Sunday, November 29, 2009
I've been wanting to start a list of threads that cover the traditions, not so much to state my experience in them, but rather to just put them out there and get feedback about them so as to learn your experiences in them.
Our A.A. experience has taught us that: (Long Form)One-Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.
From the 12 and 12;
"Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unit."
Without unity, A.A. dies. Individual liberty, yet great unity. Key to paradox: each A.A.'s life depends on obedience to spiritual principles. The group must survive or the individual will not. Common welfare comes first. How best to live and work together as groups.
Within that 12 & 12, it goes on to say, "No A.A. can compel another to do anything; nobody can be punished or expelled. Our Twelve Steps to recovery are suggestions; the Twelve Traditions which guarantee A.A.'s unity contain not a single 'Don't'."
Why is A.A. NOT anarchy? Because of Tradition 2, more on that later, but also because... "If he deviates too far, the penalty is sure and swift; he sickens and dies."
So although we're not forced to follow these principles, we really need this way of life in order to stay sober and have a chance at life. Or as Paul Martin said, "Once I get what I need, I find that it's what I wanted all along".
It goes on to say that some individuals cannot recover unless there is a group. Tradition 3 defines the A.A. group as "two or more...", so... "By faith and by works we have been able to build upon the lessons of an incredible experience."
I'm seeing how this tradition and all the other 11 work in harmony to give the individuals a place to meet, as a group, and do this program and offer service to those who are yet to come.
In Paul Martin's lead, I heard him speak of an experience while listening to Bill W. give a pitch himself; Bill said, "Imagine if all of you here didn't come to A.A. for another 10 years from when you did..." Then there was silence for a while ... as people in that room contemplated the hell their lives would be if they were to drink for another 10 years. Well... that's the reality for those who have not found A.A. as of yet and we may be the ones who have that opportunity to bring some of them in.
I think that's sort of what unity is about.
Some more info on Tradtion 1 to follow:
“Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.”
Some ideas about the Traditions based on observation and experience:
I can tell you all I know about them in about two minutes.
-They are ideals for a society in which love is the only law. Great suffering and great love binds us together.
-They are living principles. I experienced them before I knew about them. I was welcomed and accepted as I was where I was.
Some myths and misconceptions about the Traditions:
-Most often, our experience with both Steps and Traditions are based on the short forms that we read before our meetings and put on the walls of our meeting rooms. This has lead to widespread misconception and fallacies in today’s A.A. There is much more to the Traditions than what we find in the short form. The short form of both the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions will be found in our book. The long form of both the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions will be found in our book.
-It is helpful to know the history of Alcoholics Anonymous when looking at the Traditions. Most were arrived at after trial and error, by making mistakes. Some were born out of fear in our early fellowship. All were born of the necessity to preserve our society for future generations and to protect it from forces, both within and without which could destroy it.
-The Traditions are not rules, but living principles that I live by in a society in which there are no rules.
-Another myth: that the Traditions are only for people who are in service or who are sober a long time. The statement “The Traditions are to the group as the Steps are to the individual”, is not true. This leaves a whole set of principles that can be practiced in the home, business, society, etc. They are merely extensions of what is found in the Steps.
The Traditions are about unity and preserving our fellowship for future generations. Without unity, we can’t survive as a fellowship. The Twelve Steps are a unifying experience. My recovery depends upon my unity with you and your unity with me. The Steps get rid of what’s in the way of me being in unity with you. The Traditions help keep that experience alive. A true fellowship is a gathering of like- minded people. If there is sponsorship and recovery going on within a group, there will be unity, and there will be service. Unity means a lot more than being in a room full of people with the same problem.
-one principle not spoken of often in A.A. is stewardship. It means to take care of what we’ve been given. The fellowship is about having a place where recovered alcoholics can carry a message to sick alcoholics. If the old-timers have no place to carry their message, they wither and die. If the sick alcoholic has no place to come to see and hear a message, he will wither and die.
The First Tradition, wherein each of us is but a small part of a great whole, is the foundation upon which all else rests. We must hang together or die alone. Like the First Step, it addresses the problem. Like the First Step, all else comes back to it.
The First Tradition addresses the problem-comply or die. Comply not to human rules, but with spiritual principles. Compliance means conditions-the condition is life or death, change or die.
Most alcoholics feel as if they are separate and alone when they get to us. Stay separate, stay alone, die alone. Or recover together. Unity means being a part of the whole, rather than apart from. A spiritual experience is a unifying experience that joins me to myself, to other people, and to God. A process of becoming whole and complete.
-the First Tradition can work backwards: If my personal recovery depends upon the unity in the group, is it possible that unity in the group can hinge on the recovery of the individual within the group? If the group members are practicing these principals, there will be recovery, and hence there will be unity.
-does my recovery bring about unity around me? Or am I a producer of confusion rather than harmony?
-although my recovery depends not so much on your unity with as on my
unity with you, it does depend on unity within the group….
-watch the company you keep. You can stay sick in A.A. and have plenty of company. Or you can get well in A.A. and have plenty of company. You just have to pick the company you want to hang with.
-it takes all of us to make up the body of the Christ. If one of us is missing, we are not whole.
-the best way to belong to a group is to participate in what that group does.
-a true group is a gathering of like-minded people.
-the whole group participates. If there is not an informed group conscience, the group will die or become something that is not A.A.
-the principle of anonymity applies. I am one of many, a member of A.A.
-a guiding principle for the individual in a group: is it selfish or not?
-a principle common to all truly spiritual communities is that the group comes first. I set aside my need for recognition, prestige, and power and put the needs of the group first. My needs are automatically met if I help to see that needs of the whole are met.
-a principle of good living is sacrifice, the giving of my very best to God and to the group. The word sacrifice comes from sacred-that which is holy, the very best. If it’s not worth giving up, it’s not a sacrifice.
-Trust as a principle: can I trust my group? Can I trust myself to behave as amember of the group?
-our message should be one of continuity, of common experience, of profound change (BB, p. 17). Brotherly and harmonious action. I set aside my opinions and differences to join in a common effort.
-principle of unity before personalities. One myth-that the “newcomer is the most important person in the room”, isn’t true. Nobody is more importantthan anyone else.
Friday, November 27, 2009
So I pulled out. Then people came out of the woodworks to ask me to stay. Oh, they didn't defend me out in the posts... except for the very brave like TJ... maybe a couple of others. But for the most part, these poor posters don't even post anymore themselves. They appreciated my trip up the steps and wanted me to bring them back.
So, I stepped back and just said... "WHAT???? Are you serious?" The powers that be didn't want any part of me over there. You want to see what I'm talking about? Well... I'll show you. This is the kind of A.A. bashing that goes on over there unabated;
"Protecting a person before they get harmed in recovery world is exactly what I'm trying to do. When 95% of people drop out of AA in their first year (AA's numbers), that shows that something is wrong.
I was a volunteer peer advocate with a program whose clientele were all dually diagnosed. They had all been through 12step treatment and AA/NA, most several times, all unsuccessfully. I now work in mental health primarily with those who have coexisting substance abuse issues. Together, over five years in the field.
I've run DRA, SOS, and harm reduction groups, each has had their success stories and their failures. All of them have had people who feel they had been harmed by AA/NA.
Besides the anti-medication factor and the 13th steppers which are obvious (and tolerated in the rooms), the philosophy of AA is damaging for many. The idea that addiction isn't the people's fault, that is a disease that they powerless over is seductive. People don't want to admit that their actions led to their addictions, that's the pull of 12step groups. Belief that they are powerless gives them an excuse for relapses.
When people in AA relapse, it is practically scripted that they go out on a full class binge. The Brandsma study showed that binging occurred five times as much with people in 12step treatment as those who received no treatment and nines times more that those who had received rational behavioral therapy.
AA is fear-based program, all the talk of "jails, institutions, and death" and the horror stories of how people who leave die are scare tactics not health coping skills. People, especially those with coexisting disorders, respond better to Motivational Interviewing/Motivational Enhancement than fear.
And some, like myself, could not accept the religious nature of the program. I have had several clients with religious delusions that were all too eager to accept AA religiosity and incorporate it with their own that ended up badly.
It's for these reasons I cannot, in good conscience, suggest AA as a treatment method.
Let's break down a list of claims from above;
- A.A. has a 5% recovery rate based on newcomer dropout after the first year.
- People with dual-diagnosis who claim they've been harmed in A.A./N.A.
- The support for and/or tolerance of denying the AAer from the use of medications
- The support for and/or tolerance of 13 stepping
- The idea that A.A. supports the "addiction" model and that A.A. falsely believes that some people called alcoholics were doomed to become alcoholics despite their actions, thus "powerless" over booze from the start AND that this results in the excuse that they are also "powerless" over any subsequent relapse. When people in A.A. go out in relapse, they purposely go on a tear and follow some premeditated script due to their "brainwashing" from A.A. indoctrination.
- A.A. is fear-based and those in the fellowship are threatened to stay or they will face "jails, institutions, or death."
- A.A. is a religious program and does not mix with the prospect's own prior convictions.
- A.A. cannot be, in good conscience, be recommended as a method of treatment.
That 5% recovery rate is an example of the bashing from those in the antiAA industry...aka those earning a buck on your plight that are "vehemently antiA.A. as opposed to those who were fundamental program followers and found it to be a 75% recovery rate. They claim the numbers come from within A.A. archives... as if A.A. would be able to measure such a stat.
"Of course, this doesn’t really tell the whole story, as many people will leave AA after being first introduced to it, and then later return once they have truly been beaten by their alcoholism. Most people who are a success story in AA tell of how they struggled–sometimes for years–going in and out of AA before they finally “got it.”"
My personal experience with the thing is this; I have always made it more than a year when I came into A.A. and did the A.A. program via the 12 Steps. So for me, the Program has a 300% success rate. You stupid antiA.A. fools. Get a new statistician and stop watching Penn & Teller Bullshit and passing it off as education.
Dual diagnosis; Don't know what to tell ya. Maybe you're right. In my A.A. group, we don't fool with dual-diagnosis. We send them elsewhere. People with dual-diagnosis tend to fall back on the other problem when the heat gets too great on the one. Either you're alcoholic or you're not. A.A. is for alcoholics. Period! No one else. Just alkies. I would question the "Professional" that made the dual-diagnosis in the first place and I would question the treatment center that tagged the client as an alcoholic/drug addict/ a drug is a drug is a drug bullshit. Either you're an alcoholic or you're not and it's up to you to diagnose yourself... according to A.A. A.A. gives the potential client the dignity to find that out for themselves.
My experience based on what I've seen; my oldest brother is a paranoid schizophrenic. He is not a drug addict and he is not an alcoholic. He does like to get high once in a while though. He does not go to A.A. nor does he go to N.A. Why? Because, for one thing, he is given the dignity to decide that for himself. Nobody forces him to go into A.A. or N.A. Oh, and he doesn't break the law too often. You break the law, and the state, county, or feds will decide you are not allowed to drink booze or do mind altering drugs anymore. Then of those, some are given the "opportunity" to try 12 Step to help with their subsequent abstinence. They are not "forced into A.A." They are merely given the choice; A.A. or Bubba. Would you like to see SMART, RR, LR, SOS, etc. get a crack at these fine folks? Yes? Well so would I. I'll get to work on that.
13 Stepping; Note to newcomers in A.A. ... keep your legs crossed. You have the right to not spread your legs. The steps stop after 12. We've tried to tell you to not date within the first year, to have women work only with women, to not shout, to not pout, to be a good boy. We have not yet been able to control the wrong-doings of others... and sometimes ourselves. But to say that 13 Stepping is tolerated or encouraged... that's just a flat out lie.
My experience, my group doesn't even currently have any women in it now. They come to our meeting from time to time and ask if it's a stag meeting. We say "No. You are welcome... so long as you are an alcoholic and want to do something about it." There's another meeting I go to where they have a lot of women, a lot of people who date within their own gender, etc. Why that is, IDK. I guess they feel safe there, but it's a good meeting that is focussed on the A.A. program via the 12 Steps. If I saw someone in the A.A. program going after someone who was new, female, vulnerable, etc., I'd get in their face about it and warn the other party about it as best I could. I've not seen this in a long time.
To say that A.A. corners the market in predatory behavior is a flat out lie and would like to see how the "Professional Community" fares on such matters. Naw, not really. I got better shit to do. Like being a husband to my wife and cleaning my own side of the street.
We in A.A. do believe we are powerless over alcohol physically and mentally... once we put it into our body we react physically different than the norm and once separated from booze, we react differently to the 1st drink than others. That's A.A.'s stance. A.A. did not come about as yet one of many successful solutions for the alcoholic. It came about as the only thing that would work. And A.A. is still here today because it's the only thing that works for real alcoholics. Alcoholism is not an addiction. The word "addiction" being linked to alcoholism came about in about 1991 when insurance co-pay got into the game. Alcoholics are not addicts, alcoholism is not a disease, and alcohol is not a drug; it is food. Let's get on the same page and talk the same language. Then maybe the success rates for alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. will increase.
Relapse is not part of the A.A. Program and it never was. That's treatment center bullshit and is also perpetuated by the thought that once you forget the pain, relapse begins. It's bullshit and it came from you doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, therapists, etc. Own up to it and shut your holes about it.
The truth in the matter is that some alcoholics come to A.A. and are never shown the Program... aka the doing of the steps... and they go back out and drink again and what happens is usually sad. How dare you make fun of this tragic event and use it to bash A.A. you stupid punk. I'm a real fucking alcoholic and I've gone back out and drank again and it always gets worse. What's your experience with drinking booze?
A.A. is fear-based and the threat of going back out will result in "jails, institutions, and death?" That's complete bullshit too. At least it is in my Step-working group. If you want to go back out or leave A.A., you're welcome to it. But for some of those real alcoholics that did, the results is sometimes "jails, institutions, and death". Now that's the truth. And that may bother some of you. Some non alcoholics that got hustled into A.A. from treatment centers left A.A. and did fine.
A good A.A. group will help a potential client find out if they are alcoholic or not, and be invited to leave if they're not. Why? Because A.A. is a spiritual based program founded on the Truth and you cannot build a spiritual life based on a fundamental lie. If you're not an alcoholic and try to pass yourself off as one, you will get sick, not better. THAT'S WHY WE DON'T HUSTLE NON-ALCOHOLICS INTO A.A. FROM THE GET-GO. A.A. IS FOR JUST ALKIES.
As alcoholics get older, their livers, pancreas', and kidneys get older, not newer. So for that reason, if they go back out and drink again, it always gets worse, never better. Does this not make any sense to you in the medical field? It should. I know it for a fact because I've experienced it in my own life. Oh, but let's not dare call it a disease! That would offend those folks with real diseases!
A.A. is a religious program that does not mix with a prospect's existing convictions? Not my experience at all. In fact, let's talk about a prospects existing convictions? How well did God separate the prospect from booze prior to A.A.?
Not so good, huh? You want to know why? Two simple words... get ready for a theology lesson you dorks... Free Will!
This is why priests, rabbi's, ministers, other clergy come to A.A. to find that contact with their God so they can follow a "few simple rules" which will enable that God to remove the obsession to drink from them and enable them to find a life which is once again useful and whole. Oh, and it's where the doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, etc. will go to dispell the myths of recovery and enable the real alcoholic that needs it to seek help.
Frankly, A.A. was given a lot of support from clergy and medical professionals and we started off as "friends". Then these "friends" got greedy and A.A. stayed consistent and the alcoholic hasn't changed a lick, nor has booze, nor has human nature... so if anything has skewed the recovery stats for A.A., I'd say it's been the greed of the Alcoholism Industry.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
There are no statistics regarding AA. Therefore we can't compare AA to other programs using statistics. Sad but true.So when you assert that 'the data' showed BIN was more effective than AA, you have actually asserted nothing.
The BIN reports 53% but we have no number for AA. It is just plugged in at some point randomly. Also, the criteria for effective treatment in the BIN program was 3 less drinks per week. For an alcoholic that would be a meaningless difference. (although that is a topic for the merits of that particular method)
The point of our discussion, I thought was to discuss different treatments and the pro's and con's of each. That has nothing to do with statistics which, as you can see don't add up to much. Statistics can prove anything.Or, as in this case, nothing. And hyperlinks are certainly a good thing, but if they aren't presented as part of a discussion of some sort, they're just ..... links.
I just got the feeling you threw some studies my way and told me to read them. That isn't 'intelligent discussion' to me. It's intelligent enough, but the discussion part is lacking.I guess I was thinking more along the lines of why BIN was better than AA in one area or another or SOS would appeal to this type of person.....you know a 'discussion' on the 'merits' of each.
The best you can get from statistics is how many people stopped drinking.If you want to go strictly by statistics then death is the best treatment method. 100% success rate and it's free and available to everyone.
Obviously death has less merits than some of the other methods listed though.
So... I think I'd rather go for the 5% treatment A.A. has to offer than TJ's 100% recovery rate.
In fact, you can go ahead and put me on record as saying, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy".
Monday, November 23, 2009
"The problem does not exist for me. The problem has been removed." I don't ask God every morning to keep me sober and I don't thank Him at night for "keeping me sober". If God kept me sober the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous would be a 1 page pamphlet. It would look like this; GOD KEEPS YOU SOBER! HAVE A GOOD DAY!
Yup. That's what I said. Say it, don't spray it, dicknose.
If you truly believe that, then you just discredited Chapter 6, (especially page 86) of your BB, and everything you've written up to this point ... it makes me wonder if you truly believe what you've said all along? don't get me wrong, it doesn't matter to me what you believe, but don't patronize me.
How can I patronize you with my boot up your crack? Shut your hole.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
So are all higher powers equal? Does praying to the almighty doorknob give the same results as praying to traditional religous Gods? What about making Satan one's hp? Or a pet rock a HP? Now I was raised to believe that God created man, but AA seems to say that man can create any God he wishes. What is the latest "deity du jour" in the fellowship?
If it was up your ass you'd know where it was at.
Oh No! A.A. is a religion and a cult! Let's get the hell outta Dodge!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This is comments to a blog about A.A. started by a "PhD" named M. D. who asks, "Is A.A. a cult" and I must admit, it brings out some interesting discussion:
"The author is trying real hard to rationalize AA. Being accessible and free means nothing...so are alcohol and drugs and Christ, etc., etc. The "peer support" is not support...it is peer indoctrination. I tried AA for 14 years...I believed it, I "worked it", and it almost killed me.
I believe thatn any professional that reccomends AA or any twelve-step treatment should have their license revoked. It is no different than recommending Scientology to someone with a broken arm, or Islam to someone with cancer, or Catholocism to someone with herpes.
AA is definitely NOT the "feel good peer-driven support group" that everyone touts. It is completely unregulated, and 95% of the people that walk in the door leave...how many of them die? How many recover on their own (like I have now)? How many continue to drink and become burdens on them selves and society (for years...like I did)?
Would you get on an airplane that had only a 5% chance of safely getting you where you wanted to go?
Until you directly answer the question, from all angles: "Does AA do more harm than good?"....then it is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY to recommend it or coerce anyone to attend. It is a very pervasive and dangerous cult, so much so that M.D.'s and PhD's recommend it in the absence of ANY valid scientific research showing that it does more good than harm. They should really have their licenses revoked."
Here's one that comes from fundamental A.A.ers vs. the antiA.A.er world pretty much;
"People like you and me really are a pain in the rear ends because we possess the holy grail of sobriety...
Yes. The idea that someone might quit drinking and maintain sobriety without AA really seems to frost them--which is why they try to dismiss us by saying that (a) we were never real alcoholics, or (b) we aren't really sober, we are dry drunks."
Well... are you a real alcoholic or not? Some really are not. They are just hard drinkers who cannot moderate, so they stop... if they want to. Alkies don't corner the market on wanting to get drunk. But alkies cannot stay stopped on choice... by definition. And, are you really sober and want to be? Well great. Keep up the good work... or the good... not work. Later, we're gonna get a look at the "lesser of two evils" concept.
Now... here is a heavy post that sort of rings true for me... except that he bashes repeating the steps which I do! But he's still pro A.A. in a sense. Interesting post for me;
Since I’m here, I’ll take this one on.
(Because most cults, in fact, do not have an exit strategy).
Of the assorted nuts you will encounter in the rooms of AA, you will certainly find the bunch that elude to being in it for life, “I’m in recovery.” “I wish you a slow recovery.”
They work the steps over and over again, they get new sponsors, they beat themselves up…
I personally recoil from these types as if they just farted.
But they’re where they’re at.
We do recover, and just as we diagnose for ourselves (in the beginning) the exact nature of our addiction, we evaluate when it’s time to go. This is something I struggle with as we speak. I say to myself, “Damn, after 15 years, what the hell am I still doing here?”
But like Yoga or Running, AA still feels good to me, so I keep coming. But I share from the heart about having one foot out the door. When I travel, for example, the last place I go is a meeting. But when I’m home, that $1 in the basket is the best show in town.
Am I weak and fragile and unable to live my life without the warm bosom of AA pushing upside me? Will I die without it? No. I just like it, and all it’s given me, and all I may give back as I grow (service).
“My name is M., and I recovered in AA.”
That’s the story I tell. Free of charge.
Tomorrow I may tell a story about leaving for a few years as many of my good friends have, but -- today – I like it."
This it for now. I will hopefully add to this one. I've got to go out into the world for a bit... maybe go to a meeting that I won't get called on.
"Anybody who has problems with alternative forms of recovery has been indoctrinated. This mentality that AA is the "only way" is scary and cult like. If someone comes up with a way other than AA and it makes money so what? The goal is recovery and it doesnt matter how one gets there. It doesnt matter to me if someone makes a profit off helping someone recover. AA has helped some folks so what? so has joining a church or taking up biking or meditation etc. Why is AA so threatned by alternative forms of recovery? Ill answer that for you. ....Money they would receive. Otherwise why would you give a damn? Its almost always about the money. Sorry, just the cold hard facts of life. M do you really believe nobody at AA is making money? Look at whos involved with recovery and the answers will come to you. See its a lot easier for a counselor to have someone go to AA than really get to the root problems and work on those with the individual. Heres AA's number and let me know how you're doing. That's a lot easier than using your degree and having to work for you money."
Wow. I just really... don't know what to say about this. A.A. is doing WHAT with that buck in the basket? Besides buying a few books, some coffee, filters, styrofoam cups, rent in an old church basement, money to send some GSR or delegate to an Area Meeting?
It's not that we mind the couselors, therapists, doctors, pychologist, psychiatrists, etc. making few bucks. Some of us are them, bozo.
Where these professionals harm the alcoholic is not in their knowledge. It's in their knowledge that's just not true for the alcoholic.
What is a counselor, anyway? A guy who gets a plaque that says, "You are sane and everybody else is not.
A lady went to a psychiatrist for 5 years and said, "Give it to me straight, doc. I need to know, what's wrong with me?" He said, "You're nuts, you're crazy, you're insane." She said, "I think I want a second opinion." So he stepped back and said, "And you're ugly too."
A.A. didn't start 74 years ago as just one of many things to try on the alcoholic. It came about because nothing else was working on the alcoholic. It exists today for the same Goddamned reason.
A.A. works for drunks period. If they don't want to do A.A. and you think you have an alternative, go for it. You can have the cannots and the will-nots. But I think you're gonna find some cannots that are misrepresented... IMO.
I hear this often; "they relapsed because they quit going to meetings". Ya OK! So I guess you could say he didn't win the wrestling championships because he quit going to practice, she didn't graduate because she stopped going to school ect. AA's love to share deep insight into the obvious. Fact is people who KEEP going to meetings also relapse. Alcoholics drink because they are alcoholics......simple. There is no reason, thats why it is what it is --a phenomenon. Maybe A REAL ALCHOLIC is in the beginning stages of relapse the momment he stops drinking. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. I have stopped drinking for two years now. Do I still qualify? Now I have a desire to not start drinking. I really love sobriety today.
I don't buy that "meeting makers make it" crap either. If somebody drinks they were either not doing steps or didn't want this deal because they thought they had power over booze.
Going to A.A. is no gaurantee of doing steps.
I see many loose meetings in my hometown. There are a couple... maybe a few now... of meetings that actually do steps. I found them. So can anybody else. It's my responsibility to find these good meetings and get in. I've found in A.A. that people pretty much get what they want. Relief is a biggie for some. Some are lonely. Some should really do steps and get spiritually cleaned out, but they resist having their belief systems challenged. Some might not even be real alkies but were hustled in. Yeah, that's right. Hustled in. Why? IDK. Some people were just not "sponsored" properly and have not learned to talk about how they drank booze and surely have not learned to take the time to let the new person talk about how they drank.
This identification is the crux of the whole problem. If that's not there, it's no wonder why some just don't get it. Going to meetings and hiding behind your sponsor ain't gonna cut it come Drink Day.
"Aaa yes. Skin in the game.
On Wall Street, people go to jail for that.
What the heck does that mean? I get the impression that Marcus is trying to show that criticism of AA has financial roots. This is a red herring.
Back to whether AA is a cult. Yes, it is. Not the worst by far, but a cult (lite) nevertheless. Why do people stay with it? Well in my experience these are the main reasons:
- It provides an ersatz social group. Not a bad thing in the beginning, but after a decade or so it usually means that someone has not integrated socially with the outside world.
- A chance to gain self-esteem. This is accomplished via years of sobriety. We all know this. Guru status by the numbers.
- A chance to be heard. A captive audience exists in the halls. We get to air our problems, philosophy, and neurosis for all to hear. We just love those grunts and nods of agreement, don't we?
- A chance to have power. Take the cotton out of your ears and put in your mouth, ya pigeon!
- A chance to be predatory. Midtown, Midtown, Midtown.
- A chance to drink coffee at night. Caffeine's not a drug, is it? How about nicotine?
- A chance to escape the family. My G*d, woman, read that chapter to wives again!"
Well this antiAAer has a few gripes. Don't know if it's the hottest and most compelling bashing I've ever seen. Some of it is perhaps true.
But... if Orange is a scud missile, this stuff is... like a wet cat fart.
"My previous post regarding fear induction in AA has been mischaracterized. My point was not that it is good to become addicted to Oxycontin, or that people don't relapse after years of abstinence (although it is important to note the risk of relapse after five years of continuous abstinence is quite low).
My point was that the writer of that AA grapevine forum post I quoted was setting forth a common AA theme: the notion that to leave the group--no matter how long one has been abstinent--is to invite calamity. This an example of the sort of fear induction that goes on in AA. Since fear induction is often used to keep people from leaving cults, this is an example of an aspect of AA which leads me to believe that AA is a cult."
So... are you saying that I can quit A.A. after 6 or 10 years? Wow. That's nice to know. But what about the freedom I get from maintaining a discipline of spiritual fitness... and here's another spiritual concept your Therapist won't talk too much about, the virtue of helping another new person... aka... it's better to give than receive.
I'm sorry A.A. bashers. A.A. really isn't a jail sentence that we want to soon be done with. It's a way of life for us... with no locks on the doors. Really.
You most not forget than even it AA is not a cult, at best it is a horrific organization, full of never corrected ideas and prejudices from long ago.
Didn't like the book much, huh? I see many others that love it. I think it's sufficient in and of itself. Written 70 years ago? So what. the mid to late 30s were a hotbed for a bunch of spiritual writings.
Dr. D's Note: My professional opinion is that the question of whether AA is a cult or not is not going to be decided here. Neither side would accept a verdict they didn't like. Meaning - the issue is so polarized that resolution through conventional means seems impossible.
See... this doc saw the antiAAers start to get totally bitch-slapped by the proAAers and here's an example of a little conversation they had in that blog... pretty funny stuff too;
Mike : "How are you qualified to "blast" anyone? What are your credentials in terms of psychology, theology, general medicine?"
This is coming from a guy who just blasted people in AA for 'drinking coffee at night'.
Why don't you give us your credentials first. You seem to have alot to say about the way AA is run.
List your credendials to comment on AA in terms of psychology, theology and general medicine.
Go ahead, we're listening.
"What standards do you use for credibility? Common sense, gut feeling, mores and customs, personal tastes? Are you trained to spot credibility?"
In the case of sponsors giving medical advice, it's official AA literature in the form of the pamphlet I linked to.
Also the 12 traditions and general wisdom passed down via sharing. I already went over all this Mike.
Stop complaining for a minute and Pay attention, will you.
"Why not just get yourself a pair of tights and a Batmobile and start helping out the cops in your spare time? I'm sure they would appreciate it - NOT."
I am helping the cops in my spare time. I'm helping drunks (who cops deal with) get sober, stay sober and live a better life.
I'll leave the tights and cape for the anti-AA's. They're busy saving the world from AA while AA is busy saving drunks.
"I'll leave the tights and cape for the anti-AA's. They're busy saving the world from A.A. while A.A. is busy saving drunks."
Ooooh! Flying Bitch-Slap! When an ordinary Bitch-Slap just won't do! Nice Job T and M! Would like to see both yous over on my other "Recovery" site. Thanks for wasting all that time on all those numbskull anti-AAers and the "Doctor".
Here's some more beauties from T and M... hoping they don't mind me indulging here; What’s this? I’m not the only real recovered alcoholic besides Danny Boy and a few over at SR that are defending A.A. from those A.A. bashers?
Cl****, you are certainly not very rational for a person who claims to be interested in 'science based' recovery.
Do you really think that people don't go out on pain meds after having years and even decades of sobriety ?
I hate to break the sad news to you, but it happens all the time. You won't hear about it on your online pretend meetings because no one there needs to be honest. They don't even know each other except for the computer screen.
But since you are so interested in cults. I've taken a look at the SMART recovery website and it's obvious that they are a cult.
Look : "The ultimate organizational authority in SMART Recovery® is the Board of Directors. The ultimate program authority is scientific knowledge and rational thought, as interpreted by the Program Committee and Board of Directors. "
The members have no say in interpreting the program. The gurus on the 'board' make all their decisions for them. Tsk, Tsk. Very dangerous.
And look at these 'thought stopping clichés' they use :
USA = Unconditional Self Acceptance
UOA = Unconditional Other Acceptance
According to the cult leaders on the SMART board of directors you 'must' accept yourself and others unconditionally. That's a standard cult ploy. When the board comes to use you for sex and money, you will have to accept them. Terrible.
You should be ashamed of yourself Cl****.....oh that's right, you aren't allowed to be. LOL !!!
Posted by T
Since this board reeks heavily of corporate-opportunism (alternatives to AA), I’d like to put something out there.
The only way I discovered AA was when I was about to take my last breath. That is, because I couldn’t see a way out of the addiction-trap, I considered jumping in front of the A train at 14th Street & 8th Ave. Instead, I called a relative and spent the next 5 days in detox, then the next 28 days in a rehab (based on AA); then to a sober house (also based on AA) -- then to AA on my own. Lucky me. I lived.
My point is: I was as drowning as the drowning can be; driven to AA because my life depended on it. And that’s the only way I found it.
For pedestrians, it is completely off the radar.
People who have an interest in debunking AA because they have alternative goods and services for sale; A.K.A. therapists, councilors, doctors, lobbyists, self-help authors, disgruntled students, researchers (lobbyists) …
Why else would you give a hoot? Moreover, how on earth did you find us if you’re not in the biz? Don’t you have some papers to scuffle?
Not withstanding the article that appears above, because it makes a good-clean point regarding AA & cultism from a good clean-doctor who really doesn’t take a hard line either way. He’s a seek looking for answers. Fair.
And not withstanding people who are in the ditch (newcomers) who tried AA, weren’t ready to quit, and came here to tell you why it doesn’t work. We can spot those a mile away. (If the train doesn’t take you out, keep coming back. We’re here for you). (Keep talking about it).
I’m talking about the jackasses that come here to suggest some alternatives to what’s on the menu. Like, “You tried the moo sho beef but how about the egg foo young? And didn’t you hear, moo sho beef gives you cancer.”
It’s a nice strategy. But it ain’t gonna work.
I went to a therapist once to get my drivers license back. It was a funny experience. I told her I had been sober for 7 years in AA (truth), and wasn’t looking for therapy, but I need a “professional” signature to get a DWI scrubbed from my record (also the truth). She looked at me as if I had just taking a hit of crack.
She would ask an honest question like, “So, how was your childhood? And I would say something like “it sucked.” And there would be a long pause after every follow-up question as if everything I was saying was a complete lie. Because I knew she believed that AA didn’t work. And she knew I discovered her position from the get-go.
She stuck to her guns and I walked out.
Just like the silly rabbits on this board that stick to their anti-AA propaganda.
Posted by M
As far as SMART recovery being a cult. I was honestly surprised at the similarities between SMART and AA. Obviously if one is a cult, the other must also be.
And quite frankly, those slogans scare me a lot more than any AA slogan ever did. AA slogans tend to be folk wisdom. "If you don't pick up the first drink, you can't get drunk", "Keep it simple stupid", "Easy does it" etc...
It's hard to argue with that kind of stuff.
But "Unconditional Self Acceptance" is not only scary, it's illogical.
If I am an alcoholic (I am) and I accept myself unconditionally (I never would) then I will die an alcoholic death.
It's very dangerous to accept yourself unconditionally.
I think it's dangerous to do anything unconditionally.
That word 'unconditional' shuts off thought in a way no AA slogan ever has.
“…came to see it [AA] more and more as a dangerous…organization that enables sociopaths and neurotics of all stripes to ply their trade.” --mike
When I first came to AA I was one of them, sociopath and neurotic. And now I’m neither; but I’m surrounded by newcomers who are both – and then some.
One of the reasons I’m on the fence about stepping away from AA for a while is this very point. I got well, and my taste for people changed to being comfortable around wellness -- rather than being comfortable around dereliction. Hence, personal growth.
But for the newcomer – not so. The new-be benefits from the “street” feel of AA. It’s not to far from where they fell – which is the essence of identification. And it is the essence of how AA works.
But I don’t agree AA is dangerous. It’s as it should be, “gritty.”
I’m 90% sure, too, that it ain’t a cult either. But I’ll meditate on it.
Someone who was working the city streets to buy drugs, and such, has no problem at all dealing with a group where people use to do those things – and now they don’t. They are safer with us that without us.
There are seeks [homeless] in the Manhattan rooms who only come for the cookies, coffee, to use the bathroom, and/or to panhandle for a few bucks (annoying). And there are “old-timers” who stay to meet the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend, or to have a fling (more annoying). As far as AA “enabling” the madness. No. AA tolerates it because, as a group it realizes the rooms can absorb it. And that everyone, no matter how insane, has a chance to get well.
That’s why I stay. To be a power of example. Service.
“M. do you really believe nobody at AA is making money?”
Like I said, it’s irrelevant. If someone attends a meeting, and has a dollar to put in the basket, great. If not – no problem. At the group level, that money pays for the group to keep the lights on. After all group expenses are paid, the rest – a small piece -- gets pasted up to Intergroup. Most groups don’t pass up anything.
If your question is, are people stealing money? The answer is mixed. I was involved with a group who I knew full well the treasurer was skimming from the kitty. I knew it because I was the treasurer before her, and I knew the numbers regarding the group – and hers didn’t add up. But I still put a dollar in the basket (service).
If your question is, is AA making truckloads of cash? Let me put it to you this way: in this last financial mess, Goldman Saks, with the assistance of Henry Paulson (treasury secretary) and George Bush almost single handedly bankrupted a nation. Things like Paulson being on the phone with Lloyd Blankfein (current Goldman Saks CEO) the morning TARP was about to be announced, bans on short selling Goldman’s stock, and other stuff. What these folks did was criminal. You or I would be in jail for it. And JP Morgan Chase went along for the ride. So did Wells Fargo and a few other banks. They (Paulson, Bush, Goldman) redirected trillions of tax dollars to save their own assess; letting a slew of competitors rot (Lehman bros, bear Stearns, others).
They all made truckloads of money.
I still have a Chase bank account. I’m still and American.
And if we look at the $2.7 trillion spent on healthcare in this nation, I’d conclude that if the higher up’s at AA make a few dollars selling books – good for them. It’s trivial. In fact, even it AA world services fell off the face of the earth, AA, at the group level, would continue unaffected.
It’s pointless to argue that AA is a fat cat (except if you are a competitor).
Cl****, you say "it is important to note the risk of relapse after five years of continuous abstinence is quite low".
We need a citation for that. The numbers regarding recovery are not very well known and you have given us bad information in the past. (the 5% triennial survey myth)
Also, your point was not mischaracterized.
You stated that:
a. cults use fear induction techniques to retain members.
b. AA uses fear induction techniques to retain members
C. therefore AA is a cult.
The obvious flaw in your logic is that the scenario you offered as a 'fear induction technique' was merely a statement of fact conveyed in the folksy style that is common in AA. (Point b is wrong therefore your conclusion is wrong)
a. alcoholics ARE susceptible to relapse on pain medication.
b. AA's primary purpose is to 'stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety'.
c. Therefore talk of the dangers of pain medications is prudent (ie not fear inducing for the purpose of retaining members) .
The message that alcoholics are better off attending meetings on a regular basis is also, not a cult feature but a mere fact.
It's common for people to loose weight by joining weight watchers and sticking with the program. It is almost just as common for people to put the weight back on when they stop attending weight watchers meetings.
Behavior modification is often a life long process.
Newcomers are told to make as many meetings as possible because that will increase their chances for success. Most old timers don't go to meetings every day. Remember that when AA's speak they aren't talking in terms of 'doctrine', they are talking in an indirect way that is intended to pass on a certain wisdom and not absolutes and cold hard facts. (i.e. folksy)
You are arguing that because AA recognizes certain objective facts that it is a cult. This implies that you don't like certain truths and are resisting them. It does not reflect on AA at all.
15 reasons why AA is NOT a cult – but the medical profession [MP] is:
Here is a list, 1-15, of characteristics typical within a CULT:
1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
AA: Most participants poke fun at Bill & Bob (founding fathers). AA’s belief system is based on suggestions, not law. Leaders are but trusted servants.
MP: If you question the authority of your superiors in a hospital you’re fired. If you repudiate DSM protocol, and such, you get sued, blacklisted, lose your license, and/or get thrown in jail.
2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
AA: rather than discouraged, questioning and doubting AA is encouraged. Speak your mind.
MP: The idea of the medical profession still practicing a form of art (medical arts) is long gone. Follow protocol or you’re out of here. Don’t ask questions – just do your job.
3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
AA: leaders are but trusted servants. They do NOT govern. Most business meeting are a 15 minute joke. You can say whatever you want in AA and/or about AA and nobody cares. Take what need and leave the rest. Come once per year or 4 times per day. Up to you.
MP: billions of industry dollars are spent to promote the cause. Misleading drug campaigns run round the clock on radio, TV, and the Internet. As an employee of the industry you are schooled, then paid well to keep your mouth shut.
4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
AA: has no opinion on outside issues, “don’t drink, go to meetings, and the rest will take care of itself.”
MP: You wear a uniform. You train in great detail, some times as much as 12 years in college, on how to think, act, and feel in every aspect of your life; your mind, body and soul are controlled by lobbyists. Your opinion is their opinion. Freethinking is thrown to the wind. All your time is devoted to the group.
5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
AA: leaders are but trusted servants. An AA meeting is nothing more than a collection of testimonials for whom the program has worked.
MP: The medical profession -- and the hospital you work at -- claim all of the above for itself. They are the ultimate authority on all things “health.” Everyone else is thrown in jail for practicing “medicine” without a license.
6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
AA: is the wider society. There is no conflict. Anyone can be member.
MP: the US medical industry claims ultimate authority and righteousness on all things regarding personal health. To the MP, “if an alternative view doesn’t agree with our logic, then they are preaching lies and/or dangerous philosophy,” and it is all punishable by law.
7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
AA: all “leaders” are trusted servants elected by, of, and for the people via democratic process (with term limits).
MP: The medical profession is not only not accountable to any authorities – they positioned themselves to be the only legitimate authority on your health.
8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
AA: has no opinion on outside issues. Members, led by other members, participate in a simple program of recovery that has proven itself to work for more than 70 years.
MP: promoting hard-on pills (viagra), and such, on primetime TV -- when kids are watching -- is reprehensible and unethical. A pill for everything. But you have to keep that money machine rolling!
9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
AA: has a very loss leadership of trusted servants. All decisions evolve via group conscience.
MP: claims ultimate authority on all things regarding a persons health; to it’s members it says, “if you DO NOT prescribe this pill, or push a seek towards that specialist, YOU ARE FIRED.” Everything is protocol. Thinking ‘outside the box’ is illegal.
10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
AA: suggests that you “stick with the winners.” The only goal is to help a member stay away from the first drink/drug.
MP: 12-hour workdays, holidays, weekends. On your time off, “advance training” to get more “degrees.” Work-a-holism. Total submersion.
11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
AA: does NOT recruit. Operates on a policy of attraction rather than promotion. One alcoholic / addict helping another.
MP: Spends billions recruiting employees on college campuses. Spends even more billions to educate it’s members regarding it’s long list of products aimed at a vulnerable the public.
12. The group is preoccupied with making money.
AA: is self supporting through its own contributions declining outside contributions.
MP: the US healthcare lobby is concerned exclusively with making money. “Health” is not even a close second. Most MP companies are publicly traded, their leadership is composed of some of the highest paid individuals in America, drug companies make more money in one day than AA has generated in it’s entire 70 year history.
13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
AA: has no rules regarding time whatsoever. It has mere suggestions such as, “a meeting a day for 90 days,” and such.
MP: When you join the medical profession, you are expected to devote your entire life to your “career” (making money).
14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
AA: members live wherever the hell they please. Some are even bartenders.
MP: members are indoctrinate via extensive internships, degrees, and live-in residencies. Members devote their entire lives to becoming and maintaining their membership.
15. The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
AA: nearly all AA members recover (graduate) after a certain period of time. Many stay to show the newcomer that it works.
MP: after sending your entire life in school, in a hospital wearing a funny white uniform, in a “research” laboratory, pushing your finger up people’s anuses (literally), making truckloads of cash and thinking you have all the answers to the worlds health problems, where else are you gonna fit in? You’re in it for life. Who else is going to put up with your crazy self?
AA is not a cult – but the medical profession certainly is.
Mike : "I think you and T are doing more to advance the AA/cult link than I or others on this forum are capable of. "
This is a classic ad hominem argument.
Your premise is that M. and I exhibit 'cult like behavior' and we are members of AA, therefore AA must be a cult.
Even were your premise correct (you can ask Dr D for his professional opinion if you like), it does nothing to prove your claim that AA is a cult.
All fluff, no fact. Typical anti-AA argument.
I made my first meeting almost 28 years ago, took my last drink over 19 years ago. Cult? Nah. Don't know what these guys got against an organization that does so much for so many. Do all Methodists live wonderful lives? How about the Catholics? Probably not. Neither do we.
BUT...my life is so much better now than it was before I learned what my problems truly were. Plugging the jug was merely the first step in this journey. The ONLY problem I can see with AA is that it only works for those who want this way of life, not for all who need it. It is all about free will. Cult? Nah. A way of life I wouldn't trade for anything.
AA position on medicine – T. - Nov 2nd 2009
Dr D, here is a pamphlet published in 1984. It is 'official' AA literature.
I think it deals with the problem in a very honest and straightforward manner.
The message I've always heard is that you can take any medication as prescribed by a doctor and not 'relapse'.
Once you stop following the doctor's instructions you are abusing the drug.
While I've heard of people advising sponsees to stop taking medication I've also heard old timers rail against that sort of thing at meetings.
While it is a favorite topic of the anti-AA it isn't the norm and AA's themselves are aware of the problem and attempt to address it.
(Trust me, if the anti-AA's can figure something out, it's got to be right in front of everyone's nose. They aren't 'deep thinkers')
Medications and AA - D. - Nov 2nd 2009
I've been to a lot of meetings in a lot of places over the last 28 years. What we in AA do is pass on what we have experienced, what our strengths are, and what our hopes are. We relate in general ways what our lives used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. I have had surgery twice and have been prescribed pain meds. I use them only as long as I have pain. I would not tell a sponsee to avoid prescribed pain meds. I take a prescription anti-depressant every night at bedtime.
I was ten years sober before I learned my emotional roller coaster rides were abnormal. It was a fellow AA that suggested I see a doctor when my depression was sever enough I stopped sleeping.
There's a lot of AA bashing on the internet. I don't understand it. During the seven and a half years between my first meeting and my last drink I never once questioned AA's path to recovery. I merely thought my case was different. Once I came to believe I was LIKE those folks in the meetings instead of DIFFERENT from them I haven't had to use drugs or alcohol since.
If some genius in medical research came up with a pill today that when used daily would allow me to drink a beer or two after work without the awful results I have experienced in the past I would not use it. My disease still IS even though I have not used for nearly 20 years. It is in the way I think and AA helps me with that. The people in AA gently demonstrated to me through their actions that God, however I might choose to understand God, not only could help me with life's problems but would. I didn't even have to believe in this GOD...only believe that my way didn't work...and pray...even if I didn't believe in prayer. So I prayed...the faith came later.
I had had faith in many other things that had let me down. God and AA have never failed me. All I had to do was ask.
As a former med-professional and recovered member of AA, I’ll conclude, “a drug, is a drug, is a drug.”
Alcoholism and drug addiction are one in the same: probably organic in nature. Meaning, at the cellular level, an addicted person alters his/her neurotransmitters to the point of no return (lock & key theory). Afterwards, unless a psychic change occurs (Carl Jung, Buddha), former pleasure centers in the brain are no longer stimulated naturally, but only via a drug of choice, a close second (prescription med), or a combination of the two.
My eyewitness experience,
If a seek lands in AA on psychotropic meds, or picks them up after starting the program, until they let go of them absolutely, recovery is static. The seek looks to the drug as a crutch rather than letting the process of reprogram the mind, body, and spirit via AA occur (psychic change).
The collective conscience of AA suggesting any drug will keep a seek in the pit of addiction is NOT practicing medicine without a license. Only a doctor “prescribes” – the rest is freewill via suggestions/experiences on the part of individuals who have solved the drink/drug problem where doctors (pushers) have not solved any such problem.
AA is based on the notion that the body is a temple for the spirit. A healthy body yields a healthy spirit. So is yoga, religion, voodoo, marathon running, and the rest.
Prolonging the agony,
If an AA seek is still smoking, eating junk food, not sleeping, not exercising, not meditating, not listening to the voice of reason (AA), recovery is also static. Piling pharmaceuticals on top of the already insurmountable physical hurdles a seek must jump is exactly that – piling on.
The people who truly recover from addiction are the ones that let go of an old way of life – and accept a new one as the only way out of the suffering. They are the winners.
The seek who gets “stuck” in AA (or in an insane asylum); who hasn’t made the connection between their physiology and their addiction; they smoke, eat crap, don’t exercise, visit doctors for goodies; they are the losers.
In death do we part? (not),
Only in the case where an individual will probably kill themselves before a psychic change can occur is a drug acceptable. Methadone, for example. Keep the seek alive – point them at AA. Then there is hope.
Cl**** : "Over my nine years of AA membership, I witnessed many instances of individuals being advised or ordered not to take medication.
With respect to addictive medications, such as pain killers (OxyContin, Percocet, etc.) and tranquilizers (Valium, Ativan) the advice was typically never to take these medications at all, under any circumstances, because the risk of relapse was too high. "
Where was this ? What state and what home groups ?
I got sober in NJ and that is not normal at all around here. The normal advice about pain medication is to 'take as prescribed'.
And just as important, what did you do about the situation? As a member with 9 years in the program why didn't you understand the correct position a sponsor should have on prescription medication use and make the group aware, or if you did why did they not listen to you ?
I can tell you, I would pull individuals aside and protect them from bad sponsors (have done it a few times) and I would blast a sponsor like that from the floor every time he opened his mouth or I got wind of him doing something like that.
I would, in short, do my best to ruin his credibility. If the transgression was on a group level I would do the same thing to that group. I've seen groups and whole clubs fold because they lost credibility and the 'old timers' wouldn't participate in meetings.
On sponsorship… - M. - Nov 3rd 2009
There is a lot of talk on this board, and in the rooms of modern-day AA about sponsorship, but, for the record, the big book actually talks very little about it. Why today’s AA has gone from zero to 60 on sponsorship, and it’s importance, is a mystery to me. I personally view it as my least favorite tool. In 15 years, I have never had a sponsor nor ever sponsored anyone. Because I think it’s stupid. I don’t abide to any one piece of advice – why would I listen to a single drunk?
The true power of AA for me has always been service, home group and the group-collective (shares from the floor).
So for those, here, who profess very little about AA with their shallow views (you know who you are), and yet still hate on sponsorship, I say, we may have finally found something in which we agree.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Spurred by this site I have been again looking at alternative treatments for addiction and found some staggering statistics at the Harvard/Cambridge site. The statistics for repeat DUI offenders and the incidence of personality disorders, my guess brought on or made more acute by drinking/drugging and to think of how many times I’ve heard “just work the steps” make me nauseated.
My personal experience with the thing; My last D.U.I. was back in about 1986. With my lawyer doing his thing, I cannot remember exactly when I got the thing. All I know is that I quit drinking booze during my Christmas break in my first semester in college back in 1984/85 and after some months, I started drinking again. In two weeks time, I was drinking all night long at a party near Longmont Colorado and on into the next morning. The cops showed up and asked for park passes and I thought I should just boogie… as I was driving on a red license. So… I decided to just boogie. Everything was fine… till I tried to take a dirt road turn at 60. I crashed into the ditch and laid there in disgust…and off to jail.
As a teenager, not even 20 years old yet, I was facing my second D.U.I. charge and I felt like a real piece of whale crap. I managed to serve my sentencing and do a lot of court suggested remedies… like Level 2 education and therapy, antabuse… I don’t remember going to A.A. on the first go around.
My first D.U.I. came when I wrecked my 1st car during that Christmas Break after leaving a party where we played this game called Pass Out. I met a girl there. Remember making out with her… remember her being cute, don’t know why I was driving down Conifer and onto Broadway in front of Spedding Chevrolet taking that intersection at about 50. I slid into the median. It was 2:30 am so not much traffic. Cops took me to detox and that turned into my first treatment center, then… I met my first girlfriend in detox. She was 26 and had a Camaro… and the Playboy channel! Seriously. I hung out with her in her bedroom for about 4 months, then went back to college.
Sober for almost 8 months I think, but did all the good drugs. We did a couple of A.A. meetings together the first week out of treatment but I was 18 and all I remember was some crusty old-timers at Vitality and I didn’t “feel a connection.” It just didn’t “resonate” with me… this A.A. thing. I had read the Big Book though… while I was in treatment.
So… after the second D.U.I., I would go on and battle with booze…quit, start again. I had a summer job with a fence company and that’s where I got my nickname… McGowdog… and we’d go to the bar sometimes after work… or just drink right there on the lawn out front. I met a girl. She was nice. After about 6 weeks, she told me, “You drink too much.” I quit drinking and she left me for some other guy.
Then girl #2 comes along. We hit it off. I went to her home… where she roomed with 3 other college girls. I asked her if I could drink. She said go ahead. Later that night, we played Pass out. I woke up in the morning on her couch… had pissed my pants. Flipped the cushions over, went into her room and said, “I’m sorry!” She said “Why?” I said, “I’ve got to go to work!” She said, “Can you come back tonight?” I married her.
Then after a couple of years of living the high life, we went up gambling in Black Hawk/Central City. When we were leaving, my friend had to puke, so I pulled over. Cops pulled in behind me. Arrested me for D.U.I. My lawyer found a loophole and I got off. I didn’t even wreck my car this time. I considered that “lack of probable cause”. MADD would prove otherwise. But they slapped an alcohol eval on me… and guess what? A.A. meetings. Level II education and therapy too. I told my therapist that I didn’t want to do therapy with a bunch of half-assed drunks who didn’t want to get sober anyway. Told her I was doing A.A. and really wanted to get and stay sober for good. She said, “What do you suggest?” I said “One-on one therapy”. She bought it. I was done after 5 weeks. I remembered her from 7 years prior too.
So… out came my 10 year old Big Book and off to A.A.
After about 20 months of being sober, she divorced me. Surprise surprise.
I have not gotten a D.U.I since. I drank on and off for the next 10 years after that, but no drinking and driving. Sober for the longest stretch in my life at almost 6 years now in A.A., So… how did A.A. fail me?
Maybe the first step mtgs should include the “suggestion” to get a full physical and a complete psychiatric evaluation – the incidence in females according to the statistics are very alarming (I am a father and compassionate human being) what AA does to females according to these studies by not alerting them of the high probability of personality disorders should be criminal. And all these so called mental health professionals who are in the program not alerting us all to these probability is and should be civilly punishable.
I don’t get ya.
A.A. came along because nothing at the time was working to get drunks sober. Nobody wanted to even work with drunks back then. The professional community was frustrated with these guys. A.A. came about because nothing else was working. A.A. exists today because nothing else works with drunks. Has our wonderful medical fraternity done much in 70 years? Solved the common cold? The flu? Cancer? No! In fact, we’ve invented a few diseases along the way! A.A. is in and of itself sufficient.
The 12 Steps are THE A.A. program and A.A. is in and of itself complete. An alcoholic need go no further than the Big Book to get and stay sober and to plot out a life that is complete and whole. When I incorporate these principles into my life, I get what I need and then I realize that what I needed is what I wanted all along.
A.A. is where the clergymen come to find God's help to stay sober, where the psychologists and psychiatrists come to find the kind of group therapy that will bring sobriety and order to their lives.
A.A. came about because everything everybody was trying to do to get the alcoholic sober was not working. A.A. was born and alcoholics got sober. A.A. still exists today because it's still the only thing that works for alcoholics. Now... some alcoholics don't get it or do it or what ever... they may be cannots or willnots or whatever... and they drink and they die. But do a set of steps... all 12 of them, and we can rap about this. Alcoholics do die! That may bother some of you. We all die. Except for Enoch. Get over it.
This talk of 5% or whatever... Penn and Teller bullshit. I love the show as entertainment... but those guys are retarded mystics at best. Magicians who know a few card tricks.
Let's read what this book I don't like much says... the 12 & 12;
"A.A.'s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole."
It’s not that the professional community doesn’t know anything. They do. But they know far too many things that are just not true… for the alcoholic. For me.
Dorothea Brande’s “Wake up and live”… she talks about “Act as if it’s impossible to fail.”
Oh yeah? Try that when you’ve got the dry heaves.
It’s ridiculous if not malicious to say surrendering these real diseases to a power, any power other a medical professional and getting positive results, will get you better. Yeah i got a broken leg and you want me to keep working steps one tow and three and its my own fault i keep falling. So keep coming back. You don’t need a doctor we’ll love to health. F that! You steppers defending this shit should be held financially responsible and make amends immediately for all the shit you’ve spewed to me in that than thou attitude in 7-8 yrs of mtg makers make it crap.
Ah… idiot! Alcoholism is NOT a disease! You were duped by Middle of the Road (MOTR) bullshit meetings! That’s what I’m here for! I will fix this industry and have it shitting you Tiffany cufflinks very soon.
Here’s the best part the f**kers that are so so sober and brainwashed end up in traditions mtg and big book studies discussing the intricacies of Bill’s beautiful literary style and the holy light which shines through the words they so artfully craft to blame be for being mentally ill, making me rework steps which have NOTHING TO DO WITH GETTING drugs out of my life and that it is my fault i can’t cure me through God. Blow me.
I was at the weekly traditions mtg last night and there was the sponsor i had just fired for telling me i just gotta have FAITH! I was dressed much more nicely than normal because i decided to manage my own life, by getting out of a sh!#hole job (7yrs) which when told the dozen or so sponsors have told me to quit being ungrateful and just hang on, and had a job interview with a very nice company for a bit less money but where they actually GREAT health benefits. He looked very disappointed and said very few words to me. Its like they need my constant remissions to valid themselves. And have almost always had this feeling when working with sponsors that I was more or less canon fodder for THEIR sobriety. You know he had NOT ONE word of encourage me nor any concern of the last weekend where i was suppose to call him twice a day…my youngest daughter stole my phone and promptly lost it. Yeah, real concern there huh?
Blah blah blah! For one thing, I don't believe in sponsors. Just do the steps. You need to share the 5th step with someone... if you find someone to "swap" 5th steps with, then you're even. We just do steps and the traditions long form in my group. We meet once a week and that’s it! Do a set of steps in 90 days and spend the rest of the year in 10, 11, and 12. Most people in A.A. do not do the steps but love to “Just go to meetings” and “just don’t drink” and when you imply that they are idiots and complicating the deal they get angry and defend. It’s just easier to do the work and don’t make it more than it is.
Thanks speed and agent orange for showing me a valid statistically proven path back to taking responsibility for my own life and quit buying into this flipping confession thing if my mentally disorders take me out for a couple quick hits every six months or so. At least now i have some tools to go to the medical professional who i have found to be more helpful than a dozen or more 20+ year AA god freaks.
So my goal is now to attend very few mtgs and mention these valid statistics and to verbally kick the shit of the freaks who tell first-timers to just keep coming back and read the doctors opinion every fng night.
That sounds nice. Why go at all? You getting those papers signed or something?
Basically who pays the price if I go out, me. Who pays the price if they are all full of shite-me. Not anymore by golly.
By gosh and by golly.
And do wish to be held accountable for all my actions and do feel a bit bad for not finding you all sooner, and i feel really bad because AA does a real awful disservice to woman and for the they should be responsible and the hand of AA should be duly slapped the f**k outta!!Thanks speedy and co!
I’m sure that these women need your defending. Are alcoholic women more prone to being taken advantage of than any other group of women? I don’t understand what you’re saying here.
Oh also, I do feel I have a duty to go to mtgs just to help folks like myself. Maybe that’s stupid but finding people like you all and my new mentor who finds all these things I’ve learned very interesting and tells me just try to be a nice person when and that you can go to too many mtgs and why don’t you stand up and tell these folks the way you see it because he sure does appreciate the new research and information.
Because i do feel life is about realizing our interdependence and having a good laugh at my expense and at yours while not humiliating others to find my humility. And being comfortable and the freedom to show alternative ways to get and stay happy and not use and have to feel i need to report in just to stay alive especially not a f***in day at a time. It really kicks me to see someone like Darren Littlejohn, a Buddhist, or Kevin Wallace , stand up and give me permission to have the consequences of my own actions and then show me how the twelve steps apply to Buddhism. Talk about grasping and clinging!!
What's this talk about humility? Isn't that where you shamefully say beautiful things about yourself? I'd give my Humility Speech, but there aren't enough people here to make it worth my while.
Sit with that brainwashed f****rs your as bad as all those counselors in AA that eat up the riches of my toils and then point to me as being the problem and spreading the disease, what the f is that? BE ACCOUNTABLE! You have a greater DUTY TO BE HONEST if you advertise yourselves to be Buddhist , or spiritual counselor, and sell books – you have a duty to be completely informed otherwise YOUR SPREADING SHIT!
Wow I got an opinion and am expressing it! My very own opinion- YEAH!
You sound like you’ve been a victim of a bad group or a bunch of bad A.A. Paul Martin, God rest his soul, is a guy from Chicago who did much work in Alaska, Iceland, etc. He didn’t get to many meetings. He had a book though, and stayed sober, complete and whole by doing those 12 steps repeatedly… as in yearly. He would later advocate swapping 5th steps. His group was very orthodox and fundamental like ours and very effective. I say, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It’s not what people know about the 12 Steps that’s damaging to drunks. Its all the other stuff that gets added.
There. I spread my guts and my soul out for ya. Those are my truths and experiences. If I never ever get another D.U.I or D.W.A.I., that buck in the basket once per week will be mighty worth it.