I am doing the intro on steps and step 13
THE MYSTICAL, MAGICAL 12 STEPS
The core of the A.A. Program is the Steps. When a person examines them, they realize that have nothing to do with stopping a behavior but in developing a belief in a god. The Steps are explicit in how this belief should take shape and how the member interacts with the god.
The other aspect of the Steps is that they present a solution for every problem that a person encounters. The Steps are the answer to life. But how practical are they? Also a subtext emerges that the Steps are a conversion process for a peculiar religion.
What is interesting about the slogans on the Steps is how A.A. 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 A.A. slogan says, “If you sober up an horse thief, you get a sober horse thief.” I think that sobriety in A.A. is a mystical state of being, which has nothing to do with morals or citizenship.
Another thing that runs through the Step slogans is a dark undercurrent of death. It seems that every other slogan deals with a form of death - dying, killing others, and killing the self. It is almost as if Wilson shaking hands with death and promoted his views of darkness. A person does the Steps because they are afraid of death, not because they want to get well.
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. 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. 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. 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 noticed that circular reasoning in the A.A. slogans on the 12Step. 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 A.A. has a dualistic god, an evil/good one. The longer the members stay in A.A., the more they become dualistic as well. In meetings, the mention of an evil god is forbidden. At the same time, they talk about being spiritual beings and doing their god's work.
The 12-Steps do not tackle the idea of living in a fallen world with fallen people. A.A. members say the people are flawed but rarely discuss whether the world is or not. Actually when A.A. declares that 'it is a selfish program', they really do mean that. The Program is revolves around the self. There is no consistent relationship with god. God shifts around and never is the same.
The other idea that occurred to me while reading the slogans on the Steps is that the A.A. god or what Wilson claimed as his source 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 are aspects of evil. Coupled with the reality of the meetings and materials, you do get a picture of evil in flower in A.A. meetings.
The ideas that people have to be poor or be condemned, people have to be stupid or be condemned, and people have to give up themselves or be condemned are a part of the A.A. Steps. Elements of these notions are in Christianity but people do not get condemned for being these things. .
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.
The prayers for the Third and Seventh Steps read exactly like something Wilson would have come with. The oddest thing about them was the aspect of “REMOVE my character flaws, Lord, so the OVERCOMING of them will be a testament to your power.” 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.
Take Two Steps and See Me In the Morning
Every single problem has a solution in the Steps. That does not wash with me. But if you want people to stay on message, you tell them that the Steps are the only way, only the steps, nothing but the steps. Nothing else will help you.
Then the tagline of `sober' is presented. What is the opposite of sober: `drunk'. So if you are not drinking but not using the steps, you are drunk. AA has co-opted the word `sober' to mean something other than abstinent. A.A. has convinced its members that people who have stopped drinking but are not followers of the Program are `dry drunks'. But how are the Steps solutions to every problem? According to A.A. materials, prayer and god through the Steps will solve the problem.
STEPS = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety
STEPS = Solutions To Every Problem, Sober
There are 12 steps in the ladder of complete sobriety.
These are the usual A.A. play on words. However, the subtext is that if you go too fast, you will fail. You go down fast but come up slowly. Also the elevator is the 'easier, softer way'. We cannot have people zooming to the top in a flash. If that happens, then membership would decline.
I listened to a Catholic priests' homily that described Christianity as 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 the Catholic worldview, taking the steps under your own power is the opposite. Christianity tells a person to rely on Christ's Grace rather than to prove their worth. Bearing that in mind, the A.A. steps are in conflict with various Christian teachings.
The elevator is broken - use the steps.
You can take the elevator going down, but you gotta take the steps back up.
These slogans are in conflict with the prior slogans. What is revealing is the fixation on 12? Why 12? Why not 14 or 8 steps? What is the significance of the number 12? Wilson explains it in some silly mumble jumble about how 12 made more sense than 6. However, in the Occult, the number 12 has many meanings. There are 12 Houses of the Zodiac. Twelve is three fours or four threes. Three is the Trinity or Unity. Four is the four directions, the four elements, and the four winds. Twelve has a deep mystical connection with people beyond the Occult as in 12 months of the year, 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 Disciples of Christ.
Upon further reflection, a practitioner of the Tarot would concur that the Steps are patterned after the Tarot. One is the beginning and Nine is completion, while Eleven is a channel to the subconscious. This is a subtle proof that Wilson and Smith both dabbled in the Occult and had knowledge of the mystic of numbers. A.A. history writers do discuss how the original A.A. groups had six steps, which Wilson expanded into twelve. Also, Wilson and Smith were heavily into Spiritualism.
In the Tarot, One is new beginnings while Two is duality and balancing. Three is synthesis and expansion. In A.A., Step One is a new beginning which Step Two introduces a second entity (Higher Power). Step Three is the synthesis of One and Two.
Four is the foundation, which Step Four inventory consists of. Five is the need to adapt to unpleasant changes and change. Step Five in A.A. is called the Change Step. Six is perfections and a change for the better. Step Six talks of being reading to have one's shortcomings removed. Seven is new awareness and perspective. In Step Seven, people ask to have their character defects removed. Eight is power and mastery over a situation through self-reliance and autonomy. Step Eight is making a list. Nine is the completion as in A.A. Step Nine, which is considered the completion of the Steps. The Promises come after completing Step Nine. Ten is renewal through a new cycle. Step Ten discusses continual taking of one's inventory and admitting wrongs.
The easier softer way is one through twelve.
There is safety in numbers. One through twelve.
These three slogans contradict each other except that in saying that the Traditions are different from the Steps. How does the Traditions tell why the Program works? Traditions are the reverse of what Wilson wrote in his passage of the Big Book on “How It Works.” With a how, you need a why. However, the Traditions are simply Ana's version of Robert's Rules of Order, which governs groups.
Suicide versus homicide is a theme that runs through many A.A. slogans. They make less of them both and treat it with humor. I do not understand the preoccupation with killing that there is in the slogans. However, it does fit in with the preoccupation of death. “Use the Steps or Die!” I almost think that A.A. 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 A.A. Underneath the butterflies and rainbows of recovery, is this darkness of death, dying, and killing.
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.
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.
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.
This is yet 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.
The only thing alcoholics do in moderation is the 12 steps.
These two I group together since they both advocate the same thing -- one day at a time, dailies of the steps. Also the concentration on the day today. Both assume the worse if you do too much at once or if you do to little. To keep people in A.A. 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.
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.
On the surface, this is benign. You do not 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 to make sure that the person has been exposed to enough A.A. groupthink to agree with the concepts. The silliness of the steps or their tearing of the person's personality is not questioned.
Don't push a newcomer to do the steps too fast. A heavy downpour runs off whereas a gentle rain soaks in.
On one hand these two do contradict each other, and on the other hand 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.
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.
Does this mean that people in A.A. are angry and want to kill each other? While tools are for building and construction, weapons are for defending and for attack. You can interpret it both ways. Stop defending yourself, and start doing the steps. A potential members asks themselves, “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? This is a group of people I really do not know.”
Put down the weapons, pick up the tools.
Group Up and Give Up
AA loves to group the Steps. This makes it easier for people to remember them. Although placing the Steps in groups does reveal their subtext.
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 A.A. tricks of combining eclectic things into a whole.
Uncover, Discover, Discard
This cute slogan hides the subtext that people repeat the A.A. dance. They waltz until they get it right. It also is a subtle hint about how the program is not about drinking.
The AA waltz: steps 1, 2, 3
Well now we have a clearer idea of what the steps are about. Make up -- is that in regards to relationships? After taking a personal inventory, I meditate to learn God's will, which is after my spiritual experience, get more people into A.A.
The steps: Give up (1,2,3) Clean up (4,5,6) Make up (7,8, 9) Keep up (10,11,12).
The 12 steps: Clear up (1,2,3), Clean up (4,5,6,7,8,9), Group up: (10,11,12)
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.
Steps 4-8: the six-pack of steps.
STEP ONE: Step Right Up, Join the Powerlessness Game
These slogans are good in themselves. People should admit their mistakes and accept that they made 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. 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? In the subtext of the A.A. Steps, mistakes are another word for sin. People overcome their sins.
Step One focus on people giving up their power. It instills the idea of powerlessness, which is translated into helplessness in people. People usually have little problem in admitting they were powerless over alcohol. The step does not say, we *are* powerless. It said we *were* powerless. Past tense. The will accept that they had a genuine drinking problem, and that part of their lives were unmanageable. However, this step is the foot in the door to have the religious conversion of the other steps and a lifetime commitment to A.A.
People usually have no problem admitting that they are powerless over alcohol. The step does not say we are powerless, it says we were powerless, which is past tense. It is true that a part of their life was unmanageable but not their entire life. This step is the foot in the door to have the Program to take over the person's life.
Accept your admission
The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them.
What war? How is admitting you are powerless over a substance ending a war? Why does A.A. use the word war? 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 to say that you are surrendering? But what are you surrendering to: alcoholic or other addictive substances? This is a confusing set of ideas, and not very logical. What I parse out of the mess is “cheer up, you have surrendered to the program.”
Lighten up -- the war is over.
How does the first drink do get a person drunk? Lots of people have a drink. They drink a toast of wine in restaurants. What about the people drinking a beer at a football game? It is generally lots of drinks that get a person drunk. On judge TV shows, the judges note that people claim they only drank two drinks, no more, no less, when they are being arrested for being drunk.
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. The drink monster drives you on a search and seizure mission to find alcohol. The thought process that A.A. instills in people is, “OH MY DOOR KNOB (AKA Higher Power AKA God), I drank a drop of sherry. The drink monster has taken me hostage. Now, I must go out and get blotto. I can't stop. Must drink more. Drink monster has overcome me.”
The first drink gets you drunk.
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.
Skid Row is a place in my mind -- not a place on the street.
We can 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 are this we anyway? Can we write a Nobel Prize winning novel for me?
We can do what I can't.
You're not alone anymore.
This is echoes of George Orwell's “!984”. “War is peace.” “Freedom is slavery.”
Strength in powerlessness.
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 do not. I can run away and hope I can run fast enough. The opposite is “looking forward to being attack, or how not to let some lowlife disrupt your day.” This means being prepared for the lowlifes that want you dead.
Powerless over people, place and things; it's a two-way street.
So much for A.A. being a spiritual and not religious program. Moral folks who have no god beliefs need not apply to A.A. “Wings of victory' is a commonly used term in Christian sects.
We didn't fly into A.A. on the wings of victory.
God help me! (Step one short form.)
This was co-opted from general life, except it is not a journey of 1,000 miles. It is a 12-step journey where you may get rocketed into the 4th dimension. A.A. takes general wisdom and warps it around A.A. principles.
The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.
After hearing this slogan, an A.A. member should ask themselves, “Why even do the Program? Why even try since no one expects me to succeed?” What is with this `perfection'? I thought it was `progress not perfection'. So where does perfection come in?
The first step is the only step a person can work perfectly.
The A.A. member must wait until the person is vulnerable. However, in treatment centers, they have ways of making people embrace the Program. What the slogan says is what conversion to any belief system is about.
If a candidate for A.A. is ready, you can't say anything wrong; if he's not ready, you can't say anything right.
This slogan sounds like an economic model with simultaneous equations. To solve y, x must be solved as well, and vice versa. In general life, this slogan would translate as `do everything as once.' The subtext of this slogan contradicts many others since it says do it all.
Step One only works when you do the other eleven.
People are urged to keep coming until their life is meetings. By establish personal relationships, people are reluctant to leave A.A. People eventually hear the same story over and over again until their story becomes the same. Also this slogan has the subtext of telling people that they are not that unique.
Keep coming until you hear your story.
According the following slogan, life is futile. This slogan aptly display A.A.'s bizarre. 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. Not only that, but Grant was President of the U.S. and wrote a best seller, when he was dying of cancer. I guess he didn't accomplish much since he didn't stop drinking. How utterly absurd. The subtext of the slogan is to live in the now and plan anything. It keeps people off base and dependent on A.A. meetings.
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.
STEP TWO AND THREE: UNDERSTANDING INSANE GODS
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god, as we understand him.
These two are the religious steps. You have to believe in god before you can stop drinking. Also they are subtle forms of brainwashing to make people receptive to believe in the A.A. god. These steps also introduce the notion of insanity into the mix. A.A. is full of synonyms for insanity but they do not actually mean mental illness. It is a way to segue into the disease idea of alcoholism.
Well let us 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 A.A. looking for god, and god was with me all the time? Is that the meaning of this cryptic slogan? I thought A.A. was about finding god. Or is this one of those hidden god slogans that `we were chosen by god to be members of A.A.'?
Step 2: What I came here looking for, I came here looking with.
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? This slogan makes no sense.
The emergency form of Step 3: skip it!
Is this brainwashing? You are told what to like and you decide to like it, even if you did not like it in the first place? How does needs and wants equal each other? This is a subtle form of telling people not to want anything. They should not desire more than what they need. This runs counter to American culture. This slogan tells Americans to give up being capitalists since it is a bad thing. If so, then who decides needs and wants? God? What is god in this case, a dictator to people? Is that the god that people want, a dictator?
I get what I need and inevitably find out it was what I wanted all the time.
When I first read this slogan, 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? At the very least, an unforgiving one.
If I take a drink, I take my life back.
This slogan teaches people to be passive to the point they are not invested in the outcome. Since they do not care, then they are not responsible for their actions. The A.A. god is. So A.A. members do not have to be accountable. That is the bargain that they have with this A.A. god. The rebuttal to the slogan would be: come back to it later and see what else you can do. You cannot control results but you can contribute to them.
Do what you can, let go of what you can't, and leave the results to a higher power.
Seeing is not believing. People watch magic tricks that are slight of hand that they believe are true. However, the magician is diverting the person's attention from what the he is doing so that the person is not aware of what is happening. There is an element of rivalist preaching in A.A. slogans. Witness to the healing power of the A.A. god, which only heals people only one day at a time if they want the god to do so, and only about drinking. Is that a miracle or a magic trick?
If you have a problem believing in God, go to an A.A. meeting and you'll see miracle, after miracle, after miracle. Seeing is believing.
Inquiring minds want to know what it is that they are trusting and surrendering to. Before a person can trust, they make sure that the person is worthy of their trust. A.A. shows proof by asking the person to go to meetings and see “miracles”. The logic in these slogans is twisted. If they let go or surrender something that was not theirs, then are they thieves? What is the slight of hand going on here? Why cannot a person be suspicious of the A.A. group?
Let it go, it was never yours to begin with.
Just trust and surrender that's all you really need to do.
Does the Third Step help me catch the bus in the morning? But of course since god gets me up and dressed and walks me out the door on time. And all the while, I thought I was setting my alarm, and dressing myself and being responsible enough to check the time. What is this slogan saying? God is responsible for everything, and I am just chopped liver. Well that certainly says a lot. It says this god is awful and despicable to have such a low opinion of me. I thought god loved me. This is not love; it's contempt.
The third step is the Swiss Army knife of the steps: it helps you do everything.
If a plane crashes on the border between Canada and the United States, where would you bury the survivors? You do not bury survivors. It is a question to distract people. The idea of making a decision among most people means to carry that decision out. When a judge decides a case, that decision is carried out. So stop with the silliness of frogs deciding to jump out of trees.
Of course splitting these two concepts 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...
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.)
STEP FOUR: SEARCHING IN THE DARK, BUMPING INTO WALLS
A lot has been said about Step Four and taking an inventory. The slogans involving this Step revolve around fear, taking other people's inventory, and uncovering. However, there is nothing on morality. In fact, A.A.'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 being critical of others and looking inward. There is the doing part. You do not lie, cheat, steal, or kill. 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.
This slogan is partly true. People can keep emotions frozen inside of themselves for a long time. However the painful emotions leaks out in odd ways, such as drinking too much, eating too much, sleeping, or being very busy. What this has to do with an inventory is beyond me. However, the inventory concept is based on the fear factor: if you do not face, it is going to come out anyway.
Nothing pushed down inside of us stays down for very long.
This seems to be a recurrent theme in A.A. that members are hypercritical of each other. In group therapy, this occurs often. That is why there is a third party such as a doctor to mediate things. In Christianity, they combine injunctions against doing that with examples of love and compassion. What are oddly lacking in A.A. slogans are ones about compassion for others.
The existence of these slogans of inventory taking says to me that A.A. is full of people who indulge in this activity. 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 A.A., 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.
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 slogan address one thing to getting well is a process of examining yourself. It is a process of getting well to look at your past in relationship to the self. This needs to be done with care and love. What A.A. does is once the person reveals painful knowledge is to leave them in the lurch with their discovery.
Uncover to recover.
How this slogan became a part of A.A. is beyond me. How they do take common sayings and give the peculiar A.A. twist to them. 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. Now that you are sober, start examining your actions. This is a perverted way of looking at things.
As the unexamined life is not worth living, the unlived life is not worth examining.
According to A.A., flawed people are not supposed to help make the world better. This is self-focus to the nth degree, and makes for a passive group of people. No one dares do community action since they are so worried about their selves. But also note the word `conquer', which sounds as if everyone is busy battling himself or herself. Are we at war and with whom? I believe that the religious aspects of A.A. are peeping through. Namely, we are at spiritual warfare, and must conquer ourselves lest we be conquered by the evil one.
Conquer yourself rather than the world.
How is always being right a mistake? Ken Ragge in his book pointed out that `mistake' really means `sin'. If you replace the word `mistake' with `sin', it makes more sense. Then `mistake' is one of those words that makes the religious parts of A.A. harder to detect.
There is no mistake so great as that of being always right.
What does doing Step Four reveal? I am a flawed person living in a fallen world? 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, and then do not attempt doing it.
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.
STEP FIVE: CONFESSION IN THE HOT SEAT
Step Five is a dangerous Step. A member is supposed to admit their wrongs to another person. Usually the person is their sponsor, which acts as an unlicensed therapist. The sponsor can manipulate a vulnerable person to say things they want to hear.
A.A. commands a member to share or die. Why? 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 A.A. 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, A.A. is only made up of people uneducated in the therapy process. As you see, people bond with you. The group ethics is one of if you do not share, you will drink. People are not allowed to simply listen and consider 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. Again A.A. ethics direct people to say what is A.A. approved and do not really involve the truth or helpfulness.
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.
This is another god step. A person admits to god all everything. But what does god give to you? In Christianity, you receive God's grace and forgiveness. What A.A. god gives does not seem to be either. You only get a day of sobriety.
Give to God and God will give to you.
How does admitting your wrongs to another increase your integrity? It is a part of the process of having integrity. However, there are the other aspects, which is honesty and trustworthiness as well. Telling people what you did wrong does not inspire trust as much as your actions do.
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.
STEP 6: REALLY READY TO TAKE THIS PROGRAM AND SHOVE IT
(Step 6 Were entirely ready to have god remove all these defects of character.)
On the surface, Step Six is a reasonable activity. However, it begs the question: what does being ready to have God remove defects of character have to do with stopping drinking. If drinking is a defect of character, then why go to A.A. to ask God to remove it? Why not ask the God of your religion to do it? Why does a religious person need to be told do this? Why does a person with no god-belief need to be told it?
The language also presents a subtext “entirely ready” instead of just ready. The expression refers to people's self will. “All the defects” sounds as if the person is so horribly flawed that they have no hope. However what is a character defect and who defines it?
Abandoning your character defects is the same as abandoning yourself. What is this mixed metaphor about? How do you abandon defects of character? I mean do you abandon ship or something?
Choosing to abandon defects of character
You accept character defects and then let them go? I do not understand the concept. What is frightening about this slogan 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. A.A tells people “God doesn't make trash.” Then A.A. tells people, even though they are god-made that they have defects! This goes around and around and makes no sense. My head swims at the very thought of it all.
The key to step 6 is acceptance -- accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go.
Ah this slogan is the rub. That is what A.A. wants people to do which is to accept that their disease is to remove their defect of defiance. Now what is wrong with defiance? It disturbs the cozy little A.A. world and disrupts the peacefulness of the program. This slogan lays bare the truth of the Program. The actual disease of A.A. is not drinking, but defiance. They demand that a member obey the authority of the Big Book and the wisdom of the founders. That is the real disease that A.A. is talking about when they talk bout denial. If a person asks questions or state they do not agree, they are told they have the disease of defiance.
Part of compliance is defiance, but you must arrive at acceptance of the disease.
This slogan does not address what pain and fear. This is a common theme in general self-help books. Somehow you have to get from point a to point b. However, the caveat is that some fear and pain need to be worked through very carefully or self- harm will result.
Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go.
Well willpower is a form of defiance, so willingness means acceptance. The subtext of these is stuff your doubts and does what you are told to do. The first slogan demonstrates how A.A. is amateur therapists. They treat phobias. However in the A.A. world, it means admitting that you are an idiot and everyone else knows how to live your life.
Do what you don't want to do.
W.O.W. Willingness over willpower.
Ah, these are the crux of the Sixth Step. You have give up yourself, so that you do not rock the boat. A.A. says accept the status quo. You cannot go out and try to make anything better. If you do that, you will get drunk. But how is this removal of defects of character about changing the world? It is the opposite; it keeps you from do just that.
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.
How? I thought that dating was when you were on your best behavior, not at your worst. In the slogans, A.A. takes a dim view of people dating or having relationships. The slogans center around the notion that you are a screw up, so do not get screwed.
Dating is pouring Miracle Gro on my character defects.
STEP SEVEN: “DON'T BE SO HUMBLE, YOU AREN'T THAT GREAT.”
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
In Step Seven, humility is stressed in the slogans. A.A. has an odd sense of humility. To A.A. humility is associated with ego deflation, which considered a virtue. Humility is a goal that A.A. people must work for. However, few slogans address “short comings” or asking God have them to be removed. Further reviewing Step Seven, a person will realize that it is a command. “I am demanding that God remove my shortcomings”. The emphasis on humility softens the demand but it remains.
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.
The removal of shortcomings is how you are supposed to be of service. But what is service? A.A. narrowly defines service in terms of 12-step calls, but not picking up litter in the park.
If you want to feel better right away, ask God to help you be of service.
These slogans present a standard Christian concept. When a person asks God for patience, God will give them practice. In short, God teaches them 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. According to the slogans, the subtext is that Step Seven is useless.
When I ask for patience, God gives me a traffic jam.
If you pray for honesty, the chances of your lying go 'way up.
In their slogans, AA always adds a tag line, a zinger that puts their members in their place. The zinger is usually something to humble the person. This zinger does more than that, it tears at the person and tells them that they are less than zero. In fact, they are zero with the lines rubbed out. Instead of being assured of God's love, they are informed that his love is conditional and wanting.
When God closes one door, he always opens another - but sometimes he makes us wait out in the hallway for a while.
These two go together since being made humble is drinking. Look at the condemning part of these slogans. If the A.A. god is a loving, caring god who is always looking out for your own good, then who does the condemning?
Get humble or be made humble.
Unless one attains some degree of humility, one is condemned to drink.
I never understood that this slogan. What are the other virtues that are important to A.A.? According to various lists that associate virtues with Steps, they are honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, brotherly love, justice, spirituality, and service. I fail to see how all of these virtues spring from humility.
Humility is the soil in which all other virtues grow.
This slogan sounds like someone with an overworked brain made it up at 3AM. While A.A. is full of slogans about keeping the proper size, they have none to uplift people. Most people only hear `keep the right size'.
Humility is that virtue which reduces a man to the proper size without degrading him, thereby increasing him in statue without inflating him.
Leave it to A.A. to make things 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 venereal disease.
Humility is like a venereal disease. If you have it, you don't talk about it.
STEP EIGHT: MAKING A LIST AND CHECKING IT TWICE
Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
On the surface Step Eight is a useful endeavor. In the listings of the Steps and what they represent, Step Eight is associated with brotherly love, reflection, and willingness. However, the opposite is often the result of doing Step Eight. If I took an inventory of all the people that I have harmed in my life, I would want to kill myself. First, how is harm defined in A.A. terms? The Big Book 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. In the A.A. worldview, people are selfish twits who are so self-absorbed that they cannot determine whether they have harmed anyone. These twits are injustice collectors and professional victims. Step Eight is a means to keep people quiet since harm is also defined as having strong emotions of anger and hurt.
According to this slogan, if someone angers you, you are liable to make mistakes. You are too busy concentrating on what they are doing. What is the context in A.A.? Anger is a banned emotion, while serenity is the desired emotion. A.A. reasons that if you become angry, you will get resentment, and then you will drink. But e 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. Face with a lost in passenger fares, Greyhound puts chair lifts on their buses. Meanwhile, in A.A.'s world, people need to be passive. If they become active, they will drink.
Those who anger you, conquer you
This slogan means what you find out in your inventory give you the information to go do something about it. I have a problem with all this emphasis on inventory taking. I think it makes people self-absorbed and self-conscious, which many seemed to be in A.A.
Don't just take an inventory; let it take you.
Love in A.A. is associated with drinking and screwing up. Relationships are frowned upon in a peculiar way. I wonder why. Is there something about the negativity of love that makes it seem profound? For me, love is embracing every thing. I do not understand how A.A. associates love with a sense of loss. This is another undertone of A.A. in regards to emotions.
Love is less a feeling than a thousand tiny acts of kindness.
LOVE: Letting go Of Virtually Everything.
To open oneself up to love, is to open oneself up to loss.
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?
The victims of alcoholism are those around us.
There are no victims, only volunteers.
STEP NINE: ESCAPE RESPONSIBILITY IN STYLE
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 do not think of amendment as a virtue, just something that is added to the U.S. Constitution and to laws. Many of the Step Nine slogans deal with blaming others. The underlying message is that no one is an aggrieved party.
What a thought stopper these slogans are. In short, do not judge people 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 these slogans were followed, there would be no court cases. People who are wronged sued for redress from judges. Is A.A. telling people that since we have wronged people, we should never seek out redress when we are wronged? These slogans remind me of people on who say that the other person is suing to get back at them. Then the accused person goes on about how bad the other person is. However, it does not address the wrong that was done to the person seeking justice.
Don't point a finger; point the whole hand (reach out).
When you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you.
In Step Nine discussions, members stress making amends to themselves. People should put themselves on the Step Eight 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.
If you stop treating yourself poorly, it will become unacceptable for others to do so.
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.
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.
According to A.A., people should not demand justice or they have to face the awful
consequences. What exactly is A.A. saying in this slogan? They are saying that there is no such thing as justice. What exists is petty and trivial self-seeking. If someone demands that a wrong be rectified, then they reveal themselves to a petty person. What are the consequences that A.A. is afraid of? I imagine they are making people uncomfortable, stirring up the pot, or drinking again. Again, this concept is a vague A.A. idea that people fill in as they go along. I think that this demeans the concept and morality of justice. AA is not really about forming ethical people, but 'serene people'.
When I demand justice, I'd better think of the consequences.
STEP 10: AS THE WORM TURNS
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Perseverance, Vigilance, and Maintenance are the virtues associated with this step in A.A. circles. How maintenance is a virtue is a mystery to me. Constancy is a virtue but that is in what is meant in A.A. This Step is the one that keeps people on the perpetual wheel of the steps.
How is it absolutely necessary to admit being wrong? Why could not it just be necessary? Why do we need to maintain spiritual progress in our recovery? I thought people needed to make non-drinking progress.
Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery.
I think the metaphor is mixed in the next slogan. “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Liberty is not a gift but something that is fought for, and which people keep on fighting for.
Is A.A. equaling sobriety to liberty? If so, then it is not a gift, but something that people fought for. But if sobriety is a gift, then it is something that can be taken away. Hence the price is eternal vigilance. Who is going to take away the gift? God? AA members? Who gave the gift in the first place?
Sobriety is a gift, the price of which is eternal vigilance.
STEP 11: INSPIRED NAVEL GAZING
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. Slogans about Step Eleven are chockfull of God and prayer. However, the slogans only skim the surface of prayer as practiced by most religions: Glorify God, Thank God, Petition God, and Adore God. The stress in A.A. is gratitude but not for God but for the Steps, Programs, Big Book. AA does not 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 A.A. In short A.A.'s idea of prayer is asking god will for me, nothing more or less. Prayer is much more than that. It embraces the community of believers, while AA's prayers are empty of love for anyone not an object of A.A. recruiting effort. Praying the A.A. way leads to ideas that God is a sadistic, cosmic bellhop.
What has struck me about this Step is how much A.A. is wrapped up in a religion. How does the Eleventh Step prevent people from drinking? You have to have a god belief, and not just any god belief -- the A.A. god belief. But how does this god belief prevent people from drinking?
Well if these don't appear to be A.A. version of Zen koans, then I don't be. However, unlike Zen koans, which are used for meditation, these dribblings are profound nothings. 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 induce a sense of passivity: Just be. Be a rock. Just sit there and shut up.
BE a human being not a human doing
Be here now
Don't know, just be.
What will be will appear.
People in A.A. have two choices. They can pray for something to be fixed, or for God's will for them. Either way, god is a repairman. The A.A. view of God is of a needy child asking a parent for things.
If you only pray when you need something fixed, you're turning God into a repairman.
Are not these slogans a direct contradiction of the previous one? Praying for help is wanting something fixed. But prayer is many things. These 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 cannot pray for world peace, the poor people in Asia and other things that need praying for. In short, in A.A., the members do not pray to change a thing outside of their small circle.
A.A. assumes that people only pray to God to get their own way. The reality is that A.A. 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. These slogans indicate that Man has no relationship with God, nor should Man cultivate one.
Praying is asking God for help, meditating is listening for God's answer.
We don't pray to change things; we pray to change us.
Prayer is not a device for getting my own way, but rather a means to become what I should be.
A member encounters slogans exhorting them to pray. If they do not pray, they are assumed to be neglecting god. A.A. shames people into thinking that they must always be ready for A.A. work. The surface text is that members are too busy for God. They must make time for God or else. The subtext of is that if a member is too busy for A.A. work, then they are going to get drunk.
Daily Meditation 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.
A.A. stresses that everyone pray on their knees in the morning. In different religions, people pray in different forms. This is also one of those silly slogans that make no sense. But there is the connection with magical thinking of if you pray on your knees you will stay sober. If you pray standing up, you will not.
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.
Many religions require their adherents to ask themselves what is God's will for them. In A.A., the tag line of `today' flows into the idea of 'one day at a time'.
What is God's Will for me today?
This slogan counters the standard saying of “God helps those who help themselves.” In A.A. dogma, a person relies on god, then on themselves but too much or that is `self-will run riot.” But, at the same time, they are not supposed to rely on god too much either or that is being lazy. If this does not make sense, that is because the dogma does not.
Pray as if everything depended on God; work as if everything depends on ourselves.
This A.A. slogan is a cruel one. It whips the person into do meditation so they can keep sober. The slogan belies how A.A. conflicts with other religions. Roman Catholics have as their religious duties to do good works. The coupling of `earning' with `meditation' is a bizarre one.
No person can spend more on good works than they earn in meditation.
These slogans complement the A.A. dogma of `one day at a time.' A.A. presents the assumption is that if you don not pray, then you are asking to get drunk. People pray for many reasons. They pray out of devotion and love to their God. They do not do it to feel good or to keep from having a bad day. These A.A. slogans demean prayer.
A day without prayer is a day unfulfilled.
A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel.
STEP 12: WAKE UP AND RECRUIT
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
A.A. members have made lists of the principles attached to the Steps. They are 1) honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, brotherly love, justice, perseverance, spirituality and service, or 2) surrender, hope, commitment, honesty, truth, willingness, humility, reflection, amendment, vigilance, attunement and service, or 3) 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. A.A.'s list of principles reveal exactly what they consider a principled person to be like. Humility, willingness, service, honesty, hope are the top principles of A.A. What an interesting grouping. The ideal A.A. member is a humble, hope-filled, honest person willing to do service. Exactly how do these principles stop a person from drinking?
They told me that as I'd had a spiritual awakening as a result of the steps, I'd have to carry the message. I quickly caught on that "spirituality" was more of a cozy, yummy feeling inside as a result of thinking about god.
The result of applying the Principles of the Program is a miracle. Again, notice the slight-of-hand, that A.A. makes in changing the meaning of `principles' from ethical behavior to major parts. Tell me exactly how does focus, courage and willingness to learn equal a miracle? I thought it was equal to achievement through hard work. To me, A.A. asks people to make tremendous efforts then dismisses those efforts, giving credit to the magical god. The A.A. subtext 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 schoolteachers would say about that as well, since they expect their students to be focused, have courage and a willingness to learn.
Focus plus Courage plus Willingness to Learn equals Miracles.
I hate these types of slogans. I really do. If I were malevolent dictator for a day, I would make every A.A. member read all these odious slogans and rewrite them. For me, A.A. indulges in
degrading something serious into a banal vulgarity. This tendency in A.A. is that the anger at the Program is seeping through. These zingers are from disgruntled people who are unhappy with A.A. but cannot acknowledge it. For them, it is simpler to zing away.
Practice these principles in all your affairs - or change your affairs.
In A.A., people cannot choose what service work they want to do; they are told what they must do. In A.A., all people are the same. 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. For me, service is love of people in action. I give to Goodwill not out of gratitude but because I think someone else can profit from the things I no longer want to keep. A.A. manipulates people into doing their service work but making them guilty since they have not displayed enough gratitude. In A.A.'s eyes, a person is selfish because they do what they want to do, not what A.A. WANTS THEM TO DO.
Trust in God, clean house, and work with others
Service: Shut up, show up and say yes.
Service is gratitude in action.
This is one those handy dandy turn inside out slogans that A.A. loves to do. The subtext is a put down against thoughtful people. The subtext is `intelligent people are pains in the butt, and they don't care'. Stupid people care a lot.
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
The greatest gift that can come to anybody is being left alone. The greatest gift is having a child. People can certainly expand this list depending on their cultural and religious leanings. I disagree with the use of the word “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 for you is to have me disappear.
The greatest gift that can come to anybody is a spiritual awakening.
Exactly what is 'sober usefulness'? Is that being a judge?
Awakening into sober usefulness
This is a selfish program. EGO - Easing God out. So which is it?
AA leads us to God, and God leads us to ourselves.
I am a squirrel having a nutty experience, or am I a nut having a squirrelly experience. Does it matter? If you are one of the “A.A. chosen ones”, it does. This particular slogan presents the New Age concept of “we are star seeds.”
Are you a human being having a spiritual experience? Or a spiritual being having a human experience?
Actually I have no idea what these mean. The message is under the ashtray? How about under the soda can?
Carry the message, not the mess.
The message is under the ashtray.
The message is up front.
This slogan is a real zinger, especially when the members are told about how spiritual they have to be. I think this slogan is directed towards what Wilson called “bleeding deacons”. That pejorative is shows Wilson's contempt for organized religion. He flirted with converting to Roman Catholicism, but he remained firmly ingrained in the “cult” of the Oxford Group. In many churches, to be a church deacon is an honor. The position of deacon requires a calling and study. I wonder if 'bleeding' was in reference to Christ's Wounds. But the expression is a way to separate people from their own religions.
Some of us get so spiritual; we are of no earthly value to anyone.
What is this slogan saying? Members of A.A. are so special because they survived hell? They are the “Chosen Ones”, after all. This slogan puffs up the A.A. member as one of the Select.
Most people hope to avoid hell; spiritual people have been there.
This slogan is a slap against rich and well-off people. A.A. is full of contempt for people with
money. It reminds me of the glorification of poverty to keep the masses from uprising and demand their share.
The more have on the inside, the less you need on the outside.
In A.A., spirituality is a catch all for a lot of things. “How we treat others is a consequence of the depth of our own spirituality.”
The subtext of this slogan is that drunks are unlovable. “We are hardest to love when we need love most.”
The idea of sponsorship in A.A. is to help the sponsor not the sponsored. “When I am working with a drunk, sometimes the drunk I'm working on is me.”
Translation of these slogans: get more members for the organization. The other subtext is magical thinking. If you give a great deal, you will receive abundance in return. This was adopted from the Christian idea for good works and charity but with an A.A. twist.
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
Only in giving do we receive in full measure.
If I follow the logic of the next slogan, then the following is accurate. I am supposed to be at the bus stop waiting for the bus, with my tokens, to get on the bus. This is one of those seemingly profound sayings that are really rubbish. However, the subtext is you are supposed to be at meetings, sharing your experience, strength, and hope, and sponsor people when they ask. In short, give your all to the greater glory of A.A.
Be where you are supposed to be, do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it.
On the surface of this slogan, the idea proposed makes sense. “You can't keep going to the well when the well has run dry.” However, the subtext is that you have to keep going to meetings to get the Program.
I can only help another to the degree that I've been helped myself.
The logic of this famous A.A. slogan is convoluted. How am I responsible for that for the hand of A.A. being there? According this slogan, A.A. has no support. The covert message to the members is if you don't do it, A.A. will fall. The destruction of A.A. will be on your head. Because of you, all those drunks will die. This guilt-inducing load is too much for many to carry.
The truth is different. A.A. receives many members by treatment centers and jail sentences. In addition, A.A., which is a non-profit corporation, has departments to maintain A.A. They collect money, print Big Books and maintain an umbrella for the area districts. In short, A.A. can survive nicely without members recruiting other members. However this saying stresses that A.A. is a willow-o-wisp only existing in the mind of the members. That is patently not true.
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there: and for that, I am responsible.
STEP 13: PREDATORS IN A.A. AND A.A. DOESN'T CARE
The famous Step 13 is whispered about and hinted at but no one actually comes out and denies it. It is a senior member who sexually abuses a newcomer in the guise of teaching the Program. This step started with Wilson, who liked to sponsor young women. He made two of them his mistresses and willed one of them 10 percent of his income. Since the 1930s, A.A. has done nothing to combat the problem. Instead A.A. says that it is a group problem, it cannot be involved, that would violate the Traditions. However, A.A. was willing to sue a member over the copyright of the Big Book. This shows where their true priorities are. Sexual abuse stories abound in A.A. and people warned about certain members. But nobody does anything saying that they have to look to their side of the street or some such nonsense.
The other aspect of these slogans is why they exist. The slogans serve as a warning but that is not enough. A.A. needs to make the groups safe for people. However, they will hide behind their non-interference policies. By their silence, they do not consider sexual predation a problem. However, these slogans hint at: WARNING, WARNING.
Step 1 plus Step 12 equals Step 13
Step 13: Newcomer meet newcomer in A.A. is worse than the 13th step - it's more like 26.
SLOGANS: MEMES FOR THE MIND
This is another one of those handy-dandy slogans to encompass the program. They forgot the Big Book is the prescription. And the traditions are the doctor's office. The promises are “a writ of good health”. The meetings are “out patient care”. This slogan imprints the disease idea of alcoholism in people's minds. However, other A.A. slogans state that there is no cure for alcoholism.
The slogans are Band-aids; the Steps are the cure; your higher power is the doctor.
Well all right, but could you be a bit more explicit. After all according to one slogan, “slogans are wisdom”. So is this one of those words twisting that A.A. subjects us to?
Don't ever be someone else's slogan because you are poetry.
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.
Program bumper stickers belong on the dashboard, not the bumper.
The slogans are wisdom written in shorthand
TRADITIONS: THE ESCAPE CLAUSES
On the surface this slogan makes sense. People need to a common cause. However, if you combine it with the other A.A. slogans, the slogan actually says, “don't be different, you will disturb the group.” Disrupt the group and you will destroy the group. The A.A. group is so fragile that one surly individual can explode it into little pieces.
The other sense of the slogan 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 says that they are there for the person, but in reality the opposite.
Tradition 1: The things we alcoholics have in common are more important than our differences.
Let us motivate people through guilt. Never forget that if you fail to give, you will cause the lights to be turned out. (This is a common fund raising ploy in A.A., since the days of Wilson.) Then you will be the cause of countless deaths. Nobody seems to ask where does the money go? Remember that A.A. is a non-profit corporation, whose funds come from a variety of placed.
Remember the cost of your last drink when observing the 7th tradition.
BIG BOOK: HOLY WRIT MADE UP
People in A.A. treat the Big Book as holy writ. It is a collection of stories of how people become sober and gives glory to A.A. Wilson, who pretended to be his wife to write a chapter about wives, mostly wrote the first chapters. The writing is largely incomprehensible and banal.
In A.A., members must never feel self-pity. Think about self-pity for a moment. You are told you have an incurable, deadly disease from which you will not recover. 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 would not you scream, "WHY ME!"
My first reaction to the other slogan is, "The shortest sentence in the Bible is "Jesus wept." For me, this slogan equates the Big Book with the Bible, and Wilson with Christ. But again what is it that works and why do people need to be told again and again. It leads one to think it really does not work or is made up.
Chapter five (Big Book) is called "how it works", not "why me?"
The shortest sentence in the big book is, "It Works."
A.A. certainly has a lot of slogans with word plays on drinking. Why so many for an organization whose objectives is to help to stop drinking. This slogan is cute but points to the preoccupation that members have with drinking. In order to be effective, people need to be encouraged to replace thoughts of drinking including metaphors with other things.
How it works: half gallons availed us nothing.
This slogan is inane. Warning Label on Big Book: Sobriety and reading of the Big Book may cause Excessive Happiness.
You don't need the latest self-improvement bestseller. You have the classic in your hands.
Prevent truth decay -- read your Big Book
Which is it - a book that is the A.A. Bible or only a self-improvement bestseller? The only way you can get a copy until recently is through A.A. meetings. However, most people do not read the book unless they are forced to.
How does a book get smarter? These are a putdown on the reader. Why would anyone want to read a book that demeans them? However, people in A.A. try to find meaning in this work since they regard it as the Bible. These slogans demonstrate self-hate running rampant in A.A. Why else would people take this abuse?
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.
Read your Big Book every day, but try reading only the black parts.
Once of those rare books that gets smarter every time I read it.
The reason I keep going to meetings is because the Big Book has no pictures in it.
If you want to hide something from an alcoholic, hid it in the Big Book, because that is where he will find it.
AA LAWS: SELF HATE WRIT LARGE
The Law of Oversell: When putting cheese in a mousetrap, always leave room for the mouse.
The Law of Reality: Never get into fights with ugly people, they have nothing to lose.
The Law of Self sacrifice: When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last.
The Law of Drunkenness: You can't fall off the floor.
Make no major changes in the first year.
So now A.A. takes over your and tells you want to do.