NOT THINKING, THAT IS THE PROGRAM
NOT THINKING, THAT IS THE A.A.
Peruse the slogans about the Program, and the theme is “People are never too dumb for the A.A. but they can be too smart.” The Slogans lead a person in a progression to stop questioning and then to accept A.A. beliefs. First intelligent people must dumb themselves down to understand the Program. Second, a person must keep an open mind. After that, the slogans tell intelligent questioning people that their mind is a dangerous place. Thinking leads to drinking. To firmly convinced people not to question, various slogans cite reasons that Knowledge leads to slips while belief will encourage sobriety. After this process, a thinking person is convinced the only way to become a sober person is by turning off their brain and embrace the contradictions of the 12-Step Program.
These slogans urge people not to think and replace their original thinking with A.A. materials. There are subsets to the thinking slogans: Keep an open mind, your mind is a dangerous place, intelligent people must dumb themselves down, do not question, and all answers are in the A.A. materials. Many of them are on the surface seem sensible. However in the context of the A.A. means that you must think to accept the A.A.. It is a subtle way of turning off your brain and accepting what you are told.
Smart People, Stupid A.A.
These tell people that alcoholism is beyond their understanding only the Program can parse the meaning. The words `simple', `confused', and `complicated' sets up in a subtle way that people do not understand why they drink nor why they should stop by themselves.
The road to sobriety is a simple journey for confused people with a complicated disease.
There are no too dumb for the A.A., but many are too smart.
A.A. is a simple program. for complicated people.
Some AA's are so successful that they turn out to be almost as good as they used to think they were when they were drinking.
I never met anyone too stupid to get this Program, but I have seen plenty of people too smart to get it.
The first group hints as how people with drinking problems are regarded in A.A. This group says out right that `your brains don't work'. Because a person drinks, they lost the capacity to drink. `Sober and crazy' says baldly that alcoholics are insane. Their minds do not work period.
The mind can cure the mind.
Bring the body, the mind will follow.
We are all here because we are not there.
It takes time to get your brains out of hock.
Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
Sober and crazy.
So the person who drinks too much must be slowly introduced to simple ideas. Oxam Razor is a principle in logic that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
Most good ideas are simple.
KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid
KISS = Keep It Simple, Sugar
KISS = Keep It Simple, Sweetheart
KISS = Keep It Simple, Smarty
Keep it simple and remember to thank yourself.
These Slogans are used by the general population to make sure that simple things are kept simple. In the context of A.A. 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', 'sassafras', 'super' --- it does change the meaning of kiss.
Keep an Open Mind for A.A. Dogma
In A.A.'s case, they want you to suspend your logical faculties and take what you are told on face value. The `bearing contempt' and the `won't work unless open' together imply that people who balk at the idea of a religious conversion for a way to stop their drinking are bigots or at the very least closed minded or small minded fools. Let go of ideas that drinking too much is a habit and not a disease.
These slogans by themselves are benign and serve to be useful in helping people to approach a problem. However in the world of A.A., there is a more sinister subtext. If you look for similarities and think it through you will be more open to A.A.'s message of religious conversion. For example, A.A. promotes the idea of `one drunk talking to another' is the basis of the program. That is the mythic start of A.A. - two men helping each other to stop drinking. However on the surface this may seem appealing and makes sense, it has a chance of failing. Perhaps the two people convince each other that drinking this once is fine. The A.A. way is to encourage people to regard certain statements with only one interpretation.
Keep an open mind
Minds are like parachutes -- they won't work unless they're open.
Let Go of Old Ideas
Don't bear contempt prior to investigation
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 A.A.'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.
A Thinking Alcoholic's Mind is A Dangerous Thing:
This is a devastating list. They tell the person that their brain is defective. Not only that but that they cannot trust themselves. 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. Tear people down to make them cogs in the A.A. collective. To convince people that the group knows better than the individual is the first step to joining a cult.
Don't go in your head alone. It is a dangerous neighborhood.
The alcoholic's mind is like a bad neighborhood, don't go there alone.
I am not allowed in my mind without an adult.
The three most dangerous words for an alcoholic, “I've been thinking.”
Don't drink, don't think, don't get married.
We have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem.
Before engaging your mouth, put your mind in gear.
Warning, Warning: Knowledge is Evil:
These are putdowns for people who are seeking help. Actually it is to say `stop thinking if you do think you will have a serious problem'. Why is A.A. so anti-thinking? The reverse is true. People seeking help did find A.A. A thoughtful person wanted a solution to their problem. So they investigated various suggestions and decided on the 12-Step Program. The assumption is that people who come into A.A. are there involuntarily. People have been coerced into going to A.A. If that is true, then A.A. regards itself a program of coercion, and not attraction. People go because they have to and not because they choose to.
Your best thinking got you here.
My best thinking got me drunk.
"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."
If a person spends time pondering, they will not get to the point of using the tools for solving the problem. However, A.A. uses the logical flow of the excluded middle. Before attempting something, a person has to review it, analyze it, just to make sure if that is appropriate to their problem. The extreme is sitting there and doing nothing. A.A. ties the idea of thinking about something to the extreme.
The Program is full of contradictions. The only way that A.A. can get people to subscribe to the 12-Step way of thinking to stop their questions about it. Tell people it is a simple Program and do not make it complicated by pointing out the flaws. This slogan is usually said in regards to reading the Big Book. The Program. and the Big Book are full of contradictions. The only way you can get people to subscribe to the 12-step way of thinking is to stop their questions about it. One way is to keep telling people saying that it is a simple Program. which is false. That way people begin to consider themselves to be stupid drunks, which is one of the points of the Program. Eventually people believe that about themselves and do not see how the Program contradicts itself in regards to stopping drinking.
Analysis - Paralysis
Don't punch holes
Use, Don't Analyze
In contrast is what A.A. says about the Third Step. Making a decision is not the same as carrying out that decision. However, A.A. separates the doing from the deciding. The way A.A. handles decision-making is insane. You may use but you may not analyze. You make a decision but do not carry it out. Why the inconsistencies? Why urge people to do without thinking but then counsel them to decide to believe in God.
However in the presentation of the Third Step: Made A Decision. The materials claim that deciding is separate from doing. The deciding must be made in the context of the A.A.. It is all right to decide in a belief in God, however it is not acceptable to decide to skip meetings. If a person decides the latter, they are told they will get drunk. If a person does the former, they are told they do not have to implement their decision.
The 7t's: Take Time to think the thing through.
Think, think, think
Decisions aren't forever
If I think, I won't drink. If I drink, I can't think.
Look for the similarities rather than differences
When you don't know what to do, don't do anything.
Knowledge is evil according to these Slogans. If a thinking person knows too much, they will not be receptive the teachings of A.A., the sharing of the Old-timers nor the counseling of Sponsors. In short, people will come to an understanding of the Program that is contrary to what is presented in the Big Book. A thinking person becomes like God since they know too much. In contrast, thinking people can bring a lot to their faith. The Catholic Church regards such intellectuals as Doctors of the Church. Knowledge and inquiry is highly regarded in Judaism as well. To suggest that a person should not think about their faith is anthemia.
This reminds me of Fundamental religious believers who take things literally. A.A. is similar 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.
Knowledge of the answers never made anyone slip - it was failing to practice the answers known.
Knowing why is the booby prize of life.
It isn't what I don't know that gets me in trouble it's what I absolutely do know and just isn't so!
”From a Check List for A Relapse: 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.") “
“Belief is superior to knowledge.”
The result of not thinking in A.A. is that a person will believe. The 12 Steps is based on emotional responses, that a person will intuitively know the Program. These Slogans reinforce the idea that the person should open themselves up to the mysteries of the Program. Since the Program is shrouded in mysteries and hints a mystical knowledge, it makes it a religious exercise.
More will be revealed
You will intuitively know
You don't have to understand how electricity works to use it and depend on it.
A.A. is full of acronyms where the language is twisted to conform to prove a point. According these slogans, if you are a thoughtful person, then you will not believe in God. And you certainly will not continue to read the Big Book. The Big Book is treated as the sacred text of the Program. These two slogans assume that thinking people do not believe in God and that they are inherently dishonest. Reading of the Big Book will help people to believe in the 12-Step way.
BIG BOOK = Believing In God Beats Our Old Knowledge
Prevent truth decay - read your Big Book.
It's in the book
These slogans basically counsel people to stop inquiring but instead take things on faith. Instead of pondering the Program, a person becomes an automation. They are encouraged to know that more will be revealed. But what is it that will be revealed?
Everything I know I learned in this Program.
You cannot get ahead until you learn to be here.
I don't know how it works, and I don't want to know why it works. I just know that it works.