Well I am almost finished with these buggers
What does A.A. want from people? How does it project itself to its members? A.A. talks about “Unity, Service, and Sobriety”. What is revealed about A.A. in the slogans is that it is an organization that is ambivalent about everything. A.A. uses relative morality in all its affairs. The education that A.A. talks about is learning the Big Book, which was written in the 1930s. However, in A.A. facts are not taught, but beliefs are held to be all important.
AS AA SEES THEMSELVES
AA = Absolute Abstinence
AA = Adventurers Anonymous
AA = Altered Attitudes
AA = Altruistic action
AA = Attitude Adjustment
AA = Avoid Anger
AA = Acknowledge Acceptance
Well this certainly tells you nothing and everything about A.A. You abstain absolutely; not just a little bit but totally and completely. You go on adventures, but are not told what adventures. You alter your attitudes and become altruistic. Does this sound like a group that is interested in helping drinkers? Only in the slogan of “Absolute Abstinence” do you get a hint at what A.A. may be about.
ALCOHOLICS = A Life Centered On Helping Others Live In Complete Sobriety
ANONYMOUS = Actions Not Our Names Yield Maintenance Of Unity and Service
This further explains what A.A. is all about: Complete Sobriety. This does not mean rehabilitating people, nor teaching them how not to drink. How does A.A. define `complete sobriety'? Through Unity and Service. The group is emphasized over the individual, which does not exist as a separate entity. If we really thought about these slogans, we would be clued into as to what A.A. is really about: Free labor. Other service organizations such as Rotary and Lions, do service but they also honor their members. In A.A., individual is submerged into the group and is only honored for not drinking.
If you want to drink - that is your business
If you want to quit - that is A.A.'s business.
How is my wanting to quit drinking, A.A. business? Why should it be A.A. business? Quitting is a personal decision. Of course, people go to A.A. to learn how to stop. The slogan hints at coercion by saying it is AA's business. Also, AA's 12th step is all about carrying the message to the still suffering drunk. This is one reason that judges and others are encouraged 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
I have become a pupil of AA rather than the teacher that I thought I was.
We are not reformed drunks - but informed alcoholics.
We're here for a reason - not for the season.
AA may not solve all your problems but it is willing to share them.
AA is the easier, softer way.
AA is not a sentence; it is a reprieve.
AA is the last stop on the train.
What is A.A.? It is many things to people. AA doesn't solve problems even though it claims to as in 'last stop on the train'. The Steps is the answer to life's problems. Education without graduation is a major signal that nobody leaves AA. The “easier softer way” is debunked in the Big Book as being evil. 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.
WILSON'S LEGACYS: INSANITY, INANITY, SLAVERY
This is what Bill Wilson said AA as an organization. “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.”
My question is how are these legacies impossible? Many service groups have the same problems, and have by-laws to resolve them. Others use Robert's Rules of Order. Why does Wilson assume the worst?
Wilson: “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."
My observation is that Wilson conflated things. He also does the tangent dance to show how AA is Surgeon General approved. Note that the Surgeon General does not say that A.A. works, just that he wished Wilson's group well. What is noteworthy is Wilson's relentless promotion of a group, which specifically states it is not to be promoted.
“Such was the devastating impossibility of our situation. Now, what has been brought to bear upon this impossibility that it has become possible? First, the grace of Him who presides over all of us. Next, the cruel lash of John Barleycorn who said. "this you must do, or die." Next, the intervention of God through friends, at first a few and now legion! Who opened to us, who in the early days were uncommitted, the whole field of human ideas? Morality and religion, from which we could choose.”
In my opinion, Robert's Rules of Order would have done the same thing without all the melodrama that Wilson writes about. In writing this, Wilson shows his ignorance of many things. He hides behind hyperbole so that none can understand that he is an idiot.
“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.”
“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.”
These two paragraphs display Wilson's hidden agenda. He must have been furious at being to be denied what he wanted. Wilson is referring to himself and his wisdom in the matters. He wanted the money, the acclaim, and prestige. But that is Wilson's take on the whole thing - which is I'm the greatest and best, and I know what is best for the rest of you.
“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.”
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.”
The paragraphs are full of melodrama and nonsense. Wilson takes something very simple and inflates it into the greatest things. It is like watching a basketball player make a winning basket to take the National Championships. And have the announcers say that this athlete who did what he was paid to do, did the greatest achievement ever. That includes the taking down of the Berlin Wall.
Also, the paragraphs give voice to Wilson's hidden agenda. Elders and parents take care of us. Our service is really in terms of them. We are children doing chores.
WHO ARE THE AA MEMBERS?
AA is the only place where you can walk into a room full of strangers and reminisce.
Being a part of something is more important than being the center of attention.
We are not God's gift to AA; AA is God's gift to us.
In AA, there are no losers - just slow winners.
We have everyone in AA, from Yale to jail.
Remember Rule 62 (don't take yourself so darn seriously)!
We come to these rooms not because we drank a lot, but because we drank too much.
CONDUCT OF MEMBERS
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.
An AA group will be judged by the worst behavior of members.
When you clean up after your group, you leave the signature of AA behind you.
It's Alcoholics Anonymo-us, not anonymo-me.
We take no positions on outside issues, so I have no political opinions.
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 A.A. 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, A.A. teaches that resentments are evil but what do they encourage that 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 A.A. meeting?
It is always easier to take somebody else's inventory.
Take other people's inventory until you can take your own.
In AA, it doesn't matter who is right - only who is left.
Keep the focus on yourself.
Life is a roller coaster, so hang on to the safety bar of A.A.
These slogans are direct contradictions of each other. Of course A.A. is full of contradictions. No one seems to get that. If you gather all the slogans together in one place, you may see the contradictions but then again you are not supposed to think.
ABC = Acceptance, Belief, Change
ABC = Ashtrays, Broom, Coffee
ABC = Ashtrays, Broom, Chairs
What is interesting about these slogans are the assumptions. One assumption us that A.A. is a stealth religion. Everyone smokes at meetings. Everyone sweeps up at meetings. In short they make messes, and expect someone else to clean up the mess. Also ABC is Alcohol Beverage Control in U.S. states. The subtext of these slogans is directed to drinkers.
If you want to stay sober, make the coffee.
Stand by the coffee pots, it is a good way to meet people.
Relate these two with the `abc' ones, and free labor appears to be what A.A. is about. Members must stand and serve. Who do they 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? If I do service work....and then do I remain sober?
In AA, first we remove the anesthesia, then we operate.
AA is a self-help program, but you can't do it yourself.
Have you seen my Ph.D: Poor Helpless Drunk
There are only two sins: to Stand in the way of someone else's growth, or to stand in the way of your own.
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?
This is a selfish program
How does this slogan square with "If you want it, you have to give it away." What “self-will run riot” and “ego easing god out”. How does this contradiction fit in? The subtext is only A.A. matters. AA is the selfish program. You give yourself to AA, and ignore all those who question it.. You must spend all your time at aa meetings and ignore the needs of your family and friends. How dare your family place demands on you when your goal is to be sober.
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.
WHAT MEMBERS DO IN RETURN
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.
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
The subtext is that you need to get people to join if you want to be sober. The receive without cost is the opposite of what A.A. drums in people's heads, that it costs a lot to get to A.A.. The giving without charge is winked at, since treatment centers are a big business in where A.A. members counsel other people. One oldtimer 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.) That attitude comes from years of being in A.A. The oldtimer should have the opposite idea, not assuming that you can't do anything else.
Be as enthusiastic about aa as you were about your drinking
To be of maximum service to others.
Unity, recovery, and service.
The assumption in these slogans is that people must give all to A.A., maximum service. But how is this service defined? Is maximum service only what people do for alcoholics? Does this mean manning a soup kitchen? Picking up litter at the park? What does A.A. means by maximum service to others?