Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who is Hating on A.A.?

M A, on June 9th, 2009 at 5:01 pm Said:
Hi, ***.

No, you aren’t close. I try not to spend my time trying to speak rationally to, or debating with those who have been brainwashed by the AA scriptures, because arguing religion is fruitless. I will answer this question, because it is simple.

AA is not a benign organization. AA harms many, many people – both alcoholics and their families. AA wrecks people’s lives. AA did not fail me, although I have seen it fail so many others; and, not just fail, but cause them irreparable, permanent harm. It also causes society a great amount of harm. We just want to create some awareness. That’s it.

You either don’t understand this or you won’t admit to it because you are brainwashed by this cult. You really aren’t the audience we are playing to here, although we welcome your input. We are really gearing this to those who been harmed by AA, and those who are considering AA.

Judging from the number of hits, and the feedback we have received, it seems to be working well with our target audience.

And then further we see;

M A, on June 8th, 2009 at 8:42 am Said:
Thanks, Richard.
I checked it out, but will have to go back to read the rest of his comments. Reading what McGowdog writes is like looking at the sun: I can only do it for short periods at time before I turn my head away. You know that really bad feeling of empathy for someone who makes an ass of themselves in public? That is how I feel when I read what that poor bastard writes. No doubt his AA buddies read it and think, “shut up, already; you are making us look bad”.

I... make A.A. look bad? And you make it look like a bed of roses? Really?

Tell us how you really feel about A.A., would ya M.A.?


AA is f%#$ing enormous. If the treatment industry were a microcosm of the whole country, AA would fill the niche Christianity fills. And like Christianity, which has a mighty sense of entitlement to assert itself and influence every facet of society – public schools, court rooms, the Constitution, people’s private lives – AA/12-step has a similar sense of entitlement within the treatment industry. And it is also treated by the treatment industry with the same… Idunno… unquestioning, kid-glove indulgence that Christianity enjoys. In general, people treat Christianity with respect, even if they don’t believe it. It’s kind of funny how rational people, or people who are not Christians, will so rarely – in the arena of public discourse – call bullshit on someone’s religion, even when their opponent’s religious belief is at the very root of their demented approach to public policy.

Nobody wants to stand up and lambaste AA anymore than anyone wants to get on prime-time news and tell Christians that their religion is ridiculous and that it has no place in government (unless you’re Christopher Hitchens). If you do that, you become the immoral, godless crank, and the uproar is enormous. How long do you think it will be before our country is ready to elect an atheist President? As it stands, we just don’t take anyone seriously unless they have faith in some in strange, random, unprovable, supernatural event – among many random, strange things they could possibly believe.

In the treatment industry, public criticism of AA and 12-Step programs is rare, and for the same reasons. It is always very delicately couched – AA is just a given; it’s conventional wisdom, mainstream. I wonder how many times Ann Landers, for instance, has suggested AA to her readers, without knowing anything more about it than that AA is what drunks are supposed to do. The treatment industry is bloated with AA, and this is a horrible result. AA is a “miracle;” it’s a belief system; it’s a spiritual program. But it is not addiction treatment, anymore than Intelligent Design is science.

In order for science to consider Intelligent Design seriously, even just to engage in a debate with ID’s proponents, science itself would have to abandon its rigorous standards; the conversation would require that science actually redefine terminology in order to find some common ground for discussion. This has already happened with AA. The treatment industry takes the utter unaccountability of AA seriously. Terms like “spiritual disease” are rarely questioned. And the result of this has been disastrous for so many people.

Further, AA’s unaccountability and lack of responsibility for what actually happens in AA meetings, and the treatment industry’s dependence on, and unquestioning acceptance of AA, has generated some awful AA gestalt, which is like the gray goo. People are not being treated for their addictions in AA; they’re either becoming part of the goo or getting run over by it. As MA pointed out, we’ve seen the damage it does to people — its epidemic.

Compared to the giant machine AA has for support, and the doe-eyed acceptance it receives in general, and the millions of members and meetings, we’re really small potatoes. AA is not the underdog; it’s the Gold Standard. AA enjoys a place at the head of the grown-ups’ table, while its critics are viewed as the turds in the punchbowl.

But when we criticize AA, hold it up to the light of day, the response we receive from AAs is so interesting. You’d think they were being persecuted. An enormous institution with this much influence (yes, I know AAs deny this) should be immune from criticism? Can’t handle a little ankle biting? They do not welcome the muckrakers? They have no interest in doing a fearless moral inventory, rooting out abuses and ineffective elements, in evolving? No desire for accountability? Why? Why are the members who question what goes on in meetings told to take the cotton out of their ears? No checks and balances? No standards? Critics must have failed the program that cannot fail.

So, yeah, I’d say that our mission here is noble. We have a mess. People are being harmed in AA because it mimics the dynamics of an abusive domestic relationship* – and it is The Norm. Is wanting to “expose the truth and save the world” a ridiculous pursuit? The way you phrase that makes it seem that doing so is quixotic, silly, childish, deluded. I guess it’s the “and save the world” part. How about we leave off that part, and put it like this, “expose the truth, keep the conversation going, and hope it leads to reform.”

This will take some time to digest and figure out. I guess Stinkin' Thinkin's religion is merely Anti A.A... sort of like the Anti-Christ, right?

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