What does A
AA AS NOBODY SEES IT
People have praised AA for being a model organization, because it does not seem to be not money hungry, but instead helps people overcome their problems. But inquiring minds want to know why Rotary International, Lions, or Toastmasters International, and other service groups do not revamp their organizations and copy the AA model. Why do not these worthy organizations adopt the highly esteemed way that AA seems to conducts its affairs?
AA says that its objectives are “Unity, Service, and Sobriety”. However, after a careful study of the A.A. slogans reveal that it is an organization that is ambivalent about everything. In fact, AA employs a sense of relativism in its actions. For example, AA prides itself on being the premier group for helping people to stop drinking. But it remains wedded to a Big Book written in the 1930s, and disregards other more modern methods.
AND NOW FOR THE LETTER `A'
AA = Absolute Abstinence
AA = Adventurers Anonymous
AA = Altered Attitudes
AA = Altruistic action
AA = Attitude Adjustment
AA = Avoid Anger
AA = Acknowledge Acceptance
AA = Alive Again
These definitions of AA tell you nothing and everything about AA. You abstain absolutely; not just a little bit but totally and completely. You go on adventures, but are not told what type of adventures. You alter your attitudes and become altruistic. Does this sound like a group that is interested in helping drinkers? Only in the slogan of “Absolute Abstinence”, do you get a hint at what A.A. may be about.
ALCOHOLICS = A Life Centered On Helping Others Live In Complete Sobriety
ANONYMOUS = Actions Not Our Names Yield Maintenance Of Unity and Service
These two slogans explain further AA's goals for its members. Complete Sobriety defined as Unity and Service. When a person ponders these slogans, they understand what AA is really about: lifetime membership and recruitment. The individual is absorbed into the group unity to order to serve AA.
How to Succeed in Business the AA Way
If you want to drink - that is your business
If you want to quit - that is AA's business.
WHY = We'll Help You
A treatment center is where you go and pay $15000 to find out AA meetings are free.
How is my desire to quit drinking, AA's business? Moreover, why should it be AA's business? The subtext of “WHY” is carry the message of AA to the “still suffering drunk”. AA exists through the efforts of recruiting drinkers, and keeping them in AA.
AA members strive to separate what they do from treatment centers. However, this is a false split. About one-third of AA's membership is pipelined through treatment centers. AA's big secret is that the treatment centers are populated by staff members, who belong to and promote AA's Program.
Confused. Never Mind
AA is an education without graduation
AA is a school in which we are all learners and all teachers
I have become a pupil of AA rather than the teacher that I thought I was.
AA may not solve all your problems but it is willing to share them.
AA is a lifestyle, not a turnstile.
AA is the easier, softer way.
AA is not a sentence; it is a reprieve.
AA won't open the gates of heaven to let you in, but it will open the gates of hell to let you out.
AA is the last stop on the train.
Life is a roller coaster, so hang on to the safety bar of A.A.
What is AA? According to these slogans, no one truly knows. AA doesn't solve problems even though it claims to be the “last stop on the train” (before death). The “easier softer way” is debunked in AA's Big Book as being evil. The notion of a “sentence versus a reprieve” contradicts “lifestyle versus turnstile”. “Getting of Hell” is the opposite of receiving an “Education without graduation”. Confused about what AA is? So are the members.
WILSON'S THREE LEGACYS: INSANITY, INANITY, SLAVERY
One of the founders of AA, Bill Wilson was a prolific writer, who the members quote frequently as the final authority. However, many readers find Wilson's writing is obtuse and vague. Using colorful and melodramatic language, Wilson hides his lack of intellect and logic behind seemingly profound sounding sentences. He piles on sentence fragments in search of a verb, stringing words together looking for a clear thought.
A critical reader will find many logical fallacies and deliberate misrepresentations in his writings. Moreover, Wilson's constant use of religious language demonstrates his worldview of a war of Good between Evil. The main themes in his writing are (1) alcoholism is the Original Sin; (2) Fallen Man cannot save himself; (3) only God can achieve the impossible. Wilson usually concludes with God revealed His Truths to him and as God's Chosen, only he can govern AA.
Impossible, Impossible, Inane
Bill Wilson wrote a piece on what he considered AA to be. He starts out, “The three legacies of AA - recovery, unity and service - in a sense represent three impossibilities, impossibilities that we know became possible, and possibilities that have now borne this unbelievable fruit.”
With “impossibilities”, Wilson sets up his major premises for AA. Organizing pitiful drunks is like herding cats. Without God's intervention and Wilson's powers, AA would not be. The melodrama of impossibilities becoming possible leads the reader on to expect a miracle.
Wilson continues, “Old Fitzmayo, one of the early AA's and I visited the Surgeon General of the United States in the third year of this society and told him of our beginnings. He was a gentle man, Dr. Lawrence Kolb, and has since become a great friend of AA. He said, "I wish you well. Even the sobriety of a few is almost a miracle. The government knows that this is one of the greatest health problems but we have considered the recovery of alcoholics so impossible that we have given up and have instead concluded that rehabilitation of narcotic addicts would be the easier job to tackle."
Wilson conflates things to show how AA is Surgeon General approved. Note that the Surgeon General does not say that A.A. works, just that he wished Wilson's group well. Furthermore, Wilson flips the notion about addicts having more trouble at stopping their habit than do drinkers. Note also, Wilson's relentless promotion of a group, which he specifically stated should not to be promoted, and his outing of a member.
Wilson writes, “Such was the devastating impossibility of our situation. Now, what has been brought to bear upon this impossibility that it has become possible? First, the grace of Him who presides over all of us. Next, the cruel lash of John Barleycorn who said. "this you must do, or die." Next, the intervention of God through friends, at first a few and now legion! Who opened to us, who in the early days were uncommitted, the whole field of human ideas? Morality and religion, from which we could choose.”
In this paragraph, Wilson presents his sweeping conception of AA saving the world. What is the `devastating impossibility of our situation'? Using Wilson's logic, it is Original Sin, which represented by drinking. God is in a perpetual war with Evil, in the person of John Barleycorn. After God revealed his truths to Wilson, God commissioned him to fight Evil, through the sobering up of drunks. In Wilson's worldview, he was the lynchpin for saving humanity with his 12 Steps and Traditions. AA was removing people's sins.
He continues, “These have been the wellsprings of the forces and ideas and emotions and spirit which were first fused into our Twelve Steps for recovery. Some of us act well, but no sooner had a few got sober than the old forces began to come into play in us rather frail people. They were fearsome, the old forces, the drive for money, acclaim, prestige.”
Wilson claims that people can't stop their darker urges. Since they are powerless over themselves, Evil wins out every time. According to Wilson, the drive for money, acclaim, and prestige is evidence that he is needed to govern AA. The subtext of this hateful passage, is nobody is acknowledging him as God's Chosen.
Wilson dramatically writes, “Would these forces tear us apart? Besides, we came from every walk of life. Early, we had begun to be a cross-section of all men and women, all differently conditioned, all so different and yet happily so alike in our kinship of suffering. Could we hold in unity? To those few who remain who lived in those earlier times when the Traditions were being forged in the school of hard experience on its thousands of anvils, we had our very, very dark moments.”
Translated in to plain language, Wilson fought with the others over who would run AA. He shoved them out and set things up his way. Wilson must have been furious at being to be denied his proper place as God's Chosen. Offhandedly, he admits that AA lost many members, and that it ceased to be a diverse group.
He writes, “It was sure recovery was in sight, but how could there be recovery for many? Or how could recovery endure if we were to fall into controversy and so into dissolution and decay? Well, the spirit of the Twelve Steps which have brought us release from one of the grimmest obsessions known -- obviously, this spirit and these principles of retaining grace had to be the fundamentals of our unity. But in order to become fundamental to our unity, these principles had to be spelled out as they applied to the most prominent and the most grievous of our problems.”
Wilson's use of hyperbole lays out how single minded he was, and how much of a shallow thinker he was. By using the words, “dissolution”, “decay”, “spirit”, “grace”, “grimmest”, and “grievous”, he speaks of this epic struggle in religious terms. However, all Wilson is writing about his banal fight to be the head of AA.
Fascism, Bill Wilson Style
“So, out of experience came the need to apply the spirit of our steps to our lives of working and living together. These were the forces that generated the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. But, we had to have more than cohesion. Even for survival, we had to carry the message and we had to function. In fact, that had become evident in the Twelve Steps themselves for the last one enjoins us to carry the message. But just how would we carry this message? How would we communicate, we few, with those myriad's who still don't know? And how would this communication be handled? How could we do these things? How could we authorize these things in such a way that in this new, hot focus of effort and ego that we would not again be shattered by the forces that had once ruined our lives?”
Harping on his experiences as ours, Wilson continues in his dark view of the world. He glories in the titanic struggle as the general of good against the foes of evil. Wilson, subtly, suggests that opposing him is evil. Defining service as recruiting members and maintaining the group, he neglects the greater community that AA members live in.
Wilson was actually the one who wanted the money and prestige that heading AA would bring.
Wilson ends with, “This was the problem of the Third Legacy. From the vital Twelfth Step call right up through our society to its culmination today. And, again, many of us said: "This can't be done. It's all very well for Bill and Bob and a few friends to set up a Board of Trustees and to provide us with some literature, and look after our public relations and do all of those chores for us that we can't do for ourselves. This is fine, but we can't go any further than that. This is a job for our elders, for our parents. In this direction only, can there be simplicity and security.”
With melodrama and nonsense, Wilson takes something very simple and inflates it into the greatest things. Also, the paragraphs give voice to Wilson's hidden agenda: only he can led. He repeats again that drunks are children. Only their elders (i.e. Wilson and his cohorts) can take care of them. In essence, AA is a pyramid with Wilson and his friends with “TIME” at the top.
STRANGERS IN PARADISE-LITE
AA is the only place where you can walk into a room full of strangers and reminisce.
We have everyone in AA, from Yale to jail.
We're here for a reason - not for the season.
In AA, there are no losers - just slow winners.
Being a part of something is more important than being the center of attention.
These slogans reflect Bill Wilson's attitudes about people. First, everyone is the same in their drinking. Secondly, drunks are losers, who want to be the center of attention. However that excludes the solitary drinker and the social drinker celebrating with his friends at a bar. By making everyone's experiences the same, AA achieves uniformity from its membership.
We are not God's gift to AA; AA is God's gift to us.
Anytime two or three alcoholics gather together in sobriety may call themselves an AA group.
These two slogans spell out the religious aspects of AA, with the subtext of Wilson's God-given Program. In practical terms, AA preaches faith healing instead of medical help. The second, a paraphrase of Christ's words to his followers, casts members as religious disciples of the Program
You're Screwed by AA's Logic
We come to these rooms not because we drank a lot, but because we drank too much.
If 2 million plus recovering alcoholics are wrong, then I'm screwed.
These two slogans use faulty logic to get their points across. The first one does not define “a lot” or “too much”. “A lot” is the man quietly drinking a case of beer while watching a baseball game in his home. “Too much” is the same man driving after the game and getting caught. The “a lot” and “too much” sets up the false dichotomy between “hard drinkers” and “alcoholics”. This split allows AA members to say that they have the “fatal disease of alcoholism”. In addition, it offers an easy explanation as to why the AA Program does not work for so many people. They are not “alcoholics” but only “hard drinkers”. By loading the language, AA also encourages its members to feel “chosen” by God.
The number two million in the second slogan gives the impression of a great number. It is to emphasize that AA is universal. However, two million is less than one percent of U.S. population, and a miniscule of world population. When properly compared to other organizations, populations, or diseases, 2 million does not seem such an impressive number. Contrast that number with this: UNAIDS estimates that about 2.9 million adults and children died of AIDS in 2003, and that the number of children orphaned by the disease rose from 11.5 million in 2001 to 15.0 million in 2003.
The logic of the second slogan is that (one) there are 2 million plus recovering alcoholics, (two) they are all in agreement, and (three) they are right. This is bizarre reasoning. If the reader parses the logic, then obviously the members have doubts but are afraid to express them. The slogan hints at trouble in AA paradise. Members have self-doubts about the Program, which is supposed to be such a roaring success. The reader is left wondering if the slogan exists to reassure the members that the AA Program works, in spite of evidence that it doesn't.
SHAME ON YOU - AA IN ACTION
Other service organizations such as Rotary International have very few problems with their members' behavior. They expect their members to act appropriately since they are the organization's representatives to the greater community. Rotary International (RI) operates on the premise since their members are well-known in their own communities; the more accountable they are to RI.
Since AA prefers that its members to be unknown in their communities, a sense of secrecy and paranoia permeates the organization. Because of this perverse atmosphere, harm ensues. One AA member may `out' another for spite or for their `fifteen minutes of fame'. Furthermore, one of the tasks of the AA member is to recruit new people, so does anyone know whether they are being groomed for potential membership? How do ordinary citizens know whether the judge or elected official is implementing the will of the people or the AA agenda? Lastly, how does a person seeking help for their problems know if their therapist or social worker is also a member of AA?
Become One with the Collective
The second A is AA precious; it is the word in our name that sets us apart from all other alcoholics.
Who you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here.
What you hear and see here, stays here.
Respect the anonymity of others.
Anonymity is so important it's half of our name.
Another friend of Bill W.
Why does AA need these slogans to tell its members to behave? Because AA has no formal system of accountability, it feebly reminds people to do the right thing. In fact, AA expects the worst from its members, and does nothing to prevent their abusive activities. For example, members warn new people of “Thirteen Stepping”, which is an older member grooming a newer member for sex. However, little is done to prevent this abuse from happening or punishing the offending member.
An AA group will be judged by the worst behavior of members.
When you clean up after your group, you leave the signature of AA behind you.
The individual AA group uses the `group conscience' to coerce good behavior from its members. Of course, people will judge a group by its worst members. But, why state the obvious? Since AA members refer to themselves as “drunks”, they expect other members to act as unruly children. (One slogan defines an alcoholic as a “piece of crap the universe revolves around”.) Since the AA group is anonymous, no one outside the group will know who did what. Within the group, people are shamed into acting according to the group's norms. Holding everyone accountable only to the AA group is a subtle form of mind control, one sign of a cult.
One iron fast rule is that the sanctity of being anonymous remains supreme. Newspapers have reported troubles when a member confessed to murder at a meeting or to a sponsor. When another member went to the police, that member was chastised, but not the perpetrator. Instead the perpetrator was excused for the crime he committed.
It's Alcoholics Anonymo-us, not anonymo-me
Once more, AA calls for the individual to give their self up to the whole. As they are assumed into the Collective, the needs of the individual are neglected. Loyalty to the AA home group and AA as a whole is stressed over any other loyalties. This translates in forcing the member to choose between their outside life and the AA group. An example of this attitude is the slogan, “A job happens to you on the way to a meeting”.
Go Forth, Angry AA Member, and Form More Groups
Principles before personalities.
We are all called to unity, not uniformity
Remember Rule 62 (don't take yourself so darn seriously)!
In AA, it doesn't matter who is right - only who is left.
AA Members: Frequently wrong, but rarely in doubt.
Used as thought stoppers, this group of slogans is often employed to squash dissent. When a member has a grievance, they are told they are putting `personalities before principles'. Within the AA group, there are no means to redress wrongs. Instead discussion is shut down, reflecting Wilson's view of `drunks' as spoiled babies, who want only their way. By assuming that they are immature twits, these slogans subtly insult the average member. (“The three most dangerous words for an alcoholic is `I've been thinking'.”)
All you need to start your own A.A. meeting is a resentment and a coffee pot.
Webster Dictionary's definition of resentments is “a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury”. AA transforms the concept of resentments into a fetish. Any disputes, disagreements, questions, or misunderstandings of authority are labeled “resentments”. Moreover, the Big Book of AA says that holding resentments will lead to drunkenness and death. (“Resentment is a cup of poison we pour for our enemy and drink ourselves.”)
Although AA teaches that resentments are evil, the organization encourages them in order to promote the spread of AA groups. A major driving force for forming new groups in AA is disagreements. Instead of enforcing rules that govern the relations of individuals to groups or groups to groups, AA expects its members to hive off and form their own meetings. By encouraging people to be angry at a particular group, new AA groups proliferate, thereby expanding AA, as a whole. As the communities become saturated with AA groups, a milieu for the member to live in the Program becomes a reality. The member needs not to separate themselves from AA, but instead has their daily choice of groups to attend, further separating them from their community.
Since AA assumes that everyone drinks coffee, we must have that coffee pot. Is this another way to promote uniformity? Why not start a dinner meeting? Many AA members are reluctant to spend money, and prefer the free coffee at meetings. Why serve refreshments at all? Serving refreshments makes the meeting a social event. Once people bind socially with each other, they will be more reluctant to leave the group. Another AA slogan encourages people to come for the “meeting before the meeting”, and stay for the “meeting after the meeting”. By establishing social relationships in the AA groups, people come to believe that the group is their second family.
No Leaders Need Apply
We take no positions on outside issues, so I have no political opinions.
Just be on the side of the Angels, it doesn't matter what rank you are.
I grouped these two together because one explains the other. People in AA are not supposed to be involved in community matters. “Being on the side of angels” is code for “contribute to the greater good by only being an AA member”. A member is urged to “be above politics and go about God's business.” Becoming active in politics is discouraged for it means time away from AA meetings. A member, involved in politics, will spend more time in their community, and build their leadership skills. These two slogans nip that leadership impulse in the bud. It is yet another legacy of Wilson's desire to dominate AA completely. Anyone who asserts leadership is a threat to the “elder statesmen” that have TIME in AA.
The darker side of these two slogans is to cocoon the member in a pleasant haze of doing good by simply belonging to AA. The member does not need to think about the greater world or even the community he lives in. Only AA activities, such as recruitment and maintaining the AA home group, matter. They term these activities as “service work or carrying the message of hope”. Volunteerism, the social glue of communities, is subtly discouraged in AA. Instead the AA group expects its members to solely devote themselves to AA service work.
It is always easier to take somebody else's inventory.
Taking others' inventories: you spot it, you got it.
Take other people's inventory until you can take your own.
Keep the focus on yourself.
In AA speak, `taking an inventory' means listing your character flaws. The inventory is a list of personal sins. Harping on the character flaws of others causes resentments, which leads to drinking. By enforcing unity, the slogans keep the focus off the leaders. In AA, boldness is actively discouraged by the leaders, i.e. “old timers”, who browbeat people into passivity. By convincing new people that they are horribly defective, the “old timers” keep everyone in line.
Make Coffee, Get Sober
ABC = Acceptance, Belief, Change
ABC = Ashtrays, Brooms, Coffee
ABC = Ashtrays, Brooms, Chairs
Since ABC is the abbreviation for Alcohol Beverage Control stores in many U.S. states, the subtext of these slogans is directed towards drinkers. AA assumes that everyone smokes at meetings. Moreover, since they are slobs, members must be constantly reminded to clean up after themselves. This begs the question, if the members have worked on their character flaws, would they not desire to keep their meeting places clean? By doing busy work, a person will credit AA with their lack of drinking, and will convert to the AA stealth religion.
If you want to stay sober, make the coffee.
Stand by the coffee pots; it is a good way to meet people.
Coffee makers make it.
If all you do is got to meetings and sit on your ass, all you're going to get is a sore ass.
WORK = What Our Recovery Knows
Adding these slogans with the `ABC' ones enforces the norm that members must serve the home group. Moreover, they make silly correspondences -- if I make coffee, I will stay sober. If I make tea, do I stay sober? The subtext is “if I do service work, I remain sober”. AA defines as service work: to make the coffee, sponsor new people, recruit others to AA, and distribute AA tracts. AA tells its members that by doing these menial chores, they are saving lives. Contrast this with the Lions who collect eyeglasses for the poor, Rotary International who sponsors cultural exchanges, and Boy Scouts who clean up city parks.
AA camouflages its busy work as serious lifesaving work. “Helping the still suffering alcoholic” is the guise that AA calls this labor. Members are told by their sponsors and “old timers” to do this or get drunk (i.e. die). Between implied death threats and convincing the members that they are saving lives, AA ensures a permanent pool of volunteers to keep it alive and well. Free labor is what AA service work is really about.
Get Stupid to Become Smart
AA is a self-help program, but you can't do it yourself.
Have you seen my Ph.D: Poor Helpless Drunk?
PhD = Pretty Heavy Drinker
We are not reformed drunks - but informed alcoholics.
WETSU = We Eat This Stuff Up
TIME = This is My Education.
This group of slogans demonstrates the cult-like aspects of AA. First the member's perceptions is negated by manipulating the language. What is a self-help program, which a person can't do by themselves? Then the member's education and knowledge is denigrated. AA equates getting a doctorial degree with heavy drinking. Afterwards, the member is informed that only what they are taught in AA matters. TIME baldly states that only AA's teachings matters. By using code words, AA separates their members from other people. Try communicating with non-members about WETSU.
Note how AA shifts the language from `reformed drunks' to `informed alcoholics'. This negates people's own efforts to stop drinking. Moreover, it introduces people to the disease concept of alcoholism. After making coffee, bringing in new members, cleaning up your messes, and becoming assimilated in to the AA group, you are no longer a reformed drunk but an informed alcoholic. The use of the term `reformed drunk' is to insult those who stopped drinking without the help of AA.
There are only two sins: to stand in the way of someone else's growth, or to stand in the way of your own.
This is a selfish program
It isn't “me” and “you” anymore; it's “we” and “us”.
This is a `One Day at a Time” program. If you are sober today, you are tied for first place in AA.
These slogans detail AA thinking. The religious aspects of sin are tied to human potential. While sin becomes something venial, `growth' is sanctified. The selfish program demands allegiance of the members. In meetings, members are told to put their sobriety first i.e. attend daily meetings, spend time with other AA members, less time with family and friends. The subtle messages implied in these are (one) only the AA group matters, (two) no one ever leaves, and (three) many are expected to relapse.
So Much for Cleaning Up Messes
We in AA don't carry the alcoholic; we carry the message.
Carry the message, not the mess
Take the mess to your sponsor, the message to the meeting.
TRY = Take Recovery with You
START = Start Taking About Recovery Together
What is the mess that these slogans are referring to? The mess is the problems that the members have. But isn't the whole purpose of the Program to rehabilitate people with the help of others? In these slogans, AA plays a slight-of-hand about the purpose of their meetings. Now, meetings are no longer the places where people talk about their problems. Then, what are meetings for? They exist to indoctrinate people in the AA religion. Members testify to the AA way of life.
The subtext of these slogans says AA doesn't care about individuals. Putting it baldly, AA doesn't give a `rat's behind' about the suffering individual alcoholic. Members are only symbols, inflatable dolls to be trotted out when needed. AA is not about helping people. It is only wants converts to carry the message -- AA works. On further investigation, these slogans are damning to AA's image of helping people to stop drinking.
Ask Me if I Really Care
CANT=Caring About Nobody Today
CANT=Career of Aptitude Normalizing Today
CRAP = Carrying Resentments About People
CARE = Comfort and Reassuring Each Other
These slogans conflate being unable to do something with not caring. They also mortify the member into caring about others. The second alludes to AA training and education because it equates doing something with changing their aptitudes (attitudes). But the logic is nonexistent. Consider the following: I am deaf. Since I can't hear, I do not care about anyone today. I must change my attitude because I can't hear. Because of my deafness, I carry resentments about other people, and I just don't care.
Where is Henry Stanley, Now That We Need Him?
Thoroughly have we seen a person fail who has rarely followed our path.
This is an interesting play on words from Chapter 5 of Alcoholics Anonymous - “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has not thoroughly followed our path.” One “old timer” expressed the meaning of this slogan as follows: “when we look at the track record of what works best for most, it boils down to our twelve-step programs. Taking a holistic approach to body, mind, and spirit is what our program addresses while other approaches may address only one or two aspects of our disease. Religion may only petition the spirit, while medicine treats the neuro-chemical imbalances, and psychology may concentrate on thoughts and behaviors.”
The “old timer” takes on face value the AA idea of a disease that is cunning and baffling, which we are powerless over, that we choose to have. This is sloppy and silly thinking. However, AA proves through repetition and rote memory that the members will take as fact illogical ideas. In AA language, `disease' is sin and, `path' is religion.
CHIPS = Clean Happy Individuals Praising Sobriety
CHIPS = Challenging His Inner Peace and Sobriety
SOBRIETY = Staying Off Booze, Recovery Is Everything To You.
SOBER = Staying Off Booze, Enjoying Recovery
RECOVER is surrendering to acceptance.
Recover is simple: eat, sleep, and work the steps.
RELASPE = Recovery Exits, Life and Program Seems Empty
Various dictionaries define the word sober as: (1) cause to become sober ("A sobering thought") , (2) become sober after excessive alcohol consumption ("Keep him in bed until he sobers up") , (3) become more realistic ("After thinking about the potential consequences of his plan, he sobered up") , (4) lacking brightness or color; dull ("Sober Puritan gray") and (5) dignified and somber in manner or character and committed to keeping promises ("As sober as a judge") .
What is sobriety that it has to be separate from serenity and peace? Why do AA makes a fetish out of sobriety? Sobriety, recovery, relapse are code words for sinless perfection, working towards that state, and living in a state of sin. “PROGRAM = People Relying On God Relaying A Message” says exactly what AA is all about.
SERVICE WITH NO SMILE
AA's single focus of “Unity, Recovery, and Service” to be sober deflects the true purpose of the organization, and from the faults of its leaders. As long as everyone is busy bringing in members and sweeping up, they are too busy to think about polices or problems. Therefore they do not ask pertinent questions the “old timers” or “elder statesmen”.
Groups that do require service work will inform the prospective member upfront. However, AA only tells the potential member that they will help them to stop drinking. AA convinces people that it is a free method to help them stop. Then the member is confronted with “There are no musts, but there are have tos”. (People have listed at least 85 musts from the Big Book.) The longer they remain in AA, the more pressure is put on them to bring in new people. They are pressured to man the coffee pots. Once AA has a captive audience, AA convinces members that if they don't sweep floors, they will get drunk. The threat of drunkenness and death is implied in AA's slogans concerning service work. The gradual immersion is from Wilson's “teaspoons not buckets” idea of talking about AA with prospective members. This combined with AA's encouragement of free labor are signs of a cult.
Service should come willingly, not forced. The person chose how they will service. For AA unity, doing the same service is required of everyone. On the other hand, the Boy Scouts acknowledge that their adult volunteers have different skills. Some organize pancake breakfasts while others teach knot tying. Moreover to obtain Eagle Scout rank, the Boy Scouts allow different types of community service projects
In contrast, AA turns busy work into some sort of bizarre virtue. These slogans are centered about what is expected of the member in AA. When you become enmeshed in AA, you lose your sense of perspective.
A Free Program Comes with a Price
The three T's of gratitude to repay AA for our sobriety: our time, our talent, our treasure.
What, isn't this a free Program? AA slogans kept telling everyone that. So now the members have to repay AA for their sobriety. How did AA give or sell their members `sobriety'? So what is this -- a subtle change or a subtext of how AA really works? It is definitely split thinking. So now AA is a lifetime consuming activity. People can't leave since they will lose their sobriety.
AA ties gratitude with becoming sober. The logic is that only through AA's Program can a person become sober. Since the Program is God Given, the person must be grateful to the Program, AA, and God. To show their gratitude at being delivered from Demon Rum, members must repay with their talent, time, and treasure.
This begs the question what about all the people who stopped drinking without AA. However, AA has an answer for that, those people are not `sober' but are `dry drunks'. Again AA has changed the standard dictionary definition of sobriety for its own ends. The term `dry drunk' was invented by AA to describe someone who has stopped drinking, but who still demonstrates the same alcoholic behaviors and attitudes. However, this begs the question: what are alcoholic behaviors and how do they differ from mental illness.
Stanton Peele, a noted expert on 12-step coercion wrote: “A dry drunk is one of two things in my experience. On the one hand, it is a way to denigrate those who choose a path other than AA to quit drinking. Such individuals are often accused of being "dry drunks" — the implication is, they are people who have not really dealt with their drinking problem (unlike AA members) and whose remission cannot be taken seriously.
On the other hand, AA uses the term sometimes to defend themselves against their own failures. These are people who have been through 12-step treatment and attend AA, who ostensibly are following its precepts, but who nonetheless fail. Here the implication of dry drunk is that these people only outwardly adhere to AA — but, deep down, they had not really accepted the AA worldview.”
Three A's in AA - affection (thoughtfulness), attention (listening), appreciation (gratitude).
In AA, first we remove the anesthesia; then we operate.
AA slogans are full of contradictions. Combine these together, and people are thoughtful as they remove the anesthesia and operate on the new person. Through repetition and rote memorization, members learn to accept the contradictions as part of the Program. Contradictions are sacred, they lead to the inner mysteries of the Program, that will be revealed as the member stays in the `fellowship of AA'.
AA has no fixed address; you can take it with you.
Talking about the spiritual part of the program is like talking about the wet part of the ocean.
These two slogans point out the inanities of the Program and AA. People are told to go to meetings to stop drinking. Then they are confronted with a spiritual solution to a physical problem. Finally AA ceases to be an organization but becomes something inside you. In short, AA is not a service organization but a religion. But to the hard core members, all of this makes sense.
Recover From 12 Step Madness
Recovery in AA is defined as “surrendering to acceptance”. Members recite various slogans such as: The further you are from your last drink, the closer you are to the next one. The process is perfect, let it work. Recovery is going up a down escalator. The idea behind these slogans is that people do not recover from their drinking problems. Instead, they live outside of time and space in permanent suspension. Recovery and relapse are code words for `being born again sinless' and `succumbing to sin'.
OUR = Openly Using Recovery
NORMAL = Notice ON, Recovery May Alumni Live
OUR: what does that mean? People break anonymity which is drummed into their dear little heads not to do. They are told not to talk about what happens in meetings. So exactly how do they openly use their recovery? If an AAer's membership is supposed to be unknown, then how do others know what they are doing? This does place the AA member in a quandary.
NORMAL makes no sense at all. If you are normal, how are you a recovery alumnus? This confuses two ideas and negates many others that AA dwells on. For one, many old-timers tell new members that they were never normal. Two, people do not recover, as much as they remain in recovery. Slogans that emphasize how strange members are before AA are: Alcoholic: If I could drink like a normal drinker, I'd drink all the time! It's not alcoholwasm; it's alcoholism. NORMAL directly contradicts these slogans.
Let It End With Me
Be a part of the solution, not the problem
Let it begin with me
Pass it on
These three slogans tell members, they need to pass the solution on. On the surface these are rather benign slogans. The member should not only practice the Program but also go out and witness to others. The 12th step in action. But ask deeper questions. What is the solution that AA is talking about? What happens if you don't pass it on? The subtext is that you drink. These slogans are for keep AA alive and to keep people in the cult, and emphasize cult behavior.
You can't give away what you don't have
To keep it, you have to give it away
What you receive without cost, now give without charge
Get it, give it, grow in it
The subtext is that you need to get people to join if you want to be sober. “Receive without cost” is the opposite of what AA drums in people's heads, that it costs a lot to get to AA.. The “giving without charge” is winked at, since treatment centers are big
business in where A.A. members counsel other people. Dr. Bob Smith, one of the founders, had hospital rooms dedicated to treating alcoholics. He would isolate the person, read to him the Bible, and witness how the AA Program works.
One “old timer” described it as “Now, with regard to getting `it', that so many are searching for, this definition speaks to me, `It' being the ability to live one day at a time, sober, grateful and fully alive, in the sufficiency of God's Grace, without self-destructing.” Note that he assumes that we self-destruct without the Program. Using standard AA language, he discusses `fully alive', and `sufficiency of God's Grace', which are religious terms, not secular ones.
Be as enthusiastic about aa as you were about your drinking
To be of maximum service to others.
Unity, recovery, and service.
The assumption in these slogans is that people must give all to A.A., maximum service. But how is this service defined? Is maximum service only what people do for alcoholics? Does this mean manning a soup kitchen? Picking up litter at the park? What does A.A. means by maximum service to others?
TRADITIONS=To Recover After Drinking, I'm Truly Intent on Newcomers Sharing