AA slogans condition people to turn off their minds
AA slogans condition people to turn off their minds. Don't go into your mind, you may get mugged. It goes back to the your best thinking got you here. If you are told that your thinking is not good, and told that everyone else's is better, you grow to depend on them. What amazed me was how people who conducted their lives well in many areas, would suddenly turn into to children in meetings. They would do the 'mother may I' routine. The worst when the discussion of meds came up.
"Va. Carper" <email@example.com> wrote: Some of the aa slogans were borrowed from elsewhere: just do it, first things first, think, etc. Some of these are a part of the culture, others were specific to time management. What I have noticed for some peculiar reason is how much of the slogans and the materials reflect management theories of the 1930s.
Wow, that is very interesting. And it makes good sense too, that these are business-inspired. Never thought of that. You take on the effect of the "innocent" slogans in an aa context - very insightful! Thanks,FD
Ear worms...that's a good one. Got a nasty picture in my mind of one of those hearts in a jar full of heart worms at the vet's office. Picture that in your brain, gag! Ear worms crawling around in my head for how long???? And when does it end? Oh yukky!
Very good analogy.
I always thought of it as shrapnel. It is a war zone really, in those rooms, for who will control the minds. You, or them. (In AA, it can only be one or the other, IMO)
Lots of slogans machine gunned at you day after day. You get to where you don't even hear them firing after a while, you get so conditioned to hearing it. Guess that is when common sense becomes uncommon sense".
Darn shrapnel... I am STILL it picking out after all this time. Just when I think I picked out the last piece...bummer--there's another one.
Come to think of it, I'd rather think of it as shrapnel than ear worms because I am rather visional in my thinking, ha. Not that shrapnel is a pretty mental image, but at least it's not squirmy...heh heh.
I know my life is much better...I have gotten over so much with the help of this group. But I just wonder sometimes, will the effects of this cult linger in one way or another for the rest of my life?
It's been 5ish years since I left. Sometimes I go for long times without even thinking about that life, only to realize in one way or another my thinking is still colored in certain aspects by their programming. There have been times I have thought, "All better now!!" and meant it.
Guess any part of life, good or bad leaves a mark, becomes part of the whole story, "the beautiful patchwork quilt of my life" or some such dribble.
Anyone know any "facts" on the risidual effects of being "cult"ivated"? How long do they linger if you are aware and actively seek to think your own thoughts instead of the programmed ones?
Is there a "cured" time, where it really is completely OVER? Because just physically leaving AA did not end it for me. You can leave AA and still think AA. (AA thinking IS stinkin' thinkin') Maggie, the Mandlebrot Maniac
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Va. Carper" <snork5902g@y...>
wrote: The aa slogans and repeated readings of the big book are like ear-worms. They get into the brain and pop out without you even thinking about it. As you have probably figured it out, aa is really about converting to a religion, not about stopping drinking.
The whole thing started when Wilson and group decided that the atheist guy had to believe in god. Then there was Smith on a mission to convert the miserable drinkers in his Upper Room. I think these two clowns started the whole idea of "I know best, you don't", and convinced people to play "Mother may I".
One thing that I despise about 12-step slogans is how ignorant they are. This gem came from Dr. Bob: "Camels in a caravan kneel down in the evening and the camel-driver unloads their burdens. In the morning, the camels kneel down again, and the camel-driver put the burdens back on. It's the same with prayer: we get on our knees to unload at night, and in the morning we get on our knees again. God gives us just the load we are able to carry that day."
I always objected to AA's depictions of camels and drinking. Camels store water and fat in their humps. It is how they survive. Yet aa thinks of camels in regards to drunks.
Dr. Bob's knowledge of camels was not much better either. IF THE BURDEN ON THE CAMEL IS TOO GREAT, THE CAMEL WILL REFUSE TO GET UP. Camels are great at saying "No" to an over zealous packer. They are very good at service but also very good at teaching the meaning of no. Dr. Bob doesn't include that aspect of the camel in his quote-saying. He just assumes that alcoholics are simple beasts of burdens to carry god's stuff.
Moslems regard the camel to be a gift from Allah. To them, camels are more than beasts of burdens. The camels provide for man, and man provides for the camels.
I am sorry if this seems so silly but it is important to get things right. I had a long exchange with a manatee research over folk ideas of manatees vrs. scientific behavior studies. She found the manatees that she studied to be elusive and cunning. Something
that people do not associate with manatees. They are also curious intellegent animals who like to explore. She noted this aspect of their character when studying them. I guess it is the sense of the 'other' and allowing for the 'other' to be something not you.
The things I do for this group :). I have checked a few sites that compile slogans. I went over the ones on thinking: either aa wants you to think or they don't:
Here it goes:
pro-thinking (not a very long list)
(Most of them in the context of the program means that you must think to accept the program. It is a subtle way of turning off your brain.)
Think, think, think
Keep an open mind
Descisions aren't forever
Look for the similarities rather than differences (The Law of Similiars)
Let Go of Old Ideas (In aa's case, forget what you know.)
Before engaging your mouth, put your mind in gear. (My high school science teacher said this a lot, meaning say things that bear weight. AA's case: shut up unless you speak program.)
If I think, I won't drink. If I drink, I can't think.
Minds are like parachutes -- they won't work unless they're open. (In aa's case, shut up and learn the program.)
The 7t's: Take Time to think the thing through.
(This is a devastating list. What I make of it is the self-denigrating of a person. After hearing these over and over in their various forms, you end up hating yourself. Small wonder that people want to kill themselves after sometime in the program. You tear people down to make them cogs in the aa collective.)
More will be revealed (appeal to authority)
You will intuitively know (appeal to emotion)
Sober and crazy (I HATED THIS ONE.)
It's in the book (Stop questioning)
We are all here because we are not there. (Meaning we are stupid drunks. Our brains don't work. HATED THIS ONE TOO.)
The road to sobriety is a simple journey for confused people with a complicated disease. (Don't get a big head, you stupid drunk. Alcholism is smarter than you are, stupid person.)
Bring the body, the mind will follow. (You are impaired in your thinking. Welcome to the aa collective.)
There are non too dumb for the A.A. program, but many are too smart. (Ray's unfavorite saying.)
Knowledge of the answers never made anyone slip - it was failing to practice the answers known.
Some A.A.'s are so successful that they turn out to be almost as good as they used to think they were when they were drinking. (Well, so much for self-confidence.)
The alcoholics's mind is like a bad neighborhood, don't go there alone. (Well if that doesn't strike people down, I don't know what will.)
Don't drink, don't think, don't get married. (???????)
We have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem. (We are stupid drunks.)
DOn't go in your head alone. It is a dangerous neighborhood.
AA is a simple program for complicated people. (We are stupid drunks.)
It takes time to get your brains out of hock.
AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGG. My slogan for this anti-thinking slogans. I like my head, it is a good head. It is not a dangerous place. It is a pleasant place filled with beautiful thoughts. At last I have come to the end of the god ones. think I have. There are probably more out there. I will take everyone's suggestion about checking with seesharp press. I read their submission requirements and can probably pitch a book length of "As Snork Sees It: AA Slogans Deconstructed". I'll let you know
where this all goes.
Thinking is bad for the aa member. Witness the following:
Your best thinking got you here.
-----> Meant to say that you can't think. So stop thinking, you stupid drunk.
Actually, when you *think* about it, it means that the thoughtful person wanted a solution to their problem. So they are investigating solutions. So in that repsect, it is a good thing.
"I asked my sponsor how to let go of something. He said "Don't think about it." I left happy, finally knowing how to let go. Went home, told myself I would never think about it again ... Thought about it more than ever before in my life."
------> Actually this is the classic problem in aa. If you keep thinking about not drinking, you keep thinking about drinking.
"Analysis - Paralysis"
-----> Meant to say that if you analysis you don't get to the point of using the tools to solving the problem. However, there is a spectrum of thinking. AA takes the extremes in this. Before attempting something, you have to analyze it, just to make sure that what it is is appropriate. Of course the extreme, is sitting there and doing nothing. So aa ties the idea of thinking about something to the extreme of that, without any middle.
Use, Don't Analyze
------> This is usually in regards to reading the big book. The program and the bb are full of contradictions. The only way you can get people to subscribe to the program is to stop their thinking about it. Keep saying that it is a simple program, which is false. That way people consider themselves to be stupid drunks, which is the whole point of the program.
BIG BOOK = Believing In God Beats Our Old Knowledge
------>This is why aa does not want you to think. If you are a thoughtful person, then you will not believe in God. And you certainly will not read the big book. This reminds me of Fundamental religious believers who take things literally. AA is similiar in that it requires that people stop thinking. You must not think in order to believe. This flies in the face of
thoughtful religious believers who think about their faith. Usually this deepens their faith as they come to a deeper understanding of their God. God gave people minds to use wisely and well.
From Check List for A Relapse
16. Omniscience This is an attitude that results from a combination of many of the above: you now have all the answers for yourself and others.* No one can tell you anything. You ignore suggestions or advice from others. If such is the case, relapse is imminent unless drastic changes take place. ("Omniscience' is derived from two Latin words: "Omnia Scit," meaning: "He knows it all.")
-----> This is why aa does not want people to think. They realize that once people think for themselves, they are not receptive to aa teachings or oldtimers or sponsors. In short they come to an understanding of the program that runs counter to the standard of the big book. AA regards thinkers as evil people - they become like God since they know too much.
Thinking gets in the way of the simple program. It also gets in the way of aa's "us stupid drunks". If you call people 'stupid drunks', you get them to think of themselves that way. Therefore it is easier to convince them that your method is the best one for them.
What is sad is that thoughtful people can deepen their understanding of their problem and come to a solution that fit them. They can also help others. AA doesn't seem want that.
In answer to Laura's question about "Think", It is usually printed upside down. At least the ones I have seen as a poster.
There is a difference between 'keeping an open mind' and 'keeping an open mind'. The first is in reference to new ideas. Try to listen and be receptive of the idea, without dismissing it out of hand. It is used in trying have people relate to each other in productive ways.
The second is used by manipulative people who want you to believe the snake oil they are peddling. Those people would say outrageous things. You would question them, and they would pop back with, "You are biased." No one wants to be biased, so you keep an
open mind. In aa's case, people come in with all sorts of questions. The major one being is how does a belief in god going to help me stop drinking. What does spirituality have to do with a medical disease. Then the questions progress from there. However, the
people involved with answering the questions do not wish to seem impolite. So instead of shut up you fool, they say "Keep an open mind" which in this case has the same meaning.--- Janice:
> --- In srfbrdy@a...> wrote: (snip snip)
> "There is just so much dishonesty and manipulativeness I have encountered in aa. I would have fallen for this crap when I first got into aa. I'm a pretty forthright person so I didn't expect this kind of deceitfulness from people."
> Surfbirdie - Neither did I. I was being conned all along in the expectation that if I continued to go to meetings on a daily basis and "kept an open mind", eventually I would have a religious conversion. Except for that one AA "friend", I no longer speak anyone even remotely connected with AA. Janice
Since everyone talks about how aa is spiritual but not religious, I gathered up the considerable pile of slogans about the religion of aa. It is an interesting pile of contradictions and a weird god. Here is the first of many. And we know how many that can be with religion perculating through aa.
aa won't keep you from going to hell nor is it a ticket to heaven but it will keep you sober enough for you to make up your mind which way you want to go.
aa never opened the gates of heaven to let me in, aa did open the gates of hell to let me out
aa isn't a religion, we can't open the gates of heaven and let you in, but we can open the gates of hell and let you out.
----->These three assume that there is a hell and a heaven, both not universal concepts for religons. Christianity has the fullest sense of the meaning of heaven and hell that aa is talking about. Also aa is assuming Protestant Christian doctrine in what they say. Japanese Budhists believe that when they about to die, if they call on the mercy of Buddha that they will go to a merciful place. Catholics have a middle place -- Pugatory. Also if you receive the Rite of Confession on your death bed, you will go to Heaven.
So what aa is promoting are the Protestant concepts of heaven and hell. That is a religious doctrine. Two of the statements assume that aa has the power to reprieve sinners in hell. That is another aspect of Christian religion. It is not god that reprieves sinners but aa. How does aa do that? They must have some sort of religious doctrine that states how. Spirituality does not release people from hell, a religious entity does that.
without aa, it's Amen
religion is for those who fear god, spirituality is for those who have been to hell and back.
-----> Contrast the above two. If you are not in aa, you are dead. Or if aa does not exist, you are dead. Therefore, fear aa. If you add these with the first three, then you get a picture of a group of people who assume that there is a hell and they were condemed to it. That is a pretty bleak picture and assumption. All people who enter aa are evil people deserving of hell without aa's help. Again we have an organization that condemns people to save them.
gut = god's undeniable truths
program = people relying on god relaying a message
----> So now we get to the guts of the thing. Every one sits and meditates and has god tell them what to do. What are these undeniable truths that aa promotes? If they are promoting god messages and undeniable truths, then they are a religion.
------> Well if aa is not religion, then I am a duck. Actually I really am a duck -- quack, quack, quack..... No, I am really a squirrel in a duck suit. No wait, I am a squirrel without a duck suit.
Well here are the old chestnuts of aa slogans. Things that you hear in every meeting. What do they say about god and the aa person's relationship to this god.
let go and let god
let go or get dragged
turn it over
if you turn it over and don't let go of it, you will be turned upside down.
-----> These are the standards of aa - let go etc. What are the consquences of hanging on, you get dragged or turned upside down.
First off 'letting go' need to be defined. For example -- abolishing slavery in the United States. If people let go and let god, then would we still have slavery in the U.S.? On the other hand, there are some things that needs to be let go off such as clutter in your house. There are ideas that need to be let go off -- for example I had to let go of the idea that someone would take care of me always. I had to grasp the idea that I would have work most of my life.
What are these aa ideas of letting go -- letting go of your problems, and having god taking care of them. Self will run riot disguised as a benign saying - if you run your own affairs, you will get bonk on the head and go out and get drunk. So you let god run your affairs. It is a saying of becoming passive in your life. You will be taken care of by this nanny god. This runs in the face of "Heaven helps those who help themselves." Instead you have people becoming inert objects to be acted upon.
remember nothing is going to happen today that you and god can't handle
the will of god will never take you where the grace of god will not protect you
god will never give you more than you can handle
------> I have heard preachers and ministers say these. They are generally comforting people who are facing difficulties and grief in their lives. These people already are believers in god, and have a relationship with their god. They understand the underpinnings of these says in terms of that relationship.
What is aa's underpinnings and assumption of their relationship with god. Well first off, they again assume a Christian god. The use of word grace is generally used in a Christian concept. However, the concept of grace flies in the face of "Let go or get dragged." and other aa slogans. In the aa assumption, is that you turn your will and life over to god, and trust that god won't hurt you. (There are a whole slew of sayings on faith and trust.) These sayings
present a loving god, however, they fly in the face of "a slip begins with not bending the knees." and other such sayings. But they do lull you into believing in a benign aa god that you can turn your life over to.
when man listens, god speaks; when man obeys, god works
god could and would if he were sought
god grant me patience right now.
-------->What do we make of these little sayings. First you have an active god in the 'let go or get dragged', then you have the benign god of "god's grace', now you have the absent god. God is out there somewhere waiting to be contacted by man. God has no power until man contacts him. God is powerless.
So now you have a nanny god who takes care of you, a benign god of granting grace whenever, and an absent, powerless god. So is the aa god is one of convienence -- he is whatever Wilson, the GSO board, big book thumpers, and oldtimers want him to be. An inflatable god, that you pop in the closet when you don't need him, and inflate him when you do.
What I have noticed about aa's approach to god is that he is inflatable.
They have one track that says you must decide to turn your life and will over to him. If you get drunk, that means you snatched your will back from him. Then there is this other track of 'you are special because god made you a drunk', god does things for you without you knowing anything about it, a god that sneaks around getting you from point a to point b.
The upshot is you have this silly god that demands that you give your will and life over to him or he will make your life a living hell. And even when you resist or object such as being sentenced to aa meetings by a judge, this god is really the one working behind the scenes for you.
So aa god is like the atomic oppossum that lives in my nearby dumpster. If you go near the dumpster, the possum hisses at you and bears his teeth. But he likes the garbage that you throw in the dumpster. You have to use the dumpster to get rid of your trash. So
you have to deal with this possum. We tried calling animal control, they keep removing the animal, which pops back to rule the dumpster.
--- Just Laura wrote:> Snork says, "If you want God in your life, you ask Him to come inside. He doesn't sneak in when you aren't looking. The way that AA slogans seem to say God works is that he comes in the dead of night when you are asleep and pops inside."
> But...but....I thought we were supposed to "turn our will and our lives over to god as we understood him". I also thought that "god could and would if he were sought". I thought god was helpless and unable to do anything until the alcoholic asked him to. I thought it was we ourselves who had power over god in this way. I thought god couldn't do diddly-squat until we mere humans asked him.
> Oh wow, reading another post, "The 'there's nothing you can do about it' grates on my nerves. It makes me feel like I am being mugged by a bunch of marshmellows."
> Oh haw haw haw haw!!! LOL!! Mugged by marshmallows! Snork, that's a fantastic metaphor, that's a keeper!
AA is fond of telling people that they are not god and There is a god. However, if you combine all the following, you get a skewed view of what people in aa should be.
First off are these two gems. For a group that talks about having the answer to stopping drinking, their idea is faith healing. Go to a Zulu Sangoma instead. In fact, Sangomas have to be trained for 15 years before they can throw the bones and doctor people. People who are councilors in treatment centers are much less trained and far more deadly.
AA is a religious organization.
there is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem
-----> Ha! Got you, aa. What is the spiritual problem? How is having people believing and turning their will over to god going to help them?
there are no atheists in foxholes
-----> Meaning that everyone is expected is to convert to believers. Also note how aa takes the problem of drinking too much and places it in an extreme contex. Foxholes are for war. So is aa at war with drinking? Is this a spiritual war that is meant to be fought through converting people who want to stop drinking?
Next contrast and compare these two groups:
1. we are not human beings having spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having human experiences.
------> That goes with aa being the chosen people or gifted people. That goes with the idea of the godhead resides in you. We are all gods through our efforts. This is an hallmark of a cult. If any religious group promises godhood from within, it is a cult. (That includes Mormonism, which tells people that they are the new Adams, and will become gods.)
aa works for people who believe in god
aa works for people who don't believe in god
aa NEVER works for people who believe they ARE god
we had to quit playing god
there is a god and I am not it
------> SO how does these three sayings go with the Chosen people of aa and the spiritual beings that are having human experiences????? Either aa people become gods or they do not. AA takes with one hand and gives with the other. Small wonder people are confused.
The other subtle feature of this that aa assumes that everyone plays god or believes they are god. I don't believe that for a minute. I believe that these are put downs of people trying solve problems. It is another way to encourage passivity in people.
It also assumes that atheists will become believers. It encourages atheists to become
believers. Also, these 'not god' things are telling atheists that they believe or act as if they are god. In short, if you want to be humble, you have to believe in god. These sayings are a slap at atheists, since they assume that people who do not believe in god are playing god.
if god is your co-pilot, switch seats get out of the driver's seat, let go and let god
----> These two slogans are teaching passivity. I remember the movie, "God as My Co-Pilot". The man showed that he had a partnership with God. It was a team effort. These slogans teach that you are not in partnership with god. God is your parent and you are the child. It is an immature relationship with god that aa encourages. AA discourages an active relationship with god. There is no wrestling with god, not questioning of god, none of the dark night of the soul. If you are doing any of these things, then you will drink again or your self-will is running riot.
The following I grouped together because they made sense to me that way. You are of course could probably find a different grouping better. What is interesting about this group is how it directly ties drinking with praying.
trying to pray is praying
---> No comment
be careful what you pray for; you are liable to get it
-----> What is interesting is that you have all those prayers to remove drinking impluses and all that. So the slogan is saying that you, you small little drunken worm, can not be depended on praying for the right stuff. We the aa collective must teach you the correct things to pray for. We can't have you just praying for just any old thing.
bend your knees before you bend your elbow backsliding begins when knee-bending stops
-----> This is Christian style of praying. Other religions do not bend knees for pray. Some bow, others stand, others sit and remain quiet. Since praying on one's knees is always presented as do this or get drunk, then aa is a religion. Other forms are praying are not tolerated.
I thank my HP for my sobriety.
My daily sobriety is contingent on my spiritual condition
help = his every loving presence
----> These three contradict each other and the above slogans. If the HP loves you, then you can pray any way you want. If the HP loves you, then your daily sobriety is not an issue.
This group certainly promotes a religious conversion and passivity by the aa member.
i came; i came to; i came to believe
-----> It assumes that your brain is lost in a fog, and when you come out of the fog, you convert. The logical progression is brain doesn't work, thinking bad; once brain works; believing good. However, what is left out is the fact that once your brain works, it may come to many other conclusions about how to stop drinking.
i can't....he can...i think i'll let him
i can't handle it god; you take over
----->Basically aa tells people it has a way to stop drinking. Then you come to the meetings and are told that you can't handle it. SO you are left hanging. What is next: belief in god. God will take over now. You just run along now.
willpower=our will-ness to use a higher power
----> Another one of those aa dyads to have will be evil, and belief good. It takes an active of will to believe in God. God gave people free will to choose. This takes away that choice......
when we surrender to our higher power, the journey begins
---->And that journey is what? Why should we surrender to a higher power, unless we are converting to a religion. Surrender is used in Christian religion for surrendering to the will of God. I don't think that surrendering to God is an universal religious idea. I think it is more specific to Christianity.
willing = when i live life, i need god
live life on life's terms
----> These two directly contradict each other. If you live life on life's terms, then why do you need god? How is living life contected to needing god? How did the two get linked together?
Although AA may seem Christian, there are parts which are not Christian at all. The needing god is one of them. Baptists sing "Just as I am" in regards to God's love. God doesn't place conditions on His Love.
Catholics learn to Love, Honor, and Obey God. AA says nothing about loving God nor Honoring Him. There is nothing in the AA religion, that talks about man loving God. It is always one way: god to man. Man has no part in the relationship. There is no action on Man's part in regards to Honoring God, either. How do AA's demonstrate their love of god and how to do they honor god?
Here is where they hit you over the head with god, and passivity.
But for the grace of god
---> Ha, ha, look at the unfortunate fool. I am really glad I am not that fool.
there are no coincidences in aa
in aa we say a "coincidence" is a miracle in which god chooses to remain anonymous
-----> Are there coincidences outside of aa? This is superstition writ large. You are expected to live in a universe where if you do not pay the troll under the bridge, you will be eaten. You have to knock on wood, pick up pennies, watch out for black or white cats....
god is never late
man's extremity is god's opportunity
----> So god has to beat people into the ground to get believers? What kind of god is that? Actually Satan works that way: force people to believe in him. God gives people choices. aa god does not.
god taught us to laugh again but god please don't let us forget we once cried
-----> If god needs you to be beaten down, how do you learn to laugh from such a god?
you are exactly where god wants you to be
If it is meant to be, i can't stop it
The results are in god's hands
I don't know what god's will is for me, but I always know what it is not
-----> Passivity built in for the aa-god believer. You do not move for anything. You just have to lay down and take whatever is dished out to you. You can not plan. You have no future. Everything is up to a god that has beaten you to in submission.
Small wonder people in aa are scared. I would be too if I had a god that was fickle.
These AA slogans and others like it is a part of the Christian European Medieval beliefs of the "Great Chain of Being" and of Fallen Man.
In the the Fallen Man belief, Man degenerated from perfection with the Fall from grace, i.e. the Garden of Eden. Since then, man has fallen further. The only way that man can be improved is through the working out of God's plan of salvation. Human pursuits of this world such as drinking will distract us from the faith required for redemption.
Great Chain of Being goes like this: There is a static, divinely ordained cosmos. God's plan for the universe is flawless from the worm to man. Therefore, when things are out of balance it is because someone does not know their place in the Great Chain. The greatest good is knowing one's place and staying there.
Added to that is the 18th century notions of progress and improvement: humans can follow a successful path of intellectual and moral improvement. (AA left out the intellectual improvement unless you include exclusive reading of the big book.)
So the elements of the aa god slogans and such lies with:
You are distracted from your great purpose in life by drinking.
You must learn your place since it is the greatest good. God has made it so.
You can only do this through moral improvement: the steps and reading the materials.
Your great purpose in life is to stay put since that is where god ordained you to be.
But for the grace of god
there are no coincidences in aa
in aa we say a "coincidence" is a miracle in which god chooses to remain anonymous
god is never late
man's extremity is god's opportunity
you are exactly where god wants you to be
If it is meant to be, i can't stop it
The results are in god's hands
I don't know what god's will is for me, but I always know what it is not
Finally I can see the end to these God cliches. Here are the miracle ones. These ones are actually promoting faith healing and magic. The god is a god of small things.
you will be amazed
possibilites and miracles are one in the same
there is no magic in recovery only miracles
i am a walking miracle
The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.
-----> This bb quote is a lot of bullhockey. If you want God in your life, you ask Him to come inside. He doesn't sneak in when you aren't looking. The way that AA slogans seem to say God works is that he comes in the dead of night when you are asleep and pops inside. There is no action on your part except being an inert person.
Then this uninvited god does all these things that we can never do. How do we know what it is we can never do? I have one leg shorter than the other. I go up and down stairs sideways. I supposed the aa god could have me go up and down stairs forwards without
falling. Now how does the aa god do that? Make one leg longer? Meanwhile, what I can do to stop falling is use a cane, hold the railing, have corrective shoes. These things are not what a god does for me.
pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth
----> Then you get this slogan from the same person who brought you the above quote. How do the two square with each other? If you read the lives of the saints, you will find some of them did not experience pain in their lives. They were simply holy people. Then there were other saints who inflected pain on themselves. Does that makes them more holy?
Nearing the end of these. For a non-religous group, aa certainly has a lot of dogma to follow. Not to mention confusing ideas about their god
if god seems far away, who moved?
you don't need to find 'find god', he isn't lost.
------> This is in contrast to expect miracles and god making you over without your consent. AA people have very conflicting ideas about their god. First he pops in on you, then you have to pray, then he goes off somewhere.
gift = god is forever there
god has no grand kids
please be patient - god isn't finished with me yet.
I love you, god loves you, and there's nothing you can do about it
------> Well how do you reconcile these with the ones above it? The one that is most offensive to me is the "I love you, god loves you....." I would rather sing the Barney song, "I love you, you love me..." at least Barney has two people interacting. The 'there's
nothing you can do about it' grates on my nerves. It makes me feel like I am being mugged by a bunch of marshmellows.
god = group of drunks
god = good orderly direction
-----> Interesting how they define god. Actually I prefer 'genome of discretion'.
ego= edge god out
----> Why do they equate having an ego with being godless? In order to love god, you need an ego. This is a case of pop psycology being misused. I much prefer the 'footsteps of the giant id' fotgi to edging god out.
Well here the ones on FAITH. It is an interesting collection.
.........faith without works is dead
If faith without works is dead; then willingness
without action is fantasy
faith is spelled a-c-t-i-o-n.
-------> This is directly from Christian doctrine about faith. However, depending on what sect you are, these statements may run counter to your dogma. Lutherans, I think, believe in 'Justification by Faith Alone'. Faith with works is a Catholic concept that several Protestant sects rejected.
However, if you look at this deeper, the Catholic teaching about faith and works does not apply. Catholics are taught to visit the dying, give comfort to the sick and the inprisoned, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give homes to the homeless. It is oriented to building a community and helping those less fortunate than you with your abundance. Through your works, God's Mercy is shown.
AA couples this with "walking the talk". But they define action in very narrow terms -- doing the fourth - ninth steps, and carrying the message. They do not extend beyond that. Their actions do not really reveal God's Love or Mercy. The actions do not build a community or encourage people to extend themselves to people who are not like them.
practice an attitude of gratitude
replace guilt with gratitude
-----> This is one of those thought stoppers. Because you may be upset about the potholes on Main Street, you should not complain since it would affect your serenity. Also all alcoholics are guilty of something. This hints at aa's mission of supposedly
rehabilitating alcholics. They do this by removing the guilt. Instead of replacing guilt with gratitude, guilt should be replaced with responsibility. However, the other part of this is to browbeat the person into believing that drinking to excess is evil. Guilt is an useless emotion but a useful one for coercing people. Shaming them is something that aa
does all to well. Both slogans attempt to shame people from thinking responsible.
spirituality is the ability to get our minds off ourselves
faith is our greatest gift; sharing with others our greatest responsibility
------->The definition of spirituality is a strange one. Usually spirituality means how people commune with god. Is god supposed to keep our minds off ourselves? This slogan doesn't address that at all. But does hint as how selfish we all are.
I coupled these two together since they address selfishness verses unselfishness. In both cases, we are selfish people who think only of ourselves. Sharing faith is a subtle method of conversion. It depends on how you do it. We share our respective faiths or no faiths here. But we are not in the business of converting people to our way of believing
or not believing. There are those who share with conversion in mind (witnessing). Also the sharing is as part of the Experience, Strength and Hope business.
trust god, clean house, help others
faith = fantasitic adventure in trusting him
faith is a lighted doorway, but trust is a dark hall
-------> Which is trust? Why trust god but then trust is a dark hall. What is the slogan saying: that god is going to leap out at you and go boo! Aliens are lurking to snatch you? Why can't faith be a flashlight (torch) to light your way?
courage is faith that has said its prayers
fear is the absence of faith
faith = fear ain't in this house
faith chases away fear
fear alone won't keep me sober, but for a newcomer, it's not a bad place to start
-------> I have heard these outside of aa. They are directed to believing people who are frightened. The last one is a slap in the face of the person just coming in aa. It is also the foot in the door to convert the new person. Scare them out of their minds with demon rum and then offer to convert them to your faith.
I have noticed that there is a lot of fear slogans in aa as well. It seems to be as many fear as faith. It is almost like aa takes ordinary people and makes them afraid of life.
What is interesting about aa's version of fear is that it causes people to drink. The slogans on fear rarely discuss turning to God. However, they do drive despair into the heart of anyone who stays in aa.
nothing is so bad, a drink won't make it worse
---->This does make sense. But the assumption is that when faced with adversity, the person will drink. People may have different reactions. The person trying to stop drinking or the person who has stopped drinking for a long period of time will not consider drinking. AA assumes that people will just slip right back into drinking.
anger is but one letter away from danger
-----> What is danger -- the danger of drinking. This is a thought stopper. You are not supposed to get angry. It is assumed to be a dangerous emotion. Anger is a part of being human. However, if a lot of the people in aa are depressed, then anger is a symptom of mental illness. Rather than deal with anger, aa prefers to banish it and the people who feel it.
we all have another drunk left in us but we don't know
if we have another recovery in us
the doors swing both ways
Yet = You're Eligible Too
-----> If this doesn't cause fear and despair, little else will. Think about it. You will drunk again but you will never recover again. If I kept hearing that, I would be paranoid myself. Really fearful about drinking. What is interesting is that for an organization that is supposed to help people, they certainally put the fear of god into them. It is almost as if aa thinks that by scaring people to remain, it is doing good. AA is supposed to equip
people to live life without alcohol. Scaring them is not equiping them.
Here are all those nifty acronyms that aa is so fond of about fear.
fear = false expectations appearing real
fear = false evidence appearing real
-----> This doesn't make any sense. How does false expectations make one afraid? If the false expectation is that someone is going to rob you and they don't, is that fear? Isn't that acting fearful that maybe you will be robbed in a parking lot? If you have expectations that something nice will happen, and it doesn't, isn't that disappointment. (Very few
of aa slogans deal with feeling disappointed.)
fear = f** everything and run
-----> This is the reaction to fear. To run away. Sometimes running away is a good thing. It saves you from getting killed. But aa takes things to extremes. For instance, as assumes that all people who drink are craven cowards.
Fear = frustration, ego, anxiety, resentment
-----> How is frustration a part of fear? And resentment and ego? And how do the four fit together.
Is it the ego becomes anxious and frustration and then starts resenting things. But how is this fear? I have a fear of being hit by a bus. How does my ego, frustration, anxiety, and resentment come into play with this fear? I was hit by a car. Buses are bigger than cars. But I don't resent buses. Although they frustrate me when they go slowly and I am driving behind them, I am not afraid of them.
Fear = face everything and recover
----->Again I do not understand how facing everything and recovering is a definition of fear. It is aa antidote to fear. Face your problems and go on with your life.
I think aa use of fear is not fear itself but worry and anxiety. Fear is a useful emotion. If you were not afraid of being burnt, you would stick your hand into the fire and hurt yourself. Fear is a primary emotion. Anger usually masks fear. Is aa worried or fearful of basic human emotions?
halts fear = hope, acceptance, love and tolerance
stops forgetting that everything's all right
-----> What is this gibberish????? Love is the opposite of fear. Hope, acceptance, and tolerance are also fear opposites. But 'stops forgetting that everything's all right' what is that about? It simple does not make any sense. If you have love, you have not fear. How could you forget everything's all right when it is? Unless aa is misunderstands the power of love. AA usually corresponds faith with fear. Love is the other correspondence but aa does not address that. It seems that any strong emotion be it love or anger triggers aa's fear of drinking again. There are very few slogans on love.
fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed
----> Again AA associates fear with negative thinking. Upon further reflection, the darkroom is your mind. AA assumes that people who drink too much think in terms of catastrophies. If that is true, then there is a mental component that needs to be addressed.
However, this slogan is another thought stopper in that it accuses people of thinking too much since their thinking leads to them being afraid.
BAR = Beware Alcohol, Run
BAR = Beware Alcoholic Ruin
------>This is the basic fear that aa promotes. It is a good fear to have. However, besides warning people, there is education as well. We live in a society that uses food and alcohol for all sorts of purposes. We should be equipped to learn to handle all these social events. Diabetics and people with religious reasons to avoid certain foods all have learned to manage without running away. Why can't the aa member learn how to socialize without being afraid?
FAILURE = Fearful, Arrogant, Insecure, Lonely, Uncertain, Resentful, Empty
------>Well that certainly defines a failure. Arrogant doesn't seem to fit in though. Again we get the resentful, fearful words being used. I think that if I counted every time I read the word resentful, resent, resentments in aa materials, I would probably go past a google. (More than a trillion).
AA links fear with ego, which linked with arrogance, and resentments. Fear is much more than that. Fear keeps people safe. Fear does contain people. But as a primal emotion, fear is more than aa seems to say it is.
I grouped these pain slogans under fear since most people are afraid of pain. I find that for a group that is trying to entice people to join, that the preoccupation with pain is odd. I understand the idea of pain being neccessary for maturity. All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.
if you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere
-----> Unless it is path that is designed for people using wheelchairs. Then it leads to where everyone else is.
pain is necessary, suffering is optional!
There is pain in recovery. Misery is optional.
-----> pain, suffering, misery seem to a part of the same spectrum. Pain causes suffering and misery. But I think that these are useful to understand. I remember reading a NY Times editorial stating, "Not all the suffering was necessary." in reference to a killer heat wave. They were discussing men wear ties in the heat and how useless a tie was under those conditions. I think to turn these slogans around, I will used the "not all suffering is necessary", it gives me a perspective on choices.
there's no gain without pain
pain is the touchstone of progress
pain before sobriety and pain before serenity
----->These are those seeming truisms that people agree upon. However, looking at pain closely, sometimes pain tells you to stop. It hurts, you are damaging something. Stop! Also if you are in constant pain, you shut down. You don't become serene nor sober. Some people drink from pain.
Also, there is progress in peace time as well. You don't always need to be sticking yourself all the time. Also these slogan display the Western European belief of an upward arrow of progress. Pain stops people, causes their decline. Hense a spiral. If you
think of life as a circle, these slogans make no sense. If you think in terms of yin/yang - these slogans make no sense.
always remember the insanity. Be thankful for the pain. But most of all be thankful for the days that remain.
------>Oh, I remember the insanity. AA never allowed me to forget the insanity. No one was allowed to forget all the stupid things they did. AA constantly reminded everyone of their sorry pre-aa state. Be thankful for the days that remain -- are they full of insanity and pain? Nope, not thankful for days of constant pain. What is aa promoting -- a group of masacists(sp.)? (the opposite of sadists)
feelings aren't facts
compare and despair
thank you for sharing my pain
-----> I beg your pardon, feelings are facts. People act on their feelings. Then you have the compare and despair. Is that if I compare my stuff with yours, I will dispair that I have less stuff. Or do I breathe a sigh of relief that I don't have your stuff. Is this aa's subtle way of making all of us alike in our drinking and recovery. The last one is one I have heard in meetings. I used want to barf. My pain is my pain. 'sharing my pain' is one of those pop psych things. Also if everyone bonds over pain, then they stay for reasons of relief. Bonding over pain is a powerful glue to keep people together. However, feeling pain is an emotion, a strong emotion. AA hates people feeling emotions. SO they give them a double message -- feelings aren't facts, share the pain, pain is the touchstone of progress. So what is a person supposed to think. They can't feel anything except pain? Hello folks, here is the last one on fear.
I included these under fear since they discuss how fear happens.
sorrow is looking back, worry is looking around.
-----> AA assumes that looking back creates sorrow since there is nothing there. owever, there were good things in our pasts and good things we did. However if we just only see the past as the only thing good in our lives, then it is sorrow.
I don't think that worry is caused by looking around. Worry comes from how you think. If you think that life is out of control and an elephant is ready to dance on your toes, of course you will worry. If you look around and see a blue sky, birds singing, people strolling about, then you will not worry. AA assumes that all alcoholics worry.
Constrast this slogan with the one "Keeping the memory green." and the constant retelling of drunkalogs. AA forces people to look bad at their evil alcoholic drinking days. AA rubs people's noses in their bad behavior when they drank. So sorrow is looking back in aa's world view, since all people are evil when drunk, and all aa members were drunks.
it is a pity we can't forget our troubles the same way we forget our blessings
-------> This assumes that you have a religion in which god blesses you. This also assumes that people do forget the good things in their lives and concentrate only on the bad things. The use of the word blessings mean that god gives you good things. Troubles are the things that you give yourself. It is part of the undercurrent of you bad, god good.
serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm
-----> I have no problem with this. However, aa over does the serenity idea. They equate serenity with having no emotions and being 'sober' (following the steps.)
I have lived through two hurricanes and liken this saying to hurricanes. The eye of the hurricane is calm but before and after, the winds and rain whip you. Is serenity the eye of the hurricane? The calm middle of this fierce storm. So my sense is askewed
in that aa's view of serenity is actually a part of the hurricane that they create in people's lives. Going with this idea, if you think of aa as the eye of the storm, then aa is a false place of safety. Leave aa and you are back in the storm that you left to join aa. AA doesn't help you deal with your own personal storms.
It is not the experience of today that drives people mad, it is remorse of yesterday and the dread of tomorrow.
-----------> Excuse me. Mad?????????? Mad?????? Is this mad as in being angry or mad as in being insane? If the insane meaning, then excuse me, people are not driven made by remorse and dread. It is a more potent mix. Also there are more to madness than what aa
makes it to be. Madness or insanity is more powerful that what aa can handle. So aa makes these little jokes about madness to cut it down to size. The result is that aa ends up being caged inside with the elephant.
Notice that aa assumes that all people who drink too much have only remorse of their pasts and dread of their futures. I am sure there are aspects of remorse of our lives. But again with the steps, aa really rubs your bad behavior in your face. It simply assumes that you are bad or evil. Then the dread of the future. Some people do dread the future, some don't. But isn't aa supposed to give people hope, to make them optimistic about life and their future. Then why would aa constantly harp on great awful tomorrows? Is that a part of the one day at a time think? After all aa spends a lot of time scaring people with their futures which is 'jails, institutions, and death'.
Fear is what controls most people that are in cults. Fear of god's disapproval. Guilt is another reason why people give their power over to others and try so hard to prove themselves worthy. You're absolutely right. Sam
Hello everybody, Here is one of the old chestnuts that are drummed into our dear little heads.
From the big book:
our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent facts:
----->My personal adventures made clear many pertinent facts such as I love my son and I live in a condo. So what?
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
------>What does one have to do with the other? How do you link the two? If you drink too much, you stop drinking. Isn't that managing your life? In pursuit of drinking, you are managing your life quite well.... obtaining the drink, finding a place to drink, finding the
time to drink, drinking..... You chose to spend your time drinking instead of doing something else.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
------>WHAT???????? Lots of people stop every day. A lot of people have friends who help them. A lot of doctors help people. So this is the logical lynch-pin for this little illogic. If you accept the first premise, therefore you should be able to accept this transition.The one does not follow the other. AA wants you to assume that it does, but it doesn't.
c) That God could and would if He were sought.
-------->If you are a religious person, you would be seeking your God for this problem. Various religions have ways of helping people through their problems. This is o.k. However, if you don't believe in god, then this doesn't mean anything. You use humans to help you. So it is a no-brainer.
However, what this chain of aa logic does is set people up for religious belief. It doesn't address the problem of not drinking but assumes that the person is totally helpless. Then the only means to ending the problem is belief in god.
This is o.k. but then you are zapped with the following:(From an oldtimer:)
"Well, now, the reason and understanding that I was given that it returns with such fury, and it would return even faster and harder for me now, even after all these years, is that the disease of alcoholism is PROGRESSIVE, even if we are not drinking. It progresses all the time. We alkies and addicts are different in our metabolism from other folks. We do something with the alcohols and sugars that others don't do. "
All of us have heard some variation of that. So a medical disease that is based in our bodies is cured by belief in God???????????!!!!!Not only that, but this disease is different from all others: it is progressive. Even if we go to meetings etc, we are still in the grips
of this disease. So where does that leave our perscription? The perscription is bogus.
Quotes & Cliché's
> A drug is a drug
----> Yes, but some drugs are helpful to people such as Zoloft and Tegretol. These are perscription drugs for people who need them. Insulin is another drug as is aspirin. So don't lump all drugs as bad.
> A drunk is a sick human being trying to get well, not a bad one trying to be good
--------> Define 'drunk' and define sickness. What is wrong with a bad person deciding to be good? Isn't that part of becoming moral? If you are sick, then you have an escape clause to do bad things. You can say my sickness made me do it. However, if you beat a man while having a rage seizure, you go to jail.
> Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life unacceptable to me & I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is suppose to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake.
----------> Acceptance is a crock. So my power went out, I should accept that the electric company is incompentent? I should accept that they forgot to trim the trees? My house is a mess. I should just accept it exactly as it is because it is ordanted by God. I should accept that my checkbook is out of balance. BLECH. If I do accept that nothing happens in God's world by mistake, then how do I explain my son's schezophrenia? I don't think so. I have a more mature view of God and the world than that.
> Alcohol is a perfect solvent: It dissolves marriages, families & careers
-----> 1040W oild dissolves paint so you can open windows. Alcohol also makes for a lively party. So what is your point.
> Alcoholism is the only disease that tries to convince you that you don't have it
------> Alcoholism is NOT a disease. Even if you may believe that it is, the diseases that convince you that you don't have them are mental illnesses. So does that mean that alcoholism is a mental illness. If so, then why go to aa meetings. Go to therapy and take meds instead.
> An alcoholic is someone whose feet are firmly planted in thin air
-----> What is that susposed to mean? Maybe they a dreamers?
> An ingrate is someone who bites the hand that feeds him then complains of indigestion
------> Well I do agree with that. However, it depends on the help. Some people help just to make themselves look good not to really to help the other guy.
> Call your sponsor before you pick up
----> Call your friends. Enjoy your friends. You don't need a nanny.
> Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to overcome it
-----> Well duh.
> Cunning, Baffling, Powerful & Patient
------> Well snapping turtles are all that and more. They hunt. So is this in reference to going to a pond -- watch out for those snapping turtles? If they are refering to alcoholism, it is a thing. It doesn't live. It is none of those things.
> Death, Insanity or Recovery
------> You forgot jails. How about stopping or recovered. How about living your life without aa freaks in your life.
> Denial is Not a River in Egypt
----> No that is The Nile. What do you mean by denial?
> Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
----->So if I like sex, I should give people blow jobs so they can give me blow jobs?
> Do what you did & get what you got
----->What does that mean? What is the context?
> Don't use even if your ass falls off
> Don't drink, don't think & go to meetings
----> Why don't think? What is wrong with thinking? Think helps you figure out what the problem is. Why go to meetings? What is at a meeting that you can't get from a good friend or bowling?
> Don't give up before the miracle happens
-------> What miracle? Does this mean that aa is a religion since they believe in miracles?
> Don't work my program, or your program, work "the program"
----> What is this program? Is it a tv program? Exactly what do you mean by 'the program'?
Embrace the journey
------> Well duh. I like doing that when I shunt-pike on the back roads.
> Everything happens for a reason
-----> Really? Who's reason? What is the reason in a guy going beserk and kill 7 people at his work? Tell me that one.
> Faith chases away fear
-----> So does a flashlight to flash in all the dark corners. Reason also chases away fear. It makes for a great flashlight (torch).
> Faith without works is dead
----->Well doesn't that make aa a religion? If you have faith, then you believe. If you believe, then you have a religion.
> Fake it 'til you make it
-----> Make what? A teddy bear? A book case? Fake what? Isn't that living a lie?
> Get to the meeting early & go to the meeting after the meeting
-------->And waste time when you should be with your family, at work, bowling, sleeping, eating, and thinking. Is the coffee that good?
> God speaks through other people
-----> What does god say? Someone told me once, I read too many books. I thought reading was good. Was god telling me not to read?
> God will not close one door without opening another
----> That came from "Sound of Music". Don't people have plan a and plan b for when things don't work out. What about muddling through something.
> Gratitude, that's the attitude
-----> Grateful for no arms in casts, fine. But attitude is all sorts of things. If I have an attitude, then I have emotions and an ego. So when do I start to do the ego diminishing dance?
> Half measures availed us nothing
-----> Well we got half way. That is better than getting no way. We are halfway there. So we are on our way.
> Happy, Joyous & Free
----> O.K. Sometimes being free is not very happy or joyous. Sometimes being happy is not being free. All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.
> He who laughs… lasts
> Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less
-----> Don't be so humble, you are not that great.
> I came, I came to, I came to believe
-----> I came, I saw, I left. I came, I came to, I walked home. If this program is about stopping drinking what does belief have to do with it? Then the program is a religion.
> I like to get a good jump on worrying about something
------> Well why not. You have to occupy your brain with something.
> I may have another drunk in me, but do I have another recovery?
------> Yes. And No. I don't have any drunks left. I do have recovery left. What if Lance Armstrong decided that he didn't have any recovery left, would he just lay down and die instead of winning the Tour de France? Does this assume that people in aa are pessimists?
> I need just enough to tide me over & then I need MORE
-----> A common human emotion. People are not content with things.
> If I woke up today feeling like I did every day when I drank, I'd take myself to the emergency room
-------> Well, why didn't you, when you drank? Do you remember what you felt like when you drank? I didn't drink everyday. I didn't get sick, I just fell asleep. Got crazy in the head but then I was crazy to begin with.
> If you don't want to slip, stay away from slippery places
----> What is a slippery place? Home? Work? Family? Why don't you just live in a box away from everybody. Of course, if you like to fish, you have to watch out for the slippery rocks. Just wear rubber soul shoes.
> If you wonder if you're an addict, you probably are
----> Really? Maybe you are concerned that you don't want to get too far and want to stop. Don't most addicts say they can stop at anytime? Therefore they aren't addicts.
> If you don't have a higher power, borrow mine
----> Why should I do that? People's relationship with god is personal. You can't relate to someone else's god.
> If we knew which drink would cause "wet brain," we'd stop just before it did.
-----> Well, if that isn't saying that we are lower than the gutter, I don't know what does. Why don't we hit ourselves on the head with a hammer, instead.
> I'm really a very persuasive person; I can convince myself of anything
-----> Well yes and no. It depends on what you want to be persuaded of.
> Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over & over again, expecting different results
----> So why do people keep slipping in aa and redoing the steps. I think that is insane. Leave and do something else.
> It gets better
-----> What is 'it'? What gets better?
> It's not easy to find happiness in ourselves & it's impossible to find it elsewhere
-----> So why shouldn't I try to find happiness in me? Or is there a hidden meaning that I am not getting.
> It's okay to look back at the past - just don't stare at it
----> If you do, then go talk to a friend about what is wrong. You may have post-tramatic stress syndrome. Some people's past include stuff that they need to deal with.
> I've been sober & I've been drunk. Sobers better - I think I'll stay sober
----> Well DUH
> Just for today
----> Just what for today? Just sick for today? Just drink for today?
> Keep coming back, it works if you work it
----> What is 'it'? What is this 'it' that I need to work? Is it a DVD player? Do I need to work on my English?
> Keep it simple
-----> There is much to the simple life. However, what is 'it'?
> Keep your hands in your pants & give the newcomer a chance
----> No 13 stepping? You don't greet the new person? What is this aa speak?
> Let go & let God-----> Let go of what? Yes free will is important, and asking god is important. However, you need more.
> Live for today. Yesterday's history. Tomorrow's a mystery
-----> What happened yesterday affects me today. If I don't prepare for tomorrow, then I am in deep trouble. Wait for the miracle is not living for today.
> Live life on life's terms---->What are life's terms? What happened to letting go and letting god? Contradiction.
> My worst day sober is better than my best day drunk
-----> That is assuming that everyone drinks every day and gets drunk. What about those who did not? I guess the aa assumes that drunks are all alike -- one big cookie cutter.
> None of us came here on a winning streak-----> Are we gambling?
> Ninety meetings in ninety days-----> Yeah, so what? Whatever.
> Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced
-----> Is that the same as not staring at the past?
> Once an addict, always an addict
> Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic-----> Really? On what is this based?
> One is too many, a thousand never enough-----> What about the Law of Diminishing Returns? You stop after a few.
ACTION = Any Change Toward Improving One's Nature
DETACH = Don't Even Think About Changing Him/Her
HELP = Hope, Encouragement, Love and Patience
PROGRAM = People Relying on God Relaying a Message
RELATIONSHIP = Real Exciting Love Affair Turns Into Outrageous Nightmare, Sobriety Hangs In Peril
RID = Restless, Irritable and Discontented
SLIP = Sobriety Loses Its Priority
WILLING = When I Live Life, I Need God
Was this clown who wrote this piece of tripe a member of aa or what?
From I remember of the exchange, wilson babbled on about channeling 13th century monks and stuff like that. Fr. Dowling was carefully neutral in the whole thing. It sounds like something that wilson made up to make himself larger and life. It also sounds like something that aa types would have written to make their guys seem really, really special.
What is telling about this is that a Catholic Jesuit Priest is saying that there is a force in Bill that had never been on this earth before. What about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb, the Willing Victim, the Saviour...? What the priest said is blashemy and I doubt seriously that ANY JESUIT would have said that. It made Wilson sound like he was the Second Coming of Christ. That is why I think that this author is bogus or at least suspect. snork
--- maggieqt1974 > wrote: Here is a quote from "The Soul of Sponsorship.
Friendship of Father Ed and Bill Wilson in Letters" by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J.:
> "Before Father Dowling left, he pulled his crippled body up and, leaning on his heavy stick, thrust his head forward and looked straight into Bill's eyes. He said there was a force in Bill that was all his own, that had never been on this earth before, and if he
did anything to mar it, or block it, it would never exist anywhere again".
Comments inside - snork
--- maggieqt1974 > wrote: > Got a couple more quotes from "The Soul of
Sponsorship" from that fateful visit when Father Dowling showed up. Then of course, comments will follow:)
> • Bill muttered, "Not another drunk." Bill corted the stranger in a black raincoat into his room, noticing his severe limp and his cramped body bent over a cane. The visitor shuffled over to a straight wooden chair opposite the bed and sat down. Then his
coat fell open, revealing his Roman collar. "I'm Father Ed Dowling from St, Louis," he said. "A Jesuit friend and I have been struck by the similarity of the AA Twelve Steps and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius." "Never heard of them." Father Dowling
laughed and seemed delighted. From page 2
> • Soon Bill was talking about all the AA steps and taking his Fifth Step with this priest, who with no warning had limped in from a storm. Page 3
> Have you caught onto the lie yet?
--------->No I was bowled over by the overwritten and dramatic language. No mere day but a storm. Funny how Wilson flirted with Catholicism but denied Christ. I wonder how the priest felt about doing the Rite of Confession with a non-Catholic. Was Wilson undergoing the Rite of Catholic Conversion? How was the connection made? Remember in the 1930s, it was a mortal sin for a Catholic to set foot in a Protestant
church. So what was a priest doing there? If this is supposed to be anon., how did the priest know where to go and who do see. Inquiring minds want to know. There are many lies here that are not being said.
> This meeting took place after 5 years sober. Bill Wilson didn't do his fifth step until FIVE years sober. He didn't get sober because he had done the 12 steps.
> The Big Book was…printed from the vantage point of as if Bill and lots of other alcoholics had been doing these steps long BEFORE THEY WERE WRITTEN!
> Remember, he said: "these are the steps we took"--when in actuality, there WERE NO 12 steps till the day he WROTE them!
--------> Also the lie is in the statistics he says -- hundred had taken our steps. This was while only 30 people or so where in AA. Lies throughout the book. I guess Wilson figured that no one would check the facts. If they did, by then, then AA would be firmly
> And TWELVE steps didn't go over very well with the rest of them. The society argued about his including more steps than they really used.
> NONE of the early AA's had practiced 12 steps as the Big Book declared they had. NOBODY.
> A bold lie to not only declare that these steps worked, but to state that "RARELY have we seen a person fail who followed our steps"
--------> What is funny is that today's aa folk want to go back to basics, the way the original program was done. However, it is using the original big book and the steps that they want to continue.
> Billy hadn't even done them himself. That's quite a lie to build an entire program on. And everyone in AA believes that it is what it is presented to be...a fool proof, testing way of getting sober. This program riddled with lies is what people all over the place
are building their lives on, pinning all their hopes on. That is so sad. If the foundation is a lie, then what could be expected of the rest?
--------> By this time, Wilson's mission in life was to be the saviour to the unwashed masses. He wanted to convince people of the rightness of his purpose. To do that, he had to tell heavenly lies, since it was the only way. After all he was doing good. Of
course, Wilson was barmy with more than a touch of the carney in him. So he would tell as many lies as people would want to hear. W.C. Fields did it better in his movies.
> MORE LIES!
> Such as the UNspoken lie in the chapter to wives, where we are led to believe that a woman wrote it, maybe Lois. DECEPTION! It was that good ole lying sack of...um,,,,Bill Wilson who wrote it.
-----> He wanted total control. He couldn't trust anybody including his wife to write it. This total control permeates throughout the materials. It is reflected in today's aa's sponsor programs. However, the total control was practiced by Smith as well. The two were master controllers and petty tryants.
> BTW, I once read that one of the early aa's, when asked about working the steps back then, replied: "Steps? What steps?"
------> The ones you take out the door?
Some of the aa slogans were borrowed from elsewhere: just do it, first things first, think, etc. Some of these are a part of the culture, others were specific to time management. What I have noticed for some peculiar reason is how much of the slogans and the materials reflect management theories of the 1930s. (Someone who knows business theory or history should
correct me on this.) I remember reading about how people were looking at movement and time to increase productivity. Several theories came out that sound like aa slogans 'first things first'. It had to do with how to motivate people to do things on a factory line.
Anyway the materials of aa sound like a mix of carrot and stick theory, motivational theory, and just plain beating people up.
The slogans in themselves are harmless. It is the context in which they are used which makes them harmful. 'First things first' is a mainstay in time management. You have a limited amount of time, so you spend your time doing the most important thing first. You do not do third things first. AA has taken the slogan and placed it in the context of being sober. Not drinking is a first thing which is a good thing. However, aa attaches to not drinking, things like 'go to meetings, call your sponsor, do the steps'. None of these things are good things to ending excessive drinking. They are good things if you want to keep people in your organization. That is where the mix-up comes. snork
--- floppydaisy > wrote:
> Maggie wrote:>
> "Anyone know any "facts" on the residual effects of being "cult"ivated"? How long do they linger if you are aware and actively seek to think your own thoughts instead of the programmed ones."
> My atheism protected me to some degree, but while I was looking THAT way (wrestling with the godism), they were slipping all sorts of other stuff past me. Only yesterday, I was thinking what you wrote, when do I get my thoughts back? Can't recall exactly, but I was walking around by the garden, and aa slogans were organizing the world around me. They appear like post-hypnotic statements.
> Now, I don't see any harm in the aa slogans, "Easy Does It," or "First Things First." To me they mean, calm down and prioritize. Not bad advice generally.
Well I did not meet dishonest nor deceitful people in my groups. What is I did meet were people who were sliding into to dishonesty without knowing it. Myself included. The first dishonesty and manipulation is to convince people with doubts that the program really works. The second to convince people that the program is spiritual and not religious. The third is believing that a medical disease can be cured by faith healing. Add to that the drama of making your war stories worse than the other person's and the stupid inventory stuff.... You end up creating dishonest and deceitful people. Also, as many people here have pointed out, people going into aa are not corrected in their dishonest ways. They continue doing what they have been doing, except they are not drinking. That is supposed to make all things right. So the 12-steps keep people dishonest and create more dishonest ones. The people become emotional vampires feeding off of innocent people.snork
There is just so much dishonesty and manipulativeness I have encountered in aa. I would have fallen for this crap when I first got into aa. I'm a pretty forthright person so I didn't expect this kind of deceitfulness from people. Now I see it everywhere and it's depressing sometimes. Obviously drinking was a way for me to ignore things I didn't want to see about the world and the way it often operates. Surfbirdie
My comments are inside: snork
--- maggieqt1974 wrote: Still digging through my books and files...I had to post it for the barf value.
> More book quotes about that very strange man, Father Dowling. This paragraph comes from Ernest Kurtz book: "Not God".
-------> Does this Father Dowling exists or is made up whole cloth? I am sure there is an actual man by that name but is that man and this character the same person. From what I have read about aa materials, a lot tends to be made up for the sake of a good story.
> • "He told of his high hopes and plans and spoke also about his anger, despair, and mounting frustrations. The Jesuit listened and quoted Matthew: "Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst."
------>Notice the quote is from the Sermon on the Mount. It could be any quote that could fit conseling wilson but the Sermon on the Mount is the Emment Fox book that fundie aa types read. Why the choice of this particular verse?
> God's chosen, he pointed out, were always distinguished by their yearning, their restlessness, their thirst.
-----> No priest or minister would ever say 'God's chosen'. They simply do not do that. This sounds like twisted propaganda. There is the expression of 'God's chosen people' but not in this context.
> In pain, Bill asked if there was ever to be any satisfaction.
> The priest almost snapped back: "Never. Never any." He continued in a gentler tone, describing as "divine dissatisfaction" that which would keep Wilson going, always reaching out for unattainable goals, for only by so reaching would he attain what— hidden from him—were God's goals.
-----> In a counseling session with a dispairing man? After this, I would go out and kill myself. No, this is made up garbage coming out of Kurtz or Wilson's mind. Actually, Saint John of the Cross talked about spiritual droughts when God's voice is not heard. He
had a lot of these but kept the faith. However, he did not explain it as 'divine dissatisfaction' but as being a spiritual darkness waiting for a glimmer of light. It had nothing to do with God's goals. The whole exchange is made-up garbage to make wilson seem Christlike.
> This acceptance that his dissatisfaction, that his very "thirst", could be divine was one of Dowling's great gifts to Bill Wilson and through him to Alcoholics Anonymous."
> Bill's depression and misery was "divine"???
> Okay, obviously Kurtz is a Wilson lover. And a nut to state that Dowling telling Bill that never achieving satisfaction was the "greatest gift" to Bill Wilson and through Bill, to Alcoholics Anonymous. Some gift huh?
------> It was the annointing of wilson in Biblical terms.
> Oh, Thank you Father Dowling for insisting that misery is vital to the success of AA. So the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous is now encouraged to live in a state of perpetual discontentment and dissatisfaction??? And he in turn "PASSed IT ON" to
everyone else in AA. Apparently, in Father Dowling's eyes, it was a virtue to be "restless, irritable and discontent."
--------> No not in the real Dowling's eyes. In the AA contructed Dowling's eyes, yes. Was Dowling dead by this time? I wonder if he would have sued for slander since this is supposed to be contrary to what a priest actually does? No, what this all is is the
Annointing of William G. Wilson as the Divine Chosen
One of God. It probably came out of wilson's dear
> No wonder people are so miserable in AA. It has > been "passed down" for years. How sweet.
> I would have wanted to slit my wrists, had I been informed (in the heights of a great depression) so dogmatically that there was NEVER to be any satisfaction, NEVER! But this was twisted into some kind of sickening martyrdom thing that apparently was gratifying to Bill. Being the "chosen one" and all that.
> No wonder Bill himself quit going to AA meetings the last years of his life. Another tidbit of history the average AA doesn't know. The co-founder himself stopped hitting meetings.
--------> That is news to me. Did this come form Kurtz's book? Or where is the info from?
> Don't think I am feeling sorry for Mr. Bill. It was his ego and his choice to be the martyr.
> His depression that was unbearable lifted precisely when he decided it was time to back off and just be "Bill" instead of the flawless figurehead he was never able to live up to. Guess leaving meetings also took him out from under so much scrutiny for his affair with his current mistress. How insulting to Lois for him to have put his mistress in his will? And to tell other people that he thought of Lois "more as a mother" as an excuse for his infidelities. Maggie
----->Well I think it was a bargin that the two made between themselves.
Snork, I loved those comments interjecting in there...how funny! It amazes me how even if people today are presented with those very facts, including what you added, they will jerk their heads defensively and say, "It doesn't matter! The Program works! We are all proof of that here! So it doesn't matter!" So desperate to hold onto it...when you make the steps the foundation of your life it can be quite terrifying to have someone put some cracks in it. Maggie
At 08:13 AM 9/13/03 -0000, maggieqt1974 wrote:
>Here's something I found on the ORIGINAL steps (in my Word file):
From the pamphlet "Three Talks to Medical Societies
>by Bill W., Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous":
This was from something I sent. I'll add a few more comments:
> In substance, here they are, as my friend applied>them to himself in 1934:
1. Ebby admitted that he was powerless to manage his own life.
2. He became honest with himself as never before; made an "examination of
3. He made rigorous confession of his personal defects and thus quit living alone with
4. He surveyed his distorted relations with other people, visiting them to make what
amends he could.
5. He resolved to devote himself to helping other people, without the usual demand for
personal prestige or material gain.
6. By meditation, he sought God's direction for his life and the help to practice these principles of conduct at all times.
The above says that Ebby (who had "found religion" through the Oxford Group) told Bill these things in 1934, apparently in that meeting described in Chapter 1 of the bigbook where bill is still drinking (the story of this meeting starts at the bottom of page 8 and goes on, with long digressions about God, Christ and whoever, through about page 12), or if not then, Ebby told him of this list ahd had Bill doing these things shortly after in his visit to the hospital on page 13.
> From the book "The Language of The Heart" (Bill W.'s Grapevine Writings), p. 200:
This is from an article where Bill described the actual writing of the 12 steps, and how a few things got changed from his initial version (this supposedly showed how it was written "by the fellowship" and not just by him). The changes I recall mentioned were the addition of "as we understood Him" after two instances of the word God, and the deletion of "on our
knees" from the 7th step which he initially wrote as "Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings."
> During the next three years after Dr. Bob's recovery, our growing>groups at Akron, New York, and Cleveland evolved the so-called word-of-mouth program of our pioneering time.
So now Wilson writes that THEY (the "AA'ers", the 'first 100' the bigbook refers to) came up with or "evolved" this "word-of-mouth" program. So let's see how much these things "evolved" from when Ebby gave them to Bill:
>As we commenced to form a Society separate from the Oxford Group, we began to state our principles something like this:
> 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol.
> 2. We got honest with ourselves.
> 3. We got honest with another person, in confidence.
> 4. We made amends for harms done others.
> 5. We worked with other alcoholics without demand for prestige or money.
> 6. We prayed to God to help us do these things as best we could.
If there's any substantial difference, it's that these things are trimmed-down versions of what Ebby first told Bill. It doesn't look like a lot of "evolving" to me, but rather that Bill Wilson wrote it that way to subtlely hide the fact that these came straight from Ebby and the Oxford Group, and give the AA fellowship full credit for "creating" the 12 steps from scratch (as most AA members tend to believe).
And one more version of the steps before the big book was written claiming 12
This was transcribed from a tape of one of Bill's AA talks:
We admitted we were licked.
We got honest with ourselves.
We talked it over with another person.
We made amends to those we had harmed.
We tried to carry this message to others with no thought of reward.
We prayed to whatever God we thought there was
There is also a handwritten copy of this by Bill Wilson, but I have not copy of this.
<maggie01@m...> wrote: Got a couple more quotes from "The Soul of Sponsorship" from that fateful visit when Father Dowling showed up. Then of course, comments will follow:)
> > • Bill muttered, "Not another drunk." Bill escorted the stranger in a black raincoat into his room, noticing his severe limp and his cramped body bent over a cane. The visitor shuffled over to a straight wooden chair opposite the bed and sat down. Then his coat fell open, revealing his Roman collar. "I'm Father Ed Dowling from St, Louis," he said. "A Jesuit friend and I have been struck by the similarity of the AA Twelve Steps and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius." "Never heard of them." Father Dowling laughed and seemed delighted. From page 2
> > • Soon Bill was talking about all the AA steps and taking his Fifth Step with this priest, who with no warning had limped in from a storm. Page 3
> > Have you caught onto the lie yet?
> > This meeting took place after 5 years sober. Bill Wilson didn't do his fifth step until FIVE years sober. He didn't get sober because he had done the 12 steps.
> > The Big Book was…printed from the vantage point of as if Bill and lots of other alcoholics had been doing these steps long BEFORE THEY WERE WRITTEN! > >
> > Remember, he said: "these are the steps we took"--when in actuality, there WERE NO 12 steps till the day he WROTE them!> >
> > And TWELVE steps didn't go over very well with the rest of them. The society argued about his including more steps than they really used. > >
> > NONE of the early AA's had practiced 12 steps as the Big Book declared they had. NOBODY.
> > A bold lie to not only declare that these steps worked, but to state that "RARELY have we seen a person fail who followed our steps"
> > Billy hadn't even done them himself. That's quite a lie to build an entire program on. And everyone in AA believes that it is what it is presented to be...a fool proof, testing way of getting sober. This program riddled with lies is what people all over the place are building their lives on, pinning all their hopes on. That is so sad. If the foundation is a lie, then what could be expected of the rest?
> > MORE LIES!
> > Such as the UNspoken lie in the chapter to wives, where we are led to believe that a woman wrote it, maybe Lois. DECEPTION! It was that good ole lying sack of...um,,,,Bill Wilson who wrote it.
> > BTW, I once read that one of the early aa's, when asked about working the steps back then, replied: "Steps? What steps?"
Ugh. No secrets. Yeah, I know, my parents and other authorities seemed to take the position that it's only the things we're ashamed of we want to keep secret. If you aren't doing anything wrong, you won't mind being searched. There's a guy on another list who says that if anyone were to ask him if he takes drugs, he'd willingly take a urine test - and pay for it himself. He claims that innocent people don't mind doing this since they have nothing to hide and nothing to keep secret.
Hey! Why are you complaining about the police wanting to search you? If you aren't using drugs, you have nothing to worry about. You have nothing to hide. You should welcome the police coming into your house! You're innocent, and welcoming them and allowing them to search will establish your innocence for all to see.
What's the matter with you? If you haven't done anything, you won't mind being questioned. If you aren't lying, you won't mind taking a lie detector test. If you haven't done anything wrong, you won't mind if everybody and anybody comes stomping in and looking at every cubic inch of you.
I got pipelined in Tennessee. I was coming back from Texas, and when the cops spotted my NY license plate and my bumperstickers, they figured I was one of those yankee drug smugglers, and that I must be from New York City, because New York City is the only thing in New York, there are no other places in NY.
I am not a drug dealer, not a drug user, not a drug smuggler, not a druganything. I was a tourist. But those cops tossed my stuff, made a great big mess of everything. When they failed to find a load of drugs and could only find my AAA travel books, they had to let me go. What a shame, and I know those guys were hoping to get their name and picture on the front page of the newspaper for having busted a big-time New York Drug Smuggler. All they got was a middle-aged woman who was travelling.
I got sick behind it. It was a very stressful experience. I felt vulnerable. It was like the aforementioned burglaries. It was like a rape. It was invasive. Never mind that I was innocent.
My sponsor said that he felt comforted to know that god was looking over his shoulder and seeing absolutely everything he did or thought or felt. No secrets from god.
I thought the analogy was more like god as a peeping tom, looking through the curtains, peeping into the bathroom. I didn't care for that image at all.
The way I see it, our secrets have something to do with our personal boundaries, and a sense of being an individual. Having to give up your secrets leaves you awfully vulnerable and wide open. It makes you prone to identification with the group and dependence on the group. It takes your Self away. It's about lack of privacy. I think we need a measure of privacy to have a healthy sense of self.
Shucks, in the hard-core cults, we hear that you are never allowed to be alone, even in the bathroom. No privacy, no secrets.
We're only as sick as our secrets? Bullshit! Billshit! We're only as sick as our *lack* of secrets and boundaries and private space.
I learned in AA to self-disclose. Now, on the one hand, it's an anonymous program. But that anonymity, so it was explained to me, is only at the level of press, radio and film. On a personal level we are to self-disclose and carry the message wherever we go. We never know if there's an alcoholic in the room who will hear our self-disclosure and will come to AA and get sober because of what we told about ourselves. I learned to be a blabbermouth. What boundaries I had were badly broken down. I was wide open, and any asshole could step into me. No secrets. Be wide open and tell all. To anybody in earshot. Blah blah blah. What there was of my Self was all vulnerable and spread out in plain sight for all to see. My Self belonged to any idiot who cared to come stomping in
to take a look.
I think privacy and secrecy is essential to good mental/emotional health.
We all should march into a aa meeting or other 12-step meetings and shout down with the fifth step. Wait -- let's be a flash mob. Meet at some appointed time at a place and chant away. Then melt into the night or day.
LONG LIVE ANARCHY!!!
I remember towards the end of my attending meetings, people were discussing the slogan 'progress, not profection' and the fourth - 7th steps. I was so tired of hearing people drone on and on about terminal uniquieness and having character defects removed so that I can do god's work. I just finished my green beans. (I took fresh green beans to meetings, snapped them, and ate them raw.) It was my turn to share. I jumped up flinging the ends of the green beans in the air, and shouted, 'LONG LIVE ANARCHY' and ran out of the building. Needless to say, I never went back there. (It was the day before my period.;) )
Anyway, aa does not care about the Rights of Man, U.S. Constitution, and anything remotely that promotes personal freedom. There first and foremost aspect about the founding of aa was coercion. All those people trapped in private rooms forced to read the big book or the bible. all those people forced to listen to wilson and smith drone on about stuff. all those people forced to believe in a god. snork
--- Just Laura wrote: > Thanks, Roger and Snork. I'm thinking some more about this. Isn't it the Fourth Amendment which prohibits Unreasonable Searches and Seizures? Of
course we can bicker endlessly about what we mean by "reasonable", and whether or not a particular search in a particular situation is unreasonable or not.
> Still, this means we have the idea that Personal Privacy is a fundamental right, and necessary to the well-being of people. It means that the Individual is of value, not as a member of a group, not as a tool for something or somebody else, not as an object for
the benefit of some other person or group, but as an Individual and nothing more. The Individual is of value, period.
> This makes the fifth step toxic. While it is a good idea for me to be honest with myself about my weaknesses, it's nobody else's business. I have no obligation to self-disclose and tell all all all to someone in AA.
> If I want to confide something to my friend, that's fine, if my friend wants to listen and be supportive. But AA has No Damn Business demanding, on pain of suffering jails, institutions and death, that I blab my innermost essence to some clown who hasn't had a drink longer than I haven't.
> Down with the Fifth Step! End the Fifth Step NOW! Every one of us is Terminally Unique, and it's a toxic and destructive violation to suggest otherwise, or to say that we shouldn't be. Cheers, Laura
There is an assumption that 'we are only as sick as our secrets'. This means that all secrets are sick. That is not true. Laura pointed out how keeping secrets is neccessary for mental health.
I remember my aunts teaching me manners - whenever people went into great detail about their private lives, one of the aunts would say, "THAT'S MORE THAN I WANT TO KNOW." I think that keeping secrets is a part of good manners. I remember a TV episode where someone blurted out something personal and everyone else said, "Ick. I'll never look at them the same way again."
AA and other 12-step programs want people to know everything about everyone else. It goes back to the origins of aa where that was a standard practice. I often wonder how people actually were in the original meetings. Did wilson actually detail all his sexual adventures with his wife present?
There are secrets in which telling another person would hurt that person. That is an individual call.
Some secrets are kept for protection reasons. Banks do not want people to know their business so they have an agreement with the Federal Reserve that all the information that they report be classified as secret. However, if you go into each bank, you can collect
information on their loan rates and such. However, that information cannot be released by the Federal Reserve (U.S. Central Bank) There is other information that banks provide such as money to drug dealers etc. that is collected along with the interest rates.
Keeping secrets means many things. Some of it is for self protection and boundaries. Some of it is because people prefer privacy.
When aa demands that people tell their secrets, they take away the individual's choice. They want everyone to be a 'we', and not a 'me'. Healthy groups are 'me's who cooperate together to form a 'we'. In unhealthy groups, there is only the 'we'. That is one reason why leaving is so difficult since there is no long a 'me'.
me, me, me, me, me
I, I, I, I, I, I
now that I have cleared my throat, a toad jumped out
--- Just Laura wrote: Ugh. No secrets. Yeah, I know, my parents and other authorities seemed to take the position that it's only the things we're ashamed of we want to keep
secret. If you aren't doing anything wrong, you won't mind being searched.
> I think privacy and secrecy is essential to good mental/emotional health.
Thanks, Laura, you just reminded me of my last feeble attempt to "connect" with my old grand-sponsor. As soon as he said "It's ODAAT" the chat went silent. Maybe because it was used as a superior holier-than-though thought stopper, like "Cert, let me tell you what it's like to have 40 years sobriety" - - which he often tells people. Cert
Just Laura> > Cert is asking about One Day At A Time.
Okey doke. I think there's lots of good about this practice. To me, it makes sense to break great big overwhelming situations and problems into smaller, more manageable parts. It makes sense to do certain things one day at a time instead of trying to solve the problem all at once. There are things I do one day at a time, just as you do.
> > So far, so good.
> > It becomes a problem, though, when it is used as a thought-stopping slogan. It's a problem when it's used as a reason to not plan something and think something through. It's a problem when it's used to discourage people from creating long-term goals. It's a problem when a power-tripping sponsor uses it to control a "pigeon".
> > The same can be said of certain others of the slogans. They have their use and make sense. But they get used as thought-stopping, mind shutting, control devices.
> > When I see the acronym ODAAT, I think of the Al-Anon book. There's plenty wrong with that, at least with the edition I have. It puts the wife of the alcoholic in a crazy-making, no-win position.
> > I totally agree with Laura. But I'll take it a step furthur. ODAAT is more than just a thought stopping brain dead slogan. Where the 12-steps are concerned, it's a human spirit killer! ODAAT in steptalk conjures up indecision, insecurity, fear, deprivation, mistrust of one's own judgment and a myriad of other emotions. You have to remember that steppers have extremely low expectations of themselves. When they adhere to the ODAAT mantra, tommorrow doesn't really matter. If something shitty happens, then they've given themselves the "green light" to use if they have a "reason"(a reason which, in reality, is just an excuse to get high) And when they do use, they can crawl back to the open arms of AA and receive forgiveness and absolution for what their "disease" made them do. And what's even better than that is, they are forgiven by the step-sheep, for FUTURE fuck-ups. AA is truly a society of moral indecision and degeneracy. AA is bad medicine and bad religion, EDATT--EVERY-day-ALL-the-time.
One Day at a time is used in a good way. It can be one of those things as Laura said -- breaking a project down into managable chunks. It can be something to stop people from zooming into the future and panic. It is something to help people to cope with a seemingly impossible situation.
However in the aa sense, it is a thought stopper. It has nothing to do with helping people not to panic about the future. It has nothing to do to help people focus on today and what they need to do.
It is used to connect god with your sobriety with your time in aa. In that sense, the slogan is toxic. It keeps people from saying I have 40 years and I have learned all I need to know. So now I am leaving. It keeps people stuck in 'if I think ahead, I will drink'.
It is used to put people in their place -- how many days are you sober. It is a way to diminish people's efforts at not drinking. Instead of having people think in terms of years, they think in terms of days. If you only think in terms of days, you can see the
future. You can not plan. You remain stuck. The positive aspect of one day at a time is to help you when you are building the Hoover Dam. You decide what you do today and only today. Then building on what you have done, you move to the next task. It helps you focus on the task at hand and not panic or be overwhelmed. snork
Maggie asks, "What does serenity mean to others in this group? It is another word that has been contaminated in AA. Can some of you decontaminate it further for me?"
This is another word that has been trashed as far as I am concerned. I don't know how to decontaminate it.
I used to be "serene". To me, it's a kind of blissed-out condition. I don't want to be serene any more. I don't want any more AA Serenity.
While I was in AA I was burglarized three times. Burglary is no fun, let me tell you. But because I was in AA, I was just so full of Serenity. Serene as the dickens. I pasted my idiot's smile on my face and said sweetly, "They burglarized my house and robbed me of my possessions, but they didn't get my Sobriety. <smile, smile, blissed-out face>"
I was so goddamn Serene, I shut out all feelings about being burglarized. Oh, everybody was so damn impressed with my Sobriety and my Serenity. I was a little Poster Girl for the AA Way of Serenity.
Y'know, it's rather like being raped, being burglarized. It's so vulnerable-making that someone can break in through a locked door and go through what ought to be your safe space, just stomp all over and go through all your things and help himself to everything he feels like stealing. Your home isn't your castle, you aren't safe behind your own locked door. It's such a violation, so disempowering. Dehumanizing and depersonalizing to be burglarized.
But I stuffed any and all feelings and just went around with my AA Serenity and Sobriety on my silly face. Smi-i-i-i-le....everything is just so ducky-dandy. Nobody can take my Sobriety away. So-o-o-o Serene....
They admired me. Oh boy, just look at Laura, by golly, if someone broke into my house and stole from me, I'd be freaked out. But Laura is so serene. She really works her program. She's got good sobriety. The burglars couldn't take her sobriety away. Yeah, she sure works the steps.
I don't want to be primarily serene. Serenity is only one of many emotional states. I want to be able to feel an entire continuum of feelings, and yes, serenity can be one of them from time to time. But I want more than that.
One of the things I want is to be able to recognize abuse, and not stuff it and deny it. I want to be able to respond appropriately to an abusive, destructive or disempowering situation. I want to be able to feel the appropriate feelings and speak up. I don't want to make Serenity so important that I shut myself down and go around all blissed out with the cult grin on my face.
Three fucking times. Three fucking burglaries. And I denied and stuffed any reasonable feeling. Shit, Piss, and Industrial Waste!! Nope! The only time I want to feel Serene is on a lovely evening when there is good music playing and a soft sunset, after a fine dinner. But not when I've been violated and need to address what has been done to me.
We had our home broken into as well. They didn't get much because we didn't have much. I had my car windows smashed. Again nothing was taken. But it is a violation.
Serenity in aa speak equals some sort of la=la=la numbness land where no one feels. I certainly wasn't serene seeing glass all over my car. I was mad. Then calm because I had to do things --like report the crime, get the car fixed. After that, I got mad again. However, I was never serene because the occasion did not warrent my serenity.
I think that serenity in aa is the opposite of strong feeling. Al-anon uses it in the same way - stop feeling so strongly about stuff. That is not the true meaning of the word.
Actually the serenity prayer does give a working definition of serenity: courage, wisdom, and action. It is the opposite of flying off in different directions in order to face a situation. It is the calmness of mind that enables you to muddle through with a clear mind. The Dali Lama is serene but he is not numb nor has he shut down his feelings. Serenity as I see is an active verb.
I am not serene. Never have been. What I do is start working on stuff to get my nerves cooled down. Take walks, wash walls, stuff like that. AA never was big on active serenity. They were into the passive-aggressive type. snork
--- Just Laura wrote: > Maggie asks, "What does serenity mean to others in this group? It is another word that has been contaminated in AA. Can some of you decontaminate it further for me?"
> This is another word that has been trashed as far as I am concerned. I don't know how to decontaminate it.
> I used to be "serene". To me, it's a kind of blissed-out condition. I don't want to be serene any more. I don't want any more AA Serenity.
> While I was in AA I was burglarized three times. Burglary is no fun, let me tell you. But because I was in AA, I was just so full of Serenity. Serene as the dickens. I pasted my idiot's smile on my face and said sweetly, "They burglarized my house and robbed me
of my possessions, but they didn't get my Sobriety. <smile, smile, blissed-out face>"
> One of the things I want is to be able to recognize abuse, and not stuff it and deny it. I want to be able to respond appropriately to an abusive, destructive or disempowering situation. I want to be able to feel the appropriate feelings and speak up. I don't want to make Serenity so important that I shut myself down and go around all blissed out with the cult grin on my face.
I gathered up all the slogans about how aa wants people to think about themselves and to relate to themselves. Of course this involves emotions. What I have noticed is a thread of self-hate and denigration in the slogan.
The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them
-------->How does one overcome a mistake? I thought the term was 'correct' a mistake. Why the word overcome? It makes the mistake sound like something more than a mistake. I believe that mistake is really another word for sin in this usage. Hence overcoming sin is to admit your sins. It makes the idea of mistake into something quite serious.
We are only as sick as our secrets
----->People say this with a knowing wink as if they had these awful secrets. The problem is that they are supposed to tell their secrets. TO bring them out in the open. That part is not said. Actually, aa people assume that all secrets are toxic.
I know a man who went bald at 15 years old. He wore a toupee at all times. That was his secret - he was ashamed of his baldness. I never thought he was a bad person with an evil secret. Never thought that his secret was toxic. Imagine doing a 4th step about wearing a toupee to cover your bald head.
In order to change the way we feel we need to change the way we act.
Mood follows action.
-----> AA has a lot of slogans about people acting as if. Show up and the feeling follows and all that. The slogan is half right. You also need to change the way you think. Acting toward a person may disguise action hate. People act polite because society demands that they do, but do they feel polite towards people that they dislike?
Denial is not a river in Egypt!
DENIAL = Don't Even Notice I Am Lying
-----> I hate this slogan. However, denial has a good side as well as a bad side. People cope with denying certain things. It is a coping mechanism. You need to offer something to help the person give up what it is they are denying. Fear is the emotion behind denial. That has to be dealt with before you accuse people of lying.
'You're in denial' is an expression that is judgmental. I remember a woman who refused to use a wheelchair tell a man who was using his two canes that he was in denial because he would not acknowledge his disablity. He and I were puzzled by her remark since we were in public, using our canes, and walking up stairs (slowly). I felt that the woman was struggling with the fact that she could no longer use a cane but needed to use a chair instead. She got mad at us instead because we were taking the outside steps.
I think that the 'you're in denial' is really a way to break people down and hurt them.
What struck me about this group is how self-destructive it is. They assume that all people who drink are self-pitiers and that is all they are. What I have found in my meetings is that most people are not but aa turns them into self-conscious self-pitiers. However how much of the self-pity is really depression and mental illness. AA practices the form of tough love or kicking people in the teeth to shut them up.
This group deals directly with self-pity and how it is linked with drunkeness.
Poor me…poor me… pour me another drink
----->Actually AA hasn't really looked into connections of drinking and emotions. They have made several assumptions which may or may not be true.
When I was in the depths of self-pity, I did several things, none of which was drinking. I slept, I spaced out, and I just went into my personal fantasy world. I think people who self-pity themselves do many things, not just drink. I knew one person who would sit in the dark and whine all the time about how abused she was. She was pouting that she did not get her own way. She did not drink, just made life miserable for the rest of us around her.
When wallowing in your self-pity…get off the cross we need the wood.
------> This is a cruel reference to Christ's sacrifice. Actually, I find it offensive for several reasons. One it assumes that everyone in aa is Christian. Two, it denigrates Christ's sacrifice by equalling it to somebody who is pitying themselves. Three it is crude in that it assumes that people automatically crucify themselves to get attention. Four, what are they going to do with the wood - burn the person? Five, it ridicules the person who may be severely depressed and offers no kind word.
When you run out of quarters for your asskicking machine, I've got an extra roll for you to use.
-----> I hate the crudity of aa. I never understood why aa people had to use vulgar words in their discourse. It reminds of me of the men who would hang out in the barn discussing in crude terms women's attributes and what they were going to do. If aa is trying have people do god's work, why would they let them indulge in being vulgar and crude?
Again this is another slogan which is cruel and tearing. Instead of offering a kind word or asking what's wrong, they kick the person in the teeth instead.
Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.
------> Well, that certainly is stomping on people. Telling them that when they are down in the dumps, they are a victim. They are helpless because they whine. Yes, I know people who whine get on people's nerves. Yes, I would like to stomp on them. But that doesn't solve the problem. It tells the person that they must stifle their feelings and if they don't then they are victims asking to be abused. This links the idea that if you are abused, you asked for it.
PMS = Poor Me Syndrome
PMS = Pour More Scotch
-------> I find these offensive because they are subtly directed towards women. There is the 'beneath every woman, there is a slip' and it variations on women slipping. Nothing about men. And what is worse, is how many people repeat this garbage and don't challenge it. If you said the same garbage about other groups of people getting drunk, people would be angry. Well maybe not, after reading, "Join the Tribe" in the big book written in white man's indian talk. People find that story inspiring and wonderful.
I want what I want when I want it.
-------> That is a two year old having a temper tantrum. I guess they equate people who drink with two year olds. Actually two year olds are developing a sense of self and are learning where they begin and everyone else ends. They use no to assert themselves. Maybe, aa should take a page from two year olds and learn to develop a sense of self and explore who they are.
Time wasted in getting even can never be used in getting ahead.
-----> AA never discusses people's successes in anything but not drinking. What is this slogan doing in aa? It is a commonsense approach to feeling slighted.
Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides.
STOP = Sicker Than Other People
------> The two contradict each other and also the business about self-pity.
I never understood the inside outside slogan since everyone is also told to stick with the winners, find somebody whose sobriety you admire and copy them. Get a sponsor, etc.
The STOP is making the drinker someone special. They are sicker than everyone else. How does that square with stop whining and pitying yourself. Are not saying you are sicker than other people a form of whining?
ISM = I, Self, Me
ISM = Incredibly Short Memory
ISM = InSide Me
ISM = I Sabotage Myself
The selfishness of the program pops out in these. It is to link the disease of alcoholism to distrust of yourself. If you rely on yourself, you self-destruct. These teach you to hate yourself since you are the one who caused yourself to drink. They do not build up self-confidence but instead tear you down so that you go to aa for help. You can't leave the group since you will be leaving yourself there. AA has stolen your sense of self and leaves you an empty shell for them to fill up.
PAID = Pitiful And Incomprehensible Demoralization
I have no idea why this slogan exists. Is it in reference to doing paid service work as opposed to volunteer work? If you get paid for serving coffee at a meeting, that demoralizes you? I guess you are supposed to work for aa for free. If that is so, then that slogan is a sign of the cult aspect of aa. Everyone is expected to do everything for aa for free and not get paid for it. If you ask for gas money after transporting people to meetings, you are pitiful and will be demoralized. Therefore you will drink if you get paid your gas money. Poppy cock.
These gems are what the aa people tell themselves about what being sober is all about.
SOB = Sober Old Bag
SOB = Sober Old Bastard
SOB = Sober Old Biker
SOB = Sober Old Bitch
------->This group is really self-demeaning. Think about it. You are striving in aa to be sober and this is what you are called. I do not think that these terms are used in a friendly way. But even if they were, do you want to be thought of in this way? Either you are a stupid drunk or a sober old bitch. What abuse. It really does tear people down. Some help to people who are trying not to drink.
SOBER = Son Of A Bitch, Everything's Real
-----> The aa definition of sobriety. The assumption is that everyone drinks to escape life. That drinking is because they can't live in the world. People drink for many reasons. They are too shy and feel to limber up. They are sad, and want to be numb. They crave the alcohol in their bodies. They find drinking fun.
But the other subtle idea in this slogan is that reality sucks. Does it? Reality is simply reality. It exists. It is neither good nor bad. I have had good times and bad times. But all reality is what is, not what is imagined. Actually, I knew chronic worriers whose imaginings were worse that their reality.
PACE = Positive Attitudes Change Everything
-----> Sounds of Norman Vincent Peale. If you change your thinking, you will change your life. PACE - what does that mean: pace yourself? Go at a fast pace? What is the context of these other than a handy memory device.
These slogans are the core of the aa program. Remember at meetings how much talk was taken up about gratitude and resentments. I imagine that many people have these ingrained into their brains.
Gratitude is an attitude.
Write a gratitude list and count your blessings.
I didn't get sober to be miserable
Try to be grateful and resentful at the same time, you can't serve two masters.
------> What is interesting is about this group is that sober people are miserable ducks. They are also all ingrates. People are supposed to be grateful for not drinking too much. Grateful to what -- aa and aa god. Is that what these slogans are for - imprinting in people's brains that they are grateful to aa for the good things that has happened to them. That they cannot be miserable, unhappy or question the program ever.
The other assumption is that people who are not grateful are all resentful. It is an either or situation. There is a middle -- people carrying on, muddling through, going through the day. But aa doesn't want people to be neutral. AA wants people to grovel with gratitude until it hurts. It always reminded me of those people who would demand that you smile when you didn't feel like it.
The word blessings assumes that the person believes in a religion that has a god who blesses them. Not all religions have that. Not all people believe in blessings. Counting blessings is a popular American cultural idea. It is one of the Christian things that leaked into the culture. How many other religions have people count blessings?
"Without memory, there is no healing. Without forgiveness, there is no future."
The flip side to forgiveness is resentments
--- The flip side to forgiveness is justice. In these two, aa insists that you must forgive. If you don't forgive, you will drink again and you will have no future. AA doesn't understand what forgiveness is. They think that somehow if you don't forgive, you resent people. Some people deserve not to be forgiven. People should have the choice to do so. AA should not be rehabilitating the abuser. But aa assumes that all people are willing victims and therefore must look to their part of the matter. So if I carry a $100 in my wallet, and I get mugged, I asked for it?
"Resentments are like stray cats: if you don't feed them, they'll go away."
The road to disappointment (resentment) is paved with expectation.
Expectations are preconceived resentments
-----------> That is an interesting progress that aa sets up. That having expections will lead to resentments which of course leads to drinking. What are expections? They are promises that people either come through on or done. Yes, breaking a promise is disappointing. However, there are expections of safety. For example, I expect that the building I word in to be safe -- not fall down, not make me sick, not allow thieves to come in. If the building makes me sick, then I expect that my work should do something to correct this. There are laws. Laws are
based on expectations. They expect people to act a certain way or receive punishment. Do laws on safety cause resentments? They do with people who want to cut corners on their building.
AA teaches people not to expect anything. Not expecting anything means not having a future, not being able to make plans. AA keeps people stuck where they are. AA also assumes the worst of people. They expect the worst from people.
I kept the whole exchange because it sums up exactly what the dynamics are. If you balk at what you are told to do, then just leave and kill yourself. Other groups just let people go. They don't chase after them and demean them. The other thing in play is the idea of 'hitting bottom' -because you want a drink, you haven't hit bottom. Of course, the group determines what that bottom is. Not you. Someone wrote that tough love was just another term for abuse.
I think that tough love as originally thought was to aid people in taking responsibility for their actions while weaning other people from being over responsible. It was a way to balance out responsiblity between people. Not cut them off.snork
--- Ben Bradley <email@example.com> wrote:
> At 03:50 AM 9/24/03 -0000, luckycat892000 wrote:
> >Statements like that "go out and use some more" give new meaning to the term "killing the newcomber"....I'd consider that homicide if someone died because their "sponsor" gave them this GREAT piece of advise and they followed it!!
> I've seen or heard of this mamy times, and even "So you say ou want to drink? Here's five dollars to get you started. Here, go drink." I understand the person receiving the offer declined, but my thoughts at hearing about this (I was pretty much a 'believer' at the time) was Why don't you just take a gun and shoot him? A bullet is a lot cheaper than five dollars.
> Then there was the woman who got on this list a couple of years ago saying WE were "killing alcoholics"...
> "certainly1232000" : Lisa, that is exactly what my sponsor told me 10 yrs ago: "You need to go out and use some more"...SO I DID!...and then I drunkenly realized the "error of my ways" and went back to seek his humble forgiveness and leadership into the Steps (To Heaven)....
> "princess_parsimony" : and do you know, one has ACTUALLY said to me... you need to go out and use some more. omigod. how brutal and irresponsible and dangerous. then he had the disclaimer of that being "tough love". my ass.
I find this group to be particularly offensive for various reasons. One is that it degrades people and puts them into their place. The other is that it stifles them.
When you do all the talking you only learn what you already know.
When you head begins to swell you mind stops growing.
Don't speak unless you can improve on silence.
Keep right size
People who are wrapped up in themselves make a very small package indeed.
-----> We talked about how aa makes everyone the same. No one better or worse than anyone else. However, these slogans by themselves are quite innocent. It is how they are used in the context of aa that makes them offensive. They are directed toward people who ask questions and who want to offer something to the group. The background that is not mentioned is the role of the oldtimers. When they talk, everyone listens. No one tells them to keep the right size, or to stop talking and listen. No the opposite happens -- they can blather on and on and have people nod in agreement with them. One oldtimer's website is so full of innanities, that I have to laugh. However, on several recovery boards he is regarded as profound and wise and godlike. No one wants to question what he has to say.
You can be just as crazy sober as you were drunk, you'll just remember it the next day.
---------> What is with the crazy talk? This is offensive to people who are truly insane. Actually, insanity and crazy is used a lot in aa talk and materials. What is strange is when you actually discuss insanity, people shy away from you. It is almost as if they want to be insane but not that insane. And when you discuss how meds help your insanity, their response is insane -- only the program can cure you.
When we couldn't dominate, control, or manipulate, we would ask for terms and conditions.
The definition of an alcoholic: an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.
------>So when people become sober, they are left with this self-definition? That they are egomaniacs with an inferiority complex? That they dominate etc? Why remain in aa if you are going to insulted and demeaned. Who says that an alcoholic are these things? Is this something that was studied and verified or is someone just shooting off their mouth. Actually, I think smith and wilson fit these self-definitions quite well. There ae a few oldtimers who do as well. Is that the sort of person that aa attracts and is attracted to aa? Or is that the sort of person that flourishes in aa? Or is that the sort of person that aa turns out?
Remember these gems. We have all hear versions of them in our 12-step lives.
FINE = Feeling Insecure, Numb and Empty
FINE = Frantic, Insane, Nuts and Egotistical
FINE = Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional
FINE = Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional
FINE = F--cked, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional
------->What is interesting about these is that they assume that being emotional is bad. Feeling frustrated is bad. In short, when you say you are fine, you are not really. This word makes people out to be liars. When you ask them how they are and they answer I am fine, they are liars. Really, this is more than bad manners. But if you answer that you are not fine, then people in aa will fault you for not being grateful.
FINE = Faithful, Involved, kNowledgeable and Experienced
-----> Well this is a nice one. Only problem is that it is in relation to the program and not to the community.
HALT = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired: Fix these situations before you make any decisions.
HALT = Horny, Arrogant, Lazy and Tragic: if you're any one of these, get to a meeting!
HALTS = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and Stupid
----->How many of us have heard this adinfintem at meetings. On the surface they make sense. At least the first version does. The other two slip in insults in their slogan. That is the other thing that I noticed about aa is how they slip in an insult in the name of 'goodness'. Again emotions are bad, and somehow people in aa are stupid, horny, lazy, arrogant, and tragic.
HALT = Honestly, Actively, Lovingly Tolerant
HALT = Hope, Acceptance, Love and Tolerance
-----> This is an interesting twist on the usual halt. However I have rarely heard tolerance in meetings. On the surface, this is a lovely slogan, but under uses. Rarely did I experience tolerance in meetings. If you are an atheist, you are not tolerated. If you take meds, you are not tolerated. Neither are you loved. But it is funny how much aa stretches to get a good slogan going.
These are the famous kiss ones and related ones. What is interesting again is how demeaning they are. What has struck me about them and most of the aa slogans is how banal and vulgar they really are. It is as if aa wants everyone to think of themselves as 'trash'. It is also gives a false sense of familiarity to the members. In short -- everyone has to be Bob, no one can be Robert. We all have to give our sense of ourselves and mold ourselves in the false informality of aa. Hale and well-met stuff.
Act as if
-----> As if what? Are we to be false to ourselves? Are we to not tell ourselves the truth. Does the truth matter? What does matter? Looking the part? AA is full of slogans telling people to look the part if they don't feel the part. AA is actually separating the person from themselves and setting up a false self. A true self would not act as if. But aa does not value truth in regards to the self. Sometimes the truth can hurt as well as heal. But aa tries to place a wedge between the person and themselves. AA wants the group to be the final arbitour of how the person feels.
Dry and tighten up (financially)
I have no idea what this mean. Does it mean that when you are 'dry' that flesh-eating moths fly out of your wallet when you spend money? What does aa teach about money? From what I can see, it teaches that people give to aa until it hurts. That giving to aa is the best thing a person can do. If they can't give money, then they give time. However, aa doesn't encourage that people save for a rainy or spend time on themselves. Again aa is stripping the person of their resources that they need and encourage the person to give all to the group. I know that this may be stretching the slogan but I have been wondering how aa teaches people to deal with money. If they do at all.
"The good news is you get your emotions back; the bad news is you get your emotions back."
-------->The assumption is that people don't have emotions until they get into a 12-step program? Or that people drink to drown their emotions? Or that people do crazy things to escape their emotions? Now what does this slogan say to people who are feeling painful emotions? Does it tell people how to handle those emotions? No. Also the subtext of this slogan is that all emotions are painful. What about the good emotions? Also the subtext is that emotions and feeling them are not good.
KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid
KISS = Keep It Simple, Sugar
KISS = Keep It Simple, Sweetheart
-----> These are used by the general population to make sure that simple things are kept simple. In the context of aa with the added put-down, they are telling people that everyone makes everything too complex. It is a *simple* program. These are thought stoppers in that when people ask questions, someone will pop up with KISS. And of course the name-calling is to make the person feel at the same bad and a member of the group.
Imagine if the last 's' was 'sassy', 'sober', 'serenity', 'silly', 'sassafrass', 'super' --- it does change the meaning of kiss.
These are so contradictory that I wonder why they even have them.
Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.
----> Well guilt is a useless emotion. But aa types do use guilt to get people do things like service work and to give money to keep the lights on.
Gossip hurts and sometimes kills.
-----> Then why does everyone in aa do nothing but gossip?
Feelings aren't facts.
-----> After hearing the above two, then you hear this, you shake your head why. Actually in order to be fully human, you have to feel. People do have feelings and they are facts. I feel happy. Fact: I am happy. AA tries to disable the common human quality of emotions. You cannot feel.
Alcoholics heal from the outside in, but feel from the inside out.
----> What does this mean? Does it mean that alcoholics have scars that they wear bandaids for. This is one of the most idiotic things that I have heard. How does one heal from the outside in unless they have burn injuries? Is this in reference to going to meetings and convincing the aa member needs the group to get better. Is this one of those subtle things of don't trust yourself, trust only the group?
“I thought I wanted to commit suicide, but all I needed was a hamburger.”
----->WWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT? WHAT? What are they saying. Suicide is not funny. Suicide is real. Suicide needs to be deal with in a serious matter. You don't equate a serious illnes with hunger. Of course, if feelings are not facts, then suicide does not exist. Funny that. Then people do not have take responsibility for when people talk about killing themselves. They can just say, "Well IThey can just say, "Well I offered the guy a hamburger." Blech.
I included this group together as they all deal with insanity in some form.
Depression is anger toward inward.
-----> Well this is actually true. One of the discussion that mental health types have about depression is how it is anger towards the self.
But how does aa deal with a bonifide mental illness such as depression? Most people in aa have been exposed to people with depression, since quite a few self-medicate themselves by drinking. Also Wilson was in the throes of deep depression for a number of years. AA doesn't deal with depression. They tell people not to take their anti-depressants and not to see their doctors. The program is the cure. Wilson sought relief through the program and the steps for his depression to no avail. It simply did not work.
Suicide which is one result of untreated depression is regarded as someone on a dry drunk. The solution is more service work or spending more time sharing in meetings. AA simple does not deal with this mental illness.
The legacy of Wilson's depression on aa is great. He hated himself and this shows in his writing. He kept hammering at the self-will run riot and ego was bad. He kept hammering that anger was wrong. Plain wrong. AA members have a streak of self-hate in their materials and in their sharings at meetings.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got.
--------> On the surface, these are gems of good thinking and directions. After all it is insane to do the same thing over and expect something else. In general living, you ask yourself what it is that you keep doing that is not working.
Of course, if you think deeply enough, you will realize that the 12-steps and the program is one of those things that give the same results of failure that people keep expecting something different. I found it interesting that in meetings that there was a split in aa thinking. People kept slipping and coming back firmly convinced that the program was the answer but then they would quote these two slogans. It was strange to see people lie to themselves and tell the truth at the same time.
If your spinning your wheels, try getting out of the driver's seat.
This is similiar to the insanity ones but the focus is that you can't do anything without someelse's help -- your sponsor's, god's.
Actually if you combine the three ones on insanity, you will see that they are directed at demeaning the person and make them give up. Surrender to the program since that will make you sane. Think about it in those terms and these slogans are destructive to the self instead of being helpful.
Here is a quote from the "Big Book of Insanity" for your barfing pleasure. Grab your puke bags, all who attended al-anon. You have been warned!
Chapter 8 To Wives, page 119
"Still another difficulty is that you may become jealous of the attention he bestows on other people, expecially alcoholics. You have been starving for his companionship, yet he spends long hours helping other men and their families. You feel he should now be yours. The fact is that he should work with other people to maintain his own sobriety. Sometimes he will be so interested that he becomes really neglectful. Your house is filled with strangers. You may not like some of them. He gets stirred up about their troubles, but not at all about yours. It will do little good if you point that out and urge more attention for yourself. We find it a real mistake to dampen his enthusiam for alcoholic work."
Aaak. Ick. Gag. Where's MY barf bag?
What sickness Lois must have felt in her gut to read such garbage Bill wrote and to conform her life to it...though it already was conformed to such. She had to have secretly hated this
chapter...how could she not have? Maybe she was so "programmed" herself to stuff it that she did just that. Stuffed some more. She did state that she was hurt that she was not allowed to write the chapter to wives herself. Maggie
These gems about the humility that we all must feel in the program.
One alcoholic talking to another…one equals one
---->Well that certainly is a put down of people and the program. You read how aa started with one alcoholic talking to another. That all aa is one alcoholic sharing with another. One equals one is stating that we are all equals. However, one talking to one equals two. One plus one.
Humility is our acceptance of ourselves
-----> I never heard this definition of humility. Acceptance of yourself. I thought that was self-love and having good self-esteem. What exactly is meant by this. Is this an aa co-opting another word.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.
-----> Well this is sensible definition. However, it is also the definition for altruism, unselfishness, and other good things.
Some people are so successful in aa that they turn out to be almost as good as they used to think they were when they were drinking
------> This is another put down of the members. Of course aa must keep you humble.
Rule 62—don't take yourself so damn seriously!
-------> I never understood this. There are times when you need to take yourself seriously. I never understood the humor behind 'rule 62' - it seemed to be some secret code that I never could understand. An insiders' language. It is also something that is said to people who are seriously depressed.
Success means getting your BUT out of the way.
-----> Is one those slogans for stopping people from objecting to the more stupid parts of the program? But is useful. It is there for a reason. It is a means of safety. What is 'success' in this meaning? AA success is defined by days sober.
These ones are strange in themselves.
You either is….or you ain't ----->I am what? I am not what? What is it that I am or not? Is this in reference to being sober? Being drunk? Being in the program? Actually the one thing that I detest about aa is the false folkiness that they try to play. Is - ain't -- is another one of
those appeals to the common person but it falls flat because it is so patently false. But then again aa does not uplift people but tries to keep them in the gutter.
Before you say: I can't… say I'll try.
----> I remember the Star War's line: No try, do. Trying is the same as can't. However, this slogan is another one borrowed from some place else. It is one of those booster slogans to get people motivated. In the context of aa, what is the reference to -- doing the steps? Doing a specfic step? Is there a reason the person is balking at doing the steps?
Have a good day unless of course you have made other plans
---->What a snide thing to say to someone. Then again aa is full of snide slogans. The kind of stealth slogan that tears you down without warning. This is one of those -- you mess yourself up on your own.
Where you go….there you are
---->Well, yes. However, I believe that this one is in response to people leaving or moving to another part of the country. They are saying you are running away. But are you leaving or going towards something. AA assumes that there is nothing to go to.
Stay sober for yourself
---->Well, yes. Who else would you stay sober for? Are people so group focused that they get drunk if the group asks them to. Actually, this slogan has another meaning in the context of aa -- that of ignore everyone else in your life except for the aa members. Usually this slogan is in response to a member complaining about their family or friends. The answer of the slogan is to ignore them, they don't count. The only thing that matters in your life is your sobriety, which what aa places at supreme importance. The subtext is stay in aa and stay away from family and friends.
The only thing alcoholics do in moderation is the 12 steps.
------>Another put down of people. Another slogan saying that everyone is alike. We are all out of control drunks. Also the slogan is designed to put people in their place. You cannot exhibit self-control, except through the program. It is a way of disempowering someone and directing them to the steps at the same time.
I wonder what the meetings of early aa was like. Did smith or wilson just hold forth with their babble and everyone else just went along. Was there toing and froing? Was there a collection of equals or were there only the two heads? These slogans seem to indicate that people came in thinking that they were equals but were quickly put into their place.
Snork continues to dissect the slogans.
"You either is.or you aint ----->I am what? I am not what? What is it that I am or not? Is this in reference to being sober? Being drunk?"
I think it means you either are an alcoholic, or you're not.
I remember steppers coming on with that smug, know-it-all grin, and saying, "You can't be a little bit alcoholic. That's like being a little bit pregnant. Either you are an alcoholic, or you aren't."
I didn't argue, but even when I was deep in the program I didn't believe it. I thought that people varied greatly in their drinking behavior, and I knew from experience that such behavior varied over time. I knew from experience that it was NOT a progressive disease, because I had observed my own drinking behavior change for the better, and not become steadily worse.
Besides, we've determined that "an alcoholic" is a meaningless term, anyway. It's not in the DSM. (Not that I have much respect for the DSM, I have to say. Many of the so-called mental illnesses are dubious, and far too many shrinks misuse the damn book, anyway.)
"Before you say: I cant say Ill try. ----> I remember the Star War's line: No try, do.
Trying is the same as can't."
AAACCCCKKKKK!!!! This pushes my buttons! This pulls my chain! Down with Yoda and his advice!
Not to poke Snork in the ribs, because I admire her brains and love to read the things she writes, mind you.
This is about that toxic therapy I've bitched and grumbled about. One of the therapists had his own slogan, " 'Try' is a weasel word." What he meant is that when someone says, "I'm trying," what they are really doing is making a choice to fail. They are deliberately *not* doing something, and rather than saying, "I choose to not do this," they say, "I tried, and I failed."
Oh, that pisses me off no end!!! It makes me so goddamn angry!!!
When I failed at something, I got blamed for wanting to fail and choosing to fail. This blame caused me so much emotional pain, and undermined my sense of self and self-esteem. I struggled so hard to do certain things, I made such an effort, I tried. I tried, dammit! And when I failed, I felt such shame and confusion. The f*cking therapist blamed me for my failure. I chose, he said. I messed up on purpose. My fault. "Try" is a weasel word.
This is yet another part of the toxic therapy I need to deprogram from, along with steppism.
A number of failures are due to the fact that I have a neurological handicap which was not diagnosed till I was 54 (Tourette's, just before my birthday) and 55 (ADD/ADHD right after my birthday). Parents and authorities saw me as a naughty, bad girl, willfully doing these things just to be perverse; rather than a person struggling with a handicap. I got punished and blamed for things I had no control over.
"Try" is NOT a weasel word. It's a good word, a useful word. "Try" means "to make an effort", "to attempt", "to endeavor". When I say I'm trying, I mean that I'm making an effort, but I can't guarantee what the outcome will be. I may try and fail. I may try and succeed. I may fail at first, but eventually succeed. I may try and fail, and then learn all sorts of useful things from the failure. I learn as much from a failure as from a success. I may try and fail, and understand that it has to do with this irritating handicap. Having understood what is wrong and how the failure took place, I can try to find better ways to do things, ways to compensate. I may find something that works, or I may be stuck with the fact that there are some things I simply can't do, no matter how hard I try.
Hooray for "Try"!! Down with Yoda and his ignorant therapist buddies!!!
Oh, and Hooray for Snork! This angry rant isn't directed at her, but at Yoda and his ilk. Cheers, Laura
AH that naughty little word "try" this brings back yet another memorey of the program for me..I was also told you should not say "try" or "cant" or wont" its like its all a simple black and white world??? You mean there cannot be a gray area where people may be hovering in? UGH!!! Now i was being told to watch my vocabulary....this also did not sit well in my gut....my goodness.Cant i even be a little bit of my real true self? How suttle all these slogans and words are for the mind.......Now i am going to try and do my dishes.LOL..does that mean i will or will not do them? Or can i leave it open and do them when i so desire? Wich for me
means....they certainly shall get done!!! Its just a figure of speech....hehe....Purple Hazy Dreamer
That's one thing I hated about meetings or therapy, I could say anything that was a negative feeling, or perceived to be negative without it becoming a topic and me to blame. I couuldn't say I was bored without someone trying to tell me what i was doing wrong and what I needed to do to get unboard, or some smart ass saying, "people who are bored are usually boring people," God, I just wanted to strangle some of those people. I couldn't say I was angry or upset without it becoming a topic as if I would stay that way permanently if people didn't tell me what to do about it, such incane bullshit! Shit happens, people get bored, people become angry, they don't fuckin' stay that way, most don't, anyway. I was always to blame to, always something I was doing or not doing. I told my therapist once, "Look, I don't want to read all these self-help books, I don't want to become a robot, I don't want to become Dr. Spock and not have any illogical emotions, I don't want to be perfect!" All those people made me feel like there was something wrong with me, it was like adding a negative to a negative, I already had feelings and suspicions of not being normal, and all they did was try and confirm it for me. I get so freakin' angry some times at these dicks who were suppose to help me, who were suppose to be supportive and empower me, and what bothers me the most is I can never make them take any responsibility for their damage. Blame is another thing I hate about 12-step recovery; I used to hear it all the time and even dished it out for a while, "blame is not a solution," "it doesn't do any good to blame anyone," well it may not be a solution, but it does let you know who is responsible, and some times, it's not me! And no, it usually doesn't do any good to blame anyone, because the stupid fuckers won't take responsibility for the damage they've caused. Blame is the beginning of many solutions for me to day; it let's me know who is responsible for fucking me over, and if it's not me, then I don't have anything to do with the person who fucked me over anymore, because the sons o' bitches will not take responsibility for the damage they cause. It's been a really fucked up day and I have been reminded of a lot of hurt at the hands of those who said they cared, loved, was there to help, would always be there, and they were fuckin' irresponsible little liars; sometimes I think really bad thoughts and want revenge, I wish I could just forget, I wish I had no memory of all the shit, but I do! rambling, Point
If blame is eliminated entirely from life--then also is accountability, justice and personl responsibility.
As long as NO ONE is supposed to be blames, ever, we can hug the pedophiles, the rapists, and the predators, swallowing that sick feeling in our gut, because down deep in most of us is the core knowlege that THIS IS WRONG.
There is a such thing as HEALTHY BLAME. What a surprise.
AA's version of blame makes victims feel guilt for daring to hold someone accountable for wrong--to blame a perpetrator of a wrong is a huge NO NO. This just gets the perp big hugs from the group while the wounded one sits alone to the side. Silenced. Revictimized.
Then they procede to place the blame for whatever was done, big or small on the hurt and wounded party-- whoever was simply saying, OW! because you "blamed" someone. How wicked of you to assign "blame"! You are the bad guy, even if they ruined your credit, wrecked your vehicle or terrorized you.
Then you are forced into a silently writhe in pain because of the "loyalties" reguired in AA. Demanded.
This is also AA shrapnel that stays in the brain long after leaving. The belief that one must maintain silence and loyalty to one who has done a wrong. And it is perceived as a virtue.
This is a sick program. It ill fits us for life once leaving AA. The old thinking is subtle. We sometimes don't even know we are engaging in this thinking, we just have a inner sense of disloyalty to "ourselves" that is conflicting with our remaining AAthink. Which is a big clue, that this programed thinking is wrong.
Some one mentioned stinkin' thinkin'. AA thinking "IS" stinking thinking. You are told the opposite in AA. There is a reason for this. With believing that rational thinking and logic is stinking thinking, you are easy to manipulate into the program and learn to distrust your own gut feelings. Believe these things, and you are screwed.
AA's way of using blame and shaming and guilting the victim for not being "spiritual enough" for feeling pain or anger is---This is nothing more than one more form of abuse on victims. And never forget to "love your enemies" and those who do you wrong. Welcome to false piety anonymous.
But there is a blame that is good, just and needful. And it helps us to become stronger and to step out of a victim role in life to one who will not be victimized. To stand up and say without qualm:"That was wrong, that hurt." That is a strenght of character. It is not necessary to have loyalty to those who have damaged you. That is not a strenght of character. That is foolishness and a set up for re-injuring.
The man who raped me deserves the blame, all of it. I do not need to be blamed for being a victim of rape. And I won't be. More power to me. The less I accept this perverted blame and use my logic, the less of a victim I wiil be. The less of a victim I AM.
AA mentality is sick and lasts long after leaving the rooms. Only conciously attacking it with awareness such as in learned in this group--WITHOUT RUNNING FROM IT--removes the remaining shrapnel of this and other terms perverted in aa. Words known by those outside of AA to mean an entirely different thinng. Maggie
This is the last of the self slogans. I have found that aa wants to put a wedge between the person and themselves. AA becomes the person's self. If that makes sense.
It is not the experience of today that drives people mad… it is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
-------> Why is it that aa always assume that people have remorse or bitterness of their past and dread of the future? How many people have you met that had remorse about their pasts? That is like asking people, how many convicted felons they are friends with. Not everyone knows a felon. I am beginning to think that aa is full of felons. I don't dread tomorrow. I have a better future than I did a past. I finally dealt with my past.
The subtext of this slogan is pure negativity. Have you met any optimists in aa? Do they exist? Or do they get beaten down with all that talk about one day at a time stuff?
To thy own self be true
------> Except in aa. You must be true to your aa self. If you were true to yourself, then you would be at odds with aa. However, the subtext is that aa states 'ignore all your family and friends, be true to the aa message and program' Sobriety is the truth that you must be true to.
Don't compare … identify
------>Well that certainly contradicts 'to thyown self' doesn't it. How can you be true to yourself and identify with others? Doesn't that mean you must submerge yourself into some one else. Become someone else.
The lesson I must learn is simply that my control is limited to my own behavior, my own attitudes.
------> This sounds sensible on the surface. It is something that people must understand that they cannot control others. Al-anon is full of control slogans. The whole focus of al-anon is control and non-control. Nothing else counts. However, the subtext is that don't try to change anything -- one person can change a lot but really shouldn't. It is to instill passivity in a person. Also to instill that people should not seek justice for being wronged.
maybe Co-dependency is one of those words we have either reclaim or destroy. What I have gathered from reading those books is the following: some people have the inability to say no, some people feel that thay must take care of people to the point of injuring their health, some people are trained to be overresponsible.
I grew in a family where there was only the 'we', we were a mass glued together. No 'i'. Sort of like the 12-step programs which do not allow 'i' just a 'we'. What I have found in reading the boards and aa materials is they encourage the three things that I noticed. You can't say no. You have to take care of under-responsible people. You have to do service work to the point of injuring your inner life.
What I think that 'co-dependency' is about is that one person cannot exist without the other. It has to do with if there is no 'i' in a relationship, then when one person goes away or dies, then the other person has nothing -- no self. I think the building of the self is important.
To live with other people and in relationships, you must care. You must do things that help the commonweal. However, it is a choice that you make within yourself. You choose to say no and to say yes.
I was told that I was selfish because I did not do what other people wanted me to do. The other people were telling me this since I told them no.
I have no idea where the term got made up since the 12-step programs encourage codependency. You cannot exist outside the group. You must look to the group for guidence and help. You must give all to the group since it is through the group that you get yourself
Well I got blessed by my bus driver when I got off at my stop. She blessed everyone. However, not everyone was interested in having a blessed day. But that didn't matter to her.
Actually, the general public use the slogans as well. But I think the subtext is what makes the difference. The bus driver in my case was doing what all bus drivers do -- making the passengers feel welcomed. Different drivers say different things to people. I would not have noticed her blessed day remarks except for this list. People getting off the bus usually say things like 'have a nice day', 'thanks', 'bye', etc. The subtext in the bus driver's wishing me a blessed day was one of 'welcome to our bus'.
The subtext of Keep it simple or Easy does it in aa is different than in time management classes. In time management books, they want people to manage their time better -- be more effective and efficient. Simplicity is more effective than complexity in managing time. However, in aa kiss is a thought stopper to get people to not question the program. Easy does it is the same way. To be more effective, you do things in small steps. In aa, it is to tell
people to not be so zealous about things.
Many people in many areas of society have done this, but blaming the rape victim is decreasing as awareness grows that NO woman (or man or child) ever invites rape or causes themselves to be raped.
But this enlightenment is NOT happening, and is unlikely to happen in AA. "Look at your part in it" is a fundamental part of the AA program, and it doesn't matter what "it" is, if something bad happened to you, there was surely something you did to cause it.
I suspect this "look at your part in it" is magical thinking encouraged by AA. It allows you to believe that you are (in some sense) in complete control of your environment. If you believe there was something you did that caused something bad to happen, then you can stop doing that, and you'll believe that you're preventing the bad thing from happening in the future. Most unfortunately, the thing you were doing that caused it is something like "not praying enough" or "not going to enough meetings."
Another interpretation of the AA program is that it doesn't matter what happens to you, that if something bothers you it's because you're not working the program correctly. This is spelled out in the infamous paragraph from the big book story "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict" (on page 449 of the 3rd edition) that starts with "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today..." When read or recited in meetings, the word "all" is usually emphasized. I won't quote the rest of it, it's bad enough in general, and really awful in this context.
There ARE things one can do to help prevent rape (such as having pepper spray or similar self-defense device always on your person), but people generally don't learn these things in AA.
>Not defending the big book or AA, but maybe people read a little to >much into that line?
>"Sometines" doesn't mean all the time.
What that is saying is that people do not always hurt us.
> And isn't it true that sometimes people do act in ways that hurt or offend us and their actions are actually reactions to what we have done?
In reality you are of course correct, sometimes this does happen for this reason, sometimes for other reasons, sometimes other things happpen, but in the quote the "sometimes" word has already been used up to qualify "they hurt us." The quote says that whenever someone does hurt us, it's because of some "decision" we previously made. Actually, that part is qualified by the word "invariably" (or the words "We invariably find").
>It's either that or it's always everyone elses fault, the blame lays never on us?
>Sometimes the posts on this board get so rabid in opposition to 12-step garbage that they bring on the appearance of being as whacked as AA itself.
I've been to meetings, I've heard it read in that context, I've heard this interpretation (and no other interpretation) within AA.
I can see your point about us becoming rabid, but I've seen in meetings so many of the things discussed here, and specifically discussion of virutually every sentence of the big book (yes, I went to at least four big-book study groups, for perhaps a total of over 100 meetings studying
the big book, not counting typing it into the computer and deconstructing it on my own), that I can say that this interpretation is not over-the-top.
If you really think we're off on this interpretation, we can ask on alt.recovery.aa, perhaps something like:
Hi, fellow Friends of Bill W., I'm Grateful To Be Sober today,
Several of us were discussing after a meeting the words on page 62 of the Big Book, specifically the last sentence of this paragraph:
Selfishness - selfcenteredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, selfdelusion, selfseeking, and selfpity,we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
What exactly does the last sentence mean?
Dismissing spurious responses such as "utilize, don't analyze/Just don't drink and go to meetings/Ask your sponsor," it would be interesting to see. -BEN
Well I am going deconstruct this gem.snork
--- Devin <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Here is a passage from the notorious 12X12 about justified anger;
> It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is
something wrong with us.
---->As Devin pointed out, where is this spiritual axiom written? Axiom is an interesting word in that it relates to mathematical knowledge. Is this Wilson trying to codify his ideas and give them weight. What is this spiritual axiom's source? Did the Dali Lama say something like this? I do not think so. I don't even think that it is in the words of Christ. He was disturbed with the money changes in the temple. He whipped them and drove them out. There was nothing wrong with Him or his reaction. He was reacting to a wrong that was occurring.
I believe that this is Wilson speaking about himself. I think he is really into the guru thing by this time and was really doing some serious damage to himself. At least he was searching for relief.
If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also.
-----> WHAT? So if I get shot in a gang shooting simply because I happened to be taking a walk, then I am in the wrong? WTF? When that happens the police usually will arrest the person who hit us. They usually do investigate what happened but if you were a victim, you are not wrong.
Was Wilson speaking about his wife getting on his case? Anyway this sentence does discourage people from defending themselves. It leaves them open for more hurt and being stomped on. It also lays the blame on the victim. Who is Wilson speaking to in this passage? Himself?
But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about "justifiable" anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk?
-----> It is interesting what he uses for examples. Especially the word 'self-righteous'. Who are these people that he is really talking about? His wife? Other people disturbed by his guruness? Why should people be angry with self-righteous people? Why single them out?
For us in A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.
-----> And who is better qualified to handle this anger? What do you do when you are angry? Go to one of these people? This passage is basically telling people to lay down and be stomped on. Then turn over and get stomped on some more. There are ways of dealing with anger. If someone burns down your house, you go to the police. You take someone to court.
> Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 90.
I think that Wilson had some serious anger issues that he could not get a grasp on. What is strange is how many people cannot see that Wilson is just plain nuts. I mean really nuts. I personally think that the man should have been locked up at least. I do not say that lightly. He is mentally ill. Really ill.
I am not at all surprised by the find your part sick shit in 12 step world. I rember hearing abuse in forced meetings imgaine hearing some aa guru tell a victim of domesticabuse with a history
of severe depression " to find their part" I told the guru to go fuck himself and that he was a lowlife sack of shit . I later found out he had a history of Domestic Vilonce oddly not long after his little abusive speach he was busted for beating his new 12 sweetiy I wondr if he topld the cops that she should find her part and all the other trite little AA sayings.
I agree any one who sends pople to 12 stpe programs should be guilty of malpractice. Telling a vitime of vilonec or other abuse in any form to go ot 12 step meetinfs is sick twisted and cruel . Lets say that sex offenders d batters do not fare well in jail the certainly do find there part usuly part of the cement wall .
While I am on this I wonder how many pople have had thier lives riunded becasue of steppers BS such as all the slogand and the tough love crap . I call it a excuse for abuse. Seems lots of vilonet and sex offenders love 12 step stuff and i wondr about the professionals who believein it so strongly . Steppers should find therivpart in the abuse the perpertate on otherss the real sick one was reading about telling a woamn to find her part in being raped as a 3 yr old or ten year old that is some sick shit .
Well I am almost finished with these buggers. The next groups are about the program. What all these rules and program stuff tell me is that it is a religious program or at the very least, not interested in rehabilitating people. But is interested in free labor and keeping the membership numbers strong.
AA = Absolute Abstinence
AA = Adventurers Anonymous
AA = Altered Attitudes
AA = Altruistic action
AA = Attitude Adjustment
----> Well this certainly tells you nothing and everything about aa. You abstain absolutely. Not just a little bit but totally and completely. You go on adventures?? You alter your attituded and become altruistic. Does this sound like a group that is interested in healing drinkers or a religion or cult group?
ALCOHOLICS = A Life Centered On Helping Others Live In Complete Sobriety
ANONYMOUS = Actions Not Our Names Yield Maintenance Of Unity and Service
-----> This further explains what aa is all about. Sobriety. Not rehabilitation people. Not teaching them how not to drink. But helping people stop drinking. Does that mean that aa is like a soup kitchen or a therapy group? Unity and Service -- again the group over the person and having them serve the group over themselves.
If we really thought about these, we would be clued into as to what aa is really about. Free labor.
If you want to drink - that is your business
If you want to quit - that is aa's business.
-----> How is that aa business? Why should it be aa business? Quiting is a personal descision. It is personal what the person does. Not an organization. Of course this sets up aa's principle of being the busy body group that helps drunks. It also is what encourages judges and others to sentence drinkers to aa meetings.
AA is an education without graduation
AA is a school in which we are all learners and all teachers
AA may not solve all your problems but it is willing to share them.
AA is the easier, softer way.
AA is the last stop on the train.
-------> What is aa? It is as many things as people. AA doesn't solve problems even though it claims to as in 'last stop on the train'. Also in the steps is the answer to life's problems. Education without graduation is a major signal that nobody leaves aa. The easier softer way has been debunked by the big book as being bad. So aa has been caught in another contradiction of itself.
The last stop on the train means of course - death. The implied death threat is there. You don't go to aa, you die.
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.
----->Of course these are good slogans, but are they practiced by people? Do people respect others? Of course, you need code words to determine who is who in the universe. But how do you help 'drunks' if you don't break your anonymity?
Principles before personalities.
All you need to start your own aa meeting is a resentment and a coffee pot.
----->Well these do contract each other. If people adhere to principles they would not need to start another meeting. They would simple work out their differences.
Of course, aa teaches that resentments are evil but why do they encourage in this slogan or wink at them? Of course, we must have that coffee pot. Assume that everyone drinks coffee, whether they do or not. What about soda? Why serve refreshments at all? Many other organizations do not serve refreshments. Do you need to entice people with refreshments to an aa meeting?
It is always easier to take somebody else's inventory.
Take other people's inventory until you can take your own.
-----> These two are direct contradictions of each other. Of course aa is full of contradictions. No one seems to see that. I guess if you gather all the slogans together in one place, you may see the contradictions but then again you are not supposed to think.
O.k. more of aa as they see themselves.
ABC = Acceptance, Belief, Change
ABC = Ashtrays, Broom, Coffee
ABC = Ashtrays, Broom, Chairs
------> What is interesting about these is how they have assumptions. One that aa is a stealth religon -- belief. Everyone smokes at meetings. Everyone sweeps up at meetings. In short they make messes and except someone else to clean up the mess. Also ABC is Alcohol Beverage Control as in state stores, so that is why they do the abc's.
If you want to stay sober, make the coffee.
Stand by the coffee pots, it is a good way to meet people.
-----> If you relate these with the abc ones, you get an idea of free labor. We must stand and serve. Who do we serve? Also what is with all this coffee? Why coffee? Why not just refreshments?
Also this is a silly correspondence -- if I make coffee, I will stay sober. If I make tea, do I stay sober?
Comments inside - snork
--- purplehazydreamer <email@example.com> wrote:
This reminds me of what i kept hearing at so many meetings.You should do service work....and then you will remain sober?
----> I never understood the correlation between the two unless it is in keeping the memory green or something. But other groups do have service work like the Boy Scouts, they do it to encourage citizenship and other things. However they don't say that in order to be a good citizen you must clean up the litter in the park. They say that good citizens clean up litter in the park. Meaning that there is more to citizenship than.
We even had meetings about the dam coffee pot.hahahha....of how you should never complain about the quality of the coffee....or that it is not yet made...how dare a person even think to do such an awful thing...
----> We met in a U.S. government conference room and coffee or other refreshments were not allowed. So no made coffee or complained. We still had a meeting inspite of no making of coffee.
I often had said to these folks."I can be of service in many ways"....yes maybe making coffee and sweeping will give me a feeling of group belonging....and also distract my mind on the drink......but i always said you can help anyone or everything you choose to..Like the big picture of it all....all this brotherly/sisterly love......Why is it only suppose to be for giving or helping the Alkie? I enjoy helping others.weather they have a problem with a chemical or not....I was told."Well its why we are in the program.to give it away...in order to keep it"......keep what i kept asking?
-----> Actually the it is supposedly sobriety that you give away. But actually what they are doing is telling people that you need to get members for the organization. Boy Scouts don't tell scouts that in order to get a rank, they have to help only other potential scouts. AA is about keeping and getting members, not about helping people. If you do a community service that does not reflect on aa, then you are not doing the program. You are not going to any means to keep sober if you decide to pick up litter in the park as a community service. Now if you take the people who are drinking in the part to an aa meeting, then you are working the program. To an outsider, there is no difference between the two as long as both serve the community. To the aa members, there is a difference. Picking up litter is the easier softer way.
what i choose to have is a choice i make....and i had felt icky after some of these meetings.its like do it my way....or take the highway..ugh!!! It seems the longer i am away from this all....wich has been about a 7 weeks now,the more my mind is seeing the whole side of life.and i dig that!!!WHOHOO> PurpleHazy Dreamer
--------> That is because you left the narrow way of thinking in aa.
The three t's of gratitude to repay aa for our sobriety: our time, our talent, our treasure.
-----> I thought this was a free program. I did not know that I had to repay aa. How many other groups do you repay? Boy Scouts do not ask for repayment. People leave with good feelings. So we have to pay for our sobriety - time, talent, treasure. So what is this -- a subtle change or a subtext of how aa really works. Defintely a split of thinking. So aa is a lifetime consuming activity. You have to pay for your sobriety. Remember that.
Three a's in aa - affection (thoughtfulness), attention (listening), appreciation (gratitude)
----> Really????? Then how does this go with the one above it? Funny that.
In aa, first we remove the anesthesia, then we operate.
-----> Ouch that hurts. And having thoughtfulness runs counter to this. Which is it - attention and kindness? Or pain?
Are people in aa pain freaks or what?
After reading the pathological profile that some one here sent, it makes sense to me about this single focus of service. It is a way to deflect the true purpose of the organization. It is also a way to deflect from the faults of the leader. As long as everyone is busy bringing members and sweeping up, they do not ask questions. They are too busy to think about what is going on.
Actually what is interesting about this service stuff is how aa approaches it. Boy Scouts and other organizations have problems finding voluteers. They usually get people who had favorable memories in Boy Scouts, people who actually liked being one and want to continue, people who feel that they can best serve is through teaching boys, and parents of boys in the troops.
Boy Scouts rarely beat the parents over the head with 'well your kid is in our troop, therefore you MUST serve'. The groups that have that requirement always say it upfront. We expect this from your membership. However, aa says nothing about membership duties or what they expect from you. AA tells you that it is a free program to help you get sober. There are no musts, etc. Then you get in, and you get the pressure to bring in more folks. You get the pressure to man the coffee pots. It is like once they have a captive audience and convinced that if they don't sweep floors they will get drunk. Funny that.
Service should come willingly. not forced. It comes from the person and how they choose to serve. AA takes the point of view that the same service is what all people need. Also aa makes it more than good manners that you straighten up a place. They turn it into some sort of bizarre virtue.
These are centered about what is expected of the member in aa. The things that they don't tell you until you are emeshed in the program.
OUR = Openly Using Recovery
-----> What does that mean? We break anonimity which is drumed in our dear little heads not to do. We are told not to talk about what happens in meetings. So how do you openly use your recovery? If your membership is supposed to be unknown, how do others know what you are doing? This does place the aa member in a quandry.
Be a part of the solution, not the problem
Let it begin with me
Pass it on
------> I put these three together. What they are saying is that you need to pass the solution on. Now on the surface these are rather beign slogans. We hear them all the time. Except for pass it on. Now what is the it = solution that aa is talking about. The program of course. The aa member should not only practice the program but also go out and witness to others. The 12th step in action. What happens if you don't pass it on? Do you drink?
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
-------> More of the it. It is the program. So what the members are supposed to do is to out and recruit members to the organization. What is in the subtext is that you need to get people to join if you want to be sober. The recieve without cost is interesting in that aa drums in people's head how much it costs to get to aa. The giving without charge is winked at since treatment centers are a big business in which aa members are counseling other people. One oltimer 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." (The assumption is that we self-destruct without the program.)
Be as enthusiastic about aa as you were about your drinking
To be of maximum service to others.
Unity, recovery, and service.
------>I grouped these together since they are all centered on service. The assumption is that people must give all to aa, maximun 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 aa means by maximum service to others?
This is what Wilson said about the subject.
(Commentary by me)
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.
------> How are they impossible? Many groups has the same problems and seem to do all right.
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."
------> Of course wilson does the tangent dance to show how aa is Surgeon General approved. Not that the SG was wishing them well. Not to mention this business of relentless promotion.
" 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.
-------> Actually Robert's Rules Of Order would have done the same thing without all the melodrama that wilson writes.
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.
------> Well that certainly is a round about answer to the question of service, etc. But his take on uity is interesting.
"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. "
------> It must have been very angry for wilson to be denied what he wanted. He is referring to himself and his wisdom in the matters.
"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. "
-----> Boy what melodrama. This man should have been writing dime novels.
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? "
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. "
------> That says a lot about his view on the alcoholic and aa. Elders and parents take care of us. Our service is really in terms of them. We are children doing chores.
Now, as we have seen in this quick review, the spirit of the Twelve Steps was applied in specific terms to our problems of living and working together. This developed the Twelve Traditions. In turn, the Twelve Traditions were applied to this problem of
functioning at world levels in harmony and unity. (10th GSC, April, 1960)
------> I don't think that answers any question. But that is wilson's take on the whole thing - which, gee I don't know, except i'm the greatest and best, and I know what is best for the rest of you.
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.
--------> What is the mess that they are talking about -- our daily lives. Isn't that the whole purpose of the program. Or is it another slight of hand where you think it is one thing but it is another. So meetings are not the places were people talk about burning desires and stuff like that. What are meetings for? To indoctrinate people into a particular way of thinking. The other thing that is interesting is the subtext: aa doesn't care about individuals. doesn't give a rat's behind about the suffering individual alcoholic. These people are only symbols, inflatable dolls to be trotted out when needed. AA is not about helping people. It is only about getting converts. AA does not care about what people need.
This is a selfish program
-----> How does that slogan square with "If you want it, you have to give it away." It doesn't. And what about all that stuff about self-will run riot and ego easing god out. Exactly how does this contradiction fit in. The subtext is: screw everyone else, only aa matters. AA is the selfish program. You give yourself to aa. You must ignore all those who question aa. You must spend all your time at aa meetings and ignore the needs of your family and friends. How dare they place demands on you when your goal is to be sober.
At 06:29 PM 10/14/03 EDT, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> I've heard "does anyone have a burning desire?" said at the end ofmeetings, but never knew what it meant. What does it mean?
I recall hearing that quite a bit. Different people run meetings differently - some call on people who raise their hand to speak, others just call out names and "appoint" people to share. It means a "burning desire to share" and it gives the opportunity for someone to speak their mind, or to share some personal stuff, whatever - it's like a "last call for sobriety." Anything said other than a gushing report of the results of doing the AA program will surely result in a lecture after the meetings. Then there's the said-in-jest sexual interpretation, as someone answers "Yes, I have a burning desire for her."
Are you going to drink/drug, hurt yourself or others unless you are heard before everyone leaves. But if you do it, you'll hear groans. They really don't want to hear any story that doesn't end with, "...and XA changed all that for me." Ray
Well group here are the ones about sponsors and their role. After I asked about how aa continues without wilson, I realized the answer is sponsors. What I think that sponsorship is about is forming a new person's ideas and life and mold it into the aa way of life. I remember a woman who just had a baby and was not taking calls at times. Her sponsor cided her that she was never too busy to talk to her sponsor. That being a new mother was no excuse for daily phone contact. The woman was properly ashamed and called more often.
Sponsors are the aa priests or ministers. They are vital to the transplanting of the program to future generations. Without the sponsor system, you do not get many people staying. Sponsors offer people power to control others. People stay long enough to become one. Also sponsors offer a sense of false friendship. It is not a friendship of equals but one of parent-child.
There are people who really do want to help others. And they do. But they are few and far between. Also many sponsors have good intentions but end up passing on the flawed system of the 12-steps.
GAYS = Go Ask Your Sponsor
----->Is this a subtle slap at gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people? Is this some sort of backhanded acknowledgement that glbt people exist? It is interesting that they translated the word into a matter of sponsorship. Is this to tell the glbt people that they cannot discuss their sexuality except with a sponsor while heterosexual people can openly discuss their sexuality?
SPONSOR = Sober Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery
------> However the sponsor system ends up not being sugesstions but requirements. And they are not offering suggestions but instructing poeple.
Sponsors: have one, use one, be one
-------->This combined with the SPONSOR slogan suggests that everyone has to have a sponsor or be one. Why? Why must everyone be a sponsor or have a sponsor? Is it for reasons of passing on aa doctrine on to someone else. The other thing is that aa looks down up having a Catholic priest helping some one or a doctor. Somehow using these people is not the same. But why have a sponsor if not to learn aa stuff?
Call your sponsor before, not after, you take the first drink
Tell your sponsor, or you will be telling it to a bartender.
-------> What is your sponsor supposed to do -- babysit you? How is telling your sponsor about your desire to drink going make you stop drinking? Why can't you call a friend or relative about your desire to drink? Why only a sponsor? Also, how does not telling a sponsor lead you to drink? If you tell your boss about your desire to drink, do you drink or not? What is so magical about a sponsor that causes people to stop and start drinking?
Your big book is your sponsor too.
---->Well this certainly contradicts all the sponsor calling slogans. So how does reading the big book replace calling a sponsor? Actually, it is the same process, however there is no one threatening or urging you to do stuff. But if your big book is a sponsor, then why get a human sponsor? Why be a sponsor if the big book is sufficient?
When you are a sponsor, you get out of yourself. If I serve, I will be served.
------>If I am a waiter, then the chef will served me when the time comes? yeah, right. Actually, the reverse is true. When you are a sponsor, you seem to get out of yourself. However, you are more into yourself since you are telling the other person what to do. It is not serving anyone except yourself.
Be nice to newcomers, one day they may be your sponsor.
-----> That is awful on many levels. First, many organizations are nice to new people since the people are checking the organization out. They try to be welcoming to the new person. This slogan says that aa members stomp all over new people unless there is a reason not to. What is so threatening to the established aa member from the new person? Actually, it is because the new person asks questions in their desire to learn more. Often times these questions are unanswerable or embarrassing to answer since they expose the aa fraud.
Next, the idea is that you will drink again is always present. That you the sponsor will slip. So be nice to people since you will drink again. The assumption is that everyone drinks again. No exceptions. Everyone.
Get a sponsor.
----->Why? It is not enough to say get a sponsor unless there is a reason to. What is the reason? What is so important about getting a sponsor. If you combine this with the ones about calling sponsors or drink, then you have your answer. If you have no sponsor, you will drink again. If you are a sponsor, you will drink again. If you have the big book as your sponsor, then you need to get a human sponsor. In short, you are screwed no matter what you do. You just going to drink again.
I don't know where I'd be without my sponsor.
------> This is the statement of a child about a parent. If I did not have my sponsor, I will be drunk. On the surface, it seems like a statement of friendship. I don't know where I would be without my doctor, friend, gameboy..... I am lost without these people. They are of great help to me.
How does a sponsor helps a person? Friends, etc, do have respect of the person themselves. They embrace the reality of the person. They do not negate the person. Sponsors are not really in aa to help a person. They are there to get the person to the 12-steps. If the person's help is to take meds or to see a doctor, the sponsor generally will discourage the person. They deny the reality of the person. Good aa sponsors who really care about their sponsees have the problem of funnelling the person's problems into the prism of the 12-steps or letting the person find their own way. It is a conflict that is hard to resolve.
This is the AA dogma distilled into the little paradox slogan that people kick around the program. Now taken as a whole, they do not make a lick of sense. The subtext though is the aa's ideas of the teachings of Christ. However, Christ did not teach all this but enough to be perverted by AA. The thing is that Christ's Teachings have to be placed in the context of Christianity which is different from the aa program. These in the context of aa program perverts Christ's Teachings.
Forgive to be forgiven
Give it way to keep it
Suffer to get well
Surrender to win
Die to live
Darkness comes light
Weakness comes strength
Dependence to independence
Forgive to be forgiven --
Christ said to St. Peter -- as you are forgive, so you must forgive. That which you don't will not be. (In short, Rock boy choose what you want to be a moral life among people on Earth.)
AA -- it is not a moral choice but a requirement.
Give it away to keep it
This has to do with tithing in the Church. If you give to God, you will receive. It has to with the
ethics of giving and hoarding. However, aa perverted it to you have to go out and get drunks to meetings or you will drink.
Suffer to get well
The Catholic teaching as least as Pope John Paul II has written is that chornic illness makes people close to Christ on the Cross and to the understanding of His Sacrifice. However, there is no teaching that suffering leds to health.
AA is trying to convince people that when they drank they suffered mightly and that their suffering was the way they got better. i.e. grew spiritually in the program. Suffering in aa is encouraged for spiritual growth. Suffering in Christianity is not encouraged to the same degree in that if you can grow spiritually without a great deal of suffering, then do it.
Surrender to win
Christ taught that in order receive grace, you had to surrender yourself. However, He never taught that you had to give up your self will. Instead, you use your will to choose to glorify God.
AA teaches that you have to surrender to the program to become sober.
Die to live
This is a pervision of Christ's Sacrifice. However, among evangelical Christians, they speak of the old self dying and being reborn in Christ. i.e. Born Again. However the sense of Born Again is that you are washed cleaned of all sins. In aa, you are not washed clean of anything. You just die drunk or live sober in aa.
Darkness comes light
No Christian teaching there. Curse the darkness rather than light a light.
Weakness comes strength
There is a subtly that aa misses in Christ's teaching. He is teaching non-violence and choosing to act and conduct yourself in a certain way. That is where your strength comes from.
I do not know the aa sense of this. Other than week drunk, strong aa.
Dependence to independence
How does this happen? The problem with these slogans is that they do not say how the miracle happens. Only that it does.
I personally think that these slogans are meant to sound profound but are really silly pretensious stuff to puff up the 'profoundities' of the program which is really rather banal.
There are certainly plenty of things to criticize XA about. The fact that Jesus according to the "New Testament" is not specifically mentioned is actually not among them. I tend to agree that although XA's "spirituality" is Xtian in nature (the vicarious salvation from sin, and all that), that the reason Jesus is never mentioned is because XA wants to appear "accessible to people of all faiths" when of course it isn't really.~Rita
--- In email@example.com, "Ulla W" <ulla.wiklander@s...>
wrote: I found the following _expression on another board and I have never
understood it: "The longer I stay sober the closer I am to the next drink."
> Should it not be the opposite?
Another one that doesn't make sense is while you are in there having a meeting your disease is out there doing pushups--getting stronger. I used to think well we ought to get the hell out of here so it won't get any stronger! or...if the longer we go without drinking the stronger it gets, then maybe we ought never stop drinking at all and it won't have a chance. Or, why don't we just
go out in the parking lot and shoot the son of a bitch! Just some of my strange random thoughts during AA. - Maggie
I included Ulla's question and Rita's answer since they are part of the disease idea of alcoholism. This is where aa gets really dicey. They claim that alcoholism is a medical disease that can only be arrested by spiritual intervention.
In answer to Ulla's question on the slogan. Ithas to do with scaring people into thinking that they can never overcome alcoholism, and if they do, they will die. i.e. get drunk. It is an implicit death threat to keep people in aa and not have them leave, once they got sober.
Rita puts the concept in the context of aa disease.
My take on the disease slogans.
The road to sobriety is a simple journey for confused people with a complicated disease.
------> Actually it is simple -- don't drink. What the context of this slogan is that the simple journey is the 12-steps (simple program), people who drink too much are confused (well they may be that), and that alcoholism is a complicated disease.
What is so complicated about alcoholism? In the context of addictions, it is the nexus of biology and human behavior. Sort of a grey area, where people try to parse out, what is what. However, alcoholism is not recognized as a medical disease, disorder, or anything that is genetic. It stems from behavior and a propensity for that person's body to be addicted to that chemical. However, the cure is to change the behavior and to eliminate the chemical from the body. How to go about this -- is the subject of much research and ill information.
AA does not really understand any of the science about alcohol, behavior, and biology. They say they do since it plays into reaching a particular audience, who feel that they can not stop. They say to these people, it is not you, it is your disease, and we have the cure.
From Cocaine Anon website:
"Don't Blame Yourself: Addiction is a disease. You didn't cause it. You can't cure it. And you can't control it. It's not your fault. Be gentle with yourself."
---->That says it all.
Alcoholism is an equal opportunity destroyer
I did my drinking from Park Avenue to park bench.
-----> This is interesting that they always depict the most successful people as the ones who end up on the street. Actually, in many surveys of homeless people, drinking is not the main cause as why they were there. Mental illness accounted for more than 50 percent. Also being a war veteran (Gulf, Vietnam, WWII, etc) acounted for a large portion of homeless people. Drinking was low on the list of the causes of homelessness.
After reading these slogans about Park Avenue, I wonder why aa is so anti-success or anti-rich. It seems almost as if everyone had to be the same.
Remember that alcoholism is incurable, progressive, and fatal
-----> First the big book offers the way out of drinking, then zaps the reader with well you in this for a lifetime. Define incurable: what does this mean? If you stop drinking, you are not cured? Is that what this means? What is interesting about the slogan - progressive and fatal - is that it is applied to people not drinking. If you are drinking, then yes as you put more poison into your body, alcohol is fatal. But if you stop drinking? How is it progressive and fatal? If no poisons are in your body, then how do you die from alcoholism?
The answer is that aa is doing a switch on the definition of disease. They flip from a physical disease to a mental disease. Since you can't see it on a MRI, then alcohol progresses in your mind. Whispering in your ear, drink!. Then if that doesn't work, then there is the allergy aspect. However, all of this distracts the person from the obvious -- stopping drinking stops the progression. A poison can't kill you unless you put it in your body.
The other thing is to convince people that demon rum is this monster under the bed or hiding in the closet. Instead of shining a light on it and yelling boo!, you cower under your covers repeating, "There is no monster".
Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you, you're all right.
We have a disease that tells us we don't have a disease.
-----> No, most mental illnesses do. That is the problem. Trying to convince a paranoid person that that their reality is not true. If you follow this logic, then alcoholism is a mental illness. And should not be treated only and exclusively by lay people. Well this explains aa's hatred of therapists -- they are after the same group of people. The other thing of this slogan is 'only'. Of course you have to make an exception for aa people and make it sound like they are special.
If you wonder if you are an alcoholic, you probably are.
-----> If I wonder if I am six feet tall, then I probably am. If I wonder if I am a bus, then I
probably am. If I wonder that I am the President of the United States, then I probably am. As you can see, how absurb this slogan is. It does create the double blind. You either slip through the horns of the dilemma or refute one of the horns. I sliped through the horns by applying it to another case - my occupation. Refuting the horns is 'if you wonder, then you are asking yourself, you are finding out information' In finding out that information, you may find that what you thought was alcoholism may be symptoms of something else - depression, etc. So therefore, not everyone who wonders is one.
Why recovery never ends: the disease in alcoholISM, not alcoholWASM!
Once and alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
------->This is brainwashing. Pure and simple. If you stay in meetings long enough, you start thinking in terms of the present and not the past. You think that since you drank, you will drink again. So you do not recover, you are sentenced to a lifetime of aa.
Now what do people with chronic illnesses do - they live with the illness. They seek relief. They accept their illness. It is a fact. If taking meds puts the disease in remission, then you take the meds.
However, these slogans make it seem that you lay down and die. You give up. AA strips you of your defensives and tell you to give up.
Cunning, baffling, powerful, and patient.
My disease is doing pushups, getting stronger—just waiting for me to slip.
-------->So now they are personifying a natural process. Actually my favorite quote about natural process is: "Civilizations exist with the permission of geology." by Will Durant. Meaning that earthquakes can wipe you out. If you approach alcohlism the same as a volcano, that volcanos are cunning, baffling, powerful, and patient, then you should have a horde of scientists studing it trying to stop the destructive forces. You would have early warning systems in place. In short, you would not have people meeting in Volcanos Anon meetings, saying that they were powerless over volcanos. They should rely on god, and listen to god's messages.
Also the quotes on how alcoholism is doing push-ups etc, leads to the superstitious mind. If you make this process personal, then you make it into a god, and therefore, you must scarifice virgins to the angry god (which aa does). Alcoholism is a god *as rita says*
Hi Ulla ~ I never really understood that _expression either. I just figured that if you are in AA, you travel along a time/space continuum between your last drink and your next. With that sort of linear model, then it makes sense that the farther you travel from the last drink, the closer you come to the next. It's just another example of their tentative sobriety program. How silly! My time line stops at the last drink. There is no next, period. Henny
--- railroadrita wrote: Oh, well, it's that "cunning, baffling, powerful" inanimate object, alcohol - it "does pushups in the parking lot" and makes itself stronger as you abstain, so it will MAKE you drink it the moment you get a weak spot, from not being in a "fit spiritual condition" by praying to the step-god and doing its bidding.
> Step-god and Alcohol Demon -- clashing forces locked in an eternal battle -- sort of like Matter and > Anti-Matter in the sci-fi movies.
--- Rick Storm <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Laura: That was hilarious!!!!!!!A question: Was your addicition doing pushups in the parking lot while everyone was listening to the Billshit inside?
> I've found that I indeed have power over alcohol long as I don't suck up the stuff - I can choose not to drink. Not a day at a time - forever and accept responsibility and move on with my life
> AA appears to me a group of folks aching to drink again, and coming close as possible to the buzz through a sick group regurgitation system. They revel in the memories. They use the sick label to purge themselves of any responsibility for their actions - after all, they are SICK, but God'll fix'em up in a jiffy. Today only, of course. Next day, you have to get a refill. Forever, cause there's no cure and jails, institutions and death are waiting for you if one dares question all the Billshit. I indeed agree they are very very very very sick people.
Hello, MudSharkRick...no, my "disease" didn't do push-ups at all. I had no problems staying sober, nor did I ever go back to where I was when I stopped back in 1975. Nor did I "progress" to an even worse condition.
> Point of Freedom wrote, "Most alcoholics/addicts, especially members of 12-step groups, eventually drink/use drugs again. According to statistics, this is correct. NA/AA's efficacy would have to be greater than 50% for this not to be true, and the reality is the efficacy is only about 1%, if that 1% has anything to do with AA/NA at all. So, actually they were telling the truth, they were just beating the odds for a while, eventually they would drink again, so they were getting closer and closer to that day."
> Hey! Guess what! I'm one of those "alcoholics" who left the 12-step-program and eventually drank again! Horrors!
> But the "disease" didn't progress. I didn't go to where I would have been if I'd never stopped drinking. I didn't end up in the gutter. I didn't die or end up in jail or the mental institution.
> I simply matured out of the youthful excesses. If I don't want to drink, I just don't. And if I do drink, I drink a limited amount and then stop. I don't go out of control. I'm not the only one to do this. My Sweetie matured out of his behaviors, and so did my first ex-husband. We all just stopped behaving in a problematic way.
> Of course that is not what AA is saying, as we all know.
> AA wants us to think that we are in imminent danger of exploding out of control and progressing to even worse drinking than ever before.
> So it's true that the longer I was sober in AA, the closer I was getting to the day that I decided to drink again. Ditto for my family members. But that didn't mean I was getting closer and closer to a catastrophe.
That's definitely one of the worst of their slogans, it's absolutely ridiculous. In another permutation, I've heard, "The further away from the last drink you are, the closer you are to the next." Complete nonsense, I don't need to tell you, with great emphasis on the nonsensical aspect. With just a small bit of sense, one can easily see that the longer one is not drinking, the easier it is not to drink (smoking is another analogy). How about, "The further away from logic you are, the closer you are to the next meeting."Todd
I am doing the intro on steps and step 13. What is interesting is how aa views life. They use the mystical 12 to make people believe that magic will happen. They make sobriety the goal of everyone. Not a better moral life or becoming a better citizen, but sobriety. One should not mix sobriety with morality. An aa slogan says If you sober up an horse thief, you get a sober horse thief. I think that sobriety in aa is a mystical state of being. Has nothing to do with morals or citizenship.
Another thing that runs through the steps and other slogans is a dark undercurrent of death. It seems that every other slogan deals with a form of death - dying, killing others, killing self. Anyway, it is almost as if wilson shaking hands with death and promoted his views of darkness. You do the steps to get well, not because you are afraid of death.
STEPS = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety
STEPS = Solutions To Every Problem, Sober
There are 12 steps in the ladder of complete sobriety.
-----> Every Problem???? Every single problem has a solution in the steps. Get real. That doesn't seem to wash with me. But if you want people to stay on message, you tell them that the steps are the only way, not meds, not doctors. Steps only the steps, nothing but the steps.
Then the tagline of sober. What is the opposite of sober: drunk. So if you are not drinking but not using the steps, you are drunk. AA has copted the word sober to mean something other than 'not drunk'. But how are the steps solutions to every problem? Well they are surrounded by prayer and god, and more prayer and more god. Nothing else. So that is a safe way to say that there is a solution to every problem.
The elevator is broken - use the steps.
You can take the elevator going down, but you gotta take the steps back up.
------> A play on words. However, the subtext is that if you go too fast, you will fail. You go down fast but go up slowly. Also the elevator is the 'easier, softer way'. We can't have people zooming to the top in a flash.
I remember an homily where the Catholic priest was discussing Christ. He said that Christainity was a religion in which you did not have to do anything to receive Grace. In fact, you can be laying flat in an elevator and Christ will zoom you to where you need to be. In fact taking the steps under your own power is the opposite -- to prove your worth rather than relying on Christ. Having that in mind, the aa steps were always a conflict with me.
The easier softer way is one through twelve.
There is safety in numbers. One through twelve.
------> Well this is certainly in conflict with the prior slogan. What is interesting is the fixation on 12. Why 12, why not 14 or 8 steps? Why 12? What is the significance of the number 12? Wilson explains it in some silly mumble jumble about how 12 made more sense than 6. But I think of numerology and the significance of 12 = 4 x 3. Also Christ and the 12 disciples.
The 12 steps tell us how it works, the 12 traditions tell us why it works.
The steps keep us from suicide; the traditions keep us from homicide.
The steps are there to protect me from myself, the traditions are there to protect aa from me.
-------> These three slogans contradict each other. Actually, they trying to say that the traditions are different from the steps. But how are they? How does the traditions tell why the program works? I think that it is the reverse of what wilson of the how it works. With an how, you need a why. However, the traditions are simply aa's version of Robert's Rules of Order.
Suicide verus homicide is a theme that runs through aa slogans. They make less of them both and treat it with humor. As though both are funny. I don't understand why the preoccupation with killing is there in the slogans. It does fit in with the preoccupation of death. Use the steps or Die! I almost think that aa could be construed as a cult of death. They talk about killing others and themselves. They accuse others of killing alcoholics or newcomers. Why is there is strange preoccupation with dying and not with life? This seems to be the dark undercurrent of aa. Underneath the butterflies and rainbows of recovery, is this darkness of death, dying, and killing.
No steps, no change -- no change, no chance
Don't wait to get better to do the steps -- do the steps now to get better.
------->Again you have the tone of darkness. You have to do the steps or die. Implicit in the second slogan is the idea of you do not do the steps, you will not get better.
Step 1 plus step 12 equals step 13.
Step 13: Newcomer meets newcomer in aa is worse than the 13th step -- it's more like 26.
-------> This makes light of a serious problem. It seems that aa simply doesn't say 'keep your hands to yourself'. They make fun of the whole problem. They have these sly winks to a problem in human behavior. Instead of just saying flat out, don't do this, they make it into some sort of fraternity rite. In my reading of slogans, I never heard one cautioning new comers about oldtimers or one cautioning oldtimers to lay off. Nothing. I think the permissiveness of illicit sex in aa goes back to the idea that they can't help themselves. They have a disease, only god can help them..... all the excuses that makes for an unsafe place to be.
The other aspect of these slogans is why they exist. In Boy Scouts, they have a problem of sexual abuse between adults and boys. So we have semi-annual classes to take if we are in leadership positions on the serious of abuse. The boys have classes too. To be certified as a quality troop, you have to take them. They have a section on sexual abuse in all the manuals. Parents are instructed to read the manuals and sign them. Boys have to show proof that the parents have read them. On campouts, they have rules about that one boy is not left alone with one adult. Two boys, one adult. Never one boy and two adults.
Anyway, aa does not have any of this to combat the problem of sexual abuse. Nothing. No pamphlets. Not even a paragraph about the problem. So they do not consider the 13th step a problem. These slogans say to the new person, stay away from this group. WARNING, this is an unsafe group. Unsafe organization. Flee. Run away. Think about that and how the people at meetings banter the 13th stuff
These are the ones about step one. They are a strange lot since they deal with people's ideas of admitting powerlessness over a substance. (I liked Laura's idea of *were* instead of *are*)
Accept your admission
The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them.
-----> Well these are good in themselves. That people should admit their mistakes and accept that they make them. However, in regards to the first step, saying that you are admitting or overcoming a mistake is the same as admitting powerlessness over a substance. What gives? And overcoming a mistake. Who overcomes a mistake? You correct the mistake. You do not make the same mistake again. You take responsibility for your mistake. There is nothing in these sayings that discuss responsibility. They discuss it in terms of overcoming. Overcoming what? Sin = mistakes. I think that is what the secret word is - sin.
Lighten up -- the war is over.
-----> What war? How is admitting you are powerless over a substance ending a war? Why the use of war? And why tell people to lighten up? What does that mean in the context of war. If you surrender then what does that mean? Is the subtext of this slogan saying that you are surrendering. But what are you surrendering to -- alcoholic or other addictive substances? Isn't that is meant by drinking? This is a confusing set of ideas. Not very logical. What I parse out of the mess is that "cheer up, you have surrendered to the program."
The first drink gets you drunk.
----> How does the first drink do that? Lots of people have a drink. I see them in restaurants drinking a toast of wine. They don't seem to be drunk. What about the people drinking a beer at a football game? It is generally lots of drinks that gets you drunk. On the judge shows, they all say that people claim they only drank two drinks, no more, no less, when they are being arrested for being drunk. And it is true. I have watched five years of judge shows and have seen this take place.
The subtext of this slogan is that you are so powerless over alcohol that if you take one itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny drop, you will become a raging drunk because you will have the drink monster driving you on a search and seizure mission to drink. OMDK, I drank a drop of sherry, the drink monster has taken me hostage, I must go out and get blotto now. I can't stop. Must drink more.
Skid Row is a place in my mind -- not a place on the street.
-----> Well that is just jolly. Along with all the anti-thinking ones, this says stop thinking or you will get drunk. Of course, you are so powerless over this substance, that your mind is ready to get you drunk.
We can do what I can't.
You're not alone anymore.
-----> We can we do that I can't? Can we drive a bus for me? That would be nice, my own bus. Can we go to work when I am in the hospital and do my job. What can we do? Who is this we anyway? Can we write a Nobel Prize winning novel for me? Big whoop.
Strength in powerlessness.
----> Good old george Orwell's 1984. War is peace!
Powerless over people, place and things; it's a two-way street.
----->O.K. I am powerless over people and they are powerless over me? Who has the power, if we are all powerless? Surely the man with the gun has the power over the rest of us. How about the guy with a bomb. How is he powerless over me? He has a bomb, I don't. I can run away and hope I can run fast enough.
Actually my attitude is "looking forward to being attack. Or how I decided not to let some lowlife disrupt my day." Basically it means you are prepared for the lowlifes that want you dead. At the very least, you say no and have them shoot you in the parking lot. At least your family can find your body and not wonder what happened to you. At the very most, you say no, they get distracted enough for you to run and dial 911.
We didn't fly into aa on the wings of victory.
God help me! (Step one short form.)
-----> So much for being a spiritual and not religious program. I guess moral folks who have no god beliefs need not apply.
The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step.
-----> This was co-opted from general life. Except it is not a journey of a 1,000 miles. It is a 12-step journey where you may get rocketed into the 4th dimension.
The first step is the only step a person can work perfectly.
---> Well, I might as well go out and lay and die. Why even do the program. Why even try since no one expects me to succeed. Anyway, what is with this perfection. I thought it was progress not perfection. So where does perfection come in?
If a candidate for aa is ready, you can't say anything wrong; if he's not ready, you can't say anything right.
-----> Well duh. It is like that with any belief system, silly.
Step One only works when you do the other eleven.
----> I help with research where they do dynamic and simultaneous equations for modeling various natural and human activities. This sounds like one of those constructed models. You have to do everything at once. United field theory anyone?
Keep coming until you hear your story.
------> So I have to come until I can relate to someone. Actually that is a way to keep people in meetings. They establish personal relationships. Actually I never heard my story in a 12-step group. Heard it at the mental hospital though. I guess people in 12-step groups were too gross-out to hear all the difficult stuff. Also this slogan does have a subtext of trying tell people that they are not that unique.
If you quit one day at a time, every day that you don't drink will be an accomplishment. If you quit forever, you won't have accomplished anything until you're dead.
--------> Well, why don't I just lay out and die on the Financial Times. Life is futile. All life is futile. Anyway, I had to slip this one in since it is so bizarre in its logic. It makes it seem that one's life only matters if one does not drink. What about General U.S. Grant? He drank and won a war. Was President of the U.S. and wrote a best seller. I guess he didn't accomplish much since he didn't stop drinking. How utterly absurb.
“Well, I had no problem admitting I was powerless over alcohol. The step doesn't say, we *are* powerless. It said we *were* powerless. Past tense. And indeed I had gone through a period of powerlessness. I had been overwhelmed with cravings. I'd had a genuine drinking problem. No argument there. It was also true that part of my life was unmanageable. Not all my life, but part of my life.”
This is step 2 and 3 together. What is interesting about these two is these are the religious steps. You have to believe in god before you can stop drinking. Also they are subtle forms of brainwashing or making people receptive to belief in the aa god.
What I came here looking for, I came here looking with.
------>Well let's see: Came to believe in a power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity. That is the 2 step. Now how does that slogan square with the step. I came into aa looking for god, and god was with me all the time? Is that the meaning of this cryptic slogan. I thought aa was about finding god. Or is this one of those hidden god slogans -- we were chosen by god to be members of aa or something like that.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god, as we understand him.
The emergency form of step 3: skip it!
----This I do not understand. Skip what? What is the it that they want you to skip. Making a decision? Turning your will and life over? Nonsensical slogan.
I get what I need and inevitable find out it was what I wanted all the time.
-----> Is this like brainwashing? You are told what to like and you decide to like it, even if you didn't like it in the first place? How does needs and wants equal each other. Is this a subtle form of telling people not to want anything. Not to desire more than what they need. This runs counter to American culture. Is this to tell people to give up being capitalists since it is a bad thing. If so, then who decides needs and wants? God? What is god -- a dictator to people? Is that the god that people want - a dictator?
If I take a drink, I take my life back.
------> When I first read that, I thought "I get my life back." No, it is the self-will done up slogan style. God gives people free will. However once you decide to turn your life over, you loose that free will. God then becomes evil since god does not allow choice. So if you drink, you are bad and god will have nothing to do with you since you took your will back. Now, is that an evil god or what? Unforgiving one at least.
Do what you can, let go of what you can't, and leave the results to a higher power.
-----> Or come back to it later and see what else you can do. You cannot control results but you can contribute to them. This slogan teaches people to be passive in that they are not invested in the outcome. Since they are not invested in the outcome, then they are not responsibile for their actions. The aa god is. So people don't have be accountable. That is the bargin that they have with this aa god.
If you have a problem believing in God, go to an aa meeting and you'll see miracle, after miracle, after miracle. Seeing is believing.
-----> Not so. There are magic tricks that are slight of hand which people see and believe are true. They are not. The magician is diverting the person's attention from what the magician is doing so that the person is not aware of what is happening. Actually, I never saw any miracles at aa meetings. I was not interested in hearing about a rivalist meeting. There is an element of rivalist preaching in aa slogans. Witness to the healing power of the aa god, which only heals people only one day at a time if they want the god to only about drinking. Is that a miracle or a magic trick?
Let it go, it was never yours to begin with.
Just trust and surrender that's all you really need to do.
----> Exactly what am I trusting and surrendering to here. Inquireing minds want to know. Before I trust, I have to make sure the thing or person is worthy of my trust. Now how do they prove that worth. By going to meetings and seeing 'miracles'?
What am I susposed to let go or surrender -- my will? Then if it was not mine to begin with, whose was it? Am I some sort of thief? What is the slight of hand going on here. Am I susposed to feel guilty for being suspicious of the aa group? Well why not?
The third step is the Swiss Army knife of the steps: it helps you do everything.
-----> Does it help me catch the bus in the morning? But of course because god gets me up and dressed and walks me out the door on time. Gee I thought I was setting my alarm, and dressing myself and being responsible enough to check the time. What is this -- god is responsibile for everything, and I am just chopped liver. Well that certainly says alot. It says this god is awful and dispicable to have such a low opinion of me. I thought god loved me. This isn't love, it's contempt.
Three frogs were on a tree limb and decided to jump off. How many are left? All three of them (they only made a decision to jump off.)
-----> If a plane crashes on the border between Canada and the United States, where would you bury the surviviors. You don't bury surviviors. It is a question to distract people. A slight of hand. The idea of making a decision among most people is to carry that decision out. You make a decision to write a letter. You write the letter. Even when the U.S. Congress decides something, it becomes law (within reason). When a judge decides a case, that decision is carried out. So stop with the silliness of frogs deciding to jump out of trees. They jump.
Of course splitting the two makes it easier for someone to slide in a god belief. These are subtle techniques to get the more ardent non god believer to eventually believe. See now deciding about it was not difficult. You can live with that. After getting used to that, you can start believing in god.....
“> They told me to turn my will and my life over to god as I understood him. I understand that there isn't any. At one point I had a frantic stepper freaking out and gibbering about how can you turn it over if you don't believe in god? I said it was simple. Just let go. Stop thinking I have to have the ultimate solution to every and any problem. Stop feeling as if I have to do everything and do it now. Be really flexible and choose what problems I want to solve, and what I want to let go of, and what I want to wait a while on.”
A lot has been said about step four and the inventory thing. The slogans involving this step revolve around fear, taking other people's inventory, and uncovering. However, there nothing on moral. In fact, aa's definition of morality is not to take other people's inventories and looking to your part. Having a moral life is much more than than being critical of others
and looking inward. There is the doing part. You do not lie, cheat, steal, kill, and all that. You promote goodness in your community and among your loved ones. AA misses the boat on loving your neighbor. They also miss the boat on accountability.
Step four - the searching moral inventory one.
Nothing pushed down inside of us stays down for very long.
------> Actually yes, and no. People can keep stuff frozen inside for a long time. A very long time. Part of the problem is that it leaks out in odd ways -- drinking too much, eating too much, sleeping, being very busy. However, what this has to do with an inventory is beyond me. However, it is based on the fear factor -- if you don't face, it is going to come out anyway.
Put down the magnifying glass you use to look at others and look in the mirror.
When you're taking someone else's inventory, who's taking yours?
Taking other's inventory: You spot it, you got it.
------> This seems to be a recurrent theme in aa. The idea of being hypercritical of each other. Actually in group therapy, you have this activity all the time. That is why you have a third party such as a doctor to mediate things. Also Christianity and other religions do discuss being critical of others. However, they combine injunctions against doing that with examples of love and compassion. What is oddly lacking in aa slogans is ones about compassion for others.
The existence of these slogans of inventory taking says to me that aa is full of people who indulge in this activity. Well most groups of people indulge in this activity. The problem is that they ignore it and go about the business at hand. AA seems to be fixated on all this inventory stuff to an unhealthy degree. It is almost as if everyone is primed to lit into each
other at a moments' notice. I think it has to do with the inability of people once they disclose their thoughts and feelings to feel safe. AA has no safety mechanism to ensure safety, instead just shuts people down. To feel safe in aa, people attack each other.
However the inventory taking injunctions also are thought stoppers. When someone has a legitimate concern, they are told to stop taking other's inventories. They are not heard out. It could be that the concern is a grave one that the group should know about. AA does not want to be bothered with anyone's concerns about how things are being conducted.
Uncover to recover.
------>Recover what? Actually, it is a process of getting well that you look at your past and self. However, this needs to be done with care and love.
As the unexamined life is not worth living, the unlived life is not worth examining.
-----> How this one got slipped into aa is beyond me. But let us look at the subtext, if you do not do the fourth step, you might as well lay down and die. Since you were drunk all the time, you lived life. So start examining your actions. Sort of a perverted way of looking at things.
Conquer yourself rather than the world.
-------> So flawed people are not supposed to help make the world better. This is self-focus to the nth degree. It also makes for a passive group of people. They are paralized since they have make themselves better. But also note the word - conquer. It makes sound as if everyone is busy battling the world and themselves. Are we at war and with whom? I believe that this the religious aspects peeping through - we are at spiritual warfare, and must conquer ourselves
lest we be conquered by the evil one.
There is no mistake so great as that of being always right.
-----> How is always being right a mistake? I believe it was Ken Ragge in his book who pointed out that mistake really means sin. If you replace the word mistake with sin, it makes more sense. Then mistake must be one of those words that makes the religious parts of aa harder to detect.
Step 4: Soul Searching -- There is a saying in the 12-step programs that recovery is a process, not an event. The same can be said for this step -- more will surely be revealed.
------> What will be revealed? That I am a flawed person living in a fallen world? That is obvious. Unless I want to undergo extensive therapy, I do not think that having more revealed to be particularly helpful. In fact I think it is quite destructive. Once you have the information, what do you do with it? How do you cope? I think that unless there is a compelling reason to do this, then don't.
Step Five (admitted stuff to other people)
To practice Step 5 is to share at a meeting.
Share or die.
Talk or die.
Be a channel not a dam.
If you pass, it's your ass.
-------> Well that certainly says a lot, you share or you die. Bald statement. Why share? What value is in sharing? Why is it equated with death? The subtext is that the meetings and the fellowship is the heart of the aa religion. The meetings are really a form of group therapy without a referee. In group therapy, you bond with telling each other your deep dark secrets. The group is supposed to help you work through them. However, aa is only made up of people
uneducated in the therapy process. As you can see, what happens is people bond and they know you. The group ethics becomes one of if you don't share, you will drink. Which is not true. It could be that you are listening and considering what is being said.
The sharing thing is a two edged sword since you are told not to carry the mess to the meeting, and you are to put up and shut up. So you get mixed messages on the whole thing. Again aa ethics direct people to say what is aa approved and does not really involve the truth or helpfulness.
Give to God and God will give to you.
----->Well of course this is another god step. You admit to god all your stuff. But what does god give to you? In Christianity, you receive God's grace and forgiveness. What aa god gives does not seem to be either. You get things like a good job or a day of sobriety.
Step 5: Integrity -- Probably the most difficult of all the steps to face, Step 5 is also the one that
provides the greatest opportunity for growth.
------> How does admitting your wrongs to another increases your integrity? Well it is a part of the process of having integrity. However, there is the other side -- which is honesty and trustworthiness as well.
> Hi Va. Carper:
> The discouragement of taking others inventory is a way AA justifies behavior of some of its slimier members. I was told that lowlife 13th steppers and wackos trying to fix people and screwing them up, were "just doing the best they could," and the focus was then placed on the victim rather than the snakes performing their evil acts. I was told I had to forgive these slimy turds.
> Forgive them, I guess, so they could continue to victimize others. While forgiving is within me, I'd say it comes at the end of a process, after one shows, not talks about, remorse, and demonstrates remorse through concrete action that shows such behavior will not be repeated.
> In addition, these messangers of evil were the ones who had the most contact with the frightened and desperate people who seek AA. It's incredible to me that a bunch of mama's boys and chronically unemployed losers think they know what it takes to fix people. Of
course, some are just not very savory folks.
> While there are some genuinely wonderful folks in AA, they seem to be the ones who have actual lives outside AA and spend most of that life with healthy people. You don't see them at many meetings.
> I think a danger sign for a newcomer to look out for is the guy with more than a year sobriety (lots of them have many years of sobriety) that doesn't hang out with his peers, but seems to spend all his time with newcomers.
> There are no checks and balances to protect newcomers in AA, and the veil of anominity is cunningly used by many cunning people. AA apparently won't even look at the problem, and the Moonie mentality discourages good people from speaking out.
> One of these days, the real story of AA will come to light before the general public.
> Best Rick
I was already making an inventory. It was my own in my own way. I was already looking to sort my life out and solve my living problems.
I was already telling stuff to the therapist. Unfortunately it was this toxic therapist I've been bitching about. Eventually I did get a sponsor as a formality, and I did do the Official Fifth Step. My sponsor kept fishing and trying to get me to say stuff he wanted to hear. It was a joke, and nothing of value came from it.
When I read the materials of aa bashing and how individuals are harmed by other individuals, I took exception. Steps 6,7, 8, 9 are harmful to people without even another person doing anything to them.
Step 6 Were entirely ready to have god remove all these defects of character
Choosing to abandon defects of character
-----> Is that abandoning yourself? What is this mix metaphor about? How do you abandon defects of character? I mean do you abandon ship or something?
A "character defect" is like driving on it.
-----> I have no idea what this means. I have no idea why anyone would say this and others think they were profound. A flat tire perhaps.
The key to step 6 is acceptance -- accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go.
----->You accept them and then let them go? I don't understand the concept. Actually what is frightening about this is that they are talking about you. If you believe that god made you, just as you are, your character defects must have a purpose. This goes around and around and makes no sense. You have a flawed person who is told god doesn't make trash. Then you tell this god made person that they have defects! My head swims at the very thought of it all.
Part of compliance is defiance, but you must arrive at acceptance of the disease.
--------> Ah this is the rub. That is what we are supposed to get at. Accept our disease is removing our defect of defiance. Now what is wrong with defiance? It disturbs the cozy little aa world and disrupts the peacefulness of the program. Actually what this slogan does is lay bare the truth of the program and the disease. The disease is not drinking, but defiance. You are defying authority, the big book, the wisdom of bill and bob. That is the real disease that people are talking about when they talk bout denial. You can't accept this gooblygook if you ask questions or state you don't agree. You have the disease of defiance.
Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go.
------> Well that depends on the pain and the fear. This is a common theme in general self-help books. Somehow you have to get from point a to point b. It is uncomfortable but neccessary.
Do what you don't want to do.
W.O.W. Willingness over willpower.
------> Well willpower is a form of defiance, so willingness means acceptance. The subtext of these is stuff your doubts and do what you are told to do. Actually the first one is how they treat phobias -- have people do the thing that scares them. However in the aa world, it means admitting that you are an idiot and everyone else knows how to live your life.
Acceptance: experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.
Acceptance: Stop barking and start biting.
Acceptance: Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.
------>Ah the crux of the step. You have give up yourself, so that you don't rock the boat. Accept the status quo. You can't go out and try to make anything better. But what is this removal of defects of haracter about changing the world. Not really, just keeping you from do just that.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
(My purpose is not to deconstruct the steps since many others have done that but to deconstruct the slogans involved with the steps.)
Step 7: Humility: the spiritual focus is humility asking a higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-will or mere determination.
-----> That is one of the things that is attached to step 7, the idea of humility. So here are some of the slogans attached to humility and shortcomings.
Dating is pouring Miracle Gro on my character defects.
----> How? I thought that dating was when you were on your best behavior, not at your worst. Actually, aa in the slogans takes a dim view of people dating or having relationships. The slogans center around -- you are a screw up, so don't get screwed.
If you want to feel better right away, ask God to help you be of service.
-----> Actually the removal of shortcomings or whatever they are called is how you are supposed to be of service. But what is service? Well that is a topic for another post but aa narrowly define service in terms of 12-step calls etc. Not picking up litter in the park.
When I ask for patience, God gives me a traffic jam.
If you pray for honesty, the chances of your lying go 'way up.
----->Well this is standard Christian doctrine. You get practice in patience or whatever. You learn patience. However this does not square with asking your shortcomings be removed. Removing is just that, not relearning or learning. It means poof they are gone. Not that you have to work at get them gone. So actually, step 7 is useless according to the slogans.
When God closes one door, he always opens another - but sometimes he makes us wait out in the hallway for a while.
------>AA in their slogans always add a tag line, a zinger that gets you. The zinger is usually something to humble you. Actually the zinger does more than that, it tears at you and tells you that you are less than zero. You are zero with the lines rubbed out.
Get humble or be made humble.
Unless one attains some degree of humility, one is condemned to drink.
-----> These two go together since the being made humble is drinking. It is interesting about the condemning part. If the aa god is a loving, caring god who is always looking out for your own good, who does the condemning? The group? aa?
Humility is the soil in which all other virtues grow.
----> never understood that one. What are the other virtues that are important to aa? honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, brotherly love, justice, spirituality, and service. I fail to see how all of these virtues spring from humility.
Humilitary is that virtue which reduces a man to the proper size without degrading him, thereby increasing him in statue without inflating him.
----> What? That doesn't make sense. Actually aa is full of slogans about keeping the proper size, they don't have any on uplifting people. Most people hear the keep the right size and all that.
Humility is like a veneral disease. If you have it, you don't talk about it.
------>Leave it to aa to make it venal. AA certainly does like the vulgar side of life. After saying humility is the soil for other virtues, it says it is like a veneral disease.
In the listings of the steps and what they respresent, step 8. is associated with brotherly love, reflection, and willingess.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Those who anger you, conquer you.
----> This is in general culture as well. If you are made angry by someone, you are liable to make mistakes. You are too busy to concentrate on what they are doing. What is the context of aa: well anger is a banned emotion, serenity is the desired emotion. If you become angry, you will get a resentment, then you will drink. That is the chain of reasoning in aa. However, the reverse of the slogan is true: Those who anger you fuel your desire to conquer them. You become angry at the fact that there are no chair lifts on buses for people using wheelchairs. You decide to take action about that. You sue Greyhound and picket the bus terminals. That is a form of conquering the bus company. AA does lull people into a sense of passivity. If you become active, you will drink.
Don't just take an inventory; let it take you.
--------> This means what you find out in your inventory, then you have the information to go do something about it. Anyway, I have a problem with all this inventory taking. I think it makes people self-asorbed and self-conscious.
Love is less a feeling than a thousand tiny acts of kindess.
----->Well love is many things. This is one of those things.
LOVE: Letting go Of Virtually Everything.
To open oneself up to love, is to open oneself up to loss.
----->What is interesting about love in aa is how it is associated with drinking and screwing up. Relationships is frowned up in a peculiar way. However, the conventional self-help books about love discuss it in these terms. I wonder why. Is there something about the negativity of love that makes people seem it more profound. Love is embracing every thing. I do not understand how aa associates love with a sense of loss. This is one of the undertones of aa in regards to emotions.
When you do not face reality, reality will face you.
------> This is common self-help advice.
The victims of alcoholism are those around us.
There are no victims, only volunteers.
----->These two slogans contradict each other. Which is it? How do people hold the two in the same mind. How do they explain the two contradictions?
> They told me to make a list of persons I had harmed and be ready to make amends to them all. Well, hell, I was already working on being a better mother and wife. The big book said more. It said that if I was hurt or angry with someone, it was my fault. If I thought someone had harmed me, I should go and make amends to *them*.>
> They said I should make direct amends. There was this psychiatrist who had seriously abused me. The guy was really bad shit, and I heard that later on he cracked up and fell apart himself. One of these toxic shrinks who covers up his own stuff by projecting on to his patients. I made an appointment and paid good money to see this asshole and apologize to him, even though it was *he* who had damaged *me*. He sneered and dumped abusive contempt on me, and claimed that the AA group in State College was *his* (no, he wasn't a member, but he owned the group since a couple of the people were patients of his), did that I was invadiing "his" meetings. Abusive, ignorant jerk! I made amends like a good little stepper and got thoroughly humiliated and kicked around all over again.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
In step lists, the virtues associated with this step are Justice, Amendment, and Forgiveness. (I didn't think of amendment as a virtue, just something that is added to the U.S. Constitution and to laws.)
The opposite of nine is 'blame'. Here are the slogans on blame.
Don't point a finger; point the whole hand (reach out).
----> You don't blame people, you embrace them? When you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you.
----> What a stopper that is. In short, don't judge unless you are to be judged and to be found wanting. Actually, what the whole Christian passage says about that is: first make sure you have no black offenses, then make sure you have your facts straight, then accuse.
If this slogan is followed, there would be no court cases. People who are wronged sued for redress. They get it from judges. Is aa telling people that since we wrong people, we should never seek out redress when we are wronged. I find this slogan simliar to the people on the judge shows who say that the other person is sueing to get back at them. Then the person
goes on about how bad the other person is. However, it doesn't address the wrong that was done.
If you stop treating yourself poorly, it will become unacceptable for others to do so.
----> In step nine discussions, they talk about making amends to yourself. That you should put yourself on the step nine list. I am not sure that this is really the purpose of the step but I think it may be a softening of the whole harm idea.
Forgiveness of others is a gift to yourself.
The number one way to relieve pain is to forgive.
Going to any length means forgiving the person who has injured you the most.
------->I find these slogans on forgiveness to be interesting. You forgive to get something for
yourself. You do it to get sober. There is nothing of the moral dimension of forgiveness. The concept is reduced to petty things. I forgive you from stepping on my foot. These slogans do not address the wrongs done nor do they address the ethics of forgiveness. You do it to feel better.
When I demand justice, I'd better think of the consequences.
------> Well then we shouldn't demand justice now should we. We will have to face the awful
consequences won't we. What exactly is aa saying this slogan? They are saying that there is no such thing as justice, what justice is is petty. That if you demand that a wrong be rectified, you are really a petty person. What are the consequences - making people uncomfortable, stirring up the pot, drinking again? This is one those vague things. I think that this demeans the concept and morality of justice. AA is not really after forming ethical people, but 'serene people'
What happens when people do demand justice, well they go through hell. Then they get their justice.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted. Perserverance, Vigilance, and Maintencance.
Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery.
------>How is it absolutely neccessary? Wouldn't it just be neccessary? Mandated? Well why do we need to maintain spiritual progress in our recovery? I thought we needed to make non-drinking progress.
Sobriety is a gift, the price of which is eternal vigilance.
------> WHAT???? I think the metaphor is mixed here. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Liberty is not a gift but something that is fought for, and keep on fighting for.
Is aa equalling sobiety to liberty. If so, then it is not a gift, but something fought for. But if
sobriety is a gift, then it is something that can be taken away. Hense the price is eternal vigilance. Who is going to take away the gift? God? AA members? Who gave the gift?
Step 11's principles are spirituality, attunement (being one with our Higher Power) and making contact. The purpose of Step 11 is to discover the plan God as you understand Him has for your life.
--------> What is interesting about the slogans is that they are chockful of God and prayer. However, the slogans only skim the surface of prayer as practiced by most religions: Glorify God, Thank God, Petition God, Adore God. AA has nothing on Glorifying God in its slogans or steps. Nothing on thanking god either. They don't discuss loving God either.
They discuss gratitude but not for God but for the Steps, Programs, Big Book. AA doesn't give God glory nor thankfulness nor show love. Their prayer life revolves around gimmies. Petitioning God has many aspects: you pray for yourself, for someone else, or for humanity in general. AA petitions are only for yourself and your relationship to aa. In short aa's idea of prayer is asking god will for me, that is it. Nothing more or less. Prayer is much more than that. It embraces the community of believers as well. AA's prayers are empty of that community. Praying the aa way leads to ideas that God is a sadistic, cosmic bell-hop.
BE: a human being not a human doing
Be here now
Don't know - be.
What will be will appear.
--------> Well if these don't appear to be aa version of zen koans, then I don't be. However, unlike zen koans which are used for meditation, these dribblings are profound nothings. Actually the only useful one is the doing versus being. I use it when I am being pulled into many directions and have to slow down. However, these be slogans seem to induce a sense of passivity to the hearer. Just be. Be a rock. Just sit there and shut up.
If you only pray when you need something fixed, you're turning God into a repairman.
----> Actually people in aa have two choices: pray for something to be fixed, or for god's will for them. Either way, god is a repairman.
Praying is asking God for help, meditating is listening for God's answer.
----->Isn't this a direct contradiction of the previous one. Praying for help is wanting something fixed.
We don't pray to change things; we pray to change us.
-----> This also contradicts the one about god as a repairman. But pray is many things. What this one does is create a circle where you ask god to remove your shortcomings to change you so you can do god's work so that god will change you..... If you are busy with yourself, you can't pray for world peace, the poor people in Asia and other things that need praying for. In short, you don't pray to change a thing. Be passive.
Prayer is not a device for getting my own way, but rather a means to become what I should be.
-------> Again aa assumes that people only pray to God to get their own way. Actually, aa teaches people that they have to get their own way to do God's will. Prayer is not a device, it is an action. It is a communion between Man and God. It is not a means. This slogan seems to indicate that Man has no relationship with God, nor should Man cultivate one.
Daily Medititation for about 20 minutes is recommended for all in recovery; unless of course, you are very busy -- then you should meditate for an hour.
If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy.
When you find yourself in a hurry, Stop and Recall the real ASAP: Always Say A Prayer.
---------->Then you encounter these three slogans exhorting you to pray. If you don't pray, you are neglecting god. What is interested is how they emphasis being too busy for God. Actually, there are many forms of prayer. These seem to indicate that you must make time for God or else. There is the subtext also of being too busy for aa. If you are working, you must spend your free time praying the aa way.
If you are having trouble getting on your knees to pray in the morning, put your shoes under the middle of the bed the night before.
-----> Again the assumption that everyone prays on their knees in the morning. Actually people pray in different forms for different religious requirements. This is also one of those silly slogans that makes no sense. But there is the connection with magic thinking -- if you pray on your knees you will stay sober. If you pray standing up, you don't.
What is God's Will for me today?
-----> I do not know. I do now of many religions who require their adherents to ask themselves that. The tag line of today flows into the idea of 'one day at a time'.
Pray as if everything depended on God; work as if everything depends on ourselves.
-----> Actually, God helps those who help themselves. But this does show up the aa dogma though, you rely on god, then you rely on yourself but not too much, but you rely on god not too much. If this does not make sense, that is because the dogma doesn't.
No person can spend more on good works than they earn in meditation.
-------> I guess no one read Martin Luther -- Justification by faith alone. Actually, this aa slogan is a cruel one. It whips the person into do meditation so they can keep sober.
A day without prayer is a day unfulfilled.
A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel.
-----> Says who? Actually this goes with the aa dogma of one day at a time. The assumption is that if you don't pray, then you are asking for it. Actually people pray for many reasons, they do it out of devotion and love to God. They don't do it to feel good or to keep from having a bad day. This demeans prayer.
What has struck me about this is how much aa is wrapped up in god. How does the 11 step prevent people from drinking? You have to have a god belief, and not just any god belief -- the aa god belief.
Step 12 is going to be in multiple parts.
Step 12 Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this meesage to others, especially alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The principles attached to Program: honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness,
humility, brotherly love, justice, perserverance, spirituality and service.
Surrender, hope, commitment, honesty, truth, willingness, humility, reflection, amendment,
vigilance, attunement and service.
honesty, faith, surrender, soul searching, integrity, acceptance, humility, willingness, forgiveness, maintenance, making contact, service. (Step 12's principle is service.)
--------> My response in reading these principle lists is how much is confused as to what a principle is. When people stand on their principles or are principled, I doubt it includes surrender, reflection, amendment, attunement, soul searching, maintenance, making contact, or spirituality. Honesty, integrity, vigilance are more what most people consider to be principles. However what is interesting about aa's principles is what exactly they consider a principled
person to be like. 'humility, willingness, service, honesty, hope' are the top principles of aa.
Interesting grouping. So you want a humble, hope-filled, honest person willing to do service.
That is it? (Exactly how does such a person stop drinking?)
Spirituality is not a principle that seems to be a part of the general population. Again I think it
does clue people into what is going on with the steps.
Focus plus Courage plus Willingness to Learn equals Miracles.
---------> This is the result of applying the principles of the program. Again the slight of hand
in changing the meaning. Principles as in the major parts. The principle parts.
The result of these principles is Miracles. Exactly how does focus, courage and willingness to learn equal a miracle? I thought it was equal to achievement through hard work. I guess aa takes away all your efforts and gives it to the magical god. So what we are really saying is that hard work does not result in achieving something but in a miracle. I wonder what Thomas Edison and other inventors would think about that. I wonder what teachers would say about that as well. Since they expect their students to be focused, have courage and a willingness to learn.
Maybe that is the relationship - teacher-student. AA member - student. Program - teacher.
Practice these principles in all your affairs - or change your affairs.
-----> I hate these. I really do. If I was malevolent dictator for a day, I would make every aa
type read all these odious slogans and rewrite them thirty times.
Nudge, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, wink. Let us degrade something serious into a vulgar banal thing. Actually, what I realized about this tendency in aa and other step groups is that the anger at the program is peeping through. These zingers in my mind are from disgruntled people who are unhappy with the whole thing but can't quite say it or acknowledge it. It is
simpler to zing away.
Service: Shut up, show up and say yes.
------> So we cannot choose according to our talents. Of course, since no one reads St. Paul, they would not understand 'each according to his talents' concept. God gives people different gifts to glorify God. I guess in aa, all people are the same. No different gifts.
Trust in God, clean house, and work with others
----> I prefer 'run with sissors' and 'doesn't play well with others'. In short, put up, shut up, and let others tell you what to do. If you object, you are horrible and must repent your selfish ways.
Service is gratitude in action.
-----> Not to me. Service is love of people in action. I give to Goodwill not out of gratitude but because I think someone else can get some use out of my stuff. I remember being poor. I don't like being poor. So I make sure that I give good stuff to Goodwill. No gratitude there.
The gratitude thing of course is how aa manipulates people into doing stuff. You are selfish because you do what you want to do, not what I WANT YOU TO DO.
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
-------> Again why the connection unless it is one of those handy dandy turn inside out slogans. Actually it is a put down again on thoughtful people. Intellegent people are pains in the butt, they don't care. Stupid people care alot. That is the subtext.
The greatest gift that can come to anybody is a spiritual awakening.
------> The greatest gift that can come to anybody is being left alone.
The greatest gift is having a child... we can certainly expand this list depending on our cultural and religious leanings. I disagree with the 'greatest' unless of course I am seeking converts from the unwashed. If you are one of the unwashed, then the greatest gift that can come is for me to disappear.
Awakening into sober usefulness
-----> Sheeesh. Exactly what is 'sober usefulness'? Is that being a judge? A jury foreperson?
AA leads us to God, and God leads us to ourselves.
---->This is a selfish program. EGO - Easing God out. So what is it, people?
Are you a human being having a spiritual experience? Or a spiritual being having a human experience?
-----> Neither, I am a squirrel having a nutty experience, or am I a nut having a squirrely
experience. Whatever. Does it matter? Actually if you are one of the chosen ones, it does. And that slogan presents the new age concept of we are starseeds and the like.
> They told me that as I'd had a spiritual awakening as a result of the steps, I'd have to carry the message. Looky, I can out-spirituality the whole lot of them. I quickly caught on that "spirituality" was more of a cozy, yummy feeling inside. For steppers, it was getting that warm, fuzzy, yummy feeling inside as a result of thinking about god. But I knew you don't need any god to feel all sorts of nice warm fuzzies. I could feel as high and fuzzy and tasty-toasty as the whole lot of them,> without resorting to any external deity.
Carry the message, not the mess.
The message is under the ashtray.
The message is up front.
-----> Actually I have no idea what these mean. The message is under the ashtray? up front? How about under the soda can? back behind?
Some of us get so spiritual, we are of no earthly value to anyone.
----->This is a real zinger. After hearing all about how spiritual everyone has to be. I think this slogan is directed towards what wilson called 'bleeding deacons'. Actually what is interesting about that prejorative is how it shows Wilson's contempt for organized religion. He flirted around trying to convert to RC and other mainstream Christian religions but was still firmly in the cult of the Oxford Group. Actually, being a church deacon is an honorable thing. Many people think so. It requires a calling and study. I wonder if 'bleeding' was in reference to
Christ's Wounds. But the whole thing is a way to separate people from their own religions.
Most people hope to avoid hell; spiritual people have been there.
------>What? What is that saying? That we are so special because we survived hell? We are the Choosen Ones?
The more have on the inside, the less you need on the outside.
------> This is a slap against 'rich' people. Actually, aa is full of contempt for people with
money. What it reminds me of is the glorification of poverty to keep the masses from uprising and demand their share.
How we treat others is a consequence of the depth of our own spirituality.
-----> Really? Boy spritituality is a catch all for a lot of things.
We are hardest to love when we need love most.
----->The subtext is that drunks are unlovable.
When I am working with a drunk, sometimes the drunk I'm working on is me.
------>That is the idea of sponsorship. It is to help the sponsor not the sponsoree.
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
Only in giving do we receive in full measure.
-----> Translation: get more members for the organization. Actually the other subtext is the idea
of magic. However, giving means openning yourself up to abundance.
Be where you are supposed to be, do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it.
-----> I am supposed to be at the bus stop waiting for the bus, with my tokens, and getting on the bus. Is that one of those seemingly profound sayings that is really a lot of nothing?
I can only help another to the degree that I've been helped myself.
------> On the surface that does make sense. You can't keep going to the well when the well has run dry. I think the subtext is that you have to keep going to meetings etc to get the program.
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there: and for that, I am responsible.
-----> I am??? How am I responsible for that? That is right -- aa has no support organization -- just the members. So this is the covert message to the members -- if you don't do it, aa will fall. The destruction of aa will be on your head. Then all those drunks will die. That will be your fault too.
Actually, the truth is different. Members come in by treatment centers and jail sentences. The
organization has departments -- printing big books and other materials for members, they have the area districts. In short aa is a corporation and can survive nicely without all those members. But this saying seems to say that aa is emphirmeral, a will o wisp, it only exists in the mind of the members. That is not true.
These are the slogans on groups of steps or just on how to do the steps in general.
Untreated alcoholism without the steps on a daily basis will make my past my future.
Take one day and one step at a time. Don't ever look too far ahead.
-------->These two I group together since they both advocate the same thing -- one day at a time, dailiness of the steps. Also the concentration on the the day today. Both assume the worse if you do too much at once or if you do to little. To keep people in aa think, they have to do the steps on a daily basis. Note the plural of steps and implied plural in both -- they just do not mean 10, 11, or 12, but all of them. So you get caught in the never ending cycle of steps. Of course if you keep doing the steps, you don't have a past or a future. You are stuck in the present. Stuck in the present means that your disease is going to get you. It also means that you never envision a day that you will leave.
Don't push a newcomer to do the steps too fast. A heavy downpour runs off whereas a gentle rain soaks in.
--------> On the surface, this is benign. You don't want to overwhelm a person with too much information at one time. In education, you start at the beginning and make sure everyone got the concepts before you got on to the next thing.
However what this slogan is also saying is that a newcomer may leave if introduced to the steps too soon. After reading the steps a new person will ask, "What does this have to do with stopping drinking?" The gentle rain is like making sure the person has been exposed to enough aa group think to agree with the concepts. I know I was not questioning of the silliness of the steps or their tearing of the person's personality.
The principles in the 12 steps guide us to a new life in recovery. There is little room for
WISDOM - Words In Steps Do Open Minds.
-------> On one hand these two do contradict each other, and on the otherhand they complement each other. If you have an open mind, you question things and rethink things. You may or may not decide what is going to be a part of your new life. How they complete each other is they both point to a new life in recovery. Open Minds means turning to the 12-steps, and stop rationalizing not doing the steps.
AA loves to group the steps. Here are a few groupings:
Uncover, Discover, Discard
----->How is discovering the next step in uncovering? How is discarding a result from discovering? I am reminded of those pencil puzzles that have you change a word a letter at a time. This is one of those favorite aa tricks of combining eceletic things into a whole.
The AA waltz : steps 1, 2, 3
----->Another cute slogan.
Put down the weapons, pick up the tools.
----->Well does this mean that people are angry and want to kill each other? Tools - are for building and construction. However, weapons are for defending as well as for attack. You can interpret it both ways. Stop defending yourself, start doing the steps. Why shouldn't I defend myself until I know what I am getting into? Why shouldn't I be cautious about a group that says I have to have full disclosure. A group of people I really donot know or trust.
The steps: Give up (1,2,3) Clean up (4,5,6) Make up (7,8, 9) Keep up (10,11,12).
------> Well now we have a clearer idea of what the steps are about. Make up -- is that in regards to relationships?
The 12 steps: Clear up (1,2,3), Clean up (4,5,6,7,8,9), Group up: (10,11,12)
----->Group up????? After taking a personal inventory, I meditate to learn God's will, which is after my spiritual experience, get more people into aa.
Steps 4-8: the six-pack of steps.
------> Of course, we must always have the references to drinking. I wonder how many slogans can be made without vulgarity, drinking references, or stupid groupings.
Chapter five (Big Book) is called "how it works", not "why me?"
------>Yeah, so what. Oh, now I know -- it is self-pity which we must never, never have. Let's think about self-pity for a moment. You are told you have an incurable, deadly disease from which you will not recover from. What is your first emotion? "WHY ME?"
You have to feel that emotion before you can progress. Imagine telling a cancer patient that they can't self-pity themselves. Well, AA tells people they have this disease that has no cure and will kill you. So why wouldn't you scream, "WHY ME!"
The shortest sentence in the big book is, "It Works."
-----> My first reaction to this was, "The shortest sentence in the Bible is "Jesus wept." For me, this slogan equates the bb with the Bible, and Wilson with Christ. I want to vomit.
Of course the surface is that the program works. But this slogan doesn't have any qualifiers. Or what 'it' is. It is assumed that people know what it is that works.
How it works: half gallons availed us nothing.
------>Another drinking reference slogan. Cute but doesn't do anything. Only to impress upon people, don't drink.
You are right, I am serious. One way to expose the inanity of the 12-step method to recovery is to try it on something trivial. When they cry, "We are saving people's lives here!", you can respond "well the more you talk about not doing the more you want to do it." Try it with bananas and get back to me on how effective the 12-step way is in stopping banana consumption.
That is one way I deprogrammed myself. I took the 12steps which are applied to everything under the sun and decided to use them to tackle my banana eating. I like bananas. Lots of bananas. So I did the steps, even confessed my overeating of bananas to my girlfriend. Then I had to make amends to the people my banana consumption had harmed. Namely the produce guy in the store. I am very specific in which bananas I eat and buy. I admitted I was powerless over bananas, and they made my life unmanageable. Well I guess having a lot of bananas makes the house smell.
(It is sort of like growing zuchini - true powerlessness, as you watch the zuchini multiply and multiply until your whole garden is taken over by the squash.)
Then I had a spiritual awakening and carried the message of eating too many bananas to people.
Now having done that exercise, I saw how silly the 12-step way was. It did not do diddly squat. Of course, I must admit that I did not have the big book of bananas nor did I have banana meetings to go to. I think if I had those, I would have gone 'bananas'.(I know wee puns of mass distraction.)
But seriously, no one is saved by using the 12-steps on anything. I believe the opposite is true - the 12-steps cause more deaths.
Service is another one of those words. How does service work keep people from drinking? Why is it only service work that keeps people from drinking? What is the service work that keeps people from drinking?
Actually, I always thought that keeping busy was one way not to drink. I can't drink or eat when I am doing my bead work. AA defines service work in narrow terms -- namely getting drunks to go to meetings. How does that stop people from drinking? Wouldn't manning a soup kitchen do just as well?
What Carroll said that he relapsed because he was selfish and wanted a moment of happiness struck me as pure program brainwashing. What is wrong with wanting a moment of happiness? What is wrong with desiring happiness? How did happiness get equated with being selfish and drinking? I am selfish for wanting a moment of happiness. I get my moment of happiness by walking by a small stream where a blue heron stands waiting for a fish. No small children died. No one suffer because I took a walk. So why equate selfish with happiness with drinking?
This is the miscellaneous group of slogans about those aspects of the program such as 'slogans', reading big book, and such.
Program bumperstickers belong on the dashboard, not the bumper.
----->I guess you are supposed to read them while driving. To have them ingrained in your dear little brain.
Don't ever be someone else's slogan because you are poetry.
----->Well o.k. but could you be a bit more explicit. After all according to one slogan, 'slogans are wisdom'. So is this another one of those twistings that aa subjects us to.
The sloagns are Band-aids; the steps are the cure; your higher power is the doctor.
------> Another one of those handy-dandy slogans to encompass the program. They forgot the big book is the perscription. And the traditions are the doctor's office. The promises are 'a writ of good health'. The meetings is 'out patient care'. I mean we could be really exploring the disease idea of alcoholism. After all the steps are the cure for all that ails us.
The slogans are wisdom written in shorthand
----->The slogans are slop without interpretation. The subtext varies according to use. For example: "I complained about having no shoes until i met a man with no feet." This slogan is telling people to put up and shut up. Your problems are small. The converse of this slogan could be: I need to get shoes before I get a foot infection and have no feet. Or I like going barefoot. Having no feet has nothing to do with having no shoes.
Tradtion 1: The things we alcoholics have in common are more important than our differences.
-----> On the surface this makes sense. You have a common cause. However, if you read it with the other slogans, you discover that the slogan is saying, 'don't be different, you will disturb the group.' Disrupt the group and you will destroy the group. The group is so fragile that one surly individiual can explode it into little pieces.
The other is the giant 'we'. "We" are more important than "you". "We" are more important than "I". The individual serves the group, not the group serving the individual. AA presents the idea that they are there for the person. The reality is the opposite.
Remember the cost of your last drink when observing the 7th tradtion.
---->Oh Crap. Let's motivate people through guilt. Don't forget that if you fail to give, you will cause the lights to be turned out. Then you will be the cause of countless alkie deaths. Again the whole idea of aa for the person. SO when do we ask where the money goes? Coffee, rent, materials, salaries?
The 12 promises have no expiration date.
------>Yeah, so what. Big Whup. Actually, this points out the idea that promises are limited. That you can't rely on them, except for the special 12.
(Words cannot express the contempt I have for this book. It is one of the few books that I would happily put into the garbage.)
Warning Label on big book: Soberity and reading of the Big Book may cause Excessive Happiness.
------> Caused me excessive headaches. Loved the language but the meaning was too much for my poor brain.
You don't need the latest self-improvement bestseller. You have the classic in your hands.
----->HA! This interesting. The big book is not a cure for drinking but is a self-improvement
bestseller. Interesting. You may be the only copy of the big book some people ever see.
----->So now we are equating the big book with the Bible, now.
Prevent truth decay -- read your big book
----->Boy am I cranky. Oh, pooh. Oh, bother. Not another cutesy pun. How about 'wee puns of mass distraction' for 'weapons of mass distruction'. Anyway, this is another equalling of this stupid book with the Bible.
Once of those rare books that gets smarter every time I read it.
------>How does a book get smarter? Yeah I know a putdown on the reader. Actually, I thought it was stupid. But I did see whole groups of people trying to find meaning in it. Of course, they were primed to do that.
When you re-read the big book, you do not see more than you did before. You see more in you than was there before.
----->Well if I go to enough big book meetings, and analysis enough of this book, I will become the aa clone. I did re-read the big book recently. I felt vomit rising. Maybe that is what they were talking about.
Read your big book every day, but try reading only the black parts.
-----> Oh, poop. Another one of those let's slap the person seeking help down. Beat him up with the idea that he is a stupid wuss.
If you want to hide something from an alcoholic, hid it in the big book, because that is where he will find it.
-------->Ack. What is this? Circular reasoning. What will said person find in the big book? Why hide it there?
The reason I keep going to meetings is because the big book has no pictures in it.
------->Another put down of alcoholics. Who cares.
The law of oversell: When putting cheese in a mousetrap, always leave room for the mouse.
------> Stupid alkies.
The Law of reality: Never get into fights with ugly people, they have nothing to lose.
------> Hateful. simply hateful.
The Law of Self sacrifice: When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last.
----->Stupid, stupid, stupid,
The Law of drunkneness: You can't fall off the floor.
----->Well you can get injured.
Make no major changes in the first year.
------>So aa takes over your life now and tells you want to do.
Every so often, I read a slogan that just frosts me. Really frosts me. This is one of those: "God only Prunes Those that have potential to grow".
One explaination that goes with this little gem is "The tree that grows the straightest and strongest, is the one which is pruned and trimmed. ... Your greatest problems are God's way of making you
stronger. He is pruning you because he knows that you will become a better, more fully developed human being and most important, he knows that you can survive the pruning." (Co-anon material).
It is quite apparent that who ever came up with this one doesn't understand forests and forestry. The tree that grows the straightest and tallest in the forest is the one with the most sunlight and space and diversity. I.E. a pine will be outclassed by an oak since oaks can grow in the shade when seedlings. Pines need sunlight all time in order to survive. Go into a forest -- not a logged one, and you find tall trees. Lodgepole trees. They existed before gardens.
As for pruning, yes it does help a bush or a tree. But Bonzai is the art of pruning a tree to keep it a
small size. I have a friend who grows tiny forests from maples, oaks, pines, etc. He does it by keeping the trees in a bonzai pot and constant pruning. If he takes the tiny trees out and plant them in his yard, they grow normally. He grows his trees from seedlings found in his yard. In short constant pruning will keep you small. Very small.
As for surviving pruning, if you think that God prunes trees, then why do so many of them get struck by lightening, uprooted in a wind storm, or get eaten by bugs. Is this god ridding the forest of dead wood? If so, then why the idea that god knows that when he prunes, you will survive?
Then there is the garden metaphor. Gardens are small inclosed places, tamed places where nothing grows (well almost nothing) that a person has not placed there. They are managed places. I guess 12-step people would just freak out if they were in a forest or a pairie that extends for miles. What would they do in the wildness of a forest or a mountain?
I edited most of Laura's post - but she said a lot. One thing is the add.adha thing. AA provides a lot of structure and also a lot of direction. For someone who is frustrated and easily side-tracked, this is a godsend (:) ) I wonder how many people in aa have other things wrong that they need the structure.
The other thing with structure is what Laura touched upon. When your life is a mess, it is easier to be in a group that provides order out of chaos, structure, and sureity. When you into aa a mess or any 12-step group, you are looking for order. Since you cannot make that order out of chaos, you rely on others to provide it for you. If you are in an emotional state, it is comforting to read the big book and just do the stuff. You do not have to think and you do not have to come to grips with your emotional, mental state.
What was soothing about aa and the 12-step groups that I attended was that there were no surprises. Every thing was in its place, and every place had a thing. It didn't matter to me since I couldn't make order in my mind. I could go to a meeting, sit there, and hear the same stuff over and over, and not have to think. It all very soothing to have a place where the chaos was not allowed to intrude. A place where I could rest and get respite from my crazy brain.
I think that structure and not being challenged is a goodly part of why people stay. At least in the meetings, I did not have to account for the time I could not get out of bed. With my doctor, I had to tell him about the days I just slept and slept. We had to work on that. With aa, we could just slide by that part. No one challenged me on that, instead I had a disease (well I did have a real one) and it was my disease that was doing that stuff.
I have asked steppers repeatedly,"How am I bearing contempt prior to investigation when I have tried AA over and over in the past twenty years and gotten nowhere with them?" I'm told I was going to the wrong group or I needed to approach it with an open mind. Out of literally hundreds of people I've spoken to, only a handful have suggested I look elsewhere. No, I take that back. A lot suggested I look elsewhere, none too politely. Only a handful suggested that I might find help elsewhere. Ray
What you do is pin them down. Make them tell you first exactly how many meetings one must attend before deciding that AA is a crock of shit.
Of course you wont get a straight answer, but it will become very clear that they believe that no matter how many meetings you go to you will always be one shy of having an truly informed opinion untill you love AA.D
I didn't go to 90 in 90 in the beginning because there weren't that many to attend, but later after a year and a couple of months I got a sponsor, he suggested that as a cure for what ever my problem at the time was, I think I was worried about paying my bills, his suggestion
was 90 in 90, I wound up doin' 272 in 270 days; I still had financial problems, I wonder why it didn't cure them? Perhaps he should have suggested working overtime!!!! Dumbass sponsors!!!!!
I've heard a lot of dumb things from the mouths of oldtimers, probably the dumbest thing I ever heard was an oldtimer with 26 years clean and sober said: "The longer I'm in the program the more I realize how sick I am (seems like that should have been a clue to him)," this somehow, to him, meant, "I'm smarter than the rest of the steppers because I know how sick I am," which paradoxically made him better than everyone else. If the steps/the program works, aren't they suppose to get healthier? Isn't an inventory done so you can identify what you have on your shelf that needs to be thrown out and what needs to stay because it sells? Aren't character defects suppose to get removed? Aren't they suppose to become happy, joyous, and free? AA and all the rest of the 12-step programs are dumb programs for dumb people! Point_of_freedom
-----> Well if you read the promises, you will find that the fear of economic insecurity will be removed. In short do the program, you will not worry about money. Now how does that magic work? As point pointed out - attending meetings is not the same as working overtime. There are lots of ways of dealing with paying bills:
1. go to bizillion meetings and forget your troubles.
2. Pray and ask god to provide.
3. Get blotto and forget your troubles.
4. See an accountant or a good friend who
understands money for advice.
5. Work overtime.
7. Get food stamps.
8. Spend less.
9. Read Suzy Ormond's books.
10. Cut up the credit cards.
As you can see the list is endless. However, some of the things will enchance your ability to pay your bills and some will not.
----> Then how did we get involved? I guess we were struck with dumbness at the time. Or we were conned until we got so far in that we had trouble getting out.
As for the sicker stuff, the slogans are full of that stuff. After all it is the disease we are talking
about, the cunning, baffling, powerful disease that is waiting in the parking lot to mug you. So what we do? Do we carry a club to beat the disease to death. A cell phone to call 911? Nope, just our big books. Well actually that is a rather large club to smack that big bad disease with. You chuck that sucker and get the disease right in the chops. Now actually what we do is read from the big book. Incantations. Does that make the disease disappear? not on your life. Just makes the disease madder, it grabs your big book and knocks you senseless. Leaves you laying on the ground.
One contradiction in AA that always pissed me off was in the "Promises." "We will be amazed before we are halfway through." Halfway through with what? Members tell you that you are never through, you must live the steps, you don't work 1 through 12 and then you're finished, there are no graduates, you only have a daily reprieve from this demon rum. I always wanted to ask the oldtimers with 25, or 30 years sober, "now, are you half way through yet, two-thirds, three-quarters, seven-eigths, where are you at exactly?" Of course, I knew they would laugh, or get that shit-eating grin on their face and think to themselves, "newcomers, they just don't get it." Yeah, I get it, the fellowship is full of people who lie, contradict themselves, are hypocrits, and just needed a fucked up little cult to join, one where you could make up anything at anytime, be praised for not drinking, confessing how sick you are, forgiven and not held responsible for past misdeeds and current misdeeds, blame behaviors on this mysterious disease and the character defects that acccompany it, yeah, I get it, I got it from the beginning, but closed my mind to any thoughts that questioned the dogma, and opened my mind to the insane ramblings of people like Bill W. who swore God revealed himself to him in the form of a brilliant white light, never mind however that he was under the influence of hallucinogens and was mentally unstable and suffered from a narcissitic personality.Point
I was told that only members of aa have promises, the rest have to make do. When I heard them read, I thought gee isn't that is what people are supposed to be about anyway. We will intuitively know what to do what we formerly did not. Well duh. Actually I thought that you got the promises after step 9.
Of course I couldn't let this pass without decontructing it. here goes - snork. If these are promises then what is the reverse. In short what were people doing.
"If we are painstaking (which means showing care) about THIS phase (the amends phase) of our
development, we will be AMAZED before we are half way through.
----------> As point puts it: what is half way. What do you mean by half-way? What bad thing were we doing that caused us to have this promise? We are bored with making amends.
We are going to know a NEW freedom and a NEW happiness.
-----> What is this new freedom and new happiness? What is the definition of this freedom and happiness? If it is new, then why wasn't the old freedom and happiness enough? What happened to the old freedom and happiness?
Why promise? We are bored with the old freedom and happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
-----> Is this bill telling himself that everything is o.k. I wonder about this. Actually this is something that people do work for -- living with all of their life.
Why promise? Our pasts are so horrible that we want to erase them from our lives.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
-----> I guess our brains were not working very well. This is a slap at people who think. We can't
comprehend serenity. Anyway, this is the goal of aa and other groups: serenity. What is interesting about this is that serenity is the goal of Moonies and other cults.
Why promise? We are squirrels squirreling about burying nuts and chasing each other around trees.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
------> Well is this a promise or a statement of fact. I fail to see how this is a promise.
Why promise: We are slime. We have oozed from the premodal sludge of life.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
-----> How does the feeling of uselessness disappear? Self-pity? Again these are the evil things of the program. You have to be useful. You can't feel pain.
Why promise: We sit around crying woe is me.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
-----> Well isn't that what everyone else is doing? Define interest in fellows. What does that entail.
Why promise: We spend our money on the lottery and don't share our winnings.
Self-seeking will slip away.
----> What is self-seeking? What does this phrase mean? If you are seeking yourself, you are lost. You need to know yourself.
Why promise: we are self-centered twits who need a whack on the side of the head.
Our WHOLE attitude and outlook upon life will change.
----> Our whole attitude?? If I am an optimist, does that mean I will become a pessimist by following the steps? What is the assumption behind this promise?
Why promise: We have lousy attitudes: we are selfish twits who need to see the light.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
----> How is that supposed to happen? Why couple economic insecurity and fear of people together? Actually taking a course in finances may help the economic insecurity.
Why promise: We are lonely idiots on the dole.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
----->Well you don't need a program to do that. People can put thought into what they do.
Why promise: We are screw ups.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
-----> There you have it. That is the big kahuna. That is what the program is all about. However, if you are a believer, you do not neet the twelve steps to know that. It is interesting in the turn of the word 'suddenly'. Why that word? Does that have to with the spiritual experience of bill?
Why promise: We are atheistic ingrates.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly , sometimes slowly . They will ALWAYS materialize IF we work for them."
-----> They are not even promises. Let alone extravagant ones. But how do you work for them - by doing the steps. Always is a big work. Actually, this really a stupid con to get people do the stupid steps.
I heard that slogan all over the place. I took it to mean not to get involved in cliques and being critical of people. So I dwelled on doing the program.
What I have finally come to realize is that the divide between principles and personalities is the same silly one between spiritual and religious. Reading the Back To Basics sites and the sites critical of today's aa all want the same thing. They want to go the days of yesteryear where aa is nice and clean and civilized and everyone loved each other and got sober. Well it ain't gonna happen because it didn't happen. They are sick of todays aa with all the recovery slogans, and recovery language, and the criminals sentenced to aa. They want an imaginary aa that was all principles and no people.
The aa mythos demands that people believe that early aa was the best. That today's aa is the pits. If you read nothing but the aa creation myths, you think that everyone just plain liked each other and they were very moral people. The mythos says that there are aa principles to follow.
Actually as henny pointed out, there are no principles in aa. None. It is all like water -- ever changing, never the same. Sobriety is not a principle. It is not truth. It is not morality. There are plenty of sober con people.
--- hennipen14 <email@example.com> wrote:
> Devin ~ I couldn't agree more! In meetings I kept hearing "principles before personalities" over and over. And when I expressed my concerns to my sponsor about some of the creepy folks in the program, she would admonish me with "Principles before personalities!" This went on for a long while, until one day someone said it again and I really listened. I needed focus on the principles instead of the people, how simple could it be! So I focused. I ignored the nutso, lecherous, creepy folks and concentrated on the principles set forth in the 12 steps and the Big Book. Since my attention was no longer distracted by those around me, I was able to truly get a feel for the core concepts of the program. I became informed, and I wanted to shout, "The principles suck, too!", but I didn't for fear that the personalities might have an issue with that. Henny
Reply inside, some editing - snork
--- Just Laura <Laurance@juno.com> wrote:
> This issue has come up before, "But what, exactly, makes alcohol different from other "drugs" besides its legality?", asks PoloRalphLoren.
-------> Nothing, but its history. Remember alcohol has had a long history in civilization starting with the Egyptians who drank beer. Opium and other drugs seemed not be as accepted for as long a period of time. Opium was accepted at one time but people along the way decided that it was not longer acceptable. Alcohol such as beer when properly brewed provides nourishment. It was drank for that as well. Beer now is not brewed with nourishment in mind.
> Point says, "A drug is a drug is a drug, alcoholics are fulling themselves if they they think they're
better than someone who used some other drug, they don't get it, it doesn't matter what drugs you use, addiction is addiction..."
> It was in AA, not NA, that I heard that a drug is a drug is a drug. While many alcoholics did stick their noses up at drug addicts, there were some AA members who saw all drugs as being all the same, which meant you couldn't even take an aspirin for a headache. One idiot told me my asthma medicine is "addictive", which angered the hell out of me. So I'm supposed to just let myself go into status asthmaticus and hope I don't die?
> Drugs are not all alike. At times I've used Adderall for my ADD. That's speed. I can use it with
some small success, and with no addiction whatsoever. My Sweetie uses opiates for his chronic pain. But if he were to use my Adderall, he'd be sick for at least a couple of days. And I cannot use Vicodin at all. It makes me sick and sleepy and doesn't stop the pain. So not all people have the same reaction to drugs.
> This drug is a drug attitude makes it hard for people who have to take medication. There were those who claimed that anybody who used any sort of medication "isn't sober". They couldn't comprehend that it is indeed possible to be addicted to alcohol but not to something taken for medicinal purposes. They couldn't comprehend that many of us put a drug in our mouths, not because we have an intense and unbearable craving for more and more of the drug, but because we need to stop the asthma, or control the blood pressure, or in Snork's case, stop the voices.
-----> I think the drug is a drug goes beyond whether it causes cravings. I think it is because people have to rely on a higher power. Taking meds does encourage people to have sole reliance on god. This is the faith healing aspect of aa. Belief in the program will cure you. Taking meds is a demonstration that the program does not work. It is a religion like Christian Science. You pray your illnesses away.
I don't blame you. What I find interesting is how the alkies have attached the name of Johns Hopkins University Hospital to the questions. If you read the list and think about it, it is not the standard sort of dignosis questionaire that is generally used. The questions are more nuanced and specfic. This seems to be a general all purpose proganda one that the aa types managed to promote as legit.
Let me point out what a doctor would ask and not ask: The famous 20 questions:
Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
----> Yes a doctor would be interested in this.
Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
-----> This one is hard to quantify. How would the patient know this? The doctor or therapist would have to explore what is 'unhappy'.
Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
-----> That is not a question a doctor would ask. Shyness is not a medical condition that doctors usually treat. Usually if that is the problem -- GAD, there are other symptoms that are manifest and the doctor would explore those.
Is drinking affecting your reputation?
----> No, how would the doctor be able to find out any symptoms with that one? How would the drinker know?
Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
----->Remorse is a symptom of other things. The doctor would explore that angle and not the drinking one. Drinking is more of a symptom of something else.
Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
------> This would be a symptom of other mental illnesses. The financial difficulties is actually a separate problem from drinking. Lots of sober people have problems with finances. Most people who go bankrupt is because of unplanned illnesses or loss of jobs, not because of drinking. This question generalizes the idea that drinking causes financial difficulties. It also makes drinking the root cause.
Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
-----> That is an aa question. No doctor has ever used those words with me or anyone else I knew. 'lower companions' 'inferior environment'. That is unmaterial to finding out what is wrong with the person. Why would a doctor ask this question?
Does your drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
------> Again the question ties drinking into something unrelated. It is hard to correlate the two. If the question was more specific such as careless of driving or receiving tickets, then there is actual data for the doctor to work with. This is a soft leading question which a doctor would not ask.
Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
----> This lives in the world of 'how long have you stop beating your wife.' definitely aa and not a doctor.
Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
----> Yes a doctor would ask this. They are seeking answers that may lie in the body or in the habits of the person.
Do you want a drink the next morning?
----> Again yes. This is a two layered question - the surface one of does your body need something, and the subtext of you are addicted to the stuff.
Does your drinking cause you difficulty in sleeping?
-----> Yes, a doctor would ask this.
Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
----> How long have you stop beating your wife.
Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
-----> This maybe a question that is asked if the person is worried about the issue.
Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?
----> Yes a doctor would ask this to determine anxiety disorders.
Do you drink alone?
-----> AA propaganda. Drinking alone means you have a problem. Drinking groups means you are a social butterfly.
Have you ever had a complete loss of memory due to drinking?
-----> A doctor question.
Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
----> Well this opens the aa box. It means that doctors cannot treat people for drinking.
Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
------> Nothing like zipping in this one to divert people's attention from the subject at hand.
Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of your drinking?
------> This would be asked by a doctor wanting to know your medical history.
Actually if you look at the progression of the questions, they lead you on to the inescapable conclusion that you are an alkie. The questions center on 'remorse', 'ambition',, 'efficiency', 'escape' are clues that aa wrote the questionaire. It was probably one of the 1930s ones. The questions also center on the idea that you are shy, withdrawn, and drink alone. Again aa type questions. The personality type that pops out of these questions is someone who is not comfortable with people and is a worrier. Those types of people are prone to aa propaganda. I have met more than my share of these types.
What is interesting about the slogans and the other 12-step materials is the emphasis on the evil past. I kept reading and reading and reading, but the only description of the past that appears is 'regretting, harmed'. Nothing neutral about the past.
Most people I know, not in the program, sometimes get nostosglic about their past. You see the commercials for the music of the past when the people were young -1940s, 1950s, 1960, 1970s. People in the old age homes are surrounded by good memories of the past - theirs and in general. You have peole reminising about Christmas or another holiday that they remember.
What troubles me about these slogans about not regretting the past is that they really are asking the person to give up their past. Their history. What made them who they are. The past is is important to a person as is the present and future.
This is what one old timer in aa said about the concept of the past in aa: "As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!"
From what you can see, he assumes that the only history that matters is the one started in the program. That the history before that should be regarded as a failure. If you regard your history before the program as a failure, that makes you a failure. Therefore the only chance at succeeding is in the program.
--- Just Laura <Laurance@juno.com> wrote:
> What I got from the website is that WFS is another one size fits all program, where you're supposed to learn to think in slogans and describe your experience in slogans by affirming those slogans over and over and over, day after day, all day.
> I get that LandShark is likewise full of upbeat slogans. I know that my friend gets this kind of enthusiastic weird look on his face when he talks about it. He doesn't run too much of the slogan stuff on me, but I know that LandShark has its own jargon. "Enroll" is one of their buzz-words. "Are you enrolled? I want to enroll you in the possibility...." "Story" is another word they use to invalidate any and all of your past experiences. I get that they believe you can erase your past.
> WFS says, "9. The past is gone forever. No longer will I be victimized by the past, I am a new person."
> This is 12-step-free, but here we are grousing about LandShark and WFS. I think it is still relevant, because as we deprogram from the steps, we find our Bullshit Detectors working in other areas, too.
Actually I noticed that circular reasoning in all of the aa and other 12step materials. Actually, what is interesting is that they do not discuss evil. I know the language of 'shortcomings', 'character defects', moral inventories, 'self-will run riot', and resentments point to the idea of sin. But they do not deal with the idea of evil in all evil's forms.
What happens is that they have dualistic god - an evil/good one. And the people become dualistic evil/good. Mention of an evil god is forbidden. 13stepping which is evil is winked at. At the same time, they talk about being spiritual beings and doing god's work.
The 12-steps do not tackle the idea of living in a fallen world with fallen people. They say the people are flawed but rarely discuss whether the world is or not. Actually when they say 'it is a selfish program', they really do mean that. It is revolves around the self. There is no consistent relationship with god. God shifts around and never is the same.
The other idea that has occured to me while reading the slogans is that the aa god or what wilson claimed his source was is really the Evil One. All the 12-steps conform to people's notions of evil. The surrendering of self-will, the inability to say no to the higher power, the idea of gaining power through ritual that binds people to the higher power, the inability to leave. These all are aspects of evil and not of good. Coupled with the reality of the meetings and materials, you do get a picture of evil in flower.
The idea that people have to be poor or be condemned, the idea that people have to be stupid or be condemned, the idea that people have to give up themselves or be condemned. Elements of these are in Christianity but people don't get condemned for being these things. Only if they misuse their gifts.
The way I understand it, god made us perfect but because of the fall we are depraved. All of us are, not just alcoholics. So, alcoholics "in recovery" are especially blessed, having been given a convenient reminder of their depravity and then granted a daily reprieve.
Some of that comes from ordinary christianity but there is a difference in emphasis. For any christian there would be a tension between "in the image of god" and "imperfect". However, AA has put the Oxford Group twist on it in a way that would embarrass even Frank Buchman.
A good question was asked recently on AAhistorylovers: where did the 3rd step and 7th step (I may have the numbers wrong here, folks) prayers come from? Did Bill find them somewherre or write them himself?
No one has answered the question. Believe me, if there were an answer one of the alert AA historians would have let us all know.
So I looked the prayers up, hoping that maybe I could contribute something. The prayers read exactly like something Bill Wilson would have come with, and not like anything I had seen elsewhere. The oddest thing about them was the aspect of "REMOVE my character flaws, Lord, so the the OVERCOMING of them will be a testament to your power," or something to that effect. Make me perfect so people will be impressed and I can tell them "aw shucks, it was God." Not the most theologically literate request to make of a deity, and a good sign that Wilson himself was the author of the prayers.
By the way, I understand from various AA honchos on the web that this all applies to alcoholics only, not druggies. Druggies are just plain depraved and should stay out of AA. Cora
These slogans are what aa thinks of new people. In short, they are to show up, shut up, and put up. See I can write nifty aa slogans too. Like show up, shut up, throw up. New people are useless in the aa universe.
Once you are a pickle, you can't be a cucumber. But once you are a pickle, you can be a newcomer.
------>OH, most gracious door knob, spare me these word play slogans.
Newcomers are like rum fruitcakes. You can take out the rum, but you still have a fruitcake.
----->O.K. This one and the previous one says the same thing: newcomers are to be ignored since they are 'nut cases'. That certainly is some welcome to a new person to be told they are a fruitcake. Gee, hit me with a hammer a few times while you are at it.
Newcomer is someone with less than five years of sobriety.
----->Five years????? Does it takes that long to indoctrinate a person into the 12-step way?
You need newcomers to tell you where you came from; old -timers to tell you where you could go, and a sponsor to tell you where you are at.
---->Another stupid word slogan, but you see what the set up is. Newcomers are examples of what you were -drunken sot. Old-timers rule the roost. Sponsors are the people who bird-dog you so you get the right thinking. Or this is the variation of past, future, and present stuff.
If you want proof of how aa mangles the language, here is a gem from the other guy of aa who seems to play fast and loose with the language as well.
Dr. Bob, co-founder of AA, commented on Tradition Eleven as follows: "Since our Tradition on anonymity designates the exact level where the line should be held, it must be obvious to everyone who can read and understand the English language that to maintain anonymity at any other level is definitely a violation of this Tradition.
------>Well I supposed that all the people who CAN'T read and understand English are excused since they are all stupid. Of course, B.S. knows that the only people who understand the 11 tradition are himself and a precious few others.
"The AA who hides his identity from his fellow AA by using only a given name violates the Tradition just as much as the AA who permits his name to appear in the press in connection with matters pertaining to AA.
----->Doodoodooo, welcome to the doublespeak zone.
"The former is maintaining his anonymity ABOVE the level of press, radio, and films, and the latter is maintaining his anonymity BELOW the level of press, radio, and films - whereas the Tradition states that we should maintain our anonymity AT the level of press, radio, and films."
----->Can anyone explain this to me? Above, below and at. Strange stuff especially when dealing with something that has no direction. There is no above and below with speaking to reporters. You either speak to them or you don't. You have a designated speaker for the group.
Wonder what he thought about Wilson in this matter.
(the February 1969 Grapevine)
The whole concept of the "Annonymous" bullshit is simple enough to understand. The "annonymous" in ANY 12-step program has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the individual's annonymity. The cult doesn't want the general public to know who their members really are because so many of them FAIL at maintaining abstinence and struggle in their own day to
day existence. This could be dangerous information used against AA and other 12-step programs that would show everyone what a dismal failure the "Program" really is. Of greater importance to the cult however, this evidence of utter worthlessness could seriously undermine and threaten the "lofty perch" it has attained over the years in society and more importantly, in the judicial system and regulatory agencies in this country. It would also be perhaps a deathnail to the addiction
"treatment" industry as well, because they would then have NO basis or "formula" to practice the black art of addiction "treatment", and thus be unable to continue reaping millions of dollars annually into their dishonorable profession, disguised as medical therapy. I once read that privacy and confidentiality, from which safety and dignity flow, have nothing in common with annonymity, which allows one to act secretly, for reasons that are unknown to others. There is no
accountability, no personal responsibility. The need for secrecy signals something to hide. Annonymous donors should not be confused with annonymous zealots, for the zealot is often the recipient of what the donor freely gives. Cults foster annonymity because of their dark nature and hidden agendas(such as the KKK). But once exposed, the lies and deceit begin to crumble in the light of the truth. Anything 12-step is a lie and is evil in nature and evil and deceptive in practice. Beware of annonymity... Ben
AA has a peculiar point of view about relations with other people. They warn that people should not be by themselves but warn that 'hell is other people'.
The slogans seem to point to a sexless way of being in aa. They warn about having relations with people in aa but discourage relations with people outside of aa. I believe that aa does really encourage a sexless style of living.
The other thing I have noticed is what types of relationships aa discusses. They tell people to steer
clear of romantic ones. Friendship is never discussed. 'Fellowship' as in the group is presented
in both the slogans on the meetings and elsewhere. The primary relationship between two people that is heavily emphasised is the sponsor-sponsee. Which is a one down relationship. No equality. The relating of others in the group is ignored in the materials other than 'share or die'. However, the group dynamics is stressed over the individual.
We are attracted to people who share in our growth and progress and lost interest in those who don't.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the
really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
---------> These are relatively honest and direct. However, what is discussed in al-anon and other
al-anon style groups is that people are only attracted to the drunk. They never outgrow that attraction, which is why no one graduates from al-anon or nar-anon or gam-anon.
The funny thing about these slogans is that if you do follow them, you will leave aa. In aa, you are told to keep the right size and that 'a job happens on the way to a meeting'. In short, your ambitions are belittled. Of course the subtext of these slogans in aa is that everyone in aa will inspire you to greatness but everyone outside will belittle you.
My biggest problem was bottles of the two-legged variety.
A.A. Romance: The odds are good, but the goods are odd.
Looking for a relationship in aa is like shopping for a car in a junkyard.
Romantic relationshps in the first year: two dead batteries can't start a car.
RELATIONSHIP = Real Exciting Love Affair Turns Into Outrageous Nightmare, Sobriety Hangs In Peril
------------>Is this how AA really see their members? People who are the dregs of society and that is it? AA discourages relations between members but also discourages relations outside of the group. This is subtle but is a sign of a cult in that your sexuality is being controlled.
Other religions do encourage marriage between their members. They address all of the aspects of being human. Most of what the mainline Western religions back away from in sexual relation matters is in same-sex, bi-sexual, and transexual relationships. But AA seems to extend this to any sexual relationship.
Those of the opposite sex may pat your rear end, but often those of the same sex will save it.
------>What a dim view of what goes on among aa members. Also how restrictive in thinking they are. Why have this slogan unless you believe in the prior ones of how people get drunk by having sex with the 'wrong' person.
An alcoholic alone is sluming.
Only an alcoholic would believe that the solution to loneliness was isolation.
Alcoholics are life-long loners who cannot stand to be alone.
------>First they tell you not to mix with nonmembers, then not to mix with members one on one, so what is left? Meetings!! Meetings, anyone? 12-step calls anyone? We must not learn to live with ourselves alone. No, we can't have that can we - self-reliant people who are happy with their own compnay.
Don't let anyone walk around in your head with their dirty shoes on.
---->This is what happens when you are alone. Actually it is good advice but the subtext is
DETACH: Don't Even Try And Change Him (Her)
Enabler: The only thing I can do to help my loved one is to let him help himself.
------> Al-anon slogans. It spoiled the word 'enabling' for me. "enabling" can mean to have
hearing aids to hear. "enabling" can mean have a lawyer work pro-bono for a poor client. Enabling is a good thing. Enabling is a neutral word.
If 2 million plus recovering alcoholics are wrong, I'm screwed.
-----> You are screwed. Actually, this is faulty logic. Simply because a large group says it is so,
does not mean that it is truth. However, aa is promoting safety in numbers.
If you have one hand in the fellowship and one hand in God, you can't get drunk today.
When God is holding your right hand and aa is holding your left, you have no hands with to pick up a drink.
--------> What can I say about these? It is quite obvious of what aa is all about: religion. If you
don't believe in god or don't go to meetings, you will get drunk. Actually, the will is involved in
non-drinking. But this is not what aa wants people to know. They have developed a binary system to keep people from realizing the truth.
Looking for the right person? Become the right person.
------>Of course. Subtext: only in aa are you going to become the right person.
If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled.
---->Of course. But this is in direct conflict with the ones about the fellowship and being alone.
Honesty, Intimacy, and Vulnerability are the keys to my recovery (HIV)
------> These do contradict each other. (The HIV was my grouping of letters. I guess whoever came up with this gem did not realize that.) So which is it - intimacy or no intimacy? If love has
conditions attached, it is not love it is barter.
----->Makes sense. Subtext is that aa loves people unconditionally.
RJMing: Rationalizing your way out of anything, Justifying yourself about everything and Manipulating everyone.
------> And hating yourself while being aa hearing the crap of how bad you are.
Since I found little in the slogans about the person's relationship with their family, I thought I would see if there were any reason for that. Well I found these two gems, which are really anti-family.
FROM: AS BILL SEES IT
The New A.A. and His Family
When alcoholism strikes, very unnatural situations may develop which work against marriage partnership and compatible union.
---->When alcoholism strikes? I thought it was something you were born with. very unnatural
situations? what are natural situations?
If the man is affected, the wife must become the head of the house, often the breadwinner. As matters get worse, the husband becomes a sick and irresponsible child who needs to be looked after and extricated from endless scrapes and impasses. Very gradually, usually without any realization of the fact, the wife is forced to become the mother of an erring boy, and the alcoholic alternately loves and hates her maternal care.
--------> What an awful picture of family life. Actually that is the picture of Wilson's marriage as
he saw it. The wife becomes something evil.
Under the influence of A.A.'s Twelve Steps, these situations are often set right.
----->How does these situations get set right? What are the natural conditons of the family? Wife stops being a mother of an erring boy and kicks said erring boy out the door? Practice tough love. Or does wife see that the sponge known as husband is working on the steps and not getting a job. Whatever, how are the 12-steps supposed to help a family?
Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if he would recover. The others must be convinced of his new status beyond the shadow of a doubt. Seeing is believing to most families who have lived with a drinker.
------->Actually the family is expected to go on a spiritual basis. What is a spiritual basis? What
does that mean? What does wilson mean by seeing? Does the family person get a job, contribute to the commonweal of the family?
Actually the subtext of this passage is that the family be damned, I the alcoholic must leave them if I want to get recovery. It says nothing of how the alcoholic relates to the family other than imply they do not matter in the alcoholic's life.
FROM BIG BOOK: How to 12-step someone.
Sometimes it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge. The family may object to this, but unless he is in a dangerous physical condition, it is better to risk it. Don't deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help. Wait for the end of the spree, or at least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.
---------> So the family asks you for help, and you ignore them. You tell them, you know best. They are incompetent boobs.
If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him. Neither should the family hysterically plead with him to do anything, nor should they tell him much about you. They should wait for the end of his next drinking bout. You might place this book where he can see it in the interval. Here no specific rule can be given. The family must decide these things. But urge
them not to be over-anxious, for that might spoil matters.
-----> Are families hysterical and demanding? What exactly is the family role in all of this.
Over-anxious. Actually this is a proactive family who is trying to seek outside help for their loved one. You would never know it by the put downs on the family by Wilson. He obviously had no use for families or regarded them in a positive light.
My conclusion is that aa is anti-family unless the family is going to al-anon. Why would aa treat the family as an enemy of the alcoholic when the family loves the alcoholic to help them. Then you get the enabling messages that families are evil since they keep the alcoholic from help. More signs of a cult -- separate you from your loved ones and make them the enemy to your recovery.
Finding your part ....
Many moons ago, I worked at a rape crisis center --- manning phones. I remember the briefing that everyone had to go through. One thing that they emphasized was that the survivor needed to do was reclaim personal power. One way the survivor did that by blaming themselves -- if only they walked down a different street, if only they didn't drink so much....... As a phone person, I was just to listen. The counselors were to try to transfer the self-blame into something else. So looking to your part was the first step not the last step in reclaiming personal power.
However, I have heard this slogan in meetings in 12-step groups. It was usually for benign things such as pissing off your boss or check kiteing. Things that you did that was wrong but did not want to take responsibility for.
The evil usage of the slogan of looking to your part was introduced in al-anon meetings. They would talk about how you were keeping your husband from getting help. How your activities and actions were interfering with his getting sober. I would sit and listen to this and wonder how does one person's actions affects someone else to that degree. I kept wondering where does the other person's responsibility kicked in. I mean the person could stop drinking inspite of what everyone else was doing. They would have to make choices and live with those choices.
After reading the stuff on Orange's site about both Wilsons, I realized what the whole thing was about. Mr. Wilson needed his wife to blame for his actions. Mrs. Wilson needed to be blamed for his actions. They were in a destructive relationship that was one of power. He wanted to be the bad boy and stick one to her. She wanted to have power over the bad boy and make him do right. You can tell alot from the pictures. They hardly ever look at each other and hardly ever stand near each other.
Looking for your part came from Wilson and probably Smith who needed people around them to blame for their shortcomings. It is a way to deflect and to save face. It is also a way to evade responsibility and confuse the issue.
I often wonder: Do men who wear expensive Italian made suits ask to be robbed?
--- Devin <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Find your part
> I wonder how common the "find your part in it" bullshit is applied to rape victims. I just came across it while snooping into the steppers' affairs. There was a woman who said she was raped at the age of three and grateful for her sponsor who helped her see her part in it. I had seen it on this list and some instances on aadeprogramming it adds up to a lot of cases.
> The idea that someone can "find their part" in a rape, attack, abuse, etc. is not just a little eccentric, not strange, not unusual or bizarre - it is pathological certifiable stark-raving loony-tunes wacko over the fucking edge.
> Any "professional" who orders, coerces, requires, recommends, suggests, or introduces a client into the 12-step program is guilty of malpractice and should be shit-canned on the spot.
At 04:02 PM 11/4/03 -0000, purplehazydreamer wrote:Latley....as i try to sift and sort the AA gunk out of my head....a >phrase keeps popping back in my head that i was told by a few oldtimers...they would say "My how you have grown"
I recall "Maggie H." Sunday Morning meeting at Biscayne (it may have had a name like the "Third Step" meeting, I forget), which I think was famous for having a large number of true "old-timers," AA'ers with 20 or 30 years "sobriety." There was, IIRC, a few "rules" in this meeting: everyone shares, and you only share for a minute or two (Maggie always said that an alcoholic could tell everything they know in a couple of minutes, so there was never any reason to talk longer than that) so that the meeting can end on time, and you share on the topic (which was always a "real" AA topic, usually a step, or maybe a tradition or slogan). This was a 'strong'
meeting that my sponsor (circa 15 years in AA) attended and he had always encouraged me to attend. I had a year or two in AA at this point.
For months in there I shared as I had done since first coming into AA, saying something about what was happening in my own life and somehow tieing it into the steps or program so at least I will have "said something about how AA has helped me." This was probably me just bitching and complaining...
One day the topic was a favorite among AA fundies, the Third Step. When it came to me, I decided that rather than saying anything about where my life was at at the time, that I would instead repeat this silly little story I heard on the third step at a meeting at NABA the day before: "Hi, my name's Ben and I'm an alcoholic. About the third step, there's the story of three frogs on a lilly pad. One of them decides to jump off. How many frogs are left? Three. Deciding to do something is not the same as doing it. Step Three says we MADE A DECISION to turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understood him. Taking steps four through twelve is the carrying out of that decision. I'm grateful to be sober today, thanks for letting me share."
So after this meeting, a woman with about seven years in AA came up to me and says (have you guessed it yet?) "Ben, you really have grown."
I thought, What the Hell? I repeat some stupid STORY on the third step rather than saying how I took the third step, and she says I've grown? I of course didn't say anything to to her about it (positive comments in AA are rare enough, and I didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth), but I thought that was crazy. It should have been a hint to me, that AA is truly NOT about either personal growth or "sharing" about oneself, it's about participating in one-hour live infomercials for AA.
>or " I see much growth in you,since you started the program" or " I can sense your aura has changed,you have grown so much"
>I didnt really know how to respond to these comments....they would tell me they have watched me "grow" since i came to the program.and that yes,it is hard for you yourself to see this growth...hmnnnnnnnNow i wonder.....Is it that i was not really in a sense growing ...by there standards....but maybe i was being converted? I was starting to get that glazy sheepish look in my eye? I was starting to remember those slogans and what page said what in the BB? I wonder if that is what they meant by me "growing"? It also made me feel like i might have something more wrong with me that a drinking problem....But gee...since i kept coming back...and if i continue too...i will just keep on growing...
>I did not see this transformation like they did.And my family saw a different angle on my so called "growth".My hubby would start whistling the outer limits tune...or clap and sing hare krishna,everytime i talked of how he and i should be living are life....
If he had been more direct in questioning your AA involvement, would you have listened and taken his thought seriously?
>Recently, a few friends,that i luckily kept thru all this...tell me they were worried about me.....that i was becoming too religious and superstitious....this blew me away....one said she just knew i would snap out of it....hmnnnnnnSo i find it strange.All these different veiws.....of how i appeared to people inside and outside of the program...and i am leaning towards my family and friends viewpoints,as having any important signifcance to me personlly...And also,why on earth didnt my family and friends speak up on how they truley felt about all this sooner? Why now? When i told them i chose to leave the program?Is it worth keeping quiet of it because i was no longer drinking?
That's definitely an AA argument. Sometimes I bitched about all the "emotionally unavailable" people (this was a few years later, in my more liberal 'John Bradshaw' and going-to-other-12-step-meetings phase) in AA to an Al-Anon 'friend' and his response was "but they're SOBER!" as if that
made up for everything, or that for these people to be 'sober' was already more than one could expect from them.
>Like it didnt matter if it took a cult to keep me dry?At least in the beggining? better to be "sober" and weird(converted)....rather than drunk or passed out?
>So many questions to ponder...
>Purple Hazy Dreamer
"My how you have grown" or " I see much growth in you,since you started the program" or " I can sense your aura has changed,you have grown so much"
----->How about snappy answers to stupid questions? Gee, I have heighteners in my shoes, glad you noticed. Um, well, I did start a new vitamin regime. Er, is that your way of telling me I've gotten fat? You can sense my aura? Gee, golly whiz! Do you read Tarot as well. Tell me my future!
Growth??? Nah. A maturing, yes. Is growth the same as becoming an adult? Becoming responsible? What does growth means?
----> I have noticed the more a person is in the program, the more they become fixed and superstitious. You have all those exhortations that if you do not go to meetings, you will get drunk. If you do not read the big book, you will get drunk. If you drink tea instead of coffee, you will get drunk. ... well you get the picture.
ON TO THE SLOGANS:
Answering that question: What does the Program mean by growth?
Change is inevitable, Growth is optional
Spiritual and emotional growth does not depend so much upon success as it does upon failures and setbacks.
A ship that stays in the dock is safe, but that's not what ships are for. (---> I guess houseboats don't apply.)
Show up to grow up.
-----> Interesting how they set up what growth is: spiritual and emotional. You get that by going to meetings.
Don't commit suicide during the first five years sober (you'll be killing the wrong person.)
----->That says a lot about the effectiveness of the program doesn't it. Telling people not to kill
Growth: Esteem-able acts build self-esteem.
-----> Shall we ignore this one and put it with those response-ability ones.
Growth: If small things make you angry-how big are you?
----> Good question but is that a definition of maturity?
It's not so important why you are an alcoholic-but rather what are you going to do about it?
Just be on the side of the angels, it doesn't matter what rank you are.
----->It makes it seem that you have to do more than stop drinking.
Pain is mandatory, suffering is optional.
----->Define suffering. We are to be cheerful as we are racked in pain. Bah, not me.
The opposite of joy is not sorrow, the opposite of joy is cynicism.
-------> That is sick.
Sometimes the good is the enemy of the best.
-----> What does this mean or is it a twisting of words that aa is fond of.
When the pain of where I am is worse than the discomfort of where I am going, then I'll move.
----->That is the common definition of growth but if you couple that with 'change happens, growth doesn't', then you have to scratch your head.
There are only two sins: To stand in the way of someone else's growth, or to stand in the way of your own.
--------->Sins???? Sins???? Sins??? What does a *spiritual* program have to do with a *religious*
concept of sin. ;)
Early Sobriety is growing up in public.
The best way for me to succeed and grow in my sobriety is to follow the advice I hear myself giving to others.
-----> Growth in aa is sobriety. My take on growth in the aa sense or 12-step sense, is to be a part
of the cult. To increase in the understanding of the cult teachings. It has nothing to do with becoming mature or dealing with life.
What is interesting is the written versus the oral traditions of aa. The written stuff does not discuss
growth but it does discuss happiness. The oral stuff discuss both and throws in serenity as well. SO what is it that they want - growth in the program. What does growth in the program mean? Is there a maturing going on? Actually, the old timers did not seem to be maturing very much. They seem to reach a plateau and stayed there. If you grow in the program, does there come a time that you do not grow?
About happiness -- it is supposed to come from praticing the program. But the program does not seem to produce very many happy people. At least at the meetings, they were grateful and serene but not happy. Very strange.
--- email@example.com wrote:
> Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes: It should have been a hint to me, that AA is truly NOT about either personal growth or "sharing" about oneself, it's about participating in one-hour live infomercials for AA.
> You have really touched on something there, Ben. That's all meetings really are. One-hour live
infomercials for AA. It's creepy and tacky at the same time.
> As for growth, I remember when people would start saying how I had grown. It was when I was learning how to parrot the party line. Half the crap I said I didn't even mean but it was accepted by the group and that's all they really cared about. Please agree with our view of life and we shall reward you for it. Yuck. It really is similar to what goes on in most group think. You see it in politics, social cliques, et al. It's all about agreeing with the group. It's unfortunate when the people who you choose to call friends only will be friends with you if you agree with them. Some people never get very far from the sandbox.
> I remember when I told my sponsor how unhappy I was going to some particular meetings that I had been attending. Her comment was that my goal in life should not be about being happy but about growth. YUCK! Big red flag. I used to stew on that one. It kept swimming around my head like a noxious vapor. My thoughts kept leaping to the ultimate logical conclusion to that statement which was "So I will be all grown up but incredibly unhappy". WTF? Who the hell wants that?! I think my sponsor did me a great big favor by being such a neurotic freak. It showed me what 20+ years in the program will do to a person. No thanks!
I have a large file of working program. However, they don't say very much except that the program is this imaginary thing that is a figment of everyone's imagination. (There is no program.)
On to the slogans.
HOPE = Hang On! Peace Exists...
-----> This certainly doesn't say much. What exactly am I supposed to feel in hearing this?
Take what you can use and leave the rest
When all else fails, follow directions
In aa, I get an owner's manual to go with my new life.
You are not required to like it, you're only required to DO IT.
AA has not musts but it has a lot of have-tos.
Ask us how we did it, then do what we did.
------------>Now these ones have conflicting advice working the program. You take what you can use but you are required to DO IT. What is up with 'no musts' but 'have-tos'. I guess it ranks with 'spiritual, not religious'. In the word of Webster's Dictionary, have-tos are musts. There is no difference. What are these directions that people have to follow? The ones in the owner's manual or the ones that the old timers tell us? Tis confusing.
Don't work my program, or your program work , work THE program.
If you are working the program, no one else needs a program.
The longer we are in the program, the worse our stories get.
-------> What is THE PROGRAM? Who defined THE program? Then if I am working the program, then all the folks of 12-sf don't have to? How does that work. Of course, the zinger is the last one -- a statement of fact. You can take this two ways -- we keep leaving the program and drink more or we want to fit in and make our stories worse.
When my insides match my outside, I'm practicing a good program.
This program changes the way I relate to me. That's what I'm trying to do, change the way I relate to me.
------>Well according the steps, that is not the result of working the program or practicing a program or dancing in the light. You are supposed to relate better with your fellows (according to wilson.) So what is this program? What is THE program?
Don't worry, if you don't get the program right away, it will get you.
Tahe the program seriously, not yourself.
Work the program hard; life is easy. Work the program easy; life is hard.
You can't speed up your recovery, but you sure can slow it down.
------>So if you don't get the program right away, life is hard. But that is o.k. since the program will get you. So if the program will get you, then how can you slow it down?
Today I soak up aa the way I used to soak up alcohol.
With a stomach full of AA, you won't have room for beer.
-----> So working the program means soaking up aa? How does that square with 'follow the directions'? Soaking is passive, the other is active.
Small wonder people are confused by the program. It is an illusion of smoke and mirrors. You cannot get well on that.
Well here are the remainder of those program slogans. As you can see the program is about 'asking for help', but not asking how it works. In short, all smoke and mirrors. What is this program? I don't see anything useful in the slogans that tell me what I don't already know.
Here are more those program slogans. More slippery stuff.
DUES = Desperately Using Everything but Sobriety
Remember your last drunk
Keep it green
Keep the memory green
----->Why should I remember my last drunk? Unless of course it is the reason to keep me in aa.
Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth
Sit down, shut up, and listen.
Listen only like the dying can.
Three suggestions for making an aa speech: be interesting, be brief, be seated.
The program is worked from the waist up.
------->What is interesting about these slogans is how they complement each other. Basically you are supposed to only listen. The zinger is - as dying can. Exactly what does a dying person suppose to hear? Deliverance? Deliverance from what? These are religious concepts not health concepts. The waist up on adds the zinger of alkies are sexed craved maniacs who don't listen. My one question about these slogans is 'who does the talking, if everyone is listening'?
If it works … don't fix it
Keep coming back, it works if you work it
AA will work if you want it to work.
It works, it really does!
Keep coming back.
It gets better.
-----------> O.K. Already, it works. So why do we need all of these slogans to convince that it does work? Is that because we have doubts? So instead of answering these doubts, we get told a silly slogan of 'it works'. However there are caveats placed in them, 'if' - Notice the if - it doesn't work unles you work it. Well aren't you supposed to be doing precisely that? So why say it? Because IT DOESN'T WORK PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.
If we don't grow, we gotta go.
Let us love you until you learn to love yourself.
--------->So if I don't grow, you won't love me? If I love myself, then I gotta go. Why should I care if you love me? Does it really matter? Why should it matter? We are a collection of people. Do we need to love each other?
GOYA = Get Off Your Ass
ASK = Ass-Saving Kit
------> Bite me. Forget this vulgarity.
Help is a phone call away
The smartest thing an aa member can say is, “Help me.”
Make use of the telephone therapy.
-----> Telephone therapy? I thought that aa was anti-therapy. O that is right, anti-therapy when it means not going to aa. Help is also a person away. However, the help me is useful information but there is the response: Let me help you. They don't seem to explore that idea outside of sponsoring or carrying message. But what is help? How does aa define help? Talking the program with someone. That is about as much help as aa really offers. Sending people to meetings. That is it.
We have a chair with your name on it.
Qualifications for me to help you 1. you have to need it 2. you have to want it. 3. you have to ask for it, 4. you have to ask me.
-------> What is it? The subtext of this is grovel you pitful person you. Grovel and let me be the glorious one to lead you to the light. (Bemember that Satan was once the angel of light.)
HOW = Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness: that's how we do it
HOW = Honest, Open-minded and Willing
Act as if……
Fake it until you make it.
--------> Again what is 'it'. What is the reference of it? The program? Make it? Again we see the contradictions of aa made plain. If you are honest, you can't fake it.
However, what is interesting is the combination of honesty, open-minded, and willing. It is almost as if they are equal like equality, liberty and brotherhood or faith, hope, and love. But are they? What does honesty have to with willingness? I understand the connect with open-mindedness. If you are honest with yourself about being a bigot, then you will become more open-minded. Actually the logical sequences here is a=b, b=c, therefore a=c, or I am Bill. Bill is a man, therefore I am a man. The problem is lies in which Bill are we talking about? All Bills, me, or the guy over there. I think in this case the sequence is set up to get someone into the aa belief system.
If you want what we have and you're willing to go to any lengths to get it.
How does it work? It works just fine.
--------->So what. Big whup. Why should I care? Actually the subtext is interesting -- why ask how does it work if it does. Unless of course you are swapping meaning here -- the how of the way as opposed to the result. AA does a lot of that swapping.
First we stayed sober because we have to
Then we stay sober because we are willing to
Finally we stay sober because we want to
AA is not a program to get sober...it's a program to live your life successfully and to be happy once you get sober.
------------> Again the contradictions of program speak. First we get sober because we have to with the subtext of using the aa program. Then you are told that aa is not a program to get sober. So what do you do to get sober if not the aa program? Actually, the subtext of this slogan is interesting -- aa is not about stopping drinking but successful living. What is that? More money? The Nobel Prize?
ray, the latest con on me was to say my code of ethics was my higher power. i can get them to understand that my code of ethics is just that... my code of ethics, i don't communicate with it, i don't breathe supernatural life into it, i don't pray to it, i don't have a wank, drink blood or do a dance with/to it. why is that so damned hard for anyone to understand?? lisaG
--- In email@example.com, Ray Smith <raysny@y...> wrote:> "Va. Carper" <snork5902g@y...> wrote:> HOW = Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness
> That one always killed me. I've been accused of dis-honest, closed-minded, and unwilling, because of my atheism. They tell me I can pray to a doorknob. I can see the logic in praying to a god, if you believe, but why would anyone pray to a doorknob? I guess I'm too close-minded and unwilling to pray to a doorknob, but I'm honest about it!
These people do not understand because they don't want to examine any further than they have. You know the old truism/riddle: "Why is what you're looking for always in the last place you looked? Because after you've found it you stop looking!" These people stopped looking because they have discovered explainations that allow them to feel safe, loved, and a little self-rightous. They've stopped looking because they are comfortable and the idea that there might not be a cosmic force for good scares them. God will even things up and if life is still unfair, everything will even up in the afterlife. Your atheism is an affront to their comfortable mythology. The idea that you put your faith in a different diety is understandable to them,(although you're wrong). The concept that you have no diety is too scary to consider. I have no desire to have others think this way; it's been uncomfortable to go through life "winging it", so if their beliefs help them to justify leading a moral life for God's sake rather than because it's simply the right thing to do, who cares? I believe it is the lack of conviction in faith that allows so many to do bad things. I just wish they'd quit trying to convert me and everyone else. Ray
One thing that I've always noticed, especially through my time in 12-step society, is that personalities change very slowly, if at all. I believe change comes slowly over the years (people generally change behaviors and attitudes because of maturity phases). In AA I heard it said, "you can take a drunken horse thief and sober him/her up, but then you've got to teach him/her to stop stealing the horses." This statement confirms that AA seeks to change behaviors other than drinking (sobriety means more than abstinence from alcohol). Clearly my experiences in AA were more about the "old timers" wanting to teach the newer members certain morals that closely followed along the lines of traditional religious teachings. Over in NA where I spent most of my years in "recovery" the oldtimers weren't quite so concerned with morals or christianity, mainly they were concerned with teaching humility and non-judgement of others behaviors. The Basic Text of NA states: "What we really needed was a personality change." My observations were most showed no change other than staying drug free for a few months, others who remained abstinent for over two-years seemed to show some small personality changes, but not a great deal. Most old timers seemed to try to project a spiritual guru type personna and wanted to be viewed as such, others seemed to sort of reach a point where they were ok with themselves and all their defects of character and just didn't give much of a shit whether anyone approved of them or not.
What I'm trying to say here is this: Most of us come from step-land, but I don't think that necessarily taints us or determines how we react, we were pretty much who we were as a person before we got to step-land. Some of us are ASSHOLES and will remain assholes, some of us will treat others badly, being a member of 12-step free doesn't make us "special," "unique," "recovered," "genius," "saints," "devils," it doesn't make us anything! Is it wrong to try and make people behave themselves or share our own personal values? I don't know the answers to those questions, I do know that it's not very affective in changing an individual personality. One thing I do like about this list is how people discuss what's bothering them, how their feelings were hurt, who hurt them, etc. I believe it is a sign of maturity and growth. I do feel like I'm back in step-land at times when someone decides to let their assholiness show, but what can you do but complain and talk about it? One thing that really bothers me about some atheists is how they seem to thoroughly enjoy verbally attacking someone with Christian beliefs, instead of ignoring (live and let live), or educating, or debating, they just attack the person and their hatred shows, it's a real turn off for me and I know I wouldn't want to be in the company of someone who reacts to religious people in this manner. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be in the company of a religious person who believes that they are superior and should be treated as superior just because they believe God talks to them or has ordained them to correct the non-believer and convert him/her, that's always been a big turn off. Peace, Point
Actually, all 12-step groups have slogans about what they consider to be 'slips'. Deconstructing these aa ones will probably be helpful since quite a few have nothing to do with drinking. Notice the explicit death threats in these slogans and the meanness of them. I found these hateful.
DEAD = Drinking Ends All Dreams
The bottle, big house, or the box.
Death, insanity, or recovery.
----------> This is what happens when you slip. You don't stop until you are dead or pop back into the meetings. Nothing about people just getting fed up and stopping on their own. Actually, I think that if you have been in enough meetings, you will lose the ability to stop since you will have convinced yourself that you can't stop.
Don't watch the slippers but watch those don't slip closely and watch them go through difficulties and pull through.
Danger sign: when your eyes have wandered from the alcoholics who still suffer and need help - to the faults of those whom the program has already helped.
Each and every alcoholic - sober or not - teaches us some valuable lessons about ourselves and recovery.
-----> These three contradict each other. First you don't watch slippers and then you find out that each alcoholic teaches lessons. ('Each and every' is like 'true facts' or a 'hot water heater'.) The middle one is basically telling people to help slippers while the first one tells you to ignore them. So what is it? I all notice that in many slogans that 'suffering' is an adjective for alcohoic.
Slippers in aa use the rdp - revolving door policy
--------> This is not very helpful. I mean it is used to shame people into staying and not leave. AA has the subtext in a few of the slogans of 'you are one too, a chair with your name on it' -- as though people are drifting through life unaware of the monster in their midst -- the big bad alcoholism.
She came through the back door of aa - al-anon.
Beneath every dress is a slip.
------> AA slogans have few nasty slogans about women. Never "HE" came through the back door. Nothing about under pants a slip. I guess people really like the word play on slip. Ick.
A slip is a premeditated drunk.
SLIP - Sobriety loses its priority
Something Lousy I planned.
stupid little idiotic plan.
-------> A slip is a premeditated drunk? Was it planned and rehearsed as well? What do you do sit around thinking about slipping? Then you have the slip word play. Two of them have plans in them. Is it that you are not supposed to plan. Of course not, because you are living one day at a time. They don't plan. Notice the adjectives for plan: stupid, lousy, idiotic. I guess aa doesn't want people thinking, plotting or planning. Why no slogans with plotting in them?
These are the time worn ones that I have heard in countless meetings. More on the deconstructing these gems.
RELAPSE: Reliving every low and pitful scene exactly.
Relapse is not a requirement.
Relapse begins long before you pick up the drink.
----->I find these ones on relapse revealing. That somehow aa expects people to relapse and tell hows exactly they do it. They relive low and pitful scens and meditiate on the whole thing. There is nothing on people who drink at parties for fun or feel drinking is a way to get along with uncomfortable people.
The door swing both ways.
------> This is something I cannot understand. You go in and you go out. I think the subtext is the same that people must stay and do the steps or else. The unintended subtext is that aa cannot prevent people from relapsing, therefore it is not a cure for drinking. You have enough slogans on relapses, you have to wonder what aa is really saying. We can't prevent you from drinking again. SO therefore aa is an hoax.
If you don't want to slip, stay away from slippery places.
-----> This is a part of the group of wet faces and barber shops. What is a slippery place? Actually, the answer is that everywhere is a slippery place except for aa. But no one ever really states what is a slippery place other than a bar.
Knowledge of the answers never made anyone slip - it was failing to practice the answers known.
------> Again one of those slight of hand words. What are the answers that people are failing to practice? What are the answers that people are given. The answers are in the big book. What are those answers -- the steps. How do you practice the steps? On and on it goes until you end up in a circle.
An ounce of prevention is worth a gallon of relapse.
-----> Oh Fuck. Another one of those stupid drinking things. A gallon? Not a beer, not a glass? A gallon? How about two gallons? Let's go all out. What is the ounce of prevention? Around, and around, we go where we stop is in a circle.
Those who relapse are attending powerlessness graduate school.
------> Oh Crap. Powerlessness graduate school. PULEESE. What does that mean? Another stupid meaningless slogan trying to be profound.
My meetings were Wash. D.C., No. Va. and Eastern Shore MD/VA. I guess a 1000 would be a good guess. As for the regionalism, the Wash D.C. meetings had a lot of visitors. My two home groups were held in U.S. Federal buildings. A lot of Federal workers on detail (i.e. field assignments) would attend for a few months at a time. Another meeting I attended regularly was near the World Bank/IMF and had a lot of international types attending. So there was a lot of regional mixing.
Some of the slogans were gathered off the net from slogan collection sites. Others were found on recovery boards.
Some slogans that I have not encountered except at my meetings were : 'Misery is optional', 'There is a god and I am not it', 'sit down, shut up and smile *three s's,' and the al-anon - 'three c's - didn't cause it, can't control it, and can't cure it'. So there is some regional variation on the slogans.
Consider the source was a slogan that was often bandied about. It was meant as in don't take that person's opinion of you to heart since they are flawed, defective, etc.
The water thing was something new to me as well.
--- Ben Bradley <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
May I ask what area of the country you went to meetings, and is there any way you could estimate ese 'countless' meetings? FWIW, I went to roughly 1,000 AA meetings and very roughly 1,000 other (Al-Anon, CoDA, OA) 12-step meetings, all in the metro Atlanta area. I ask because I've of course heard so many of the slogans you've discussed, but you've used many others I've never heard. This shows some regional variations in AA. As an example of this, there's the slogan/acronym I heard exactly once, from a visiter from Texas: "Denial: Don't Even kNow I Am Lying."
> >RELAPSE: Reliving every low and pitful scene exactly.
> >Relapse is not a requirement.
> >Relapse begins long before you pick up the drink.
> I hadn't heard the first, but related to "relapse is not a requirement" I recall hearing something like "relapse is a part of the process" or "relapse is a part of recovery" which to me says you almost surely WILL get drunk again.
> >The door swing both ways.
> This is one of those "unexplained" things. My sponsor, when I would tell him what someone else said, would usually say "Consider the source." Consider the source what? A direct messenger from God? Someone who is full of shit? In context, it was always the latter, but he never spelled it out.
> I recall when I though of this recently - when Greg (pro-AA participant here a month or two ago) said "water seeks its own level" which was apparently his own personal slogan. It has no meaning out of context, and in context it appeared to be some vague put-down of some person or group of people.
What is it about 12-step programs that brings out the vulgarity in people? I have read several boards and email lists and they are all the same. Banal and vulgar. Why? Why isn't there a better level of discourse? Is there something inherent in the program that brings out the base side of people? Just curious.
--- hennipen14 <email@example.com> wrote:
> In Greg's case, his personal slogan proved to becorrect. He left here and joined the Yahoo group"aabugsmebecause" While he was here, he at leastseemed to present some modicum of decency, even if hewas a stepper. Over there, he fits right in with theothers on that site, immature and profane. Go overand read his posts (Henry Jarrod). He doesn't evensound like the same person. He likes to call womenthe c-word now. It appears that water does indeed seek its own level. Oh, and he likes to call us (12sf) "humorless fucks". Oh well, I'd rather be called a humorless fuck than a slap-happy stepper!> Henny I've wondered about this too, Snork- the high cursing level in aa. It's almost like the secret password to being 'in like Flynn", in AAworld, is frequent use of vulgar language mixed with just the right (or wrong)insane slogans.
I was naughty, and went to an aa beginners' meeting a couple months ago, and during the meeting a lady was 'sharing'. She said her husband had come to a couple of aa meetings with her but he didn't like them, so "I couldn't get him to come tonight." And she talked about the cursing in aa- and said it had bothered her. But as she spoke, she started interjecting cursewords, much to the croud's vocal and applausal and body-languagable delight. A "fuck it" here and a "shithead" there
here a shit
there a fuck
everywhere a shit, fuck
old McBilliam had a cult
E I E I O
but I digress. By the time this lady was done sharing, she was being cheered on in her newfound abilty to curse. A fairly estatic moment for her, I suppose. I think she felt a big spark between herself and the aa-borg that night.
This looks like a convoluted argument for a very simple concept. If you are a former hard drinker who dried out without fulfilling this particular stepper's requirements for working the steps, you are not and never were a real alcoholic. If you hang around AA anyway ("the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking"), you are killing real alcoholics by your presence.
It's the usual shell game. How can the non-alcoholic faker be distinguished from the real-but-untreated alcoholic? Even steppers don't know how to tell the difference, but every stepper agrees there IS a world of difference. The real-but-untreated alcoholic has the spiritual malady but the faker does not. So AA can help the one but not the other.
Therefore . . . If your spiritual malady is real, we can tell you how to cure it. But if you can stop drinking without doing precisely what we say, you do not have a spiritual malady. As a person lacking a spiritual malady, you cannot be helped and we need to protect ourselves by eliminating you from our fellowship.
The most destructive people of all DON'T have a spiritual malady? I hope the traffic court magistrates and EAP counselors and seminaries and medical schools all know that. If they don't have the spiritual expertise to make the proper distinction they will destroy AA.
Shame on them.Cora
Actually the reason why I deconstructed it and posted it is because I have seen these ideas of what is destroying aa written about other places. I have been tracking the documents that the net has on aa and the problems. They had wilson writing in the 1940s and 1960s about this problem. Then you had a Grapewine article in the 1970s and rewritten in the 1990s. Then you have this article written in late 1990s. You have the GSOwatch group discussing what happened in aa. The Back to Basics group trying to regress to the aa that they think worked. In short in the aa world, quite a few people have expressed the reasons why aa does not work today (whenever today was).
The reasons are: the active drinker (1940), the young people (1960), the people from the treatment centers (1970), the hard drinkers (1990), the court people (2000), and whatever group is destroying aa. In short, the problem is trying make something work that did not work in the first place. But everyone is so mired in the dogma that they can't think outside the box.
Maggie in 12stepspeak a loser would be any one who is not in a program because every one has some kind of disease that need treating in a 12step program that of course is the only "proven " orKnow treat,ment for the life long deadly and of course powerfull baffleing and cunning disease . Yeah thoes steppers are real bunch of winners alright.It is amazing a convicted pedophile , rapists or other assorted twisted folks call them selves winners becasse they are in the "program " sounds like Billshit to me I like that new word .. --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "maggieqt1974"
> I never did follow the logic of that "worst day sober better than my best day drunk" thing. I remember sitting in meetings when they said that feeling uneasy because I often had a lot of fun while using. Those days were better days, than my worst days sober. Guess it runs along the same logic as "you're a winner, no matter what, if you didn't use today." That's what they said to my crack addict theiving boyfriend. Oh yeah, he was a real winner. He just got back from a crack binge on MY money and car, but that's what they told
him. "The only thing that matters is that you are here. If you didn't drink drug today, you're a winner." Ick.
> What is a loser then?
> Part 2 of this hateful thing and comments at the end.
I read as much of it as I could stomach. It's one of the most delusional and paranoid stepper apologetics I have ever read. It contains some pretty standard stuff, but AO still has better arguments.
I understand where this guy is coming from though. It sounds like for whatever reason he was able to stay sober for 7+ years and then he started to think that he might be able to drink again because of some things he heard in meetings...or did he? He never really does come out and say that he drank again did he? It sounds like the hard drinkers caused more of a philosophical dilemna for him.
If he did drink again, the problem is not with what these people were saying, nor is it with his own "real alcoholism" needing the "real solution." The problem is with the fragility of the AA system of thought. Because he believed so fiercely that the AA program was keeping him sober, when he began to question some of the details, the whole structure fell and he drew the fallacious conclusion that he could or should drink. I opine that it was AA that failed him after all.
The real alcoholic think is a myth pure and simple. Even though I do not now consider myself an alcoholic. I still resent when a friend of mine tells me that he thinks I am not really an alcoholic based on my ability to quit so easily. It minimizes all the suffering and the depth of my life's experience. It's as if to say that I never had any real problem in the first place.
--- In email@example.com, "sihtrevocer"
<recoverthis@h...> wrote: The real alcoholic think is a myth pure and simple. Even though I do not now consider myself an alcoholic. I still resent when a friend of mine tells me that he thinks I am not really an alcoholic based on my ability to quit so easily. It minimizes all the suffering and the depth of my life's experience. it's as if to say that I never had any real problem in the first place.
Same here. A friend of mine who still haphazardly attends meetings and goes on binges thinks that the reason I quit so easily and have stayed sober so long out of AA is because I never was an alcoholic in the first place. Well, I wasn't. But I did use just the same as she does, when things got rough and I wanted an escape, and because I was convinced that I had a "disease" I was "powerless" over.
I honestly think that if she realised that she didn't really have a "disease" which she was "powerless" over, she wouldn't have such a problem with it. The attitude is kind of, "Well, it's this darn disease again. I am gonna be wrestling with this for the rest of my life."
That belief system really sets you up to drink or drug, IMO.Maggie
Since aa and other 12step programs are wedded to the one day idea, I collected the ones on time together. I wanted to see how the person is supposed to relate to time.
TIME = Things I Must Earn
It takes time.
Give time time.
One day takes time.
------------>I have no idea what these mean other than 'Rome wasn't born in a day.' But the idea of time is things I must earn is a strange one. Unless of course you work in an organization that rewards people for longevity.
Do not regret growing old; it is a privilege denied many.
The person with the most sobriety at a meeting is the one who got up earliest that morning
How does one become an `old-timer'? Don't drink and don't die.
----------> These ones on 'old' are strange but do fit into the aa mythos. Think about it -- aa assumes that people will die without aa and people will drink. A dismal view of people. They are doomed no matter what they do.
One day at a time
We don't just get somewhere, we go there one day at a time.
One day at a time, remember "the mighty oak was once a little nut that held its ground."
Life sucks. But in aa life sucks one day at a time.
----->In context, the one day at a time is a good thing. You can work on the basis of one day at a time until you can get the full routine down. It is the beginning of taking baby steps. You start doing small things and work up to the big things.
AA takes this idea to the extreme and compel members to stay stuck in one day at a time.
Easy Does It.
Use the 24 hour plan.
Today I have more solutions than problems.
Live in the NOW
Every recovery from alcoholism began with one sober hour
I have been here a few 24 hours.
I can do something for 24 hours that would appall me if had to keep it up for a lifetime.
------>This is the crux of the aa's member's relationship to time. You can't move anyway since you live in the 24 hours. The last one is a tip off for problems of the program. The program is so awful that you have to suck it up a day at a time.
The farther I get from my last drink, the closer I get to my next drink.
If you can't remember your last drink, maybe you haven't had it.
------> We have discussed these. However, it does fit in with the time relationships. You get the feeling that you have no time. There is no passing of time, there is only the instantanous moment of time. Time in aa doesnot exist. AA is only three dimensions, not four. Time is nonexistant in aa. It is a paradox since that is how people value themselves in the program. Those with the most time are the ones who are the most valued people.
Live each day the best that you can.
New Day, new Way.
-----> Again, the aa program slips in the back door. The idea of one day at a time is central to the program. You have to live in only the now. You have no past nor any future. If you keep people off balance with the day concept, then they are unsure about themselves and their futures. It is a subtle means of keep people in aa.
What is interesting is how much emphasis that aa has on people living in the now or today. They seem to think that if people look back or look forward something awful will happen. What is strange is that the person in doing the steps have to look to the past to make amends and all of that. However the past is used as whip to convince the person that that is what they will return to in the future if they leave aa.
AA separates people from their past. Past defines people, that is where they came from. When you separate a person from the past, you can remake the person in the 12-step image. You entice them with the idea of a clean slate. Then sentence them to keep the memory green for selected parts of their pasts. It is a way of destroying the person and remaking them.
AA separates people from their future. To aa, the future is a threat. Once people start to dream and plan, they realize that they can do things and one of those things is leave. AA steals people's dreams. AA is pernicious in destroying people. They tell people if you plan or expect, you are evil and will drink. AA robs people of hope. There is no hope on the endless cycle of the steps.
As long as people are in the now, they can not grow. There are no stages of growth. There is nothing that the person can look back to to see where they need to go. No mile posts, nothing. People become children who can not see beyond where they are. Adults live in the past, present, and future. That is what mature people do, they assimilate the whole from the parts. AA keeps people immature by forbidding them from the parts.
Today is a gift that is way it is called the present.
Don't worry about tomorrow, god is already there.
When I live in the past, I live in regret. When I live in the future, I live in fear. When I stay in
the NOW, everything's always O.K.
Alcoholism: Guilt of yesterday, fear of tomorrow, shame of today.
Tomorrow's a fantasy and yesterday's gone.. there is only today.
When you've got one foot in yesterday and the other in tomorrow, you can only piss on today.
The only way to have gratitude is to live in the now, not in the past or the future.
Just accept, don't expect.
Therefore our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are, ourselves as we
are, and the people about us as they are.
-------->These two are destructive in that they discourage community activism and encourage passivity.
Meetings are so important to the working of the program, that the slogans are full of dire warnings if you don't go. Along with sponsors, meetings are a way to indoctrinate the person into the 12-step way.
A job is something that happens to you on the way to a meeting.
-------->Actually this equates that if you go to meetings, you will get a job. Does this mean that many aa members were unemployed? How do they get this job? The subtext seems to say: the meeting comes first, the job second. Actually, people are expected to go to a lot of meetings in liu of family responsiblities.
AA meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings.
HOPE = Hearing Other Peoples' Experience
It takes the good and bad aa meeting - the good and bad aa talk - to make this fellowship `work'.
--------->These are what people think about meetings.
It doesn't seem so bad except that they do emphasize the idea that you need to go to a lot of meetings.
A meeting is like an orgy. When it is over, you feel better, but you are not sure who to thank.
MMM = Meetings, Meditation and Masturbation (recommended for the first year)
------->I don't understand why anyone would have coined these two. However, since sex seems to be a problem in aa, there are a lot of sex jokes, I understand the reason for these slogans. What strikes me is that people in aa treat sex and sexual matters in a flippant manner instead of the seriousness that they merit. I was always struck by the sex talk at meetings.
Bring the body, and the mind will follow.
90 meetings in 90 days … 90/90
Try it for 90 days, if you don't like it, we'll gladly refund your misery.
------>These are the instructions for people who are starting out. Actually, they are cult instructions - divorce the person from their life and immerse them into the cult completely.
Seven days without an aa meeting makes one WEAK.
If you only need one meeting a week, you may have to go to five of them in that time to find out which one it is.
Go to enough meetings and you still may not stop drinking; your drinking however will be ruined.
-------->Again the urging to go to many meetings. What is curious about these slogans is the reason why you need to go to a lot of meetings. The last one is revealing in that aa is not about stopping drinking. The meetings are not for that.
What are the meetings for? Churches discuss how it is important for a community of believers to assemble in one place. It is a way of glorifying and praising God and a way of learning the faith. Churches has ceremonies with group sacrements. I think the same occurs in aa except it is not called that.
We go to the meetings for all sorts of reasons, but we don't know what they are, so we keep going to meetings.
If you are not getting mad at meetings, you are not going to enough meetings.
The time to attend a meeting is when you least feel like going.
You have to go to these meetings until you want to.
Go to meetings when you want to, and go to meetings when you don't want to.
If you are thinking about going to a meeting, go to the meetings, and then think about it.
----------->All of these are the same doublespeak -- nobody knows why they go to meetings, only that they must go. But again why? The slogans do not address why a person needs to go to meetings. What happens at meetings that are so important? It is almost that whatever happens at meetings, nobody understands. But the slogans urges people to attend meetings just because. No particular reason, just because.
Most places that require regular attendence usually tell people why. You are learning something or working on a problem. They have attendence guidelines up front. The groups that do not, generally are transparent enough that people understand the need for regular attendence.
However, aa does not seem to require regular attendence. Then it does not define regular
attendence. Nor does it tell why regular attendence is needed. And it is not transparent to people trying to understand what is regular attendence. In short, the whole thing is set up to throw people off. They come to rely on the group to decide something as basic as how often they need to attend the group.
These are interesting in that they are simple, direct, and give absolutely no reason why meetings are so important.
Fellowship is the meeting after the meeting.
Get to the meeting early and go to the meeting after the meeting.
20/20 come 20 minutes before the meeting, stay 20 minutes after.
If you don't have home group, you are homeless.
---------->I was never much for meetings after meetings or before meetings. I had too many other things to do and too little time to spend with people I barely knew. However, what is evident in these slogans is that people are important. PEOPLE MATTER! That in order to get the program, you have know the people and develop friendships.
Actually aa never uses friendship - fellowship instead. What exactly is fellowship and why is it used? Is that so no one forms any kind of bonds outside of the group one and the sponsor one. There are no equals in aa. If you become one with the group, then it is more difficult to leave. It is also more difficult to be an individual. So you use the group to make basic life descisions for yourself.
But why is it important to spend so much time before and after meetings? What gives? Is aa also a social club as well? They do have social events. The subtext is that if you spend more time with the people of the program, then you will become tied to them. Become tied to them means again you can't leave without leaving them behind. Also if you spend so much time with the people of the program, then you have little time to form friends outside of the program. Actually, I do not think of people in the program as friends since they were only there for one thing only. We never went to basketball games and other such things together.
People who don't go to meetings don't find out what happens to people who don't go to meetings.
------> Um, and people who go to meetings find out what happens to people who don't go to meetings? How does that happen? Do they have an army of detectives who scour the countryside for relapsed members? Do they issue a weekly report on who lapsed and who didn't? Do they pray for all the strayed members? Actually, it is plain old gossip -- true and untrue. People conjecturing of what happened to so and so without any facts.
Also this begs the question: Do people who don't go to meetings really want to know what happens to people who don't go to meetings? Or do they really care?
If your ass falls off, pick it up, put it in a paper bag, and carry it to a meeting.
My ass was on fire.
---------->So what. Again is there a more genteel way of saying this? And why should it matter -- if you are in dire straits, then you need to take care of your family responsibilities and other responsiblities. You don't need to waste the time going to a meeting to hear other people talk about whatever. Besides if you miss this meeting, you go to the next one. Why the dire threat of if you don't go when you have an emergency, you won't go ever again? Is this a matter of cult programming - any time away from the cult and the person reclaims their thinking?
Don't drink and go to meetings.
Don't drink, don't think, and go to meetings.
Don't drink, don't think, and don't get married.
Don't drink, read the big book, and go to meetings.
---------------->Alright not drinking is coupled with meetings. It is direct correlation like - being married and having babies. If you want to stop drinking, you go to meetings. If you want to go to meetings, you stop drinking. How are the two related -- can't you stop drinking without a meeting? Can you drink and still go to meetings? Then you coupling the drinking with thinking. Very strange. How does thinking leads to drinking. How does going to meetings stop thinking?
Meeting makers make it.
-------> Make what? What is it? Make brownies? Make lace dollies? What is this it that everyone talks about?
Suit up, show up, shut up, grow up.
-----> Well that says alot. Show up to meetings, remain quiet and you will grow up? How does shutting up balance with 'Share or Die!'. There lots of slogans on how people are supposed to share at meetings. Either they are silent or they are sharing. Which is it? How does showing up to meetings make people more mature? Actually, it does because the person learns to be at a place at a specific time. They also learn to obligated to a group. But what is maturity? How is that achieved? The subtext of this slogan is that people in aa are immature. It is aa's job to mature them. I thought it was aa's job to sober them. Being sober in the aa sense is different than being mature.
When you start to skip, you start to slip.
------>Well we wouldn't want that now would we. Actually this is an implicit death threat. Skip meetings, you will drink again, and Gasp! DIE!. How do meetings keep people from drinking? What happens at the meeting that stops people from drinking? AA is full of slogans equating meeting attendence with stopping drinking. But what is the mechanism at play? How does a group of people prevent the members from doing destructive things? Is it magic or a committment to the group? What is the aa group's obligations to its members?
Those who get around, stay around.
-----> Get around what? Travel around the country? Attending many meetings? What does this mean? Very vague.
AA is like a raffle; you must be present to win.
A meeting a day keeps the detox away.
----->How does a meeting a day do this? Why not a meeting a month or a week? Why daily? Another death threat. The interesting thing about aa is like a raffle, is the subtext that not everyone gets sober. I know that aa people do not see that but it is there.
It has been a good meeting so far.
I've heard a lot of good things said at this meeting.
------->I have heard a lot of good things said. Now so what. Do I go home and think about these good things? Do hearing these good things keep me from drinking? What does aa mean by 'good things'? What is a bad meeting? What is implied with this 'good thing'?
I agree. I do read the archives for various reasons. One is to understand what it is that bugs people. I read the GSO-watch list for the same reason.
Two is read the language used. I find that language is a way to understand the thought processes. I guess that makes me one of those anthros doing investigation into an exotic tribe.
About the language - it says a lot about people. I find that in aa, that aa and other 12-step groups divorce people from their native language. Such as changing the meanings of the words 'enabling', 'dependency', and the like. The other thing is replacing one set of words with another. People do not have drinking problems, they are drunks.
Then there are the descriptives -- the alcoholic is always suffering. Never struggling (well at least I haven't heard that used.) People are drunks or earth people. Alcoholics are dishonest and in denial. Now what does 'in denial' mean? Who thought up that concept? Then there are real alcoholics versus hard drinkers or social drinkers. Drunks are described as stupid.
The list goes on, but if you hear people describing themselves as 'us stupid drunks', you want to tell them that they are none of those things. You also wonder how it is that they have come to hate themselves so much or have such a divorcing from themselves.
The third is to see the level of discourse that goes on. What sorts of things do people discuss and how do they go about it. Such as the increased vulgarity and baseness of the recovery boards. I wonder how that happens. It is another process to divorce people from themselves.
Also to learn how to combat 12-step group think and help people reclaim themselves -- their true selves (whatever that is).
I was reading the archives of aa bugs me and rereading the letter concerning Cosmos. I was going ask you privately maggie - why you tolerate what I think is abuse. Rude and strange answers to ordinary questions. But now I think I understand what the process is.
I think underneath all the brovado that various folks display there is this small quiet feeling that something is wrong. After reading several boards, I now realize that people do hear that small voice that says this is not working. Their response is: more meetings, more sponsor sessions, more big book reading, more whatever the program says works. In this process they convince themselves that the program is working.
What was revealing to me was reading Wilson's eulogy at Dr. Smith's funeral. I read it on an aa site - he says that Smith white knuckled most of his life (after starting aa and running groups). I would think that the founders would be doing great but it was stunning to hear that one of them had to use the old fashioned approach of simply not drinking. Wilson himself stopped drinking but did other things that were just as destructive, much like many 12-step people do. They stop drinking but continue smoking in aa. While there are 12-step smoking groups who turn to eating..... on it goes. Wilson did smoking and sex to an excess.
After realizing this, I now understand how people really, really want the thing to work. Any small mention or whisper of perhaps it doesn't gets this reaction that is out of proportion to the original question. People are defensive and flip for a reason.