't need to be *quite* as worried about it as they have become.

    When I was Brian's age, sentences and things were lighter and the authorities were less paranoid. Lots of people had some trouble in their teens and then straightened up. Around 25 is when that happens, it seems to me. In my experience, loading gloom and doom onto people that young is counterproductive — a caution light works better. Also, if you don't let them figure some stuff out for themselves, they'll never feel they really know.

    I guess I could be called an "enabler" for saying that, but I disagree. My point is more like, if you don't give people some responsibility, they'll never have a chance to learn independence or leadership. Also: if you refuse to talk to them because they're not doing things exactly as you would, then you're not really leading, either (it being the case that leading isn't directing).

    (I realize I've sort of gone into faculty advisor mode on this, but I don't think it's entirely out of place: too many people are made to follow their directors exactly until they're 30, which is too old; too many others are abandoned to their own devices at 18, which is too young; there's a middle ground.)

  • As anyone can discern from the type of comments on this blog, AA is under increased scrutiny and it really can't defend its abysmal "success" rate. To further illustrate this point, here is an example of what is going on in the Addiction Treatment industry. This is from the website for an upcoming addiction conference –

    "Experts agree that the current systems for the treatment of addictions are inadequate in terms of policy, structure, methodology, and treatment efficacy. Only a small minority of addicted individuals receive the evidence-based treatment they need. This conference brings together policy makers, administrators, clinicians and researchers who will outline a new frontier in addiction services and discuss ways to adopt and implement a more expeditious, user-friendly, cost effective and evidence-based system. Speakers will be urged to brainstorm new ideas and think outside the box."

    The "current systems for the treatment of addictions are inadequate" refers to 12 Step faith-healing, religious approaches. The world of addiction medicine is trying to break the stranglehold that the ineffectual AA monopoly has on addiction treatment. And rightly so.

    The web site: http://www.addictions-conference.elsevier.com/

    Modern medicine and the increased awareness of the fallacies of the faith-healing approach are surrounding AA and will eventually drive it into a religious corner, where it belongs. Wonderful new treatments like the Sinclair Method, Harm Reduction, SMART Recovery, LifeRing, SOS, Rational Recovery and others are proving that people can quit without a God and even moderate their drinking without  jails, institutions or death.

    This is an exciting time for the addiction treatment industry!

  • That's awesome SoberPJ! I have been fantasizing about a convention of some sort… It seems like the very best way to inspire some progress in the industry. Great news!!


  • Z

    O good! I've been thinking about that post by Anonymous Of Course, for whom AA seems to have worked precisely because he took it in a relaxed way (except for the not drinking part). How did he manage this, I wondered?

    Theory: he kept in mind that it really was optional, non professional mutual aid. That meant he didn't do as some of us have done, namely, take it like a prescription (you go a licensed doctor for a known health problem, there is a treatment that is known to work, you follow it to the letter because that is what makes it work).

    So the problem with the 12 steps, as has been said before in this blog, is that it has gotten to be the "gold standard" and is seen as professional when it also explicitly isn't. So it has an out either way; this is how you get the accountability problem.

    Very good that it's getting dethroned.

  • Rotten Ralph


    Are you still smarting over my criticism of your advice to Brian? He is a 25 year old drug user who has been in weekly therapy for 6 years, who is contemplating a return to his former lifestyle. You encouraged him and advised him to keep a journal of his experiences – I advised him quite otherwise, at length and based on my experiences and finally questioned the cost to society of his past/future lifestyle (i.e., rehabs, therapy, court costs, etc.). I saw nothing in your training and experience that would qualify you to make a recommendation as careless as yours, and I challenge you to find a real MD that would.

    Your approach is much like that of some AA old timers who toss a fiver to a newcomer and tell him or her to go back to the bars and "do some more research".

    If you want to be highhanded and bar me from this site for what I said to poor Brian, that's fine; go ahead. I won't be censored by you or anyone else either here or anywhere else (ever hear of the First Amendment? – I once put my life on the line so you and others could have websites like this ).

    I have been getting a little bored anyway with all the criticism of AA here, with few ideas presented for workable ways for addicts to recover. RECOVER, right, not RELAPSE –  can you fathom the difference between these two words? Here's another word in the R's for you to consider: RESPONSIBILITY, both for the addict and for those dealing with them. How can an addict learn that while drinking or using?

    I hope you will at least leave my postings here, so visitors can see that AA is not the only dogmatic, controlling game in town!


  • Z

    Well Ralph, you're way out of line. Go to a meeting or something, maybe?

  • Rotten Ralph


    That was cute! There's a lot of "cute" on this site, but little more. Anyway, I was hoping that FTG would respond with backing from a REAL doctor qualified to deal with addicts (like the one I saw 31 years ago), but all I have so far is your response.

    In NYS, as little as two years of college (with a very easy curriculum) can get a person into the alcoholism counseling racket, and just four years gets one a CAC certificate. I had two friends in that business, and neither could do much else. No wonder the success rate for rehabs here is only 1%!

    Gotta go – don't want to miss the steps readings!

  • Z

    Ralph, this is a discussion board, not a virtual medical clinic, and you know it. Go.


  • Ralph,

    I engaged your first response to Brian respectfully, explained my own reasoning, and acknowledged that your advice might prove to be the wisest. I never insisted that I had the correct approach.

    And you can believe that my response to your abusive comment to Brian was a genuine response to your abusiveness. Really. Believe it. The fact that you don't think I could actually have a legitimate reason for responding as I did suggests to me that you probably don't know how abusive that was. I mean, you actually imply that we're draconian because you aren't allowed to be a bully.

    I will not censor comments or opinions. I didn't censor yours, and it's not because you thought you needed to shame me into leaving it up. I'm not going to ban you unless you continue to treat members the way you treated Brian. I don't know if you understand why that was abusive (I suspect not), but I'm just not going to tolerate it. I have a great threshold for heated debates and all kinds of smack-talking and tantrums, but this wasn't one of those situations.

    Considering what your expectations for this blog are (Doctors' advice, substance abuse counseling, support group, treatment suggestions…) I think you might want to have another look at the tagline up there. Why the heck would someone come to someone's blog and chide them for not writing about something completely different? We have a focus.

    Finally, thanks for defending the 1st Amendment. I am sorry you don't really know what it means.


  • Ralph,
              It looks like you're trying to define what is "real recovery" for Brian and what is not. When Brian explains why making his own choice is important to him, you warn him of the dismal fate that awaits him and insist that your way is better than his. Then you go on to accuse ftg of being an enabler because she supports Brian's decision.

    I've seen this type of thinking somewhere else before… but I can't remember where.

  • k

    Ralph you would be better suited to AA. People there love dictating to people what they should and shouldn't do.

    Brian needs to discover this himself what does and deosn't work, cautiously and with knowledge of other peoples experience.

    Forcing abstainence doesn't work it potentially creates guilt induced binge drinking. Prohibition didn't work, ironically, AA was formed shortly after.

    I think writing a diary is an excellent idea, then you can see whether you have control. Infact its what my local addiction services recommend

  • MA

    Why is it that the people who are apt to cite the first amendment, don't understand the first amendment?

  • Primrose

    Brian, I think it is a brilliant idea to write things down in a diary so you can look back and see your thoughts emerging.

    I found it helpful to write down beliefs I may have internalised, eg.

    I have a deep spiritual disease

    If I have one sip of an alcoholic drink, I will be unable to control myself from drinking uncontrollably.

    If I don't join the cult (I call it the cult, that's just me), I will inevitably die.

    Until I have been in the cult for some time, and have 'worked the steps', I must not trust my own human intelligence at all.

    I am powerless and I need to join a cult.

    I eventually need to go and get more vulnerable people, tell them to join the cult or they will die.

    You decide what you want to do, Brian, but you must examine whatever barmy beliefs you may have been infected by.

    I assume you have read the orange papers?  My advice is that you find your own mind, and keep on informing yourself.  No one here is demanding that you live your life in a certain way.  I am advising that you continue to inform yourself.

    I welcome Ralph and anyone else from aa to come on here.  I hope they go back to their cult meetings and warn people that the end is indeed nigh.

    Well done Brian on thinking for yourself.  If they had you at 19 …

    All the best Brian and stick around here.  If you have any questions you will get answers from individuals, not a self-perpetuating cult.

  • Primrose

    I can't find it, but in the dark days when I thought I was alone in these thoughts, I wrote a list of all the adjectives that aa (official aa literature, not quotes from internet boards) used to describe the (artificial construct known as) the 'alcoholic'.

    They were pretty awful and I have to admit I am longing to find them (buried in the many, many cheap school exercise books (copybook?) that I filled in the time I was subjected to the dangerous tripe of the rooms). 

    They went somewhere along these lines:

    selfish, manipulative, cunning, dishonest…

    (Yet another inversion of the truth; these are all words I would use to describe apologists for this cult)

    I think that Orange's chapter on 'Us Stupid Drunks conspiracy' is very important.  We do not have a disease in common.  We are not a homogenous group in any way.  We are people who wish the truth about the 12 step movement to be known (I think).

    I know that this is not a forum for advice, but if I may break that rule, I would strongly advise that Brian keep his writings carefully dated and kept in some sort of order as they go along.  I am currently putting together a big jigsaw puzzle of my copious writings from those 4 years. 

    I bet the cult will be very sad to lose you, Brian.  If you joined at the very beginning of your adult life, you could have become a real poster boy.

    Have you asked your family or friends to look at the orange papers or this site?  It occurs to me again and again (and I know that I may sound like a salvation story but in my own life, it is not an exaggeration) that it was the black and white words on a screen that saved me.  If your family are keen on you going to aa, they may think that you are going through (the artificial construct of) denial.

  • Brian

    I just would like to clarify a few things based on the past few comments.  I have been in therapy since January.  I quit smoking in December and my anxiety skyrocketed, so I wanted to deal with that.  I also did some therapy over last summer for anxiety and school/family issues.  It is AA/NA that I have been regularly doing for the past 6 years.

    FTG has not told me it is okay to go back to my past lifestyle of drug abuse.  This isn't the question I even asked.  What I am trying to explore is whether or not it is possible to moderate while AVOIDING falling into the problems that I have in the past.  The occasional all night rave, for example. I am not the same person I was before.  I'm independent, pay my rent/bills, have a decent job, and will most likely be starting my masters degree soon.  In the past I had dropped out and couldn't hold a job, and would stay awake for days at a time.  That is certainly not a lifestyle I am hoping to return to.  The reality is that the answers AA have given me are no longer sufficient.  I am trying to find real information regarding addiction to come up with an answer that I feel comfortable with.  Maybe that answer will be that I should not experiment, and it ends there.

    @Primrose: Thanks for the feedback.  It sounds like you have been able to undo a lot of the thinking that AA stuck into your head.  I've began reading some of the Orange Papers, but I haven't gotten through much yet.  I read a lot of the AA Deprogramming site too, which has been very helpfull.

    As you said, I think writing will be very helpful.  Right now I kind of cycle through feeling confident and feeling afraid, so getting it all out might make things more clear.

    I do not think that my family will be interested in that site.  I am not really in touch with my parents at this point, but when I tell my mother that I left AA it will be a huge issue.  She worked at the rehab that I went through and speaks the recovery lingo pretty well.  There is a chance she will decide to cut contact with me as long as I am not completely abstinent. But I cannot make my decisions based on conditional acceptance from her.




  • Z

    @Brian, rock on. I admire you. I've also cycled through feeling confident I didn't need to think of myself in these 12 step terms, and fearing I did. Much more doubt in the past than now, but I'm still detoxing myself from it, as is evident.

    I just read through an earlier part of this thread than I had before, from April, rebuttals to the AAer Heather. It was long ago I realized there was something wrong with the 12 step paradigm, and I basically spent a whole summer writing it out. Yes I wanted to just walk away (as she recommends), say well no, not that, on to the next thing. But it's not like a restaurant you just decide not to return to, or like trading in your car; it's not even like something serious like grieving a death; it's rejigging a whole, destructive way in which you've been taught to think of yourself. That takes some effort and it's a pretty cheap shot (and also a low blow) to claim it's "self pity" or "wallowing in despair."

    Someone upthread used the term "mental rape;" I think that's about right. They also said their goal wasn't just to get over it personally, but to do that and also bring the whole thing down. I am for that, too (after all, what was that about helping others? ;-)).

  • Z

    And – P.S. – more on getting over it. People think I *am* over it, because I got over the depressive crisis I had as a result of it, and accomplished a lot of other things.

    The way in which you can tell I'm not over it is, I'm still not as high functioning as I was originally (and no, I was not "overfunctioning" due to "denial" or any such rot).

    So what am I doing in the time I am neither working, nor playing, nor relaxing or sleeping? I am fighting the demon of 12 step ways of thinking about the self, so as to get all of myself back! And it's a serious battle, it's not "wallowing," or "complaining," or "overanalyzing."

    I used to try to just walk away or move on ahead, but would get blindsided by the 12 step admonishments and lose energy/focus, as though a cylinder had gone out or something, and I wouldn't understand it. I finally realized I had to do what Primrose said, write out what their messages were and work out the rebuttals that apply to them — and then practice these, so I could use them automatically when necessary.

    Laborious? yes. Time consuming? Yes. Incomprehensible to people who haven't been through it? Yes. Necessary? For me, yes, it's been the only thing that actually helped. (It might have helped, too, to be in a position to shed my skin, leave it all literally behind, but I'm sure that even so, I'd have had to work some of it out.)

  • Brian

    Thanks, Z.  It sounds like you are really dedicated to overcoming the 12-step mindset and developing a new self-image.  You mentioned that it is not like leaving a restaurant, and I know for me I have to acknowledge that recovery from recovery will be a gradual process.  Being told something over and over again makes it sink in deep whether we are aware of it at the moment.  So, rock on! 🙂


  • Martha

    I have a question about the words "stinkin thinkin."  AA members used to use the term to  describe thinking that was contrary to the AA party line.   Now days it seems a lot of members use the term to deride the concept of thinking at all.  "Working a good program"  is defined as just accepting the thoughts of Chairman Bill without questioning anything. Thinking itself is frowned upon by hardline members of the cult. My sponsor once pointed to a sign at the AA hall that said THINK and announced that the sign should say Don't Think.  Nobody challenged her  about that and I believe that hostility to independent thought  is becoming generalized in AA as a whole.

    I found that it takes some time and a focused effort to get beyond the 12 step mindset.  AA words, slogans and concepts have taken root in the general population and this makes it more difficult to move on even after you stop going to meetings and find freinds outside of the "I am diseased" mentality.  It takes some time to stop thinking that you are in recovery for the rest of your life.  It took about two years for me to stop calling myself a recovering alcoholic.  I simply call myself a non drinker or a teetotaler.  Once you become comfortable with using non aa speak you can internalize your non aa persona.  Nothing requires you to use the term recovering alcoholic even though a few people will argue with your new self description.  It also helps to keep reading information that validate simple concepts like the fact that abstinence is sobriety, and that words like dry drunk do not apply to you.  Reading posts here and reading the latest letters to The Orange Papers also help you get beyond the stinkin thinkin that defines AA.

  • Z

    Gracias, Brian … Martha, yes, the anti-thinking mentality. It's part of the nationwide don't think for yourself mentality, I am convinced.

    Martha, the very term "stinking thinking" is abusive and self-deprecating, I find — like calling yourself "stupid."

    If I look at lists online of what "stinking thinking" is, and then try to tell myself I am "in denial" if I think I am not thinking that way or if my thoughts don't fit those paradigms exactly, then I also feel oppressed / out of touch.

    People have internalized this idea that you should "be gentle with yourself," and I find one non useful result of that to be that they don't want you to criticize any of your own work. But I've got pieces I like better and that I like worse, and I'd like to recognize the pieces I like better, and take credit for them, not just say it's all good (so the good ones are no better than the others).

    I also prefer to be able to look at errors, but not call myself "stupid" in general, or call my thought processes "stinking."

    I mean, really — how much is one supposed to go on using abusive language toward oneself and introjecting this lowly self image they seem to insist one assume? It's ridiculous.

  • @poet:  you prolly have heard this sort of thing b4, but i was looking at this thread and saw your lunatic sponsor wanted you to make an amends to your abuser…you are, without equivocation, not alone in that. i struggled with this for years.  finally i found a chick who i am still friends with who was like, "alanon steps are not as harsh–do those." and even then, she backs me up with taking those even with a grain of salt. i had an old sponsor (another woman) who was (stop reading if you are sensitive) raped by her own father.  she said she was dishonest ("where was IIII wrong?") b/c she kept it to herself.  I found that this woman would get into a "funk" and not get outta bed at times.  But b/c she was a good AA she never went to therapy or considered med.s b/c "God had chosen [her.]  And [she] was saved by AA." UM? True story. The more I questioned this sort of thinking openly with people who centered their lives around AA and the local meetings, the worse things got for me.  Now that I am REALLY out of AA, though I worry about using, I do not worry about feeling shitty due to the company I am keeping. These sponsors who tell us to make amends, I do not think they are truly at fault.  They are FU–ed up. They are living the AA crazytown  ideology.  They cannot get out as we did.  That is my take anyway.

  • gibsonize.  like this 🙂

    i feel like 12 step programs, whatever-A you might find yourself involved in personally or indirectly, fosters and encourages a sort of scapegoating as a  coping mechanism. though aa teaches you to look at you–that bullshit (where was iiii wrong when i was molested/raped/made fun of/whatever)–it also teaches you to look down on/condemn/speak with condescension to the newcomer and/or relapser. it is fer sure a bag of douche mentality/ideology and it is a huge shame.  i mean there are so many people who suffer or at least struggle.  why cannot there be a way to cope in groups, a place to get support like the whatever-A place that is the only show in town.  the masses are indeed asses.

  • Z

    Yes, there is that! I also guess there are more disordered personalities in there than one realizes.

  • Z

    @Violet, it was interesting being in Mexico earlier this summer because there are a couple of political and media groups who are trying to use AA type ideas to heal the country, or so they allege (I’d say it’s more like, impose a certain right wing ideology). Anyway, one piece of propaganda I saw said that a “real leader” always tells people they are chosen by God! Chilling.
    And I guess you’re right. Some people are living the crazytown ideology and cannot get out. It’s hard for me to accept this especially since one such person in my life has been a good friend. She has decided, though, that she can’t get through the day without 12 stepping and I’ve realized, thinking about it, that her background is a lot more authoritarian than mine and that I got the opportunity to be exposed to some flexibility early on and she didn’t.
    Still, the most recent time I saw this person in person, I was amazed; she seems to use the 12 steps to calm herself and justify what she does, and keep things down to a dull roar; yet she also uses them to abuse others.
    So — I understand that people are FU–ed up, and one should get away from them, but also think the whole sanctification of 12 stepping should be stopped, for everyone’s protection!
    More on this person, because she’s such a good example of what bothers me: was one of those who, in college, thought spending massive amounts of money on drugs was actually cool — I remember wondering, your sister is spending that much time/money in this destructive activity and you are going to ADMIRE that and think it’s COOL?
    So years go by, then the sister is in very bad shape and in NA/AA, my friend goes to Alanon, they are both saved. (Note: their father was also a bad drunk.) OK but it seems to just put them in holding patterns; I would say OK, that’s not too bad, lots of people are, but then they seem to Gibsonize and also patronize at least certain people they’ve designated (one now being me) and I can’t help thinking NA/AA/Alanon didn’t *really* help.
    I think it just taught them to let off steam safely and without enough damage to get caught or even called out. Because I’d say something if I thought it would work, but a small step toward that got me the response that “I didn’t make sense” and “They couldn’t understand” and “I was a poor communicator” … all of which meant no speech was allowed outside the cult.
    So anyway, I’m being long winded but I mean I agree, you can’t fault individuals because they’ve gotten stuck inside this totalizing system; professionals and the general public really need to know, though.

  • K

    It dawned on me today after 6 months of drinking the AA cool aide, this smells like a cult.  I goggled AA Cult and surprise, I found this forum.  Escape is will be scary, unless I move.  Oh, I am not allowed to move in the first year.  Wish me luck.


  • Primrose

    Hello K.  I am pleased you have found this forum.  In my opinion the two important facts about aa are that it doesn't work and that it does a lot of people a lot of harm.  Have you read the orange papers?  That was the first thing that I read that convinced me that I wasn't alone.  You can plan your exit strategy.  What made you think (correctly in my opinion) that it was (is) a cult?

    I found the orange papers by googling, 'How effective is aa?'.  I felt as though I had been released from prison.

  • Z

    @K if required to go, REALLY remember "take what you need and leave the rest" and do NOT listen seriously to exhortations about "doing the whole program" unless there's a way to do it that you really think would be helpful to you. The second (non traumatic) time I attended Alanon For A Reason, I was reading the Orange Papers at the same time. This really helped me keep my head.

    @Primrose, more on the health system: I got PTSD from the bullying situation of having them work the steps on me and make me work them on myself. It really was like interrogation/ torture, as it seemed one could never be honest enough for them no matter what one did, or humble enough. So then later I had to be treated for that, still am to some extent, as it's hard to sort out all the elements that go into the state of shell shock that can come over me.

    My point: it was very difficult to find anyone who was willing to treat it or even countenance it, in part because of what I know caused it. It was so frustrating, I dreamed of going to one of those centers for torture victims! I finally did find someone but it took a lot of seeking.

    This, again, is why I think your kind of plan, to ask treatment centers why they use the 12 steps, is good. I also think (and this is a good idea) that to compile and make public a list of providers who are willing to recommend or can work with other methods, and are willing to be advertised in this way, would be very useful.

  • K, you rock.  And by the way K, if yo are in an abusive relationship, even if your life has been threatened, better stay.  Just kidding.  I am happy that you found this site. I too have felt like moving or joining the witness protection program myself in the past. I stopped going and had not been for months, maybe even a half of a year, then went about two weeks ago. What a waste of time.  But really, it showed me that AA is in fact as creepy as it was in my head.

  • z, how did you find some1 willing to do this?  did you have to 1st go thru many professionals who were like, oh, the 12 steps are fine, what r u talking about?

  • Primrose

    K, when I felt very uncomfortable with the whole thing, I just didn't speak in meetings or get a sponsor.  I certainly didn't 'do' any steps.  If you have read the orange papers you will know that only about 5% of aa members remain by the end of the first year.  You are only doing what 95% if people do.  Are you going to aa of your own accord or are you forced to go?

    Although I don't think that there is a disease called alcoholism, I do belief in brainwashing.  Reiterating publicly one's powerlessness is a form of brainwashing and people come to belief that it is true and so it becomes true.  You must tell yourself that you are not powerless.  The concept of powerlessness is bizarre and damaging.

    My name is k and I am not an alcoholic.

    I am not powerless over alcohol.

    There are some alternative steps on exposeaa.

  • Primrose

    Thanks z, I am working down a list of all the 'treatment' centres used by my local authority, ie STATE MONEY, and all are 12 step so far except one that is definitely not and one which doesn't use the 12 step model but does lay on buses to meetings if inmates want to go, which to my mind is aa, because it is an all or nothing, black and white philosophy.  The ones that do use the 12 step model I want to write to, citing orange, valiant et al.  I have asked Speedy if I can copy (or read and edit) what he/she has written to someone at Columbia University.  I mention the orange papers as much as I can, because my fictional atheist brother is using it to avoid aa treatment.  No one has heard of them so far, but all agree that he is 'in denial'.

    My idea was to inform these twunts of the truth about the tripe they are peddling, but I see your point; it would be useful to have a list of non-aa treatment centres available for people like my fictional brother.

  • K

    Primerose, my realization that AA is a cult came from a white light experience.  I grew REALLY depressed and lost my self esteem from the daily beatings and guilt the "elders" laid on me.  What really alarmed me was discussion of my sex life.  I thought, you have to be kidding!!  They have no business  knowing about my sex life.  I was informed I would never be cured until I discussed past and present sex with "another human being", my sponsor.  What qualifies them to be sex therapists?  So I goggled AA Sex, guess what I found!  Big Billy was a horn dog!  He made Tiger look like a saint.  Many of his peers left AA due to his sex addition.  His actions resembled David Koresh.

    Enough on sex.  I am really struggling getting away from these people.  I am so glad I found this site and know there are people who feel the same.  I am so tired of believing I have an incurable disease and only AA has the golden bullet.  I found and read the Orange papers, thanks for the tip.  Very enlightening.  Thanks all, I'll check in later.  Old habits are hard to break.


  • Primrose

    K, the big difference between this site and the cult is that this site does not try and stop you thinking for yourself.  Inform yourself.  If you are going to read the orange papers, then maybe start with the chapter on effectiveness, which is neglible.


    Take it easy. 

    He is also good on cults.  If you want to leave, plan your exit strategy.

  • Primrose

    You have a right to a private life.  Do not let anybody infringe your right to a private life.

  • Primrose

    K, aa is teeming with sexual predators; I had two experiences myself which I was able to handle.  Part of the reason I am here is for the benefit of vulnerable young women coerced (by whatever means) into this cult.  Just because someone has been in a cult for many years is no reason to trust them.  It just means they have joined a cult for many years.  In my book, that is a reason not to trust them.

    Take care

  • Primrose

    Do not take my, or anybody else's word for it.  Check all the references.  Ask your own questions.  You know this site is here now.  (very platonic hug)

  • Z

    Violet (and maybe K) – yes, I had to go interview many, many professionals to find one who could be critical of 12 step and also deal with PTSD and also have some training in emotional abuse issues. It's not easy to find these people at all, at least not in my experience. Often, I found that interviewing them wasn't as good as getting recommendations, because many lie when you act direct questions or don't think you have the right.

    Or of course, I am too intimidating: I've got this mega academic training which means I can ask penetrating intellectual questions and expect more than a superficial answer; if they're invested in authoritarianism or they're insecure, they won't like it.

    What worked best for me was to listen closely to all reports of smart people seeing psychiatrists and psychologists, then ask them brazenly who they were seeing and why, and what they were like.

  • Primrose

    k, my first realisation was when I got a lift with an old-timer and I was asking about newcomers,  He said, in an offhand way, that if every 'newcomer' (read vulnerable human) had stayed, aa would need to hire Wembley Stadium.  That was when I made (in retrospect) the very good decision to not speak, get a minder, or do anything except turn up to as many meetings as I could literately bear, to form my own opinion.  I joined an online forum, and heard the ops mentioned.  Since I read the ops, even before, I planned my exit strategy and it hasn't been easy. I haven't set foot in the rooms for at least 3 years.

  • Primrose

    and 3 months.

  • Martha

    K, you should try to divorce the 12 steppers a.s.a.p.  You do not owe them any exlpaination.  People here can offer support and there are programs like SMART recovery that teach self empowermment. I suggest that your first act of self empowerment might be to walk away from aa.  It is creepy that your sponsor wants to know about your private life. IMHO they want to use that information to control you. Either to make you feel gulity for having a sex life or so they can get their jollies or try to involve themselves with you.

    I am concerned that you express fear and that you think it necessary to move. If that is the case you should call the authorities, get an attorney and at the very least have your non 12 step friends check in on you. When I left I gave no explaination and I was glad I had not shared my personal history in meetings and did not confide in my sponsor.  Don't worry about what members of the cult think of your departure even if they assume it means you are having a slip. Your life is none of their business.  Even if you are currently under some sort of mandatory order to go to aa remember that an attorney can invoke the Federal Court decision that says that people can no longer be required to go to aa because in the court's opinion aa is a religion and non aa groups must be offerd to you.

    Always remember;  abstinence is sobriety. you are not powerless. you do not have to be in recovery the rest of your life. there is no such thing as a dry drunk. once you stop you are by definition sober and you move on with your life.

  • Martha

    From The Orange Papers;  How AA Steals Your Soul


  • k


    Thanks for your help and advice!  I feel very confident in my ability to stay sober.  I will look into SMART recovery.  Its good to hear there are no dry drunks.


  • Primrose

    Remember k, you are not powerless.  That is a very powerful myth, spread by the cult.  If you want to leave, plan your exit strategy.  Inform yourself.  Inform yourself.  Inform yourself.  Auntie Google is your friend.  All best, and congratulations on getting your head back.

  • Martha

    Stanton Peele video on the myth of the dry drunk:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gep1nv3MS8w

    Peele has a number of videos on Youtube that debunk the 12 step cult.  K, very good to hear that you are confident. Self confidence (self will)  is consdered to be "stinkin thinkin" in 12 step groups.  I said in a meeting one time that my self confidence was returning and when I did suddenly the prohibition on cross talk went out the window and I was told by several aa members that self confidence will lead me back to drinking!  They turn reality on its head with that sort of crap. They resent those of us who exude self confidence.

  • kurtrambis (aka k)

    K, so you got beat up in AA?

    Also whats a horn dog?

  • k

    kurtrambus, if you call mind f..ed by the step work beat up, yea.  I didn't know there were recovery alternatives.  I was told AA was the only solution.  I don't know what was worse drinking or my loss of self esteem.  

    A horn dog is a man who who like a male dog humps everything in sight  Like another well know Bill, William Jefferson C.


  • andreasheinz

    "your stinkin thinkin get you here"

    thats SMART

    SMART sponsors, sponsors sponsors

    CBT REBT cognitive therapy – Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck


    am I right or are you wrong?

  • andreasheinz

    to much aa & 12step here. Byebye

  • D'oh!

  • k,

    Validation was a really important pert of the deprogramming process for me. AA's soul surgery had planted a real sicko 12 stepper deep inside of my head… I was abusing the shit outta myself and I thought I'd go crazy. Someone referred to "my inner stepper" the other day and I laughed my ass of because I sure do understand what that means.

    My advice to you is to cut all ties. Don't even go to recovery forums dominated by AA… They will just feed your "inner stepper." You need to starve that bitch out.

    Stick around here and interact with healthy people who are too smart for their own goods. 🙂

    Read lotsa stuff about how AA sucks. People are talking out there. You are not alone in this. Don't be afraid to think for yourself again.

    There are a ton of links at my site…


    Whatever you do!!!! Don't let anyone tell you that leaving AA will cause you to drink… You can't make it without them… You are morally reprehensible because you are breaking free of AA… Your thinking is fucked up and you will eventually fail… You are powerless… Other methods are like whistling in the dark… Any brainwashing bullshit must go!!!!!!

    Erase all of the AA freaks #s from your phone. (even the folks who you think are really nice and only wanted to help) Lose any links to 12 step recovery sites. Tell your sponsor you are NO LONGER INTERESTED! Stop taking calls from cult wacko's.

    That's the best advice I can give you.

    Going back to the same well to drink the same dirty water over and over again will only make you sicker. Stop picking at the wound and let it heal.

  • andreasheinz

    @ Donald

    dirty water is mexican beer

    aa's blood coffee is good quality – 100% arabica – and its hot

  • Z

    @Donald et al, yes, "inner stepper," that is what I battle.


    But I have figured out that what those groups are for are for people who want to talk aimlessly and aren't super goal oriented. So, they've come up with some clever rules of engagement wherein everyone gets floor time, nobody is allowed to interrupt, and there's some sort of nebulous focus. The contradictions in the theory actually help to keep people wondering,  keep everyone coming back. This type of person really does exist, and I think Frustrated Steppers are people who expected more than that!

    Validation was and is also really, really important for me in deprogramming and I recommend cutting ties, too. If you know what you want, take it and don't look back!

  • A Harvard study revealed that 95% of AA's coffee sucks. 🙂

  • groovecat

    sorry for the bold-font, i can't seem to unbold it. this is my story that i posted on SMARTRECOVERY.ORG website.


    what worked for me to stop drinking

    <!– / icon and title –><!– message –>

    <!– BEGIN TEMPLATE: ad_showthread_firstpost_start –><!– END TEMPLATE: ad_showthread_firstpost_start –>hello all, i hope this helps someone. i've been mulling this around for a few days, and finally decided to post it. this is what i did to stop drinking to excess. this process did not happen over-night. it took years. about 4-5 years…maybe this can help someone who is where i was, and can give them hope and maybe save some precious time.

    first, i quit going to a.a. as a result of some research i did regarding it's roots. (yes, i know, this is stinkin-thinkin.com. smartrecovery.org doesn't condone trashing other stop-drinking methods. actually i stopped going to aa because i realized it was a crock of shit that was doing me more harm than good.)

    second, i used the tool-box tools here (smartrecovery.org). it took some time (years), but they are finally ingrained into my everyday thinking processes.

    third, i got off the Zoloft. that was not easy, as i'd been taking it for 13 years. i decided to do so because i read somewhere that Zoloft can actually increase cravings for booze in some people. no wonder i had such STRONG INTENSE CRAVINGS FOR BOOZE! i am one of those people. now i no longer suffer debilitating cravings. i did this under my doctor's supervision.

    fourth, on my doctor's advice, as i had been diagonosed as clinically depressed and was going off the Zoloft, i began sessions with a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. she told me to read "forgive for good" by luskin, or lufkin, or whatever his name is. i went to the library to check it out, and also found "forgive your parents, heal yourself" by grosskopf while searching. i read them both. grosskopf's book really spoke to me. i was able to understand why my parents did such a lousy job raising me, and why i was so angry all the time (some believe that depression is anger turned inward. i believe so, in my case. i just got tired of being angry all the time, and became depressed at the state of my life and how i never could seem to get ahead, and felt hopeless and alone…).

    fifth, i remembered Harm Reduction from my days in re-hab. i discovered a web-site called HAMS Harm Reduction for Alcohol http://hamsnetwork.org/ and tapered off the booze using the method described therein.

    sixth, i am learning to parent myself in an emotionally healthy way, and utilize U.S.A. (unconditional self acceptance). i no longer have to use booze to silence the negative, shouting voices of my parents calling me a good for nothing piece of sh*t, as i now realize that is a lie. i rarely hear the negative internal dialogue i had for the majority of my life. i used/use STOP THOUGHT and also a technique called "blue-sky" meditation, as well as doing an ABC on it. it took some time, years even, but i never gave up because i and my life are worht it, because I SAY IT IS. i don't rely on others for my sense of worth, i know that i have intrinsic value simply because i am a human being, worthy of diginity and respect. i learned this by studying REBT and CBT. i have much to contribute to society, i am commited to trying to make my little corner of the world a better place, and i know that i was not put here to be miserable.

    i am grateful for smartrecovery website. without it, my journey to peace and happiness would have been much, much harder. smartrecovery tools enable me to take control of my life, and live a richer, more happy and content life, feeling appropriate emotions and being present in the moment, living the agony and the ecstasy that is our existence. yes, even the humdrum boredom is beautiful to me…and also the satisfaction of knowing i am capable of making sound decisions, and forgiving myself and accepting myself when i make mistakes, which is the human condition.

    i hope my experience can help someone who may be struggling as i did.

    best regards,


    <!– / message –><!– BEGIN TEMPLATE: ad_showthread_firstpost_sig –><!– END TEMPLATE: ad_showthread_firstpost_sig –><!– sig –>


    aa is the devil. aa did me more harm than good. REBT and CBT enabled me to solve my complex maladaptive behaviour without any "woo-woo". yeah, i know i'm kinda mixing metaphors there, but what the hell, i'm not perfect, and i don't need to be. y'all get my point.

    drinking is a choice. aa would have me believe i'm diseased, or immoral, or in need of ego-deflation, or some such rot as read in the Rheumz from the Beeg Buk of St. Bill's excretions. Glory be hallelujah! My H.P. Jeebuz be praised…i think not.

    aa kept telling me that "your best thinking got you here". uh…no. my worst thinking under the influence got me here. and i was told there was no alternative. no where else to go. had i known better, i never would have set foot into the rheumz. bastards. they got me when i was weak and vulnerable and desperate. well, that says more about them than it does me, them taking advantage of desperate, confused souls. even if they mean well, like mr. donald t. quinn said. remember, they are puppets being used to feed the machine of aa, and stuff it's coffers with money by having an army of cult devotees work for free to sell the books.



  • murray

    So true groovecat.

    I like your quote alot. " Your worst thinking got you here and your best thinking allowed you to leave".

    If we were to ever get on the mantra bandwagon this would be a good one for stinky thinkers.

    Great Post 

  • groovecat

    thank you murray.

    this is important. aa is a terrible mind-f*ck, and does more harm than good to people. society, i feel, needs to know this. however, in my own best-interest, i've learned not to carry the banner of "aa is evil" too stridently. i choose to try to break the machine  not by throwing rocks at it (which is all i can realistically do and they just bounce off anyway) but by being a living example. it has worked so far with several acquantances of mine who are now former aa's like my-self.

  • tin top

    good post, groovecat.   You are correct.  Your worst thinking got you there.  It led to your destructive drinking and into AA.  REBT and CBT can be very effective tools for improving the thinking  – from  worst thinking to best thinking – and, thereby, making much wiser decisions.

    AA is not the place to do that.  It does not have those tools; does not have the wit and the wisdom to do that.

    You are quite right in being a living example; a living refutation.

    SMART helped me quite a bit; I found the tool box very useful.  The message board was helpful, but the toll box was number one.

  • andreasheinz

    @ groovecat

    1. my first impulse reading Donald's post and his "ton of links" was:

    WTF you don't you list http://hamsnetwork.org/ ? It was SUCH A GOOG READ early this year, got a bit fishy and today… I locked in for five minutes and told myselve: OMFG STFU.


    2. If ya like REBT take a look at DBT. This is to rock the show in the next 10 yrs or so.

  • Primrose

    Should we start planning some sort of refugee camp for ex cultmembers?  A sort of self first aid.  Eg, 'You are not alone, take physical care of yourself, inform yourself (freely) and read THIS (whatever THIS may be; I found some bits of exposeaa helplful)'?  Or something more concrete on deprogramming?  I have seen in others and in myself that the brainwashing is effective.

  • groovecat


    cool. i like it. DBT i feel can take me so much further. everyone outtta check it out.

  • i feel like there is this anti aa theory that suggests that this whole program is to sell big books.  are there really that many sold? i mean, the whole book is available for free online, right?  i felt like publishing it and its sales prolly was a wash… am i wrong?


    also what is this blue sky meditation?  sounds cool. groove cat, i ma glad you accept yourself, this is my goal in life…

  • Primrose

    V,  I am not sure what is meant by the 'whole program'.  It is a bunch of groups. Of people.  I think the multibillion dollar 'treatment industry is where the money is, but some people like being in cults, full stop.

  • andreasheinz

    Anyone knows that 95% of Harvard studies suck 🙂

  • @andreasheinz ,

    "1. my first impulse reading Donald’s post and his “ton of links” was:
    WTF you don’t you list http://hamsnetwork.org/ ? It was SUCH A GOOG READ early this year, got a bit fishy and today… I locked in for five minutes and told myselve: OMFG STFU.
    2. If ya like REBT take a look at DBT. This is to rock the show in the next 10 yrs or so."

    I may be a bit thick in the head… I just can't understand what this means.

    Can you put this in the form of an english paragraph?

  • andreasheinz





    <cite>groovecat</cite> says



    cool. i like it. DBT i feel can take me so much further. everyone outtta check it out."

  • Oh yeah! That helped… Thanks for taking the time to clear that up for me.

  • Primrose

    This site needs a triage page.

  • @prim, I was kinda hoping that the messageboard might serve that function, but I think it still feels like another planet…

  • tin top

    ftg   – snap

  • Z

    OK, research thoughts for today.

    1. On the AA model of things: another problem with it is the roles: alcoholic, enabler, codependent, etc. Each one is very clear cut and the reality is so much more complex now. Like, I'm at my parents' house now and after about 5 decades of having been told which one was the alcoholic I had believed it, but looking at what really goes on I wonder who the alcoholic actually is; a friend says this may fluctuate, that's a good point. So, once again: the phenom really is too complex and too much of a spectrum problem to be fixed with a formula ("this simple program…")

    2. This has been said before in different ways but I really think AA/Alanon and the techniques they have to make you talk in circles and go in circles DOES correspond to a particular personality. People who like to complain but not make changes; people who like to talk but not have the conversation go anywhere, really are types that exist. When you think about it, the meeting with no cross talk, the 12 step meeting ground rules, it's all designed to create a space where such people can give their lectures or rambling speeches, and people listen, but don't have to engage them directly, and they can either hear themselves repeat themselves and realize they want to make a change, or just use the meeting as a venue to let off their usual steam.

    *3. *Important* — on the argument "AA saved my sister, if it saved one person it's fantastic" — the same argument is made about the funding of expensive drugs for different illnesses, e.g. cancer, and the same sliding definitions of "survival" and "recovery" are used. As in: "With this drug, my sister's death from cancer was postponed for three years. Those three years were priceless and I don't care if usually that drug doesn't work, or if 100,000 people who died of dysentery in those 3 years could have been saved for the amount of money it cost to save 'my sister,' etc." That is: these problems and issues are industry wide; that's not to make an excuse it's to say there's even more reason why more people need to know.

  • Z

    @Primrose, refugee camp and deprogramming sessions, good ideas (though lots of work, practical issues, etc.).

  • Primrose

    Z, is it like this?  My sister gave birth in the garden, with no painkillers whatsover, to her very healthy first baby,and in the garden (sunny day) in a very rural area, with the midwife (who we love) hopping around barefoot and lots and lots of laughter (can you tell I was there?)  BUT it would be completely irresponsible of my sister to go around telling everybody to have their babies in the garden, and the fact that she did it is statistically insignificant. 

    These people who go around saying 'If it saves one person..' are missing the second part of that sentence, 'and I don't care how many people die or have their lives destroyed to save my sister'.  I keep coming back to this dilemna; Stupid or Evil?

    I think exposeaa is good for deprogramming. 

  • Primrose

    How about everytime a new person logs on, they are suddenly played the end music from 'The Sound of Music'? (Climb every mountain) or another appropriate 'escape' soundtrack.) (something with freedom in it

  • Z

    @Primrose, on Stupid or Evil, I really don't know. It seems to be deluded sometimes, and grabbing at straws sometimes ("If I reach even one student, all my suffering as a teacher will be justified"). But ultimately I'd say it's not stupid, but expects you to be stupid enough to buy the argument, and not evil, just self-interested and using whatever tactics it thinks will work so that it keeps its market share (which doesn't have to be financial — just the pleasure of influence).

  • Z

    And OT, and using this page as triage: the other thing about AA is how they make alcoholism be the main problem or only problem. This has also been said before, in different ways.

    But: when I ended up with that ACOA therapist, what the smart person who had listened to what I had to say about why I was seeking therapy said to sum up what I had said was: "You are enmeshed in a family system and you fear extreme violence." Which was a fair summary. But then what do I get: a whole lot of other assumptions, I must have this really base personality the 12 steps are designed to manage and mitigate, and do the 12 steps.

    It has always been clear to me and it is clear to me now that the problem in the family, the main one, is someone's mental illness. 12 Stepping would have one believe alcohol abuse is the primary problem but it's not, it's SO plain to see in so many cases, and it's false that the alcohol issue would have to be dealt with first — it's the other way around. !!!

  • Primrose

    In the age of the internet, I'm not sure ignorance is a defence.

    I know two people who are sort of extended family/friends.  Both were in their late sixties when they found aa via the UK's favourite rehab chain.  Both had wives and families who were completely fed up with their drinking.  They both stopped drinking successfully and (sporadically) attended aa.  Both are hailed as heroes for conquering their 'disease'.  I think that both these two men are being very selfish.  They were both at a stage when they were ready to stop, both for health and for the sakes of their families and marriages.  They went to the Priory, did jigsaws etc, started the steps, which meant saying sorry to their wives, both of whom were completely delighted at anything.  And since then they have received lots of admiration and these two men are partly responsible for other people being coerced into aa.  'Look at Uncle Dominic, aa cured him and now he helps other people, if he can do it….'

    Every little link in the chain (including pr) of aa is responsible.

    Those two men are responsible.

  • Primrose

    Agreed z.  In many meetings, you are not allowed to talk about anything except alcohol.  They love their disease.

  • It's funny how AA rewrites our history. They insist that we must  "saying sorry to their wives"… husbands… families, as if we're so selfish that we've never attempted to apologize before. I don't know about you, but I felt bad about the damage I had done long before I went to AA.

    AA insists that we were too self-centered to have ever considered the idea… or we weren't sincere because our apologies were not in line with the will of God… There we go again… Selfish,selfish,selfish. You are no good without AA.

  • Dear Dad, I am so sorry I was sad about you not caring about my problems, and only being worried about how I made you look.  Thanks for showing my psych. hospital bill to me at age 15. GOsh, I should be sorry, I was the idiot who wound up in there right?  I should been washing your car and thinking up ways to make you look good. And thanks mom the NPD, sociopath TEACHER for making me go to that lunatic's house EVERY weekend. Dad, I gotta say, it was fun to watch you and your creepy habits with your bedroom door open.  Sorry, I should have understood you were a f-ing RETARD and should been more compassionate, but with the underachiever comments constantly coming my way, it was hard. Sorry I snuck out at age 14 and got r—d when I was passing out, but you know what, in all honestly, I felt better THERE then at your house. Sorry I could not be more like my sister who is STILL looking to get your love and mom's with a dope fiend zealousy. It amazes me that her eating disorder impresses you or even gets. you. off.  But heck, where was I wrong?  I EXPECTED you to love me, cuz, well, you certainly told me you did, usually after you lamented about your parents not loving you enough. Too bad, so sad. I would have been better off in a foster home.  Thank you GOD, or, evil universe, for boarding school.  Without it I woulda been a suicide fer sure.

  • Z

    @Violet — well my parents aren't nearly as outrageous as yours but I'm visiting them now and it is downright amazing to observe what a few touches of lunacy can do and the lengths to which some people will go to defend these — .

    @Primrose — in the age of the Internet, people need to know how to sift through information and they don't. People, including many professionals, lack critical thinking skills to say the least, and there are MANY obvious things they don't see. This is a serious problem, not just re AA and 12 stepping.

    In general — I've figured out, then, maybe that AA works for 2 groups:

    a) TAKE WHAT YOU NEED AND LEAVE THE REST: people who've decided to quit and who use AA, takiing what they need and using the rest, to do it; these people apparently have a pretty straightforward problem, drinking too much as a bad habit or something, a problem that is solved by quitting, and that's it; all they needed was what they brought to the table and a few things they got from AA, and they left the rest, and didn't find out that AA was problematic.

    b) WORK THE WHOLE PROGRAM: personality disordered types who need this program to manage themselves and act out their dramas. For this group, yes, it works if you work it, and AA works because it was designed for them.

    It seems that if your description doesn't fit these — if your main or only problem isn't alcohol, say, or if you have a religion or philosophy that doesn't fit Bill Wilson's, or if you do need a structured game plan but not such a punitive one as the 12 steps, or if you need some quitting buddies, like exercise buddies, pretty badly but that's all you need beyond what you're bringing to the table yourself, or whatever it is that makes you not fit easily into one of these two groups … then 12 stepping will do more harm than good … especially since it says the problem is you not it.


    Also, when they want you to just say "it wasn't for me,"  that's also a problem: they don't want you to think about what it is you want to avoid in a Program. (Imagine deciding to sell a car you don't like but not being able to say what it was you didn't like about it! That wouldn't help you choose better next time, would it?! Ha!)

  • andreasheinz

    @ Donald

    now, [if] aa is down, whats your exit strategy ?

  • z, good luck with your visit.

  • Z

    Thanks Violet! It'll be fine, it was pre-planned to go fine, 🙂 Donald, on rewriting, that's also a very alcoholic thing to do, I've noticed. People allege to have perfect recall of events which took place after they passed out, and are quick to accuse others of having false memories or of bearing false witness even 5 minutes after the fact, despite said witnesses saying "This is only what I saw/perceived from my perspective." I think that when AA decided it could peer into the souls of one and all it was drunk.

  • @andreasheinz,

    I'd love to get a conversation going with you, but I can't understand what you are trying to say.

  • z, I'll never figure out how they did it, but they had me convinced that I was someone I'm not.

  • Z

    @Donald, hahaha! They didn't have me convinced I was someone I am not, but they did have me convinced that everyone perceived me as they did and that everyone would act on those perceptions, so it didn't matter in a practical sense what I thought at all or said; whatever I did would be interpreted in their way, and not just by them but by the whole world. How they do versions of this to so many people:  verbal and emotional abuse!

  • andreasheinz

    @ Doonald Thank you

  • andreasheinz

    @ Donald, yes

    why dont I leave?

    dont tell me to leave

    iit goes on my nerves tho

  • tin top

    Z —  I think that those are the two groups find AA useful.  I think that those in group A have fewer problems with AA.  Those in Group B may have more difficulty fitting in.  Those in group A do not consider 'getting with the program' to be an issue and dont bother.  Some in group B have to turn them themselves into a pretzel.  For some, it is made to order.

  • groovecat

    @friendthegirl; i would like to contact the admins or whoever runs this blog so that i may learn how to properly post. maybe i should have posted my "why i left aa" story on the message board?


    admins, feel free to email me with details.

  • groovecat

    @violet says: "i feel like there is this anti aa theory that suggests that this whole program is to sell big books.  are there really that many sold? i mean, the whole book is available for free online, right?  i felt like publishing it and its sales prolly was a wash… am i wrong?


    also what is this blue sky meditation?  sounds cool. groove cat, i ma glad you accept yourself, this is my goal in life…"

    there are two aa's. the public face of aa and the corporate one. the corporate one is called alcoholics anonymous world services, and they hold the copyright of the *ahem* Beeg Buk of Bill's excretions, otherwise known as <a title="The Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Book_(Alcoholics_Anonymous)&quot; rel="nofollow">Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism.

    yes, the Beeg Buk of Bill's excretions is available online. to my knowledge, that is a new development. for the longest time (to my knowledge, again) aaws made their money by vigorously defending the copyright to the book of Bill's excretions. anyway, aaws has MILLIONS  in the bank and makes millions a year off of sales of their approved "literature".

    blue-sky meditation: from "We Are all doing Time" by Bo Lozoff. great book, i highly recommend it for anyone. in essence, it is simply this: meditate to a good-space in your head, then simply let your emotions run free, and visualize them as clouds in a blue sky, coming and going, having no effect on you whatsoever except as to block the sun on occasion, but eventually moving on, across the sky, and eventually dropping below the horizon, or perhaps disappating the way clouds do sometimes.

    i am not doing it justice. please read the book or google it.

    re: accepting oneself: REBT smartrecovery.org USA unconditional self acceptance.

    hope this helps. 



  • Groovecat, you have mail.

  • Z

    @groovecat that is very interesting on blue sky meditation.

    When I first went to the infamous ACOA based therapist I went to, who got me into all of the 12 Step silliness, he alleged I had no "feelings." His evidence was that I had logical thoughts (you can only have thought OR feeling, he seemed to think) and that I had some sort of control over my more unruly emotions (I am not histrionic). A large part of the damage I did myself in those days was done in an attempt to prove to this person that I did, in fact, have feelings.

    Later, trying to recover from all of this, I read somewhere that emotions were like weather but feelings were something else, coming from the core. That was an interesting distinction.


    I could so vent and theorize right now, after an evening of observing some people.

  • Primrose

    Violet, very good questions about the financing of the cult, and the role of the publication of the venerable excretions.  Look at GSO cultwatch. 


    I haven't read it yet, but I will plough through it if there is someone I can discuss it with.  Is there anyone on here with a specialist knowledge of the financial arrangements of the cult.  To my mind, and this is a reflection of my experience, it is the staff of the 'treatment' centres who represent the biggest money making aspect of the cult, because it pays their salaries and gives them a living.  Surely it would be the EMPLOYEES of the cult, in whatever form, on whatever level, who would be the greatest losers if the cult were (when the cult is) exposed.

    Groovecat, I think the siteowners would like us to move come of our conversations to messages, but it feels a bit lonely there.   To that end,

    Oi! Violet!  I am going to start a messageboard thread on the financial side of aa.  When my partner was deeply enmeshed in the cult, he didn't give me a Christmas present, he gave £200 to al-anon.  I think this sort of fuckwittery is fairly rare though, and see you on the message boards to discuss.

  • Brian

    @Donald: Convincing me I am somebody that I'm not, this is how I feel!  By talking the talk, using the slogans, etc., one's identity begins to blend in with the rest of the people. Telling us that we are all the same, stupid drunks, sick, selfish, etc.

    The program paints such an ugly picture of who we are.  Why do people want to hold on to this self-image for their entire life?  As a defective human being who is never going to be fully recovered.  I used drugs for 3 years only, and was clean in AA for 6 years, but did that mean anything to them?  No, because I'm "exactly the same" as somebody who has been drinking for 40 years, and my treatment needs to be AA meetings for the next 60 years of my life.

    I can't even think of very many times I've been really drunk, I used other substances.  But AA told me I'm an alcoholic so I identified myself as such because we are all "cross-addicted." Even at my worst days I could have alcohol in front of me and not even care to touch it.

    It's been 3 or 4 weeks without meetings now, screw them.  My sponsor called to check up on me, but aside from that I haven't spoken to any of them.  I'm fed up with people telling me how to think about feel about myself.

    I'm grateful to this site for pushing me in the right direction…

  • Primrose

    Brian, have you read the 'us stupid drunks conspiracy' in the orange papers?  It is one of my favourites.  There is no 'us'.  Well done for choosing not to go to cult meetings.  Keep informing yourself from all sources.  You are not powerless.  Do stay around.  What did your sponsor say?  Don't worry if they tell you that you will die if you leave the cult.  They tell everyone that.  I should have died years ago. 

  • brian, i am the same way.  i will be clean three years this oct., but really, put a bottle of booze in front of me, not interested.  drugs though, um??? my love for drugs and not booze always made me feel pretty different.  when i came in at 21 yo, i had not done drugs yet, was sober for four years, and went out by getting high. i think, in many ways, i truly learned about drugs in aa.  i am one of those people who got worse by going to aa.  it is like sending a teen girl who got a c to the junky outward bound, she will not get as the next semester, she will come home from outward bound preggers. dumb parents.

  • Primrose

    Its like sending a teenage girl who is showing signs of being too thin to a treatment centre where she will learn all the tricks about hiding food and lying about food.  She would go in a freshman and come out a phD in anorexia.  These places do more harm than good, provide employment for 'therapists' who are unburdened by a scientific background, and yet they go on.

  • Z

    Yes although there are a few people with the precise AA characteristics. Some of these people drink and others don't, but it is a definite personality type, I am becoming convinced!

  • @Brian,

    I call it "Adopting the isms of AA."

    When you walk into AA, they do their best to try to convince you that you are one of them. They use your own guilt and self-doubt as a weapon against you.

    AA tells you who you are… who you must become… and what you will become without AA.

    AA is all about getting you to join AA.

  • Z

    Adopting the isms of AA, yes. It would be so nice to be able to talk about these things in a different framework.

    Field notes using the old framework: I now 'get' the bottoming out / hitting bottom theory – why straighten up if you do not have to? And the importance of 'honesty' for the type of person 12 stepping seems to be meant for – they have so many layers of lies, it's incredible! I also now understand the idea of going through life in a wheelchair: it is what some people actually want. And institutions/death: it seems that there are people who drink because they would actually like to attain one or the other of these.

    Now, if denial doesn't actually exist, is "unwillingness to face the situation" a more accurate term? "Unwilling to face," "not skilled enough to recognize," "not empowered to admit," how are these as substitute terms? (How about "callous" or "cynical," too, for some instances?)

  • Brian

    @Primrose: I have read that article, I found it very insightful.  I didn't realize just how much we get to beat ourselves up in the name of recovery.  My sponsor just wanted to check up, I already told him I was not going to meetings anymore.  He didn't try to convince me to go back or anything, when I told him I was leaving he said that I know I can come back if ever I run into problems. Whether I now agree with AA or not, I do not hold contempt for those with good intentions who have tried to help me.

    @violet:  There are a lot of people in rehab/AA that can be a bad influence or that are just not good to be around I guess.  I felt obligated to give my number and now keep get the occasional message from a crack user twice my age who tried to "invite me over" after a meeting.

  • Primrose

    Dear Brian, I hope that you realise that if you leave your cult that you will just get progressively worse and then end up in 'jails, institutions and death'. 

    Seriously, I reiterate my advice to write down and date your escape from aa journal.  I wish I had dated mine.  I would advise you (and this site is not about advise) to inform yourself.

  • Primrose

    Brian I was joking above.  I would recommend that you read the orange papers in total.  Exposeaa is a good site too, was for me when I first found it.  Keep posting.

  • Primrose

    Brian, I am not in a jail or an institution.  Will keep you posted on death.  px.

  • andreasheinz

    @ Brian" I can come back if ever I run into problems."

    OK, and you can run away if you're in problems. You had no training (yet). Your group is sick. Are you trained FBI, DEA or a psycho pro to give your phone number to a crack adict twice your age? It may be a saint, but how should YOU know.

  • Brian

    @ Primrose: lol, I'm glad you are still alive.  I began to journal (with dates) although it is not specifically about leaving AA,  but rather everything going through my mind.

    @ Andrea: You are correct, I'm not FBI/DEA.  I'm in Canada anyways 😉

  • andrea, i have given my phone number out to ooooohh-so-many people of this ilk.  and then was always flabbergasted that they were creepy. man, this cracks me up.  it feels so great to know i am ok being outta aa.

  • Just a quick note to mention that I left AA about six weeks ago and I am noticing that I genuinely feel better. My focus has been on self-empowerment and taking control of my own behavior in all areas of my life. It has not been easy, actually far more difficult than "turning it over" and then doing nothing while God has it. It is clear to me now that AA is the easier softer way that leads to some sort of flat-line mediocrity. I commend the people that exhibit real courage by standing up and taking responsibilty for every thought and action they have. It seems kind of cowardly to claim a disease is responsible when all the thoughts and behaviors that lead to me overdrinking were mine to begin with. Then, having to claim the problem is soooo big, only God can remove it from me…pleeeeze….. ( I used to say that actually, and only now do I realize how lame that really is 🙂 )

  • Here! Here!

  • Brian

    Nice to hear that PJ!  It really is empowering to learn to think for ourselves and decide how to live our lives.

  • tintop

    I think that the imprtant matter is: plan your work and work your plan.  Determine your goals and priorities; devise methods to get where you want to go.  "Determine what is right, then go ahead." 

    You may have to make adjustments along the way, but do not let that stop you.  That applies to leaving AA.   What do I want to do instead of AA?   Where do my friends and acquaintances come from?  What are my hobbies and sources of recreation? 

    If you still have issues of turbulent thoughts and feelings, consult someone you know and trust:  a therapist, doctor, clergyman.  These folks are better sources of wit and wisdom than AA.

  • McGowdog

    To Violet’s comment on July 23rd, 11:20 am

    Don’t know what that is.  I guess you could have taken that and put it into an A.A. 4th Step, if that was the intent.  I do 3 column 4th steps, so this is how I think this would look;


    Resentful at__________________The Cause__________________Affects my______________________




    1.Didn’t care about my problems and only worried about how I made you look


    Self Esteem; I am the Daughter.  I am your Princess.  I am the nicest girl in the whole world.  I am a loving child.


    Security; I need the nurturing and unconditional love from my parents… my dad.  I need provision as a child.


    Ambition; I want my dad to be proud of me.  I want a healthy and happy family.


    Sex Relations; (how I view opposite sex… keeping in mind that this is just the “resentment” portion of the inventory) Men are self-sacrificing and outgoing.  Men love their daughters as they are the apple of their eye.  Men provide for and protect their daughters.  Real men would let no harm come to their family.


    Pocketbook; men provide for their children and are generous.


    Showing me my psych bill at age 15.


    Self Esteem; I am the daughter.  I am a young girl.  Daddy’s little girl.


    Security; I need guidance, unconditional love, care, health, happiness and wholeness.


    Ambition; I want my dad to be proud of me and enjoy my company while I’m still here.  I want my dad to help me make the transition of life on my own someday.


    Sex Relations; men provide for their families and do so with sacrifice and honor.  Men are proud and accommodating to their family.  Men are responsible.


    Pocketbook; money serves the children of God.  Money is provision.


    Being exposed to your creepy habits


    Security; I need purity and hope.  I need a loving and nurturing home.  I need sanity.


    Self Esteem; I am a child of God… a child of loving parents…


    Ambition; I want to be part of a healthy happy home that I know some people have.  I want to be proud of my upbringing and to have good memories on these times.  I want to do… and see… what girls my age should be doing and seeing.  I want happy, healthy, sane, nurturing parents.


    Sex Relations; Real men are pure, austere, modest, kind and loving to their children… especially their daughters. 


    Bombarded with underachiever comments.


    Self Esteem; I am an industrious, talented, creative, child who is unique in every way and unconditionally loved.


    Security; I need a nurturing father… one who supports and provides for me and is proud of me.  I need a father who is involved in my life and who shows me the way to a happy and successful life.


    Ambition; I want my daddy to be proud of me.  I want others to see how a family can help, support and enjoy each other.   I want to see my dad’s wisdom in action.  I want to see grace and tolerance and love in action.


    Sex Relations; Real men are nurturing, caring, kind, generous, protective…



    Something like that.


    We don’t  do a 4th column in our group.  We lay it open and let it fester… like a wound.


    When I share this… just read it… to a trusting individual… I see it for what it is.


    Does me having a resentment mean I had a part?  How can I be blamed for being a daughter?  I don’t think it’s about who’s fault it is anyway.  Looks to me like you had a shitty dad for a parent.  I think it sucks.  But…if you’re a person of faith, like I am, I have to see him … as me… as a child of God too. 


    I can stay sore and burned up at him… whether he’s dead or alive… but the spirit of him is still alive in me and until I get free of it, it affects me everyday.  So I could go as far as saying he is/was evil or… spiritually sick.  I may not want to ever forgive him, but I can at least get free of him.  If I did nothing to provoke him… as is the case when a child had a messed up upbringing… then all I can do is consider that perhaps, he’s spiritually sick as am I.  Neither of us are perfect.  His karma is his business.  I can doubt that he woke up every morning wanting to harm his children.  Instead… he was just being his selfish pathetic self and did the best he could with the tools he had and the attitude he brought into it.


    Now… what I can do now is see the truth… for what it is and walk on from here.  I can be free of and detached from my past and decide from here on out what’s right and wrong and whether I’m going to have anything to do with spiritually sick people again and on what basis.  To some extent, none of us are perfect.  But I can choose from here on out how and why to interact with each and every individual going forward.


    If I see where selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened, I can become aware of it and ask God to or appeal to my higher Self to be taken to better things.  If I see a harm that I caused this individual, I can write it down and take note of it… incase I ever get the chance to sweep my side of the street.  The important thing here is that I get a chance to look at this train wreck one last time and take what I need to learn from it and then put it away for good and leave it there.  It’s ok to glance at our past, but unless there’s a good reason, don’t stare at it.


    Whenever I go to make amends to family, they usually wind up fessing up to more than I’ve brought to the table.  That’s not what it’s about, but… what’s important is that I come clean with my part and intend to not do it again and let the past go… not for their sake, but for mine.  I’m the one who is getting free here.  If they get free too, great.  Not my concern.  If I won’t amend or approach someone because I don’t think they deserve to be free from it, I am the one who remains imprisoned.  That’s a sad fact for us.  This is the kind of stuff that is said to block me from that Power to stay sober.


    So when I do inventory, it ain’t no big deal.  Neither is making an amend.  When I do that, I get clear on the harm, then I go to the person, and say, “This is how I’ve harmed you.  What can I do to set it right?”


    If you read this far, you’ll note that I write the 3rd column from the positive… aka from where I’m at in the world with no God.  There’s no God because this is my life when I play God.  God don’t got no self-esteem problems.  In God’s world, this is the way it should be.  In the 2nd Column, I take your inventory.  If you didn’t wrong me, I wouldn’t have thought about you.  I wouldn’t have the resentment in the first place.  In column 1, I write down the name of the son-of-a-bitch… or bitch… as the case may be.  This is what I’ve been shown to do.  I do this yearly.  This to me, is A.A.

  • Ben Franklin

    Why don't you just post on your blog no one wants to go to. We don't want to look at it here either.

  • McGowdog

    If you want me to go away, then don't ask me a question.

  • oh, mc-i-am-only-cool-on-my-blog-and-not-even-in-real-aa, wow, psychotic much?  what was my question exactly that i asked you?

  • Ben Franklin

    Mcsnowplow, before you complain of censorship I will explain that it wasn't a question. It was more like a suggestion.Do you really think we want to know how to work the steps? Let me answer:NO! We don't want what you have.Period. This is not a recruiting ground.

    Ben 45 caliber,as in calibration, stinkin thinkin Goon

  • McGowdog

    Are you two brother and sister?  You two look related somehow.

  • groovecat

    wow. just wow. mcgow-jackhole-dog, this part of this blog is "why i left aa", not "how i can apologize for aa and call others a made-up condition that the cult taught me; calling others spiritually sick ('If I did nothing to provoke him… as is the case when a child had a messed up upbringing… then all I can do is consider that perhaps, he’s spiritually sick as am I.') "

    nope. people are not spiritually sick. base, mean and venal, perhaps, but not "spirtiually sick". AAAAAND…how is a child who is the victim of parental abuse "spiritually sick"?

    human-monsters are made, not born (barring a bona-fide genitic/physiological reason for insanity which may cause them to behave in an extremely anti-social fashion).  

    "  His karma is his business.  " hey sporto, karma doesn't exist except in the minds of new-age hippies or the followers of the religion that invented it. if it did exist, paris hilton would have much worse than simply a lazy-eye and a case of herpes. she would be experiencing the trials of Jobe.

    bringing it back to the point i made about monsters—"I can doubt that he woke up every morning wanting to harm his children. " uhmmm…unless he told you otherwise, or you were there at the time and able to read minds, specifically his, you don;'t know his frame of mind when he woke up in the morning. some people DO wake up and think about how to harm their kids. you can doubt all you want, that doesn;'t make it so. speaking from personal experience in the rheumz of alky-holics anon-mus, its jackholes like you who PRESUME TO KNOW MY PERSONAL STORY AND RELATIONSHIP WITH MY DAD BASED UPON NOTHING AND TRIED TO GET ME TO ADMIT THAT I THE VICTIM SOMEHOW HAD A "PART" IN THE ABUSE I SUFFERED that made me realize just who is really "SPIRITUALLY SICK", if there is such a thing.

    "Instead… he was just being his selfish pathetic self and did the best he could with the tools he had and the attitude he brought into it."  doesn't matter. aa would have the VICTIM excuse the perpetrator of their actions. true that behavioral psychology explains and supports the tool and attitude part of what you said, but again, aa would have the VICTIM excuse the perpetrator's actions by calling him "spiritually sick" and not demand or expect to be avenged or repatriated by the PERPETRATOR.   it is normal and healthy to be PISSED-OFF when one's bounderies have been SEVERELY VIOLATED by those who society holds a reasonable expectation of not doing so, mainly PARENTS.

    "If I see where selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened, I can become aware of it and ask God to or appeal to my higher Self to be taken to better things.  If I see a harm that I caused this individual, I can write it down and take note of it… incase I ever get the chance to sweep my side of the street. "  umm…how or WHY WOULD YOU EVER ASK A VICTIM TO SEE WHERE THEY WERE SELFISH, DISHONEST SELFSEEKING OR FRIGHTENED REGARDING THE PERPETRATOR? WHAT KIND OF PERSON WOULD EVEN THINK OF THAT? OH, THAT;'S RIGHT, A TRUE-BELIEVER IN THE CULT OF AA WHOSE MIND HAS BEEN WARPED BEYOND REASONABLE THINKING. blame the victim…another way the cult keeps you confused and vulnerable and never able to think for yourself because you are programmed to always doubt yourself and blame yourself for whatever crimes happen against you. kinda like blaming the rape victim. no, EXACTLY LIKE BLAMING THE RAPE VICTIM. another example of the "good ole boy" thinking of that shyster Bill Dubya. 

    ok, enough of this screed. i'm not happy and joyeous right now, but i am free of the cult, and free to disparage it, and free to disagree, and free to say what i want here.  

    (and, as an inside joke between you and i, my gay-french-chef of a lover/boyfriend and i hade a great "session" last-night, if you know what i mean…and i think you do. *wink* i didn't forget one of your postings last march or whenever you insinuated i was "gay". my word, not yours, you just insinuated as much. )

    so, champagne-guzzling, brie-eating, california-homa-suxshu-ally yours,


  • and man, i tohught *i* was long-winded. i feel like i inadvertently though prolly a little stupidly invited this.  but i think it is funny.  yep, mcaaprince, we are totally related.  and wth, are you implying that i am NO a princess?

  • GROOVECAT!!!! i did not mean the long winded part to groovecat, hopefully this is obvious. 🙂


  • McGowdog

    You ARE a princess.  It's never too late to have a happy childhood.  Never get old.

  • groovecat

    meh. whatever. no offense taken. i hope i made my point that the cult of aa is toxic. i will happily pick up my toys and go play elsewhere if need be. btw, do not feed the trolls, they just bring disease and pestilence.

  • man, i need typing lesson fer sure. "i am no a princess?" sheesh. groovecat, i am trying not to feed trolls.

  • me thinks that mcprince is "one of us though," as they say in aa. he must know we're right.

  • Mark

    My fist post did not seem to register. So here it is again. Is it because it is waiting moderation?  

    HI. I'm new here

    by Mark » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:42 pm

    Hi folks. I stumbled upon your site a few days ago,from a link ironically on a site started by one Christopher Kennedy Lawford, one of the Kennedy clan, who is a heavy AA member.He also wrote a memoir of his life, drinking, and drugging, called "Symptoms of Withdrawal". A few days before that I got busted for drunk driving, which has left me raw, and really fucking pissed off (not at the bust,or the cops, just in general). Pretty devoid of support in my life, I decided that I would try AA ONE LAST TIME, to see if I could get any meaningful support from a couple of AA meetings I still attended once in a while. And guess what!? I got NOTHING, not surprisingly. For a little more detail about what hapenned, and how I am feeling, this is what I wrote to the AA people on the Lawford site:


    Hello everyone, especially Christopher whose memoir I just read for the second time.

    Last week , I got arrested for drunk driving, and I’m facing $5000 in fines ,and at least a 3 month license suspension. It was a bit of a shock, and I felt the need to read about others’ experiences with alcohol (thus the re-reading of Christopher`s book), as well as talk it out with others. I went to two AA meetings since, thinking perhaps it could help me out, but, as usual, except for one person a bit one night, I simply DO NOT TRUST AA. Period. I have been going for a few years, I gave it a shot, but all this crap about God, a Higher Power, gets on my fucking nerves. I simply do not really trust ANYONE there. You people are into a spiritual trip I cannot relate to. Very often , all this spiritual posturing comes off as phony or shallow to me, it just enrages me. There is so much conformity in AA; if you do not talk their talk, people nod out.You are excluded. A couple of days past, Christopher asked why so many people hate AA. I don’t know whether he was talking about external people to AA, or internal “enemies” like me, who just get livid most of the times I go (which, of course, is not very often anymore). AA simply bugs the shit out of me: all that idiotic superficial positive thinking bullshit, praying for others who hurt you (how about hitting them back if they fuck you over!?), and, oh, you know, things will just work out…(tell that to the Jews killed by the Nazis!!), and all the rest of that fucking AA jargon. I simply will not confide in 99.9% of the people there.Period

    You know, I was ready to come on here and blast you all even worse than this. But what stopped me was Christopher`s blog today, with his suggestion that somer alternative to AA be developed. And that alternative for me would be: cut out all the spiritual crap, and let’s just share what we experience,what we feel, especially all the painful emotions. Man, I tell you all: if I had more people I could really talk to, if I could share my anger without some AA asshole cringing, if I could just bare my soul more often to someone, I WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN ARRESTED. Because I drank and drove because I was MISERABLE; I had no one to talk to as usual, so let’s down that bottle of wine and forget this whole sordid world which makes me puke. It’s that simple. And AA does NOT, repeat, DOES NOT help me.OK? I was in front of 30 people at a meeting last monday, and I was raring to tell anyone about what happenned. And I did not because I did not trust them, and I don’t trust you people. I don’t want to hear about your fucking God bullshit. Is that clear enough?!

    Luckily, my drinking problem is not acute. I don’t even think I am alcoholic, by AA`s defintion. But what drove so many of us to drink: frustratrion, loneliness, longstanding seething anger, confusion, etc… I share that with you all. But I don’t communicate it to you, because I despise AA. I have to find something else, or it’s going to be a lonely goddamm rest of my life.

    One last thing: the speeches of JFK and RFK have 100 times more spiritual depth than anything Bill Wilson wrote, at least for me.I am especially a big fan of Robert Kennedy, and the major serious books about him are a great source of inspiration and consolation for me. The Big Book, however, doesn’t mean shit to me.


    Mark said this on Your comment is awaiting moderation. Mark did not get banned, but we is watchin' him, because he ain't bein too "spiritual"… You dig?

    OK, there is a LOT of anger there, and I think it is justified. And I thank this site for being open to anger. You know how it is with those AA assholes: you raise the tone a bit, and the AA mice start scurrying away to their mouseholes, or to other members, , or offended, or they might start lecturing you about the dangers of anger, and all the rest of their bullshit. I am just so sick of it! As the person who wrote up the info for this site wrote, anger is a natural emotion. Sure it can get out of hand, but it is natural! I think this lack of spunk, and anger, and humor from AA people, is the reason most AA people come off to me as BBBBBOOORRRRIIIINNNGGG! Boring,boring,boring.Like dishwater.My beef with AA, amongst others, is not that they are mind-twisting cultists (they aren't), they are just so dull with their mind-mush. And, of course, I can see more clearly now, that I just cannot confide to them. So, I am stuck these days with this DUI, practically homebound, practically under house arrest, alone, THIRSTY, messed-up, and pissed off.

    I will have more to say, early next week, about my experiences and about this site (there is some stuff you write about AA in the FAQ I agree with, and there is stuff I do not agree with, in all fairness to AA). Have a nice weekend folks.


  • Primrose

    Hi Mark.  For the sake of argument, I think it is a cult.  Have you read the cult questions in the orange papers?

    I can't remember who it was who predicted, 25 before Bill Wilson's death, that the Big Book would take on the status of guru, and so the cult would survive after his death.  And it has.  It has the status of a holy book.

    I also read somewhere that anti-cult people are watching aa and hoping it will be the first and or most important cult to fail because it is partially supported by the state, via court mandates.  It is a very small  cult, really.

  • andreasheinz

    The "orange-pampers" are so lame


    The OG says,,,

    fasten your seat belts ! …

    "spiritual not religious"

  • Ez

    OG? Odd Geezers?

    Whoever and whatever OG may be, the courts have ruled otherwise.

  • andreasheinz

    EZ plz

    "the" courts had, do and will rulez:

    Go to aa to be killed, rlse WE (the courtz) kill ya


    You shit slime nation of terrorists / Scum of the earth

  • andreasheinz



    else WE (the courtz) kill ya

  • McGowdog

    Short bus.

    Andrea, hook'd awe'n fonix phuk'd u up.

  • Ez

    In English, please.

  • It is my vote to ban Andreas if he is going to continue with comments like

    "You shit slime nation of terrorists / Scum of the earth " 

    They are far outside of the realm of discussion and un-called for. I can put up with most of the rest of his lunacy, but there has to be a limit for people like him.

  • Mark

    Now that I have ranted against AA, in all conscience I do now have to come to AA`s defence with respect to some of the accusations made against AA here and in the Orange Papers.

    First, I have been in a cult, and in my opinion ,AA is not a cult. It's simply an earnest boring anarchist religious organisation with its own stupid weird jargon and beliefs, like all the rest of them. The problem in AA is not authoritarianism and dogma, it is conformity, and dullness.

    Second it is not a big business. I really feel that their commitment to a certain poverty is genuine and commendable.

    Third, the accusation that AA is full of male predators is preposterous and feminist/paranoid. I've never seen a predator, nor heard of any woman there ever complaining of predators (and I know a lot of the women there, having flirted respectfully with all the ones that attract me).In fact, I find the men to be too "spiritual" and thus unassertive with the women, to preserve the image of themselves as little saints "above" petty sexual and romantic entanglements. And the many of the women , in turn, send contradictory messages : all "spiritual" in their speech on one hand, and sexually provocative on the other hand,  wearing tight jeans and tight blouses with their boobs in our faces. It kinda fucks my head up. But that's not just AA, it`s our whole sex-obsessed society.

    Anyways, those AA are not my bag. Nor are ANY spiritual groups. I see it more clearly now, and I will eventually leave AA completely. I am still slightly attached to a few people at a Wednesday meeting.And then I wil be gone for good…


  • SoberPJ, I have been seriously considering the idea, especially since andreas' email starts with "*******[edited for privacy]".

    Dear Andreasheinz: I have a feeling that English is not your strongest language. And your comments lead me to believe that you do not completely understanding the posts that you're commenting on. I might be wrong, but only because I cannot understand your comments.

    If there is a language barrier here that's leading to miscommunications, I suggest this:

    Cut out the foul language until you can make yourself clear. Then, once you get the hang of expressing yourself and conversing coherently in English, you can add back in the potty-mouth for emphasis and flair. That is, if you are serious about communicating here.

    If you're just out of your damn mind, I expect your next comment will make that clear.


  • McGowdog

    Woah.  Have to agree.  Some on here won't like that.

    I am on a message board and a newbie came in to ask if others think she's alky or not.  I said that I doubt it, but to be really careful and don't just go to A.A. meetings to find out.

    I said that she will be hustled in.  Sure enough, about every other poster, except for one, tried to hustle her in and said, "Nobody sits awake at 4 in the am wondering if they're alkie and blahblahblah.

    If you ain't alky, go enjoy your drinking or even go puke your guts out on me!  But if you can get and stay sober without A.A., for God's sake, do it.

  • andreasheinz

    !SoberPJ, I have been seriously considering the idea, especially since andreas’ email starts with “*******[edited for privacy]”


    thats for privacy


    FTG why don't you post my full address, phone number etc

    • thats for privacy

      FTG why don’t you post my full address, phone number etc

      Well, andreasheinz, if ******** is indeed part of your actual personal email addy, I am very sorry that I revealed it publicly (goodgod, do you email your mother with that mouth?). I will delete my reference to it now. And, I'm certainly not going to post any of your personal information, because that would be wrong.

      OK, so keep your pants on! I'll ban you when I ban you! I'll get to it. Sheez.

  • speedy0314



    ah … the sweet smell of clarity!


    "thats" for the fish,



  • Gunthar2000

    I think that McGowdog and andreasheinz should both be banned.

    I would also encourage members of this community to try to stay on topic and avoid hogging the boards. If you have something to say, it can be done without posting over yourself 4 or 5 times in a row.

    Think before you post… This should not turn into a playground.

    I'm not the boss, but that's just how I feel.

  • Gunthar2000

    Yes… andreasheinz, please don't take your pants off.

  • Sarah


    Why are you even participating? The only reason you're here is to copy and paste bits of peoples' posts onto your blog and rail against them there. It is disingenuous to pretend to be civil here and later the same day rant and pick everyone apart all over the web. Seriously, you use the same name, or sometimes Patrick all over.

    I am so over you and your kind.

    Oh, and if you want to copy and paste, why not use the whole post and not put words in peoples' mouths?

  • i LOVE people who say things like, "short bus."  i mean, they are so sophisticated.


    but really, i little worried that mcprince is like 21.  would not we be kinda awful if that were the case?

  • man, i thought andrea, i mean, andre, was a chick.

  • gunther, gosh, i thought i as done posting, and then well, i just felt like saying hi 🙂

  • Ben Franklin

    @Sarah, I agree totally. If you go over to that foul smelling dung heap of a blog you can see whole swaths of stinkin thinkin posts and nasty rants about them. One day last week Mc snowplow had over 4 and 1/2 hours posted and ranted about ST. Who has that much time on their hands.Supposedly he doesn't care about this blog. His obsession shows otherwise.

  • McGowdog

    See?  Violet and Ben always come in together… and they look like brother and sister.  Gunthar2000 looks like thier mom.  And their dad is blocko from Gumby.

    Sarah, you kiss your mom with that mouth?

  • Primrose

    Mark, we can agree to disagree on whether aa is a cult, because, of course, that depends on your definition of a cult.

    The fact that you did not come across any sexual predators does not mean there are none.  One sexual predator can prey on many many women, and I think that is what they tend to do.  So just because there are lots of women saying they have had a bad experience like this in aa does not mean that aa is FULL of sexual predators, but there are some, and they are active.

  • Primrose

    I have lost the post where rick045 was talking about 'pigeons' and grooming of newbies, fresh from 'treatment' centres. Does anyone know which one it was?  Cheroke Wife?

  • Rick045

    Hi Primrose, that was on a thread titled "a new civil rights case".


  • Primrose

    Cheers, Rick, I want to quote it.

  • Ben Franklin

    For all the posters here; Don't post anything that you don't want to go on Mcglowworm's blog. But if you do post anything, don't worry about it because nobody reads Mcchowdix's blog.

  • Sarah


    No, and I don't kiss A$$ with it either.

  • McGowdog

    Oh, well then you're a liar too.  Everybody ki$$es a little ass if the price is right.

  • tintop


     that attitude belongs to you.  you own it.  you live with it.

  • You know how sometimes tween girls who are not getting enough attention will stomp off to their bedrooms, slam the door — then slam it again — and then throw themselves on their unicorn princess bedspread and scream into their pillows until their faces are red? And then they will open up their unicorn princess diary and pour out all their fee-fees about how no one understands and they all suck… making sure that their falling tears smudge the ink, so that when she's dead and people find her diary they will know. They will KNOW!

    And you know how sometimes some people's blogs are just exactly like that tween girl's bedroom?


  • Ben Franklin

    They may even have pictures of Justin Bieber!

  • DeConstructor

    Does this sound more than a little passive agressive,or just befuddled?

    From the message boards and crackheads of the A&E show Intervention, a little nugget posted to me….

    "Stinkin' Thinkin" Web Site Looks like one you should post on

    Instead of discouraging others here looking for help. This site is for support; not some place for disillusioned trolls, like you, to turn dependent people off. By all means post your poison  at Stinkin' Thinkin' and join all the other trolls and ogres, who have felt they were shortchanged. But, please stop trying to show everyone here how much you really hate being sober."

  • tintop

    The word that comes to mind : aggrieved.   Perhaps you have been writing stuff that he does not like.

  • "But, please stop trying to show everyone here how much you really hate being sober.”

    They always reveal themselves in the last line. That's where they give up the crazy, every time.

  • Heather

    Does anyone know what has become of the Expose AA website?  It has been down for the past three days.

  • Sarah

    FTG, you are the best. Thank you and sorry for the email confusion.

    Speaking of unicorns, did you hear about the cease and desist letter sent by the pork board to ThinkGeek.com about the canned unicorn meat? Classic stuff. Apparently they thought the canned unicorn taken care of by nuns, bathed in Guinness, fed only the finest candy corn and served with lots of pretty sprinkles was real! Wow, people are so simple sometimes; even on April 1 they can't take a joke.

  • Sarah

    No, McGD, I'm not the liar. You are, sorry to let you in on that little piece of reality, but sometimes you just have to call a spade a shovel.

  • suzie

    what a depressing site…so much anger.. i was thinking about leaving AA which is how i ended up here…but after reading this site for the last couple of hours it reminds me of how i ended up in AA in the first place… good luck…

  • Brian

    Suzie, I don't post here very much and I'm not usually an angry person.  But after discovering just how much AA has impacted my self-identity and the way I relate to the world, I'm pretty upset.  It's hard not to be.  If venting and arguing on this blog offers an outlet for that anger, then I don't see what's wrong with it.  Not only do people who have been harmed by AA have to defend their position, but they get actively attacked for doing so!  Why should people keep their opinions to themselves, if sharing them can possibly help others.  Reading this site is what allowed me to leave AA/NA and I'm extremely grateful for that.




  • suzie,

    I don't believe that you were actually contemplating leaving AA. Not for a second. I think you just made that up, because you want us to think that we're defeating our own purpose.

    In AA, it's not OK to be angry, but it is OK to lie. But, for most people, it's healthy to feel anger — especially after having been lied to. Anger is the emotion that inspires people to leave the liars behind.

  • Brian

    @friendthegirl: "That’s where they give up the crazy, every time"  lol, I'll have to remember that line for future use.

  • Ben Franklin

    Suzie thanks for wishing us "good luck". I personally feel that your the one that is going to need good luck if you stay in AA. I agree with FTG. You just want to take a potshot at us and passively aggressively throw an ad hominem our way. How does this site remind you of how you ended up in AA in the first place? Logic made you drink? Here is a site more suitable to your tastes:
    Thank you, drive through.

  • "anger is the emotion that leaves the liars behind," is an awesome quote, too.

  • tintop

    suzie    I do not need your help, advice or 'wishes of good luck".

    have a good day

  • McGowdog

    Suzie, I don't know where you are coming from.  But the reactions that your post prompted makes me realize what this site really is;

    It's the Middle of the Road for anti/XAers.  They love to hate A.A. here.  This is true.

    Brain says, "Not only do people who have been harmed by AA have to defend their position, but they get actively attacked for doing so!  Why should people keep their opinions to themselves, if sharing them can possibly help others."

    Now turn that statement on it's head.  If you come in here and agree with them, you're in.  If you come in here and disagree with them and/or defend A.A., you're cast out as a liar, a person who isn't allowed to be angry, stupid, evil, etc.

    Yet, they even have their own set of slogans in here… just like MOTR A.A.er.  Of all the A.A.ers in here, who do they hate the most?  Hard-lined and hard core big book thumpers.  They attack them by trying to discredit the book.  That's right, "trying".

    I still have yet to hear them discuss how wonderful alternatives work.  How they use their new found freedom from A.A. to get past and beyond real world problems.

    They are typically left-wing atheists in here.  So this polarized them right off the bat.  Dualistic thinking has gotten our society not too far.

    You are welcome to check out my blog, some will be invited to be authors.  It's currently but a storage space for some of my reactionary rants.  It started when authors of this blog started cherry-picking proAA quotes from Sober Recovery forum to mock and trash here.  Some of us were given "Quote of the Week" honors.  How could we not take notice?  It was entertaining.  It has also become a response to some of the misinformation and misleading claims that Orange has made… half truths, selective information, and made up claims.  I've also put up some of my experiences in the steps and traditions.  Not too many comments in those sections, I'll admit.  Those are static experiences and probably of no use going forward.  But recovery is a topic that I have great passion in and I am helpful to others in A.A. and outside of A.A.  I have some concrete and real experiences and understand the black on the white… not what people add to the thing.

    It's easy for my adversary to trash and try to slander my character when I stand for something they are fighting.

    anti/XAers are fighting something.  A.A. doesn't fight back.  It can't nor should it even try by its own traditions.  A.A. has been down this road before… that's right!  Before the big bad internet.  The www is not the origin of communication. 

    I used to think that anti/XAers and BB thumpers were fighting the same fight; exposing bad A.A.  But what they call A.A. and what we know to be A.A. will always be worlds apart.  Nobody, for instance, can bind itself to A.A.;

    6.) Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A.-and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.

    I challenge anyone to show me an outside entity that charges money for its care, that is affliated with A.A. and uses the A.Al book as its guideline and uses the steps exactly as they are written in the 164.  You'll note I chose my wording carefully there.  "A.A. oriented treatment" is bullshit and is not A.A.

  • Lucy

    Thank you for maintaining this website.

    I went to AA for 26 sober years. The hard part of leaving was admitting that I had been suckered by a cult, and that I would lose people with whom I had long been close.

    My clarity came when I watched my husband, who was also a member, succumb to a serious mental illness while his sponsor, and my sponsor, ragged him for not "doing the steps the right way." I saw the insanity of the inculcation of AA dogma into the mental health system, and saw my husband come close to dying.

    Now I am in the netherworld. The people (and my former friends)in AA think I am nuts, and the people out of AA are clueless as to why it would be a big deal.

    I am just moving on, and remembering what life used to be life before the cult.

  • Welcome, Lucy. I hope you and your husband are doing well. What a painful and frightening experience — and isolating! It's true, this is a netherworld. But, you are among people here who are navigating the same netherworld. You don't have to feel alone there.

  • Lucy, yep, the netherworld. I exist here too and occasionally think I want to go to a meeting and then ask myself why? I have moved on and don't need to be around all the sickness and depression, let alone the deceit. I keep reminding myself that I will find useful things to do with my newfound extra time, and I will. There is a big world outside of the rooms and I am beginning to partake of it. This is true freedom, not the cowering, fearful of alcohol existence that is offered by AA. "We  recoil as if from a hot flame." Why? By itself, it's just an inert liquid. If I don't drink it, it isn't going to do anything to me. It can't jump out of the bottle or glass and inject itself into my system. After 16 years, I have been out over six weeks and feel great and am finally learning to get control of the life that was mine all along. I wish you well.

  • Never truer words were written – "AA oriented treatment is bullshit".  And 97% of treatment centers are AA oriented. If a person has to do some steps in treatment, it is AA oriented treatment and it is bullshit.

  • Sarah

    Welcome Lucy,

    I was in AA for ten years, and it has taken several more to try to leave all the dogma behind. I understand the getting left behind. The moment I began to simply question AA, all the "friends" I'd had for a decade vanished. I worked the steps wrong, blah blah. I worked them straight out of the book with the lock-steppers, and tried a few other ways over the years too.

    Finally, after ten years, I said, you know what? I've been writing inventory every day and all that jazz, and I still have serious, treatment resistant psychotic depression and PTSD; it wasn't me, it was the fact that AA didn't work for me, just like so many others. I left behind those that told me I was doing it wrong and got free. I still have anger at AA sometimes, but mostly it's shame and pain, and a bit of regret for getting taken so thoroughly.

    Welcome and I wish you the best on your journey for truth. If I can ever be of any assistance, by all means, let me know.

  • Hey Lucy, just wanted to say I am glad you r out of AA.  Have a great day.  I understand living in that netherworld pretty well.

  • Sarah, I am so sorry you have psychotic depression.  That sounds hard.

  • Sarah

    It can be, but I'm used to it. I have just adjusted my expectations of myself to fit what I'm actually capable of doing. It sucks a good amount of the time, but I don't really have anything to compare it to, so I just trudge on.

  • Lucy

    Thank you guys out here in the netherworld for welcoming me, and I too am sorry, Sarah, for the psychotic depression. But it still beats the insanity of meetings.

  • Marco

    I was very touched by Lucy's story and other' similar to hers. Their experience with AA seems much more difficult than mine. And , I think the reason is that I never got really close to any of the mainstream AA people, because they mainly always bored the shit out of me with their mystical nonsense. I'd go because there was nothing else for me (there still is nothing else really), I'd meet one or two cool people,  but I'd keep my distance. The few people I got closer to are and were other atheists , good-looking women,  "normal" types, and to help out some of the big fuck-ups who sufferred a lot: I'd go to AA meetings to see them, and still do. But all that is seeping away gradually too. I can't help out the fuck-ups (former prisonners, psychotics, homelesss people etc..) because they are too messed up for me to help (they all have a very dark side, but at least they were real). And they drained me of lots of $$$$$. Lots (like one woman who I gave $100 to, who would rather sleep in  the cold than go a rooming house that was OK. That made me furious: The money was given to tide her over , make calls, take buses, to find a room, and she wasted it!! I have plenty of other stories like that). As far as atheists, there are so few of them, it's incredible. The good looking AA women? Forget it now. A nice pair of hips ain't gonna compensate for an idiotic mind full of AA nonsense. As far as just plain speaking normal people, well, there a few I like, I"ve got their numbers. If it works from outside AA with them, great. If I have to go to AA to see them, to hell with that from now on. It's starting to make me too sick and angry to go to AA. And Al-Anon is a fucking farce also.


  • groovecat

    McGowdogjack-hole is a true-believer. let's not forget that.

    a true-believer.

    i challenge you, Mr. McGowdog, to dispute me. are you or are you not a follower of the Sacred Texts of St. Bill? (and in my own words, the excretions of a failed wall street hustler).

    c'mon, let's get on down to the real nitty-gritty.

    drunkenly awaiting your response,


    p.s. the gauntlet has been thrown, lets see if McJack-hole can pick it up. or even if he knows what that means. *McGow-hole trying to google "gauntlet". wha?…*

    tee-hee…too much fun. like throwing peanuts at the chimps at the zoo. 'ole McD gonna stomp off to his cave…

  • McGowdog

    I'm not gonna engage you on here.  Nobody wants me around here anymore.

    Why don't you just let it die?

  • DeConstructor

    McSnowPlow likes to bump and run.

    He also likes to stretch the truth alot, even by AA evangelist standards, and by internet standards (which are both pretty low standards)

    So before he gets arrogant about his passive aggressive gaslighting (a favorite technique of steptards)

    One should notice that he never responded to his original misstatement of his:

    "For example, Stinkin’ Thinkin’ banned me and two of my friends just because we kicked their ass regularly in debates."

    Comment on a youtube vid:


    Vote botting? Censorship? Wow. I’m pro A.A., but I’m the one who gets banned and kicked out of antiAA sites. For example, Stinkin’ Thinkin’ banned me and two of my friends just because we kicked their ass regularly in debates.

    So… just to show you no hard feelings, I gave you a thumb up. I’ll admit A.A. has some problems, but they’ll be alright. If you don’t like A.A., you’re gonna harm yourself by pouring acid on your own soul. Happy Memorial Day!

    sirmcgowington 2 months ago

  • Ben Franklin

    Mcscowlhog isn't too smart for the program. From Mentalhelp.net:

    IQ – mcgowdog – Aug 1st 2010

    140 is what they tell me Tony.  Thx 4 the assessment.  I'm smart enough to get into trouble.

    Now I don't believe someone with a near genius IQ of 140 is going to be that gullible for not only AA but for the cult guru David R.Hawkins. High IQ usually correlates with low religiosity.

    Ben Stinkin Thinkin Goon who calibrates at 45 as in 45 caliber goonieness


  • McGD – I'm serious here, so don't be offended. It seems you too have some frustrations about the way AA has evolved and would like to see some changes. I think most people on this site would be in agreement that changes are needed. I am all for an AA that is truly honest and upfront with the fact it is a religious organization and it should be devoid of coerced attendance. People have a right to know what they are "joining" and if they know the facts and join anyway, so be it. It would be good for AA to have only volunteers for a variety of reasons. At some level what we have in common is a desire to change AA, so how do we build on that as opposed to exchanging vitriolic barbs? Your idea of 3 types of AA was a great start and it showed you are thinking about many of the same issues as others here. I think if there were a thread asking, "Exactly what do you want changed in AA ?", you might be amazed at the commonality of ideas in the responses. Keep comin back, we all learn from each other, for better or worse.

  • tintop

    Actually, I think that AA is whatever a person wants it to be.  A person can go to AA because he wants a face to face contact with people with the same problem; a person can get a sponsor and work the steps with that person; a person can do the steps by himself; a person does not need to do the steps at all; a person can revise the steps to suit himself; a person can go to AA in order to get out of the house, instead of going to the bar.  A person can consider it a religion if he wants; a person can decide that AA saved his life if he wants.

    A problem arises when a person goes to AA not knowing what he wants and he has run out of self control and expects AA to provide that control.  A problem arises what that person can not distinguish bad actors from decent people and chooses the bad actor.

    AA can be useful if a person knows exactly what he wants, what he expects from AA, and how to get it from AA.  A paradox:  AA can help if he does not actually need the help of AA.

  • DeConstructor


    That must have been Tony (C) talking to McSnowJob. I have had run ins with him on various sites.

    I do see the humor in those two telling each other how smart they are…….

  • Marco

    Tintop`s comments about AA are typical of the AA laissez-faire attitude in which nothing is asserted but an apparent vaporous universal benevolence. Like, man, do your thing , and I`ll do mine. All that gives us is the typical mind-mush of AA, and AA members never comminicating anything of value but idiotic "good vibes".


  • tintop

    marco  that post is sarcasm

  • Marco

    Tintop, Oops, sorry. it did not sound like sarcasm.

  • Tintop is our resident Straight Man. 🙂

  • Marco

    You know, it is not just AA that is a pile of malarkey, every mainstream and alternative New age type of spirituality gets on my nerves. One site that I particularly love to hate is the site of a Left-wing spiritual and political ecumenical site called TIKKUN. I share a lot of their politics, but their Buddhist Taoist Jewish Christian Wiccan etc.. amalgam appals me with all its magical thinking, and especially their idiotic pacifism a la Ghandi ("love your enemies" , even if they torture you!!). But there are some extremes that even these Tikkunites don't even get into, and that is the weird and dangerous movements of "positive thinking". Here is the beginning of a n article against these mad insensitive people on the Tikkun site:

    <!– AddThis Button BEGIN –>

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    <a title="Permanent Link to When Positive Thinking Becomes Religion: How “The Secret” and Law of Attraction Poison Spirituality" href="http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2010/08/01/when-positive-thinking-becomes-religion-how-the-secret-and-law-of-attraction-poison-spirituality/&quot; rel="nofollow">When Positive Thinking Becomes Religion: How “The Secret” and Law of Attraction Poison Spirituality


    by: <a title="Posts by Be Scofield" href="http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/author/bescofield/&quot; rel="nofollow">Be Scofield on August 1st, 2010 | <a title="Comment on When Positive Thinking Becomes Religion: How “The Secret” and Law of Attraction Poison Spirituality" href="http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2010/08/01/when-positive-thinking-becomes-religion-how-the-secret-and-law-of-attraction-poison-spirituality/#comments&quot; rel="nofollow">26 Comments »

    Esther-Hicks channels magnetic entities which she calls "Abraham"

    Rhonda Byrne, author of the best selling DVD/book "The Secret" is releasing a sequel in August called "The Power."

    We must understand that the founder of a cult or new religion has no room for compromise: absolutes are necessary. True believers in mystical psychotherapy will not embrace a gospel with modest claims: it must be all or nothing. – Martin Larson

    “He could go to school and daydream.” That was the advice given by positive thinking guru, law of attraction teacher and “channel” Esther Hicks aka “Abraham” to a black woman who asked how her son should approach learning about the difficult history of slavery in school. After telling the curious mother “none of that [slavery] has anything to do with him,” and that “he won’t have to deal with it” Abraham-Hicks proceeded to equate the teaching of African-American history with a family legacy of passing down “bad” feelings. But this is nothing compared to what she said about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When the woman asked her about a way to interpret his life in an empowering way for her son Esther-Hicks launched into something that can be best described as an ignorant stream of psychobabble. She described his vision in the vaguest of terms and then said, “He lost sight of his dream momentarily…he began to push against. And when one pushes against in a very fast moving stream abrupt things happened…It’s trying to get others to agree with us about our dreams that causes backlash. But when we just dream them ourselves…the resources of the universe come into alignment with us.” Blaming Dr. King for his own death was paired with her instruction to the woman to not tell her son about the unjust things that Dr. King had to struggle against. Her point was that slavery, racism and segregation are all “negative” and so therefore we aren’t supposed to think about them. And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, when responding to a question on Oprah’s radio show about how the law of attraction would lead to a young girl attracting her own rape and murder, Esther-Hicks responded by saying parents don’t teach their children how to think properly and they are influenced by the negative thinking of the adults around them. She told Oprah, “if they are listening to the guidance within they could not comfortably ever settle on the thoughts that would lead them to attract something unwanted.”

    Imagine! The rest is even more gross. But I did not include it here because it is a long article, and I don't know how to do links. For the rest , go to the Tikkun site, then to their "Tikkun Daily" section, scroll down, and you will come to the full article.


  • Marco

    What`s a straight man? Are you people trying to mess with my already messed -up head full of dope and alcohol with this apparently false sarcasm?! Are you out to get me for some reason!? And , you , friendthegirl, are you the babe who originally ran the DeprogrammingAA site a few years ago. I wonder what happenned to them? And why was a long post of mine not posted a few minutes ago? Are you trying to censor me? Why do you hate me?!

    Mark aka Marco

  • Marco

    <!– AddThis Button BEGIN –>

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    <a title="Permanent Link to When Positive Thinking Becomes Religion: How “The Secret” and Law of Attraction Poison Spirituality" href="http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2010/08/01/when-positive-thinking-becomes-religion-how-the-secret-and-law-of-attraction-poison-spirituality/&quot; rel="nofollow">When Positive Thinking Becomes Religion: How “The Secret” and Law of Attraction Poison Spirituality


    by: <a title="Posts by Be Scofield" href="http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/author/bescofield/&quot; rel="nofollow">Be Scofield on August 1st, 2010 | <a title="Comment on When Positive Thinking Becomes Religion: How “The Secret” and Law of Attraction Poison Spirituality" href="http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2010/08/01/when-positive-thinking-becomes-religion-how-the-secret-and-law-of-attraction-poison-spirituality/#comments&quot; rel="nofollow">26 Comments »

    Esther-Hicks channels magnetic entities which she calls "Abraham"

    Rhonda Byrne, author of the best selling DVD/book "The Secret" is releasing a sequel in August called "The Power."

    We must understand that the founder of a cult or new religion has no room for compromise: absolutes are necessary. True believers in mystical psychotherapy will not embrace a gospel with modest claims: it must be all or nothing. – Martin Larson

    “He could go to school and daydream.” That was the advice given by positive thinking guru, law of attraction teacher and “channel” Esther Hicks aka “Abraham” to a black woman who asked how her son should approach learning about the difficult history of slavery in school. After telling the curious mother “none of that [slavery] has anything to do with him,” and that “he won’t have to deal with it” Abraham-Hicks proceeded to equate the teaching of African-American history with a family legacy of passing down “bad” feelings. But this is nothing compared to what she said about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When the woman asked her about a way to interpret his life in an empowering way for her son Esther-Hicks launched into something that can be best described as an ignorant stream of psychobabble. She described his vision in the vaguest of terms and then said, “He lost sight of his dream momentarily…he began to push against. And when one pushes against in a very fast moving stream abrupt things happened…It’s trying to get others to agree with us about our dreams that causes backlash. But when we just dream them ourselves…the resources of the universe come into alignment with us.” Blaming Dr. King for his own death was paired with her instruction to the woman to not tell her son about the unjust things that Dr. King had to struggle against. Her point was that slavery, racism and segregation are all “negative” and so therefore we aren’t supposed to think about them. And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, when responding to a question on Oprah’s radio show about how the law of attraction would lead to a young girl attracting her own rape and murder, Esther-Hicks responded by saying parents don’t teach their children how to think properly and they are influenced by the negative thinking of the adults around them. She told Oprah, “if they are listening to the guidance within they could not comfortably ever settle on the thoughts that would lead them to attract something unwanted.”

    This is what I wanted to partly post, but it did not get posted do to satanic intervention.


  • Marco

    Does your thread here reproduce posts with pictures? Is that why  a new fascinating enlightening post by me was not posted; or am I being subject to the usual rejection here?


  • tintop

    AAdeprogramming was done by 'apple' and she went on to other things.  She helped 'orange' get started.  ken Ragge saved the site and it is at morerevealed nowadays.

      a straight man sets up the comic:  george burns/gracie allen; abbott/costello.   the british call it 'taking the piss'.

  • Marco, Hey, No, that was a totally different babe…

    Also, your first fascinating post got held up in moderation, because it was your first post, but I approved it as soon as I saw it, and you can see it right here.

    We have it set so that everyone's first post from a new IP addy is held in moderation, because we get so much spam here — oh my god! Do we get spam! We must have hit 40 ads for viagra just today. Once your IP is approved, then all subsequent comments will post automatically. So, you're good.

    I still haven't managed to get comments to post pictures, but you can post youtube vids. I'll see if I can get the pics working. Sometimes the plugins are incompatible with each other. I tried, yesterday, to make it so that yall can edit your own comments, but it didn't seem to take.


  • Oh, also, our spam filter takes no prisoners, and sometimes it will cull comments that have links in them. So, if you post something that has links and it doesn't show up, you can either sit tight and wait for me to find it (I will!), or email me: friendthegirl@stinkin-thinkin.com. If your post doesn't appear shortly, though, you can pretty much guarantee that I'm not online at the moment, but will find and approve your comment at the same time I see your email.


  • Ben Franklin

    This is from a great blog called Shamblog. Steve Salerno wrote SHAM which basically dissects all selfhelp, newagey bullshit. His line of thinking is pretty much in line with Stinkin Thinkin. Marco would like it as would others here.

  • Marco

    Thanks Friendthegirl for your kind welcome. Of course, I was jes' joshin' about feeling rejected here. Below is the beginning of the article (without pictures) thatI tried to post yesterday, about all these weird and dangerous "positive thinkers" that are around. The link to AA is that there is , of course, much magical thinkng in AA , but not as much as some of these people.  Marco

     When Positive Thinking Becomes Religion by Bo Scofield from "Tikkun" Daily Blog

    We must understand that the founder of a cult or new religion has no room for compromise: absolutes are necessary. True believers in mystical psychotherapy will not embrace a gospel with modest claims: it must be all or nothing. – Martin Larson

    “He could go to school and daydream.” That was the advice given by positive thinking guru, law of attraction teacher and “channel” Esther Hicks aka “Abraham” to a black woman who asked how her son should approach learning about the difficult history of slavery in school. After telling the curious mother “none of that [slavery] has anything to do with him,” and that “he won’t have to deal with it” Abraham-Hicks proceeded to equate the teaching of African-American history with a family legacy of passing down “bad” feelings. But this is nothing compared to what she said about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When the woman asked her about a way to interpret his life in an empowering way for her son Esther-Hicks launched into something that can be best described as an ignorant stream of psychobabble. She described his vision in the vaguest of terms and then said, “He lost sight of his dream momentarily…he began to push against. And when one pushes against in a very fast moving stream abrupt things happened…It’s trying to get others to agree with us about our dreams that causes backlash. But when we just dream them ourselves…the resources of the universe come into alignment with us.” Blaming Dr. King for his own death was paired with her instruction to the woman to not tell her son about the unjust things that Dr. King had to struggle against. Her point was that slavery, racism and segregation are all “negative” and so therefore we aren’t supposed to think about them. And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, when responding to a question on Oprah’s radio show about how the law of attraction would lead to a young girl attracting her own rape and murder, Esther-Hicks responded by saying parents don’t teach their children how to think properly and they are influenced by the negative thinking of the adults around them. She told Oprah, “if they are listening to the guidance within they could not comfortably ever settle on the thoughts that would lead them to attract something unwanted.”

  • Marco

    OMYGAWD…I just noticed , just after posting the above post , that you already did post this article further  up above twice (but it did not appear as soon as I posted it yesterday, thus my "protest").   SOOORRRYYY!!! I hate to waste space.


  • cherokeebride

    @Ben Franklin:  Thanks for the link and the reminder that I need to read SHAM.  I've had it on my list for the while, but now it goes to the top! Also, that's a great blog too!

  • Z

    It is really true — the entire magical thinking / psychobabble enterprise has to go! I used to think it was just funny, but now that it's imbricated with the legal system and seen as "science" and so on, it is outright dangerous!

  • Primrose
  • Ben Franklin

    I need to read SHAM also. I believe the author Steve Salerno really gets after AA. He thinks that 12 step is one of the originators of self-help psychobabble and that its effects on America have been very destructive.

  • Z

    Very interesting, 12 step as originator, and general effects on America. Hmm… !!

  • cherokeebride

    @Ben Franklin – I seem to remember that he appeared on a few skeptical podcasts.  I’ll see if I can dig them up and share with the group.  Interestingly – as this was several years prior to my DUI – I didn’t pay any attention at all to whether or not he discussed AA.  However, I *do* seem recall him discussing that everything is now a “condition” to be fixed.
    As a side note, there’s been some discussion on the DSM lately in the news and I’m surprised at how skeptical some outlets (NPR) have been as it relates to a number of the conditions the DSM defines as mental illness (they had a great piece on grief the other day).  Would love to see some of that skepticism fall on the use of 12 steps in treatment for a myraid of issues.

  • tintop

    I look upon the DSM as a ‘catalog of human mental suffering’.  It may have a practical benefit, as the ‘disorders’ can be looked upon as a justification of insurance paying the therapist.
    Sometimes, it may describe a particular sort of mental suffering accurately.

  • Marco

    OK, here is a post I sent to the website of 25 year member of AA, Christopher Kennedy  Lawford, a Kennedy:


    Christofear: You leave a good analysis of your present day-to-day- predicament, a typical useless confesion of character defects . What can be done to change them? Do you really think “GAWD” intervenes? Think twice!!.Has she intervened? When are you gonna get into poetry like John and Robert and forget this AA bullshit? What may I ask does this have to do with your Uncle John in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, what implications does this have for your feelings about your friend Fidel Castro, and The Big E, and Bobby, and Ted, and Dotson Rader, whose book about Tennessee Williams I just read for the third time ? (I love T. Williams..is there a better movie than “A Streetcar named Desire? Isn’t that perfection in the arts? Would you not have loved to play Brando’s role? What about the cinematography, and lighting, and Vivien Leigh, and Gadge, and Karl Malden, and EVERYTHING about that movie?) Which reminds me of your uncle John’s speech about the arts in Amherst in 1962, the best speech or article about the Arts I have ever read. Can I send it to you?

    OK, I am a very drunk right now, but doesn’t what I say make sense anyways? You were good in “13 days”, so was your father in “Exodus”, a fine movie I must say.Otto Premature did a fine job in “Exodus”, show it to the AIPAC people, and the Palestinian Lobby. The Cardinal was also great, Frank did a fine job in The Man with the Golden Arm about HEROIN ADDICTION..Sorry I may be partly fucking with you, but I am making sense anyways, you can see that and I really respect most of the Kennedy Legacy. Really I mean it…

    Here’s an excerpt from a speech by Robert Sr. during the Last campaign: Did this, baby:

    “And this is one of the great tasks of leadership for us, as individuals and citizens this year. But even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all. Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans. Robert Kennedy

    Send that to Robert Jr., if he needs reminding, which I doubt.


    <cite>Marco</cite> said this on Your comment is

  • Z

    Fascinating re the DSM; Primrose’s link and the Tikkun article are good, too (as well as SHAM). They’re all really enlightening.
    BTW this blog has caused me to finally quit smoking for real. How: it led me to Stanton Peele, who said addiction was mainly psychological. I’d always heard it was largely physical and smoking was really hard to quit, so I’d quit and fall back, or “quit” and then “chip” which would lead to falling back. But reading that it was mainly psychological gave me power! And in point of fact it’s just as easy to not smoke as it is to not eat fried food or something on that level!!!
    So, one really has to ask, what is the point of saying it’s so difficult and so on?
    ALSO I really have questions about the 12 stepping idea that changes are so big and so hard to make. I am really not convinced of this. Changing your basic disposition, like trying to force yourself to be an artist if you’re a scientist, would be pretty bad; adjusting to blindness or something like that would be pretty bad; however I see people making other adjustments all the time and they do fine… I don’t understand all the doom and gloom about it…
    Also, I wonder (again) whether rehab shouldn’t be more about how to have fun? It seems to me that some people don’t know how not to fret or how to have a really nice day, and it’s not really that they prefer to suffer, it’s that they lack information on how not to, or permission not to, and they will actually follow a happier path pretty easily if someone points it out … am I too optimistic?

  • Z

    Well Marco, Joseph Kennedy was a bootleger. I'm not saying that's good – I'm just recommending menudo, ceviche and boldo tea.

  • Marco

    Primrose: I would not consider AA a “dangerous” cult. The one I am creating is a dangerous cult, so watch out: I am coming for your mind….

    But really, in all seriousness: AA is just full of needy fools , like the rest of humanity.

    Marco (an incredibly brilliant sensitive person)

  • Z

    Menudo – very spicy Mexican soup with innards and lime juice in it, considered good antidote to alcohol intoxication, hangovers.

    Ceviche – Peruvian fish dish cooked cold in lime juice, also spicy; considered good antidote to alcohol intoxication and for hangovers.

    Boldo tea – made from a Chilean tree; it's for digestion and cleansing.

    (Seriously, I think a lot of people drink to feel better because they feel bad from eating food that doesn't work for them.)

  • SFla Gal

    Wow! Guess there's lots to say about AA. I was a member for almost 9 years. I made a conscious decision, after a while of feeling "disconnected" and unable to relat to alot of things in AA, to drink. I was going on a European vacation with some girlfriends and wanted to have a glass or two of wine with dinner, if I chose to.

    I gave myself permission, did exactly that, and never felt the guilt, shame, remorse or uncontrollable craving. I'm only 6 weeks into my new journey and find I do have to put a spin on the "thinking" I've hear for so many years. If there's a message I want to share, it's that we all have our own path…I wouldn't steer someone who needed AA away from it, but neither would I condemn someone, me included, not to go. 

    Hope we all take our lessons as they come and live the good lives we were intended.

  • Marco


    What is menudo, ceviche, and boldo tea, and why are you recommending these?

    Wow, I was pretty wasted there when I wrote the above…It’s certainly a bit incoherent…I’m sure any AA people reading this have nothing but compassion for an obviously lost soul. HAHAHAHAHAHA.  Oh well, this can only end  one way: PRISON, DEATH, OR MADNESS!!! Watch out ,Marco! First the drunk driving rap, then peeing on someon’s lawn, then blasphemy against Geezus, then… a slippery slide to oblivion!Unless I get on my knees and pray to Almighty God for deliverance from this obsession with ridicule…


  • anon II

    Hi Spa Gal. Have fun reading the essential reading and finding out that this cult is built on nonsense that would actually be very funny if it didn't ruin so many lives and minds.  Have you read the orange papers?  I have found that, if in doubt, do and think the opposite of what you have been told in the cult.  Eg, step one,  You are NOT powerless.  You do not have a deep spiritual disease, etc. P.

  • Marco

    As I have pointed out many times now since coming to this site, I ain't no fan of AA. But I must contest Primrose's accusation in the above post that AA "ruins so many lives and minds". It hasn't ruined mine, and I have never heard of any else being ruined by it in my circles of contacts, which includes a lot of drinkers .I think we must watch for the exagerations. My anger with them is that they can't listen to me in my distress, and distress is the reason I drank (and still do; with a great pukefest last saturday, rare for me but very unpleasant). They say: talk it out, but I can't talk it out with them because of their religious convictions, however apparently "open" they are. But they at least have never relly fucked me over, over the years.They are just dull , reserved, and inoffensive like most people. Why would I want to talk to dishrags?


  • Joanna

    I am so pleased to have found this site. From my personal experience I have reservations re the AA program. In the early stages of my recovery I attended AA meetings for 18 months. I went to AA to seek support in my sobriety, not to embrace a quasi-religious community. Right from the start I felt deeply uncomfortable with many aspects of meetings and simply could not bring myself to participate fully. I was very careful about who I interacted with and which meetings I attended. Somewhere deep inside me lurked an instinct of mistrust and self-preservation! Having said that I did manage to find a very small number of encouraging and kind individuals but they were definitely the minority. I attended 2-3 meetings per week. I chose not to do the steps as I have always believed that I alone have to take responsibility for my drinking not a popular point of view within AA! I was never accepted into the inner circle and definitely condidered an oddball.

    Why did I leave? Primarily because AA hampered my personal growth. I was moving on getting back to work and developing a good support network outside of AA. I was able to step back and see a group of extremely psychologically unhealthy individuals repeating the same behaviour, constantly looking to the past, unable to take any responsibility for themselves and unable to participate in any type of rational discussion.

    I believe I got what I needed from AA (an initial support network) only because I trusted my instincts and kept AA at arms length. The less discerning and the vulnerable are the real victims here. The initial sell of a nice cosy group that will help you stay sober is very far from the reality. The truly vulnerable without a healthy sense of self are easily led. It is without doubt the dysfunctional preying on the even more dysfunctional.

    I am glad I left the fellowship. I never heard from a single AA member and no doubt Ive been consigned to the 'well she never followed the program so of course she is drinking, dead, doomed etc' category without anyone actually bothering to discover the truth.

    Strangely enough I am doing rather well without AA.

    Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this and lets celebrate freedom of thought and seeing things for what they really are!

  • anon II

    Hi Joanna, brilliantly put.

  • Marco

    I can really relate to practically everything Joanna wrote so clearly. I too was just wanting to find some emotional support in AA , and what I got was weird bullshit religion, and a little support from a very few kind normal people. The big difference between Joanna and myself is that she has been able to create an alternate support network outside AA, whereas I have never been able to. I tried creating a book discussion club, I tried hanging out with other politicos like myself, I tried creating  a no-bullshit group  for heavy drinkers, I tried just relating to a girlfriend, …nothing worked. So I have been caught between loneliness, and attending a few AA meetings where at least I had some human contact. But, really, it is becoming intolerable in AA. I can understand the few decent AA members wondering why this guy Marco is coming to meetings and exuding very negative vibes all the time; that is a bit unpleasant. Gawd, what a dilemma. And it is still going on…Since my drunk driving arrest a month ago, I have little contact with anyone.Even less than before , because I have just met with misunderstanding and indifference to my arrest (no hostility at least). And I dare not open to anyone in AA , except for one guy who has had far more serious entanglements with the law because of DUI.Well, I am going to an AA meeting in a couple of hours , hoping to talk to that guy, and possibly to a woman there I like, who is normal. But, really, I feel like a needy idiot doing it. I feel the resentment , mistrust, and hate building up in me already.


  • humanspirit

    Marco You're not a "needy idiot" at all – at least nothing you've said on here implies that. You've figured that your main problem is loneliness and a lack of human contact – there's nothing particularly unusual in finding those two things very hard to cope with. I actually think that this is the one good thing about AA, that it does provide some often much-needed contact with others when this is difficult to find elsewhere – as long as you avoid getting sucked into all the bullshit, that can be a positive thing. And as you say, there are some kind, normal people in AA, so trying to hang out with the good guys there seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do IMHO. (And they are the very last people who should get arsey with you about your DUI.)

  • Z

    Marco have you considered taking any recreational courses, if these are available at a community center or a community college or a university extension, or joining some sort of preexisting interest club (Nation discussion group, canoeing club, whatever it is) or volunteer organization? You might meet like minded people and develop friendships; if not you would at least have an activity that would meet (as AA does) but not be AA. Art or other workshop classes — stained glass, ceramics, sculpture — are kind of good because you have projects you're working on but talk while you do them. There is a LOT of "fellowship" in groups like this, & also anything involving the outdoors (hiking etc.).

  • Marco


    Thanks a lot for your understanding. Your post to me was very meaningful, and I feel a lot  better now going to the AA meeting (mentionned in my last post) , which I will be doing in a few minutes.


    Thanks  a lot for your post also. I have to mention that my whole life situation is complicated by the fact that I am semi-handicapped with a rare hearing disorder called HYPERACUSIS , which is hyper-sensitivity to noise (the opposite of deafness). See the website about it at <a href="http://www.hyperacusis.net” target=”_blank”>www.hyperacusis.net. Getting this very life-disrupting disorder 15 years ago led me to the bottle, because of the immense distress. This handicap restricts my activities , and thus also my social contacts. I will address my situation further for you and any other interested people tomorrow, because my ears are shot after pouding on this computer for a couple of hours. But, I, at least, wanted to thank you and HumanSpirit  today.


  • Marco


    Hello again. To continue: there are a lot of groups out there, but, really ,very little interests me, except for the arts. But , since I do not work in an artistic miieu, I really do not know where to go to meet some of these people. I can't go to cafes where folk music is played, for example, because of my ear problem, so that's out. Anyways, I do have restrictions, but they are not so bad; I just do not yet know where to go to meet interesting people. All I know at this point is that I have to gradually leave AA (which is full of artists, but most are on the AA trip)

    • MA

      Hi, Marco.

      I'm sorry to hear about your ear problem. I can't even imagine how difficult that would make life. Is there any reason why you need to go to AA in order to socialize these people who also happen to be in AA? If there friendship is conditional on your AA attendance, then maybe you should reconsider the quality of your friendship with them. I do understand the loneliness thing. Not long ago I moved to a small town. I knew nobody, and there was nothing to do. I hope you find something.

  • Marco

    HI MA: Thanks for your understanding of my ear and loneliness problems. 15 years now with this handicap.

    To answer your question as to why I need to go to AA sometimes when I basically don't like it: A few years ago, I knew nothing about AA, and thought I would try it out since it seemed to have a good reputation. I had a a girlfriend and acquaintances elsewhere at the time. But that girlfriend and other acquaintances  left my life, but I continued to go to AA (they were always there). Unfortunately, I gradually started to realise AA was nonsense, but I had  and still have nowhere else to go, because of the disappearence of the before-mentionned girlfriend and non-AA acquaintances. So I got inadvertently kinda stuck socially. You know it's sort of like when you have a girlfriend or boyfriend who is pissing you off, but you bear with her or him, because it's better than nothing. AA is better than nothing.You put up with it; you get lazy or resigned.  But I want better than nothing now. So, I have to go out and create that , I realise that. That is going to take work, and I usually am not into work (unless necesary).I just gotta do this. AA just does not provide what I need.


  • tintop

    Marco, it is second best in a way, but I think that there must be art talkboards for you to frequent.  And, college classes.

    I am half deaf, so I am aware of that issue.

  • Marco

    Hi Tintop: Sorry to hear about your deafness. What a drag.

    You know, I watch a lot of movies. Good movies. And so many of them have meaningful things to say to me. 1000 times more meaningful than AA nonsense. And I am sitting there, usually alone, watching (with close-captioning),thinking: damm, there must be people out there who dig the same kind of Art as me. After all, some of these movies are quite famous, millions have gone to see them. So where are these people? I mean, live, not the Internet (which cannot replace a live person, especially if the person is female!). I just can't figure it out. It really frustrates me, to the point that I sometimes drink because of it.  Not much, but I still do.

    In case anyone is interested, the last incredible movie I saw..actually it was a TV series that appeared in 1994… was called "My So-called Life". About the lives of a group of bright and sensitive teenagers. Just incredible. So beautiful.I could deeply relate to everything they were going through, and it was just not teenage stuff. it was universal.Made me feel so much better. But it would have been better to have shared that with someone. But there was no one…


  • Z

    So Marco, what do you do about the noise issue when you're out in public, do earplugs or something like that work? What noise levels can you take?

    Here in town I'd set you up for classes with my ceramics teacher, she's also a painter, and it's fairly quiet. There are also different kinds of art classes through the university extension, and those people are fun. And film, there are various film clubs at the university — anyone can go but you have to really watch for announcements and things to find out. Also if there's any type of school for the deaf or something like that, even though you're the opposite of deaf someone there might know how to get into the right sort of networks. ?

    This is going to take some digging. I wonder if there's someone in your area with the same hearing problem. I'd almost consider trying to start a support group for people with your hearing problem, it could be a statewide support group that met once a month or something, to share info and resources about how to find activities. ?

  • William Casey

    I'm 60 years old and never seriously drank until age 50, just party drinking 3-4 times a year.  Averaged 1 time a year being drunk.  Seldom had alcohol in my home.  Nothing special.  At age 50, that changed… probably out of boredom.  Over the next 9 years, I escalated from one 1.75 liter bottle of Jack Daniels per week to five.  Clearly I had a drinking problem as it became the central focus of my life.

    August 2009—  I decided to quit drinking.  AA was not involved, in fact I had a negative opinion of the program because of my ex-wifes involvement 20 years earlier.  I quit because of a health wake-up call, my girlfriend's credible threat to leave and realizing that I was spending $1,000 per month on bourbon.  I de-toxed easily and quickly but realized that I needed some out-patient treatment.  Here's where AA comes in and this still bothers me today.  I was told that attending at least 3 AA meetings a week was a pre-condition of outpatient treatment.  Wow.

    I went to the 3 meetings per week.  Outpatient treatment was helping me so why question prosperity?  Besides, I'm a retired social scientist and have studied group dynamics extensively.  I'm the most group pressure resistent person I know.  I'm also a deist and my views on reality are strongly shaped by Plato's classical idealism.

    Here's my take on AA after 11 months as our group's resident "heretic":

    *  The AA experience varies widely from group to group.

    *  AA helps some people and is absolutely useless for others.

    *  The best things about AA are (1) it's free; and (2) it's accessible.  Not everyone   has insurance or can afford more intensive therapy.

    *  There are sexual predators in AA because there are vulnerable women (and men) there to be taken advantage of.  Predators are a tiny minority and seldom last long.

    *  There are good and bad sponsors.  Mine is good.  I interact with him as I did my thesis advisor in grad school.

    *  The Big Book contains some good ideas but is not an ultimate authority, though there are members who believe it is.  Let 'em.  Doesn't affect me.

    *  AA has its purely social aspects and I occasionally participate.  But, all of my close friends are outside AA.

    *  There are AA "old-timers" (or hardliners) who occasionally step over the line in advising this newcomers.  They seldom do it a second time.  I'm somewhat assertive.

    *  I've been able to express my somewhat heretical ideas with no ostracism or being called-out.

    *  My experience with AA has helped me focus on sobriety.  It hasn't consumed my life.

    *  Other people's business is other people's business.

  • Predators are a tiny minority and seldom last long.


    I think I have probably written responses to all your points all over this blog, but the above is a new one on me. Not the "tiny minority" part, but the "seldom last long" part. Can you explain how you came to this conclusion?

  • DeConstructor


    I have a few questions, relating to group dynamics from some one who has witnessed and studied nonAA groups and their functions.

    Did you get the impression that many of the people in your meetings were forced or coerced to be there? Your experience sounds somewhat voluntary, and from what I have read, in 60% (and I think that number is low) the AA experience is not voluntary.

    Did you have the impression that the "outpatient treatment" was shirking responsibilty by making you AA's responsibility?

    Did you have to pay much money for outpatient treatment? (I was inpatient, I was told it was over 1000 a day, and over three years later my insurance still refuses to tell me how much they paid. I only know what my portion was)

    Did you feel the "governing leaders" of your group were effective as far as the short presence of predators?

    Did you ask any questions critical of the AA faith? Do you think you would have een asked to leave if you had?

    Did you see any people fail to the point they died?

    I don't mean to be overbearing, but I would really like to know from someone who has real training in this area.

    Thanks- DeCon

  • Ben Franklin

    *  Other people’s business is other people’s business.

    That is what I am  talking about William. I was forced to participate. I did not want to participate. My business was messed with. I had already done enough research on AA to conclude that I didn't want what anybody there had. This doesn't seem to bother you. This is America William and the fucking tAAliban should have no part in it except on a voluntary basis. I am not the only one. It bothers me in the extreme that this occurs in America. Perhaps you should read more of this blog.

  • DeConstructor

    Damn right Ben

    Keep AA in the church basement where it belongs.

    And the organization should stop LYING about  "attraction not promotion" thing when it is lobbying the courts, social services, hospitals, and jails for fresh meat.

  • Commonsense

    Lots and lots of lobbying by both AA and the AA front organizations.  For example, attorneys have the American Bar Association pushing AA and holding Open 12 step meetings for its members. See http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/colap/downloa
    And they have a 12 step fellowship for lawyers and judges that the bait. See http://www.ilaa.org/pages/home/
    The medical field is similarly covered by International Doctors in AA.  See http://www.idaa.org/meetings/introduction.php
    "Attraction not promotion" is not just a lie, but is an outrageous Big Lie. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Lie

  • SoberPJ

    An AA District here runs ads on buses that say, " If you want to drink, that's your business. If you want to quit, that's ours." Then a phone number. If someone calls the number, what kind of advice do you think they would get? My money is on, "Go to a meeting." That's not mere promotion, but a full blown marketing campaign.

  • Rick045

    @William, If you don't mind, perhaps you could elaborate a bit on what you're doing that makes you see yourself as a heretic. I'm glad that you are calling those old-timers on their shit and looking out for newcomers, but it's not that unusual for groups to have people who do that. No matter how assertive you are, you're still just another AA member with no more authority than the next guy, including those predators. I just looked at my local sex offender registry, and immediately recognized two guys who've been fixtures in local AA circles for years. I certainly knew others in the rooms that I would consider to be predators, but would never qualify for those lists, and some of them had been involved in the program for many years.

  • William Casey

    BEN:  I absolutely agree that no person should be "mandated" into AA by the court system.  I believe that it's done because AA is free and both prisons and rehab centers are expensive.  My experience was different.  I had a choice.  That being said, I'm very tired of court leniency on DUI.  First offense = 1 year working on the chain gang.  Second offense = 5 years on chain gang.  No AA.

  • William Casey

    RICK045:  Perhaps my most heretical trait is that I confront illogic when I see it.  For example, I've heard the statement "Your own best thinking got you here (drunk, miserable, etc) so give it up."  I almost always retort:  "No, it was my own WORST thinking that got me here.  My BEST thinking got me Who's Who in American Universities, STAR teacher, a region championship in basketball,etc."  Though I don't belittle the beliefs of others, I constantly remind the group that almost all evidence points away from a day-to-day interventionist God.  I simply explain that my creator gave me a mind to use and free will.  He expects me to use it but also to learn from the wisdom of others.  And I've found some wisdom in my AA experience. 

  • William Casey

    RICK:  On the predator thing.  Here's what I did with the one "for sure" predator I encountered.  I simply made it a point to hang around on the edges of all his conversations with women.  I made it a point to never leave the parking lot (where this guy hung out after meetings) until the last woman was gone.  It took a couple of weeks but the guy got the message and quit coming to our meetings.

  • tintop

    AA is free.  That is best reason for mandates to AA.  For myself, AA had no point after a short period of three months – about 15 meetings.  I saw very little wit and wisdom; I saw old timers talking in coded language, the meaning of which was either hidden or the opposite of the dictionary.  It was clear that quitting drinking was a personal matter.  A person does not need AA to do the 12 steps.  The 12 steps are available in books and on line.  And, the 12 steps can be done at home without a sponsor.   God cannot be described.  YHWH  means "I am who am." 

    I found AA was unnecessary after a period of time.   The AA train did not stop at my station.


  • William Casey

    DECONSTRUCTOR:  to address your points–

    * I'd say that maybe 1/3 of AA members were mandated.  I oppose this but would counsel a person struggling with drinking to investigate AA along with other options.

    *  I was "coerced" into AA because of my counselor's good experiences with it.  But, I didn't have to go.  I liked the outpatient program.  Very rational.

    *  My outpatient treatment was a very reasonable 27 sessions.  Insurance paid for all but $400.  The treatment center offered free weekly "aftercare" sessions.  I went to 8 weeks.  It seemed fair to me.

    *  My group has one very strong female leader who is a very effective guardian against male predators.  She's hard core AA and has little use for my irreverence.  But, I appreciate her "we take no shit" attitude toward predators.

    * I'm very critical of unthinking reliance on the Big Book.  Yeah, I've caught a little shit for this but no more than I experienced in grad school seminars.  Nobody trying to run me off.  A few love to tweek me on my "ego" thing but that's OK.  I need a little humility sometimes.

    *  I've never seen anyone fail to the point of death.  In my way of thinking, if I constantly relapsed in AA, I would try something else.  I've only been sober for 11 months so I certainly don't have all the answers.

    You're not overbearing, you simply have questions.  Questions are good.

  • William Casey

    FRIENDTHEGIRL:  I can only relate my limited (11 months) experience in AA.  I've identified one true predator (he told a young AA guy he thought was of like mind) that he was "only here for the women") plus I've actually seen him drink in the parking lot before meetings.  He wilted under my quiet but constant scrutiny after a couple of weeks.  I shared my concerns with my sponsor and they made it a point simply to not allow "Jim" to have solo conversations with women.  There are a couple of other "possibles," based only on my gut feeling (not always reliable but pretty good.)  The true guardian of the newcomer women is an assertive 50 year-old woman ("H") who has organized a small group of experienced women to be vigilant.  She seems to be vigilant as to these two guys so I leave it to her.  These guys have come to fewer meetings each month during my tenure.  "H" takes no chances.  A newcomer woman asked me while I was walking to a meeting if there was an AA meeting here.  "H" ran up from behind and scarfed the woman up.  It was almost comical.  I wasn't offended because "H" doesn't really know me.  I'm naturally flirtatious so "H" was taking no chances.  Since I'm 60 and walk with a cane, I took it as a backhanded compliment.  I must admit that since I seldom take part in AA social events, there could be subtle, long-term stuff going on of which I am not aware.    

  • William Casey, Thanks for that. I think that H's vigilance and finely tuned radar probably says a great deal about her experiences in The Rooms.

    Yeah, I think if you broaden your scope a little bit on the issue of abuse, you might see how AA can actually foster many different types of abusive dynamics among members. The sexual predation is an obvious one — but there are a lot of ways to power trip in such an environment.

  • Ben Franklin

    What happens when "H" is not around? What happens when these predators go to other meetings? Food for Thought.

  • Rick045

    @William, I think it's good that your group at least attempts to police itself in some way. That kind of pressure might be effective at controlling his behavior during that particular meeting, but provided he claims a desire to stop drinking, he still has as much right to be there as anyone else. Depending on the location, he might very well just take his unacceptable behavior on down the road to the next group where he may be readily accepted. Of course, you might be okay with that since it's out of your sight…

    At least where I come from, the only way a group could actually bar someone is through a vote of the "group conscience", and I only knew of one instance where that actually happened during the twelve years I attended. Of course, it's all a purely subjective process, and depends entirely on the dynamics of any given group, or maybe on who bothers to show up when the vote is taken.

    If AA were strictly voluntary, this kind of inconsistency and lack of central oversight might not be a big deal. Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with the reality of the complicated relationships that exist between AA, the treatment industry, and the court system today. It's especially unacceptable for the medical community to dump vulnerable people in those rooms while hoping that they might just land in a meeting with a self-appointed policeman on duty, and the situation only gets worse when you consider the constant influx of new people coming in through the court system.

  • Sarah


    * "There are sexual predators in AA because there are vulnerable women (and men) there to be taken advantage of.  Predators are a tiny minority and seldom last long."

    The guy that raped me on entry to AA, excuse me, 13th stepped me, is now an Ohio GSO rep. He's high up these days. Oh, and no one tried to help me or warn me. Not one out of several hundred at that clubhouse or other local meetings.

    I don't want to go into any more than that this second, but I have hundreds of stories after having spent 10 years in AA.

  • SoberPJ

    I think the saddest thing to watch is when the women get pregnant and the predators drop them like a hot rock. There is little chance of getting any child support, as most of these guys are penniless. I have seen this many times in 16 years and there is no corresponding rate of occurance that I have seen outside of AA. With few exceptions, the pregnant women simply disappear or are rarely seen again in the same meetings. The predator seems to stick around and acts like nothing happened. Then, it's on to the next victim…..

  • Marco


    To answer your questions about my ear problem. There are degrees of severity to it.I have an average case so I can tolerate , for instance, another human voice most days, but not 10 people in a closed room sitting around all talking at once (thus, at the breaks, at AA meetings, I would usually go and hang out outside the meeting rooms with the smokers, but not smoke). If a person has a more severe case or on my bad days, even the sound of a bird chirping, or the sound of my feet scraping pavement, hurts. That is Hell, and that is when I would drink heavily; ans sometimes make myself even worse when I came down from the booze.

    I would like to write more, but the library I am in is closing down ( I use their computers). Take care.  Marco

  • Ben Franklin

    Keep investigating. Read the Orange Papers. There are other links. Keep a critical mind.

  • William Casey

    Whoa, guys!  I'm on your side of the "predator" issue (I think.)  AA IS fertile territory for predators.  No doubt about it.  However, schools and youth sports organizations are fertile ground for pedophiles.  Are we going to shut them down?  ATM machines are attractive to thieves.  Ban them?  I'm especially sensitive to the school/sport thing since I'm a retired teacher/coach.

    I'm getting the impression that some of you believe that AA officials condone (or at least turn a blind eye toward) sexual predators in AA.  I have to admit that in my short AA experience (11 months) I've gained very little knowledge of the national organization.  I do know this:  AA is a confederation.  Each group establishes its own way of doing things within very broad guidelines.  If either of the two groups I attend regularly tolerated such behavior, I'd be blowing the whistle to the Atlanta Journal/Constitution and TV stations in a heartbeat.  I have a track record on doing this in my professional career on other corruption issues.

    All I'm saying is that our group seems to police itself and I do my share.  You guys (and myself) are on the internet….. sexual predator heaven.  Want to shut it down?

  • William Casey

    Once again, on the "mandated into AA" issue.  I oppose it.  AA should be a strictly voluntary organization.  I'm a hard liner on this.  If you get a DUI, you go to jail.  I've never had a DUI.  Seldom drove drunk, but I could have gotten a DUI a couple of times.  I sure wouldn't have been whining about being in jail.  Nor would I have wanted to be mandated into AA.  I'd probably have had a different view of the organization if I had been.

    Sarah, I'm sorry about your experience.  I can guarantee you that had you come to either "H" or me, all hell would have broke out.  No kidding.

  • DeConstructor

    No we do not want to shut it down.

    I only speak for myself, and I do not speak for any of the other posters on this site.

    What I do think that AA officials (the governing leaders) do is condone is the forced and coreced participation in the AA faith, under the order of US courts to incarcerated persons, private employers, social services deciding child custody cases, and organ transplant teams holding someones life as ransom for failing to participate and convert to the AA faith.

    Simutanously these persons, and rehabs across the country are using materials bought and resold by Hazelden Publishing, and although always denied, certainly has an incestuous relationsship with corporate AA (AAWS and the GSO)

    The unearned admiration and the indeserved credibility that is given to this organization blinds people to the madness, ineffectiveness and the mortality caused by this organization.

  • Gunthar2000

    @ William Casey,

    The courts don't mandate that sexual predators should become soccer coaches.

  • William Casey, Those responses to the issue of predation are so flippant… absolutely unserious.

    Some entities that attract predators — especially entities that attract pedophiles — require that people receive background checks before they are place in a position of responsibility over others. It's not foolproof, but there is accountability and oversight built in.

    Other entities, like say, the internet, or a barroom, attract predators, but people are warned — and seriously warned — and they know to keep their guards up when they participate. Anyone who engages, knows that there are scammers, rapists, thieves, etc.

    In your first comments here, you said that you didn't get the anti-AA vibe and criticism of its success, and also said that it's free, no one makes you go, and it's not "Nazi Germany." (Also flippant.)

    But, look, AA's relationship with the courts (among other outside entities) was initiated by AA, and has been nurtured by AA, from its inception. This relationship is fundamental to AA's very survival — at least its survival as a force to be reckoned with.

    Because of that (I think you're getting the picture), AA is full of people who don't belong there — mentally ill people, domestic abusers, petty criminals… And also full of predators who are attracted by the vulnerable newcomers. So, when an 18 year-old woman is sentenced to attend AA because of a DUI, who is going to warn her to keep her guard up?

    AA knows what kind of people populate The Rooms, yet it does not offer guidelines, warnings, training or oversight. There are no background checks. No "How to navigate AA safely" pamphlets. Are the people who would advise a newcomer to see the group as her higher power going to warn her about themselves? Are the people who would tell someone not to trust her own thinking going to tell her that the rooms are full of predators?


    So, we go on about the success rate, because there is no good reason that AA should hold such an untarnished reputation in the world. There's no good reason to compel anyone to attend, and there are very sound reasons not to (you can peruse the blog for those).

    We're not bashing AA for the sake of being bitchy. We're trying to draw attention to the lack of accountability that has done a lot of damage to a lot of people, and not much good over all. And really, AA members should be demanding this as well.

  • DeConstructor


    Well stated…..

  • Rick045

    William Casey, Again, I think it's a good thing that you attempt to keep some degree of order in your group. Of course, you're correct in pointing out that each group is autonomous. I don't think you will find anything in any of AA's official proclamations that says you have to do anything like that.

    I wouldn't say that AA's officials don't care about the abuses that take place in the rooms, but they absolutely turn a blind eye to such things, and always have. Do some research into their response to the mid-town scandal. They would not even address it precisely because they used the excuse that each group is autonomous. You can search all you want, but you wont find any hint of implied accountability on the part of official AA at any level.

    I repeat a point I made earlier, if AA were voluntary, this wouldn't be such an issue. The reality is that some very sick people are routinely sent to AA under the guise of medical treatment, and the courts routinely sentence people to AA.

    AA members were largely responsible for building the multi-billion dollar treatment industry in this country, and many of them still work in it, and still control it. They use AA as an adjunct to that treatment. This organization created this situation, yet it assumes no accountability for what happens to people in the rooms, that burden is on the groups.

    AA has encouraged recruitment efforts through court systems since it's earliest days, and it still does. Many AAers try to blame it on the courts, but AA started it, and still encourages it. However, the burden is on the groups to deal with the problems that come as a result.

    Your comparisons to those other organizations don't even apply because those types of organizations do not in any way allow themselves to be used in conjunction with medical treatment or the judicial system in the way that AA does.

  • SoberPJ


    I am glad that you and H are on the lookout for strange happenings. But you can't go to every meeting and you can't be at all the meetings around you. We have an Alano Club closeby that I used to go to. There are easily 10 meetings a day, 7 days a week of a variety of XA species. The place is a revolving door creep fest and some of these people are downright dangerous. And that's in the GOOD part of town. Since you are so new to AA, ask around about where the wacko, dangerous meetings are and go to a couple. People that have been around a while will know exactly where they are. Go, it will be fun, like an AA outing or something. Expand your AA horizons and see what it is like where there is no"H" and the guy sitting next to you is drunk and smells like he recently shit his pants and you're his new conversational friend. Or, go to a meeting where a 300 lb, all muscle, ex-con, maniac guy is "sharing" some garbage and the chairperson glances at his watch and the gentleman sharing goes into a multi-minute psychotic rage about how he is going to blow away the chairperson because he looked at his watch. Yep, I can just see you and good ole "H" telling that monster just where to go. Anybody can talk goodness and rightousness from the comfort of their meeting in the burbs, where the police might actually come today if you called them, and there probably aren't any weapons in the room. The truth is there are XA meetings that are downright dangerous – inside and outside the room. If you never see one, that's great, but you need to realize there is a very wide spectrum of meeting environments and personality types in those meetings. Your "bravery" is admirable in your current environment, but I'm not sure if it would be maintained in really hard core meetings where the fear of violent reprisal for confronting someones behavior is not imaginary.

  • William Casey

    You make an extremely valid point about the tie-in between treatment facilities and AA.  That's how I was pushed into AA.  The fact that it turned out OK for me doesn't mean that it did for others.

    I suppose that my bottom line is:  if not AA, what?  The American public sure isn't going to fund adequate treatment centers.  It's jail for the indigent if not AA.  OK with me.

    My reason for bringing up schools and youth sports is valid, though.  You can't blame anything AA does for the fact that predators attend meetings.  Lots of predators in bars and on the internet as well.

  • Argh!

    But people who go to bars and play on the internet are not led to believe that these are safe spaces. In fact, they are warned, constantly, by everyone.

    You could absolutely blame youth sports and schools if they refused to do background checks.

    Also, just to be clear: we're not trying to get rid of AA. We are hoping to see AA occupy a more appropriate niche in this culture — and get it out of the justice system.

  • SoberPJ

    Yep, predators everywhere. Especially where there are confused and needy people like those that come into AA. Where they are encouraged by all to share intimate details about their life and thereby reveal how they think, which is music to a manipulative predator.  Plus, they become powerless and convinced they can't think straight. The predators don't even have to work that hard. The environment does the work for them.  Imagine being told it is a safe place where God watches out for everybody and it turns out to be the opposite. There is a different expectation at bars and on the internet or at soccer practice. AA should be a safe place and for many it is not.

  • William Casey

    SOBERPJ:  I'm aware that there are AA meeting venues less hospitable than mine.  I've attended a couple to meet-up with old de-tox friends of mine.  I wouldn't go to many meetings if I had only that choice.  There is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  I try to concentrate on things I can do something about– primarily, keeping myself sober.

    Some of your points are valid but your "…..  you and good old 'H'…" remark was uncalled for.  You know nothing about us.  My advice to anyone seeking help:  find better meetings.  There are plenty out there.

  • SoberPJ

    One of the characteristics of new AA sobriety is extreme sensitivity….

  • SoberPJ

    I always liked the "find better meetings" advice. It works real well for middle America. Look up a new meeting on the internet, hop in your car, stop and get gas along the way and make it an adventure. Maybe stop and have a nice lunch at Red Robin on the way back.  What if I live in an inner city homeless shelter and have to eat free food and can't even afford bus fare. What are my choices then? It's a spectrum from very low to very high and the same advice doesn't work for everybody…..

  • Rick045

    "I suppose that my bottom line is:  if not AA, what?  The American public sure isn’t going to fund adequate treatment centers.  It’s jail for the indigent if not AA.  OK with me."


    I guess that's the bottom line question for many of us. It's a good question.

    I'm hesitant to assume too much about what the American public might be willing to fund. If alternative treatments and pharmaceutical approaches can be proven to be as, or more, effective than step-based treatment for a significant number of people, then I think the general public, and especially the insurance companies, would be quite open to funding various options. I don't know where things are really heading, but I think it might be important to consider how many people have been exposed to, and rejected AA. Very few people stay very long, and those numbers have to be huge by now. Those people are out there somewhere, and whatever their reasons for leaving, I think many of them would be very open to funding new approaches.

  • DeConstructor

    I really think the government should use the RICO statues against the Catholic church because of the coverups and transfer of priest etc. in an organized manner to cover upp very serious crimes.

    Do I think the Catholic church is bad? Not necessarily, but that is a separate conversation. There needs to be accountablilty, and the coverups need to stop.

    With that being said, AA has NO accountablilty, due to their CLAIMED separation and autonomy of each of the separate groups. In reality, it is an organized and for profit organization, that is simply deceptive.

    When this is combined with the vast recovery industry cartel, and the access to huge insurance monies, I am of the idea that this organization and this industry does need to be accountable to the tremendous damage that it causes people.

    This becaome infinately worse when the fact that this is commanded and imposed on persons by various entities with authority….

  • William Casey

    Well said, RICK.  The reason I tend to be pessimistic about reform in this area is that AA holds down insurance company costs to some degree.  Standard in-patient de-tox used to be 28 days.  At least you were well dried-out with some counseling thrown in.  It was 5 days for me in 2009.  I personally believe that effective programs exist other than AA but they are labor intensive and therefore expensive.  AA is free and does help some people (including me.)  No need to debate percentages but AA certainly is NOT the answer for many people.  But who's going to foot the bill for effective intensive care for those millions of sufferers without insurance or the means to pay?  The firestorm over "Obamacare" is indicative of the public mood even for "deserving" people with medical issues.  Even after 50 years+ of "it's a disease," substance abusers are not perceived as "deserving."  The way I look at it, AA fills a stop-gap need at the very least.  I don't expect everyone to share my AA experience.  However, common sense tells me that if a newly sober person messes around with  AA for 3 months and remains sober, he has a better chance of figuring it out for himself than he would if AA didn't exist.  I'd be all for an "anti-AA fellowship" that a person could choose if mandated into something by the courts.  Seems reasonable to me.

  • DeConstructor


    "Even after 50 years+ of “it’s a disease,” substance abusers are not perceived as “deserving.” 

    That is really a problem To say the least, the faulty disease model of addiction is very controversial. However, it was lobbyed hard, and the medical community finds it very lucrative to promote this behavior as a disease.

    Why actually "cure" a problem when it can be "treated" for life, with a lifetime of billable "treatment"? A cooperative, and co-conspiring  AA faith that promotes that people should go to inpatient "treatment" if they have a "relapse", and greedily continues the ruse by convicing families that the ENTIRE family is "diseased" and needs billable family programs.

    The real change and help to society would be for the real medical community to strongly condemn the faulty disease model of addiction, which is also continued due to the fact that it is one of the few mitigating legal defenses for people charged with vehicular manslaughter.

    The medical and psychological communties have embedded themselves incestuously so deeply with the AA faith that it would take a true act of courage for them to publicly admit they were wrong (although at least one survey 80% of US physicians report to believe that alcoholism is a bad behavior rather than a disease-of course this is off the official record)

    Other countries that do not promote the disease model of addiction do not have the extent of the  problem with addiction that the US does. According to another report there are more addicts in the city of Los Angelos than the continent of Europe.

    People attitudes can change, however, there is a 17 billion dollar industry out there, complete with weekly informercials such as A&E Intervention, and TLC Addicted, that needs the disease model of addiction to profit.

  • Gunthar2000

    @William Casey,

    I've been through 10 12-step oriented detoxes at anywhere from $10,000 to $28,000 a pop.

    Please tell us how AA holds down insurance company costs to some degree?

  • Commonsense

    The most obvious omission in my detox/rehab experience was no one (physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, wannabe gurus, etc.) said, "Look, if you don't stop drinking you are going to destroy your internal organs and die."  Instead, I was told by a psychiatrist that it was most likely that I would relapse, and I was told by my counselor that I could not stop drinking.

    Note that none of the so-called treatment programs advertise that they are a stop drinking program, but are "help", "treatment," "support," "self-help," therapy", "mutual aid", etc.  Nothing that is based on clear, quantifiable end results.  If your car was broken and your auto mechanic tinkered around with it and charged you lots of money without fixing anything, you would have a shit fit and refuse to pay.  Yet, money pours into rehabs for similar non-performance of tangible results.

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR:  Our experiences are quite different and because of that, our conclusions are quite different.  My detox, out-patient and aftercare program, though very sympathetic to AA, was not 12-step based.  I recently reviewed the materials I received.  Sure, there are some 12-step concepts.  But, there's a lot more hard science stuff about addiction.  The whole deal cost about $7,000.  My comment about holding down insurance costs is based upon my experience that being guided toward AA has helped prevent me from relapsing and having to repeat the process.  AA, itself, has cost me nothing.

    What AA has done for me is to provide a structure and forum for investigating my addiction to ethanol (commonly known as "alcoholism") in a sympathetic and supportive environment.  Nobody seems to care that I'm a Deist and don't believe in an interventionist God who responds to praying as most AA members do.  The most important idea I've gotten from AA is that I'm personally responsible for my recovery.  The second most important one is that I must at least investigate ideas with which I disagree or simply don't understand.  This includes a LOT of non-AA study.  I'm currently reading Chris Prentiss' "The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure," a non-12-step approach.  The third most important idea is that I, alone, must make my sobriety my #1 prority.  I call this "focus."  How long will I have to do this?  I don't know.  I do know that good things have been happening with increasing frequency since I became sober… and it's not by magic.  As the Zen Master always says:  "We will see."

    Don't take this as a "slam," just a statement of my opinion:  if I had gone through even TWO 12-Step programs and relapsed into my old ways, I would have tried SOMETHING ELSE.  I just don't understand rewarding failure nine times.  It must be my basketball coaching background.

  • William Casey

    DECONSTRUCTOR:  your point about investigating the disease model of addiction is well taken and important.  That's why I'm reading Chriss Prentiss' book.  He seems to be very critical of this model.  I'm new to this, but as a trained social scientist, I have tools for getting at the truth.  I don't know if I have a disease or not.  All I know after a year of sobriety, is that age 50, I embarked on a nine-year "career" as an abusive drinker.  I want answers and am willing and able to work for them.  I'll go to my grave believing that knowledge is power.

  • Gunthar2000

    @William Casey,

    Thanks for "not slamming" me. I wouldn't want to have to call my sponsor and tell him I had a bad feeling.

    According to AA theology, you can't be responsible for your recovery… that power must come from a higher power.

    "Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective

    mental defense against the first drink. Except in a

    few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can

    provide such a defense. His defense must come from a

    Higher Power."

    Alcoholics Anonymous – Big Book Page#43

    "In Step Two we saw that since we could not restore ourselves to sanity, some Higher Power must necessarily do so if we were to survive."

    12&12 p.107, Step Twelve

    "Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God — or, if you like, a Higher Power — into our lives.

    Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective

    mental defense against the first drink. Except in a

    few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can

    provide such a defense. His defense must come from a

    Higher Power."

    12&12 p.34, Step Three

    "As long as we placed self-reliance first, a genuine reliance upon a Higher Power was out of the question."

    12&12 p.72, Step Seven

    "Having reduced us to a state of absolute helplessness, you now declare that none but a Higher Power can remove our obsession."

    12&12 p.25, Step Two

    the most important things I learned from Chris Prentiss' book were that I was NOT POWERLESS, and that the condition od my life is the direct result of the decisions that I make.

    You can't have it both ways.

  • William Casey

    Well, I have somehow managed to use AA to my advantage without losing my sense of self.  My spiritual beliefs have been solid since age 22.  At 60, I don't think they will change.  Let others believe as they will because they will anyway.  Doesn't affect my sobriety.  I seem to "have it both ways."  Just lucky, I guess.  Firm believer in free will.

  • SoberPJ

    Powerlessly empowered… riiiggghhhht.

  • tintop

    “Look, if you don’t stop drinking you are going to destroy your internal organs and die.” 

    That does concentrate the mind.    Because that is what will occur.  You may 'beat the odds' but do not rely upon it.

    You may find a plain spoken GP to say something like that.  But, I doubt that anyone in AA would say that.  And, I doubt that that anyone in a treatment center would say that.

    But, truth be told, that is what I would say.   And, I said it to myself.  And, I drew a line under it.

  • DeConstructor

    William –

    You should really spend some time investigating at the orange papers. It is kind of the gold standard that many of us use for reference.


  • William Casey

    Thanks "D":  The Orange Papers are on my computers "favorites" list.  As with most sources, some valid points mixed in with not-so-good.

  • William Casey

    SOBERPJ:  When I was drinking heavily, I WAS powerless against alcohol.  I had 30 years of responsible drinking experience to compare it to.  I didn't have a problem and no need for "power."  However, at age 50, things changed.  Slowly but surely, my drinking increased.  Alcohol affected my rationality.  I became incapable of seeing logical consequences.  How do I know?  I had more than a few trusted people who had known me for those 30 years tell me so.  I chose not to listen.  I blamed everything EXCEPT alcohol.  In my mind, I was still a "moderate" drinker.  In a way, I was.  I simply drank constantly… never rampaging drunk but never sober either.  It wasn't until I realized that I was "powerless," left to my own devices, that I voluntarily checked myself into rehab and started the climb back up.  I had to give up the notion that "I can handle it" before progress can be made.  I'm sober a year now.  With reasonable help, I can handle it. 

  • SoberPJ

    Thanks William … I could not see how my perception had been warped by the teaching. Many that have left AA are interested in the truth. They seek truth. One of the big lies is around being powerless. Not just about alcohol, but according to AA, people, places and things as well… So, what is the definition of powerless? – "Lacking strength or power; helpless and totally ineffectual." So, is it  true? Is anyone completely and always totally helpless and ineffectual against people, places and things? The answer is a resounding No. The truth is there are a thousand shades of gray surrounding each persons level of power in the world, and it is situation dependent. But one must think critically to arrive at that truth. So, if it is not true, but is taught in a program of rigerous honesty as being a truism, how is there a benefit? Who benefits from getting people to believe a lie that can affect how they operate in the world in such a profound way? If I believe I am helpless and ineffectual, I WILL conduct the affairs of my life in a much different way than if I had a healthy view of what I am capable of doing in this life. Thank goodness the founding fathers didn't take the AA view of existence. Or, the Wright Brothers, Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and everyone else that has pushed the envelope of existence and achieved significant outcomes for the benefit of humanity. The powerless concept is subtly dangerous to the quality and potential of a life. As I believe, so I act. As a social scientist, create two population groups. One taught to be powerless and the other taught they are personally empowered. What are the long term benefits to each population? Which group would more tend toward self actualization and progress? You haven't been in AA long enough to see the long term effects of adopting the powerless philosophy. But I'm sure many here on this blog will agree that most long term AA ers aren't exactly shining examples of people who have lived up to their potential. 

    You always had the power to stop, you just didn't exercise it, so it seemed like you were powerless. As a mental exercise, rewind the clock to just before you went to treatment. The door you walked into happened to be the door where they believe in powerless and it seems to make sense. What if you had walked in another door and they said your behavior was the problem, that it was your hands that were picking up the drink and they simply taught you to control your hands and your behavior through personal empowerment. They are both "treatment". One tries to get you to believe that you are helpess and ineffectual, the other says exactly the opposite. Truthfully, put everything else aside and focus on this one fundamental issue. Which approach is more beneficial to the overall long-term "health" of the individual? Powerless or empowered?

  • William Casey

    All I know is that I was damn near "powerless" after nine years of heavy drinking.  And, that's from a person who had achieved considerable power in his previous fifty years.  My AA group emphasizes "powerless over alcohol" and (most other things) WHILE DRINKING.  Anyone who considers themselves "powerful" while drunk is living in their own little fantasy world.  Yes, there are AA members who consider themselves perpetually powerless.  I'm not among them.

  • tintop

    People always have the power to stop whatever obsession that they happen to have.  Destructive drinking is not the only such obsession.  Sometimes, we need to get 'permission' to stop. That, I think, is what AA basically does; if it does anything about drinking.  

    At this point, we do not know very much about what is effective treatment; and, looking into the matter has just started.  I think that the first place to start is to look at destructive drinking as an obsession.   An obsession which accompishes something; or, 'solves a problem'.  That something may no longer exist; or, the problem is 'solved'.  But we keep on  drinking long after the reason is gone.

    It is a continuum/spectrum of severity.  At the extreme end is physical disease such as liver disease. That has an effect upon what is done about it. 

    Bad mental health has a lot to do with destructive drinking.  That has to be recognized.

  • SoberPJ


    Alas, and again, the fundamental question goes unanswered. Powerless or empowered. Which is the most beneficial approach for living?

    Now imagine going to AA for the rest of your life and hearing about being powerless. Every time it enters your brain you must use mental energy to refute it, or categorize it appropriately. Repetition is powerful and it will take much work over time to keep it from being a part of your belief system. Contrast that with being in a group that is focused on empowerment, where your brain does not have to continually deal with nonsensical and mind numbing "truisms."

    Do you somehow prefer to hang out with powerless people? Even if you don't seem to believe it yourself of course. Like it or not, you are choosing to hang out with people that have some degree of being powerless in their belief system. And like you mentioned, some more than others. I am confident you are aware of group dynamics and the eventual homogeneity of beliefs in a group that is subjected to repetition of the beliefs. It takes time -years. You are new. Stick around, your beliefs will change too. You will be assimilated. "Not me!", you say, "I am smarter and stronger than that." The process has already begun and it is evident in your posts.

  • Many AAs say they are powerless against that first drink — meaning they cannot not take the first drink. Why would anyone need AA — or anything — if they thought that powerlessness happened only after the first drink? Just don't take the first drink. Done.

    The notion that one is powerless only after the first drink is a reasonable one. Alcohol definitely effects your impulse control. So this understanding of "powerlessness" makes utter sense… just not in the context of AA and the 12 Steps. The Second Step belies that  rational interpretation of powerlessness.



  • Z

    OK, I've received Elayne Rapping's book THE CULTURE OF RECOVERY. It's over 10 years old but already critical of the recovery "movement." I don't have time to read right now, am just on lunch at work, but I will read and would be curious as to what anyone else here thinks of this book. It seems to be best as a critique of the 12 step tinge "therapy" has gotten, and that so much pop psych for women has gotten — and it acknowledges the reactionary nature of AA and/but also justifies it saying that truly down and out alcoholics need the cultlike structure to get/stay straight and learn a pattern other than passing out in alleyways and things like that. One interesting point it seems to make is about how by learning to talk the talk of addiction and redemption, you learn to reinterpret all social issues in quasi-religious terms. That's in the chapter "In the Rooms: Learning to Talk the Talk."

    So, FTG, this might be a good book for your bookstore at Powell's.

  • Z

    Rapping says AA is successful *because* it operates as a cult. Apparently there's a 1989 scholarly book on cults by one Marc Galanter — I think someone mentioned it in some thread here — that discusses AA as a cult BUT a benign cult!

    This book has just gone into a second edition and is also at Powell's – http://www.powells.com/biblio/61-9780195123692-2 – and I think Primrose should review it and write to the author, who is in medicine at NYU and an addiction specialist.

  • Ez

    PJ, I shortened your question to this "the fundamental question goes unanswered. Powerless or empowered"the fundamental question goes unanswered. Powerless or empowered" to focus just a bit back at recovery method.

    Speaking of focus…locus of cpntrol. Do you have an internal locus or do you have an external focus? If you have an external focus of copntrol it might just be that AA is a better 'match' to your outlook.

    If you hae an internal locus, darn good chance AA will drive you batty.

    Myself, I have the internal loci. I believe, for the most part I am in charge of my life, my actions, my behaviors.

    Here is a real quickie test to help determine where you might fit in http://discoveryhealth.queendom.com/lc_short_acce… 

  • Z

    Interesting test. Internal vs external loci of control, yes, although I'd almost say locus of morality or something like that. Because you can't control things like where you were born, and some people really do have less access to power than others, but it is possible in my view at least to decide what to ingest.

    Anyway, I'm secretly reading a little more at the Rapping book. She's more critical of AA than I realized at first. I've decided I like this book and recommend it.

  • William Casey

    FRIENDTHEGIRL:  most AA people I've encountered speak of "being powerless against alcohol WITHOUT HELP."  They focus on the ISOLATION they felt while drinking.  Most AAers I know are quite OK with people having support (therapy, groups, blogs like this, etc.) outside of AA.  I have an "every little bit helps" outlook.  Of course, there are some "oldtimers" who do not approve of any inquiry outside the bounds of AA approved literature, AA meetings and sponsors.  I'd estimate 1 of 20 is like that.  They just "do their thing."  Doesn't affect me.  It's the face-to-face fellowship with other people who have abused alcohol in the past that's helped me the most.  Ideology is secondary with me.  I resisted "hard-shell Baptist" pressure when I was 8 years old.  I think I can handle any attempts at reducing my self-esteem at 61.  We'll see.

  • William Casey

    EZ:  I took the test and scored middle-of-the-road (63) which doesn't surprise me.  Since I'm a retired teacher, my observations on thousands of students influenced my answers.  The questions were rather imprecise.

  • tintop

    If you can't stop at two — don't start.  Alcohol is not an essential substance.

    External locus of control is what "good orderly direction" all about.   Some people want that; some people like cults.   Fine.  If that is what you want.  if not, not so fine.

    Some people seem to use  AA as some sort of 'talisman'; if I go, I won't drink or something.  or, it is used as some sort of sober social club.

  • Marco

    Hi. I have a question for anyone here who , like me,  has been arrested for drunk driving, or who can ask people around them who have been arrested for such an offense. Is it worthwile mentioning to the authorities that you are or have been a member of AA? One AA member who I talked to last saturday said NOT to mention it, because they don't want alcoholics on the road, even sober ones. But I hear that the courts also refer people to AA, so , on the other hand, the courts might  think that if a person is willing or forced to go, that might help them get a license back as sooon as possible.Any thought here?

    One last thing, to William Casey and anyone else.. Unlike you , I do not beleive anyone should go to jail for drunk driving, unless they hurt someone.In my jurisdiction, no one goes to jail for the first offense, perhaps for the second one. Even that is too strict. This really fucking pisses me off, this hardline fucking bullshit. Fuck you Casey.


  • Z

    @Casey, the questions on that test are imprecise, yes.

    More on the Rapping book: it says 12 step groups are designed to *contain* and *hide* madness, dissent, and so on (as opposed to liberate people, cure them, etc.).

  • William Casey

    Well, Marco.  Something obviously happened in between your writing the first paragraph of your 2:22 post and the second paragraph.

    Your commentary (diatribe) on drunken driving is the most explicit example of alcoholic thinking I've encountered in a long time.  Beats anything I ran into in detox.  Your "unless they hurt someone" actually means "UNTIL they hurt someone."  Your right to drive impaired supercedes others' right to be safe?  Can you say "self-centered?"       

  • Gunthar2000

    I'm one of those people who believes that too many people are in jail for non-violent crimes. I'm also of the opinion that, if you drink alcohol, the chances are good that you've gotten behind the wheel at one time or another. If we jailed everyone who ever drove while intoxicated, most of us would be in jail.

    I don't believe that repeat offenders are exhibiting any sort of "alcoholic thinking."

    I do think that if you've been busted for driving drunk three times or more, you are just an idiot.

  • William Casey

    TINTOP:  Some AA people do use the program as a talisman.  Others do use it as a sober social club.  I don't hang with them, but see nothing wrong if their ways help them remain sober.

  • William Casey

    FRIENDTHEGIRL:  I missed responding to your lengthy and well-reasoned comments toward sexual predators back on 8/13.  I can assure you that I'm not flippant on this subject.  I was a teacher/coach and administrator in various public and private schools for 31 years.  I was Dean of Students (discipline) at one of Georgia's largest and finest public schools for four years.  I'm well aware of backround checks and since I'm coming out of retirement to coach again, am undergoing one right now.  There are predators anywhere there are vulnerable people.  I was so attuned to this that I attended every single practice and game my son participated in from age 7 to 14.  I was that serious about the issue.  I also realize that many youths do not have such protection but have to believe that my mere presence helped them as well.  Are you suggesting that AA require background checks for members?  I don't think so, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    I repeat:  I oppose mandating ANYONE into AA.  That seldom works.  I can only describe what happens in our group.  Any new female member (not just the young ones) is immediately approached by the "old guard" female members…. Heidi, Jane, Cindy, Betty… and others.  She is given an information packet along with the female members phone numbers.  She is offered a temporary sponsor.  In my group, sponsors of the opposite sex are strictly taboo.  Does not happen.  These seem to be reasonable precautions.  Total safety?  No?  Reasonably safe?  Absolutely.

    One of the things that makes our AA group reasonably safe is the GROUP nature of all activity.  I'm not the "predator police" but I took action in the one instance I saw questionable behavior, a guy attending meetings after drinking and initiating a lot of one-on-one conversations with women.  It was resolved.

  • Z

    The Rapping book is very interesting. See pp. 70-72, on cause of addiction: it's the stresses and anxieties of consumer society, says Rapping! (IE, not a a spiritual problem, and not necessarily just a reaction to an individual 'dysfunctional' family but to membership in families stressed by — consumerist modernity.

    And: crackdowns on drinking have to do with the desire to crack down on people expressing the malaise. The powers which are don't want people to rebel or express dissatisfaction, but to function without questioning the system; they crack down on drinking but don't address its actual cause; this means the crackdowns never really work but have to be repeated.

    Gunthar you might like this book for deprogramming purposes; Casey you might be interested in it from a social science point of view.

  • William Casey

    Large scale sociological problems do contribute to addiction.  However, I believe that unique personal issues are the primary cause.  Chris Prentiss' "big four" are on target.

  • William Casey

    I'll check it out, Z.

  • Gunthar2000

    According to Chris Prentiss' book "The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure," There are only four causes of alcohol dependency. Those causes are as follows…

    1. Chemical imbalance

    2. Unresolved events from the past

    3. Beliefs that you hold that are inconsistent with what is true

    4. Inability to cope with current conditions

  • Z

    One of the XAers this site links to says it's not unresolved past events but lack of awareness of your own greatness — I found this interesting.

    Beliefs that you hold that are inconsistent with what is true, that's interesting, too.

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR:  I believe that Chris pretty much nailed it.  Many AA'ers are dealing with "unresolved events from the past" including spiritual issues.  The other three enter into the equation as well.  I have a former AA friend who was sober over a year and still delusional… about almost everything.  One of the very few people I've known who MAY have been better off drunk.

  • William Casey

    Z:  In my 30+ years as a teacher,coach,administrator, I found "delusions of greatness" to be far more common than "lack of awareness of one's own greatness," though the latter certainly exists.  My best friend is only now crawling out of that hole after 10 years in recovery.  She's the exception rather than the rule in my experience.

  • Gunthar2000

    @ William Casey…

    I believe Chris Prentiss pretty much nailed it too, but these are some pretty broad and reaching categories. They provided me with just a little direction as far as problem solving is concerned… not much more than that.

    As far as "spiritual issues" are concerned… A good look at the beliefs that I held that were inconsistent with what is true helped me to rid myself of these "spiritual" delusions.

    I've noticed that, in a few of your posts, you've judged the opinions of others here as either "valid" or "not valid." I'd just like to point out that, with all of your experience, "30+ years as a teacher,coach,administrator" you are still not qualified to decide what is valid and what is not for me… not in my opinion anyway.

    It kind of looks, to me, like you're just grandstanding.

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR:  I agree that I'm not qualified to make judgements as to what is valid for you.  I don't know you.  I've never observed your work or how your approach problems.  I come on here to explore ideas which may promote my own further sobriety.  Each person is responsible for his/her own sobriety.  I certainly don't accept the opinions of others simply because they are posted here.  Nor do I discount them.  I don't understand the "granstanding" comment.  Trying to impress or "convert?"  No need for either.  I'm here to get opinions other than what I get in AA.  That seems reasonable for me.

  • William Casey

    G:  I've been trained to examine any author's purpose or possible purposes.  Since blogs are anonymous, it's difficult to do this.  Chris Prentiss has a public track record.  It's easier to make a valid judgement about his ideas.  I mention my own background (including my AA membership and "heretic" status) because I think it only fair that people know where I'm coming from.

  • Marco

    William Casey: Spare me your fucking moralistic accusations of self-centerdness. As if you were not ,after 9 years of heavy drinking, and still are not, self-centerred and self-righteous. At least AA makes an attempt to get people to get off their self-centerdness by being understanding, but you come barrelling in here with your insenstive  fascist police attitudes with no attempt to understand a drunk driver, only condemmn and jail. If you want to condemmn your own putrid self, fine; but don't condemmn me. Oh I recognise that innocent people should be protected, but , as I told a cop the night I was arrested , if I had had a person to understand me that night, I would not have gotten drunk. He got what I said. Policing should be coupled with an rehabilatative attempt to understand the drunken driver, especially before anything bad happens, IF IT EVER HAPPENS. Considering there are thousands of drink people in cars every night in the big city where I live, bad accidents seem to seldom happen.But the world is full of corrupt gruff fascist scum like you,especially if they come from formerly totally racist places like Georgia,  so understanding and kindness is not found too much in our world.


  • Lucy

    @Gunthar You might like (if you haven't already read it) "The Myth of Alcoholism" by Herbert Fingarette.  He says that "alcoholism" meant  many things to  many different people but that the AA narrative means "disease." (He uses the term "heavy drinker" to make clear his disatisfaction with the use of "alcoholic" in the current context.) He doesn't believe it is a disease (and neither  do I) but he does believe that there are a great many people in AA with untreated psychiatric illnesses (and so do I).

  • Gunthar2000

    Thanks Lucy.

    I just ordered the book from ebay.

  • I liked reading Lucy's comment and I thinkI might try to get that book thru ILL, as I am most certainly not buying books right now do to my sad and decided poverty!  But to the point: I like the idea that alcoholism is not in fact a disease.  I am not sure if I totally believe this.  But I think the disease ideology in AA is most certainly flawed at the very least.

    BTW, do you all remember sitting in meetings and hearing LOOOOSERS say things like, um, "I go to AA every day becuse it is a disease that is called ALCOHOLISSSSIM not WASSSSm."  WTF?Every. day. means.  you. are. an. f-ing. lunatic.

    I used to go everyday.  I was, most certainly, an f-ing lunatic.  And I have PTSD according to my current therapist which I pretty much believe.  In my ever so fun stints at hospitals I have been diagnosed with bi-polar (NOS) as well as showing traits of Borderline.  When I show up in a hospital, I am generally detoxing from Benzos, so, I am lucky I did not get diagnosed with complete psychosis.  Anyway, I think going to AA to treat this shit is INSANE. I do not really think that the Borderline or BI Polar is true, nor does my therapist. However, if it were true, man, AA would not cut it. And there are people in there believe that those steps are gonna fix them.  So, they sit there for years, dominating meetings, controlling vulnerable people, and get sicker. They are like the crazy pro-lifer in Weeds who think Jesus is fixing his mental fuck-up-edness. Did you guys see this, and Alanis Morisette, who plays the abortion doctor, tells him that she does not think JC is doing the trick.

    The 12 steps will not fix your mental illness, guys.  Come. on.

  • William Casey

    Right, Marco.  It's ALWAYS someone else's fault.  ("…If I had had a person to understand me that night, I would not have gotten drunk.")  That's pitiful.  So, now, it's some random person's duty in life to "understand" you?  Have you ever considered that there may be a good REASON why "nobody understands you?" 

    I'm self-centered?  Maybe so.  But I'm not the one whining about logical, bad consequences I suffered as a result of MY bad decisions. I'm assuming that no one held a gun to your head and made you drive while intoxicated.  I'll clue you in, I'm not alone in wanting drunk drivers off the road.  I was self-centered while drinking but some of that is slipping away.  I'm not worried about you getting drunk and killing me.  You're not in Atlanta.  I am concerned for the citizens of your state.

    Drinking is YOUR business.  Drinking and driving is EVERYONE'S business, including my self-centered self.

  • Lucy

    The Fingarette book, among other things, helped me decide to leave AA after 25 years (the last 22 of them sober).  It also caused hime to be verbally attacked as "trying to kill alcoholics" by a number of members. (The book has a couple of comments in that regard in the user Amazon reviews.)

    One of the people he influenced was Dr. Jeff Schaler, a psychologist whose similar comments are on his site. Jeff Schaler's comments are much more pointed in their criticism of AA's bad science and invasion of civil liberties.

  • Z

    @William, I'm assuming a lot of people on this site are educated, successful professionals and so on. I, for example, have a really good PhD and 20 years as professor, administrator, researcher, writer, yadda yadda. This doesn't make me less messed up than the next person, or more right, or more qualified to judge what's right for them, etc.

    "Delusions of grandeur" — in my experience this is a middle to upper class white guy thing, basically. That is sort of who AA and the 12 steps were created for, anyway, and I do think you could stand to tone down the trumpeting of credentials a notch or two. They're not germane to the discussion and if what you have to say is valid, it's valid because it's valid, and not because you're a teacher, coach, and administrator.

    One of the topics discussed a lot on this site is the technique of ego deflation that is key in the 12 step quasi-methodology. I do know people IRL who really just need a kick in the pants, but that's not what's going to work for, say, the torture victim who's drinking to ease the pain and has already been told they're worthless one too many times.

  • Z

    P.S. Casey — I also have a question: you say you started drinking because you were bored. How does a person of your resources get bored? I mean: so much education, access to so many things.

    Also — is it out of some insecurity you feel the need to keep trumpeting professional credentials?

  • Gunthar2000

    Right z…

    You can only deflate an ego so much.

  • Z

    Well, now I have a philosophical question: is the allegation that too many people suffer from delusions of grandeur, a tool of power (and a belief of the powerful) deployed to keep others down?

    Like: I was told it was a delusion of grandeur that I could get into a good college and graduate from it. This was to discourage me.

    Also, I notice that some administrators and authoritarian managers like to assume people have delusions of grandeur, and like to say it. It's a tactic deployed to destabilize people and keep them in line that way. "You'll never get that grant…" "That publisher will never look at a manuscript by you…" etc.

    I think the ones with the delusions of grandeur are people like that, not the majority.

  • Gunthar2000

    Any goal could be considered a delusion if you don't have the self-efficacy to achieve it.

  • Z

    Sure, but I'm talking about accusing people of having "delusions of grandeur" as an abusive tactic.

  • WC, Thanks for the response. I'm kind in the wilderness right now, so my connection is really unreliable.

    I'm not just talking about sexual predators: there are all kinds of ways people exploit each other in AA, because of the way AA is structured.

    Are you suggesting that AA require background checks for members?  I don’t think so, but correct me if I’m wrong.

    Definitely not. I do think that there should be some accountability built into this program, though. AA shouldn't be able to have it both ways:

    On one hand, it encourages vulnerable people to place their trust in AA, its groups, other members and their sponsors. It is suggested to people that they cannot trust themselves, and that they should trust an HP. And the pressure to find a sponsor is high. The pressure to attend AA — by families and public figures is high. The consensus seems to be that if you don't do AA, you're not going to get better — you're not serious about recovery. People seem shocked when someone beats their addiction without it. (GW, for instance). The conventional wisdom is that it works and its trustworthy, and if you're serious, you will do it, and do it right (steps, sponsor, god).

    And on the other hand, despite all this potential for abusive power dynamics, AA refuses to establish even the slightest oversight — say, even just a pamphlet telling people how to navigate AA safely, training group leaders to maintain some standards in meetings and to keep a watch out for predation in their groups. It wants people to give themselves over to the program, but refuses to take any responsibility for what could happen when they do.

    It seems like a few simple things would do a world of good: official pamphlets — or even a new chapter in the Big Book — addressing emotional and physical safety in AA, or training and real guidelines (not just suggestions) for people in AA who want to be in positions of responsibility over others (if guiding a new member isn't a responsibility, what is?)… These sorts of things would not be fool proof, but their existence would raise awareness, which, in itself, would do more good.

    Taking responsibility would also force AA to acknowledge that there are problems, which I don't believe it will ever ever do. It would also open them up to scrutiny, which I also don't think they'd ever be willing to do. They have a sweet deal right now.

    I know you're against court mandated AA — many AA members are, but they seem to think that this practice is somehow outside AA. It is fundamental to AA.

    The mission here is to 1. Get AA out of public policy — there are many reasons to do this; and 2. introduce accountability into AA and the 12-Step industry.


  • Gunthar2000

    I agree with you z. That's exactly what I'm talking about. These abusive AA members work hard to remove any self-efficacy that new members might still have.

  • Z

    And also just wondering — is it really true that so many people suffer from "delusions of grandeur" – ?

  • Gunthar2000

    In AA… Any thought that does not conform to the supposed "principles" of the 12-steps is a delusion of grandeur.

  • William Casey

    FRIENDTHEGIRL:  One of the aspects I don't understand about AA is the "how are sponsors chosen" issue.  It seems to be self-selection.  I've had a great experience with my sponsor.  But, I see great potential for harm in the sponsor/sponsee relationship because of its one-on-one nature and the "bare your soul" expectation in steps 4 & 5.  It seems to me that AA as a national organization would establish some sort of process/procedure for becoming a sponsor.  It seems that the only rule for becoming a sponsor in our group is one's own sponsor approving it.  I'm not even sure of that, so I'll make inquiries.

  • Gunthar2000

    The problem with AA as a national organization establishing some sort of process/procedure for becoming a sponsor is that AA would be in charge.

  • Z

    @Gunthar — AHA, I see! 😉 Orwellian "thoughtcrime" — !

  • William Casey

    Z:  Ideas don't exist in a vacuum. Real life isn't philosophy class (though I love philosophy class.)  I claim no in-depth expertise in addiction.  I'm a new student of the subject.  But, ideas arise from one's experiences, not only personal but in working with others.  I don't consider listing "bare bones" experience to be "trumpeting my professional credentials."  I've been trained to consider the source.  Experience doesn't ensure that a person is right.  It indicates, though that the person's ideas are based on more than one's personal musings.  Lot of that going around.  To use a real world example, it gave me a degree of confidence that my heart surgeon had completed over 2,500 successful procedures like mine before he worked on me rather than simply having to depend on his own ideas on the subject. 

    Insecurity?  Perhaps, but I doubt it.  I think it's more that I believe that others will understand my point of view if they know that I've worked with hundreds of other professionals in an effort to help thousands of adolescents grow into adulthood.  My thoughts, though grounded in my personal experiences, have a broader foundation.  I'm also rather "old school" in my belief that a person should publicly stand behind his ideas.  That's why I use my real name.  What's this blog fetish for using pseudonyms all about?  Never have understood that

    My comment on boredom being a cause of my starting to drink seriously at age 50 after being a moderate drinker all my life is pure speculation.  Working in high school tends to wear many people down and they react in different ways.  I took a sabbatical from teaching/coaching in 1986 and worked in real estate development for a year.  I came back to school reinvigorated.  In retrospect, I should have done the same in 2001.  Maybe I wouldn't have slipped into the alcohol trap.  One thing that AA hasn't really helped me with is understanding why I started drinking heavily.  My decline was very slow.  I wish I knew some people who began serious drinking at age 50.  I'd probably learn something.  And, that's always good.    

  • Get.well.Get.out

    I agree with most of what I am reading here. I am not sorry I found AA, I don't believe I'd be sober without it, but its definitely time to move on. I too am worn out. Tired of pumping a party line to please others only to increase my own lacl of self love as a result. Its time to live, free. Free, not dependant on a meeting to keep me level, thats the same relationship I had with the bottle.

  • Z

    @Casey — Lots of the commenters here have serious professional and life experience, as well as strong intellectual backgrounds. I would hardly call the comments on this site (mere) "personal musings."

    Why people write anonymously on blogs and news comment threads — well, not to be stalked, for one thing. There are a lot of other practical reasons.

    Serious drinking at 50, I can sort of see it with the wearing down from working in a high school.

    @anyone — Rapping, p. 80:

    "But we can 'come to believe' tha taddictive personalities do cause our distress, personal and social. If we can further 'come to believe' that our compulsive attraction to food, shopping, or abusive mates is rooted in diseases and allergies, which can be sometimes, partly, controlled by a spiritual, confessional group process which can be extended and enforced throughout society, we are on the road to a massive system of social control – from church basements to prison wards – in which actual social problems are made invisible and things, somehow, keep getting worse. My long months of visiting and interviewing those who maintain this now vast system of institutions and policies based upon 12 Step thinking and practice – an empire of medical/ religious/ health professionals and entrepreneurs now so massive and influential as to boggle the mind – convinced me we are well on our way down that road."

    –E. Rapping, _The Culture of Recovery_ (Boston: Beacon, 1996).

  • Z

    Still more Rapping: ACOA, CODA, etc. address the stresses and disappointments of postfeminism in a non political, non societally oriented way, trying to convince women instead that they're not oppressed but 'codependent,' that their problems are internal and can be solved with an 'attitude change,' etc.

  • Jamie

    I just can't say enough good about this site, and the internet for that matter. I know people in the recovery movement who went through this need to break away from AA 20 years ago when communication was slower . And they had mental breakdowns, purely from a lack of resources like this site, to give them strength through the process.  It seems in my personal experience the AAers that have moved on to ACA where they look at the root issue rather than the acting behaviour have some great insights. Alot of the co-dependents in AA have merely turned AA into the all powerful parent that needs to be adhered to regardless of the truth. I have personally had many experiences with people spouting one thing in the meeting and then beating themselves up afterwards because they themselves didn't even believe the rhetoric and dogma. But for the grace of God go I, is a thought that comes to mind, its only taken me 4 and a half years to see it for the crazy making factory that it becomes after a while. I am looking forward to experiencing for myself the change in myself as I get further and further away from my last meeting just like getting sober days will turn into months months into years and one day it will be a funny story. When your making the break at first though after so much brain washing its fucked up. God bless all of you.


  • William Casey

    Z:  thanks for the reasoned response.  I'm sure that there are people here with serious life/professional experiences and strong intellectual backgrounds.  I'm just the type of person who doesn't take anything for granted.  If I were, I'd just be rocking along with AA since I'm sober and the happiest I've been in a decade.  Instead, I'm here and other places looking at non-AA approaches.  Since I'm new here, I probably missed some introductions.  My annoyance with pseudonyms comes from long experience on education blogs where posters use multiple nicknames and stir up trouble.  I just ran into SMART today.  Don't know anything about them but since they have face-to-face meetings in metro Atlanta, I can check them out in person.  I'll enjoy that.

  • Gunthar2000

    "I’m sure that there are people here with serious life/professional experiences and strong intellectual backgrounds."

    What about those of us who don't? 

  • tintop

    First of all, anonymity on the interent is the indicated course of action; one needs to apply the principle of calculated risk.  

    Second, AA has nothing whatever to do with quitting drinking.  AA is about other matters.  AA states that plainly and clearly and AA is correct.

    Informed consent applies to all persons. 

  • William Casey

    "Anonymity on the Internet"….. sounds like the first step toward being a cult.  LOL

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR:  Then you don't.

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR:  Just out of curiosity, what work related to addiction have you done with other people?

  • tintop

    No it is not the first step toward being a cult.   Consult the principle of calculated risk.

  • Gunthar2000

    @William Casey…

    I don't claim to have credentials.

  • William Casey

    OK, so you just make it up out of thin air or blog talk.  Got it.

  • Gunthar2000

    @William Casey…

    I'm not sure what you're getting at.

    Maybe you could help me to understand?

  • Z

    GUNTHAR: or maybe you do. You, for instance, seem quite articulate and rational, and you have some quite serious life experience.

    My point to Casey, though, was that having the Ed.D. (or whatever degree it is) and HS principal/coach experience doesn't mean his experience 12 stepping is somehow more valid than other peoples' … which I thought (perhaps erroneously) was what he was putting across.

  • Z

    William to Gunthar: "OK, so you just make it up out of thin air or blog talk. Got it."

    That is exactly what I mean. Your own experience in AA is as much "[made up] out of thin air or blog talk" as anyone's. Ask your sponsor about learning some humility, perhaps. I realize you were a high school principal but this isn't a high school and you're not the principal.

  • Marco


    You think my seeking to communicate honestly with other people is "pitiful"? That response shows what an insensitive prick you are. Part of what AA and most reasonable people suggests is to try to talk it out with others. But I can't always do that . Exceptionally though, it happenned last wednesday at an AA meeting. One of the rare AA people that I like  came up to me, and asked how I was, that she had not seen me for a while. I decided to risk telling her I was arrested a month ago for drunk driving. And we then went on to have a nice chat about it, which really helped me because I got stuff off my chest, stuff that can lead me to drink if unexpressed.She even thanked me for confiding in her, and I thanked her for listening so well and respectfully to me.That left me in peace for a few hours. Unlike you,she did NOT say to me: "Marco, do you realise you could have killed someone? I don't like you, and I think they should put people like you in jail the first time they get caught!!" She did not then walk off just leaving me there. It's nice to know there are a few decent people left, unlike you, you insensitive fucking asshole.



  • Marco

    To repeat:

    <abbr title="2010-08-16T12:59">August 16, 2010, <a title="Permanent link to this comment" href="http://stinkin-thinkin.com/why-i-left-aa-stinkin-thinkin-stories/#comment-9853&quot; rel="nofollow">12:59 pm</abbr> <!–.date–><!–.comment–>

    <cite>Marco</cite> says <!–.vcard–>

    Hi. I have a question for anyone here who , like me,  has been arrested for drunk driving, or who can ask people around them who have been arrested for such an offense. Is it worthwile mentioning to the authorities that you are or have been a member of AA? One AA member who I talked to last saturday said NOT to mention it, because they don’t want alcoholics on the road, even sober ones. But I hear that the courts also refer people to AA, so , on the other hand, the courts might  think that if a person is willing or forced to go, that might help them get a license back as sooon as possible.Any thoughts here?

  • Gunthar2000

    @ Marco,

    I've never been convicted of drunk driving… I can only speculate.

    Here's my take on how you should handle this…

    Don't offer up any information that you don't have to. Those people are there to convict you. They are not your friends. Don't admit that you are an alcoholic, and don't deny it. You don't want it in your record that you've admitted to being a habitual drunk.

  • Marco

    Z makes the point that being a successful white professionnal does not make people any less messed up than others. I would not know specifically because I am not a successful professionnal, but a dropout bohemian who also drank a lot. One thing I find interesting from reading the books of an incredible psychologist named Arthur Janov, is that he says that intellectual development has nothing to do with emotional development. They are almost two seperate spheres in our psyches. Since we drink because of emotional disorder, it is that part of us that must be addressed, and it is that part his therapy addresses (also for all other emotional disorders). In fact, he says, highly educated people are sometimes more difficult to treat than illiterate working-class people, because the former often use their heads to defend and rationalise against emotions. This a conclusion I have heard from other psychologists similar to Janov. And what he has to say about alcoholism is mind-blowing and so convincing.

    If anyone wants me to print some excerpts from his works, specifically about alcoholism, which to him is NOT a disease a la AA, let me know. If at least 5 people express an interest, I will go trought the trouble of transcribing what he has to say about so-called "alcoholism", and about AA, which is equally mind-blowing (he says that belief systems like AA's literally act as opiates to quell repressed emotional pain in our bodies..). I  refer you also to his books, like "The Primal Scream" and "Prisoners of Pain", amongst many others.

    One last thing about professionnals: if you want to read about the emotional self-destruction of one prominent professionnal, who "had it all", a  TV journalist named Jessica Savitch, check out the book "Golden Girl" by Alanna Nash, or the film  based on the book, "Up close and Personal" with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer. Being a person of the Radical Left, I usually could not care a rat's ass for the fates of mainstream journalists who, like her, had to wear Guccis and drive in limos with rich "prominent" boyfriends snorting coke, but her story is so tragic, she sufferred so much, that one can't help but feel for her and her two husbands, profesionnals who were totally messed up also (one committed suicide, a gynecologist).


  • Marco


    Your advice makes sense. I think I let it slip that I was in AA when talking to a cop in their headquarters after the arrest, because I needed to talk, and it came up. He seemed trustworthy . This same cop also said that I was very cooperative, in the sense  that I did not hassle them. Will this cop use  my very slight AA reference against me? I do not know. I can't remember how much I told him. I knew nothing at the time about DUI or how the cops or the courts might operate. Anyways, I go in front of a judge in mid-september . Let the chips fall where they may (let "God" handle it ,HAHAHAHA) . I did my best up to now. I'm just trying to prepare myself as well as possible.


  • Z

    @Marco, I'd be interested in the Janov material. Here's a link to an excerpt from _The Primal Scream_ and also to some other texts. http://www.primaltherapy.com/what-is-primal-thera

  • William Casey

    Ahhh, Marco.  You've found a scapegoat for all of your problems:  "successful white professionals" as personified by yours truly (at least in your mind.)  I'm Ok with that.  I am not happy that you chose to drive drunk.  I've driven a few times "under the influence" at the very least and probably drunk (I wasn't competent to judge.)  I'm not happy that you suffered the logical consequences of your choice… a DUI.  It seems that you live in a place where no one is killed or maimed by drunk drivers.  Stay there.  Here in Atlanta, it happens all too often. 

    I didn't find your need to express yourself in order to avoid drinking "pitiful."  But, there are plenty of opportunities to be listened to and to express one's self OTHER THAN AA.  I'm a person who chooses his friends carefully and has a relatively small circle of friends (as opposed to acquaintances) in comparison to most people my age.  However, in a crisis, now that I'm sober, I have at least twenty people I could call.  The number would have been much smaller when I was drinking.  There's a connection.  I had a "1:00 AM crisis" back in the Spring, totally unrelated to alcohol but serious nevertheless.  The very first person I called (not my girlfriend or a relative) stayed on the line until the police arrived and an hour afterward to help me calm down.  You come across as a very isolated person.  There's a reason for that.  What I found "pitiful" was your excuse for drinking and endangering the lives of others.  Other people have a right to live regardless of your emotional state.

    Your abusive language and personal attacks don't bother me.  I spent four years responsible for discipline in a school of 2,800 students.  Have experienced it before.  And, besides, a man is known for the quality of his "enemies"… no, "antagonists" is a better word, as well as his friends.  In your present state, I'm gratified.

    PS:  The next time no one will listen, read Rousseau.  You'll probably feel better.

  • William Casey

    MARCO:  I'm glad that you now have that nice AA girl to converse with.

  • William Casey

    Hey Z:  I wasn't talking about my AA experiences  I was talking about my 31 years of experience in dealing with such problems in the real world.  I was involved with OTHER PEOPLE'S problems.  I addressed my own in AA.  I won't be talking much about that here.  As someone said, "it's not germane."  I'm not sure I understand the reality of this blog.  Is it just to vent/explore/rehash our own individual situations?  A little help, FTG?

  • Gunthar2000

    @Mr. Casey,

    Are there any available positions up there on the throne of judgement?

  • Z , your comments to Will are cracking me up like you would not believe.  I am waiting for you to ask if Barry Manilow knows that he raids his wardrobe.


    Stinkin' Thinkin',  love you all.

  • Z

    @Casey, perhaps I misread but you really do seem to be saying you know more than anyone else because you've been a high school principal (or vice principal, maybe) and coach. THAT is what I said wasn't germane to whether your points on 12 stepping are more or less valid. I also see you twisting peoples' words, accusing them of saying things they did not. I wish you would cool it.

    I'd say the foci of the blog are support (dare I say 'deprogramming'?) for people who have had trouble as a result of 12 stepping and want an alternative, and critical analysis of the program with a view toward decoupling it from the medical / legal establishment.


    @Marco, re your hearing problem. So if people aren't all talking at once, could you tolerate (for instance) a book discussion at the library on a good day? I'm really thinking, small art class in a non noisy art (probably not metalwork), small hiking group, things like this. Also, some sort of volunteer job in the right place. (It is in fact difficult to figure out how to design a social life if you can't tolerate noise. I also think it sounds as though you need some sort of pain program other than alcohol. AND suddenly I'm wondering about YOGA. Don't laugh, now 😉 — there are a lot of women in yoga, you know, and it's calm and quiet, and it can be good for pain, and I'll bet it would help fight the urge to drink.)

  • Z

    @violet, now that you've made the Manilow connection, I don't know that I can play it straight any more — that's too funny! "I write the songs, I write the songs."

  • William Casey

    Z:  I certainly do NOT "know more than anyone else" about addiction and recovery because of my experiences.  What my background has helped me understand is that my own addictive behavior, 2001-2009, resulted in severe changes in MY thinking while I continued to drink. I THOUGHT I knew MORE during my drinking time while I actually knew LESS.  Once I sobered-up, I began to evaluate both my experiences as Dean and as "drunk Bill."  I've come to realize that I NEED HELP in dealing with my own situation.  Hence, my involvement with AA and exploration online.  But, 31 years have taught me something.  I'll have to disagree that my direct experiences working with others haven't helped me to evaluate my experiences in AA.  To wit, IMHO, AA might have helped some of the students I had worked with.  Others, probably not.  Isolating does not help. 

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR:  No available thrones.  God appointed me Tsar.  I do notice though, that you (and your sidekick) offer no evidence of ever having actually done anything to help other people in the real world beyond the blogosphere. 

  • tintop


     you have absolutiely no idea at all about what other people are, or are not, doing. And, you know that you do not.  Have agood day.


  • Z

    @Will: "I’ll have to disagree that my direct experiences working with others haven’t helped me to evaluate my experiences in AA."

    Other people may also have such "direct experiences," but just not be bragging like you, or trying to argue from self appointed authority.

    AA should by now, at a minimum, have taught you to treat other people with more respect than you are treating people on this site.

  • William Casey

    TINTOP:  what "other people" are you speaking of?

  • William Casey

    Z:  As Dizzy Dean once said–  "It ain't bragging if you can actually do it."  What have you done to help other people?  I promise not to call you out for "bragging."  Just wondering.

  • William Casey

    BTW:  The "Danny S" website sums up my view of AA for the most part.  He gets to the point.

  • William Casey, Danny has a great blog, and he's a lot of fun to read — I think so. But I don't think he sums up your view — if I may be so bold. He uses the term "Pop AA" to describe the kind of AA that you (and most AA members) practice, which is a kind of take-what-you-want AA, where you can work the steps or not, as you see fit, design your own program and get by on fellowship. He holds no truck with that.

    Danny is a strictly-by-the-Big Book AA, and he believes some very fundamental things:

    1. Alcoholics Anonymous is only for "real alcoholics," as they are defined by the Big Book, and real alcoholics can only recover via a spiritual awakening as a result of working the 12 Steps. If you are a real alcoholic, the 12 Steps will lead you to the epiphany which is your only way out. Sobriety is incidental to this spiritual awakening. It's a benefit of your enlightenment.

    2. AA means you work from the first edition of the Big Book, and the long form versions of the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions.

    3.  AA You work all the steps, and you work them with God and your sponsor. Not with a doorknob, or Group Of Drunks, or Mother Nature. If you can go to meetings and quit drinking with just fellowship, or slogans, or service work, etc. then you are not a real alcoholic and you shouldn't be in AA.

    I probably didn't sum it all up perfectly, but that's what Danny's blog is for.

    We agree with Danny on many points, despite the fact that our reasons for agreeing are so different. If the reality of AA were exactly as Danny envisions it, then we wouldn't have a blog.

    Also, I realize that I might be wrong, and you might actually be a strictly by the big book guy… I haven't been able to I got the impression that you are more of a moderate guy. Danny is not a moderate guy.


  • Z

    @Casey, enough so that if I described it could "out" my real life name, which I don't want you to have. Why do you demand people justify themselves to you, and where do you get this idea that only if you've "helped people" do you have the authority to criticize 12 stepping … ???

  • Are we having a conversation about anonymity on the internet? Really?


    There are several very good reasons to protect your personally identifiable information on the internet (some of us are single mothers, here, for instance). If you need to know <a href="http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3A+red+herring&quot; target="_blank" rel="nofollow">someone's real name or occupation before you deign to dignify the substance of their argument, then maybe you should refine or rethink your position, so that you feel more confident debating the merits.



  • Gunthar2000

    @Mr. Casey,

    Sit yourself up on your perch and condemn anyone who disagrees with you.

    I've seen this type of thing before… at AA.

    Your a fast learner.

    As for answering your questions… I will not jump through hoops for you. Go ahead and kick and scream some more.

    The purpose of this thread is to put a spotlight on why people choose to leave AA.

    I left Alcoholics Anonymous because AA is a religious cult that takes advantage of vulnerable people for the purpose of religious indoctrination.

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR:  You have a world view that is fairly fixed.  Anyone even slightly associated with AA is suspect.  I'm not condemning anyone.  I'm hardly kicking and screaming.  You are welcome to your fixed, unalterable opinion of AA.  I'm sorry that you feel compelled to classify me because I don't share your opinion.  It's interesting, some (but not a majority) AA members consider me a "heretic."  You've got me seeking a throne of some kind.

    PS:  I didn't ask for any hoops to be jumped through.  It's quite your right to remain disembodied words.  It comes with a price, though.

  • Gunthar2000

    Okay Mr. Casey,

    Here it is…

    I've invited a heroin addict into my home on a cold January night, when he had nowhere else to go.

    I once let an alcoholic camp out on my living room floor for 4 months, until he could find a job and get his shit together.

    I've bought toys for a heroin addict who had nothing to give her kids for Christmas.

    Whenever I'm in Boston, I take the time to stop and talk to at least one homeless person… If this person will allow me, I usually buy them a meal and offer some advice.

    I have a small library of books about various methods to overcome addiction. I'm involved with a veteran's peer support network and I lend these books out to anyone who shows an interest in alternative addiction recovery.

    Just last week I gave $20.00 to a homeless veteran who is waiting for his Massachusetts Chapter115 benefits to kick in. The guy was dead broke and I figured I'd help him out.

    I've donated money to the development of a couple of different websites that I think will help people with addiction problems.

    I was the deputy administrator for the LifeRing.ning website.

    I've bought extra copies of the SMART Recovery workbook and handed them out to those folks that I thought could use them.

    I've spent time in person, and on the phone, with alcoholics who are confused about AA and looking for a better way.

    I've volunteered at the local food pantry.

    These are just some of the things I've done to help others… How about you?

    What have you done?


  • tintop

    time to bring down the curtain on this comedy.

  • William Casey

    FTG:  Thanks for taking the time to summarize Danny S's thinking.  I'll read more of it.  You're right, I am viewed as a "Pop AA" guy by some.  I'm beginning to think that I'm a "Pop Alcoholic" as well.  LOL

    The anonymity thing.  It's a personal choice and I have no need to know your name.  I simply choose to have my words associated with me as a person.  I seem to differ from several posters here in that I consider the source.  Part of my professional training.  This doesn't mean that one's experience make's one's ideas necessarily correct.  But it does give some credibility.  Each individual has an absolute right to withhold ALL information about their experiences.  He/she runs the risk that people will assume that the ideas are based solely on his/her own opinions and individual experiences.  It's ironic that I make this same observation in AA and am criticized for it.  I of course respect AA'er's anonymity.  Other AA members have obviously listened, really listened, to the stories of others and base their opinions on what they have learned as well as their own experiences.  You can guess which type AA guy I take more seriously.

    Thanks again for your work here.

    • MA

      The anonymity thing. It’s a personal choice and I have no need to know your name. I simply choose to have my words associated with me as a person. I seem to differ from several posters here in that I consider the source.

      Does it not seem a bit ironic to be critical of people wanting to remain anonymous while promoting an organization with the word "anonymous" in its very name?

      I don't mind people knowing my real name, although I understand why others would want to remain anonymous in dealing with a drinking addiction. I don't voice my opinions any differently here than I do in person. I choose to remain anonymous because there are lot of nutjobs out there in internet land, and I don't want to jeopardize my safety, or that of my family.

      I would love to meet in person some of the people who have participated on this blog, and if I were ever in Georgia again, I would happily buy you a cup of coffee.

  • humanspirit

    William Casey Plenty of people on here provide you with 'the source' by relating their own experiences and background. I'm not sure why it would help you to know anyone's name, unless you're the kind of person who would infer a whole lot from it.


    Giving your name doesn't tell me much about you as a 'source'. It does imply that you're male and have some kind of Irish ancestry, but that covers a great many people. Some of the others things you've posted give me more idea about you as a 'source' – but not your name (which you share with a lot of other people).

  • humanspirit

    PS What makes you think that people who post anonymously here haven't learned from other people's experiences as well as their own?

  • William Casey

    THANKS GUNTHAR.  We share some experiences.  I took a recovering heavy drinker named Brian into my home while he searched for a job after returning to Atlanta from Boston.  Chauffered him around to interviews.  Met with his parents to begin a reconciliation.  Loaned $100 to a four times relapsed heroin, coke & you-name-it addict named Keith.  He paid it back.  I took a recovering cocaine addict and former big time dealer named Patti under my wing.  No sexual involvement.  She's much more recovered from coke than she is from her abusive husband.  She's a super talented chef with a tremendous work ethic but all the obvious negatives from her coking days and bad marriage have held her back.  I've helped her (she did the heavy lifting):

    1. Get a job as an executive chef, a job she was already doing elsewhere without the title or salary.

    2. Begin the process of restoring her credit (Bank of America loves me)

    3. Assisted her in straightening out her husband-driven problems with the IRS.

    4. Helped her cope with a supervisor who treated her like her husband had without the punching.

    She's a great friend to me as well, my female perspective advisor on addictive thinking and behaviors.

    Also, I've taken responsibility for my AA group's Wednesday, noon meeting.  Our attendance has gone from 3-4 to 12-15 in 3 months.  It's kind of an unofficial "newcomers" meeting.  All this is volunteer stuff in last few months.  My school stuff would take too long.  I need a nap.  

  • humanspirit

    William Casey This is the kind of behaviour that Al-anon would describe as 'co-dependent'.

  • William Casey

    HUMANSIRIT:  it's not the name so much as it is the experience which I detailed to a degree earlier and got called out for "bragging."  Since Georgia law requires that all school employees names (and salaries for that matter) be public record, my name alone would give you the opportunity to verify that from 1987 until my retirement in 2006 i did indeed do the things I said I did.

    YOUR PS:  There's simply no evidence that they have.  In my experience, a huge number of heavy drinkers and addicts are VERY isolated people.  I was one of them.

  • William Casey

    HUMANSPIRIT:  all these people are alcohol/drug free.  I call it friendship.

  • humanspirit

    WC And many of those who are labelled as co-dependent by al-anon might call it "friendship" too. Read some of their discussion sites – whether the person they care about has stopped drinking or using makes no difference.

  • humanspirit

    WC "YOUR PS:  There’s simply no evidence that they have.  In my experience, a huge number of heavy drinkers and addicts are VERY isolated people.  I was one of them."


    This site is all about people sharing their experience with each other. You can find your evidence here (or haven't you noticed?)

  • Gunthar2000


    Mr. Casey will decide what is valid evidence and what is not.

    Please take your seat, and don't write on the desk or you'll get detention.

  • Lucy

    Mr Casey, during the time I spent in AA, I did learn to carry the message instead of the alcoholic. The fact that so many wanted to be carried (and so many more are willing to carry them without any accountability for whether or not "carrying" is what they psychologically need) is one of the unhealthy things about the fellowship. Learned helplessness doesn't help anyone get better,

  • Marco


    There is an incomplete message for you in response to your question as to why I go (or went?) to AA after Gunter2000's poingant story on the Home page of this site. Sorry I could nor reply earlier. Thanks again for your help last week!!


  • Marco

    William Casey: Spare me your patronising bullshit. As far as you having so many "friends", that's joke. Who could get close to a Marine-type bulldog like you? And I'm sure many of your students consider you to be the  fascist scumbag that you are, who always gets on their case for trivia, because of your need to punish and control.If they only knew about you taking a nip in your  solitude and boredom, they'd have a good laugh. But slimy professionnals like you put up a good front of "competence and professionalism", so they rarely find out about the true Casey.  I had teachers like you, I hated them, and now it's verbal REVENGE time against you at the OK Corral, so watch it , asshole.  


  • DeConstructor

    Can't seem to get the Manilow comment out of my head.

    I have always considered my high school experience to be like the Breakfast Club (from where the comment came from) and have always wondered what those characters would be like now……

    And Marco- we ALL had teachers like that. Some people could use a verbal spanking, but some times it is best to be a bigger man and just walk away. Let it go with William….

  • Marco

    De Constructor,

    I ain't letting anything go with Casey.

    "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" ,as I so often told AA meetings to try to counter their obsessions with forgiveness, and Martin Luther Kingy "love your enemies" bullshit. They never appreciated my sentiments, to say the least…

    "We are non-violent with those who are non-violent with us; but we are NOT non-violent with those who are violent with us"    MALCOLM X

  • Marco

    Here's a beautiful quote from one of my favorite psychologists, the late and great Wilhelm Reich, on the clash between Science and Mysticism, a clash Science will eventually win, thus eliminating AA.  Marco



    "The man of science has a hard road. He must prove his every

    claim, he must carry on arduous research, must deliberate,

    recognize his mistakes, screen vicious criticism, understand

    and refute false theories. He cannot use force. In his struggle

    against the emotional plague he is without weapons. The mystic has an

    easy road. No one demands that he prove his claims."

    Journal entry – May 10, 1943




    American Odyssey

    , p. 180)

  • Z

    WC to Gunthar: "You have a world view [meaning view of AA] that is fairly fixed."

    What's wrong with having drawn a conclusion, after years of experience, observation, contemplation, reading? Why, after all of this, should Gunthar alter his views just because WC has been in AA now for a few months and understands it better than the rest of us since he is high school teacher, administrator, and coach? (Who in this picture is actually subject to delusions of grandeur?)

  • William Casey

    MARCO:  The "Breakfast Club" is my favorite school-themed movie.  John Hughes nailed it.  Especially loved the scene in which the assistant principal had toilet paper trailing from his pants.  Sorry if this interferes with your stereotype and reverie but I doubt that it does.  I'm enjoying being your personal bogeyman.  For a mental image, see Max von Sydow in "Three Days of the Condor" and add about 40 lbs. since I go 6'-4", 250 lbs.  I'd look sharp in an SS uniform if I were into that particular kink.  My name does conceal.  I'm only 1/4 Irish.  Other 3/4 is German… Speer, Ostermann and Folkler.

    Z:  I definitely have delusions of grandeur.  You guys have all the answers about addiction because you found an anti-AA blog.  Stupid me not to see it.

    MA:  I'd love to have coffee if you are ever in Atlanta.  Addiction is a fascinating (and heartbreaking) subject.

  • William Casey

    MARCO:  Apology.  It was DECONSTRUCTOR who referenced the "Breakfast Club."  But, I suspect that you would agree that I fit Paul Gleason's portrayal of Mr. Vernon in the film.  After all, you know me so well as he does!  The slings and arrows are coming rather fast and furious at the moment.

    I'll raise you a Malcom X quote:  "By any means necessary."

    I have no interest in your punishment but am glad that the people of your city are at least temporarily spared your impaired driving as I'm glad the people of Atlanta are spared mine.

    As long as it's verbal revenge, go for it.

    PS to DECONSTRUCTOR:  good advice to Marco but he probably won't heed it.  Since he obviously can't confront the real teachers who "did him wrong," it's useful to construct a straw man to abuse.  Besides, it's fun. 

  • Z

    @William: "You guys have all the answers about addiction because you found an anti-AA blog."

    ? That's quite a reach. What I've been talking about is your poor behavior. This is my last comment to you but in case you wonder, some adjectives describing your rude tone would be bullying, self-aggrandizing, intrusive, and condescending.

    You also willfully twist peoples' words and put words in their mouths. If your tone were any different I'd just take it for poor reading skills, but it's bullying.

    That is why I hope they don't let you back around the kids.

  • William Casey

    LUCY:  thanks for your comment.  Even though I still attend AA and get something out of it, I am concerned that the well-meaning (for the most part) fellowship of AA seems to encourage dependency in some people.  I believe that the goal of any recovery program should be independence from addiction, whether it be chemical or psychological.  Some AA friends of mine would reply:  just depend on God.  That doesn't work for me.  My God gave me both free will and the intellectual/emotional tools necessary to deal with the inevitable travails of life.  I enjoyed graduating from my outpatient class.  The the fact that the three trained professionals conducting the class thought I was ready to face the world indeed boosted my confidence.  AA is a little different.  I'm still, after only 11 months, in the "receiving mode."  After all, it took me nine years of heavy drinking to thoroughly "toxify" my mind.  I suspect that I'll stay involved with AA for awhile and eventually be more in the "giving back" mode.  I don't know if I'll ever be a sponsor for the same reasons I was a teacher/coach rather than a counselor during my education days.  It's more likely that I'll take responsibility for conducting "Pop AA" meetings for newcomers, something I do a little of now.

  • Gunthar2000


    Mr. Casey is obviously just here to stir it up.

    I've wasted enough of my time on this guy. He has nothing to say that I find even remotely interesting.

    @Mr. Casey…

    Have a good night.

  • tintop


    put an end with the game with casey.  his business here is concluded.

  • Z

    @Gunthar I know! Je suis finie! 😉

  • Z

    P.S. And I can't believe I made that mistake in French — meant to say "I'm finished;" actually said something more along the lines of, "I've been finished off." 😉 J'ai fini.

  • William Casey

    Sweet dreams, guys.  Du bist sehr… ______. 

  • SoberPJ

    Strange indeed … ya know, when I was newish in AA, I had this brilliant notion that maybe there was a cosmic parasite that inhabited my brain and it just wanted to get drunk or high and it didn't care about any of my life conditions. Hence, I adopted the saying, "My brain would kill me if it didn't need me for transportation." I used it sparingly with predictable results.. people in meetings liked it. It's novel. Well, as long as I am powerless over alcohol, the concept of parasites might not be too far off the beam… http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38747237/ns/technolog

    Hey, if it isn't truly a spiritual malady, then anything is possible, right ? 🙂

  • Marco


    I’ve noted your interest in Janov and Primal Therapy , and thanks for providing that link to Janov’s site. That will provide a good introduction to Primal Therapy for any interested party, which would  be necessary to understand anything I would replicate about  more specific topics like  “alcoholism”, and AA ,which he has written about extensively. (Re: AA and any exagerated or weird belief system a person adopts, he has written this incredibly insightful chapter called “Ideas as Opiates” in his book “Prisoners of Pain”) 

    To answer your question as to whether I can endure the sound level of a book discussion. Yes, I can tolerate the sound of another human voice 99% of the time. Some can’t; imagine the continual torture!! When more than 10 people talk at once, I usually have to leave a room , which is what I would always do when an AA meeting would break out. People would see me fly to the exit!! I’d go out there and hang out with the smokers. They would always wonder why I did not smoke!
    As far as your excellent recommendations for activities, they have all crossed my mind. I am reluctant to take any arts classes because I have no talent for them, even though I love the arts ( a good film sustains me more ,”spiritually”, than 100 AA meetings). Yoga is possible, but money is the problem there. But all is this quite acdemic at this point, because without a car because of my DUI arrest and subsequent penances and public floggings, I can’t go to any of these classes, except for the local recreation center, which is too BOURGEOIS for me (that may be an exagerated judgement of all the soccer mommies there, I will check out their programming. Speaking about soccer mommies, check out the  hilarious TV series WEEDS, about a soccer-mommie dope dealer).You see I can’t take buses because they are too noisy as a subsitute for a car, not even ride a bike on busy streets, even with full ear protection. My ear problem has actually deteriorated since my arrest because I walk everywhere now mostly, and after about 25 cars passing me by in this quiet  suburban district I live in with my mom,my ears are messed up. So I am actually on the verge of maybe having to stay at home most of the time, until I get the car back, which could be months. House arrest! Which will make me drink more because of the isolation, and because I live with another drunk, my mom, who is nasty when drunk. I wish I would have thought about these consequences before having drank and driven, but I did not. Which just goes to show the division between my intellectual development (an increribly erudite guy…jes’ kidding..), and my emotional development. William Casey will be happy to know that I am being punished quite adequately for the DUI, thank you very much!

    PS: My ears are soooo screwed up today. Very bad day. I can’t even continue typing on this relatively silent key-board.


  • William Casey

    Best I can tell, Marco, you have no doors to leave open… unless you ask your mama first.  LOL

  • tintop

    ignore him marco

  • William Casey

    Good advice, tintop.

  • Hey, I know the message board seems like another planet, and I'll work on that, but I'm hoping that yall will take this conversation over there. That's exactly what the message board is there for. This thread is here for people to post their personal stories, and I can see that people might be discouraged from posting, not wanting to jump into the middle of a debate.

  • Z

    Well, to get back on topic: I left 12 step influenced "psychotherapy" because of the loss of self respect it required, and the way the "mindfuck" of its contradictions worked to facilitate this.

  • tintop

    z,   i can only imagine how that was.  bad enough to suffer mentally, then that sort of 'therapy'.  sad really.

  • Z

    Well, the 12 step program is abusive, and this is why I want to bring it down!!!

  • Z

    And: these are 10 steps or affirmations against that therapy that I wrote recently! http://profacero.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/anti-re
    You can tell by reading them, how … well, outright sadistic, I think … this "therapy" was. And I don't just put it up to this person's incompetence, or my mistake of not running instantly (although both those things are true) … the more serious issue is that the 12 steps and attendant Hazelden nonsense were so being touted at the time as the answer to everything.

    That is why I am so fascinated with the Elayne Rapping book (Culture of Recovery); she figured these problems in the 90s which seem to have been a real 12 stepping heyday. !

  • Z

    And P.S. … and this is not to continue to engage Casey but … a lot of people here seem to have done serious reading on addiction, and there is also serious research out there on 12 stepping and its problems (that I wish I'd known of back when I was in it), and that I've been reading in since. So I'd like to repeat that the reason I like this blog is that so many people who post here have really informed and well thought out insights, and NOT just "personal musings" to "share."

  • tintop


  • Individual

    The thing I keep coming back to also is the fact that we are all having a uniquely interpreted experience, in that some in AA find the experience hugely rewarding and great growth. I found it manipulatitve and brainwashing. And strongly anti-individualist.

  • Z

    "…strongly anti-individualist"

    YES. This is probably the key reason why it's destructive to those for whom it's destructive.

  • Marco

    One thing , amongst many others, that has stuck me about AA is its lack of commonsense about what "alcoholism" is,even if there is such a thing as alcoholism. If there is , it sure is not a sin, and neither is it a disease like cancer. The latter is a pathetic attempt by "alcoholics" to convince a dumb uncaring society that they are not sinful and blameworthy, they are just "sick". OK, why do people drink to excess then? Answer: to numb the sufferring they are expereincing in their lives. End of story. Why can't AA people just come out and say that directly?

    Here is another commonsense definition of "alcoholism" from a book by Dr Arthur Janov, whom I have mentionned a few days ago. A very great psychologist in mein opinion. Here is what one of his patients had to say, reflecting also Janov's straightforward style:

    "I am a man who has known Pain. Alcohol kills Pain. To call me an alcoholic is to call me by the name of my medicine. I had no desire for the taste of it; it's a frightful drink. I didn't enjoy the social aspect of it; I usually drank alone. Alcohol didn't help my career; when I drank I could not think clearly enough to work. Alcohol almost killed me…And it also saved my life.

    Alcohol dulls psychic pain.It blurs the edges of grim and chilling reality.It narcotizes the endless hurt. It turns cosnciousness into sleep and sleep into nothingness.. Nothingness was the most desirable states for me.If I had not been able to find it in a bottle of alcohol, I would surely have found it in a barrell of a gun. Or in total insanity.I had to somehow escape my pain.."  ( Bill )   Excerpt from "The Primal Revolution" by Arthur Janov 1972 

  • tintop

    Marco,  I agree with that quotation.

  • Marco

    Tintop or anyone else:

    Here is an article (below) that Dr Janov wrote on his blog a few days ago. I put it here because it has reference to drug addiction and alcoholism, and why people will beleive in non-existent gods. This article may not make total sense to someone who does not understand the basis of Janov's theories. But I thought I would take the chance of including it here anyways, because, in my opinion , it is so enlightening.Perhaps a sentence or two will pop up to make you notice his amazing insight.  Marco


    Saturday, August 21, 2010


    The Pollyanna Effect of Looking for the Positive  by Arthur Janov

    Inner tranquilizers have a Pollyanna effect. They permit us to "look on the bright side" of belief rather than the "dark side" of ourselves. The Reagan years were characterized by someone who always did look on the bright side. That optimism was infectious even though it may have been unreal. It was adopted by those who did not want to explore the past and feelings. He was perfect for that— a man with little access to feelings who constructed a weltanschauung of denial and joy. If we ask people whether they would vote for pain and liberation or joy, the answer is a foregone conclusion. The man who took a bullet in the head for him during the assassination attempt was almost never visited by him in the hospital. Could he feel for this crippled human being? Reagan continued to vote against gun control. Ideas took precedence over feelings. After all, he was shot, as well, by a maniac who should have never have had a gun. Logic cannot dictate when buried feelings, transformed into an ironclad political belief system, trump reason. When your insides are turned inside out you can easily view the world from a warped perspective. Sometimes you get so “positive” that you slip into Pollyanna and that is where you stay: banal, cliché, unreal.

    A belief system or other symptoms is often where the pain goes. Let us not treat the symptom — let us treat the cause. A simple example: A patient could not be alone without a terrible feeling welling up in her. She was left alone for weeks after birth and then again at six months of age when her mother had to return to the hospital for cancer treatment. Aloneness and bad feelings were imprinted. Any approach that ignores the profound feeling lodged in her brain was bound to fail. She had gone to psychoanalysis previously and learned that she was left alone with babysitters throughout her childhood. This was true, but was only the top level of a nerve network that spun down to the brainstem.

    Beliefs, in this sense, are like ulcers or migraines. There are levels of causes on the various levels of consciousness.

    As I said, it is not the content of a belief system that matters, but what draws us toward ideas and beliefs, and what makes beliefs so important to us, so enduring and how the nerve cells in the brain relate to each other. In short, why do we believe?

    All belief systems have something in common. They are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively. And belief systems all respond to an almost universal, hard-wired need. It is not that we need to believe; we believe because we need. And the pollyannas do not think; they rely on slogans. Those run her life. That is why slogans are so important in an election. It is what hang onto instead of thinking through matters.

    All of us are programmed to some extent to reject and deny the voice of our feelings. That is the function of belief systems: to quiet the feeling that there is no one to care for us, to protect us, to love us, that the "meaning of life" is endless pain. The drug of belief anesthetizes. It is why one can give up drugs and alcohol and fall into a belief system. They both inject painkillers into the system.

    Just as someone lacking sugar or iron automatically seeks out what he needs in foods, a person carrying around imprinted pain may automatically lock into belief systems. Instead of trying to feel the void that lurks inside the hidden crevices of the unconscious, the believer rises above hopelessness and helplessness into "salvation." Sometimes he goes so far as to adopt a new name, a new identity. Susan becomes Saraswati, Robert becomes Rama, as if to say, "I

    am not even me anymore" (the pained me) "I am someone else." What is he saved from? Himself. One patient came to us from a cult, which she entered because of chronic anorexia. She relived a feeling in our therapy: "What’s the use of eating if no one loves me or wants me alive?" The leader reassured her that he did. All she had to do was give him her car and the money she had in the bank. She did. Because he said he wanted her to get well. He told her that he wanted her. It was irresistible. And women will give up their bodies easily when someone combats their feeling of being unwanted by telling her how badly she is wanted.


    Sometimes people only respond to feelings and vote for political candidates who reflect them. But often they vote for an idea that reflects their underlying needs and feelings: e.g., "This man will make our country safe." We can ignore the reality of what he does because his rhetoric soothes apprehensions and salves fear. But of course, the leader has to first install fear — the enemy is planning secret attacks. Then, I will protect you by arming heavily.

    "Yes, yes I will vote for more and more arms so I can feel safe." Too often individuals vote their feelings in the guise of an idea. The more neurotic (heavily repressed) a person is, the greater the distance between his ideas and feelings — what I call the Janovian gap — the more symbolic her ideas. By neurotic I mean someone with a high degree of imprinted, blocked pain that distorts the whole system physically and psychologically. It is not just that someone has far- out ideas. They are linked into a major system. They have anchors into a personality. There are certain traumas imprinted in the system that require repression, and the interplay between them is the hub of neurosis. The outcome of that interaction, the resulting symptoms, is what we generally call neurosis.

    Belief systems are just another form of symptoms. They do not spring full blown out of the air. There are historical causes. Once we understand this, we can see how one can give up drugs and booze in favor of being born-again; ideas smother the pains just as well as, if not better than, drugs. That is why those who are unwell will tend to fall ill prematurely, stricken by an internal reality of which they are not aware. The more warped the ideas, the more likely the person will have a warped physiology, and vice versa. It isn’t just ideas we are dealing with; it is a whole human being whose ideas reflect his buried needs and feelings.

    Twisted ideas and beliefs, in my view, presage a shorter lifespan. The system is neurotic not just one’s beliefs. In psychoanalysis and cognitive therapy they tend to help change ideas without realizing that they part and parcel of a human, and a human with a history. And of course, there are the various tests for progress in therapy usually of the verbal variety so that if one says one is better, one is considered better. Or on certain questions, "Are you more comfortable with yourself now after therapy?" We see that the more one is defended and thereby feels more comfortable, the more progress we consider the patient has made. Trick is get people to focus on the positive, on the external while those little political devils are manipulating our insides with their slogans.

    Posted by Arthur Janov at <a title="permanent link" href="http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2010/08/pollyanna-effect-of-looking-for.html&quot; rel="nofollow"><abbr title="2010-08-21T13:03:00-07:00">1:03 PM</abbr> <a title="Email Post" href="http://www.blogger.com/email-post.g?blogID=3420173096635836108&postID=4294769819414323737&quot; rel="nofollow"> <a title="Edit Post" href="http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=3420173096635836108&postID=4294769819414323737&quot; rel="nofollow">

  • tintop

    Marco:  you should read this :  http://www.morerevealed.com/aadep/   [ others should as well]

    That article by Janov is well said and well done.  Ehrenreich wrote a book about being 'bright sided' .  It is congruent with this article., although it spoke to other issues.

    I am a stoic; as such, bright side and dark side mean little to me.   But, I understand the point and take it in.

  • Z

    @Marco — good article, and tintop, I'll look at that. I should look at the Ehrenreich, too.

    I tend to be bright sided; this means in practice that when people tell me to look on the bright side they are really telling me to go into denial — because if I say things are bad, it's because I have *already* assessed them from the bright side, and found them wanting!!! 😉

  • Marco

    Z and tintop: Glad you both liked the Janov article. I read Ehrenreich`s book, and I really liked out. Perfectly captures the irritation I have with all the "positive thinking" one encounters not only in mainstream Oprah society, but even in alternative "spiritual" networks. However, I don't think she goes as deep as Janov as to why people compulsively need to be positive. His thesis that such thinking is a drug to compensate an inner despair, whether conscious ou unconscios, makes a lot of sense to me. But I can't confirm this from my personal experience. All I know for now is that "positive" people avoid me because I am often  a moody taciturn angry "negative" person (which has its limitations also), and I avoid them because their superficial brightness gets on my fucking nerves.

    One last thing, Janov gets into the psychological dynamics of positive thinking and "God" in a brilliant  chapter  entitled "Ideas as opiates" in his book "Prisoners of Pain". Check it out!

  • tintop

    being a stoic, I regard "positive thinking" as chimerical.  The issue is to think; neither positive nor negative.

  • Z

    Wc, ftg, tt — well we have just been discussing the irritatingness of superficial brightness after work today, and I am not the one who started the discussion.

    But some examples of it are alleging the televisions work when they do not, not admitting that normally the students will not have acquired the book until Friday, etc., alleging that the university pays the cost of visas when it does not, etc. and saying this is all part of "presenting the bright side."

    I know it's superficial brightness because it's counterfactual. I don't think admitting what really goes on is "negative."

    Marco — "His thesis that such thinking is a drug to compensate an inner despair, whether conscious ou unconscious, makes a lot of sense to me." It sounds right to me, too.

    TT — there's a lot to be said, indeed, for thinking as opposed to spouting doctrine.

  • William Casey

    Thanks, FTG.  Z:  Behavior that is counterfactual might indeed be called "superficial brightness."  I'm just wondering, though, how one identifies "superficial brightness" wothout knowing the facts.  For example, I'm not one who wakes up all bubbly and bright.  However, on Tuesday of this week I had a great morning work-out with a couple of my basketball players with whom I'd previously had some attitude problems.  It made my day.  Real progress.  Many events took place during the rest of the day, including an evening AA meeting.  I remained "bright" all day.  A couple of friends noticed.  I certainly don't consider my "brightness" to be superficial.  But, to a casual observer in the evening with a predisposition, it might seem so.  But, only SEEM… 

  • Z

    Here's Ehrenreich lecturing on her book (which is a critique of the "positive thinking" INDUSTRY) – http://fora.tv/2009/10/24/Bright-Sided_Barbara_Eh
    Q-D summary: Willingness to try something, risk something in the hope of positive return is one thing, but magical thinking is another, and it's magical thinking that's pushed by this industry.


  • William Casey

    There's a fine line between psitive thinking and delusional thinking just as that line exists between negative thinking and delusional thinking.  I learned fairly early on that over the long haul, real good can arise from really bad events and that that possibility should be considered.  Had polio at age 5.  Life sucked for next 5 years.  The ten years after that found me in angst over the fact that polio would probably cost me a college athletic scholarship.  The other 4 members of my immediate family were all Division I calibre athletes so this wasn't a delusional pipedream.  1971 arrives and I'm drafted into the army.  I was quickly released and avoided Nam. Have gone on coach for 35 years.  Needless to say, I now look at the polio experience in an entirely different light. 

  • Z

    What Ehrenreich is talking about is realism, not spin.

  • tintop

    z, correct. That is what she was talking about.

    Magical thinking is what the industry is pushing. because it is an industry of despair and a "can't do atitude". It is not about empowerment and a fighting spirit. There was noway on "god's green earth" that I was going to accept that kind of defeatism. Powerless? That'll be the day.

    magical thinking is all that those people have. When the only tool that you have is a hammer — everything looks like a nail. The aa train does not stop at my station.

  • Z

    Also — I find two problems with the constant insistence that "good can come from bad things."

    1. Of course it can — that's elementary — most people know this — good comes out of bad, or is mixed with the bad, every day.

    2. To keep on insisting on that as an answer or mantra is Pollyannaish and unrealistic. On this 5th anniversary of Katrina, for instance, I am not willing to say it was good for New Orleans, even if some individuals profited from it or learned something or survived or ended up in a better house than they had had, or in a city with better schools.

    3. There's also something really egotistical about this mantra, which seems to shut off dissent and protect the powerful. It's all about the individual — something bad happened to me, but it brought me something good or saved me from something worse. Me me me me me me.

    "See, something good came of it!" is kind of good as a riposte to people who live by complaining and by creating drama. But it's SO elementary and also so uncaring sometimes (cf. the exploitative and also Pollyannaish attitudes about Katrina).

  • William Casey

    Z: The existence of natural disasters is one of the reasons why I personally don't believe in an interventionist God. I'll have to somewhat disagree with point #3 concerning my generally positive outlook being ALL about me. I have hundreds of former players who tell me that their experiences on my teams are among the best in their lives.

  • Gunthar2000

    @Mr. Casey,

    If you don't believe in an interventionist God, why would you become a member of an organization that exists primarily to carry the message that an intervention by God is the only way to stop drinking?

  • William Casey

    GUNTHAR: I was "pushed" by a counselor into AA while I was in outpatient treatment. I was very skeptical about the program at the time because of my ex-wife's involvement in it 20 year's earlier. Nevertheless, I believed that I needed something beyond OP and AA was convenient. I definitely didn't join for the social aspect, though going to meetings is a social occasion itself. I've been very secure in my religious beliefs for 40 years. Nothing in AA is going to disturb that. Other people's religious beliefs don't interest me. AA helps me focus on sobriety. My interaction with AA people has also helped me take stock of my current situation and make plans for the future. I carry only one message: "I had to make sobriety my #1 priority in order to stop drinking." When I did, it worked. AA helped. I let others carry the "Give it to God" message. I'm not involved in AA's organizational goals. Doesn't interest me. I do like helping individuals so that's what I do.

  • Z

    Well I find that to accomplish anything difficult, or that you don't have ultra favorable circumstances for, you do have to make it your #1 priority.

    (The example which comes to mind for me is writing; when I didn't make it my #1 priority but expected myself to accomplish it in amongst everything else, without protecting it as a #1 priority.)


    I was thinking about this while stair stepping earlier and realized that in the positive thinking industry stoicism really isn't valued. They want you to be more negative (not being is to be "in denial") so that they can then tell you to get more positive. This seesawing may have to do with something AOC said today on another thread, that they want to keep you off balance so they can keep treating you.

    The other thing re the Ehrenreich book, is the question of solidarity and activism, which goes far beyond finding the "silver lining" in one's problems and far beyond recruiting for an organization like AA. Muhammad Ali was also drafted for Viet Nam but didn't go for reasons of conscience, and didn't hide either. This is the sort of thing I'd rather emulate than just look for silver linings.

  • Z

    And in a zig zag — I think I have figured out the higher power thing, i.e. why it's necessary, although I am probably the last here to do so. For what it's worth: if you've defined yourself as less than worthy and also powerless, and you also don't have a person who loves you no matter what and can take care of you no matter what, then you have to do at least some things for yourself. So as to accomplish that, given that you have already renounced yourself and your will, you must imagine a loving and forgiving authority who wants you to do things. Is this it?

  • tintop

    It depends mostly upon motivation. Motivation is the best indicator of success. There are factors which can help or hinder that motivation; this is, probably, where AA, other groups, etc come in. Underlying mental state has a significant effect upon motivation. This may include what is called 'positive thinking'. It may also include ailments such as bi polar or depression, etc. This appears to be very much a personal matter. Knowledge of addiction is in a very murky place right now. I expect that it will be for years.

  • Lucy

    AA's message seems to be that AA members are special people because they have been afflicted with a bizarre allergy which requires a religious experience to heal it. Once they have that experience, nothing bad can happen to them unless it has some kind of special and cosmic meaning, which they are supposed to cipher by being grateful for it.

    What really happens (when something bad happens) is that they get angry about it . They cant believe that they are getting the miracle they expected. If they don't get over the anger and get into an orgy of gratitude over the bad thing that happened to them, the group criticizes them.

    Real feelings and a real worldview are not acceptable in AA. It has to be magical and miraculous or somebody might see the Wizard operating the giant head.

  • Z

    @tintop yes, but apparently the motivator in 12 step theory has to be external and paternalistic since it assumes that nobody has an internal motivator that is positive … in us we have the Devil, who must be rooted out, and replaced with their God.

    @Lucy, that seems to be more or less it.

    I'm just amazed by the patent abusiveness — the more they can undermine and disable you, the more you need them, so of course they are as destructive as they can be while still keeping you alive and telling you it is all your fault. D***.

  • Z

    @Casey: "I’ll have to somewhat disagree with point #3 concerning my generally positive outlook being ALL about me. I have hundreds of former players who tell me that their experiences on my teams are among the best in their lives."

    I wasn't talking about you or your life, I don't know you. I was talking about the cliche, "good things can come from bad" (to which I basically say, DUH, who doesn't know that?). This is what I said:

    "3. There’s also something really egotistical about this mantra, which seems to shut off dissent and protect the powerful. It’s all about the individual — something bad happened to me, but it brought me something good or saved me from something worse."

    I'm talking about the structure of that line of reasoning. It's is an ill wind indeed that blows nobody good. And I'm sure you could have been a good coach without polio.

    And I'm happy for anyone who gets out of any war, but it only means THEY got out, not that someone didn't have to go in their place and that people didn't have to get killed by that person.

  • tintop

    z, I agree. aa seems to provide, for some people, an 'external locus of control'. perhaps that is what is meant by 'good orderly direction. The key, of course is, 'some people'.

  • Marco


    You just questionned my reference to superficial brightness to piss me off. Whenever I write something, DO NOT RESPOND TO IT, or I will fuck you over (verbally) .I do not want to relate to you in ANY way whatsoever. Is that clear?


  • Marco

    Last week, I re-watched the movie called "My name is Bill W.", about our friend Bill. Interestingly enough I was quite touched by the film, but I am never touched by anything he has written; in fact, some of it is outright repellent to me. Now, why would a film based on his life get to me and not his writings? Is it because, with the film, I am actually responding to the film-makers' interpretations of Bill's life, and not to Bill? I don't know, but I sure responded to the film. In fact, one scene really helped me in coping with the drunk driving charge that I am up against (as I have often mentionned here). The scene is Biil and Dr Bob going to see a hospitalised alcoholic together for the first time, after their famous first meeting. This alcoholic is in bed, and he is mad, and distant, and feeling ashamed that he struck a nurse while drunk. With respect to the nurse,the actor playing Bill leans over and kindly says: "You know, we all have done things drunk that we are ashaned of". No blame , denunciation, or judgement.That really hit me hard. That helped me forgive myself for having driven while intoxicated.

    In general, most films, or memoirs about excessive drinking usually touch me, but if any work of art or memoir mentions AA, I switch right off. Bizarre, eh?


  • Marco

    Here's one last article by Arthur Janov on addiction:

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    More on Addiction

    So many of us are addicted that I want to write a bit more on it. First of all, we are addicted to need; the lack of fulfillment of basic human need. The depth of the neglect of the need determines how seriously addicted one is. We choose our addiction due to many reasons. But basically, how early the trauma or lack of love there is may be one factor. Then the compounding of the very early neglect, say, the lack of touch dating back to right after birth and on into infancy, is another component. So the continual lack of fulfillment exacerbates the pain. Never been touched, held or soothed makes matters worse. It all wraps around need. If there were a grandma who caressed the child a bit then the need is less severe.

    Those needs start in the womb, which is a massive kick-start to addiction. If the mother drank to ease her pain then perhaps the offspring will sense physiologically that alcohol can soothe pain; the beginnings of addiction. If the pain goes on due to constant neglect by the parents, becoming severely debilitating, a devastating addiction is on its way. If the mother takes drugs during pregnancy then a pill taker is coming soon. And usually, the pills will be the opposite of what mother took. If she was on cokes, cocaine, speed, coffee, hyping up the baby in her womb, then we may have an adult who is addicted to tranquilizers and painkillers in order to calm his hyped-up system. The needs are at first life-saving so that lack of fulfillment generates great pain. As we mature the needs are important but not as life-saving. Needs before birth are much stronger than later on. They deal with survival. Once we survive well physiologically we can move on to social needs: to be listened to be looked at, understood, helped, guided, etc.

    I cannot emphasize this enough: We are addicted to need. The earlier the basic human need the more powerful and negative are the consequences of its neglect. That is why Hollywood doesn’t destroy people; they are already destroyed by events that may antedate birth. The neglect may drive one to Hollywood because it is basically the land of the seriously damaged. It is the goal for those who are underappreciated and never paid attention to. The size of the pain leads to neurotic solutions commensurate with that force; now we need the whole world’s approval. How better than in the cinema.?

    We don’t want to ignore genetics but in my opinion genetics is minimal; but life in the womb is critical. And so what is the addict doing? Fulfilling the need from that time; that is, trying to equalize or normalize the chemistry that was warped from very early on. He takes more serotonin (Prozac) to calm him. He would have had enough all through his life if his levels were not dislocated by trauma in the womb or at birth. He is trying to get himself back; get the parts that were missing from the start. That is why drugs make us feel like “ourselves” again. They make up for the deficit.

    The choice of drug may be any number of things; food for Jewish families who put such importance on it. Wine for the French; you get the idea. But the force and strength of the addiction is not cultural. It is biologic, much the same the world over. If we just think, the need for (drugs, food alcohol) is first of all and most importantly, the need”. Period. If we make the mistake of treating the “need for” as the problem instead of the need itself we will never cure anyone of anything. That is, if we neglect history and address only the apparent problems we are bound to fail. Those few words, “Need for,” and “need,” must be clearly differentiated. One is the need direct; (pain/history/primal therapy) the other is “need for” (calming agent/kill pain/cognitive therapy).

    The latter is what the cerebral therapies address, believing that is the problem. No. the problem is real need which drives the “need for” How deprived the real need is how overpowering the addiction. So many parents wonder what they did wrong because their child was and is addicted. Maybe they did nothing wrong because the root of heavy addiction goes back to long before they had a chance to mistreat the child. Never forget life in the womb. My book on this will be out in five months.

    The reason that both addiction and psychosis have been so hard to treat in conventional therapy is that the origins lay back before we set foot on earth. Damage during this period is most often the origin of later addiction/psychosis; but there is no therapy extant, other than primal that can go so deep.

    Posted by Arthur Janov at 10:54 AM 7 comments

    Older Posts Home Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)

    To my blog readers

  • Marco


    I thought some of you might be interested in this on-line AA group called AA Freethinkers, mostly consisting of atheists and agnostics, although they have some of that "we don't oppose or promote" ambiguity bullshit like mainstream AA. Here is their intro and 12 Steps:

    This group of Alcoholics Anonymous maintains a tradition of free expression, and conducts a meeting where alcoholics may feel free to express any beliefs, doubts or disbeliefs they may have, and to share their own personal form of spiritual experience, their search for it, or their rejection of it. We do not endorse or oppose any form of religion or atheism. Our only wish is to assure suffering alcoholics that they can find sobriety in AA without having to accept anyone else's beliefs or having to deny their own.

    Agnostic 12 Steps

    We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

    Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.

    Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.

    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

    With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.

    Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

    Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.

    Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    Oh yeah, if you swear like a mothafucka like I do, or get too angry, you will not be welcome on this site. They are into bourgeois CIVILITY, and seeing that I am not too "civil" a person, eventually got the boot from this site after denouncing AA too vehemently for their tastes.


  • William Casey

    I found the Agnostics 12 Steps to be interesting in spite of the fact that my bourgeois, civil, Deist, Benz-driving ass has been cautioned not to respond to the Raskolnikovian proletarian's posts. Alas, the First Amendment prevails, I think.

  • Sammy

    Here's everything AA did for me:

    *) Turned a minor drinking problem into a major one. (Secretly, I liked the idea of being powerless over alcohol — excellent "reason" to get really good and drunk.)

    *) Introduced me to all the wrong kind of company (one sponsor was shooting heroin — "This is *Alcoholics* Anonymous: he really said that).

    *) Promised a "spiritual awakening" in exchange for a Fourth and Fifth — what I got was a near suicidal depression.

    *) Learned codependency on meetings, and meeting attendees.

    *) "Old timers" — never met a one that had anything I would ever want. The longer they went without a drink, the stranger they got.

    *) Lots of promises of "fellowship", but not once could any of these "loving" AA's be bothered to ever call to see how I was doing, though I passed out lots of phone numbers. Without exception, these AA's screened phone calls and couldn't be bothered to return my messages.

    *) Mean spiritedness: "Better him than me", "Some need to die so the rest can live", whenever news came that one group member "went back out".

    This "program" demands "rigorous honesty", but practices a rigorous dishonesty in all its affairs: saying that AA doesn't affiliate itself with outside enterprises, but acts as an unofficial arm of law enforcement when meeting secretaries sign court attendance slips. Bases its program on the "Big Book (of Lies)". You can have any power greater than yourself, but by the time you get half way into "The Steps", this had better be a power greater than yourself that can grant wishes and work magick. Makes grandiose promises, then immediately takes them back.

    "We will see that our new attitude towards liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes!"

    "What we really have is a daily reprieve…"

    Suddenly, it doesn't sound so impressive or "miraculous" anymore.

    After too long, it finally dawned on me that AA isn't about not drinking. These are unregenerate juicers who don't really want to stop, and are actively hoping that "new comers" "slip", so that they may vicariously experience the joy of intoxication by proxy. They are parasites.

  • William Casey

    Z: I agree that "the good things can come out of bad" notion can become a mindless mantra. However, in my experience, at least having that thought encourages me to take a longer view of things that happen. It has helped me control my temper as I grow older… always a good thing for me. Using the idea to justify or bad things (or evil) is obviously not good. But, neither is psyching one's self into a stew over setbacks or "unfairness" as I did for years over polio. Most people I have known could benefit from taking the longer view. This isn't saying that the idea should be used to downplay the significance of tragedies such as Katrina.

  • DeConstructor


    “the good things can come out of bad” notion -comes very close to apologizing for the faith.

    My problem with the idea, and my activism against the faith and the recovery industry comes from the nonconcern of people that the substance abuse system fails, and the people they subsequently kill.

    The faith and the industry simply calls them all "liars" (Unfortunate souls constitutionally unable to be honest with themselves) WTF that could ever be. Because the faith is unchallenged, recieves unearned admiration and undeserved crediblity, these individuals are simply locked up in longer and longer rehabs.

    Since the faith and the industry demands that the disease model of addiction be considered unquestionable truth, these individuals are trained (many times at taxpayer expense) that they have this concocted disease. They are trained to be completely powerless over it, and "relapses" are uncontrollable. These people have a couple of drinks, and because of their training, continue to drink until they become stupid, and kill people in drunk driving incidents.

    The concept of the medical industry condoning the irresponsible action of this organization telling people, with alleged credibility, that they have this terminal, concoted disease is as unethical as an organization can get. They literally have a lot of blood on their hands.

    I have been personally accused, on many different sites around the web of killing alcoholics. I will not change my actions, because this organization needs to answer questions they refuse to.


    Decide where you stand, and plant your feet- Abe Lincoln……

  • @Sammy, Welcome to Stinkin' Thinkin'. You about summed up the collective experience here… I look forward to seeing you around the blog!

  • Marco

    Yo, Speedy, thanks for the biting and intelligent back-up.

    Testy-Zesty Marco

  • Gunthar2000


    You don't beat around the bush… do you?

    I agree with all of what you have to say about AA.

    *Turned a minor problem into a major one!

    Ain't that the truth!

    *Wrong company!

    I would have stuck with the winners if they'd had any.


    Yes… I had life problems that were kicking the shit outta me, but the steps drove me to the point of suicide!

    You've got a bunch of good stuff to say, and people need to hear the truth.

    I hope you stick around and get involved…. Welcome Sammy.

    [ftg was here]

  • tintop

    casey, back up and re group.

  • Z

    Moderation on this thread is a good idea — actually I clicked on it to suggest that, just for this thread, and you're already doing it! Bon weekend–.

  • Z

    And so anyway, I've found these old papers, things I wrote when I quit that evil 12 stepping shrink I had; it's basically a list of the destructive and nonsensical things I had learned … and it sure does match up well with what people say about AA on this site.

    From reading it and reflecting now, I think the two most fundamental problems were:

    a) you lose your right to your own intellectual and other boundaries, in part because whatever you know from outside the program is, by definition, wrong; and

    b) you are required to really step up self criticism and self doubt; it is as though no amount of these could be enough for them.

    (I, of course, had the additional sin of being intellectually oriented, which meant by definition that I could not feel; this created a lot of trouble, too; I didn't realize it at the time, because the 12 step indoctrination was being done under cover of normal psychotherapy, but I guess what was so threatening about being able to think was that it didn't make me a good candidate for the faith.)

  • SoberPJ

    There is a local AA legend that says " What you think and how you feel are the two most unimportant things in your life. The only thing that matters is what you do." Everybody nods in silent agreement when he says it. Doing is very important, but you can't do without thinking, so if you can't do without thinking, then thinking is actually important too. For example, I have to think, "pay the bills', before I sit down and actually pay the bills. Maybe he means some other kind of thinking that exists only in AA land and it isn't very important to living and doesn't precede doing. Alternate AA mental dimension perhaps?

  • Z

    Well I suppose the homily about doing is to remind people that if they're behaving badly, deep feeling and brilliant thoughts aren't compensations or justifications for that.

    But once again, it's just so elementary.


    I think a lot of things about this do/think/feel separation they seem to like to play with; one of the things I think is that it's gender policing. I noticed in Alanon they would tell women not to think, but to feel; and men not to think, but to focus on actions. Pretty transparent when you sit back and think about it, but when you're blindsided with it, it's confusing. (Although it's funny, sort of like in some type of Western: thinking women are cold, and thinking men are doing wrong.)

  • Z

    And well, I am proud to see that response 666 on this thread was from me!

    Anyway, having discovered those papers referred to a couple of comments up, I had a realization on the way home. This would really fit better in a thread on cultishness but I am putting it here for the sake of narrative continuity.

    What amazes me in those papers is that I had it all figured out when I wrote down my analysis of what happened — most of the main points made in this site are in there, actually. And yet I'm still getting over the experience, like many people here, it seems, and still finding ways in which I respond to those 12 step precepts despite not believing in them, so that means (I think) that the whole thing really does turn you into something like a cult survivor.

    Anyway, what I was realizing on the way home (and this insight has been refined and built upon by reading this site) is that the key thing is, you are asked to extinguish yourself for the sake of the Program. It really is this complete surrender of self that they ask for. Which shows that what some other people have said here, that the point of it all isn't any sort of cure for anything but the perpetuation of the Program, really is true.

    That, of course, only highlights what a problem it is that this thing is an industry, not a "fellowship," as has been said above and also before, and that as an industry, with its fingers in a whole set of institutions – actually it's not just an industry, it's an INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! – is a huge mechanism of social control; it has absolutely got to be stopped.

    (It still amazes me to think that only a few months ago I did not yet realize how much of common knowledge on addiction was really *just* AA propaganda, or understand – despite having spent a lot of time and energy on deconstructing the weird world view of Alanon – the degree to which the 12 stepping views not just on addiction, but on what the self is, what morality is, how the world works, and so on, limits virtually every way of thinking about … well, just about anything. There is SO much life and so much world outside that paradigm, and it is amazing how well the paradigm works to keep that out of view.)

  • Katie

    What a great group! I have been sober in AA for over 2 years and I have felt it become more and more limiting to me as a human being wiith each passing month. I can't completely bash AA because there are some great things I gained. It was important for me to have support from people who were doing what I needed to do – stop drinking. I use a couple of things I heard there like living in the solution and not the problem, do the next right thing and stick with the winners. The steps were actually good for me because I was able to look at the role I played in all of my problems and the amends were important so that I could see how my actions affected others. It is a fact that people who are dependednt on alcohol/drugs are very self-centered. It's kind of a requirement to think mainly of yourself in order to believe you should be wasted all the time.

    The problems I have way outnumber those things though. I do not and never did buy the powerless aspect. How could I accidentally find a drink going down my throat? Only God can prevent that? What about my brain making the decision? And, who, aside from murderers, are asked to spend all their remaining time alive reliving the past so they don't repeat it? It seems a little harsh that since I decided drinking was a good coping mechanism as a teenager that the rest of my life needs to be revolving around alcohol – either drinking and dying or abstaining and sitting in church basements with people who self-identify as being sick.

    Stick with the winners. Hmm. Well, when I got to AA, everyone appeared to be a winner because I was so f'ed up. As I got better, the "winners" were becoming fewer and fewer until I didn't see any of them as winners. The best people in the rooms are attending a minimum of 3 days a week in meetings, living with fear that they could accidentally drink and die at any moment, recruiting other members and endlessly talking about the past (remembering where they came from.)

    Sponsorship. Wow, that is scary to me. The only requirement for sponsorship is that a person says they have been sober and worked the steps. There are no professional qualifications or training. There is no screening for mental illness or criminal behavior. Yet, people are sharing their deepest fears, traumas and family concerns with this person who provides guidance. It can be extremely dangerous. I know. My mother has been sober in AA for 24 years and sponsors many people. She is mentally ill and has been committed twice in the past year. She doesn't mention that in meetings.

    What finally got me looking for alternatives was when my sposor told me I wasn't acting grateful enough to AA and I was running on self-will. I work fulll-time, go to the gym 6 days a week, volunteer for 3 different organizations and spend time with my family. I am living a healthy, well-balanced and fulfilling life. She thinks I need to cut down on those things and get to more meetings because a healthy life will not keep me sober. She also thinks that my community service is taking away from my working with other alcoholics. If I was grateful too AA, I would be in meetings and helping alcoholics. That was the last straw for me. The truth is, I don't even know much about this woman's personal life except that she attends a lot of meetings. How does she know more about my purpose in life than I do? I am much more than the sum of my drinking years. I also have a college education and a lot of valuable life experience that can benefit people outside of AA. I will not be limited by people who call themselves sick.

    I could write a book here but I will stop for now. I am going to NY this week to meet with a professional who was referred to me by Dr. Stanton Peele. I know that I have a lot to overcome and quite a bit of deprogramming to do before I feel confident enough to tell my family that I am done with AA and that I am safe. I put them through a lot with my drinking and drug use and they have seen my life improve drastically. They believe that AA turned my life around, they buy the disease concept because that is all that is taught and they believe I will die by leaving AA. I am not foolish enough to belive that I can erase all the brainwashing that was done on me by reading a couple of books. There are professionals who are very familiar with this and I am going to make sure I am well-armed to live a healthy life without making the AA threats of doom a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am open to any advice from people who have experience here. Thanks!

  • MA

    Hi, Katie.

    Welcome aboard. It will be nice to get more of your insights and experience.

  • SoberPJ

    The likelihood of stopping the 12 Step juggernaut is probably very small. I can easily imagine that in the backroom discussions of power brokers, social control is highly desirable. It certainly trumps anarchy. From that perspective, anything that takes even a small percentage of people that represent social burdens and turns them into tax paying, behaving citizens is going to get the stamp of approval. Further, if the lobby is strong, and there are a lot of jobs and tax paying incomes at stake, stopping it would require some heavy lifting indeed. The main thing that keeps it going is the perceived positive contribution to society. However, a combination of things is working to slow its growth right now – new solutions and negative exposure. If the awareness of these can be increased to a sufficient level, membership will most assuredly decline. The only way awareness can accelerate is through direct and targeted activism. An occasional article, a few websites and blogs certainly give us detractors something to do, but real change won't happen by just declaring a need for change. The reasons for change have to be squarely in the face of people that can enact change AND they have to exceed the arguments of the people that want it to remain the same. In this case, the incumbents are now an industry with 75 years of history and a couple million success stories in their arsenal. I can imagine a congressional hearing turning into a real tear jerker with an endless stream of positive and negative anecdotal stories coming from both sides 🙂

    Anyway, as a start, I think ST should have a thread that is a call for a letter writing contest. The goal is to create a range of letters that can be sent to those in power alerting them to fact that there is a growing body of 12 Step detractors that have valid arguments against using AA and for funding/using alternatives. The letters can be in categories for various people in authority – Judges, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Consumer advocates, Insurance company execs, corporate executives and others. Anyone could them copy a letter they like and send it to the intended recipient.

    If ST really wanted to get sophisticated, they could implement an automatic letter sending utility like the Secular Coalition for America has on their website http://action.secular.org/p/dia/action/public/?ac

    But that might be asking a bit much…

  • Welcome, Katie!

    @PJ, I'm definitely with you on this. I think the idea of a joint effort at letter composition is a great idea. Also, we should compile a list of names and addresses. Perhaps we can crosspost this to the community pages.

  • Mike

    @JP: "The goal is to create a range of letters that can be sent to those in power alerting them to fact that there is a growing body of 12 Step detractors that have valid arguments against using AA and for funding/using alternatives. "

    I've at times thought of sending letters to local churches where AA meetings are held asking them if they as a facility have a blanket policy on registered sex offender access to minors on the premises, and if they are aware that meetings provide a venue for such people to come in contact with the young ones.

  • SoberPJ

    @ Katie – Welcome and please come back and tell us what you learn in your appointment. It is very important – at least for me – to "watch" people live good lives after and without AA.

    @ftg Great, there are also websites that have complete lists of government officials that would be helpful. Like http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

  • Z

    @PJ and ftg & Mike, excellent re the letters. I really think that a lot of AA promotion is done out of ignorance, not out of commitment to AA. That secular coalition for America website is great, too.

    @Katie, I'm fascinated and dying to hear what you find out in NY. "Living in the solution and not the problem" — my 12 stepping shrink called that "denial" and said I was "hiding from myself" by doing that! Only much later did I figure out that the reason he thought so was that I had been able to do that without The Program.

  • Rick045

    Katie writes, "She also thinks that my community service is taking away from my working with other alcoholics."

    That matches the attitudes I encountered as well. If helping others unselfishly truly had anything to do with staying sober, then many other forms of volunteerism should work just as well, and be treated with respect within AA. Those things don't count because they don't involve "carrying the message", (recruiting for AA). It doesn't matter what it is, any activity that might lead a person away from AA will probably be met with criticism, at least by some.

  • Mona Lisa

    Hell, I was even criticized for helping alcoholics! At one point, one of my sponsees, who had just been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, was suicidal (with access to weapons and a plan) so I took her to the hospital for an assessment. I advocated for her admission (around here you have to literally have a knife sticking out of you in order to get admitted) and I'm pretty sure I saved her life by doing so. When she got out I let her live with me for a couple of weeks because she was too scared to be home alone. I was called "codependent" for this and told to "carry the message, not the drunk".

    They are idiots.

  • Gunthar2000

    Is this the first bloom of stinkin' thinkin' activism?

    I love the idea of a letter writing campaign. I think I've seen this idea somewhere on the orange-papers. I wonder if orange has any ideas that we could use… maybe get him on board.

    Should we set up a small fund for postage/administration?

    Who will manage the funds if we do?

    We'll need templates… some should probably be in the form of electronic petitions… Others should be down-loadable and printable available in a single location with helpful hints on how they should be used.

    I've been working on a new Expose-AA website.
    The site is paid for for the next two years. I think I'd like to tone it down a bit… remove the shock value stuff… and take a different approach to how the message is presented.

    I can also make this space available for a place to manage goals, provide information and letter templates, and track our progress.

    I'm also able to contribute financially at around $10.00 a month to the letter effort.

    Who will write the letters?

    What's the best way to track our goals and progress?

    Should I remove the Expose-AA forum and link up with the stinkin' thinkin' community instead? Is it okay with ftg and MA if I link up?

    @ Mike… Great idea! Some meetings are also held at public buildings such as schools.

    I think holding AA meetings at schools might actually violate some laws that protect the public against sex offenders.

    Let's do this thing! 🙂

  • Katie, I am glad you found your way out. I am interested in what happens at your appt., too. Good to see good people getting the hell out of such a creepy, creepy place.

  • Katie

    I wanted to share an emal I sent to my Dad today. As I mentioned to you all, my drinking and drug use affected my family and all the people I love in terrible ways. I don't want to go down that road again. They don't deserve it and neither do I. So, it is important to me that I have their support and that they understand what I am doing and why. I sent him a few links yesterday just to feel him out. Like I said, my Mom has been in AA for over 20 years so he is very familiar with AA. Here is his response to my links and my response to him. I think it will explain to you all where I am coming from a little better.

    Dear Katie,

    I read the two articles and browsed thru Dr. Peele's website. I'm not familiar with the Census Bureau survey cited in Psychology Today, wonder when it was done, and knowing a little bit about Census methodology I would really question some of their figures.

    Second point (how many points can you endure?) I always remember what a friend named Radar said in an AA meeting once – he is an old timer, has quite an interesting history and impresses me as a fairly intelligent person. What he said at that time made sense to me and some of it remains in my pea brain. He had made a fairly exhaustive study of alcoholism and went thru detailed explanation of chemical differences in peoples brains – he had the names of the enzymes, etal. and their actions, reactions to back up his theory. It makes some sense to me because I'm somewhat familiar with how chemicals in peoples' brains can affect ones behavior.

    So I think you can call any chemical imbalance a disease if you want to, or not. And I believe that there's some evidence that these chemical differences can be genetic and/or even race-based (Native Americans, e.g.) making some people much more susceptible.

    Another point (this will be my last – whew). From my once a week attendance I think AA is about the most honest organization there is, not completely so, of course, what org is? but it does a very good job at what it says its supposed to do.



    My reply:

    Thanks for taking a look. I can see you have learned a lot in 20 years of AA! The truth is that just because people say these things in meetings doesn't make them true. I am on my 5th book and I have been pouring over information in the library and on the internet.

    Contrary to what is said in the treatment industry (which is 90% AA), there is no evidence of a genetic marker or chemical difference in the brain of alcoholics. Drinking alcohol DOES affect the physiology and pathology of the body but that is after after drinking it. The consumption of alcohol stimulates the release of serotonin, dopamine and opoid peptides (chemicals in the brain) which produce pleasurable feelings such as euphoria and a sense of well being but over time it depletes the body of the sources of these chemicals so it stops working. It also stimulates stress chemicals which create tension and depression. But, again this is AFTER consuming a lot of alcohol, not before.

    Personally, I believe a lot of people turn to alcohol because they have untreated mental illness – chemical imbalances in the brain. I have nothing to support that aside from observation. According to all I have read, the general consensus seems to be that for whatever reason, a person dependant on alcohol, is unable to derive feelings of well-being from normal life so they seek it in a chemical that will artificially release those chemicals in the brain. I always said my drinking was related to depression and anxiety – now I know why. And, since they have been treated, I have had NO compulsion to drink.

    As far as being race-based, evidence suggests that it is about differences in cultural beliefs about alcohol, expectancies regarding the effects of alcohol and social norms regarding drunkenness, not genetics. In the Jewish and Asian communities, there are very strong social norms against losing control and especially drunkenness. Mediterannean cultures have generally have positive beliefs and expectancies around the use of alcohol, experience fewer alcohol-related problems while having a very high consumption rate starting with children having wine on occasion. Ireland, Scandinavia, the US and Australia have low average consumption rates but have a high rate of alcohol-related social and psychiatric problems probably due to negative or inconsistent beliefs and expectancies surrounding alcohol use.

    As far as being a good organization, AA has the worst statistical rates of success than any method measured. AA does nothing to measure it's success rates so there have only been 3 controlled scientific studies done, EVER, comparing success rates. Those studies actually showed that people who had attended AA (vs other methods) were more likely to end up in institutions, jails or death from alcohol then any other method of overcoming alcohol dependency. It is probably due to the reinforcement that alcoholism is a disease and that a person is "powerless" to stop. So, again the expectancy and beliefs have been laid out to support uncontrolled drinking. Methods which put the locus of control on the individual are far more successful in reducing bad outcomes in people who have been alcohol dependent.

    Here is why I started looking. I have always had some very fundamental differences than AA. First, I never believed I was powerless nor do I believe that now. Alcohol is not cunning, baffling or powerful – it is a chemical, not a being. The effects of alcohol are very well known, not a mystery. I believe an individual has a choice of whether to put the chemical of ethanol alcohol in his/her body or not to ingest it. if the choice is made to drink it, it should be made with the understanding that it changes the release of chemicals in the brain and affects the body in measurable, predictable ways. Secondly, there is no other "disease" where the symptoms can be alleviated by a sense of will. Having the symptoms of alcoholism is a choice.

    I think it is destructive to sit in meetings 3+ days a week, indefinitely, surrounded by people who self-identify as being sick, reinforcing the fear that at any minute my brain may leave me and I will accidentally find a drink in my hand and then I will die. That's not rational. And the idea that I should be sharing traumas and sins with a sponsor who will counsel me is dangerous. For God's sake, would you want Mom to be your life advisor? Just the fact that she has been sober x number of years makes her an authority on how I, with 2-3 years sober, should live my life? What qualifications does the sponsor have? None! There is no regulation to make that this sponsor is not a psychopath, a child molester, a rapist, etc. Just the fact that this person says they have been sober for a given length of time is the only requirement necessary to provide guidance to another peron. That is dangerous.

    I also have a problem with the idea that since I made a series of terrible choices, I am sentenced to a life time of making either alcohol use or AA the central purpose of my existence. I am much more than the sum of my bad choices. I have talents, interests, goals and a purpose which are far beyond the issue of alcohol. I am far too intelligent to dumb my life down to a few slogans for the next however-many-years I have left. Just the prospect of that is enough to make a person choose death by drinking! Aside from murderers, who else but alcoholics do we ask to dwell on the past forever? Actually, even a lot of murderers end up being released.

    Lately, as I have been extending my life beyond the people in AA meetings and living a purposeful existence with healthy people, interests and activities, I have people in AA trying to instill fear in me. When they hear that I am volunteering at the homeless shelter, working out and signing up to volunteer with CASA and The Literacy Council they are telling me that my time should be spent working with alcoholics. I have been told that it looks like I am not grateful to AA when I spend my time helping others who are not in AA. They are not encouraging my growth as a human being and helping me become the best person I can be but are trying to limit me to just being an alcoholic. I had limits on myself for my entire life and I can't let people limit me now. I won't.

    So, when told that I had 2 choices – devote my life to AA or drink and die, I decided to see if those truly were my only 2 choices. I have been greatly relieved to find that it simply isn't true. I was on a suicide mission for a lot of years and removing the alcohol and drugs allowed me to start getting my shit together, pardon the language. I have been getting to the heart of my problems which I see as:

    1) a chemical balance which is now treated with medication

    2) poor problem-solving skills and coping-mechanisms

    3) extremely low self-esteem which was more like self-hatred

    4) self-centeredness and a lack of regard for how my actions affected others

    5) no sense of purpose or direction

    6) traumas which I thought I could medicate away rather than facing and

    7) an inability or unwillingness to be honest with myself or others about my problems

    There may be other things I am missing which is why I am seeing a professional in the field of addiction rather than relying on myself or the misinformation of people in AA. Fortunately, I have the resources to get professional assistance unlike most of the people in the rooms. I do not take this lightly. I am very aware that I ran my life in to the ground a few years ago and I am not rewriting history. I have no intentions of repeating that. I am doing everything in my power to protect myself and make sure that I have all the resources necessary to live a happy, well-balanced, productive life which includes a healthy support system.

    I didn't go in to all of this yesterday because I wanted your unbiased opinion first. Now that I have partially explained why I was asking, can I ask you for some more feedback? I need the support of my family and your opinions are very important to me. After all I have put you through with my drug and alcohol abuse, you certainly have a say in the direction I take.

    Thank you and I love you,


  • Katie

    By the way, he sent back a very supportive and loving message. There are some other things I have learned during my research that resonate with me. One, a person can not stay sober or happy without having a sense of purpose. Using my talents and experience to help others gives me self-esteem and a sense of purpose. The other is that one of the most important indicators of success is a supportive family. so, it is very important to me that I have that.

    I'm not sure why focusing on a solution rather than focusing on a problem would be detrimental in any way. I find focusing on the solution very empowering and focusing on the problem very disempowering. But, that's just me. : )

  • SoberPJ

    Go Katie Go !!

  • Z


    And: "a person can not stay sober or happy without having a sense of purpose" — I think this is true & important, too.

  • Amazing, Katie. Thank you for posting this here. I think it will be inspiring and extremely useful for many people to see this exchange with your father. I'm so glad you found us.

  • Katie

    Thanks for the support you guys. I almost hate to tell you this but I have been having a lot of thoughts about drinking and I had terrible AA/relapse dreams last night. I may sound very secure and I am very secure in this intellectually, but emotionally I am feeling a little fragile and afraid. That is why I am going to see someone this week. I think it is impossible to change some of the beliefs AA instilled in me on my own. Every meeting and every contact with an AA member is an exchange of fear. I couldn't begin to count how many of those exchanges occured in the past 30 years. That probably can't be overcome quickly or alone. That is why I am going to see someone this week. Did any of you have this expereince when you left? I wish there were meetings to get you over meetings! lol

  • Katie

    Is there a way to subscribe or get notifications when people post here?

  • Mona Lisa

    @Katie–thanks so much for posting here. I don't believe there is any way to be notified when people post here–ftg or MA can speak to that.

    I just wanted to comment on the dreams. I have been abstinent 12 years and still have relapse dreams (let's call them nightmares). Had 'em when I was in AA (first 9 years), have 'em now, although much less often. While they aren't pleasant, I don't view them as indicative that I am in fact about to relapse. I view them as reactions to my long drinking history (25 years) which was very painful and which I don't care to repeat.

    I also sometimes have nightmares where I am back in AA. Usually those aren't relapse nightmares and I am not back in AA as a newcomer. Typically I am back in AA because I felt compelled to go back. I view those as reactions to being in the cult for so long.

    My own thinking is that sometimes the trauma of drinking can get mixed up and confused with the trauma of being in AA. It can be difficult to sort it all out, especially for those who spent years relapsing in AA as you apparently did.

  • Katie

    Thanks, Mona. The dreams were all different versions of me being wrong (having drank and screwing up my life) and AA "friends" telling me that they had warned me.

    My story is that I was sent to rehab at 18 and stayed clean and sober in NA for about a year and a half. When i was in college, I decided that i was too young to be diagnosed as an alcoholic/addict and I chose to drink. I didn't go back to any twelve step program until 23 years later. I had problems around my drinking off and on through that time. But, even though I wasn't going to any meetings, I had a mother in AA who kept reinforcing the genetic disease myth. When my life came crashing in on me a couple years ago, I didn't feel like I could dispute my mom any more.

    I am looking forward to talking it through with the woman I am seeing in NY this week. She has a lot of experience working people who have dealt with these issues. The drinking thoughts are weird but I am pretty sure it is cult-talk in my head. One thing I know is that I don't have to react to every thought and uncomfortable feeling with a drink.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. It helps so much to know I am not the first person to do this!

  • MA

    Hi, Katie.

    You can subscribe to an RSS feed. There is a button on the top right of the page.

  • Lucy

    @Katie I am probably your Dad's age (or older) and spent even longer in AA than your mother did. I am married to someone whom I met in AA and we have been married for 22 years.

    Both of us are sober, and both of us left AA for different reasons. My husband left after a major manic episode and a hospitalization made it impossible to pretend his problem was alcoholism. I left after watching him (and a number of other people like him) be incredibly mistreated by fellow AA members who thought he was trying to get medication to get high and should "do the steps."

    I have seen hundreds of children of AA members who are sent to rehab in their teens by parents who don't know what else to do. I don't think that they understand that kids experiment, and they are fearful that the kids are going to live out the triple option (death, jails and institutions) that they hear in meetings every day. I know I had trouble when my own daughter started drinking, but I also know that no one stops without making a decision to stop.

    I hope it works out for you, but I want you to know that there are other ex"AA parents" who would disagree with what your parents say and agree with you.

  • Mona Lisa

    @ Katie: "The dreams were all different versions of me being wrong (having drank and screwing up my life) and AA “friends” telling me that they had warned me."

    Yes, it does sound like these dreams are coming from the cult-talk in your head. I am very interested in learning more about how the woman you are seeing in NY approaches this with you. I hope you will report back on your experience with her.

  • mikeoxlong

    Drinking beer was always a part of my life. My dad, my uncles, my cousins drank beer and every family get-together. My dad drank at least three beers every day after work. So, it was no surprise that I drank and partied in high school. I joined a fraternity in college and, again, drank quite a bit. But, no more so than my frat brothers and the sorority girls we partied with. There were a couple of guys I knew that drank significantly more than the rest of us. We would whisper to each other “That guy has got a problem, he should go to AA.” Given all of our injurious habits, passing such judgments was quite a joke.

    In law school, my drinking died down some because I met my future wife, who wasn’t much of a drinker. However, my self-esteem problems began to surface during that time – I had made it into a pretty high-ranking law school, and I found myself surrounded by students who appeared to be much more intelligent than I. This led to some occasional drinking binges, all of them while alone in my apartment. I graduated in the third quarter of my class.

    My wife and I were married after law school, and I bounced around a couple of jobs. Neither of them paid much, and they were unstable. I felt like I was letting my wife down because here I was, a lawyer, and I wasn’t making good money. I finally found a decent government job; it was a boring, dead-end job, not very prestigious, didn’t pay very much, but it was stable and had good benefits. We lived in an apartment for a while, until my wife became pregnant with our first child. We then bought a house. It was a pretty small house, as we lived in a city with a high cost of living, but it was in a decent neighborhood and we were reasonably happy with it. We had a second child soon thereafter. I still had quite a bit of regret over not making the money I thought I should make. I drank quite a bit at night, but for the most part I was still able to get up the next morning and do a reasonably good job at work.

    After a couple of years, a bunch of low-income housing was erected near our home. Suddenly, there was gang and drug activity everywhere. We were scared to let our children play outside. I’m not saying that everyone who lives in low-income housing is a thug, but in our individual case the neighborhood went south fast. There was even a drive-by shooting two blocks away. We wanted to move so badly, but the bottom had fallen out of the housing market and we owed significantly more on the house than it was worth. All of our friends had these great houses in nice neighborhoods, and here we were afraid to go outside. I felt trapped, and that I was failing my family.

    I drank constantly, alone, every night. After a while, my work began to suffer, and it got to the point where I wasn’t even going to work. My family and boss forced me into a rehab. I didn’t know anything about AA or the 12 steps, and I wound up in a rehab that heavily espoused that philosophy. I thought the whole AA was kind of corny, but I was so desperate to stop drinking that I did everything they said. After I got out, I went to 90 meeting in 90 days, got a sponsor, the whole bit. I tried working the steps, and I would purport to be moving through them, but I couldn’t stop drinking. I would tell my sponsor about my struggles, and he would just inform me I wasn’t working the program hard enough, and sprinkle in a couple of platitudes: “Aren’t you sick and tired of being sick and tired?” “It will work if you want it to work.”

    I finally realized that I wasn’t really working the steps, as I couldn’t get past number two. I found it impossible to believe that someone else was going to make me stop drinking. I guess I am agnostic, and this God thing wasn’t working for me. I know, I know, AA tells you God can be a door know, or “Good Orderly Direction,” but let’s face it, when they say “higher power” they mean GOD. Every meeting would be a testament to the greatness of God. People in the meetings would crow on and on about how great things were, and that they owed it all to God. “What’s wrong with me?” I thought. “Why is everyone else doing this but I can’t?”

    Finally, I gave up and stopped going to meetings. I had come to the conclusion that while AA was the only way to stay sober, I couldn’t do it and there was no hope for me. I soon got back to my pre-rehab drinking. Once again, I was desperate. My wife wanted me to go back to rehab. The few rehabs that my insurance would actually pay for were 12-steppers, so back I went.

    I got out, tried AA again, failed again. I was right back to where I started, convinced that there was no hope for me. Then, the bottom fell out even more. I found out that my job was going to be eliminated (or maybe they just wanted to get rid of me), and I would soon be unemployed. My drinking hit a crescendo.

    However, during occasional sober periods I would look for a new job. Somehow, I found one, in a new city. Another government job, but more challenging and prestigious than the one I had, and at a significantly higher salary. By the grace of God (or the doorknob, or Good Orderly Direction, or whoever), we were able to sell our house. We had to pay a little money to get out of it, but it was worth every penny.

    Things changed for us in a hurry. The cost of living is much lower here, so we were able to get a really nice house on a golf course. We’re able to send our kids to a great private school. My wife found a job doing what she loves. I feel happier than I have in years and years.

    We’ve been here nine months now, and the other day it occurred to me that I haven’t had a drink or even been interested in a drink since we got here. Nine months! This led me to two conclusions:

    1. I am a bit materialistic; and

    2. I didn’t have a disease, I was just unhappy and depressed!

    I feel so stupid for drinking the AA kool-aid for so long. I googled “AA sucks” and found this website. It’s been a great read, because I am finding a dearth of people who went through struggles similar to mine. Thanks to all for sharing your stories.

  • Hi mikeoxlong, I don't think you should feel stupid for "drinking the AA kool-aid" — I mean, it's just conventional wisdom that AA works and that it's what you're supposed to do, and if you don't, then you're not honest or not serious… That's an epic mindfuck, and everyone is forced to navigate AA, even if only to investigate it and reject it.

    Congratulations on your new job, new house, and all that good stuff. Welcome!

  • Z

    @Katie, on the dreams: I don't have them but I have severe flashbacks when awake about that ACOA based (without my knowledge, I finally figured it out) 12 stepping "therapy" I went to. They're about how achievement and happiness are arrogant overachievement and denial.

  • mikeoxlong

    Thanks FTG, I'm really happy to be here.

  • tintop

    welcome mike. unhappy and depressed pretty well covers it. And, drinking is a pretty low quality coping tool. AA has nothing at all to do with either one.

    AA has nothing at all to do with whether or not anyone drinks alcohol.

  • Katie

    @Z, Achievement and happiness are arrogant and denial? How do they switch that around to make sense? It's all so bizarre and scary. I just hung up the phone with a close friend from AA. He was trying to be calm but I could feel that he was completely alarmed and concerned for me. I am so confused. I felt like I was rationalizing and justifying for him. He asked me if I had discussed all of this with my sponsor. When I told him that I no longer had one and din't believe in them, he was very quiet. I know he is trying to understand but he couldn't possibly because he is in a very different place. It is so hard not to doubt yourself.

    @Mike, Congratulations on the new job, house, etc.! I think we all have our own reasons for drinking too much. Feeling like a failure in life is pretty universal with dependency. I don't think you are necessarily materialistic, it is just one of the ways to measure your success. While you are doing so well, you may want to develop some other areas of your life that will give you self-esteem and carry you through tough spots in the future. When it is all wrapped it up in a job and material things, you are depending on things that aren't completely under your control and they can disappear again. It happened to me. I was a VP, making a very good income and had all the stuff that went along with that. When my company closed it's doors, I had a complete meltdown and turned to alcohol and benzo's for comfort. It almost killed me. I have been able to work my way back up again but this time, I have many areas of my life that make me feel good about myself. I guess it's kind of like not putting all my eggs (self-esteem eggs) in one basket. If I lost my job again tomorrow, it would be a crisis but it would not devastate me this time. I hope that makes sense.

  • Katie

    @Lucy – what have you done to take care of yourself after leaving AA? Did you have a difficult transition? I'd kind to learn from you so I can save avoid some of the pitfalls and protect myself. I agree about sending teenagers to rehab. I think it is a terrible mistake to give a teenager a label for life based on taking typical teenage experiences a little too far. It is very, very tough to shake that identity of being diseased.

  • Rick045

    @Katie, I had those fears about encountering steppers for quite some time after leaving AA. For a long time, I felt like I "owed" them some kind of explanation for leaving. I think it's all quite understandable when you consider the guilt trips and scare tactics they use to keep people there. I knew I did the right thing intellectually, but those feelings would still come and go in spite of that. That programming is deep, and some things just take time.

  • tintop

    In a sense, it seems that you have to be 'ruthless'. Determine what is the right thing for you to do; then, go ahead.

    The transition away from AA may be trying if you were deeply involved. Finding new friends, new activities, new outlook on life may look like a hard task. But, it is. also, an opportunity to get a new and better way of thinking, feeling and doing.

    Your old associates in AA will fall away. The relationships were operational; entirely a matter of being in AA. You can rely upon "out of sight, out of mind."

  • SoberPJ

    @Katie … I have those thoughts too sometimes. I recognized they are just thoughts and have no mysterious power over me. I stayed at my daughters place last week to watch her cats. I was looking for some coffee filters and opened a cabinet and there sat a pint of Peppermint Schnapps. I saw it, my brain said, "maybe we could have some". I "watched" that thought go by, then said "interesting, and no" and closed the cabinet. Didn't give it another thought. Alcohol is not cunning, baffling and powerful. It is a liquid in a container. I know I will have drinking thoughts from time to time, but I do not have to act on them. And I do not have to do Steps or petition a Buchman god to tell myself a simple "no." I'll bet You can do it too.

  • Katie

    Thanks Rick, tin and Sober……. I really appreciate it. I was very entrenched in AA and I knew place there, if that makes any sense. And, being sober for over 2 years, people have a little respect for you. Just not putting a drink in your mouth is recognized as a major achievement. Pulling away from AA, I see how far removed I am from my life. The fact is that i do not have a lot of friends outside of AA and I don't really know how to go about making them at 45 years old. I know that probably sounds weird but it's true. My job is very autonomous and I volunteer with homeless people, children and people who can't read. Not there is anything wrong with any of those people and I love them a great deal but they aren't my peers. The other thing I am finding odd is that I know I kept myself sober the past 26 months and I have always known that. I never thought I believed AA was keeping me sober but on some level I must have bought in to it because I keep thinking about drinking for reasons that I can't really explain. I think tin is right that the guilt trips and scare tactics have gotten through to some level. I really appreciate the scnapps story Sober. I had a disagreement with my brothers earlier today and left them feeling hurt and furious. I had an overwhelming urge to go drink and just "get it over with." Instead, I tried to laugh it off and know that I will figure all of this out in time but only if I don't drink. I never had these thoughts before – not at all. After I started reeading that alcoholism was not a disease, I started considering the idea that I could one day drink normally and that was not a thought I ever allowed in my mind before. But, the fact is, for me, that drinking normally is probably impossible at this stage when I have so many ambivalent feelings about it. And, at the very least, I think it is important for me to prove to myself that I can live a healthy life without AA OR alcohol before I entertain any of those ideas, The truth is that I am not in a super healthy place right now and I need to get back to a healthy state of mind before I add that to the equation. Maybe I should make a short term commitment to myself that I will not consider it until a specific date and that I have met certain requirements. Did you guys experience this at all?

  • Z

    @Katie, I agree strongly with Tintop about the need for ruthlessness. I tend to have a lot of empathy and to be able to see all sorts of different views, so I understand very well why people want certain things for themselves and think or fear those things would also apply to me, and so on, and so forth. But when you've made a decision you know is good for you, it's important not to doubt unless it's really YOU doubting. I mean: don't doubt on someone else's behalf.

    (Maybe think of it as breaking up with someone. You know how sometimes it's a good idea not to try to be friends for the first six months — just develop your own life, and do rapprochement later?)

    On the question of how ACOA redefined achievement as overfunctioning and so on: it is because they saw as bad and false anything that had been done outside the Program. If you had done well without 12 stepping, that was a threat. So they had to find some way to redefine achievement as failure. They also seemed to have a script: lose your good job, find your real self. You were required to be permanently impaired by having been raised in an alcoholic family; to lead a normal life was "dishonest." At least this was what I understood from them, and I did ask a lot of questions.

  • Katie

    The breaking up analogy works perfectly for me. I just went through that 6 months ago. I knew he wasn't the one for me and that I had to let him go before I resented the hell out of him for holding me back. We lived together, did most things together and there was no drama, but a lack of common goals. Being friends right away was confusing, painful and I kept doubting myself. I felt like I had created a big void for myself when it wasn't necessary. Transistions are hard. But I got busy feeling the voids with other things and I don't miss him one bit now. it was the probably one of the most grown-up things I have ever done. I will look at this same way. I've created a void and I have to trust that I am able to fill it with things that are much more meaningful for me and compatible with where I want to go.

    I still don't get the the ACOA thing but I am not going to try to figure it out! Ughh, all the sickness is wearing me out. I just started reading Diseasing of America and it is not taking me to a happy place. haha I think I should go see a good comedy after work tomorrow and chill out!

  • i missed sammy's post and loved it.

    "*) Promised a “spiritual awakening” in exchange for a Fourth and Fifth — what I got was a near suicidal depression."

    i know this feeling and then the sort of alienation you feel after you admit/tell people in aa about it. and after they tell you to not be so selfish when you tell them. fuck you aa.

  • tintop

    In a way it is like breaking up or getting out of a bad marriage. There may even be of the self recriminations about choices. That has to be processed, and clarified. Clarification is important: "I understand the how and why of it, and it is OK." Then, go ahead with a new life.

    I think that habitual drinking can be seen as poor response to distress; an ineffective and ultimately harmful coping mechanism. Some people just take longer to realize the error and correct it. No need to beat yourself up about it. Correct the error, clarify the reasons. Make your plans to live well. Carry them out. It comes round right in the end.

    The ACOA rhetoric is a maladaptive response to distress. People do say and do that sort of thing. It is not a nceessary response. You can respond differently.

  • Z

    P.S. Katie. Re drinking. I don't know because I've not had a drinking problem, but I was able to quit smoking when I read — on Stanton Peele's site — that it was a psychological, not a physiological problem. That to me meant it wasn't some uncontrollable instinct, it was a decision I could make. That made it easy, and the benefits of not smoking are keeping me away from it (I hadn't expected to feel immediate benefits, but I did).

  • I was just reading above–somebody mentions dreams about being back in AA. Not as a newcomer, but just as an everyday, regular participant. She is once again a drinker of the Kool-Aid. I have these dreams, too. They are a little like drinking dreams. But I never really thought much of my drinking dreams, other that that they were warnings that "my disease was alive and well." WTFFF? Dood, I was chanting my fuc-ing drunk-alogue so f-ing much that of course the notion of drinking/drugging whatever was in my mind on some level. Well, really, on many levels. My drinking dreams were not an indication that I was an alcoholic, or that I was sick, or even that my disease was trying to “get” me (myuh-uh-uuhaaah). These dreams were really an indication that I was spending too much fucking time in A fucking A. Lame. Lame. Lame.

  • Lucy

    @Katie – I think most people, myself included, have anxiety about making a big change. (In fact, I have heard it discussed so much in here that I mentioned it on the community board.) I was "in the middle of the heard" as a circuit speaker, GSO rep and sponsor, and I got a lot of strokes for having so much time. But when my husband went nuts, I had to take a serious look at how his illness threatened me and our close AA friends.

    I had read all the conflicting opinions to AA,but now they made sense to me. I could stop drinking and he couldn't stop his brain chemistry. I had seen it dozens of times before but I didn't realize what it meant until then. I knew alcoholism was not a disease.

    But back to your question, I did what you are doing. I started talking to people who had left AA and weren't drinking themselves to death under a bridge. I had my husband, a woman I had sponsored for 12 years, a woman who left at 26 years,my sister who left at 15 years. etc. I did NOT talk to my friends or family in AA, or I would have gotten the blank stare that says "I can't wait to gossip about this." I just went on living my life.

    It's my decision, not theirs. And I learned a long time ago not to go to a dry well for water.

    Katie, my only advice is that there is life after AA and that leaving is a process, not an event. When the doubts outweigh the anxiety (as they do with me), you'll know you are out.

  • Z

    tt: "The ACOA rhetoric is a maladaptive response to distress."

    That's a great sentence. I may put it on my wall. I still feel guilty about not fitting in with that rhetoric, not liking it, and so on. Now I get to say, "it's maladaptive! it's not necessary!"


  • SoberPJ

    @ Katie… The psychology of AA is subtle, yet powerful. It is a perfect storm of higher power/God, guilt, self-doubt, socialization, fear of alcohol and committment to the cause. It can confuse the mind and it took some time for my brain to settle down after I left. I now realize how wound up I was from being so entrenched in AA – at the end I was going to 9-12 meetings a week looking for some kind of answer to purely behavioral issues. AA wasn't helping and that frequency of meetings made the negative aspects of AA absolutely obvious. Like a good stepper, the first thing I did was question myself, because if something seems wrong it has to be me, right? Then I did some research and found Orange and others and the light bulbs were coming on like lightening. I hadn't looked up for 16 years to see what was going on in the world of recovery outside of AA. When people mentioned other methods, I gave that disdainful chuckle like all the other good believers – all the other methods were imposters and doomed to failure because AA was the REAL way to get and stay sober. Gawd, I was so brainwashed !

    One other thing that may help on your drinking thoughts. It has been estimated that around 50% of the population does not drink at all. I just consider myself part of that 50% and I don't have to justify it to anyone – I just don't drink. That is in contrast to believing that I am part of the 2 % of the population that has problems with alcohol and I need to be on constant guard because I might relapse. Nope, I just don't drink.

  • tintop

    I did not have drinking dreams. I had dreams about unpleasant matters. The drinking prevented those dreams. And, it was a response to other unpleasantries. Deaths tend to shake things up. The drinking 'got old' as they say, and I put a stop to it. No need to make a mountain out of a molehill. The hard part was adjusting to being OK. I had to learn that it is OK to be OK. And, that it was OK to be Not OK. Life does deliver insults and people suffer.

  • SoberPJ

    @ Lucy – it seems like we went through the same kind of process – involved in AA for a long time, catalyst event, fast awakening. I find it interesting how the truth came through what must have been a really thin veneer. I mean, if the AA mythology was tightly wrapped, it would be hard to find holes. But, with a little guidance, the bullshit was everywhere and easy to identify. There must have been things building in the background that my brain could never reconcile and that made it easier to see the light. I have written technical courseware and was always bothered by the chapter "How it Works" . It starts by saying how well it works and the problems you have if you don't get it, then tells you what to do. It never answers the question, "How does it work?" Very clever. Sneaky, but clever.

  • Katie

    Lucy, tin, Sober (if I'm missing anyone I'm sorry) – you all are awesome! Thank you so much. I need to hear that I am doing the right thing because I know I am. Incredibly, I just had a very good conversation with my Mom and she supports me! Unbelievable, really, I can't begin to tell you. I told her all the things tha never made sense to me and some of what I have learned and she actually kept an open mind and even agreed on a few points.

    I feel like I get it now. You all have been through this and you are fine. I will be too. I think my subconscious is working through all of the bs for me. I am being flooded with thoughts and dreams because my head is trying to untangle the craziness and replace the insane thoughts with new, rational thoughts. It is a process and I am exactly where I should be right now. I need to allow a little more time for fun on a daily basis and know that "it's ok to be ok and it's o to not be ok." I like that. The best news ever is that I have been having these thoughts and dreams for almost 2 weeks and I have not accidentally found myself drunk in an alley – WITHOUT meetings. : ) There is no reason to belive that tomorrow will be any different.

    I also had a very quick awakening. There were always some things that bothered me but I tried to ignore the man behind the curtain. All of a sudden, I couldn't stop the nagging voice in my head any more, started looking for facts and I couldn't believe how clear it should have been all along. I mean really, all these people in and out – it was obvious that it didn't work for most people so why did I believe it should? If I had been diagnosed with any other "diseae" in the world, I never would have accepted this treatment without one hell of a lot of research. It's so crazy that it took me this long to investigate.

    Sober – I like those statistics. I have become a big numbers person lately. Where did you get that? I'd like to keep that in my defense paperwork. lol

    Lucy – how is your husband doing now? That must have been a terrible time for both of you. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

  • Katie

    I wonder how many hours it will take to get these nuts off my Facebook page. They just got back from a convention and I can't begin to tell you how annoying all the cult-talk is all over my page. lol

  • tintop

    katie — AA has absolutely nothing to do with whether you – or anyone else come to that – drink or not. Those people have no power over you. You are done with them. It takes some time to debrief.

  • SoberPJ

    @Katie. I have used those numbers for years because I read them somewhere and can't remember where..so after a little research –

    "According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, about one half of the total adult population worldwide used alcohol."

    In the US, from the CDC http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_24… –

    Overall, 50% of adults 18 years of age and over were current regular drinkers, 14% were current infrequent drinkers, 6% were former regular drinkers, 9% were former infrequent drinkers, and 21% were lifetime abstainers.


    "Just under 13.8 million US adults have issues with alcohol, and 8.1 million of them officially suffer from alcoholism."

    Ok, so 8.1 million alcoholics in a population of 310,233,520 yields about 2.6% alcoholics in the US. It is lower worldwide.

    Just to play with the numbers a bit.. If there are 6,868,466,917 people worldwide and the percentage of alcoholics is lower than in the US, say 2%, that leaves about 137,369,338 people that are candidates for AA. If these numbers are right, and the total WW membership of AA is around 1.3 million , old Bill Wilsons program isn't doing much to stem the rising tide of alcoholism. Things that make ya go hmmmmm.


  • Katie

    @Sober – Thanks for looking that up for me! I am now up to page 86 of Diseasing of America and I guess I can forget about that book I was going to write – it's already been written. Darnit I did all that research for nothing. Have you read it? I just read a section on the numbers and it is amazing how the Washingtonians have shaped everything we believe today. I can't believe our entire country has been so manipulated, including me.

    @tin – You are sooo right. I can't wait for my appointment Thursday! I was feeling like I was "bad" for even considering that AA may be wrong and now I see why they work so hard to keep you from educating yourself – because they are wrong. I just want to shout it from the rooftops! How are they getting away with this and how can we change it?

    Whatever happened to the letter-writing idea? From what I have learned, the problem is that AA is organized and the larger population of people who are not helped by AA are not organized. We need to find a way to get a voice.

  • Z

    "Those people have no power over you. You are done with them. (It takes some time to debrief.)" This is what I still need to hear about the ACOA/Alanon types.

    I am for the letter writing idea. The tide may be turning slowly (as SoberPJ says on another thread) but it could use help.

  • Katie

    I could use some feedback and suggestions on something. I have a home group that I have been dodging for weeks now. We have a group conscious next Saturday and I was thinking of going to let them know that I am leaving for a while to explore other options. My reasons are simple. That small group of people has supported me for over 2 years of my life and I appreciate it. I am not ashamed of what I am doing and I am appreciative of their help when I had nowhere else to turn. I don't think it is right to just never show up again. Am I crazy for thinking this? Is there any way to tell a cult you are leaving?

  • Katie, My gut response is positive… I think it's a fine thing to honor the support that these people have given you before you move on. It's a healthy gesture…not that there's any guarantee it will be treated as such. I assume you wouldn't be contemplating this if you believed that they'd respond with high drama?

  • SoberPJ

    The Washingtonian comment got me thinking so I looked it up and found an 1878 excerpt that I want to share…

    "Well, I went to the society of reformed drunkards, where I found all my old bottle companions. I did not tell any one, not even my wife, that I was going. I had got out of difficulty, but did not know how long I could keep out.

    The six founders of [The Washingtonians] were there. We had worked together, got drunk together, we stuck together like brothers; and so we do now that we are sober.

    "One of them said, `Here's Hawkins, the regulator, the old bruiser,' and they clapped and laughed. But there was no laugh in me, I was too solemn and sober for that. Then they read the pledge:

    "`We, whose names are annexed, desirous of forming a society

    for our mutual benefit and to guard against a pernicious prac-

    tice which is injurious to our health, standing, and families,

    do pledge ourselves, as gentlemen, that we will not drink any

    spiritous or malt liquors, wine or cider.'

    "They all looked over my shoulder to see me write my name. It was a great battle. I never had such feelings before.

    "At eleven o'clock I went home. Before when I stayed out late I always went home drunk. My yard is covered with brick, and my wife could easily tell as I walked over it whether I were drunk or sober. She could even tell whether the gate opened drunk or sober.

    "Well, this time it opened sober, and when I entered she was astonished. I smiled, and she smiled; and then I told her quick — I could not keep it back; –`I have put my name to the temperance pledge, never to drink as long as I live.'

    "It was a happy time. I cried and she cried — we couldn't help it; the crying woke up my daughter, and she cried too for joy. I slept none that night; my thoughts were better than sleep. Next morning I went to see my mother. She had been praying twenty years for her drunken son. When she heard the good news she said, `It is enough. Now I am ready to die.'

    "Now what was I to do? My mind was blunted, my character gone; I was bloated, and getting old; but men who had slighted me came to my help again, took me by the hand, encouraged me, held me up, and comforted me.

    "I'll never slight a drunkard as long as I live; he needs sympathy and is worthy of it. Poor and miserable as he is, he did not design to become a drunkard, and people have too long told him he cannot reform. But now we assure him he can reform, and we show ourselves, the Baltimore Washingtonians, two hundred i