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PROGRAM, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING PROGRAM

Read enough slogans and a thinking person discovers that the Program of AA. is not defined. The Slogans about the Program discuss working the Program, whatever that means. But as a person delves deeper, they discover that the Program is not about how to stop drinking destructively. If the whole point of the existence of A.A. is to help people to stop drinking, then why does it focus on “new life” and “being happy and free”. These slogans betray the subtext which is to convert people to a set of religious beliefs.

Program? What Do You Mean by Program?

These slogans belie the fact that A.A. is about religion. As one slogan puts it, “it is not about getting sober.” So what is A.A. about? Another slogan states “this is a God-give Program.” How does God get involved with giving people a program to stop drinking? What these slogans point to is how the A.A. Program can to be and what happens with the newly converted. What can people expect from A.A.: “how to relate to yourself” and “be happy”. This is a religion that thrives on being selfish and ridding people of selfishness. Small wonder the believer ends up confused and tense.

A.A. is not a Program to get sober. It is a program to live your life successfully and be happy once you get sober.

God gave us a kit of spiritual tools. It is up to us to use them to build a durable shelter.

A.A. is a self-help Program, but you can't do it by yourself.

In A.A., I get an owners manual to go with my new life.

This Program changes the way I relate to me. That is what I am trying to do, change the way I relate to me.

This is a God Given Program. The Fellowship isn't perfect but the Program is perfect.

This is a selfish Program.

Once the person enters A.A., they cease to exist as an individual. It I fine to have a “we and us”, but it also needs the “I” as well. A group of “we”s and no “I”s constitutes a totalitarian organization that does not allow room for individual choices or actions. These coupled with the first ones display the schism in A.A. thought. How can it be a selfish program when it is a “we” program? It cannot be both and make sense. However, A.A. is not about community building. The emphasis is on building and maintaining the tight A.A. group but not living in the larger world outside of A.A.

This is a “we” Program.

It isn't “me” and “you” anymore; it is “we” and “us.”

Remember to give and receive ES&H: Experience, Strength and Hope. (Encouragement, Strength, and Hope.)

We're not promised anything.

These two make no sense. They are an example of the perverse inanity and compulsion of A.A. to come up with things for people to remember. A.A. is chockfull of these. SO much so that members think that they are clever but absurd is the word.

HOPE = Hang On! Peace Exists...

Make the solution so big, that the problem does not exist.

Working The Program

In A.A, there are no clear cut directions. The slogans contradict each other and other aspects of the program. About the only clear direction that members receive is: Attend meetings, Read the Big Book, and Do the Steps.

Why is there such confusing double talk? What directions and have-tos are they referring too? What is this vague talk of doing it? 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 world of Webster's Dictionary, have-tos are musts. There is no difference. What are these directions that people have to follow? Are they ones in the Big Book or the ones that the old timers tell us? `Tis confusing. 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 why all the instructions?

Take what you can use and leave the rest

When all else fails, follow directions

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.

A suggestion is a subtle command.

Ask us how we did it; then do what we did.

Work the program hard; life is easy. Work the program easy; life is hard.

Don't worry, if you don't get the program right away, it will get you.

What is THE PROGRAM? Who defined THE program? Then if I am working the program, then everyone else do not have to? How does that work? If a person is working their program, then what is this shit sandwich? If people are following directions, what is going on? Whenever A.A. can express a vulgarity, it does.

Well according the steps, that `matching outsides and insides' 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 again what is this program? What is THE Program?

Don't work my program, or your program, work THE program.

If you are working the program, no one else needs a program.

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.

Just accept, don't expect.

Keep the focus on yourself.

Identify, don't compare.

Are you comparing your insides to someone else's outsides

If you are eating a shit sandwich, chances are, you ordered it.

Take the program seriously, not yourself.

Memories…..

Why keep the memory green? Why all the emphasis on the past A.A. tells people not to regret the past. First remembering your last drink is a way of scaring people to remain in A.A. If you change your life and follow a path, of course you will be self-correcting. Why remember things that cause shame and guilt? Why should I remember my last drunk? Unless of course, it is the reason to keep me in A.A.

DUES = Desperately Using Everything but Sobriety

Remember your last drunk

Remember when

Keep it green

Keep the memory green

Listen and You Shall Hear?

What is interesting about these slogans is how they complement each other. Basically you are supposed to only listen. The zinger is - as “the 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” 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'?

Learn to Listen; Listen to Learn.

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 A.A. speech: be interesting, be brief, be seated.

The program is worked from the waist up.

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 unless 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 it works … don't fix it.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Keep coming back, it works if you work it.

Keep coming back.

Keep coming back, it works!

Keep coming back, it works. Don't go away; it works even better.

AA will work if you want it to work.

It works, it really does!

It gets better.

If you want what we have and you're willing to go to any lengths to get it.

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 do not see anything useful in the slogans that tell me what I don't already know.

Telephone therapy? I thought that A.A. was anti-therapy. Oh that is right, anti-therapy when it means not going to A.A. 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 A.A. define help? Talking the Program with someone. That is about as much help as A.A. really offers. Sending people to meetings. That is it.

GOYA = Get Off Your Ass

ASK = Ass-Saving Kit

Help is a phone call away

The smartest thing an A.A. member can say is, “Help me.”

Make use of the telephone therapy.

Pick up the telephone before you pick up a drink.

Fatalism Strikes, Denial is in the House.

These gems connotes that somehow everyone is a candidate for A.A. The subtext is that we of A.A. know what is best for everyone else. The world according to A.A. is divided into A.A. members (The Sober Few), The Still Suffering Drunks, Dry Drunks (people who stopped drinking without A.A.), and Earth People (non-drinkers). However, most members of A.A. do not believe that Earth people really exist. Earth People are a convenient fiction to make the A.A. members feel that the Program works for some but not for all. It is to explain the failures in the Program. Only alcoholics benefit from the Steps, heavy drinkers do not. Only A.A. knows the difference between the two. However, in reality when talking to potential members, everyone is an alcoholic.

YANA: You Are Not Alone

YET: You're Eligible Too

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 pitiful person you”. Grovel and let me be the glorious one to lead you to the light.)

“Denial” is the means of getting people into A.A. “You're in denial” is a favorite saying of members confronting someone who has questions. “Denial” in the A.A. sense is an active verb that covers doubts and questions. If a person has doubts, they are “in denial” that they have a problem. “In denial” is a thought stopper and commands people to be quiet. People who have questions are caught on the horns of a dilemma. If they are wondering if they have a problem, then they are “in denial.” If they are told they have a problem, and they say no, they are also “in denial”. Someone else decides whether a person is a destructive drinker. “In denial” in A.A. speak means that the person does not admit to having a problem. Saying that someone is in denial is a method to coerce people into A.A. meetings and into the A.A. Program. No one can escape from assimilation into A.A.

DENIAL: Don't Even kNow I Am Lying

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

We push denial out the door and it sneaks back in through the window.

(Contrast the A.A. saying: When God closes a door, He leave a window open.)

How? Whatever.

HOW = Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness: that's how we do it

HOW = Honest, Open-minded and Willing

How it works: Half measures availed us nothing.

How it works: Half gallons availed us nothing.

However, what is interesting is the combination of honesty, open-minded, and willingness. 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 connection 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. (For example: I am Bill. Bill is a man. Therefore I am a man.) The problem is lies in which Bill are we talking about? Do we mean all Bills, me, or the man standing over there. In this case, the sequence is set up to get someone into the A.A. belief system.

How does it work? It works just fine.

Act as if……

Fake it until you make it.

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. Again what is 'it'. What is the reference of it? The program? Make it? Again we see the contradictions of A.A. made plain. If you are honest, you can't fake it.

If I build a bridge and spend a great of effort and said bridge collapses, who gets blamed for the outcome?  Well, this is a ready-made slogan in the Program to avoid responsibility.  On the surface it seems sensible when being a parent raising a difficult child.  But when you are expected to produce results such as in building a porch, you are responsible for the outcome.

We are responsible for the effort not the outcome.

How does `it' happen? Focus and action result in a miracle. What does that have in common with `make it happen'? Either results come from efforts or from a miracle. How do miracles occur? By their very nature, they just happen usually by a greater force than the human. Miracles do not occur as a result of hard work or action.

Change is neutral. However A.A. assures that change is only good if it results in a greater belief in the Program. Since A.A. presents its members to be ignorant savages, they need these slogans to drum into their dear little heads the true meaning of action. As more of these slogans are examined, a picture of who A.A. considers to be a member slowly emerges. The typical member is an egotistical parasitic maniac. But of course, not everyone who drinks to excess has that personality type. Some are lonely shy people, others are bored, and still others have mental illnesses they medicate by drinking.

Make it happen

Change is a process, not an event.

ACTION: Any Change To Improve Our Nature.

Focus + Courage + Willingness to Learn = Miracles

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 slogans urge people to move forward.  But sometimes letting go of old ideas is a bad idea.  Some old ideas are reliable and good.  Before the new can be embraced, it has to be examined.  However, in A.A. speak, these slogans mean that a person must give up their reservations and embrace the Program.

Go For It.
Let go of old ideas

I had problems with these ones. What do they mean?  Do they mean anything or is it simply noise filling air?  They don't seem to carry any meaning. It seems to me that A.A. is in love with word twists and transferred meanings.

Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.

If you don't change, you'll be begging for change.

Learn to change, change to learn.


This slogan embraces a certain aspect of thinking.  The “coming around” means whatever you do will return to you.  A sense of life as a circle. A.A. presents the standard Western European style of thinking as an arrow moving upward movement in its Steps and other writings. However, upon further examination, the Program with the Steps are a guide in the circular way of thinking or Ancient Greek style of thinking in which life was a corkscrew moving upwards. Once a person commences on the Steps, they are caught in an endless cycle of self-improvement and character defect removal.

What goes around, comes around.
These are phrases of failing.  These slogans point to things that people need to look at in their thinking.  In the Program, people use these phrases a lot.  Why?  It could be the potential member's initial resistance to the program? Or they are the reasons why the Program works for some people but not for others. There has to be a reason for failure of implementing a `simple Program'.

What if

Yeah but

If only

Formula for failure: try to please everyone


When I first heard this, I did not understand it.  Then I realized that it meant the usual “say what you mean and mean what you say.” However, in A.A. meetings, this slogan is used as a thought stopper. Basically this slogan is thrown at people who talk a good Program but do not do the Steps.  Problem is how do people know who is doing what? What makes a good Program is hinted at but never defined.

It is easy to talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk

What Happens When You Work the Program?

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?

Live in the Solution.

You can't speed up your recovery, but sure can slow it down.

May you be blessed with a slow recovery.

If we don't grow, we gotta go.

Let us love you until you learn to love yourself.


These are all about sharing.  What the group suggests is that sharing is good.  However, how does sharing work?  When sharing, you are keeping something and giving something to someone else.  The Program says to its members: “share or die”.  So sharing is involuntary. Giving is different from sharing.  Giving does not mean you get it back.  However, these slogans are subtle in A.A. urging members “to give away the program” (i.e. do missionary work).  According to A.A. old timers, a person grows in the Program by how much they share it with non-A.A. people. Program in the 12-Steps becomes defined as being happy and having pain, both rather nonsensical in context together.

It isn't the load that weighs us down -- it is the way we carry it.

Count your blessings
Share your happiness
Share your pain
The only thing we take from this world when we leave is what we gave away.


I have always hated this one.  What is it that is supposed to begin with me?  Why me?  What has to begin with me, why can't it end with me or continue with me?  What is this beginning that needs me?  The program?  Carrying the message?  Is that more like continuing and not beginning.  What is new that needs me to start it along?

Let it begin with me.


Hidden Agendas and Irresponsible People

Proof of how A.A. mangles the English language and tries to use doublespeak to confuse and enlighten members can be also found in the writings of Dr. Bob Smith, the co-founder of A.A. He plays fast and loose with language as much as Wilson does. Smith comments on the Eleventh Tradition:


“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. 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. 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.”
(from the February 1969 Grapevine)


According to Smith, all people who CANNOT read and understand English are excused since they are in all probability stupid.  Of course, Smith knows that the only people who understand the Eleventh Tradition are he and a precious few others. He slaps everyone else in the face.

The rest is not plain to anyone else who does understand the English language. Smith uses prepositions for directions for something that has no space. When talking to reporters, a person either speaks to them or not. A group general has a designated speaker. If someone asks a famous person if they are in A.A., the answer would be `no'. However if a famous person chooses to say they are a member, then that is that their decision. However, the individual does not speak for the group.

However the quote from Smith shines a light on a darker aspect of the concept of anonymity. Being anonymous is how many groups such as the KKK and the Aryan Nation exercise their dark agendas. As long as there is no exposure, then they can accomplish much such as the terrorists who blow up themselves and others.

A.A. has a hidden agenda also. If the members are unknown to the public, then A.A. itself does not have to answer to the general public about the many failures and great amount of repeat members that occurs. Also having anonymous members helps the drug and alcoholic treatment industry as well. Many of the treatment centers are run by counselors who are required to have membership in a 12-step organization. Many of these counselors have no training in therapy or social work. They have only their years of membership. A.A. benefits from this relationship.

Officially A.A. disclaims all association with treatment centers. However, one of three main sources for members in A.A. are the centers themselves. In areas without treatment centers, membership numbers are lower. (The other two sources are sentencing by judges or being sent by EAP representatives.) The centers promote only the 12-Step message and ideas on alcohol and drug addiction. They require A.A. or N.A. membership for aftercare. The two entities coexist from early A.A. times, Dr. Silkworth ran a clinic for alcoholics where Wilson was a lay therapist.

The other aspect of A.A. hidden agenda is the promotion of the 12-Step religion and folk cures. The A.A Program has nothing to do with aiding people to stop drinking destructively. Instead, the Program proceeds to convert people to a New Age religion that has Christian elements.

A.A. is not concerned with people's privacy, which is different from anonymity. Privacy and confidentiality is from which safety and dignity. Privacy asks from accountability where as anonymity fosters irresponsibility. A.A. is accountable to no one and encourages its members to face their wrongdoings.

Carry On

Members of A.A. are urged to go and get people to come to meetings. They are told to do this in order to stay sober. The myth that A.A. started with “one drunk talking to another” prompts people to believe that is how A.A. functions.

You can carry the message, but not the alcoholic.

Pass it on.

Daniel didn't go back to the lion's den to get his hat.

A strange thing happens to people who remain in A.A. Their thinking becomes clouded and unoriginal. People actually are proud to say, “Everything I know, I learned in the Program.” Somehow that does not bode well for the rest of us. Also people, according to these sayings, actually get worse not better. They become more dependent on A.A. as they continue in their membership.

Nothing I'm saying is original. I'm not making any of this up. Everything, I know I've learned in this Program. I don't have an original thought in my head.

The longer we are in the Program, the worse our stories get.

The longer I'm in the Program, the lower my bottom seems to get.

Again the contradictions of Program speak. First we get sober because we have to within the subtext of using the A.A. program. Awhile in A.A., a member is informed that A.A. is not a program to get sober. So what does a person use to get sober if not the A.A. program? Actually, the subtext of this slogan is interesting - A.A. is not about stopping drinking but successful living. What is that? Making more money? Winning a Nobel Prize?

The progression is a subtle one of “have to, willing to, and want to”. Mot people stop drinking because of all three. There is no progression since all three are present in the person's decision.

Today I soak up A.A. the way I used to soak up alcohol.

With a stomach full of A.A., you won't have room for beer.

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

MEETINGS FOR LIFE, NO EXCEPTIONS

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. Meetings are necessary to the A.A. way of life.

Most groups that require regular attendance usually tell people why. They are usually teaching something to people or expecting the person to work on a group problem. Attendance guidelines are up front. The groups that do not, such as the Boy Scouts, generally are transparent enough that people understand the need for regular attendance. For example, Boy Scouts meeting impart information on how the members can earn various ranks.

However, A.A. does not require regular attendance, not does not it define regular attendance. Depending on the slogans and whom you talk too, regular attendance is every day, once a week, includes coming early or staying late. Moreover, A.A. does not tell members why regular attendance is needed. And it is not transparent to people trying to understand what is regular attendance. 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.

A.A. slogans on meetings are simple, direct, and give absolutely no reason why meetings are so important. The only reason that is hinted at is that the member will drink and die.

Actually this slogan equates that if you go to enough meetings, you will get a job. Does this mean that many A.A. 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 lieu of family responsibilities.

A job is something that happens to you on the way to a meeting.

I don't understand why anyone would have coined these two. However, since sex seems to be a problem in A.A., people tell a lot of sex jokes. The concept of Thirteen Stepping was coined to described Wilson's activities of picking up women and hitting on them during A.A. meetings. What strikes me is that people in A.A. treat sex and sexual matters in a flippant manner instead of the seriousness that they merit. They remind me of children who just learned how to talk dirty.

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)

Just Because….

These are the instructions for people who are starting out. Actually, they are cult instructions to divorce the person from their life and immerse them into the cult completely. The 90/90 came from treatment centers who wanted their patients to remain in aftercare. Actually, since treatment centers are hot beds of 12-step programs, this was really a method to indoctrinated people into the A.A. cult. 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 A.A. is not about stopping drinking.

Why does the reasons for meetings change and mutate? However, the subtext is to frighten people into attending as many meetings as possible. Why is that? What does A.A. demand such rigorous attendance more than many churches and civic organizations? Meetings are where people are indoctrinated into A.A. ritual and thinking. The shifting reasons and urging to attend as many as possible is standard cult practice.

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.

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.

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 urge people to attend meetings just because. No particular reason, just because.

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.

People Matter, Not.

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! In order to get the program, you have to know the people and develop friendships.

Actually A.A. never uses “friendship”; it uses “fellowship” instead. What exactly is “fellowship” and why is it used? Fellowship is a word used by religious groups to denote their congregations. The use of this word points to the religious nature of A.A. In A.A., people are encouraged to form bonds with only the group and their sponsor. 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 decisions for yourself.

But why is it important to spend so much time before and after meetings? Is A.A. 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. People rarely paired off for friendships, romances yes, friendships no. People rarely went to basketball games unless it was a sponsored A.A. activity. The longer that a person remained in A.A., the more their social skills declined since they were spending so much time with their A.A. group.

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.

Who Cares?

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?

People who don't go to meetings don't find out what happens to people who don't go to meetings.

Again is there a more genteel way of saying go to meetings no matter what? If you are in dire straits, then you need to take care of your family responsibilities and other responsibilities. 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 which is any time away from the cult gives the person a chance to reclaim their thinking?

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.

Not drinking is coupled with meetings. It is direct correlation similar 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 a person stop drinking without a meeting? A lot of people do stop cold turkey. Can you drink and still go to meetings? Why is drinking coupled with thinking? How does thinking lead to drinking? How does going to meetings stop thinking? What does not getting married have anything do with anything?

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.

These next two slogans are absurd. Whatever meaning they have is lost on many people.

Those who get around, stay around.

(Get around what? Travel around the country? Attending many meetings?)

Meeting makers make it.

(Make what? Make brownies? Make lace dollies?)

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 be 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 A.A.'s job to mature them. I thought it was A.A.'s job to sober them. Being sober in the A.A. sense is different than being mature. A.A. side steps the notion that maturity is being responsible for one's actions with their disease model of drinking and promotion of the idea of powerlessness.

Show up to grow up.

Suit up, show up, shut up, grow up.

Skip A Meeting, And Die!

A.A. is full of implied and open death threats. If a member leaves, they will either die, go to jail or be committed to a mental institution. Skip meetings and they 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 attendance 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 commitment to the group? What are the A.A. group's obligations to its members?

Meetings do not seem to prevent people from drinking. They actually encourage it by rehashing feelings of wanting to drink and by repeating drinking stories. Members at the meetings do not explore the idea of stopping to think about drinking. “Not drinking” means to constantly live in fear of ingesting alcohol by eating rum cookies.

When you start to skip, you start to slip.

If you came into an A.A. meeting looking for recovery, will find exactly that. If you came looking for a reason to continue drinking, you'll eventually find that too.

These slogans imply that in A.A. not everyone gets sober. The raffle idea plays into the daily meetings notion. Get more raffle tickets and one's chances of winning increases.

That is how a meeting a day does this. Go only weekly or monthly and a member will not get sober.

But this begs the question, how does a meeting a day keeps the detox away? Does magic happen at meetings? A.A. meetings do have a ritualistic aspect to them that seems to imply magical unseen forces at work. What happens to people who do not believe in magic?

AA is like a raffle; you must be present to win.

A meeting a day keeps the detox away.

If you don't go to meetings the rest of your life, you will relapse or die.

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 A.A. mean by 'good things'? What is a bad meeting? What is implied with this 'good thing'?

It has been a good meeting so far.

I've heard a lot of good things said at this meeting.

Share or Die, Be Silent or Die

A.A. tells people to be silent and listen. “Show up and shut up” is the best example of this. Then you get the slogans telling people to “Share or Die!” A.A. cannot have it both ways. However, there are two subtexts to these messages. The first is that new people do not talk, only old timers talk. Information, ritual, doctrine is passed in this way. The second is the more the group knows about you, the more bonded you become to the group. Also sharing in the A.A. sense becomes a sense of group coercion, since people are urged to share only “proper things” such as how A.A. saved tem. Improper things would be saying that a sponsor is not needed or that a member needs to believe in a higher power. The subtle aspect of these sayings is that members of A.A. do not have friends to talk to. They have only the people they know at meetings as their confidents.

AA meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings.

HOPE = Hearing Other Peoples' Experience

It takes the good and bad A.A. meeting - the good and bad A.A. talk - to make this fellowship `work'.

The opposite of listening is waiting to talk.

Talk or die.

If you pass, it's your ass.

Say what you mean, but don't say it mean.

I'd rather hear you share about the same thing a thousand times in meetings than learn you were sharing it in a bar.

SPONSORS: LEADERS IN DARKNESS

A.A. continues without Wilson through sponsors. Sponsors are the A.A. priests or ministers. They are vital to the transplanting of the program to future generations. Sponsorship is about is forming a new person's ideas and life and mold it into the A.A. way of life. Without the sponsor system, many people would not stay. Sponsorship offers long-term members power to control others. The carrot for members is to stay long enough to become a sponsor.

Sponsors offer a sense of false friendship. It is not a friendship of equals but one of parent-child. I knew a woman who just had a baby and was not taking calls at times. Her sponsor chided her that she was too busy to talk to her sponsor and that being a new mother was no excuse for daily phone contact. The woman was shamed to call more often.

However, there are people in A.A. who really do want to help others. But they are few and far between. Many sponsors do have good intentions but end up passing on the flawed system of the 12-steps. The sponsor system is really one of control and indoctrination.

How does a sponsor help a person? Friends have respect of the person themselves for they embrace the reality of the person. They do not negate the person. Sponsors in A.A. are not really do help a person. They are there to get the person to the 12-steps. If the person needs to see a therapist, the sponsor generally will discourage the person. They deny the reality of the person. Good A.A. sponsors who really care about their sponsored have the problem of funneling 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.

The sponsor system of A.A. is based on the Oxford Group's spiritual checkers. Wilson did not split with the OG until 1937 over personality conflicts. Dr. Smith's group in Ohio did not split off until 1939 over conflicts with the Catholic Church. However, A.A. kept many OG practices such as inane slogans, examination, public confession, and spiritual checkers. After praying for God's guidance, a person was supposed to go to an older and wiser member to tell them what they heard.

Sponsor slogans beg the question of what sponsors are about and why people need one. The stress is on the new people to get one but everyone is urged to use one. In medical studies, a clue emerges. People who sponsor other people tend to do better than the ones sponsored. The sponsor system is for older members to stay sober themselves. Again it is a selfishness that does not extend itself to the other person.

Smart Sponsors, Stupid Drunks

This combined with the SPONSOR slogan suggests that everyone has to have a sponsor or be one. Why must everyone be a sponsor or have a sponsor? Is it for reasons of passing on A.A. doctrine on to someone else? The other thing is that A.A. looks down up having a Catholic priest helping someone or a doctor. Somehow using these people is not the same. But why have a sponsor if not to learn A.A. doctrine? However the sponsor system ends up not being suggestions but requirements. And they are not offering suggestions but instructing people.

SPONSOR = Sober Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery

Sponsors: have one, use one, be one

Being an alcoholic is like being trapped in a box, and the instructions for getting out of the box on the outside of the box. You need someone to read them to you and you must listen.

A sponsor is someone who holds up the light, while you dig.

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.

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 various A.A. duties. But if your Big Book is a sponsor, then why get a human sponsor? Why be a sponsor if the Big Book is sufficient?

You are just going to drink again. Sponsor is of a parent to a child. 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 friend. I am lost without these people. They are of great help to me.

Get a sponsor.

I don't know where I'd be without my sponsor.

People who sponsor themselves have fools for sponsors.

Most A.A. people spend more time deciding where to have lunch than in choosing a sponsor.

Your Big Book is your sponsor too.

What is your sponsor supposed to do? Are they supposed to baby sit 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?

Call your sponsor before, not after, you take the first drink

Tell your sponsor, or you will be telling it to a bartender.

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 they exist? It is interesting that they translated the word into a matter of sponsorship. Is this to tell people that they cannot discuss their sexuality except with a sponsor while heterosexual people can openly discuss their sexuality?)

All Good Things Come To….

If I am a waiter, then the chef will served me when the time comes? 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 you.

When you are a sponsor, you get out of yourself. If I serve, I will be served.

The following slogan 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 suggests that A.A. members stomp all over new people unless there is a reason not to. What is so threatening to the established A.A. 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 A.A. 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.

Be nice to newcomers; one day they may be your sponsor.

PICKLES, CUCUMBERS AND FRUIT FLIES

New People in A.A. are fodder for the fear mongering and put downs of A.A. slogans. New people are told that they are in denial and that they have a deadly disease. The only way to get better is by constant attending of A.A. meetings. The slogans tell newcomers to show up and shut up. The new person is welcomed in to the group with unconditional love if they accept the idea that they are alcoholics. If the newcomer does not do what they are told, then they are informed that they will die from drinking. In short, they are doomed. What newcomers are not told is about whether a certain sponsor is abusive or that 13-Stepping (sex with new people) occurs regularly. The slogans tell the newcomer that they are really `nut cases'.

These two slogans say 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.

Newcomers are like rum fruitcakes.  You can take out the rum, but you still have a fruitcake.
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.)

Why is five years the deciding point for old timers versus newcomers. Does it really takes that long to indoctrinate a person into the 12-step way? Most groups usually allow a year for a new person.


Newcomer is someone with less than five years of sobriety.

Another stupid word slogan, but you see what the set up is. Newcomers are examples of what you were once: “a drunken sot”.  Old-timers rule the roost.  Sponsors are the people who bird-dog you so you get the right thinking.  This slogan plays off the variation of past, future, and present that A.A. loves to do.


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.

TIME IS LIKE A RIVER, EXCEPT IN A.A.

Time stops in A.A. People are urged to live one day at a time. They are encouraged not to plan or think of the future. A.A. sense of time is that instead of a river, it is a swimming pool.

What is interesting is how much emphasis that A.A. 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 has 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 A.A.

AA separates people from their past.  Past defines people, which 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 A.A., 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 cannot grow. There are no stages of growth.  There is nothing that the person can look back to see where they need to go.  No mile posts, nothing.  People become children who cannot 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.


One Day At A Time, And Only One Day.

In context, “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.

One day at a time can be used in a good way. It is a time management tool for breaking a project down into manageable chunks. It stops people from zooming into the future and panic and helps them to cope with a seemingly impossible situation. 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.

AA takes this idea to the extreme and compels members to stay stuck in one day at a time.

However in the A.A. 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 A.A. 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 by stressing how many days they are 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 do not see the future. You cannot plan. You remain stuck.

ODAAT is more than just a thought-stopping slogan.  Where the 12-Steps are concerned, it is also a human spirit killer!  ODAAT conjures up indecision, insecurity, fear, deprivation, mistrust of one's own judgment and a myriad of other emotions.  A.A. encourages its members to have extremely low expectations of themselves.  When they adhere to the ODAAT mantra, tomorrow doesn't really matter.  If something awful happens, then they have 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. .

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 A.A. life sucks one day at a time.

Inane Slogans Said Profoundly

 

I have no idea what these slogans mean other than 'Rome wasn't born in a day.' But the idea of time is a thing I must earn is a strange one. Unless of course you work in an organization that rewards people for longevity, then it makes sense. These slogans are said at meetings with a grave tone to give them a pseudo-profound meaning.

TIME = Things I Must Earn

It takes time.

Give time time.

One day takes time.

Old People Beware

These ones on `old' are strange but do fit into the A.A. mythos. Think about it. According to A.A. people will drink and die. A dismal view of people, that they are doomed no matter what they do is what A.A. has.

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.

Don't Do It

This is the crux of the A.A.'s member's relationship to time. You cannot move forward or backward 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. Actually since people are stuck, they do not go anywhere such as leave A.A. They are where A.A. wanted them to be.

Easy Does It.

Use the 24 hour plan.

Today I have more solutions than problems.

Live in the NOW

Live in the moment.

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.

These slogans 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 instantaneous moment of time. Time in A.A. does not exist. AA is only three dimensions, not four. 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. Other organizations value people's experiences and institutional knowledge. A.A. frightens people who have been members a long time into thinking that the knowledge they have gained is worthless. These slogans also segue into the disease idea of alcoholism.

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.

Again, the A.A. 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 or 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 A.A. and the `new way of the Steps'.

Live each day the best that you can.

New Day, New Way.

The assumption of these slogans is that people live in regret or fear. The only emotions that people feel are shame, guilt, and remorse. There is also an assumption that joy is fleeting and happiness does not last only shame does. People are expected to feel only shame but not contentment. A.A. teaches its members that fear is the relevant emotion.


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.

Passivity is Its Own Reward

These slogans are destructive to the person and to the community. They encourage passivity and pessimism. They expect people to live dull and predictable lives.

These slogans discourage community activism and involvement in civic affairs. To live in and build a community, a person has to experience discomfort to make things better. According `to accepting', that means if I live in a gang infested neighborhood, I should accept all the drive-by shootings that happen. The idea that people must accept bad things is destructive to themselves and their community.

A.A. does not encourage its members to interact with the greater community. Although A.A. promotes the ideas of the Serenity Prayer, it does counsel about what are the things that I cannot change. A.A. prefers that people separate themselves into their home groups.


Just accept, don't expect.

Any expectations are inversely proportional to my serenity.
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.

Living in the wreckage of the future.

Don't project.

On the surface, these slogans promote common sense approach to things. Planning is effective to dealing with life's processes. Having a plan is a creative response to life's ups and downs. However, the idea of planning conflicts with the ideas of acceptance and living in the now. How does A.A. square one with the other? They slip in the caveat that planning is not the answer since the results are usually other than what people expect. There is a concept in time management about planning and dealing with the process called “If you are up to your knees in alligators, remember your main objective is still to drain the swamp.” With that in mind, planning becomes the best way of achieving your goals.

You can plan plans, not results.

Plan, don't project.

Prior planning prevents problems.

Plan, but don't plan the outcome.

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