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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Is A.A. controversial at the Group/meeting level or just on the internet?

This is a topic that I'd seen recently develop on a recovery forum.
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It's been my experience, currently and long-term, that A.A. has none of the controversy that I see discussed on the internet.
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Court-slips, I've posted a topic on this a few posts ago that I think answers these issues. Inside of meetings I've been to, if folks need those papers signed, we just do it. Those folks rarely seem to come back after a while. Once in a great while, someone hangs around and of those, some become the next sober miracle.
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God, not-God, religion, cult, etc. These topics seem to be more of an internal thing that individuals are able to hash out for themselves in f2f (face-to-face) meetings, but this is an ongoing battle field for the A.A. detractors.
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Identification, aka Step 1. This in my mind is the single-most downfall of most meetings/groups I've been to. If you're not clear on the first step, what it is to be a real alcoholic, and a subsequent decision to do A.A. or not do A.A. as outlined in our book, then meetings/groups just leave themselves open to what many of our detractors find to be wrong with A.A. Now, on the other hand, a good group who can point you to finding out if you're real alky or not and get you to the decision of whether to do A.A. or not, can do some real good for A.A. as a whole and will form a meeting place/group that will thrive.
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The second step. What about God? What about atheists, agnostics, Christians, Spiritual but not religious people? This to me has always always been an internal battle. I've many times gone to folks in A.A. for guidance on this. I've begged folks to tell me the answers. What is it? Is this church? Is God this or that? What's your concept of God? Can I get to a place where I can find this God y'all speak of? Why church? Why not church? What does the book say? Oh yeah. Deep down within all of us is the fundamental idea of God. Just become willing. Seek. Can I do religion and A.A.? Do I need both? Do I need one or the other. In any case, this battle is between my ears and no one elses. That's my experience within A.A. Only on the internet do they, the detractors, make this another battle ground and reason to hate A.A.
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Third Step. Just a decision. This is what makes us immune to a lot of the crap that our detractors try to hang us for. Turning my will and life over to God is NOT ducking responsibility. It's quite the opposite. And I DO decide. I have to decide for myself if I need this and if I will do this. Do I need God? Can I keep myself sober without God. Can I be free of selfishness and can I manage my own life successfully without God? If so, then don't do A.A. Period. It's not as if we don't look at the option. I was not coerced into, hustled into, conned into A.A. What about you?
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Four through nine. Anti/XAers don't know shit about the middle-work and it's evident to me. This is how I can spot them a mile away. You can't bullshit yourself into this. Knowledge about the steps is the stuff MOTR is made of. We that have done the work can just spot it instantly. If our detractors had actual experience in the middle-work they wouldn't be detractors. They would have gotten this and wouldn't be bitching, pissing, nor moaning about it all. That's what I think.
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10, 11, and 12, a direct result of 1-9. It can be disected, lampooned, shot-down, mocked, etc. But these are the fruits of our labor.
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Traditions and Concepts, our detractors have tried to pry our stated purpose apart with these very spiritual concepts, saying we use them to duck responsibility, protect ourselves, etc. It's my understanding and experience that if A.A. is going to be taken down, it will come from within, not without. Only we can damage ourselves. But the mere practice of these principles work to keep us from "Lousing this thing up" as Dr Bob would say.

9 comments:

  1. The last Tri-Annual from GSO that I saw indicates that about 10% of the folks in AA were first introduced via the courts etc. That doesn't mean that they came and kept coming back, but merely that they found out about the program because they were "forced" to go to meetings.

    I sign slips when asked, but don't give a shit one way or the other. If the people with the slips were half-way smart, they'd find that they could have anyone sign the slips w/o having to go to meetings. Not my problem, I don't work for the Courts.

    I agree with you, Dog, that the controversy about AA seems confined to the internet. I've never encountered it anywhere else, never found a schedule of anti-AA meetings anywhere.

    The first 3 steps separate the men from the boys, so to speak. If you really want this, then the steps don't really present a big obstacle. The second and third don't have to be perfect; you can always go back and refine them.

    I know a lot of people who had problems with the 2nd step in particular. But they didn't get wrapped around the axle about it. They moved on, doing the best they can.

    You're right. The anti's will focus on the first 3 steps as they're pretty intangible. It's easy to attack something that can't be grasped, that focuses on the inner workings of one's belief and values system. Sort of like saying "I'm not drinking better than you're not drinking".

    But as I've been saying for years, let the anti's rant if they will. Who gives a shit? We don't attract by promotion; they try to. Who lasts and who doesn't? Stinkin' Thinkin' flamed out. Dunno about Agent Orange and the rest, don't really care.

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  2. Anti A.A.meetings, that's pretty fucking funny. I would go.

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  3. I hope this is relevant.
    I wonder who it was in AA who started that saying "take what you want and leave the rest".
    For example, there are without doubt AA members here in Australia who talk about getting sober on just the first step or say it was more certain people in the AA fellowship rather than the AA program that got them sober.

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  4. I first worked my way through all 12 steps back in 2004 while in a 10 months rehab after spending 6 months in jail.
    Then after that I had a parole officer who was anti AA and wanted me at SMART.
    Then later I was put on to the orange papers.
    Then after that I came back to the AA and NA way.

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  5. There are a lot of people in A.A. who don't do A.A. And they are very vocal.

    Oh, and they hate me.

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  6. Sorry if I am commenting too much here but anti AA is getting bigger here in Australia from what I have seen in the last 10 years with some rehabs and counsellor preferring the CBT approach, for example, than a 12 step approach. Also I have seen certain AA groups shrink around here from about 20 to 30 people to less than 10 people.

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    Replies
    1. The thing most counselors who don't like AA is that they don't make any money if you go to an AA meeting.

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  7. That is true of some counsellor s, Joe.
    There are also those who are automatically opposed to AA because of the God and spirituality aspects.

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