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Alcoholism: Busting the AA Monopoly

category international | consumer issues | opinion/analysis author Déardaoin Deireadh Fómhair 13, 2005 15:10author by "John" Report this post to the editors

Is there really only one true faith?

Alcoholism is a bad thing, right? Anybody who makes any attempt to eradicate it deserves our gratitude and encouragement. Well, that’s not the story at all, as it turns out. There is only one way to do it and it’s the Alcoholics Anonymous way. At least according to AA themselves, that is. Theirs is the only thing that works and they are 100% infallible in what they say and do. Jesus Christ had more self-doubt than the AA.

This article is written by an alcoholic, a person who progressed from a glass or two of wine with the evening meal to a minimum of one bottle a night. Holding it at just the one bottle is something of an achievement, in fact. At this rate, I’m not long for this world. This is a shocking state of affairs for a parent of two suffering children in what should be the prime of his life, as a husband whose partner is at her wits end and as a member of the community in which my participation is unreliable and self-centred. I am failing significantly on all three counts because of this problem. More than that, I am a burden to everyone who knows me. But the demon has gotten hold of me and, along with many other alcoholics, I seem utterly powerless over this situation. I alternate between a remorseful and hung-over drunk in the morning and a blithe, carefree ‘it’s-only- a- drink- and- it- makes- me- feel-so-nice why- shouldn’t-I’ evening tippler. This is the remorseful me speaking. Anyway, that’s the personal history over with, just so you know where I’m coming from and that I’m not monkeying around with this subject. Do I want to do something about all this? Is the Pope Catholic?

And here is the crux of the problem that I bring to you. Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12-step system simply doesn’t work. Not for the vast majority of drunks who go to them for help.

Let’s understand one thing, before we continue though: AA didn’t make me or any other alcoholic become alcoholic and they have many things to say about alcoholism and alcoholics which are painfully true to confront at times. Whatever is said below, their literature is worth reading if you are a drunk.

But for many people, fact is, they make the situation a lot worse. Here is a statistic that non-alcoholics may not be aware of: AA doesn’t work for 80% of the people who try them out. And that’s AA’s own figure – other people say the figure is as high as 95/98%. If this was a drug we were talking about, it wouldn’t even get off the ground. But the exact opposite has happened where AA are concerned and they have grown to a worldwide organisation of 2,076935 transient members in 105,294 groups. The number of alcoholics around the world far exceeds that and many of us are floundering; desperate to get this compulsion under control. And in a country where alcoholism has practically become our way of life, this situation needs urgent reassessment. Ireland, the home of the alcoholic. ‘Give me two drinks bar-tender, one for me and one for the road.’

So how does something which is so unsuccessful become so well-established? AA has insinuated its way into the hearts and minds of every profession, that’s how. From judges in court recommending treatment ‘programmes’ for offenders, to marriage guidance counsellors looking at red-faced, bleary-eyed men and women, AA are the automatic port of call wherever the alcoholism problem raises its head. Some of these professionals will be members of AA themselves of course.

I am writing under an assumed identity and everyone knows about the fabled anonymity of the AA. A cast iron secret never, ever to be shared with anyone or even discussed outside of group meetings. Members however are free to associate in certain ways and there is actually something very sinister about this aspect of AA. There are networks of AA members everywhere that most people are not aware of. The influence which AA members have is unknown and unkowable unless someone breaks ranks. When you consider the true success rate of the AA programme against its pheonomenal power and influence as an organisation, it seems logical to at least ask how the latter was really achieved.

According to the AA, recovery is restricted to those who are ‘emotionally capable’. And that it seems is only between 2-20% of the millions of ‘the stream of despair, illness, misery and death’ who pass through AA each year. AA have the explanation for their lack of success neatly sewn up: it is not, it turns out, your physical disposition that is responsible after all, when it comes to recovery, it is the fault of the alcoholic themselves.

This is a pretty neat psychological trick to be playing on vulnerable people. You are first of all taught to excoriate yourself, reduce yourself to an object of utter humiliation and virtual self-loathing. Nothing that has ever gone wrong in your life is ever the fault of anyone or anything else but you - the whole sorry, god-awful mess is down to you alone. Any idea that well, yes, you’ve been an awful shit a good bit of the time but maybe you were a victim yourself occasionally will be immediately stamped on as evidence of your lack of ‘emotional stability’. There are no other bad people in the world - except other alcoholics. You must do ‘a fearless and searching moral inventory’ to ascertain the full extent of your awfulness. Your poor, unsuspecting friends and family will, subsequently, be confronted and generally embarrassed by apologies for incidents and accidents that may have taken place 20 years earlier. And when you have stripped away every vestige of self-respect you are then ready to replace your mental faculties with the contents of ‘The Book’ – the AA bible. AA have a lot of neat psychological tricks, since I am on the subject. ‘Analysis paralysis’ is a term they use to describe those who are struggling with questions that AA don’t seem to be able to answer. Thinking is to be discouraged. Your intelligence is redefined as supidity and unpleasantness in the AA world.

The AA philosophy is full of contradictions and paradoxes like these. When you try to talk to one of the long-term members, you are basically talking to ‘The Book’. Virtually everything they say to you will be a quote from it: maxims and bon-mots with a cutesy-clever ring to them that divert you from your question and throw you back, always and ever, on the idea that it is not the answer that you need to worry about but that you shouldn’t actually be asking the question in the first place. A lot of people commit suicide. AA reserves its bitterest contempt for those people – so that even this evidence of the organisations failure amounts, in the wholly self-serving AA logic, only to proof of the person’s disgusting state of emotional incapability.

But alcoholism is an addiction, right? So how can the above be true at the same time? It is high time that responsible state bodies or others who are in a position to do it, looked very carefully at the suicide rates among former AA members. This is not a benign organisation for many people – in fact for most of us who come into contact with them, they do nothing but make you feel a whole lot worse and a lot less able to deal with the drinking. The idea that you are a piece of dirt, really, takes hold and where once you felt at least some optimism about making the attempt, now you feel so awful about yourself that you wont even try for fear of failing and the renewed and increased sense of self-loathing that goes with it. We need to start prising the deeply embedded claws of the AA out of the body politic and put them back in the corner where they rightly belong. At the very least let’s know them for what they really are: an organisation with a negligible track record of actually curing alcoholism. (Cutesy AA response to which is ‘there is no cure’! You need to stay with us for life!)

Something is wrong here, surely? At AA meetings you will meet a representative sample of the general population: cleaners, pub owners, doctors, teachers, wives, college students – everybody is there. One thing that strikes you after a while is how much intelligence there is in evidence. Alcoholism is a condition that forces you to cut to the chase, to get your brain fully onto the job in hand. There is no room for stupidity when dealing with it and there are very few displays of emotional incapability at those meetings, in reality. Our stories are horrendous in almost every case and the atmosphere is one of intense, quiet remorse.

This drinker would like to know how much money is spent on researching alcoholism? Curious that we don’t seem to have much information about how alcohol acts on us to create this dependency. Call me paranoid (and I admit I’ve got a hangover) but isn’t there a massive alcohol industry out there which is making billions of dollars of profit out of this misery every day? What percentage of that profit is made from alcoholics? Most of it, probably. The industry is adamant there is no harm in drinking modestly. But alcohol is an addictive substance, just like cigarettes, or heroin and we don’t advise that it’s OK to have a little of what you fancy where they are concerned. There is one well-known alternative therapist who says that basically, we are all alcoholics to the extent that we drink at all. It is only a question of degree. Everyone who drinks is involved. We’ve made alcohol so central to our lives – from birth until death literally - that unless we do a radical rethink the problem is in danger of undermining our society. On any given day the number of people out there who are affected mentally and physically to a greater or lesser extent by alcohol is huge and this must be having an enormous impact on our society, not just in terms of the typical drunk but of more subtle things that are not attributed to it at all. Even three glasses of wine will impair the judgment of the drinker the next day.

For all these reasons we need to look much harder at ways and means of tackling this problem once and for all. A tough and objective analysis is needed where AA are concerned. If it works for a few people, fair enough. But let’s stop this lunacy of pretending that it is the only solution or that is even a good one.

The AA website:
http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/

AA Success Rates (by the AA)
http://www.voai.org/Success%20Rate.htm

author by M'ehpublication date Aoine Beal 06, 2011 16:11Report this post to the editors

Alcoholism is not a disease, it's an addiction to a substance, much like smoking.
AA is just a cult, go to www.morerevealed.com, www.orange-papers.org,www.moonmac.com. etc.
Quoting the big book as argument just shows how indoctrinated those people are.
M'eh, oh by the way I have a rock that keeps bears away!!!! Well of course it works, ya don't see any bears around do ya???

author by Bob L - Nonepublication date Máirt Feabh 10, 2009 11:24author email croundup at telus dot netReport this post to the editors

My name is Bob L.
About me, AA at 19, 1 meeting, hated it, left, continued drinking, at 23 near died, car crash, quit driving, continued drinking, at 31, 1 meeting, admitted alcoholic, wouldn't submit, left, continued drinking, at 35 near died again, continued drinking, at 42, called AA, asked for help to recover, Did what was suggested, been sober a bit longer than this thread has been going, and continue to attend and help others achieve sobriety.

Back to the original questions in this thread;

Q: Why does AA believe its mehtod to be the best and only one in the face of the actual evidence?

Bob's Answer: AA does not engage in controversy and has "no monopoly on sobriety" as is stated in our literature. Chapter 5 of our text states, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has THOROUGHLY FOLLOWED OUR PATH". Meaning the path of BILL W, Dr. Bob, and the first 100 members who wrote our text in 1935. If you didn't get "IT" you probably weren't willing to follow thoroughly, and do what the first hundred did to get sober. That is your own choice and doesn't mean you won't find sobriety yourself or somewhere else, some do, but many also follow their insane behavior to Jail, the grave, or the asylum due to their inability to see the TRUTH of their own situation or find an alternative solution that works. I was one of those for over two decades, my own inability to see the truth keeping me from help. I can't find a solution if I don't admit there's a problem and become willing to find a solution.
If in doubt about anything AA, especially what some newer members spew as advice, READ THE LITERATURE, you will find that some sick people think they have all the answers, a few might, some don't, but the books do have the wisdom to find the solution to anyones lack of alcohol problem.
The face of actual evidence is that 2,000,000+ people are sober by following thoroughly and leading a relatively more normal sober life and giving back to society rather than getting drunk, driving, killing, fighting, cheating, and making misery for themselves, their loved ones, and their victims loved ones. Is 2,000,000 today plus all the past away members proof of hopeless drunks finding a solution through AA. I'd say that's pretty good evidence it works for those who seek it and are willing to do what is required to stay sober. And it even works for some of us who don't want it, until alcohol has caused enough misery to change our minds.

Q: Why does it think it is infallible in every way?

Bob's answer: I would love to know who told you AA was infallible. In my opinion nothing is. Fact is, name one thing besides God that is perfect. You can't, and neither can anyone else because nothing created by or run by humans is perfect. So the question is bogus to begin with. The recovery program is excellent and works well. The organization of AA is just a means of trusted servants carrying the message of recovery through literature, Public Information, Cooperation with the professional community, Treatment, Corrections, and other services we offer to anyone who asks. AA is what it is, and this is what AA says it is;

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience stregnth and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. There are no dues or fees for AA membership we are self supporting through our own contibutions. AA is not allied with and sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; neither endorses nor opposes any causes, Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics acvhieve sobriety.

Weather AA works for you or not is, as you say, due to your own viewpoint. I can lead you to water but I can't make you drink it. Unless of course you think we should force people aganist their will to do what they don't want to, and make them recover no matter what. That sounds like dictatorship stuff and very wrong where I come from. It is not the fault of AA if people choose to walk away from it, I chose to walk away in my younger days, does that make AA imperfect? No, it made me opinionated and unwilling to learn about my alcoholism and how to treat it. Please inform me if you find a miracle or some other thing that works and can keep a former hopeless drunk, happy, healthy, sane, productive, loving, kind, forgiving, and sober on a pretty much continual basis.

I did my best to answer as an anonymous AA member and I hope you find sobriety if you seek it, inside or outside AA.
Sincerely Bob L. Chilliwack B.C. Canada

author by Its all Yin Yang Baby!publication date Aoine Samh 21, 2008 02:05author email alisond1970 at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Yes, I agree with the last post. It is amazing that this thread has gone on for years and I think that outlines that there is a strong need for these issues to be discussed.

I strongly suspect there are many 'ex-steppers' out there and many who, have tried AA, and found it lacking. AA has some good points and some bad points, as we all do, as is human nature. I can understand how the author of this article can see AA this way. Having been in AA myself and sober for many years, I no longer attend meetings and during my time there I had had many experiences with 'AA Nazis' and controlling sponsors, so much so it was detrimental to my mental health, but you know what, I worked it out and moved on. AA was a huge learning experience for me. I can focus on the bad things about it or I can focus on the positive qualities.

I would suggest to anyone who has a drinking problem and is thinking of going to AA by all means go, but, as they are so fond of saying, "take what you need and leave the rest". Get a good therapist, look after your health (diet & gentle excercise), don't beat yourself up if you slip.

If you go to AA, be decerning about what you hear and who you befriend. Take the time to get to know them before rushing into friendships. Make use of the services that AA provides, and give back something too. There are good people in AA, they are just a little more difficult to spot, because they are usually the quiet ones. They won't lavish attention on you or give you their phone number the minute they meet you. They are the ones that aren't on the AA speakers curcuit, nor do they go to the convensions. Perhaps they don't 'share' that well, and they're not 'guru's' with a 100 sponsees but they are there and they are worth their weight in gold and worth sticking around for until you are strong enough on your own.

author by Sereneteepublication date Domh DFómh 26, 2008 16:50Report this post to the editors

It's amazing that this particular thread has gone on for years!
I believe for some, the topic has become "an obsession of the mind"! LOL
I think it all comes down to one thing, trying to sway other human beings to think the same way as "they" do.
I became a big pain in the butt to others by always taking the "other side" of every argument, seemed to be a need in me to argue,
even if I had originally agreed! haha! My insanity!
I'm really glad today that I don't "have" to do that to get attention, I can state my truth and then let it go.
"The truth is, if I'm right I don't need to defend it, and if I'm wrong, I can't.
There's plenty of alcoholics out there to try everything, and we usually do try everything till we're really ready to accept help, by whatever means that ends up being, sometimes A.A., sometimes another type of group, sometimes medical help, sometimes church, sometimes shear white-knuckling it, really don't matter. And some can live with it, and some die from it, period.
One thing I do know is that if you call Alcoholics Anonymous with all these arguments they'll tell you they don't get involved in the controversy, and I have to respect that.
As in any group of people you'll get those who choose to argue their point, but more often in A.A. they don't, it even says in their guidelines that A.A. should stay out of controversy. (Of any kind)
So, I'm not saying that that there aren't other ways of helping folks with alcoholism, I'm saying if it works for you, good deal!
Who are we to say what will or will not work for others? We can share what worked for us, and leave the decision up to them what they'll do. After all, it's the best end result that we're all searching for is it not?
The world would be a better place if we all respected each others right to make their own decisions. Even if we should feel they're wrong, we can allow them that freedom.
Peace be with you

author by Pablopublication date Sath Márta 29, 2008 06:44Report this post to the editors

The PTA is an overtly Catholic organisation that helps people overcome drink problems. It also encourages young people to take a pledge never to drink alcohol. Many Irish men with serious alcohol problems have resorted to Sister Consuelo, who has a dryout center near Athy in Kildare. Alcohol dependence is an affliction found in all cultures.

author by Wpublication date Sath Márta 29, 2008 05:28Report this post to the editors

Sorry I haven't been following this thread but I was in and out of AA for 10 years before I finally copped on and came to these conclusions:

What AA calls as a success is someone who stays off drink but I've met plenty of people sober for 30+ years and they are still very sick people. AA tries to say that this is normal but I don't agree, this amount of time in any programme should show a huge improvement in mental health and an ability to integrate into society.

There's a power in any group that can lift members but AA falsely claims this uniqueness and attributes it to God. Any group coming together for a common purpose will affect the members.

AA only gives temporary relief by allowing people to talk about their problems, but talking without the skills required to deal with problems doesn't have any real longterm effect. This is why members need to constantly attend meetings. It's also why I often left them feeling drained and wondering why it didn't seem to work for me.

AA dampened my ambition. When I got sober everything was so focused on sobriety as the priority and when I talked about doing other things I was usually met with a warning about not drinking, I just felt I no longer had any ambition and spent a lot of time in meetings talking about the past.

AA claims to be non-religious but they say a Christian prayer at the end and the steps and big book is full of references to God, morality etc Also I heard recently that the Supreme Court in America has said it's a religion (sorry I don't have the link to back this up)

Members always talk about being 'on' or 'off' 'the programme' but after 10 years of going to meetings, doing the steps, reading the books and participating in groups I still didn't understand what they were talking about.

I heard about another organization called 'Recovery' which deals with mental health and went to those meetings for a while. I got a more help in 3 months there than in 10 years going to AA and it changed my life almost immediately. I still go occasionaly when things aren't going well but I don't feel that I must go and they gave me the skills to be able to deal with situations that had frustrated me all my life.

I would recommend to anyone who has a problem with drink to try different things and not just go to AA.

author by karenpublication date Sath Márta 29, 2008 00:51Report this post to the editors

the postings by John are valuable because he has a right as a fellow human being to voice his concerns. I have experienced the same as him in AA meetings. Being told by AA to become so humbled as to nothingness as the AA way teaches degrades one to nothingness and a sense of worthlessness which i went to AA in the first place for, (to get help). AA didn't exactly help me on a road to recovery. Rather, it made me feel like a failure when I didn't measure up to their standards.

author by White wine sipperpublication date Aoine Ean 11, 2008 05:31Report this post to the editors

I am a moderate drinker and like a glass of white wine with Sunday lunch, or sometimes on a summer evening at the local. I drink a couple of pints of the black stuff at times, mainly during the cooler months.

I've met at least three male persons with serious alcoholic problems in the course of my career. It affected their work and it impacted badly on me and other colleagues. I know that the family circle is badly affected by alcoholism.

The AA was set up sometime in the late 19th century to use mutual self-help methods of self criticism, acceptance and encouragement among sufferers of the disease. Membership has always been voluntary. If people didn't take to the ethos and method they could try detox centres or whatever.

I've never been involved in AA or any temperance awareness movement -leftwing campaigners in 19th century Britain generally supported the temperance movement - but from general reading of the mass media over the years I know many thousands of alcohol-debilitated people have obtained invaluable help from AA and likeminded groups.

author by "John"publication date Déar Ean 10, 2008 21:15Report this post to the editors

Revealing facts about AA's history in this review of two books about AA:

http://www.unhooked.com/booktalk/bufebook.htm

author by AndyMpublication date Sath Lún 04, 2007 17:20Report this post to the editors

I am so pleased that people who have been exposed to the very harmful received "wisdom" of AA are at last finding forums to speak about the harm this organisation does to vulnerable people. I put up with the belittlement, weird heretical "non-religious" belief system and all the rest of the baggage which is foisted on the unsuspecteing person seeking help with a drink problem for many years, until I finally realised that the loss of my own self-respect and autonomy as a person who makes his own decisions in life and arrives at his own set of beliefs was just too high a price to pay for the dubious priviledge of sitting in cold church halls listening to people chanting thought-stopping slogans and deriding any expressions of intelligent thought.

Thank God for the internet. Without it, we would never get to hear about the the other side of AA, which has managed in the past to present itself to the public and the press as an undeniably and unquestionably good movement which is above reproach. This is very far from being the case.

I am so much happier and stronger in my sobriety since I realised that I don't need the "support" or approval of anyone in AA and stopped going to their awlul meetings. I personally found the following websites hugely helpful in breaking away from what, in all seriousness, I have come to regard as a very destructive cult:

orange-papers.org
aadeprogramming
morerevealed

I have now not had a drink for over 15 years and I don't live in fear
that I will start drinking again.

AM

author by Newton Heathpublication date Domh Aib 08, 2007 18:52Report this post to the editors

Taken the estimated from several surveys of a 5% retention rate after one year of new members and the estimated 3% per annum death rate into account, in order to replace the dead people and therefore keep the AA population stable, there must be a 60% p.a. recruitment rate. That would be gross inefficiency by any standard of good business practice. I hope you are well, John and thank you for opening a very thought inducing discussion.

author by john gillen - www.affinitylodge.compublication date Máirt DFómh 03, 2006 22:36author email jgillen48 at yahoo dot co dot ukReport this post to the editors

its refreshing to see this mans comments thats how i try to what i do to help folk well spoken and i hope you get there as i have in the end look at our site its diffrent to make a diffrence www.affinitylodge.com

Related Link: http://www.affinitylodge.com
author by janie - nonepublication date Sath Iúil 01, 2006 07:14author email janierows at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

I've been interested in this thread for awhile.

I need a support group.

There is one AA meeting near me altho I am NA.

Sponsorship? Cult?

I can protect myself.
Sponsorship for those who need some kind of contact with a real person?
I will not give up to a Higher Power.
Where do I go then?

imo I *can* indeed enter an AA meeting for the feeling of spirituality, but I will DO IT ON MY OWN. Last meeting someone came up to me and said "call any time" and I got his phone number. Well, not last meeting but years ago. The last meeting was to listen and I introduced myself as such.

There is a charisma at those meetings. No matter if I have sponsorship or not. And at this meeting (the latter) no one offered sponsorship. I listened. And I heard. And maybe I need that.

And so, is AA or XA open to all. Spread the word. Stay sober. Come to a meeting and listen.

That's my feeling of today, although every time that it is "meeting time" I seem to have an excuse not to go, because I am doing well on my own. And it took years to get here.

And I have a question too. Are not the people at AA the ones who are already in sobriety and want support. I do go to a meeting where an "intoxicated" person came in, found a place on the floor to hide out from the world and listen.

Does AA have many purposes?

Thank you.

author by blaisepublication date Aoine Aib 07, 2006 15:45Report this post to the editors

AA is just a helpline for those who wish to help themselves. If there is no will - this avenue will be a dead end. What's wrong with an institution which strives to better a person who is willing to rid himself of a terrible habit, of which alcohol is - when abused? Irish culture is well known for its excessive drinking - have a round bought for you in a group of 4 - usually means you're in for at least 4 pints, which is probably 2 more pints than a normal people should be consuming, regardless of what some of the more immature people on this site believe.

Believe me the craic is not always better after more pints. I know a few blokes who are just as much fun on a soda and lime, although they are sometimes considered outcasts for not partaking of the same amount of alcohol as their peers. To the person who immaturely decried that alcohol is not dangerous - what about the inordinate amount of road deaths, the broken families, the lost jobs, the lost lives, the walking wounded who wander the streets deliriously. Enough is enough, good people. Moderation means balance - balance is control - in everything - in food - in drink - in life...

But there are people who cannot control their wanton desire for alcohol and for these people the AA can be beneficial because basically this institution preaches total abstinence which for their clients is probably the only hope left to recover a life torn to shreds by alcohol. Family and friends can only do so much. These poor souls need to hear successful stories from the formerly besotted comrades and I don't know the figures but I heard 20% bandied around - well I say 20% is not bad -considering the devastation which alcohol can wreak on the families....It's no wonder drunks lose things all the time - their wallet - their pride - their loved ones - their motor skills. Wake up and smell the coffee, or better still, have one instead of the next pint. You've had enough....enough is enough.

author by leejosepho - original-recipe aapublication date Aoine Aib 07, 2006 05:16author email leejosepho at hotmail dot comauthor address midwestern usaReport this post to the editors

Greetings to you, John, from a permanently-recovered alcoholic.

You have asked, "Is there really only one true faith?"

Well, yes ... and in the specific context of your question: "RARELY HAVE WE seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path" ("Alcoholics Anonymous", a book of common experience, page 58). However, and in that same context, people like us often must be aware of the darkness in today's AA while considering a dilemma such as our own: Rarely have we seen a person thoroughly follow the original “A.A. path” ... and that is at least part of why today's A.A. has virtually nothing of any true value to offer the real alcoholic.

You have opined, "Anybody who makes any attempt to eradicate [alcoholism] deserves our gratitude and encouragement."

Rhetorically: Yes, possibly so ... but why “reinvent”, so to speak – why not just make use of the "wheel" that already well rolls? This might or might not be your own case, but the reason for that is usually related to this (from page 53 and with apology for use of the word “God”):

“When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?”

In that light, then, maybe you can understand why it is so vital – so necessary for life – to take a look at “Step One” before concerning ourselves with the matter of “God”.

You have freely shared, "I am failing significantly ... the demon has gotten hold of me and, along with many other alcoholics, I seem utterly powerless over this situation."

If you are as I once was, John, the word "seem" does not ultimately fit there. For some of us, the idea of “seeming” certainly does fit concerning our feelings of hopelessness ...

"WE ... have recovered from a *seemingly* hopeless state of mind and body" (Foreword to First Edition, emphasis added) ...

... but the matter of our powerlessness is not “seeming”:

"There had been no more power in [Ebby] than there was in me ... none at all" ("Bill's Story");
"... [in] a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail";
"The fact is that most alcoholics ... have lost the power of choice in drink" (page 24);
"...utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish" (page 34);
"We ... were powerless over alcohol (page 58) ... and could not manage our own lives" (page 60).

In an early-morning hour of September 27th in 1981, I rolled, lit and began to smoke a nice-sized joint while walking into my hometown police station. Inside, an officer immediately approached me and asked what he could do for me, and I told him I could not stop drinking and smoking dope and that I wanted him to lock me up and not let me out until I got help ... and after I had handed him an ounce as my "admission ticket", he and a few of his fellows quietly obliged me ... and to facilitate their getting me into a cell without possibly setting off this particular screwball they could not quite figure out, those kind officers even allowed me to finish that joint at the booking window while they were securing my property and fingerprinting me! Really. But to get back to the crucial point at hand: Can we easily agree I was powerless over alcohol and that I could not manage my own life? Several days would next pass before I ever heard any such words for even the first time, but my days of seeming winning streaks had clearly come to a self-irreversible end.

You have proffered, "Do I want to do something about all this?"

Just as surely as did I, I am sure.

"And here is the crux of the problem that I [John] bring to you. Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12-step system simply doesn't work. Not for the vast majority of drunks who go to them for help."

Agreed, my fellow. Hence, I am here to tell you this: The original still exists, and still does.

You ask, “So how does something which is so unsuccessful [as today’s AA] become so well-established?”

By embracing and feeding the nevertheless-deadly human ego.

“AA has insinuated its way into the hearts and minds of every profession ...”

And, there is the financial factor. Before “a wholesale miracle [had] taken place” (Foreword to Second Edition), very few “professionals” wanted anything to do with alcoholics ... and whenever money changes hands, dollars dictate.

“According to the AA, recovery is restricted to those who are 'emotionally capable' ...”

Actually, John, that seeming “restriction” is but a saddening observation related to “people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves ... naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty" (page 58). Looking closely there, we can readily see the bottom-line issue is that of humility and honesty regarding certain matters of fact rather than any troubled drinker’s mere feelings about whatever. But of course, neither have I always been immune from attempting to self-satisfyingly “feel” my way through life and its challenges.

“AA have the explanation for their lack of success neatly sewn up: it is not, it turns out, your physical disposition that is responsible after all, when it comes to recovery, it is the fault of the alcoholic themselves.”

One’s “physical disposition” really only relates to the overindulgence of alcoholic drinking – one is too many and two is never enough – but again, there above is a good description of the present-day confusion involving the human ego and today’s AA’s fallacy that an alcoholic truly can “Just don’t drink one-day-at-a-time.”

“This is a pretty neat psychological trick to be playing on vulnerable people.”

Yes, and maybe a bit like some kind of “survival of the fittest”? In today’s AA, one must essentially prove by staying sober that s/he is *not* an alcoholic in order to be considered a “winner” in the battle over the perceived value or alleged “power” of the human ego.

“You are first of all taught to excoriate yourself, reduce yourself to an object of utter humiliation and virtual self-loathing.”

Kind of like being proud of one’s alleged humility, eh?!

“Nothing that has ever gone wrong in your life is ever the fault of anyone or anything else but you - the whole sorry, god-awful mess is down to you alone. Any idea that well, yes, you've been an awful shit a good bit of the time but maybe you were a victim yourself occasionally will be immediately stamped on ... There are no other bad people in the world - except other alcoholics.”

With some comments or insights added, here is part of original-A.A. thought related to self and others:

“Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root [but not the totality] of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
“So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making [while victims of the delusion that we can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if we only manage our own lives and at times even the lives of other well (page 61)]. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so ...” (page 62).
“We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too” (pages 67-68).

“You must do 'a fearless and searching moral inventory' to ascertain the full extent of your awfulness.”

Not in the original. There, the objectives are many and are all quite positive.

“Your poor, unsuspecting friends and family will, subsequently, be confronted and generally embarrassed by apologies for incidents and accidents that may have taken place 20 years earlier.”

In the original: “... except when to do so would injure them or others.”

“And when you have stripped away every vestige of self-respect you are then ready to replace your mental faculties with ...”

In the original A.A. experience, one’s “willing transformation” would be far preferable.

“'Analysis paralysis' is a term [AA] use to describe those who are struggling with questions that AA don't seem to be able to answer. Thinking is to be discouraged. Your intelligence is redefined as supidity and unpleasantness in the AA world. The AA philosophy is full of contradictions and paradoxes like these.”

Yes, such is usually the case in today’s AA, but definitely not in the original. As I have come to see things, an alleged “paradox” in today’s AA is actually nothing more interesting or decisive that “two ducks a-farking”.

“When you try to talk to one of the long-term members, you are basically talking to 'The Book'. Virtually everything they say to you will be a quote from it: maxims and bon-mots with a cutesy-clever ring to them that divert you from your question and throw you back, always and ever, on the idea that it is not the answer that you need to worry about but that you shouldn't actually be asking the question in the first place.”

An excellent and completely accurate description, my fellow! Sadly, many such folks are actually “willing deceived” and are consciously trying to deceive others in order to protect some kind of vested interest rather than simply accepting to the facts (Steps One and Two), humbling themselves (Steps Three through Nine) and bearing witness of the truth (Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve).

“It is high time that responsible state bodies or others who are in a position to do it, looked very carefully at the suicide rates among former AA members.”

In the final analysis, we are going to discover that “survival of the fittest” is the deadly game imposed and played upon all in the ever-sickening world.

“Alcoholism is a condition that forces you to cut to the chase, to get your brain fully onto the job in hand. There is no room for stupidity when dealing with it ...”

Agreed, and wholeheartedly:

“If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably ... suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer” (page 44). And fortunately, even last-gaspers usually have at least just-enough brain remaining to grab hold of that. But until I had done that myself, “my ego-driving mind was still out to get me”, so to speak.

“There is one well-known alternative therapist who says that basically, we are all alcoholics to the extent that we drink at all. It is only a question of degree. Everyone who drinks is involved.”

What a cute and convenient way to cover up the fact s/he can do nothing for the real alcoholic and still make money from treating alleged “alcoholics” anyway!

“For all these reasons we need to look much harder at ways and means of tackling this problem once and for all ...”

“Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good [and all] and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered ...” (page 90), and that is the only way permanent recovery ever takes place, John: one sufferer at a time.

---
by wheredileavemepint Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:14
All sounds familiar, an organisation set up to help people, which has a
revered "text". This text is then distorted and ignored by the members for
their own ends. Sounds familiar, doesn't it!!!!!!!!
...
Then some Luther like chap will come along and we will get the "reformed"
AA!!!!!!
---

Nah, I and others have already been there and tried that.

(Quotations from "Alcoholics Anonymous", the original book of experience common among spiritually-anonymous (renouncing personal prestige as an instrument of general policy) alcoholics, are here used by permission.)

Related Link: http://www.allexperts.com/displayExpert.asp?Expert=51933
author by mack - 12-step-freepublication date Sath Márta 18, 2006 17:45Report this post to the editors

People make the decision to quit and when they are ready, they quit. A person must want to quit.

Some give credit where credit isn't due- to AA.

AA is not some mysterious process, its just a fake. AA is a phony balony faith healing cult, and its that simple. The only thing that works for some in AA is it's merely something to do in place of drinking.

The negative effects of brainwashing and cult indoctrination make it an undesireable replacement addiction.

here is a link that helps explain AA and similar phenonema:

http://www.csicop.org/si/9709/beyer.html

Related Link: http://www.orange-papers.org
author by wheredileavemepintpublication date Céad Ean 25, 2006 11:14Report this post to the editors

All sounds familiar, an organisation set up to help people, which has a revered "text". This text is then distorted and ignored by the members for their own ends. Sounds familiar, doesn't it!!!!!!!!

I suppose it's only a matter of time before there are claims that Bill Wilson changed wine into water!!!!

The miracle at Akron!

Then some Luther like chap will come along and we will get the "reformed" AA!!!!!!


Links to AA founding influences(despite some people believing "the book" was handed down fron GOD to Bill W!!!!) :

Peabody book.
http://www.aabibliography.com/common_sense_of_drinking.htm

Oxford groups
http://www.recovery.org/aa/misc/oxford.ht

Washingtonians:
http://www.eskimo.com/~burked/history/daniels.html

Silkworth:
http://www.dickb.com/archives/silkwort.shtml

William James:
http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/james/toc.htm

author by Ray Smithpublication date Céad Ean 25, 2006 09:04author email raysny at yahoo dot comauthor address Schenectady, New York. USAReport this post to the editors

They also claim to be "spiritual, not religious", but on pg. 77 of the Big Book, it states, "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God."

Sounds pretty religious to me. I must not be the only one either; every time the case has been before a District or State Court in the US, the final outcome was a decission that AA IS religious.

author by Mairtinpublication date Déar Ean 19, 2006 12:30Report this post to the editors

AA hmmm says no-one in AA would say it was the only way. Wrong I spent 9 years in AA and it is said all of the time. This is typical of the blatant lies of AA members. It is also said in the Big Book by Wilson who contradicts himself by saying it is not the only way. As for AA being run on principles, well this is what members say when critizised. Instead of giving a valid argument. I remember critizing a womanizing, of which there are many in AA cult, and was told it's principles not personalities.... that is an argument!
The author of the original piece says the is intelligence there. Wrong! The is an abundance of stupidity beyond belief! A
As a member I have seen so many people kill themselves.
Mairtin

author by Arlene S.publication date Máirt Ean 03, 2006 03:05author email janierows at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

This is the one I know nothing of but am interested in "horror stories of AA. you said: "am writing under an assumed identity and everyone knows about the fabled anonymity of the AA. A cast iron secret never, ever to be shared with anyone or even discussed outside of group meetings. Members however are free to associate in certain ways and there is actually something very sinister about this aspect of AA. There are networks of AA members everywhere that most people are not aware of. The influence which AA members have is unknown and unkowable unless someone breaks ranks. When you consider the true success rate of the AA programme against its pheonomenal power and influence as an organisation, it seems logical to at least ask how the latter was really achieved."

author by Arlene S.publication date Máirt Ean 03, 2006 02:48Report this post to the editors

john you(?) said, "Let’s understand one thing, before we continue though: AA didn’t make me or any other alcoholic become alcoholic and they have many things to say about alcoholism and alcoholics which are painfully true to confront at times. Whatever is said below, their literature is worth reading if you are a drunk."... John, there are many books who are "wise" on alcoholism. And do not forget addictive counselling. Sometimes we want to understand too much; the Big Book is NOT a Bible. Did you ever hear of REBT, CBT, SMART Recovery? They have a LOT to say about alcoholism and without guilt trips.

author by Arlene S.publication date Máirt Ean 03, 2006 02:24Report this post to the editors

I'd say in that quote that AA may after all be "allowing" a follower of AA to dabble in therapy. However, AA is the dominator.

author by Marie Victim of ALCOHOLISM - A lone woman's fight against the notion that Alcoholism is a DISEASEpublication date Luan Ean 02, 2006 21:46author email mjj46 at earthlink dot netReport this post to the editors

As a VICTIM of alcoholism, many times over, I am here to say that alcoholism, readily accepted by society as a ‘disease’, is NOT a DISEASE but a BIG ploy by the manufactures and users. The ploy is to profit by exploiting society’s NOTION that ALCOHOLISM is a MEDICAL DISEASE handed down by previous generations on a genetic level.

It boggles my mind to know that the American Medical Association and its many affiliates accept and condone this ‘disease’ notion as true and factual. Like illegal drugs and cigarettes, alcohol should be controlled by whatever means posible, ie. it should not be advertise on televison. By doing so the masses are constantly bombarded with the idea that drinking is fun, refreshing, and a great ‘getaway’. The adds NEVER show the upevil that alcohol drinking causes. It simply handles the matter by saying 'drink responsibly'.

This writer will spare the reader the details of the damages alcohol has caused on a personal level. I only wish to say that it was a matter of mental and physical anguish; matters that continue to plague my very essence to this day.

author by doublewinnerpublication date Aoine Samh 25, 2005 06:50Report this post to the editors

there are two problems being discussed here:
1) drinking/ alcoholism
2) dealing with alcoholics (in or out of AA).

there's a 12 step program for #2...it's called al-anon.

john, you might give it a try. it helped me learn the best ways to deal with other alcoholics (sober or drinking). it is a much gentler program than AA. it does not force solutions or shove anything down your throat.

once i got a better handle on myself there, and the issues i had from growing up among alcoholics, and dealing with alcoholics as an adult, i was able to actually get help for my own drinking.

just a suggestion, take it or leave it... best of luck to you.

Related Link: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
author by Joekaypublication date Domh Samh 20, 2005 10:28Report this post to the editors

AA has it perfect - if you stop drinking it's because of them, and if you start drinking it's because of you.

author by gonzopublication date Sath Samh 12, 2005 04:05Report this post to the editors

Vincent, are you the 13th stepper with the nordie accent that was at a dublin lunchtime meeting today?

author by SHarris - Betradepublication date Sath Samh 12, 2005 03:09Report this post to the editors

I am not a menber of AA but my Ex's is and in the beginning I had no problem accept for the conduct of some of the menbers towards my Ex. While at meetings she told me of one male telling her that he had a leather fetish and wanted to rub her pants because they had leather as part of the design and another was rubbing her butt while she was bent over and didn't feel it but was told by a menber who saw it . I was not happy with the way they conducted themselve in regards to my Ex. She did not want me to address these people in fear that it would create a problem for her in AA, but she reported one of them to the house manager. Then after 3yrs she was asked to come and work for 820 as a Counselor (with no CASAC) while there her whole personality changed. They made me into the problem because I am not a drunk and don't attend meetings. They seem to me to try to make themselve into a group that if you not part of it your the enemy. Where was AA when she need help with other life issuse other than drinking. They where not there, I was. Did they help her get her GED so she could provide for herself better, no I did or help her get a drivers lic, no or give her a sence of purpose other than no drinking, no. I did all this for her because I loved her. AA and 820 turn her agaisnt me and that hurst. I was the best thing to happen to her and get got tossed away because of AA and 820 River St Inc. They want them to deal with only AA people who for the most part are nothing but crimials even her. I poured my heart into her and AA and 820 knifed me in the back because I not a drunk. I believe AA should help the relationship not cause turmoil and breakups but they do if your not part of the program. And I will never every recomemed them for anything I rather be with my family than a bunch of drunks who have nothing in commom other than drinking. They killed a loving relationship and turned it into something sick and hurtful. I have nothing for AA but contempt and thier nothing but a self serving cult of drunks. Dose being a drunk make you qualified to tell others how to live thier lives.

author by Arlene S.publication date Déar Samh 10, 2005 23:36author email janierows at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

Sounds like "I never promised you a rose garden", but seriously, I don't know why anybody would want to voluntarily go to AA.

Now, where is the thread "is AA a religion".

What the heck IS AA?

You exsteppers are always complaining about "oh they had nothing to do with me when I left AA."

Well, same goes to you know who:)

author by Vincentpublication date Déar Samh 03, 2005 17:22Report this post to the editors

AA will be in Ireland 60 years next year and fortunately many who have joined the fellowship have been freed from the prison that they once lived in.Your article is very interesting and raises many valid points.
In my own experiance ,two years sober,AA has worked for me one day at a time.
The real strength of AA is the fellowship,in AA you meet and share experiances with people from all walks of life who have managed to restore their lives to normality without alcohol.
For many this seems a miracle ...for me it certainly is.The book is a simple one open to a few if not many interpretations . An interesting point is that AA does not work the first time for everybody and indeed many return time after time (to the same welcome as before).But many do eventually embrace the fellowship and restore sanity to their lives.
AA is a fellowship of men and women who share a desire to stop drinking and to help their fellow alcoholic to achieve sobriety.
It has worked for many thousands of people in Ireland and many millions throughout the world ....Alcoholism has no cure AA shows us that we can live a full and contented life without alcohol......from where I used to be that seems fine to me.

author by Bill F.publication date Déar Samh 03, 2005 14:25Report this post to the editors

Though it is not obvious in the debate so far (I don't think), many AA members do in fact seek and get all sorts of "outside help" from sources other than AA: while still remaining members of AA.

For example, and please note that I am not saying whether I agree with it or not, or support it or not, if I was to get a Euro for every time I heard AA members in different places (over the years) relate publicly - during the course of AA meetings - to useful things they believed they had learned by reading books such as "The Road Less Travelled" (by Scott Peck), it would easily pay for a good holiday for two somewhere nice.

As far as I know, Dr Scott Peck never had any problems with booze, and consequently would never have been part of AA , not directly at least.

Some quotes which are believed to be from Scott Peck, and which might (?) be relevant to this debate are provided below:

"It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually."

"Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit."

"Share our similarities, celebrate our differences."

"The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one."

"The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual - for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost."

"Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. "

"We cannot solve life's problems except by solving them."

"We must be willing to fail and to appreciate the truth that often 'Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived'."

"Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behaviour, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity. But this means we then give away our power to that entity."

===================

"Dr. Peck is a nationally recognized authority on the relationship between religion and science, and the science of psychology in particular. In 1992 Dr. Peck was selected by the American Psychiatric Association as a distinguished psychiatrist lecturer 'for his outstanding achievement in the field of psychiatry as an educator, researcher and clinician'".
(From http://www.mscottpeck.com/html/biography.html )

For more general information on Scott Peck please see:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Scott+Peck+&btnG=Search

===================

author by out them!publication date Déar Samh 03, 2005 11:12Report this post to the editors

Maybe many of you dipsomaniacs could benefit from an alternative approach. Rather than hide your addiction, seeking out solace in secret societies, why don't you "come out" and declare your obsessive and compulsive vice to the world?
Wear a lapel pin or button showing everyone you are an alcoholic. Something simple :- "I'm a monster for drink" could do. Or you could chose a t-shirt or for colder days a sweater embossed with a slogal "I've a drinking problem". No-one will ever offer you another alcoholic beverage again. You'll see!

author by B.C.publication date Déar Samh 03, 2005 04:17Report this post to the editors

In my years in the "Fellowship" I saw many a person not drink for different lengths of time. But there where even fewer that were real people as opposed to the many who have been mislead into thinking that what they are doing is above all other values and laws.
They have, Joe & Charlie, going against their own Traditions and many other people making money and a name for themselves on the coat-tails of AA. And inspite of that, the members don't hold them accoutable just like the don't hold a lot of members for their abuses of many various kinds. For the BB never speaks of total accountability. It only half measures it in the 9th. Step and that's it.
AA has so many built in loop holes that it stole the slogans from somewhere to back them up. I know because I see it happening even today by some others I still have contact with in the "rooms".
Rationalization is their creed and not anything else. Not drinking is a pleasure. But when it comes to having humanity, AA fails poorly.

author by Antarapublication date Céad Samh 02, 2005 17:25author email antaraaaa at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Well well.......here we are in a very heated discussion about AA.

Sigh....it's tough to defend AA when truly all AA really is is a fellowship of men and women. AA is not books, not conferences, not treatment centers or rehabs and we have no "leaders" to answer questions like John's really.

What some of us have is a solution to alcoholism. Some of us have had a spiritual experience as a result of the steps, but many have not. Some of us are at peace with a sober life and let others live as they need to, but some cannot. Some in AA are recovered alcoholics, but most are not. SO how can any member speak for "AA" when AA is made up of so many different types of people.......and with courts now forcing people to attend, the number of people resenting AA is increasing.

I would just say to John that I too am a "retread", someone who has been in and out of AA ( which I hated) , in and out of sobriety( which I hated) and I am now "back" in AA again.....now enjoying nearly 4 years sober and even off ciggs, lol. I haven't been arrested in 4 years, haven't had a blackout in 4 years, and haven't been beaten or hurt for the past 4 years. Coincidence?

I am so happy to be alive n healthy and mostly happy that I want to be this way now. I accept it has me-this alcoholic illness-and I have truly stopped fighting.

For me, it was a great improvement when I realized that many ,many people are ill in AA- and that "time away from a drink" is usually little indicator of someones wellness. I had to learn to take responsibility for myself......make use of all the resources in my life and truly dedicate myself to leaving my alcohol obsessed life behind. Admitting defeat some call it.

Most today still die of alcoholism, and a little known fact about it is that you do not have to drink to die of it either. It is progressive and I believe we are essentially caught in a "spiritual warfare" that many are losing.

I do pray, i meditate, I try to attend meetings to share my experience and hope with those that want it and live a full life away from AA meetings. I do not socialize endlessly with AA people as in the past i have just found it too claustraphobic. I do not have a sponsor either- although I have beem sponsored by some nice folks i find this way suits me much better as I am an independant person, I like to ask a group of people i admire for advice/help when I need it: this is true fellowship:)

I wish you well on whatever path you choose for yourself, but if you are a real alcoholic like me ( not a "heavy drinker") then you may find there is little option but a good honest try at the program- the 12 steps- ALL of them. That means making amends, paying back money- it means helping others when you would rather not. The program is not easy, and thats why I believe so many think they have done it, but in truth have not. To take these actions is only done by someone who is convinced they must in order to survive.

AA does not owe you anything. We do not have to "answer" your demands as there is no one with the authority to speak for "AA", lol.
Maddening isn't it?

There is plenty wrong with AAWS ( the corporate publishing co. who like to be associated with AA) but that is another topic for another time.

I am glad you have the orangepapers and other "anti-AA" sites up here as I feel all things should be considered......but the truth is a lot of drunks have sobered up due to AA, and we are still here, caring sharing and looking to shake the hand of the next drunk who wants to get sober.

I hope you try all other avenues possible to you : treatment centeres, dr.s, counselling, etc - maybe getting laid a little more and chilling out might help...:) But for me AA has indeed given me a life beyond my wildest dreams. I see miracles all the time and I am so grateful I was given a second chance-even after I bad mouthed AA every chance I got, LOL.

Peace John, I hope you find a way out of the alcoholic pit:)

Related Link: http://www.aaprimarypurpose.org
author by B.C.publication date Céad Samh 02, 2005 05:20Report this post to the editors

I spent nearly 14 years in AA and learned to loath it gradually. I never liked it's religious overtones and the idea I was powerless over anything. But what really got me was the hypocracy of the Big Book anf a lot of the people I met there.
I had heard so many time that in AA, "we are not Doctors, lawyers, marriage counselors, or Psyciatrists." Yet there are so many gurus that play these roles in so many ways.
AA says we made need to go to outside sources for help, but shuns somebody so bad if they get provided medication when they need it. They also take in people with different mental disorders and give advice that these people twist into their own sick motives and ruin anothers life in so many ways. I know Zero accountability for their actions and the fellowships hugs and handshakes if they screwed up or screwed somebody else and din't drink.
Now isn't that a nice organization? AA co-signs all kinds of bull shit. Fifth Step blackmail, sexual preditors, a gallery of people who love to take advantage of the newcomers vulnerability, and so much more.
And the list doesn't end here, but I will for now.

author by Declanpublication date Luan DFómh 31, 2005 10:44Report this post to the editors

Round and round we go. That 2m drinkers abstain from alcohol and happen to be in AA meetings at the same time is not at all the same thing as saying they are abstaining BECAUSE they are in AA. The evidence given above goes a long way to proving that when people go to AA they do so because they are THEMSELVES desperate to stop. Its got nothing to do with aA. Either way the recovery rate in AA is even less than the rate of spontaneous remission among the rest of the drinking population. The longer people continue their involvement with AA the more likely they are to relapse. I think you are right to put the emphasis on the individual though - it comes down to the person themselves and not to any nonsense about 'higher powers' or any of the rest of it. If people want to go to aa, they should be free do so but AA should stop making unsubstantiated claims for itself and have the honesty to admit the weaknesses and flaws in its programme - instead of welcoming all-comers and then insisting that it can only be the fault of the person if it doesnt work for them (which it doesnt for 95-98%). What the previous poster is saying, in essence, is that AA are happy to accept responsibility for the tiny minority at the expense of the majority. This is a rose that smells of shit.

author by Bill Fpublication date Domh DFómh 30, 2005 12:53Report this post to the editors

It seems to me that one VERY important point has so far been overlooked in this lengthy debate.

Whatever about the flaws AA may have overall, it is (as I understand it) the case that somewhere in the region of 2,000,000 problem drinkers, living in all sorts of places all over the world, stay away from the "first drink" each and every day that goes by - as a direct result of the support (such as it is) which they get from AA on a daily basis.

That must mean something (of value)? How many road deaths are avoided (for instance) because of this?

As one of several other examples I could give, how many drunken assaults are avoided? - some of them sexual assaults on children?

Also, I believe it might be better if the flaws in AA members (which are many of course), and the flaws in the overall global structure of AA (which I believe are very few) were considered separately?

Otherwise, is there not a risk that "the baby will get thrown out with the bath water"? - which could mean BIG trouble for some who, today, are in very shaky and dangerous situations regarding the matter of staying away from the "first drink" - the one that many believe causes all the trouble for the problem drinker - and for all the relatives, friends, work-colleauges, and so on who normally come into close contact with problem drinkers.

One of my regrets is that AA is not called "Problem Drinkers Anonymous". Correctly or otherwise, I suspect that if it were, the two million figure mentioned above might be 10 million - or even more perhaps.

"A rose by any other name is still a rose" - is it not?

author by Susan Gibbons - SOSpublication date Domh DFómh 30, 2005 11:07author email suejgee at adelphia dot netReport this post to the editors

Duaine, if I said same "goals" it should have read "goal." Sobriety. Bottom line.

I do not agree with the methodology of AA, and you know that very well. As I have not had the undoubtedly horrific experience in AA (in fact, I've had no experience at all) that you must have had, I have no axe to grind, per se.

My point was this: both of these entities have the same desired end result. Sobriety. How they accomplish it is very different.

I honestly don't need a litany of what SOS is all about. I know very well, I've known the founder for a very long time, I've been running groups for a very long time.

No need to get the defenses up, Duaine. I'm not some kind of AA mole. I'm just, well, perhaps, more tolerant than some, and more inclined to address things on a philosophical level instead of a confrontational level.

Sue

author by ArleneS627publication date Déar DFómh 27, 2005 06:20author email janierows at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

The post inlcudes the statement by ob2 to declan that AA is nasty, does not keep confidence; however, it's not a cult. I've heard some horror stories about the cult. I've been to a few meetings off and on and one online XA group with chat sessions. AA is a religion whether they say "oh, you don't need a higher power", or whether they say their piece and story of recovery, and all are sitting in awe and listening to recovery stories. How would a recovery story help an addict. AA is a substitute for therapy and/or religion. AA is a religion in itself. It's for those lost souls who need "something" in their lives. And they are all your best friends, but only while you attend meetings. Once out of meetings, you have no friends left. I'm sorry I didn't follow the post of declan. I am really responding to the ob2 post that I saw to declan. There are so many alternatives to AA; literature on the net, support groups. To the original poster of the subject involved, you got it AA is not the answer. This thread is coming from Ireland and I'm not familiar with Ireland, its way of life, it's health system or what part they play in the war. But the subject matter is that you are drinking, and AA is not the answer. You're right about that. But remember, you are your own higher power. Only you can get help where help is available and where it is available in Ireland is a quandary to me. We in the U.S. have problems too with drug abuse counselling unless one is really low poverty the government provides everything for them. And the help in the U.S. is AA only when sometimes contacts a substance abuse counsellor. We've got to take it into our own hands. We got the internet. We've got HMO's which are worthless. Only one with expensive insurance or very low poverty can get into the system of abuse counselling. I hope i'm hitting the point and excuse me for wrapped sentences and no new paragraphs, but the software here is not working for me and if I try a new paragraph only my first paragrpah shows up for editing. I tried a search for "anti AA" on a search engine and came up with something interesting things.

author by Arlene S.publication date Déar DFómh 27, 2005 05:39author email janierows at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

You said you have referred people to therapy for all sorts of abuse (alcohol, drugs?); do you think therapy helps with chemical abuse? and if so, what kind of therapy?

author by Arlene S.publication date Céad DFómh 26, 2005 23:03author email janierows at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

Bill, you said:

There is no one in A.A. who would say its the only way but i guess they might say its the only way that has worked for them.(end quote). How could NO ONE in AA (the cult) say such a statement when most in AA would not be there is they didn't think that AA is the only way for them. And as for the ones who say that AA is the only way for them, but agree that there are other ways, but AA is what worked for them, be in the same sentence as "there is NO ONE in AA who would say its the only for them? Your statements contradict each other.

author by Ray Smithpublication date Céad DFómh 26, 2005 11:14author address Schenectady, NY. USAReport this post to the editors

A little poking around on the 'net provided this from Stanton Peele's site:

http://www.peele.net/faq/aasuicide.html

author by scrilla22publication date Céad DFómh 26, 2005 01:17Report this post to the editors

go to yahoo groups.gso is a twelve step list. read the files section. those steppers are good at giving the internal docs out.

author by scrilla22publication date Máirt DFómh 25, 2005 04:10Report this post to the editors

hello observer2, how are you?I could not help but notice a small oversite with this point you agree with.the problem has never been partially outside of AA, as A Miss marty mann founded(co?) a front organization for the purposes of pushing the disease theory as truth!An AA member that one.Bill W., co founder of AA, did plenty of "promotion" of AA as a cure for problem drinkers, and profitted from this charitable organization til death. from what I have gathered from reading the history so far, bill did not actually do the programme of AA at all! I have been reading on this subject for about a year or so, and have changed my opinion on AA a few times, as new info comes in. Really, it is a religious group, and as such, should enjoy no promotion support from governments, or health services.

I say, set it back to a program of attraction, for theweakminded.kinda like religion.

author by Duaine Mpublication date Máirt DFómh 25, 2005 00:45Report this post to the editors

Hi Paul W:
Duaine M here:

I agree with you.

AA does seem out of place in the modern world.

A program taken from a book The Common Sense of Drinking
by Richard Peabody
1931 that was never copy righted.
http://aabibliography.com/common_sense_of_drinking.htm

Parts of this book were taken word for word. The other part of AA was the Oxford religious group.

Out of date thinking.
An out of date religion.
Out of step with the scientific world and modern research.

Our court are also out of step because the force people into a failed religious group.

How can it get any more back word? Maybe we are going into another Dark Age of Religious dominance and all reason is being pushed aside?

author by Paul W.publication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 22:52author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

There is also a mountain of AA approved literature. The big book is merely the spine of the beast.

The sponsor part is probably the weirdest aspect of AA, because the sponsor benifits from a sense of importance or inflated ego, and in AA ego is supposed to be a no-no.

Having sponsees is usually looked at as a status symbol among the elder sponsor clan.

Some of the sponsors use the program to feed their narcissictic personality disorder, and/or act as sexual predators.

Some of these sponsors claim they are better at solving problems than the professionals-doctors, clergymen, therapists, etc.

My opinion is going to AA for a drinking problem is like going to a witchdoctor for a gunshot wound.

author by Declanpublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 22:52Report this post to the editors

I believe you are genuinely looking for the truth as you see it. along with the other contributions i look forward to reading your bulletins from the front!

author by observer2publication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 22:03Report this post to the editors

The AA book recommends that you speak to a good friend, minister, doctor etc., There is no mention anywhere of the word sponsor, this is an anomaly. The meeting I attended on Sat spoke about sponsors and the need for them. The book also says and I quote "though you be but one man with this book" so obviously the notion of sponsorship is flawed. However the chapter working with others refers to a form of introduction, or how to deal with someone who wants help. There is not one mention of bringing the person to an AA meeting. So, yes even a superficial glance shows that thius organisation appears to be peddling something which is in conflict with the book it is named after.

Truth does not dawn, it becomes apparent through open minded investigation!

author by Beckypublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 21:34author email jasminwild at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Observer 2 you have made a distinction betwix Book and fellowship. AA often defends itself this way.

However, once you are in there you find the book (12 steps) & meetings (fellowship) are touted as interdependant. To recover they say you need both, plus a sponsor on whose every word and advice you must hang. Despite the fact he/she by AA's own definition is a drunk with faulty thinking.

They really have it sown up in every direction and time is long over due for investigation. After all there are very vulnerable people in the rooms especially the women who are preyed upon. Stick around, you'll see it in all it's sick sick glory.

author by Beckypublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 21:25author email jasminwild at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Slowly the light begins to dawn, Observer 2!!
Keep up the good work

author by observer2publication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 20:43author email 0bserver.two at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Firstly I am known to some editors of indymedia to be a person who resides in Dublin. Where do you live, just out of curiosity? Anyway, I am not expecting to be an expert or anything else. I am just looking for the true story, thats all.

I understand perfectly well all the points you have made. I don't think you understand where I am coming from. The thing that troubles me most about this whole thing so far is this: If these chronic alcoholics(based on their own testimony and in at least some cases the opinion of a medical practitoner) used this system and it worked for them then it will still work for chronic alcoholics. Therefore I don't believe it is correct to criticize the book, you are right that is not what this debate is about.The debate is about the misuse and abuse of the associated "fellowship" and it's detrimental effect on a substantial number of people.I don't believe, having read most of the book, that AA(the book) was designed to start a cult. I believe that the book and it's programme may be a vauable resource in attempting to treat a very small percentage of alcoholics. It appears to me that it says that.

The fellowship however is a different thing, and there is ancedotal evidence to support claims of dishonest and abusive practices. Whether this is a centrally orchestrated and controlled thing is, I believe, unproven. a radio programme on national radio here ran a feature on AA in 2000 and it unearthed some pretty nasty stuff. However that is as far as it went, there has been no further investigation.

I have now attended two AA meetings and spoken to a number of alcoholics. I believe that there is evidence to support allegations of abuse of trust at the least. However I have also come across a person who tells me of a very small number of people who are trying to effect change in AA. So far I would be very reluctant to call AA a cult.However at this early stage it is abvious that there are many for whom AA simply does not work and will probably never work.

author by Rustypublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 15:43Report this post to the editors

In September of 1971, I was diagnosed as bi-polar. I was treated for this disorder until May of 1991. I did not start drinking until 1980. In 1991 I went to the hospital for help with my bi-polar disorder, but the good doctor decided that I was never bi-polar and just a drunk.( When I asked him if that were true then why did he diagnose me as bi polar in 1971 way before I ever took that first drink, and he put me in ICU and threatened me with a straight jacket just for questening his diagnoses. I had to go on a hjunger strike to get out of ICU and to recieve treatment.) He officially diagnoised me as an alcoholic. Okay, I admit he was right, but I also was bi-polar, but he was a very big AA supporter and sent me there and I almost died. Now to observer2 this is an answer to one of your questions. to answer another you turned to the big book where it describes an alcoholic and asked if this fit anyone, well, I will begin to explain how I was and you make up your own mind. But first just for fun last might I went to the official AA website and answered the are you alcoholic questions and Ithere were 11 questions and the website said if you answered 4 or more then you are probably a canditate for AA. I took it twice,once I answered as if it was still 1990 and I was still drinking, guess what? I said yes to 9 out of 11, and then I answered as applies today and guess what? I had one yes.

In may 1991, this is what I was like. I would wake up in the morning hung over so bad, I swore to never drink again, I swore I was not an alcoholic, because after all I never drank before noon, and on weeekdays, I never drank until I got off work, because an alcoholic drinks in the morning, Right? An alcoholic also drinks on the job, right? Anyway by the time I went to bed at night, I was so drunk I could not walk and the only reason most nights I stopped at 12 to 18 beers is because I wanted to prove I was not an alcoholic and prove my boss and family and co workers wrong I would only stock 12 a day in my fridge,but sometimes I would have more and I would wake up and drink three more beers just to get back to sleep. One day I walked out of a bar and two hookers wanted my business and I thought I was cool because I fussed at them and told them off, but little did I know they took out my wallet without my knowledge and walked away with all my money. Many times in a drunken rage, I beat my first wife to a pulp. I hit her so bad during one drunken rage that to this day she has a permanent black eye that has never healed compleatly, I hit her in 1985. This was a common practice of mine. I also found out that when I drank a case of beer in a five hour period, I would black out and during one of those black outs my first wife saw me walking naked down the street at 4 in the morning and I did not remember a thing. When I was sober, I was a loving, caring guy, but when drunk, look out. Now observer2 I thought I had answered your questions by some examples before, Now does this answer your Questions about being dianosed and about the example in the big book, Do you think I met the example you asked about? During my drinking days I knew I could go for years without drink, and I thought I was not an alcoholic,but even now 13 years sober if I feel that I want to drink, I now understand that if I take that first drink, I will go back to being a drunk, so guess what? I just don't drink. Can a person with a real desease do that? Back then I would abstain long enough to prove to myself that I was not an alcoholic and then start drinking again. One positive thing I did learn and take away from AA meetings is I learned that I cannot drink PERIOD. It is that first drink that gets me. AA tells me that is proof that I have a desiase and am hopeless alcoholic and that I cannot remain sober without AA. I got in trouble with AA because although I finally admitted that I had a problem and that I was an alcoholic, I also said that all I need to do is to CHOOSE NOT TO DRINK, and that I wanted AA to help me to make this choice everyday, but they forced their religion on me and said I had to work the spiritual aspect of the program which violated my Christian beliefs at that time, so after being yelled at by my sponser, I decided that if I had to be spiritual, i would go back to church twice a week along with my 9 AA meetings a week and I thought my sponser would be proud because after all Bill W himself says in the big book that is okay, and it was that day I told my sponer and this is an edited version of what he said: " What the g*****m F*** are you talking about? You are not going to enough meetings, if you can go to church twice a week, then you can make 11 meetings a week. F**K THE CHURCH AND GO AA ALL THE WAY OR HIT THE F***iING DOOR AND NEVER COME BACK. You have been sober for four months and you never did that with the church. I forbid you to go to church and demand you work the program or hit the f***ing door. You have been here long enough to see that AA is the only true way to God and if you can remain sober with AA, then you have no business here so just get the hell out and come back only when you decide that you cannot stay sober without AA and if you do, you don't need to be here because you were never an alcoholic.." My sponser got all red faced when he said these things and when I tried to defend myself, he got in my face and he was very mad and honestly, he scared me and I was in fear of my life. So I hit the door and never went back.

A little about my sponser. He would invite all his new guys to his house show us a video tape of his last day drunk, which in my mind he planned, but he swears he did not know he was being video taped. He also took us to his bedroom closet and pulled out a very short double barraled shot gun that he bragged about taking in payment for drugs and he was proud of the fact that he sawed it of to a very illegal limit while on PCP and also proud that he convinced many people to pay for drugs after sticking the loaded gun in their face. He then would unload it and point it in our face and ask us if that is scary. This same sponser would tell us that we must keep silent on what happens in the rooms, because if we ever told anyone outside what goes on there would be severe consiquiences. I never knew if he felt that God would punish us or if he would take that shotgun after us.

I was mad for years because I wanted to go to meetings and I wanted to work AA to the extent that I could and give AA credit for my being sober, but just because I refused the spiritual aspect of the program, which in the big book says it is okay to go to church and let your higher power be that of your church, I got thrown out of AA by doing what the big book says is okay.
02 I think it was you that asked me one time if I ever read the big book and it was my reading the big book and believing that in the book contained what AA was all about, but it was my going by the big book that got me thrown out of AA.
If AA does not claim infallibility, then why did my sponser tell me that if I could stay sober without AA, then I was never an alcoholic? Also if the big book contains what AA is all about,then why was I kciked out of AA when I went by what the big book says? I would believe that I was just in a bad group with a renegade sponser, but too many people that are ex aaers have a very similar story. If this is not the real AA, then why are there so many people with a similar story to mine? Now, I will not use a particular brand of church, but let's say there is a huge church that many ex members say they were abused, would there not be an investigation? It would not matter if that church was protestant or Catholic the government would investigate it. My question is why do gevernments not investigate AA when there is many, many stories of abuse? Also, would you defend a protestant church to the extant you have defended AA just by reading ther writings?

author by hiccuppublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 15:02Report this post to the editors

"is there only one true faith" the subtitle of the article above on the monopoly of the AA. Interestingly the founder of the AA and Matt Talbot lived at the same time. The founders of AA though assisted by the wave of american evangelical protestantism which passed the 18th ammendment to the US constitution and thus the prohibition of alcohol laws in 1919 couldn't stay off alcohol. As we know the prohibition of alcohol failed miserably, and gave the gangsters and mafia their first springboard to billionaire success. And the prohibition laws, were the last of a social struggle which had lasted the whole century before in Ireland, britain and europe. The battle of the temperance leagues to seperate wages from supply of alcohol. It was commonplace in the mid 19th century for labourers to be paid in the local bar. Didn't really help.

Matt Talbot (1856-1925) just had a vision of the blessed virgin at the
age of 28, took a vow, and stayed dry till he died.

Protestants don't believe in visions of the blessed virgin which is why they got Al Capone instead.

the only alledged photo of the Irish Reformed Alcoholic Matt Talbot 1856-1925
the only alledged photo of the Irish Reformed Alcoholic Matt Talbot 1856-1925

author by Donald Leepublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 15:00author email rationaldl at yahoo dot comauthor phone 212 977 1123Report this post to the editors

The working irish aren't the most dangerous people in the world. Out side of the usual threats to our country's security, or the NYC shelter systems The shelters of NYC are relatively complicated affairs. For the most part the cities shelters are dumps, run down buildings infested with rats and cockroaches.. The largest network of criminals, next to the prison systems in the state. Somewhere in this mess lies sobriety, 12 step sobriety. I mention this because the shelter system is an overall part of the supportive services systems which surround the now whipped poor and addicted. This is the system, which is concerned with run down accomodations, poor food, and unsanitary conditions. I had to wade through a foot of sewer water just to get dinner, while a 8 inch rat stood on its haunches on the window sil watching us eat.. I have seen toilettes filled to the top with diarhea which wouldn't flush after an hour or two of inmates smoking crack.. While security guards stood by. I have seen seconds of the meger tv dinners thrown in the garbage.
In some circles these shelters are praised, like the 12 step programs.
I can't run on about it enough.
For some reason, and maybe it is as simple as the fact that the two go hand in hand, the 12 steps, and the poor addicted, that a system seems to arisen where people seem to think that grievances against anti steppers may be addressed by both using methods of harassment, which may now be known to the public as gangstalking. This would seem to include certain of the building specialists, which are responsible for the care of these edifices.
I stumbled into these places after a fire destroyed parts of the building in which I lived, and I moved into NYC ot be closer to the college which I wished ot attend.
All the issues of which I speak have been passed along. It began where I used to live and was passed or followed along to my new location. It began with harassments, entrries to my apartment without permission by staff and any others which staff needed to include, for the purposes of using gangstalking techniques, and the seraching through personal papers. It eventually led to students, from my classes trying to make off with my furniture and papers necessary to make my case, from my storage bin.
This is how far I have come from an old out of date town, but will never forget the near useless out of date programs, which have through public relations and political backing given rise to systems of harassments, and have gorillad their way to become the mainstay of treatment for addictions and alcoholism.
The systems which back this, meaning all the supportive services systems are the most dangerous people in America.

Related Link: http://www.geocities.com/rationaldl/index.html
author by responsivepublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 12:36Report this post to the editors

Matt Talbot started out as just an ordinary Matt.
& like many of his generation he was addicted to alcohol. But this was before AA. It was even before motorised transport had become that available to the poor of dublin.
Matt Talbot fought the power of the evil dhrink, as alcohol was called in those days, by praying, fasting, whipping himself, kneeling on chains, and doing the odd bit of smack.

And today, 80 years after he died on his way to mass in north great dominick street Dublin on the morning of the 7th of june 1925 aged about 70 years, He's a "venerable" not just any old "matt".

Proof if proof were needed that the Kathurlick church will get you off dhrink, and possibly a title.

If you're cursed, you can find out how Matt did it by joining the Matt Talbot Canonisation campaign, to get him those last steps of the way to full Sainthood.

http://www.matt-talbot.com/canonise.htm
http://www.matttalbotretreats.org/

the Venerable Matt Talbot. an example to us all.
the Venerable Matt Talbot. an example to us all.

author by Ray Smithpublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 09:02author email raysny at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Still complaining that nobody responded to your question on whether they had a medical diagnosis. I answered that one, and many of the others you've asked. Now it's my turn:

What have you seen in AA that's different from the book?

Did you notice that in meetings sponsorship plays a prominent role? What page of the Big Book does that come from?

Have you read "We Agnostics"? Do you have any idea how insulting that chapter is?


Many people in the program have never read the book, the same as many Christians have never read the Bible, but allow others to interpret it for them.

I'm a peer advocate for the dually diagnosed. Every one of the clients has been through 12step programs and treatment without success. We use harm reduction, as you said said you are using. Do you not see how a program that tells you you're really not sober if you take medication is dangerous? Or how a fear-driven program is not in the best interests of the client?

author by Paul W.publication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 03:34author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Ok, we know the big book is useless to quote as it is scientifically unproven.

but someone earlier wanted a "claim of infalliability" by AA:

here it is straight out of the big book:

RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program.

As you can see, the first part, "rarely" should in my opinion be "quite often" but thats besides the point.

The second part is the absolute proof, "those who do not recover" is everyone who did not work their program.

So either you work their program or you do not recover.

Absolute infalliability in their own words

Just to show how meaningless the big book is, it also states:

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance
of our spiritual condition.

"cured defined is...
Restoration of health; recovery from disease.

So basically no body really ever "recovers," according to the big book.

also, the big book calls alcoholism a disease.

We can tear apart the big book for years here, or if you want this has all been done already at: www.orange-papers.org
with documented proof.

Lets not hear any more Big Book Questions and Answers please.

author by Beckypublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 02:34author email jasminwild at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Observer 2 can I remind you that I replyed to your question telling you I spent 6 years in AA undiagnosed, and not fitting the description. It is not the only description in the Big Book. It also states that if when you start drinking you cannot stop you are probably alcoholic. Now that, I fitted, along with thousands of alcohol abusers no doubt. I stayed because of fear of drinking. At that time in my life I was behaving so erratically and out of control had lost most friends on the outside ( normals or earthlings who cannot understand us according to the cult), so ,like any human being under extreme isolation and emotional pressure, my psychological survival depended on saying the right things and touting the party line until I had brain washed myself. No we cannot blame AA for that, but believe me they do everything to enforce and encourage it. Never in my 6 years did I hear anyone suggest to a new comer that maybe 12 step recovery was using a mallet to crush a nut in their case. You are told you are not capable ot rational thought, any free thinking or questioning is a sign of your disease. I am pleased you are interested enough to research this yourself you seem a pretty tenacious character and I cannot see how with a bit of research you won't find the truth. It is a cult, an off shoot of the Oxford Group pushing a micro manageing god and concepts of sin, very little to do with alcohol recovery.

author by Declanpublication date Luan DFómh 24, 2005 02:17Report this post to the editors

O2 wrote: I am still waiting for an AA person who is verifiably resident in Ireland to post.

people are genuinely intimidated by aa - witness the attempts above to insult and then identify 'John' - this is a cult and it is dangerous.

How do we know you are verifiably resident in Ireland?

O2 : Can you provide me with figures for suicide rates among AA members in Ireland that can be validated and used journalistically?

D: distinguishing ireland and other countries is misleading - aa works in identical ways wherever you go. But here is a suggestion - you go and ask aa for this information - see what response you get!

O2: Surely the correct AA definition is the one given in their book? Surely the method is the one given in their book? if not , why not?

D: Thats the whole point of this debate! As many have testified above, what is written in the book is NOT what you get - I thought that was why you were going to a meeting. in addition to the 12 stepping which you will find in the book is the intimidatin, the humiliation and the hounding of 'members' once admitted to the cult - of course you wont find that written down! you will only find it once you decide to criticise and/or leave the 'programme'

O2: Can you provide me with figures to show a 95% failure rate in AA in Ireland that can be validated and used?

D: aa's OWN figures from their three yearly accounts show worldwide that after one year 95% of participants have left, and after five years only 1.5% are left. See links in a number of comments above. Similarly, again as already set down in links above, independent studies have given aa a 0-5% succcess rate compared with succes of other methods of alcohol reduction ranging from 20% - 80% - agin , please read the links already provided in many places above.

if you want figures in ireland you wont, of course find them because there is very little investment in research here - that is true across the public services. again, aa works similarly in ireland as elsewhere and making a distinction is misleading/spurious

O2: I think I'll leave that (revealing that I am not an alcoholic) until the end!

look, we may have our differences, but you should be careful of what you are getting into - you are ignoring the genuine testimonies of a lot of peole who know this organisation way better than you do - it also seems deceitful - how can you really understand the programme without participating in it fully and in a genuine way - are you goiing to pretend to be an alcoholic?

O2: I have no problem with asking the questions you recommend. I hope they are more forthcoming when asked a question than ANY of their detractors have been.

D. That is simply untrue. You ignore the evidence given to you again and again. You have not established yourself as an independent witness - far from it - most of the questions you ask are avoiding the most obvious and serious issues at stake.

O2 Again, not one of you will directly answer the question I asked., so i personally think you have a cheek to expect answers from others.

D : You joined this discussion well after it had started and have never understood - or pretend not to understand - what the debate actually is.

O2 I asked the question of one lady at yesterdays meeting , her answer was no she had not been diagnosed and no she did not fit the description! So far 100% of alcoholics who have responded to the question did so in the negative!

D The only requirement to be a member of AA, acccording to AA THEMSELVES is a desire to give up alcohol. Youve been told this several times already! Why do you pretend you dont know it - or any of the other information youve been given?

It looks as if you are here to disrupt the logical flow of this discussion. If you think that spending one week at aa meetings under false pretenses is going to make you into some sort of expert, you are mistaken.

Look I dont know if I am wastig my time discussing this with you because you keep going around in circles. If you repeat the same points again - in spite of the wealth of evidence already given you, I am not going to respond to you again.

author by Duaine Mpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 23:14Report this post to the editors

Duaine M here:

I forgot to mention SOS actively promotes other groups.

SOS wants people to find the best possible fit so they can find the help they need.

There are other support groups that are very effective like SMART http://www.smartrecovery.org/

WFS Women For Sobriety http://www.womenforsobriety.org/

16 Steps http://members.tripod.com/~NadineGaye/16steps.htm

This is something you don't see on any AA web sites or at any face to face meetings.

Thats because AA cares more about increasing it's numbers than acutely helping people find the right fit.

AA has hindered valid recovery support groups. AA has the courts forcing people into their group and having AA members in place in treatment centers promoting only AA.

author by Duaine Mpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 23:03Report this post to the editors

Hi Sue:
Duaine M here:

I would disagree with you that SOS and AA have the same goals.

SOS is about empowerment and choices.

SOS promotes personal empowerment and having each member craft their own recovery plan.

SOS has no Program.

SOS is about recovery not religious or non-religious conversion.

SOS has no Sponsors.

SOS has no hidden agenda.

SOS focus in on addiction not religion or non-religion.

SOS doesn't believe meetings are necessary for everyone and our members are free to not attend meetings for the rest of their life with no guilt trip put on them.

SOS encourages its members to use debate and question. SOS member are diverse and we often disagree openly in debate.

http://www.sossobriety.org/sos/startingmeeting.htm

author by observer2publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 23:02Report this post to the editors

I am still waiting for an AA person who is verifiably resident in Ireland to post.

Declan wrote:
explain the suicide rate associated with aa

Can you provide me with figures for suicide rates among AA members in Ireland that can be validated and used journalistically?

ask for a clear definition of an alcoholic

Surely the correct AA definition is the one given in their book?

ask for evidence of what the method is and that it works

Surely the method is the one given in their book? if not , why not?
ask why some 95% people fail.

Can you provide me with figures to show a 95% failure rate in AA in Ireland that can be validated and used?
ask if they think people should be forced (court order etc) to attend the programme, and should they reject such people

I will. Although to attempt to do that in the Irish courts would most likely be challenged under Irish Constitutional Law. I can already think of a number of constitutional rights it would breach.

ask if you can act as an observer if you are not an alcoholic

I think I'll leave that question until the end!

ask are there any weaknesses in the programme or areas in which aa woudl be self critical about its methods

I will.

I don't claim to be doing anything other than a journalistic piece. You said I had no experience of AA and in thet you were correct. So I am going to see what I can see.


I have no problem with asking the questions you recommend. I hope they are more forthcoming when asked a question than ANY of their detractors have been. Again, not one of you will directly answer the question I asked., so i personally think you have a cheek to expect answers from others. But for the record not one of you has answered,just for the record I asked the question of one lady at yesterdays meeting , her answer was no she had not been diagnosed and no she did not fit the description! So far 100% of alcoholics who have responded to the question did so in the negative!

As for agreements, I don't make agreements. This story interests me for a number of reasons, not least because I am in favour of transparency. However balance is an important principle in attempting to tell any story.

author by Susan Gibbonspublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 22:04author email suejgee at adelphia dot netReport this post to the editors

LH, if you will go back and read what I wrote, I said something to the effect that I didn't understand the concept espoused in AA that gives people the message that they must forever remain a part of the group. What I said was that I facilitate SOS meetings, which I do as a way of giving back some of what I got from that organization.

I started groups in my area because there were none, and there were many people looking for an answer that didn't paint them all with the same brush. No, I don't really view AA as a cult, but that's only my opinion. As far as attending groups, my own recovery/sobriety is such that I don't feel a need to attend any longer, but chair meetings because there are always people looking for an alternative. It should be provided, and, frankly, it's extremely difficult to get people up off their butts to help out with running a meeting.

You didn't read me correctly, and that's OK. But don't misunderstand what I said. And I don't view SOS as a "secular AA." The goal is the same. The way to get there is quite different.

author by Duaine Mpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 21:34Report this post to the editors

Hi All:
Duaine M here:

There are so Many groups, web sites and books that are critical of AA.

Why are so many forming?

Where are all these people coming from?

I believe they are coming from a failed cult that has invaded our treatment industry and stopped research and real solutions to addictions.

Here are some links to books, other news articles and groups that formed to get the truth out about the real aa.

http://www.sossobriety.org/sos/aa_articles.htm

http://www.sossobriety.org/aalinks.htm

Here are free books to read
http://www.morerevealed.com/library.jsp

Here are some reasonable alternatives to aa.
http://www.sossobriety.org/otherlinks.htm

With the Internet we now have free access to information and aa can no longer spread untruths and propaganda without being called on it.

Related Link: http://www.sossobriety.org/sos/aa_articles.htm
author by LHpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 21:17Report this post to the editors

This is an exceprt from the Positive Atheism website which quotes AA's own figures on their rates of success/attendance

"Illegal Even If It Did Work
Opposing The Twelve Step
Movement On Penalty Of Death
from Cliff Walker
Copyright ©2001 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon
· It's not about church and state by Arianna Huffington [off site]
March, 2001
Salon posted an article by Arianna Huffington called "It's not about church and state: Two words for the Bible-thumpers and lefties who are trashing Bush's faith-based initiative: Alcoholics Anonymous." This article touts Alcoholics Anonymous as the perfect example of why we ought to funnel millions of tax dollars toward religious instruction and proselytizing efforts. The author's reasoning? Get this: The author says, "The evidence is overwhelming that it's infinitely harder to rebuild shattered lives without acknowledging the spiritual dimension of human nature."
Oh, really? As an activist both within and later against the Twelve Step faith-based partnership, this is news to me. According to AA's own Triennial Survey of its membership (conducted every three years, of course), of 100 people who join AA today, only about five of them will still be there a year from now. In five years, that figure will shrink to a mere 1.6 to 2.6 percent. These figures have remained consistent for decades. Compare this with the figures describing the natural outgrowth of a substance problem: of Americans who say they've ever had a substance problem but have since solved that problem, fully 80 percent claim they either outgrew the problem naturally, or buckled down and took care of it on their own, without any outside help whatsoever.
The Triennial Surveys are AA's own figures, showing the recidivism rate for a program that, theoretically, you join for life. These figures are in stark contrast to the lofty claims made in AA's "Big Book" and parroted by AA's loyal supporters -- AA members who are so well trained that they think they criticize the core elements of AA on penalty of death. I kid you not. In the Twelve Step mind-set, your sobriety -- and thus your very life -- is conditioned on your active participation in the Program's proselytizing efforts."


Link to full article:

http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9180.htm

author by scrilla22publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 19:06Report this post to the editors

the governing bodies of AA are not following traditions.toss em.AA is in bed with at least one countries government, toss them too.from the beginning AA has been promoted as something it is not!that in itself is enough reason to kill off any connection.there is not a whole lot of accountability due to the setup.this is a crock, concerning addiction "treatment", considering the primary purpose of AAs programme is to find god.doesn't even say to stop drinking.

author by Rustypublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 17:57Report this post to the editors

Bobby, what you said is dead acccurate. People often accuse me of being bitter and vengeful, but on the contrary, I am a very nice, loving caring individual. I speak out against AA, not because I am bitter and vengeful, but because it is a very dangerous organization and people die there. Can I scientifically prove this? No, at least not yet. The main reason I speak out is to hopefully warn those who enter or are already in the AA trap and to inform them that NO ONE IS POWERLESS. Alcoholism is not a disease, a disease is something once you get cannot be cured by abstaining from something. Alcoholism is only cured by absitinence of alcohol, Period! ( Can an Aids patient cet rid of Aids once it is full blown just by absitiance from sex? NO. Can a cancer patient get rid of cancer just by quitting smoking? No.) Am I a doctor, NO, I am just a cured not recovering alcoholic who took my power back and kicked the addiction without AA. I don't have to prove that the color black is a no color because fact is on my side,, or that the color blue is blue and not green because this is fact. A true statement is true even if people say it is not. I am a living, breathing being in reality, but one religion teaches that we do not exist and are only thought, and if I debated them I would be told that the burden of truth lies with me and if I told those people to stand in front of a fast moving train and that would prove that I am correct in what I say, they would go to their writings and disregard the facts. The old saying," My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts." applies to these people.
While in AA one of the things that got me in trouble with the old timers was I would say that I was glad to be a part of AA, and I am working it as much as I am able, but I am not powerless and I cannot believe that it is a disease, but with the help of AA I can abstain from drink and I chose to drink and thus I got addicted, so now I am choosing not to drink and am sober. I was yelled at ridiculed at and constantly fussed at until the day I left. I was constantly told that AA is perfect and if AA does not work for someone, then the fault lies within that person.
I have refused to reply to obeserver2 and impartial observer because one of them admitted to being a part of the health care system that gives AA credit. This is another reason I speak out against AA. I watch Dr Phil and think he is a great doctor, but everytime he suggests AA to someone I cringe. It is the hospitals and doctors who only read about AA and know nothing about the internal workings of AA that keeps ths dangerous ortganization a ligitement status. Since I am writing my personal experiences, which CAN BE VALIDATED if the non believers would get off their duff and go undercver AA, then the burdon of proof is not with me, because I only speak of what I have experienced. If I was a professional in the healthcare business who sends people to AA and I was reading these things from former members, I would investigate from withinside and I would do a scientific study to see if these things were true, but unfortanately we are labeled, bitter and angry and NO ONE IN POWER LISTENS, SO PEOLE ARE CAUGHT IN THE CULT FOREVER AND PEOPLE DIE.
The first time I was admitted to a mental institution, I was 19 and had never had a drink in my life, however years later, I voluntary admitted myself again, which this particular hospital had been dealing with me since 1971 and just because I had drank for about ten years( THIS WAS IN 1991) THE DOCTOR REFUSED TO HELP ME AND HE SENT ME TO AA. THE ONLY REASON I WAS PRESCRIBED MEDICATION IS ANOTHER DOCTOR CHALLENGED HIS DECISION BASED ON MY HISTORY AND TEST RESULTS AND THIS OTHER DOCTOR WAS SUCCESFUL IN HAVING ME COMMITED, BUT I WANTED OUT SO I WENT TO THE OTHER DOCTOR AND CONFESSED THAT I WAS AN ALCOHOLIC, AND WAS REALISED AGAINST OTHER DOCTORS ADVISE. A day or so later, I was told by my sponser in AA to flush my meds down the toilet. I had been in and out of mental hospitals since 1971 a good ten years before my heavy drinking started, but just because I was drunk when I went for help, I was sent to AA instead and nearly lost my life. I have not trusted doctors since and one reason I made myself learn to live without meds or pcychiatrists. If I had died in AA, the blame would lie with the doctor aho refused me help and sent me to AA. Not all doctors do this and I am aware of that, but the ingorance within the healthcare community of what AA actually is needs to change, in my opinion.

author by LHpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 16:45Report this post to the editors

Aside from a few major differences SOS has a lot in common with AA. They dont bother with the higher power but they do have something a bit like the moral infentory. Read about it here.

http://www.sossobriety.org/sobrietytoolbox.htm

Its also anonymous, theres a dialy pledge, donations from members at meetings, listening to elders and long term sober people (like AA sponosrs). They advocate the use of slogans - and lots of other similarities. It seems like a less corny version of Aa. Not surprising Susan doesn't view AA as a cult? There appears to be a life-long committment to SOS also.

Basic tyheory is that the lymbic brain has learned bad habits and needs to be retrained
- that some people are more susceptible to this and so are alcoholic. Extent of exposure to alcohol has not so far been considered. Anyone know anything about that - any theories of alcoholism based on level of exposure?

SOS is basically a secular AA - perhaps a pragmatic step taken because no longer possible to ignore the growing objection to the religious aspect of AA. I emailed for information about local groups in Ireland and was asked for my address - which I didnt like.

author by Bobby S.publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 16:38Report this post to the editors

Yes, there is a difference between what is in AA's text "Alcoholics Anonymous" and how the organization "AA" operates. I know this from personal experience. However, I also don't think that if AA behaved according to how it's published principles say it should, that it would be a good organization. Better, perhaps, but still not good.
Like someone else stated, I would not consider reading a text by the Reverand Moon to provide a thorough understanding of how the Moonies operate.
Cults put up a face to the public and pontential new recruits that is usually very much different than what the organization is really like. They use terms like "they are only ready for the milk and not the meat". To the brainwashed members, the practice of 'heavenly deception' is seen as a 'the end justifies the means' approach where it's OK to deceive as long as it helps the person(gets them to go along with the cult) until they are more thoroughly brainwashed.
In actual AA meetings, I heard the 'pillars' of these groups(the "old-timers") say over and over again that AA is a PERFECT program, and that if it does not work for someone, then it is the person's fault, and not the program's. And in the text of "Alcoholics Anonymous" as well as their meetings, one is reminded over and over that death, or a life in ruin, will be the result of an alcoholic's failure to thoroughly embrace their 'program'.
These are common cult tactics. I have found AA members to lie about lots of things in order to put a good face to the public or potential new recruits.
I left AA because I found what they had to be crazy, and my life has improved in many ways since I left and came to see it for what it is- a destructive dishonest cult that has killed many people and ruined many lives.
AA zealots have told me that I am a bitter person 'in denial'.
Actually, I'm quite a nice person. I just don't like cults and the damage they have caused in individuals and society(which they of course deny).

author by Susan Gibbons - Secular Organizations for Sobrietypublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 15:19author email suejgee at adelphia dot netauthor phone 716-886-0126Report this post to the editors

I am seven years sober. I was a nightly drinker, somewhere around 4 litres of wine a night (yes, that's accurate), gainfully and successfully employed. The consumate functional alcoholic. That ended when I almost died from drinking.

Did I attend AA? No, and I haven't had a drink since 1998. People look at me strangely when I tell them that, but the fact is, I never felt comfortable with feeling "powerless." I knew that no one had put a gun to my head and forced me to lift that glass, the same way I knew that no one could force or shame me into putting it down. The choice was, and is, mine and mine alone. Did I want to live or die? That's where personal responsibility and self-empowerment came in.

I joined SOS as soon as I got out of the hospital, and I joined an online group, as there were no SOS meetings in my area at that time. SOS stands for "Secular Organizations for Sobriety" or "Save Our Selves." It's an international organization which has been in existence for twenty years. Its founder and Executive Director, Jim Christopher, developed his own model of "self-empowerment," because AA wasn't his cup of tea. He didn't want to base his recovery on a reliance on a higher power. Neither did I.

Whether or not one is a believer is, to me at least, somewhat irrelevant in all of this. After all, I really don't think that if I crave so badly that I find myself in the liquor store, God is going to leap out from behind a wine display and say "STOP!" even if I want him (or her) to. That's on me. I have to reach inside myself and use the tools that I've developed in my recovery to get through the craving or urge and move on.

I don't view myself as a bad person. I'm not perfect, but I certainly don't want to dwell on my "character defects," and I have many. Were I to focus my attention and energy on the negative, I'd probably become so depressed that I'd start drinking again. No, my focus is on the positive things in my life: my husband, my family, my good job and my desire to help others who are in the same boat. The philosophy that's so ingrained in AA, that you have to stay a part of "the group" forever, to me, keeps one trapped in a mindset that's equally as addictive as any drug. That won't work for me. Meetings and sharing of experience with other alcholics and addicts is helpful, integral in the beginning for most, don't get me wrong. But branding myself and wearing metaphorical sackcloth and ashes is counterproductive.

Am I an alcoholic? Yes, most assuredly. Does it define me as a person? Absolutely not. It is a part of who I am, in much the same way that I have blue eyes and a wretched propensity to gain weight no matter what I do. That's all. I can't drink, no matter what. And that's fine with me. I worked my way through that with the help of other like-minded sober people. No wearing of the hairshirt, no self-flagellation, just pure, simple self-empowerment. A big "atta-girl" after getting through a difficult time. Much positive talk at meetings (I still facilitate a few) -- discussions around ways to reach inside oneself and be healthy, productive and, dare I say it? Happy.

I don't view AA as a horrible group or cult. I view it as an organization that did much in the beginning, because they were the only game in town. But times change, people learn how to get what they need, and learned helplessness isn't a part of what clicks for some, perhaps many. I'm one of the self-empowered.

Related Link: http://centerforinquirywest.org
author by Declanpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 14:14Report this post to the editors

I am encouraged that observer 2' is interested in researching an actual aa group instead of the previous insistence on using 'the book' and the book alone - please lets not go back on that agreement

but lets be clear what constitutes proof

it is not just what observer 2 happens to think proof is

it will be based on the many observations of people with years of experience of aa across the country and across the world, to which observer 2's small offering will no doubt be welcome but hardly a substitute

it will be based on sceintific studies of representative numbers of people who have gone through 'the programme' and comparable treatment alternatives, a great many of which have already been cited on this site above - a single case experience based on one weeks observation (by a non alcoholic wiht a previously declared interest and viewpoint on this issue) will again be welcome but a drop in the ocean here

it will need to bear in mind the idea (again sceintifically examined, links to research and personal testimonies in cart loads above ) that aa works like a CULT - to which i would say to observer 2 if you are genuine about this, please be very careful - also look at the evidence in this light

some interesting questions to put to the group:

explain the suicide rate associated with aa
ask for a clear definition of an alcoholic
ask for evidence of what the method is and that it works
ask why some 95% people fail
ask if they think people should be forced (court order etc) to attend the programme, and should they reject such people
ask if you can act as an observer if you are not an alcoholic
ask are there any weaknesses in the programme or areas in which aa woudl be self critical about its methods

realise too that you wont get the full Cult experience until you are

1 included in the group programme - ie start the 12 steps (will they trust you)
2 allocated a sponsor
3 start to questin the prgramme at all
4 try to leave (after 1,2& 3)

this will take 6 months minimum (assuming you carry off the deceit that you are an alcoholic)

but after all that, consider the experiences and testimonies of others with more at stake, and the research, and perhaps be more humble?? about putting the whole debate through your own prism alone

and just to put my cards on the table, i was a probation offcier for 15 years and worked closely with alcoholics and ran and researched group programmes and have been trained extensively in addiction abuse so i have that perspective too

author by observer2publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 12:36Report this post to the editors

Paul wrote:
"the Big Book of AA does not provide legitmate questions or answers in deciding the real truth of the issue at hand."

You are correct, what it does do however is provide one with information aon a specific treatment for a specific group of people. Until such time as it is accepted that what is being peddaled today is a revisionist form of AA then little progress can be made with this debate.

As for the suggestion that AA members are somehow afraid to post on indymedia for fear of retaliation, that is the type of statement that undermines your argument. These people are anonymous, they could post under a handle, do you know how easy it is to acquire a hotmail/yahoo/gmail account? Personally I believe that they don't know about the debate, and that if they did you would probably get a much more vigorous response(from both sides).

I have done very little research into the opinions and attitudes of AA members, however from the little I have done I am aware of disquiet and factionalism in AA in Ireland.

To Paul I would say that no Ireland is not similar to the U.S. Most therapists in this country that I have dealt with are open minded , and harm reduction is the prevalent model adhered to and the model of official policy. As you know the harm reduction model is at total variance with the disease concept and AA.

You still won't address the question I asked. You seem offended by it, maybe when you consider the basis of that question you might realise the value of asking it? If health service professionals etc are going to refer people to AA is it not reasonable to suggest that those people should at least fit the AA description of an alcoholic? Or at least are diagnosed chronic alcoholic by a doctor/psychaiatrist? Can you not see that that of itself would hugely reduce the number of referrals to AA?


I have begun to explore AA the organisation, yesterday I went to one of there meetings(condem me for that if you wish, but undercover reporting is as old as the hills and AA is not immune from either the law of the land or criticism from media!).So far the evidence is very tenuous. I will not say more at present as I intend to attend at more through the week and write my experiences up next weekend.

Oh and by the way Paul, assumptions about people you don't remotely know can not be described as openminded!

author by Bill F.publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 10:51Report this post to the editors

The Pre-Amble of Alcoholics Anonymous:

"Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

The above text has been copied from: http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/default/en_about.cfm


AA Concept 5:

'Throughout our world service structure, a traditional "Right of Appeal" ought to prevail, thus assuring us that minority opinion will be heard and that petitions for the redress of personal grievances will be carefully considered.'

AA Concept 12:

'The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government; that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action'.


The above Concepts 5 and 12 texts have been copied from: http://www.chicagoaa.org/steps_plus.html

author by Paul W.publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 06:45author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

I think its great that you folks in Ireland are open minded enough to post a controversial story such as this. And I thank Indy Media.

It takes courage to stand up to AA.

AA is probably very similar there as it is here
in the US, and I would venture to guess that any folks in Ireland might hesitate posting on this subject for fear of retaliation.

That doesn't mean our U.S. A.A. experience is not applicable.

What will the outcome of this story accomplish? I hope it leads to a greater awareness and eventual solid scientific examination as to the possible benefits and harms actually occuring in the rooms of AA.

That doesn't mean the program as outlined in the book, but the actual day to day goings on in the rooms.

This is not infomation in the BIg Book.

Also the relationships between hospitals, rehabs, court systems mandating AA participation, alcohol counselors and AA
should be examined.

Here many AA folks are what we call "two hatters" -drug addiction counselors professionally and AA members
privately.

This may or may not be the case in Ireland, but I suspect it is the case there, also.

This is why I responded the way I did when Observer 2 indicated an affiliation with the health care industry.

It could be construed as a conflit of interest.

the Big Book of AA does not provide legitmate questions or answers in deciding the real truth of the issue at hand.

author by witpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 06:26Report this post to the editors

AA decomissioning

author by witpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 06:24Report this post to the editors

Theres the "real AA" and the "book AA", next you'll be saying theres a continuity AA!

author by observer2publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 06:21Report this post to the editors

what pages does it say those things on?

a quote perhaps?

Just a little something to back your allegation up,
cause I must have missed it when I was reading!!!

Know what I mean?

author by observer2publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 05:05author address observer.two@gmail.comReport this post to the editors

thats good, there are obviously other ways for alcoholics to recover. As I understand it, AA, and by AA I do not mean the meetings, people or anything else, as is clear from the post above I mean the actual treatment as described in the book AA.

The people who wrote that book. The people who founded AA, however many there was said:

"upon therapy for the alcoholic AA has surely no monopoly"

They never claimed they had they only way, they only claimed it worked for them. If those who purport to represent AA today say otherwise, then that is clearly a revisionist position. It is clearly not what was intended. I do not yet know, but I intend to find out. If what you are saying is true, then it will be out there.

And if irevisonism is the prevalent ideology in AA, then yes it should be challenged. But not one AA member from Ireland has come on here, left a contact email and said, this is what is going on.

author by Ray Smithpublication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 04:51author email raysny at yahoo dot comauthor address 9 No Church St, Schenectady, NY 12305 USAReport this post to the editors

You keep talking about the Big Book as if that's all there is to AA. It does talk about "spoon-feeding" it's religious nature to the newcomer as not to scare them off. Bill Wilson expands these thoughts in "12 & 12". There it explains that deceiving the newcomer is OK because it's for his own good. Sorry, that's a cult tactic.

The "real AA" is what goes on in the rooms. People telling psych patients to throw away their medications, demanding that they believe in their version of God, creating a sense of fear that keeps many locked into meeting after meeting for life.

I was diagnosed as an alcoholic by a doctor. I had to be hospitalized for over a week because I was consuming 2-3 quarts of hard liquor a day prior to my first detox. Now that I've stopped without AA, I keep hearing that I must have never been an alcoholic. The whole idea of you demanding us to "qualify" is absurd. If I see a house burning would you demand that I be a fireman before I pull an alarm?

Most of the people I saw in the rooms were probably never alcoholics. Most here in the US got to AA via the courts or employee programs. Looks like England may adopt the same policies. Will Ireland be far behind?

I'm here because I agree with the author. Many people here in the states have seen what happens when the courts push AA on people. The more people informed, the less likely it is to happen.

author by observer2publication date Domh DFómh 23, 2005 02:52Report this post to the editors

do you believe that those people are adhering to AA rules(traditions)?

And if they are not, is it right to throw the baby out with the bathwater?

If as is being suggested, these people are not following what is recommended in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, why condemn the actual treatment. That treatment has been shown to work, for a very few chronic alcoholics. That is the reality, the figure 5% does not shock me. I had suspected from previous knowledge that it was definately no more than about 20%. But as you rightly point out , that figure as well as my other conclusions are not based in personal experience.

What I do know is that theoretically there is little wrong with their book. There is no suggestion that people should be enticed, cajoled, mocked or in any other way deprived of any liberty. In fact the oppoesite is recommended. I have read the chapter entitled: working with others. Those among AA who are actual recovered alcoholics must be leading wonderful lives. I intend to find out.

As somebody way back up the thread pointed out (they were ex aa, i think):
Just because a blood cult rose around jesus christ does not necessarily mean his alleged teaching is flawed!!!

Now, is there any possibility that any of you will honestly answer the question.

author by scrilla22publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 21:45Report this post to the editors

I would definitely understand where you are coming from, if you had personal experience with the whole lot of AAs.however, tell me, have you found out about the german court case yet.you know, the one where AA sued its own members for doing what they were supposed to do?yeah, they have done some foul things in mexico too.

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 19:30author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

observer your question made me realize another thing:

of that 5% success rate that AA enjoys, how many of them fit this "alcoholic standard" that you are so keen on establishing?

Maybe NONE of them were actually alcholics to begin with!

maybe, but I think thats extreme....
I am willing to give them a few...

But we agree on one thing. More and better research needs to be done.

author by declanpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 19:20Report this post to the editors

Look O2 - dont you get it - most of us just dont understand what youre doing here. we give explanation after explanation and you dont seem to understand whats being said or to notice that its your own preoccupation with a very narrow point thats the problem.

this stuff about diagnosed alcoholics is the complete oppostie of what every aa meeting tells people the moment they walk through the door-

'the only requirement for aa membership is a desire to give up alcohol.'

this is drummed in again and again. aa do no tests of any kind and never encourage people to get an official diagnosis.

so if you think aa are wrong about that then thats another point and you need to take it up with them. but at the moment they dont turn anyone away - the opposite - the put huge psychological pressure on you to stay. if youve never been an alcoholic in an aa meeting then you really dont know whatyou are talking about. If all your information about what goes on inmeetings is coming from aa zealots then you need to get about more and speak to the huge number of people who will tell you a different story. nobody here is making an unsubstantiated allegations - they are speaking from experience - bad experience and you should have more respect for them than you seem to have.
earlier on you said you were a disinterested observer but actually you are a health worker or counsellor of some sort. Do you work in the alcohol addiction field? if so you should have told us sooner ?

One thing is clear though - this issue has made you very cross and you sound like you think nobody here has the right to tell what happened to them. that's not a great advertisement for aa. We dont agree with you - it may be annoying but thats life!

The questions we want to talk about without fighting with anybody are

1. Why is aa rate of success so low
2. why will aa not admit any possible weaknesses in their methods
3. why does everyone who asks these questions end up being attacked for asking them
4. the suicide rate among ex aa members is high - 3% (ill get the research and bring a link back). Why?

there isnothing wrong with asking these questions - it is not an 'unsubstantiated attack' to ask them.
Declan

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 19:09Report this post to the editors

People stay because they are told they have an incurable disease, which the only cure is attending meetings for the rest of their lives. hence: keep coming back.

these questions are all answered at:

www.orange-papers.org

I am not "slagging" anybody

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 18:30Report this post to the editors

Becky, can I ask you why, if you don't fit their description of "the real alcoholic", you continued to attend for 6 years?

This is a genuine question, it would be very helpful if you felt that you could answer it.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 18:17Report this post to the editors

Becky wrote:
"The point is medical people, social services et al direct you there when you are in crisis with booze because there are no other options."

Thanks Becky, this point is one I very strongly agree with. I also believe that large numbers of people are being mistakenly sent to AA. by the people you describe above. It is the easy option for them, it means that they don't have to do any follow up work, just send them to AA and wash their hands!!!

So, at least part of this problem lies outside of aa(i believe personally that it is a large part, but i accept others may not agree with that).

As someone working in this area this problem has been obvious to me for some time. Just for the record I have referred numerous people to therapy(for abuse of all types) to help them cope with their alcohol problems, I have only ever referred one person to AA and that was because they requested me to.

Now, can AA be blamed for this? I doubt it. What it can be questioned over is why it does not turn away those people whom it is not designed for. AA types will quote their traditions, I personally don't believe that it is good enough to do that because on examination it is easy to see that the tradition they quote(trad 3) in it's long version is pretty specific. AA could turn these people away itf it wanted to. Also, are the internal problems within AA the result of so many non chronic alcoholics being involved in the organisation? lots and lots of questions. However merely posting articles slagging off AA is not the answer. The answer is scientific research by legitimate faculties/professors/doctors of our third level institutions. That is what people should be calling for, that would be a positive approach.

Because the reality is that AA appears to work for chronic alcoholics, however they are only a tiny minority of it's membership. In a study conducted by a fellow student some time back it was found that over 70% of those attending AA had never been diagnosed alcoholic by a medical professional. This is the equivalent of me deciding I have cancer and then going along to the chemist getting cancer drugs and taking them without ever consulting a doctor,it is plainly madness to self diagnose such a serious disease.

Like I said, lots and lots of questions.

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 18:15author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

No I didn't say you are not an AA supporter,
I pointed out that now you have revealed to me another factor which may indicate your interest: Health Care Industry.

I never denied my interest. I am ex-AA and I want to see AA practices held out under the light of day.

I want people who need treatment to have other options available besides the 12 step system.

I want open investigation, I don't quote
out of the big book like you.

And I don't pretend to be impartial.

author by Beckypublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 17:38author email yasminwild at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Observer 2 I feel you are missing the point here. Yes there are many who fall into this insiduous cult who do not conform to the Big Book description, I was one for 6 years. The point is medical people, social services et al direct you there when you are in crisis with booze because there are no other options. There are no other options because of a lack of open and honest research into 12 step recovery. This is what we are calling for. I am English myself and over here AA (or Eh? Eh? as I prefer to call iot these days) is about to get into bed with the Government who are making a drive towards tackling alcohol abuse. We may end up like the US where you can be forced into these nonsense meetings in order to keep your job or liberty.

Many who abuse alcohol do so to cope with abuse, past and present. The thrust of the 12 steps is self blame and self denigration. Not good for olw self esteem and poor self efficacy. What they tell you in the book is NOT the message rammed down your throat in meetings. They insist AA is the only alternative to Jails institutions or death. AA needs to take a thorough moral inventory of itself rather than forcing them on abuse surviviours.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 17:31Report this post to the editors

i practise the harm reduction model!

Sorry to disappoint you.

Oh and by the way, you have no vested interest?

So now you realise i'm not in aa you figure out another way to attack me, and you accuse aa of being infallible , read your own posts for an example of dogmatic infallibility!!!!!!!!!!

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 17:29Report this post to the editors

the above comment was written by me, not by declan. I must have done something wrong when filling the form.

author by Declanpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 17:27Report this post to the editors

Heres the first thing that I find puzzling.

This book seems very clear to me as to who it is intended for. That is why I have repeatedly asked whether aa/ex aa's here fit the description given/ or were they diagnosed alcoholic by a medical professional.

If you read the thread, I believe it is plain to see that I am not defending AA. I believe I have already said it may be a cult, I Don't know.

However, Declan, it seems to me the first thing to establish is whether or not those people who are using aa are it's actual target group. It seems to me that most people attending AA are not it's target group. They could not be, there simply are not that many diagnosable chronic alcoholics in this country. There are many people who have alcohol problems which the harm reduction model can and does help(i witness this in my workplace), however having an alcohol problem be it dependency or addiction does not equate with being a chronic alcoholic, that is a medical fact. I really cannot understand why problem drinkers who could be helped by therapeutic/ harm reduction models insist on attending at an organisation which plainly is not designed for them, really, I just cannot understand that. Why in the name of god would anyone want to label themselves in such a way?

The second question to ask is why then are people who are not chronic alcoholkics attending AA?

Why do people here find it unreasonable to ask these questions? Are they afraid that the answers will not suit their argument? or is it just a case of pure dogmatism?

I have been repeatedly slagged off here for asking these legitimate questions, I am not the first to ask them, they are questions that are being asked, in third level institutions where addiction is studied, on a regular basis. I know this because I studied Addiction Studies. I know the arguments, I've heard them before, however never before have I come across such unwillingness to debate the core issues.

Declan can you answer the two questions I ask?That is a genuine request! not a trap, not a trick, just a simple bloody question which all of you seem intent on avoiding.

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 17:19author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

observer wrote:

I know this because I am one of those health service people!!

of course, you have a huge vested interest in this!!!!!!!!

author by Declanpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 16:28Report this post to the editors

again i realy feel we are off the point. I agree it doesnt matter who you are, who ray is, who i am.. question is - are we genuine (i am) and are we making sense. i can believe you are genuinely trying to understand what is being said here but am not clear why you seem to be missing the point of what is said in return.

Would you look at my reference above to professor schaler's work on the disease model of aa and the cult? aa is an insidious organisation, the evidence goes, not a harmless and lovable anarchist group with an embarrasing but perhaps loveable failure rate. Would you engage with this debate instead of bringing us back to soem stale old ground already covered over and over...?? please!

either you are not reading what is said or you are deliberately ignoring it - thats why i think that people are questioning your sincerity - perhaps wrongly. would you assess the moonies by reading mr moon's own book or assess the nazi party by referring only to mein kampf? Thats what youre doing her by quoting the book and the book alone. Almost all the contributors here know it by heart and yes there is plenty of nice folksy wisdom and truisms in it that we could all subscribe to. its what goes on in the meetings and actually happens to members that we are talking about. how about looking again at what has actually been said.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 16:26Report this post to the editors

Is it not true that the entire programme of this organisation is contained in their book Alcoholics Anonymous?

If not, then where does it come from?

Read pages 21/22, that is who they say their programme ios for. THey definately do not claim to be able to deal with anything but a small minority of cases.

Now explain to me again why all you people are part of an organisation that is not designed for you?

So in very simple english:
AA claim to be for "real alcoholics" not heavy drinkers etc, yes they adhere to the disease concept which is a legitimate psychological perspective(whether you agree with it or not).

Also, health services and professionals in Ireland have for the past seven years been adopting the Harm reduction model (in the case of the h.s.e it is official policy)and therefore DO NOT blindly send people to AA.I know this because I am one of those health service people!!

But of course you people wouldn't know much about Irelands situation would you, given that you are mostly located in the U.S!!!

author by oberver2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 16:06Report this post to the editors

Yes ray, my name is not observer2 it is the handle I have been using on this forum long before you aa attackers arrived(from america!!!) Chekov is right to ask what the hell you people are doing using this forum to promote your unsubstantiated attacks.

One question:

Do you fit the description of who AA is for on pages 21/22 of their book?

Still no response from any of the aa attackers!

also I find it extremely weird that you people claim that being willing to have a pint with you in dublin is not evidence that i am not an aa person. Of course it's a long way for any of you to come for a pint given you are almost all living in the U.S.

author by Detlef Saxpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 15:25author email sax at 12schrittefrei dot deauthor address Hamburg, GermanyReport this post to the editors

At least he died sober.Means to me that many people simply don't go to AA anymore because they are simply not able to go. They are lost.Not mentioned in any statisitics anymore.Not able to be counted in any statistics.AA is a death cult, eat or die.Detlef

Related Link: http://12schrittefrei.de/index.php?newlang=english
author by Declanpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 14:55Report this post to the editors

--the people coming to the site are readers!!! and this is an interesting issue for me certainly and it seems for many - alcoholism is a major social and personal problem and you have a good discussion going here - dont knock it!

the 5% success (95% failure) is aa's OWN figure from its own website- nobody is questioning it (except you!) other therapies have been researched and found to have a 30 - 40% success - brief intervention - or behavioural therapy 21 - 68% success rates, compared with 2.5% fro aa in a comparable study (William R. Miller, 1995) ref http://www.baldwinresearch.com/methodology2.cfm )

I have looked up cults and also found some useful and reliable writing about aa - try this

Professor Jeffrey Schaler, a respected academic and writer on alcoholism and executive editor of current psychology journal, a peer reviewed journal also edited by professor Sheehy head of psychology at queens university Belfast. Professor Schaler writes convincingly and widely on relevant issues to this discussion but especially on discrediting the ‘disease’ model of alcohol central to AA’s method, the very high failure rate of 12-step programmes and as quoted here on the very sinister and worrying cult-like methods used by aa both to propogate its message and to intimidate its members.
Link to article below but here are three interesting quotes:

1. Policing the views of members
‘As an inductee becomes involved in the group, the sponsor monitors the person's views carefully, assuring that the recruit adheres to the perspective …….any (other) interest … is discouraged. Similar constraints would be applied if a recruit questioned the importance of any of the Steps or the need to attend meetings regularly.’

2. Brainwashing
‘Alexander and Rollins (1984) described how Lifton's (1961) eight brainwashing techniques used by the Communist Chinese operate in AA. "[T]he authors contend that AA uses all the methods of brain washing, which are also the methods employed by cults," (Alexander & Rollins,1984, p. 45).’

3. Attacking any opposing viewpoint (doesn’t this sound very familiar?)
‘Members of the cult are like a colony of insects when disturbed. A frenzy of activity and protective measures are executed when core ideologies are challenged. The stronger the evidence challenging the truthfulness of the group ideology, the more likely members of the cult are to either lash out in a more or less predictable fashion, fall apart, or disband into separate cult colonies.’

Full article

http://www.schaler.net/fifth/cultbusting.html

Link to Current Psychology

http://www.transactionpub.com/cgi-bin/transactionpublishers.storefront/435a31f104c38a909c4dc0a80a73071f/Product/View/0737&2D8262&2D1i&2A1

Please look at these with an open mind? And at earlier information with a similar pedigree

author by chekovpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 13:10Report this post to the editors

is not valid. I bothered looking at the orange website and the figure is for drop out rate of the program, 95% of people who join AA don't remain a member after 1 year. This is misrepresented as being AA's failure rate. It's far from valid to include somebody who decides, for whatever reason, not to go through the treatment programme as being a failure of the treatment programme.

On another note, what under the flying spaghetti monster's boundless domains landed all you AA critics on indymedia ireland?

author by Ray Smithpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 12:17author email raysny at yahoo dot comauthor address 9 No Church St, Schenectady, NY 12305 USAReport this post to the editors

Your argument that the Big Book is AA while ignoring the rest of the program is foolish. Would you base your views on Christianity on the Bible while ignoring the practices of Christians?

If you, in fact, have never been to an AA meeting, how dare you deny someone else's experiences there?

I don't believe for a moment that you have no vested interest in AA. Your attacks have been too vile not to be personal.

You ridicule Agent Orange while you also hide behind a screen name. He provides documentation for his claims; for the 5% success rate: one source is an internal AA survey, the second, a study done by an AA board member, and the third, from a biography of Bill Wilson.

I have used my real name, included my email and home addresses. I'm willing to take some abuse from those who prefer to hide behind anonymity in order to maintain the ideals of Free Speech.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 11:09Report this post to the editors

"Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. "
(AApg563)

So it would seem from the above tradition 3 that being an alcoholic (do you fit the description on pages 21/22) who wants to recover is a prerequisite for membership of AA.

If you don't fit the description of who the AA book claims to be for, why go to AA?


Wouldn't it be a cosy little world where you could just make any allegation you like without having people who query it, Declan!

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 10:58Report this post to the editors

you mis represent me. I have attacked nobody, what I have done is investigated the outrageous story, as for asking the editors to remove me, are you for real? One has already posted here warning about makking further outrageous claims!

Another one who soes not like being challenged.

Well declan do you fit the description?

Why will not one of these people who claim to be alcoholics answer the simple question?/

author by Declanpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 10:44Report this post to the editors

Im getting tired of this. Observer 2 you are:

making personal attacks
wilfully missing the point
steering away from or avoiding facts put to you
claiming to be impartial but steering a remarkably one sided course
offering absolutely nothing of value to the debate
offering no personal account or facts but riding the discussion

Please be straightforward here - you must have an agenda. Lets get back to what has been said so far

Scientific or other proof should always be on the side of proving that a theory or therapy is valid, not the other way round - aa has so far produced none

we have read personal accounts in large numbers of experienced aa members and ex members - almost all agreeing the cult like methods of aa

facts and fugures from a number of sources NONE of which have been disputed by either side, all concluding an at best appalling (95% minimum) failure rate

ON the other side what has been offered -

quoting aa's OWN book at us - a book of personal musings and slogans meaning and proving nothing
Pesonal attacks on contributors
apparently wilfully avoiding evidence
Evasion about what aa actually says or believes

but above all - complete agreement on BOTH sides that AA DOES NOT WORK

So observer 2 will you be a little honest here about your motives or just please keep out until you have something worthwhile to say ie as you keep asking yourself, something FACTUAL or RELEVANT - not a series of false challenges and reinterpretations of the debate to suit an particular viewpoint

I think the editors should look hard at what you are really doing with a valid discussion - and can you drop the name 'observer' - that would not describe you at all

LAST - im interested in the prevailing view that aa is a cult - does anyone out there have knowledge of how cults work and how they can be researched - I will have a look myself

author by aa memberpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 04:00Report this post to the editors

yes.

i fit the description. it works for me. glad you brought this up.

actually for the tradition on who aa can refuse entry to is trad 3, better to read in full in the long form.


am aware of the high failure rate, wonder how many fit the description.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 03:54Report this post to the editors

you didn't answer the simple question.

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 03:47author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

ok-

The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.

did I pass?

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 03:40Report this post to the editors

right i'm conducting a study:

will anyone who has attended aa please read who it's for and confirm that they fit the description.

you still there paul.

oh, i suppose i'm using another aa trick?

simple question.

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 03:11author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

correct,
the "whole thing" is based on a book .

that book is based on opinion. not on facts. it is full of propaganda techniques and assumptions and contradictions.

If thats the only source you look to for your "study" than your study will be grossly lopsided.

Quoting from big books gives you no validity in your argument.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:57Report this post to the editors

As i understand , the organisation takes it's name from this book and the book is described as "the basic text of our society" xi (aa)

The whole thing is based on the book!

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:52author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

big book quotes are useless. they are not scientifically proven,


arguing with Big Book Quoters...is pointless.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:37Report this post to the editors

you didn't read their book first did you, you just went along and joined up paul!!!!

they didn't con you, you just wanted somewhere to hang out!!!!

I hope that everyone who is currently attending AA read this thread. What have you done to make them aware of it paul?

about eight so far out of an estimated 30,000 members in Ireland, so far most of the eight were american!

Your debating your position with a non aa member! with a non alcoholic!

Seems to me, that most of those in AA should not be there!

There just aren't that many complete psychopaths out there! and that is what the description on pages 21/22 describe, a psychopath.

author by Don Leepublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:20author email rationaldl at yahoo dot comauthor phone 212 977 1123Report this post to the editors

This sounds like it was writtten by an Irish drinker, and nothing wrong with it. I am an American and had one or two drinks in my life too. Plus I had spent years abusing narcotics. I grew tired, of the whole thing. The methadone clinic was being closed, all my Rx meds were gone, I was going no where. It is a familiar story. It is as good in Ireland as it is in America. I had decided to get clean on my own, when I stumbled, wiht a friend into the rooms. Something at that point I might have wished, my parents turned me on too years before. There were several members of this organization running throughout my family.
Everything took awhile. I really didn't see what was slowly creeping up on me. I was being introduced to the group with its own lingo slowly, during a time when I was in pain, and as the saying goes vulneralble. Beaten. What else is there? I got the book so what else was there?
This was the secret to addictions, all of this? Twelve declaritive sentences? I knew it was written in English. I still admit that the ten or twenty pages, needed to explain, each of these simple sentences intrigued me. So I read a little at a time, and kept up the thought that all who I was now associating with, despite many of the felony arrests I knew existed, now had changed their ways and knew most everything one needed to know about addictions. Despite the in group arguements and relapses I continued now to empathize, to ID with and slough off any and all relapses, crimes committed, or arguements, about the rooms or in the rooms, as part of our way of life. I had sunk too low, and ID'ed fully.
I had been harassed into a rehab, in order to put an end to my ongoing withdrawal. This was the beginnings of what is known as a gangstalking routine, and there was a direct connection to the therapeutic community in the town I lived in.
ILater I visited an alternative method of recovery, and began ot see that Bill W is outmoded, and antiquated. I also began to see that at least in America, there is a billion dollar therapeutic industry which surrounds recovery. These supportive services are the for profit industries, the business arm, in all dealings with the addicted, including HOUSING, REHABS, AFTERCARE TREATMENT CENTERS etc.. I began to see that part of the function of this therapeutic community is to harass, squeeze, or try to psychologically intimidate errant steppers, and maybe people who endanger or who don't encourage this type of activity. Activity by some is completely covert, some is less so.
Now besides showing all the earmarks of a CULT, by any dictionary definition, I added one more characteristic. A CULT will come after you.
They did, and through even members of the supportive services area, and beyond right into the educational systems, with ongoing harassments.
In America we have certain freedoms allowed us, by the system. For awhile some of these supportive services took advantage of alot of situations and tried to mandate individuals, into step treatment. Not to mention the covert more silent machinitations, and manipulations. The American Constitution at least has, started to be used to squash, mandatory participation, into this recovery monoply, backed by the political power of the Churches, and social services state. It has been called the State Religion, actually it is the social services state religion.
Their step public relations naturally presents a different picture to the public, than the harsher reality of the steps dismal failures, and behind the scenes, CULT BEHAVIOR.
With a 5%-10% success rate, that is a 90%-95% failure rate.
Think about it all. Wake up Ireland.
Maybe St patrick can CHASE THEM OUT. Snakes they are
Sincerely
Don Lee

Related Link: http://www.geocities.com/rationaldl/index.html
author by sarahpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:20Report this post to the editors

John, Thanks for the piece. It takes courage to stand up to a cult...er, institution. I want to personally thank you, though. This stuff needs to be said. AA is not a benevolent self-help fellowship. If you are cursed with particularly low-self esteem it can be dangerous to your mental health. AA is the antithesis of self-empowering. Who knows, you may have saved some lives. I was part of the 'fellowship' for 12 years, by the way.

Related Link: http://radar.smh.com.au/archives/2005/01/now_that_the_p....html
author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:11Report this post to the editors

were you always more or less insanely drunk?
dangerously anti social?

it's simple if you were then 20 pages in they say "this book is for you". If on the other hand you are not, then what the hell are you doing going near AA?


By the way, I will meet you in any pub in Dublin for a pint anytime.

Fair evidence of my not being a member of AA!

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:05Report this post to the editors

AA describes who it is designed for.

pages 20-23 of Alcoholics Anonymous:




Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone.

Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.

But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.

Here is a fellow who has been puzzling you, especially in his lack of control. He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He is seldom mildly intoxicated. He is always more or less insanely drunk. His disposition while drinking resembles his normal nature but little. He may be one of the finest fellows in the world. Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently becomes disgustingly, and even dangerously anti-social. He has a positive genius for getting tight at exactly the wrong moment, particularly when some important decision must be made or engagement kept. He is often perfectly sensible and well balanced concerning everything except liquor, but in that respect he is incredibly dishonest and selfish. He often possesses special abilities, skills, and aptitudes, and has a promising career ahead of him. He uses his gifts to build up a bright outlook for his family and himself, and then pulls the structure down on his head by a senseless series of sprees. He is the fellow who goes to bed so intoxicated he ought to sleep the clock around. Yet early next morning he searches madly for the bottle he misplace the night before. If he can afford it, he may have liquor concealed all over his house to be certain no one gets his entire supply away from him to throw down the wastepipe. As matters grow worse, he begins to use a combination of high-powered sedative and liquor to quiet his nerves so he can go to work. Then comes the day when he simply cannot make it and gets drunk all over again. Perhaps he goes to a doctor who gives him morphine or some sedative with which to taper off. Then he begins to appear at hospitals and sanitariums.

This is by no means a comprehensive picture of the true alcoholic, as our behavior patterns vary. But this description should identify him roughly.

>>>>>.


Is this you paul? and all the others here who claim to be " alcoholics"

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 02:05author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

I am not falling for your tactics. all big book information is in doubt until "scientifically Proven"

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 01:57author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

observer wrote:
firstly, you seem very aggressive. However so do a lot of those who have posted on this thread including the original writer.

---any threat to AA would be perceived as aggressive to a AA member----

Do you know anything about open publishing or this forum?

---personal insult here, too---


Attacking those peolple here who are largely impartial is foolish. I am in the process of attempting to do a report(definately not a study, a medical professional I am not) on this. Why? because the subject interests me.

---i don't believe it---


Please do not tell me what to find out, I am intelligent and capable and what is there to find I am sure I will come across.


---I see what i want to see---

I have to say that as yet I can find absoluly no evidence that AA claims infallibility, I have found the following statement in their book:

---quoting the Big Book isn't scientific either---

"upon therapy for the alcoholic himself we surely have no monopoly" Alcoholics Anonymous , pg xxi (AA world services 2001)

---Bill Wilson wasn't stupid----

Kinda throws the infallibilty allegation out the window!

---Doesn't mean a thing---

Now, do you understand peoples scepticism about the claims being made in the original story?


---by "people" do you mean AA members?

You are obviously an AA member.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 01:56Report this post to the editors

AA divides "problem drinkers" into 3 categories(pg 20/21)
Moderate drinkers, hard drinkers and what they describe as "the real alcoholic".

They then give a pretty detailed description of a real alcoholic. There is no way there are many of these real alcoholics about. They describe themselves as " frequently becoming disguistingly, and even dangerously anti-social" I would seriously doubt if there are tens of thousands of people that fit the description given by AA of who it is designed to help.


While there is no doubt that alcohol is a major social problem, it seems ludicrous to me to attempt to blame an organisation which claims to be for only a very small percentage of problem drinkers because it does not work dor those for which it is not designed.


Any discriminating person can see there is a problem here. AA is clearly not working for a lot of people. The first question we must ask is: do these people fit the description given on pages 21 and 22 of the book from which this apparently anarchist organisation takes it's name
(I say apparently anarchist because any anarchist reading their twelve traditions will immediately recognise anarchist principles.)

So that is the first issue in regard to AA. The second issue in regard tohow to deal with the growing problem of alcohol abuse is another issue. It is an issue that deserves urgent attention.
Finally there is the issue of what became of the organisation the authors of AA set out to create? If it is gone completely off the beam in regard to it's principles, why has that happened? Is it beacause a huge proportion of it's membership do not fit the description on pages 21/22, or is it because of some other reasons. These are questions that deserve to be answered.

I begin by asking those who have posted here and were in AA, do you fit the definition given by AA on pages 21/22 of Alcoholics Anonymous?

author by scrilla22publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 01:32Report this post to the editors

how true.no scientific research to back claims on either side?sounds like we are not debating scientific methods.that is usually what happens when "religious" groups try to enter on a scientific plain.

oh, by the way, I was informed by some AAs on another board.AA is not for quiting drinking.is that true?!so then if it is, why are we talking about its success at helping people quit drinking?sounds like apples and oranges to me.or, another cult method for recruiting.take your pick.

author by Paul W.publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 01:00author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Attacking those peolple here who are largely impartial is foolish.
"attacking"????????
"largely impartial" ????????

First your imagining things, I am not attacking people, and second, I think you are not impartial, at all.

and most of the others on this list are either for or against AA.

you just gave me a personal insult also, which is an indication of your biased point of view. I am not agressive.

And I am speaking based on my own experience as a recovered alcoholic and an ex-member of alcoholics anonymous.

I believe experience counts for something.

author by observer2publication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 00:33Report this post to the editors

firstly, you seem very aggressive. However so do a lot of those who have posted on this thread including the original writer.

Do you know anything about open publishing or this forum?

Attacking those peolple here who are largely impartial is foolish. I am in the process of attempting to do a report(definately not a study, a medical professional I am not) on this. Why? because the subject interests me.

Please do not tell me what to find out, I am intelligent and capable and what is there to find I am sure I will come across. I have to say that as yet I can find absoluly no evidence that AA claims infallibility, I have found the following statement in their book:

"upon therapy for the alcoholic himself we surely have no monopoly" Alcoholics Anonymous , pg xxi (AA world services 2001)

Kinda throws the infallibilty allegation out the window!

Now, do you understand peoples scepticism about the claims being made in the original story?

author by Paul Wpublication date Sath DFómh 22, 2005 00:16author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Do a study! get some educated scientific professionals in the rooms of AA and really do it.
I think this is really what needs to be done, to lay this to rest once and for all.

We need to critically examine the sponsor/sponsee relationships, the "under the scenes" goings on.

I know from inside experience what a REAL study will reveal, and I totally support it.

It won't be favorable to AA.

it will however, support the
www.orange-papers.org claims even further,
and that 5% might (i said might) be lower

So bring on the study!

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 23:23Report this post to the editors

It might be disingenuous of me to attend meetings of aa given that i am not an alcoholic. I do take on board what you say though. At present I am considering wheter it would be worthwhile and ethical to research the meetings.

However, rusty, the allegations being made here are not being backed up by scientific research, That is just a fact. It is not good enough to turn the argument back on those who pose questions, I didn;t post an article claiming aa works, therefore there is no onus of proof on me. John did post an article claiming aa does not work, there is an onus of proof on him. You may not like it that such is the way, but it is the way for all articles. I would like to see some scientific proof to support the allegations being made about aa.

Meanwhile, you never know, I may well decide to find out a little from the inside.

author by Paul Wpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 22:52author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Please read the AA horror stories on www.morerevealed.com

These are real stories by real people who had many problems with AA.

For folks who have no experience with AA than you are encouraged to read the big book also. Any opinions made should be based on research from both sides of the coin.
and I am sure, just as I have seen many newcomers walk in AA and walk out never to return, that intelligent persons will agree that AA is nothing more than a cult, created from a religion called the oxford group, and AAs god is a micromanaging dictator who exists in complete disharmony with most of the worlds religions.
the whole point of this cult is to keep you coming back, and recruit newcomers.

Its not here to have people "recover" and then go back out in the world as a normal, non-drinking member of society.

That would be counter-productive to its goals.

author by Rustypublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 22:44Report this post to the editors

I did read the book, in fact I got in trouble by quoting it. The big book says one thing ,but the practices of AA is another. I speak from experience. Are you willing to go into the rooms and see for yourself? I can only see that you read and take everything you read as gospel and you tell us who have been on the inside looking out what you think is going on when you are on the outside looking in. Go to the rooms and you will see all that you read is one thing, but they parctice another. Don't take my word for it, get out and go see for yourself. If you are not willing to get off the computer and go see for yourself You have no valid arguement. The problem I have with AA is the fact that their information and this includes the big book says one thing, but the people in the rooms that control everything say another.If they did what their information said they did, I would probably still be active in AA. The big book says plainly that it is acceptable to go to church and work the program, my sponser kicked me out of AA because I wanted to attend church twice a week along with the nine AA meetings a week. Stop reading and get off your butt and see for yourself.

author by scrilla22publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 22:33Report this post to the editors

I can tell from the posts some AAs, and people who use the program of AA, are hard pressed for comprehension skills.
this destinction between parts of AA is silly.AA is a FELLOWSHIP of men and women.

fellowship being its members

who share their experience, strength and hope

hmmmm.....wonder where they do that.getting the picture yet?

aside...it is really sad to see so many AAs incapably of keeping their words to themselves, in keeping with the traditions.what is wrong, ego swelling up again?

author by Declanpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 22:20Report this post to the editors

on all the evidence presented so far, AA simply doesnt work - if Chekhov's gold standard is an article in the lancet or bmj (and why not) lets see some from that source saying that aa works. as i said before, if im selling you a medicine (snake oil perhaps) , i dont say 'first prove to me that it doesnt work' but in the meantime keep taking it. also scientificlaly it is true that anything under 5% is outside the bounds of statistical significance (I am a social science researcher) - 5% is aa's top rate of success - equal to the rate of cure you might find by using no intevention at all - and 5% is aa's top claim by the way - it could well be less - the stats are simply NOT available - why???

perhaps honesty from aa would be more commendable - such as, 'look, 19 out of 20 of you are going to fail if you try this method- only one of you is going to succeed' - but where are they saying this openly??

I would though like to hear more about the negative effects of aa and the worrying rate of suicides associated with aa membership. i know in my wife's case that her contact with aa caused a serious depression associated with the very negative and unsympathetic and single minded approach she encoutered in this programme. have other people had similar experiences?

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 21:50Report this post to the editors

declan wrote:

"The more I read of this the more uneasy I am about aa supporters, including observer 2 "

It appears that you also have difficulty with simple english, I am not an aa supporter .I am an imcer who is beginning to really tire of being attacked for asking legitimate questions and requesting that you back up your claims with scientific evidence.

author by Paul Wpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 20:14author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

we can go round and round on this. Orange papers provides documentation links for all of its facts.

but all you can do is cut it down!

author by Chekovpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 19:45Report this post to the editors

"One Man's Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous
An Online Book by Secret Agent Orange"

Is not what I call a reputable piece of evidence. In fact it is laughable. I was hoping for something from the Lancet or the BMJ, or any peer-reviewed work. I was also hoping that the author's name might start with 'Dr' rather than 'secret Agent'.

Anyway, any more big claims without something that isn't orange to back it up will go. You are throwing an awful lot of mud and are providing an awfully abysmal amount of back up.

author by Paul W.publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 19:25author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

I would like too see actual proof- scientific proof- that AA works. It isn't available, is it?
AA is a very NON-scientific program, and scientifically unproven.

so lets not make sweeping unsubstaiated claims as to AA's success.

also see:

www.morerevealed.com

for more info.

author by Paul Wpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 19:11author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

chekov wrote:

A treatment that cured 5% of sufferers would be perfectly acceptable in the absence of something that is known to work better.

it is also a fact that "no treatment at all" is just as effective as AA

5%

author by Paul W.publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 19:02author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

this information is publicly available at
www.orange-papers.org

author by Chekov - 1 of indymediapublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 18:57Report this post to the editors

The repeated claims about failure rates of AA's method such as ".. and as far as any studies that have been done, AA success rate stands at 5% at best." really need some sources or else they are worse than useless.

Incidentally, the critics of AA on this thread appear to have a woeful grasp of statistics. For example:

"AA's 95% failure rate and high suicide rate is unacceptable. if this was a "drug" it would have been banned by the FDA a long time ago. Lack of solid information is the basic foundation of AA."

A treatment that cured 5% of sufferers would be perfectly acceptable in the absence of something that is known to work better. Lots of cancer treatments have a high rate of failure, but that's just because it's a hard thing to cure - like addiction.

I would also recommend substantiating the claim that AA causes suicides. These type of claims, of a serious nature, require evidence or should be withdrawn.

author by RIACpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 18:35Report this post to the editors

I've been stranded many times after the wagon stopped working, and the AA were nowhere to be seen, the RIAC used to be very snobby and expensive but they're worth the extra, coz they're there when you need them.
Still they didn't get me off smack. That was a decision of sheer will power and thrift. Good old fashioned values like telling all your mates to fuck off.

author by Paul Wpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 18:22author email synepaynter at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

lets stop this personal abuse and accusations and get back to the subject at hand.. and as far as any studies that have been done, AA success rate stands at 5% at best. I have read and re-read the big book, I have worked the steps, I was an active participant in the group for 2 years and in a large home group, after 2 years I was an exception. I was still sober. Many many new people had come in never to return. Should a
program so blindly considered to be a benevolent and successful program enjoy such praise from the establishment at large without formal proof of its success? I think not. I think many people just assume it works without investigating further. So I want to see proof it works. And I know for a fact that any AA supporters cannot come up with this proof, all they can do is attack the messenger. I am sure I will be attacked as well, but if you feel that is necessary than you are shedding light on your own insecurity.
AA's 95% failure rate and high suicide rate is unacceptable. if this was a "drug" it would have been banned by the FDA a long time ago. Lack of solid information is the basic foundation of AA.

author by Declanpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 18:14Report this post to the editors

The more I read of this the more uneasy I am about aa supporters, including observer 2 who is wilfully distorting and limiting the debate and arrogantly assuming the role of 'sage' here despite having no personal knowldege or experience to contribute himself. It looks like he is just here to poke around and criticise, - this is a real and serious issue for most of us on this discussion - you keep ignoring the evidence and bringing it back to a pointless argument about your self - really Observer 2 seems to be deliberately sabotaging the debate - Will you please leave it alone??

I had mixed feelings about aa through my wifes expereince of it, but was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt as perhaps a quirky but generally wortwhile organisation which must obviously work for some. but havign read thsi discussion i see a worrying level of evasion, bullying and dissembling in the comments i have read from aa people - cod and the like - which chime with my experience, and evidently Rays, Rustys and Johns. After all the toing and froing we seem left with two overwhelming facts-

1 the method does NOT work - no one has agued otherwise, plenty of evidence anecdotal and scientific to back that now

2 aa is a secretive organisation which attacks the messenger rather than listens to or answers the debate. look what has happened to John - is there anyone out there who sees this too?

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 17:42Report this post to the editors

Maybe you should try doing what i'm doing. Read the book!!!!!!
rather than rely on the interpretation of others.
Because what you are describing is contray to what I am reading.

You make a lot of claims, but like john you provide no proof other than your word.

As for the infallibility, over the last few days I have scoured google, downloaded the book and had a quick flick through it, I am now reading it thoroughly and Nowhere so far have I found one claim by aa to infallibility. In my opinion this claim being made is a lie to attempt to denigrade aa for whatever reason be it personal or business.

author by codpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 16:12Report this post to the editors

Yipee Rusty, you sound like you've kicked this grog business and you're now living a cheery and not at all obsessed life and all despite the lure of that cult AA.

You really have experienced some very unfortunate offerings, if your writings are in fact accurate, which of course, I have no reason to doubt.

I have not experienced the things of which you write, however. I have definitely NOT experienced the demand that a person cease medication for any psychiatric condition. In fact, I believe that very issue is addressed in the book to the effect that if this is required, do it.... Go to AA for the grog and your psychiatrist/doctor for the medical issues... I think the stress on a lack of mind altering substances is directed toward such 'self medications' as popping valium to 'calm yer nerves' or smoking pot or booting up anything really...

I guess if you hunt out the adverse or negative in any situation or group or work or social interaction, you'll find it. You sound as though you've had your fair share. Where did you experience such unfortunate meetings?

author by Rustypublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 15:58Report this post to the editors

Impartial observer, in your post titled actually, you admit to not being an alcoholic and admit you have no affiliation with AA. You admit that all your information comes from reading internet information. Well, Guess what? AA is a cult and as a cult they do like all other cults, that is they say one thing in print, but do another in their rooms. Most of us against AA are alcoholics who were in the rooms and KNOW FIRST HAND that AA Does claim infallibility. How do we know? Because we have been told many, many times that if a person gets sober without AA, then they were not an alcoholic in the first place. We were told many, many times that we must work the program 100 percent or die a drunks death. We were told many times that if we waver from the steps then we will die that if we work the program we will succede, but it we do not, we are destined to die a drunks death. Working the program means we must give over control of our lives to our sponser, and in this way we learn to trust in a higher power. You attack and accuse others who may well be speaking from experience first hand with AA,but you admit that you attack us based on what you read. I challenge you to go to an AA meeting and claim to have a drinking problem, but you can only work the program based on what works for you , because this is another false claim of AA, that we can take what we can use and reject the rest, but watch out because all hell will break loose. The first month or so AA will allow a person to come to meetings and not admit they are an alcoholic and they will say that only you can decide whether or not you are an alcoholic, but sooner or later AA will attack anyone who does not admit to being an alcoholic and will in fact tell this person they they are an alcoholic and if they do not want to die a drunks death, then they must get with the program and work the steps and follow their sponser's lead, in other words,they must swallow everything they are told. Like I said in my prevoius post aa does harm, because they make mental patients go off ther meds because in their view, if you take any prescribed drugs you are not sober. In the short four months I was in AA I was in contact with more people that actually commited suicide than anywhere else in my whole life. You talk what you read, we talk what we know first hand from experience. Do I have wrtten proof? No my proof lies within the AA rooms and must be experienced from the rooms inside.Another thing AA claims in print not to attack any religion and that you can go to church and work the AA program. I tried that but I was told by my sponser to f*** the chruch and go AA all the way or hit the F*** door. My sponser got in my face and told me that churches cannot tell anyone about God because only AA can do that, and I heard this from many big AAers in the rooms. Every meeting I was in churches were ridiculed, attacked and the point was that AA has the only way to God. I admit that possibly I may have been in a group that is not common, but the more ex AAers I am around convinces me that this goes on in most rooms. If you are indeed an impartial observer,then I suggests you not only read about AA, but go to meetingsand pretend you want to quit drinking, and after six months post your experiences then. Don't try just one group,but many. I was allowed to say that I was not an alcoholic for about a month,but then in the talking portions, I would say that I was not an alcoholic and at least five people would say, OH BUT YOU ARE AND YOU must admit it or die. Now I admit I never heard any politics in the rooms,but when it came to churches,and religion what I heard was that AA was the only way, not only to get sober, but the only way to God. This is what I experienced, and I was very dissapointed because all I read about AA was untrue as soon as I got in there. I was told by at lest twenty people in the group that if I am able to remain sober without AA, then I never had a problem to begin with. If that is not a claim of infallibility, then I do not know what is.

author by codpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 15:20Report this post to the editors

Ooooh, Observer2, you are going to wish you hadn’t asked me…pull up a comfy chair and enjoy this gump…

Personally, I've not ever experienced any issue over money with AA. I've been to a variety of meetings around the world and in some areas where socio-economical constraints have been severe. The groups have, for the main, been run on the smell of an oily rag.

I have been less than forthcoming on occasion with making any contribution myself either because I'm scabby or broke! In fact, compared to the amount that I was spending on grog weekly and for which I could always muster up sufficient funds, I am completely ripping AA off. I have personally felt a bit scabby sometimes at meetings but I have not felt pressure or any sense of being ostracised for failing to contribute to the coffee/biscuits that I might consume after/during the meeting or toward the rent for the room.

There is the tradition that the group is self supporting through its own contributions and any such contributions are noted in a book that is accessible to all. The money is counted there on the spot and the total written into the book. In my experience, this money then goes to pay for the rental of the hall or room wherever the meeting is held, and toward providing coffee and biscuits if there is any money left over.

Quite often, in my experience, the people attending the meetings are not particularly affluent and do not have or offer much money at any rate. I have been to a few meetings where there has been a lot of 'money' or wealthy group members and these people seem to contribute according to their means. That money is still allocated as per my previous comments.

The book that is used in AA is dirt-cheap. I'd spend more on crappy magazines in a week than I've spent on any AA literature. I have also bought books for AA members who seemed to perhaps be disinclined to participate or continue because of needing the book. I also know of other members who have photocopied/typed out/lent their books to others who seemed to be struggling with the idea of spending money on the literature.

There is also a monthly group conscience meeting where any and all are welcome. At these meetings, the direction of that particular group is discussed and any grievances aired and hopefully sorted. I have not experienced any pressure or hierachy at any such meetings.

I am only able to speak for myself and through relaying 'hearsay' from other members with whom I've chatted but those who have stuck with the program (and sometimes it is extremely difficult - not necessarily actually stopping the grog business because once that compulsion leaves, if you are fortunate, the trouble is with living as a 'normal-ish' person without any chemical peace of mind) are so grateful for the AA stuff that they'd not care to analyse or scrutinise the reasons for their good fortune.

For what I've received from AA, I do not care if someone somewhere is an AA god of sorts rolling naked in the small change from myself and my AA ‘colleagues’ and with notes from my purse wedged between his/her hairy buttocks. That person may spend up big on the loot and best wishes to him/her. Having said that, I do not believe that there is this great surplus of funds or that anyone is benefiting in a fiscal manner from AA contributions.

I am certainly no puritan or saint and in fact, I'm probably considered quite wicked by some (!) but since I've completely 'surrendered' (and as dramatic as that sounds, it is true), and while kicking and screaming my way into insanity actually, to the assistance that the AA program is able to provide, I've not f*cked anyone over; I've not allowed my child to see me blind drunk and vomitting from too much grog; I don't have the burden of having to drink; I don't have the overwhelming feeling that all is not right or well; I don't wake up in some strange bed with a dude I could swear I've never met before; and I don't have the constant guilt and feelings of fear and failing that I had every second of the day for at least the last 15 years of my drinking.

It was no fun carrying the booze monkey on my back. It was a completely demoralising compulsion that I just could not stop, no matter how much willpower I put into that effort.

This probably sounds like some cheesy sales pitch but it's not. I believe it to be the indication of a pathological disposition but ultimately, I do not care too much if someone is attacking AA anonymously via an internet forum (other than that I'd hope that any other pisspots may take such attack with the lack of regard that it deserves). If someone is in the alcoholic situation or grips of insanity that I was in when I was drinking, I'd wish them to find the peace that I've found in AA but really, it's no skin of my nose if they don't... That may be the attitude that ‘John’ has spoken of in AA?? I have certainly seen that attitude and likely given it and it is not an insincere or patronising approach. Similarly, it is not an attempt at alienation because a person will not stick to the program. For me, it would be because I have been so desperate as a drinking alcoholic, and I am so effing pleased to not have that burden any more, that my focus is on the program and not on soothing anyone else’s ego or self indulgence. I do not want to be challenged on AA either because it is working for me. I know that it works. It’s not always easy. And you cannot make someone get it. If a punter is not into it and is intent upon bucking the methods that have proven to work, good luck to them but ‘piss off and keep on researching’, would be my personal feelings. If you do not want to be sober or to be in AA, that’s a personal choice and that’s fine. That attitude may come across as rude or arrogant or whatever else ‘John’ has claimed but it is borne of necessity and a desperate desire for self-preservation.

There are some complete and utter dickheads in AA as well as some truly great people by anyone's standards. As with anything in life, it pays to be observant and use a bit of common sense when meeting new people who are likely just as sick as me but I've not had too much trouble in AA, with anyone. Certainly nowhere near the trouble that I’d inevitably find for myself when out drinking.

I've seen in AA people whom I consider to be complete lunatics who are absolutely insane in addition to the alcoholic insanity. Poor bastards who are organically damaged or suffering from an illness that really requires psychotrophic medication... I've also met people in AA whom I cannot stand. They make me want to chunder and I have to constantly bite my tongue when I'm near them. Sure, the feeling would be mutual. I've met some about whom I might be thinking are talking such shite that they are just utter dogs. But put all of that aside and look for the likenesses rather than the differences and I find that the common link - the desperation to be and remain a decently sober person - is a powerful binding force. If I cut all of the personal crud and biases out of the way, and just listen for the feelings and words of horror that I know as a fellow pisspot, that's the good stuff for me and that's the common link that keeps me going to the meetings... (That, and the 'free' biscuits).

I’ve not been God-whalloped in a meeting. There is a strong spiritual emphasis or recommendation of acceptance of a higher power but there is absolutely no dictation as to what higher power anyone chooses. It could be a bloody rock, if that works for the person, great. The acceptance or willingness to accept a higher power is simply expressed, as I read it, as a willingness to accept that perhaps I, as a kooky drunk, am not actually running the show…that perhaps there is some ‘power’ greater than me. If you’ve been in the gutter as I have as a drunk (metaphorically actually), that concept that I am not running the show is quite, ah, sobering really. I’m a catholic so I have no problem with the God concept, other that which a fairly standard psuedo-catholic may have – that whole institution of the church bla, bla, bla, which is another story altogether… But the catholic belief of God/Jesus is the one that works for me but I have seen and heard of many other higher powers in AA, and it’s all good.

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 13:23Report this post to the editors

This is the link I followed which was posted above to the book, it is a free download in pdf format. It is worth a read.

Strange, if this organisation is so hung up on money that they allow their book to be freely downloaded, also I've checked with AA office in Dublin apparently the actual hardback copy of this 500+ page book costs just 6.75 euro. Hardly any profit in that!!!

Related Link: http://www.silkworth.net/gsowatch/1999/4edprol.htm
author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 13:03Report this post to the editors

yes, he is a bit unfathomable. However I downloaded this book Alcoholics Aonymous and actually it seems very interesting. a bit "religious" but interesting. Can you confirm that these rules(traditions?) are actually being followed in aa? they seem very anarchist, as does the aa symbol! is AA anarchist?

author by codpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 12:51Report this post to the editors

I agree Observer2. I, on the other hand, am an alcoholic and sober and a big fan of AA. I have no problem with someone else finding it unsuitable but it does me very well.

Personally, I am not able to work 'John' out. He is obviously an extremely bitter and resentful little critter and is perhaps best ignored. He has repetition on his side but little else.

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 12:49Report this post to the editors

"'Ive been told also that somebody has tried to get this article and the debate taken off the website completely."


that is editorial debate.

Is it appropriate to show the reason given for why the story was allowed to run?

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 12:40Report this post to the editors

John wrote:

(By the way Observer 2- did you know that you and George W Bush have love of AA in common? GWB has been recommending AA as an appropriate religious and spritual movement for alcoholics. GWB must be a closet anarchist!)


Please show one reference from this thread where I support/approve of AA, to back up this comment.

In case you have a learning difficulty John, I'll repeat myself:
I am not an alcoholic, I am not a member of aa, I am an imcer who objects to cranks using this forum to make unsubstantiated allegations.

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 12:35Report this post to the editors

So John, between the earlier references to smoking at meetings and your new references to "quid" I must ask, have you been a member of AA in Ireland?

Have you ever been to an aa meeting in Ireland?

author by "John"publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 12:24Report this post to the editors

The policy Bill F describes is the official policy. The money collected this way is the tip of the iceberg. At the meeting I attended there were three well off long time members who personally funded AA events and conventions outside the normal meetings. In every meeting I attended down the years the class system was always upheld - the more well off and better educated people always dominated and were looked up to. They were the most vocal at the meetings. They circulated around different meetings keeping an eye who was who and what was what and were sometimes very aggressive with people who made contributions. They tested us and criticised us for not having 'understood' the programme properly or 'failing' to conform to it. I remember one of the worst scenes like that when three people rounded on a man whose wife had had an affair and left him. He'd been sober for 7 years. He mentioned the affair as part of his contribution and that he was feeling depressed. These guys laid into him for not accepting that it was his own fault, told him he was selfish for 'blaming' his wife. I witnessed loads of scenes like this. The man was in pieces. He was an averagely content person believing the world was the right way up and within a week hed been told about this affair and had lost his family. Every decent person there hated it but we were all so pathetic from the brainwashing that I noone spoke up. I never saw anyone speak up at a meeting. Actually that's not true - once a man came and said 'I hate AA and everything it stands for but there is nowhere else to go'. He was treated like dirt of course and nobody would speak to him or be seen to speak to him. Whatever they say in their book that's the reality of how AA do it.

Not everyone was invited to those other meetings or knew what they were for or even that they were happening but there is an inner circle of dedicated AA people who are doing things differently. When I first asked about them I was told you had to attend the meetings a long time and to have successfully completed the programme to be 'trusted' to go. At the normal meetings a lot of money was collected too. The amounts people gave varied - one person who attended 3 nights a week would always put 10 quid in the kitty, others a fiver and others their loose change. Some meetings are in better off places than others but adding it up it still comes to a lot of money.

Some people here claim that other therapies are 'commercial' because the therapists charge for their services like a GP or a dentist would. I dont know whether that is a good or bad thing. I believe that people can get better by themselves if they are encouraged to feel strong and to understand that they must take control of themselves. That's the opposite of what AA does. AA takes your self-control and and your self-respect and tries to put itself in the place where those strengths should be. That's a cult - if it was the Moonies nobody here would deny what Im saying. AA doesnt charge people a fee at the door but they do collect a lot of money. In a big meeting I attended in another country while I was on holiday there was hundreds of euro in the kitty at the end of the night.

So far as Im concerned Ive made my honest contribution here to exposing the AA for what it is. I knew Id get a backlash if any AA people read it and I certainly wasnt disappointed. Ive been told also that somebody has tried to get this article and the debate taken off the website completely. But make no mistake there are more and more people like me coming out of the wordwork. I believe that one day people will all look back on AA and say the wonder of it was that the whole sham was so bloody obvious, how did we allow ourselves to be so easily taken in for so long.

(By the way Observer 2- did you know that you and George W Bush have love of AA in common? GWB has been recommending AA as an appropriate religious and spritual movement for alcoholics. GWB must be a closet anarchist!)

Im drawing a line under this here because I think Ive given enough information for any fair person to be able to see that AA will not answer for their method or their failure rate. There are serious questions about the possible damage they are doing which they always avoid. Good luck to all the alcoholics who are still struggling - I hope you find a solution that leaves you feeling strong and booze-free.

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 12:03Report this post to the editors

I am just an imcer who objects to cranks publishing unfounded allegations on indymedia.

So far 'John" has made a number of allegations, it wouldn't really matter to me whether they were against aa or diageo!

I am investigating the book and attempting to investigate the financial reports of aa in ireland to ascertain the facts!

The arrogant attitude of john and his alter egos has done neither him nor his argument no favours.


more to come......

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 11:56Report this post to the editors

the next chapter is entited: Bills story.

This is a pretty harrowing account of the life of one of aa's founders Bill Wilson. Still no claim of infallibility.

Wilson describes how an old friend of his visited him and convinced him that he had found a way to stop drinking. This apparentrly required that Wilson should "get religion", however it was up to wilson to choose " your own conception of god".
Therefore there can be no doubt that aa is based on "religious" belief. AA appears to be different than religion however insofar as one can choose ones own "god".

Certaintly curious, but still nothing greatly out of the ordinary.

Bill F above points to Tradition 7, it is included in the book with another 11 traditions, it is clear that John's claim that AA receives huge contributions from individuals is just another unfounded allegation for which he can produce no evidence. John seems quite good at making unsubstantiated allegations. Of course, no doubt my comments will attract a backlash from him claiming I am part of this worldwide conspiracy against him. Problem with that John is that at least some readers of imc actually know me!!!Providing the links you have done John proves nothing, what you are doing in effect is saying:

X are liars and my proof is that y and z are telling the truth. Both matematically and philosophically that argument does not stand up, just because you prove y is telling the truth does not prove x to be a liar. Pretty basic debating, John.

I am attempting to get a copy of aa's financial report for 2004, it must exist as they are a registered charity. It will show the exact financial position and who they get their money from. Any help in sourcing it would be appreciated.

author by Ray Smithpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 11:51author email raysny at yahoo dot comauthor address 9 No Church St, Schenectady, NY. USAReport this post to the editors

To Impartial Observer:
I doubt your claims to be impartial, you sound too much like every 12stepper I've debated. AA may not say in print that they are infallible, but it is certainly the attitute. Bill Wilson wrote, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path" when most of his original group had relapsed.

To Recovered Alcoholic:
You started shifting you definition of "alcoholic" to suit what you were saying. A common AA debating tactic. A person will walk into an AA room and someone will tell them, "Well, I can't say for sure you're an alcoholic, but nobody gets here by accident." If that person goes on to quit drinking without AA, all of a sudden they are either a "dry drunk" or "not really an alcoholic to begin with." AA's definition of an alcoholic? Someone willing to turn their lives over to the cult.

To Observer2:
AA's own George Vailant came up with a %5 success rate:http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant_deaths

AA's GSO Triennial Surveys report a 5% success rate. Both can be found at:
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html

Bill and Dr. Bob also came up with 5%:
"During Bill's stay in Akron, he and Bob calculated their success rate to be about 5 percent, and among the few who seemed to catch on, not all of them were able to maintain consistent sobriety. The first edition of AA's Big Book, published in 1939, contains the personal recovery stories of many of AA's earliest members. Some years later, Bill made notations in the first copy of the book to come off the press, indicating which individuals portrayed therein had stayed sober. A good 50 percent of them had not.
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, pages 91-92.

5% is the rate of spontaneous remission. The same as AA. Except that the Vailant studies also show a 3% mortality rate. I believe that answers the question of harm.

I work with people who have problems with both substance abuse and mental health. Every one of the clients in the program has been through 12step treatment and groups without success. All have been told at one time or another that they must give up their psychiatric medication or they're not really sober. Many AA members dismiss this this by claiming that the program is not set up to deal with people who have mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health (US) states that 50% of all alcoholics and up to 75% of all addicts have a diagnosible mental disorder. So what you end up with in the rooms are people who believe that by doing the steps, ALL their problems are gone. The healthy don't stick around.

author by Bill F.publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 10:34Report this post to the editors

"A local A.A. office receives a donation of $2,000 from a non-alcoholic relative of a member. The manager declines it with gratitude, explaining that A.A. does not accept outside contributions."

"Situations like these, which occur regularly throughout Alcoholics Anonymous, highlight the tremendous importance A.A. members, groups, and service entities place on Tradition Seven: 'Every A.A. group should be self-supporting, declining outside contributions'."

A much fuller explanation of AA's financial policy, and its development, can be seen at:
http://www.aa-intergroup.org/cpc/art_support.html

Personally, my own experience suggests that the version of events provided at the above address is actually true.

I could be wrong of course.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about AA's overall financial policy is that it is based on the principle of "Corporate Poverty" - something you don't often come across these days.

author by "John"publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 07:53Report this post to the editors

Observer 2.

If you want to put me down as a crank, you’re entitled to your point of view. But you should know there are millions and millions of ‘cranks’ like me all over the world all saying the same thing about AA. There are more of us than there are AA members. Have you been to a meeting? Are you an alcoholic? The AA claim to infallibility is in the way they practice their method. They tell you over and over again that the only reason the method wouldn’t work is because you’re a worthless person. You wont find the words 'we are infallible' in the AA book. Looking for justification in the AA book is like quoting the bible at a Muslim to prove that Muslims have got it wrong. The article I wrote was a genuinely motivated attempt to have a discussion about AA in a public place. You don’t have to rely on me for information. A lot of links have been given by me and others and there are more for you to read below. You need to read them thoroughly. You’ve made your mind up to disagree and fight with me regardless. At the very least you should be prepared to acknowledge that there are two sides to this issue.

Here is a quote from my article by the way:

“Let’s understand one thing, before we continue though: AA didn’t make me or any other alcoholic become alcoholic and they have many things to say about alcoholism and alcoholics which are painfully true to confront at times. Whatever is said below, their literature is worth reading if you are a drunk.”

The links give a selection of alternative perspectives and contrary to what has been said I am not here to promote any cure commercial or otherwise. AA is very wealthy and powerful organisation. It collects money from attenders at every meeting. It also receives huge donations from wealthy people, from the judges, doctors, business men and others who are signed up to its method. These people all know who they are but you and I don’t, nor do we know how they are using their private lives to promote undeclared interests in AA. In America, prisoners and offenders can be forced to go to AA. That should never happen – and AA are entirely happy with that situation. The idea that it is an anarchist organisation could not be more wrong. AA is tied into the capitalist system at every level.

http://www.geocities.com/drugsandalcoholinfo/webpagesandpapers/mindcontroltactics.htm

http://www.baldwinresearch.com/index.cfm


http://www.positiveatheism.org/rw/alcohol.htm

http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/7/emw262711.htm


Here is a quote from within the Positive Atheism website:


According to AA's own Triennial Survey of its membership (conducted every three years, of course), of 100 people who join AA today, only about five of them will still be there a year from now. In five years, that figure will shrink to a mere 1.6 to 2.6 percent. These figures have remained consistent for decades. Compare this with the figures describing the natural outgrowth of a substance problem: of Americans who say they've ever had a substance problem but have since solved that problem, fully 80 percent claim they either outgrew the problem naturally, or buckled down and took care of it on their own, without any outside help whatsoever.
The Triennial Surveys are AA's own figures, showing the recidivism rate for a program that, theoretically, you join for life. These figures are in stark contrast to the lofty claims made in AA's "Big Book" and parroted by AA's loyal supporters -- AA members who are so well trained that they think they criticize the core elements of AA on penalty of death. I kid you not. In the Twelve Step mind-set, your sobriety -- and thus your very life -- is conditioned on your active participation in the Program's proselytizing efforts.”

The 12th step itself is to prove you've succeeded by going out and recruiting other alcoholics to the AA programme.

author by Declanpublication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 05:00Report this post to the editors

The question on the table is does AA work? Quoting the observations of one doctor that he thinks that alcoholism is a disease isnt proof of anything. Somebody once said that the moon is made of cheese - does that make it true? AA must have had millions of 'members' by now - I would expect some convincing evidence by independent scientific researchers to show that it works. In spite of this my experience of aa meetings was that they claim that the method will definitely work. but...no evidence so far. quoting the aa's own book at us can hardly be taken as an idependent or reliable source. have you got anything better?

author by observer2publication date Aoine DFómh 21, 2005 01:52Report this post to the editors

They done that(published) in 1939, the volume was titled : Alcoholics Anonymous.

There is a link on one of the other comments because I downloaded it yesterday. So far I have got to the first chapter titled The doctors opinion. I am now googling Dr. Silkworth. This man wrote two letters for the book. He gives a medical opinion on alcoholism and gives the general symptoms of the disease. He claims to have witnessed a number of hopeless cases recover from alcoholism through what he describes as the "moral psychology" of aa.

So far no claim of infallibility and nothing very out of the ordinary.

If the man won't show his evidence then lets just coldly look at the facts and see if such evidence exists.

More to come....

author by Declanpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 21:28Report this post to the editors

I have to say that I dont see the problem with the question that John is raising. The AA is a large and influential organisation and it is reasonable to ask it to prove that it works. That's how science works, isnt it? We dont say that something is true until we can prove that it isnt - its the other way around. If I offered to cure you of something and you asked me 'how' or why I think I can it wouldnt be reasonable for me to say 'no - first you prove that it doesnt work'.

isnt that where this argument is stuck? why dont we stop questioning who is saying what and think about the central question - does AA work? lets hear some evidence on both sides. John seems to me already to have given some indication of why he thinks aa doesnt work - and this happens to chime with my own personal experience as i have already said.

just as an aside, i am amazed that anyone could read into John's comments that he has any commercial interest in 'selling' an alternative. surely if aa had some convincing evidence of what they claim then this would be a great moment to publish it and convince us all.

so i would also in the interests of fairness be very interested to hear the aa side - could they answer the questions?

author by observer2publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 21:02Report this post to the editors

you are continuing to refuse to answer the questions put to you. You posted a story, it is up to you to defend it. All you have done so far is attack those who question you.

This story is posted for commercial gain.

author by "John"publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 20:35Report this post to the editors

I have twice specifically stated that I made no recommendation whatsoever for this organisation. You should withdraw these accusations - they are clearly false.

Again, AA is a secretive and vast profit making organisation.

Still no discussion whatsoever of how or why the AA programme is such a failure for so many people. Still no discussion about the suicide rates among former members/attenders.

What sort of person tries to defend all that?

author by observer2publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 20:03Report this post to the editors

recomended by john:

@What is Rational Recovery®?

Rational Recovery® is the exclusive, worldwide source of counseling, guidance, and direct instruction on self-recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs through planned, permanent abstinence. We use an exclusive method, AVRT®, which is by far the most cost-effective, dignified approach of all. "

Cost effective is what really caught my attention!

this is corporate slagging off anarchist to gain market share. nothing more, nothing less.

commercial benefit.

author by observer2publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 19:59Report this post to the editors

http://www.rational.org/faq.html

followed this link you left john, it leads to a rival organisation to aa, a corporate organisation. I suggest your story was placed for commercial benefit.

author by "John"publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 19:49Report this post to the editors

Have you read this discussion from start to finish?

The situation is entirely the other way around. The questions which I raised originally and which I have had to repeat several times have so far gone completely unanswered.

This a game that is being played here by AA people by means of a concerted attack on this discussion - attack as a form of defence.

In what way is AA fallible? It fails the majority of people who go to it for help. What mistakes does it think it could be making? After 70 years of pheonomenal failure and with lots of good reasons for believing that they are doing more harm than good, this unaccountable organisation should come out of the shadows and answer for itself. Every other medicine, public service, treatment or therapy has to be able to explain its successes and its failures. In the 70s and since, every kind of therapy or treatment or cure went through rigorous scientific testing. Counselling, behavioural therapies, crisis intervention, residential treatment and group therapies all looked very hard at what they were doing and how they were doing it and the results are openly published and continue to be examined by independent researchers. Why not AA? If it works, why dont we see published data from an independent source about how many people are cured, in what way they are cured, how long they stay cured and how this compares to control groups or other therapies. Many people will say that the success rate of AA is well below 10% which in scientific terms puts it below the level at which you can really claim there is any evidence of success. A control group of alcoholics who met regularly to watch football might well have similar rates of success in all probability. In fact the evidence is that people remit from alcohol through their efforts more frequently and more successfully than do AA members.

A refusal to discuss the flaws and weaknesses of the AA method coupled with an insistence on blaming the 80-98% of people that it fails is a claim to infallibility.

author by observer2publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 19:47Report this post to the editors

While a discussion of anarchist organizational principles might seem out of place in an analysis of AA, it’s inescapable in that AA is organized strictly in accord with those principles. Since most readers will probably have little interest in this topic, though, discussion will be kept to the minimum necessary.



the above is taken from the document linked.


Seemms you are attacking an anarchist organisation, John.

Related Link: http://www.morerevealed.com/books/coc/chapter6.htm
author by observer2publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 19:37Report this post to the editors

I have briefly skimmed the thread. I am not an aa person, I am an imcer though! This story stinks, it cites no research and makes claims that are patently untrue. The statement below is the most glaring example:


"Here is a statistic that non-alcoholics may not be aware of: AA doesn’t work for 80% of the people who try them out. And that’s AA’s own figure – other people say the figure is as high as 95/98%."

Where is this statistic from?Studies?research? As an imcer evidence to substantiate this statistic please John, or did you think you could just come here publish whatever you like and refuse to engage in debate about your allegations? This is not aa this is indymedia!!!!!!!!Answer the question.

I am going off now to check your suggested links, and check aa. I will be back.

author by solomonpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 19:08Report this post to the editors

John, you would do your piece a great justice by answering the question put to you by impartial observer. If what you say is true,why the difficulty with showing some proof?

author by Declanpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 18:43Report this post to the editors

Ive just read John's article again having read the comments added to it. I should say I am writing as the husband of an alcoholic and believe me I would genuinely support any cure available. However, we also found AA a bit off the wall and cultish and its seemed there wasnt a place for any questioning of the 'doctrine'. Yes, there is some sound wisdom in the book and many of the attenders are genuine but somehow the method never seems to be adequately explained and there is no evidence that I have seen that it really works. Moreover, I think that John's original article is vindicated by the comments from the many obvious AA supporters above. They do seem evasive and unreasonably personal, abusive and overall incredibly unsympathetic - very out of keeping with the loving philosophy that they say the book is about. This chimes with our own experience of some AA people at the point where you say 'Im not sure this is for me'. It reminds me of the Jesus Army cult in London - similar technique - wait till people are at their absolute lowest ebb, reinforce how terrible they are and then sell them the 'answer' which happens to be a wholesale signing up to a philosophy which in a more confident rational moment you would actually be more likely to question and reject.

Look - isnt it a reasonable question - 98% failure rate just cant be ignored.

author by observer2publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 18:26Report this post to the editors

nuff said.

author by impartial observerpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 18:23Report this post to the editors

Don't bother replying to my question. Upon consideration I have concluded you are a crank who fell out with aa and is trying to get your own back on them by attempting to discredit them.

goodbye.

author by impartial observerpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 18:20Report this post to the editors

(In response to hidden comment that contained no news - just ad ad hominem arguments and a refusal to substantiate one of the main allegations of this article -ed)

I am not an alcoholic, I am not involved with aa in any way.Before yesterday I knew vuirtually nothing about aa.

I read your piece and the rest of the thread. You asked a number of questions which remained unanswered as to infallibility of aa. I answered them and asked you what you based this claim you make on.

YOU refused to reply, repeatedly.

I have googled aa and downloaded a copy of their publication. Nowhere(and it could be there and I could have missed it) did I find aa claiming to be infallible, in fact from their rules it would seem that they claim the opposite.

The only debate you have engaged in with anyone is to evade the questions put to you. This is an open publishing forum, do you understand what that means?perhaps you don't and if so then maybe you should have the courtesy to find out. That way you will not be surprised when the debate does not go your way.

Once more, I have no idea whether aa is a cult or any other type of dangerous thing. What I do know is that you asked questuions relating to infallibility and I answered them.

Iasked you to show some or any evidence to substantiate your claim that aa claims infallibility and you cannot or will not.

Believe what you like, I am sure that other impartial readers of this thread willcome to similar conclusions to the one I have. You appear to be a crank carrying out some form of vendetta against an organisation.

I have not abused you, i have accused you of lying, that is not abuse it is a challenge. The only abuse I see here is you abusing an open publishing forum by refusing to adhere to the generally accepted rules for open publishing. The only tantrums are yours.

So, put up or shut up, and in case you are unsure that ios a challenge not abuse.

or alternatively you can continue to believe that everyone who doesn't agree with you are belonging to some big aa inspired conspiracy!!!!! realy, now believing that is just a little outrageous.

author by impartial observerpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 14:55Report this post to the editors

That aa claims to be infallible, that is a lie john. Nowhere in aa info online and that includes a brief scan of their book is there any claim of infallibility.

I strongly suspect that you and detlef are one and the same.

You can produce no proof of any sort and yes as a regular imcer I object to this site being used by crackpots to launch personal crusades against individuals or organisations.

you asked questions. I answered your questions. I asked you to provide some evidence to support your allegation. You failed to do so.

Therefore I can confidently call you a liar and say that your assertion that aa claims infallibility is based on nothing other than your own delusional mind.

Reading the above thread anyone can see that you have constantly evaded reasonable questions and slagged off fair comment, you are in fact guilty of the very things you accuse aa of. Little wonder you had such trouble with these people given your dogmatic and arrogant attitude.

author by "John"publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 14:05Report this post to the editors

This information is interesting - and some of the links are very funny.

The article/discussion has been linked to a site in Germany (see last link in Detlef's post).

Not really 'impartial observer' above is very bluntly attempting to have this article removed. Obviously becoming more and more frustrated by my refusal to be sucked into a debate exclusively defined and delimited by AA logic. While accusing me of not answering questions, he or she is of course guilty of exactly that. Let's see which head the hydra sends next.

author by Detlef Saxpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 13:25author email sax at 12schrittefrei dot deReport this post to the editors

I always look for people against the 12-stepping-sociiety.And I always feel good when see other people addressing this secret society wihtin our so free society as what it is, a dangerous and wide spreaded cult.My link-list:THE ORANGE PAPERS One Man's Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous An Online Book by Agent Orange http://www.orange-papers.org/ http://aorange1.tripod.com/index.html Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult? An Old Question Revisited © L. Allen Ragels (Cult expert Steven Hassan's site.) University of Virginia New religious movements Alcoholics Anonymous Beliefs and Practices http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/aa.html Articles, Links, Books. Ken's site: http://www.morerevealed.com/The Stanton Peele Addiction Web Site offers you an extensive collection of articles and book chapters written by Stanton Peele. http://www.peele.net/ Therapeutic groups versus 12-step groups: An analysis of the AA prototype By Cathleen A. Mannhttp://www.morerevealed.com/articles/ther.htmXA and humor, does it fit? Decide yourself: http://www.geocities.com/sanegallery/ (A Gallery of Visual Aids for the Sane)http://www.angelfire.com/blog/aaacomix/(Stop the brainwashing and double-think today!!) http://www.snakelyone.com/12step.htm (Step Seven "Humbly asked our Higher Power to fuck off.")Thank you for listening, ahemDetlef

Related Link: http://12schrittefrei.de/index.php?newlang=english
author by impartial observerpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 12:26Report this post to the editors

You still refuse to provide any evidence to support your claim that AA claim infallibility.

Where is the evidence to support this allegation?

If you are unable to support your statements then the editors of this site should look at this fact, you are making allegations against an organisation and appear unable to back them up.

I have further googled these subjects and can find no basis for the initial article you wrote.

Now, John when are youy going to answer my question?

What evidence can you provide that AA claim infallibilty?

I suspect the answer is: none. Nowhere in anything that I have read online have I seen evidence that thgis organisatin claim infallibility, in fact their publications and rules clearly state the opposite.

Again I say, why are the editors allowing this site to be used by a person who appears to be waging a campaign against an organisation without providing the slightest evidence to back up their allegations? and refusing point blank to even attempt to back up his claims in the face of mounting evidence that te initial posting is actually untrue and amounts to little more than the imaginings of a person, who the more this goes on shows themselves to be nothing more than a crank.

author by "John"publication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 11:00Report this post to the editors

In response to my question whether AA were infallible, Impartial Observer says no they are not and explains that this is

'Because it is impossible to be right about everything. or to know everything.'

What I would like to know, therefore, is which aspects of the AA programme/method/organisation are AA getting wrong and why?

This is a fair question to ask and one that deserves an answer.

author by googlemaniapublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 00:49Report this post to the editors

the silkworth link.

I also found the website of an irish aa group.

http://www.bigbook164.com/

Related Link: http://www.silkworth.net/gsowatch/1999/4edprol.htm
author by impartial observerpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 00:40Report this post to the editors

This one would seem to preclude aa or any aa member from giving an opinion. It is hard to see where john s claim that they claim infallibilty is coming from. I draw particular attention to the phrase "they can express no views whatever".

10.) No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues-particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever

author by impartial observerpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 00:36Report this post to the editors

These appear to be aa's rules! they seem like a bunch of do good/non personal ownership of property/anarchists to me!!!

1.) Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of use will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.

2.) For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

3.) Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.

4.) With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the Trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount.

5.) Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose-that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

6.) Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A.-and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.

7.) The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

8.) Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional. We define professionalism as the occupation of counseling alcoholics for fees or hire. But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we may otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics. Such special services may be well recompensed. But our usual A.A. "12th Step" work is never to be paid for.

9.) Each A.A. group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its Secretary, the large group its Rotating Committee, and the groups of a large Metropolitan area their Central or Intergroup Committee, which often employs a full-time Secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A. Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A. contributions by which we maintain our A.A. General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our over-all public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principle newspaper, "The A.A. Grapevine." All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.

10.) No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues-particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.

11.) Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.

12.) And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of Anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all. _

author by impartial observerpublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 00:08Report this post to the editors

Is AA infallible?

ans: I would seriously doubt it, given my belief in science.

If so, why so?

If not, why not?

Because it is impossible to be right about everything. or to know everything.

Now , first, I am not an aa supporter or denigrader.
I have visited their site and googled them and still don't know enough about it to conclude whether it works or not. You appear to claim it does not.

I have answered your questions, now I request you to answer this:

Can you please supply evidence that aa claims infallibility?

author by scrillapublication date Déar DFómh 20, 2005 00:02Report this post to the editors

how is RR?I have found thru actually looking at the organizations from an objective view, that they are not as different as folks would try to have me believe.I don't want you to take my word for it, look it up yourself.hell, a good portion of the info will come from AAs internal documents alone.

just a reminder, take the rose colored glasses off before attempting this.and, to put ya in touch with some AAs that have a pretty good handle last I checked.try yahoo groups AA GSO WATCH. good luck, and I hope you find what you are looking for.

author by "John"publication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 23:51Report this post to the editors

Not a single AA supporter (including so-called 'imaprtial observer') dares to answer the original questions posed here:

Is AA infallible?

If so, why so?

If not, why not?

Answer these questions and stop abusing me personally. It's not about me.

author by impartial observerpublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 22:28Report this post to the editors

Why do you consider it a personal attack on you if someone asks you a question? I have read this thread, and have not yet come to any conclusion. This is mainly because you have failed toaddress the questions put to you in regard to the statements you made. From what I can see this does your argument no favours and leads the impartial observer to believe that either your statements are not based on fact or you are so dogmatic as to believe you have the right to be believed without question.

You have chosen to use open publishing forum to publish your statement, either you are media illiterate and don't understand the nature of open publishing or you are plain unwilling to accept and respond to fair comment.

I have seen no personal attacks on you that have not been removed by imc editors. What I do see is a form of ignorance. That just doesn't wash in the world of open publishing. If you intend to continue to refuse to respond to fair comment you would be better off using traditional media to issue your statements.

author by "John"publication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 19:41Report this post to the editors

Another personal attack on the AA critic!

It must be obvious to anyone reading this discussion that AA people are incapable of considering their method may not be perfect, that it is legitimate to discuss that possibility and to identify why it is so.

So far we've had about 4 AA reps here, all of whom end up in the exact same place - resorting to personal abuse and character assassination. Who are they going to forward next?

author by Gerard - AApublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 19:29Report this post to the editors

A recovered alcoholic here, the 12steps worked for me.

Joining a group or attending meetings do NOT work. The program is the 12 steps, meetings are the fellowship.

If someone decided its not for them and went elsewhere, but continues to harp about AA, ?

if what they are doing worked they would not be obsessing about AA.
To one who has recovered, that would be obvious.

author by "John"publication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 15:55Report this post to the editors

It really is the only thing you have to defend yourselves, isn't it.

Exposing AA for what it is may well be helpful to many people who have been damaged by their sick mind games. And if AA really gave a damn about damaged lives it would have the honesty and decency to enter into open discussion about where it is getting it wrong. But it cant do this because that's not what it is about at all.

Contributions from other people on this discussion forum have certainly reinforced my faith in my own ability to deal with my alcoholism and I hope that it is doing the same for others.

Another interesting observation from the a.organge site mentioned above can be found here:

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-recruit.html

It discusses the psychological mind games that are played at the point of recruiting people onto the programme.

And remember, more people recover on their own than ever do through AA.

author by Larry M.publication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 15:23Report this post to the editors

Regardless of how one feels about the efficacy of AA, that issue seems trivial compared to the following:

[you wrote} "At this rate, I’m not long for this world. This is a shocking state of affairs for a parent of two suffering children in what should be the prime of his life, as a husband whose partner is at her wits end and as a member of the community in which my participation is unreliable and self-centred. I am failing significantly on all three counts because of this problem. More than that, I am a burden to everyone who knows me. "

Looks to me like you've got a much more important issue to tackle, i.e. saving your life and preventing more suffering for your loved ones. If AA doesn't work for you, then try something else.

Of course, if complaining about AA is helping you to get sober, then keep complaining.

Larry

author by "John"publication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 13:01Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the link - everybody should read it. Pages of heartening analysis and information. Here's an example:

"Twelve step recovery is a distinctly American phenomenon, just like Puritanism is a distinctly American phenomenon.

British researchers see it this way:

The application of AA dogmas to behaviours which could scarcely be termed "diseases" -- shopping, for instance -- with all the paraphernalia about recognizing these as illnesses over which one has no control, has a faintly ludicrous quality. Their acceptance by many Americans testifies to the fact that what we are witnessing here is a socio-religious phenomenon requiring of followers the confession and repentance through which they receive status and acceptance.
Hence the attempt to explain alcohol problems, as well as other drug problems, in non-disease terms not only steps on commercial toes by threatening the theoretical basis for disease-based treatment programmes, it also threatens an entire social movement by asserting that there are other means of breaking habits than by confession and repentance.
Problem Drinking, 2nd edition, Nick Heather and Ian Robertson, Oxford University Press, 1989, page 169. "

Interesting too that the author of the analysis had it mysteriously removed from a yahoo site without explanation. AA is a powerful and unknown organisation.

Particularly relevant for people who want to get away from AA is the information about recovery rates. More people recover completely on their own than do through AA.
Keep that in mind, AA damaged people, you're stronger on your own.

author by Rustypublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 12:21Report this post to the editors

I am glad AA works for you, but I have to dissagree with you when you say AA has not harmed anyone. I was a heavy drinker at least a six pack a day, but most of the time I drank 12 to 18 a day. I went to AA and had my self esteem attacked and was told many many times that I had to work the program, meaning I had to give up all my control to someone who was not even in control of themselves. I also had to admit that I was an awful person that is no good. I also was forced by my sponser to throw my medication for depression down the toilet. Well, that was the worst four months of my life and I almost commited suicide while there. I was told that if I ever left AA, then I would die a drunks death. I was told I did not make enough meetings, even though I was going to 9 meetings a week. I was working the program without the spirituality aspect of it and when my sponser heard that I was going to church along with AA, he threw me out and told me to never come back unless I was willing to stop going to church and go AA all the way. Getting thrown out of AA was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have been drink free since Feb.29,1992. I have also learned to control my depression without meds and have not been on any anti- depressants since August 1997. I did all this without AA and without giving up my control to another juman being, and I did it by telling myself that I am not powerless,that it is up to me and me alone to kick the habit. I know that if I had stayed in AA, that I would not be alive today. So AA has Hurt at least one person, ME. With the high suicide rate in AA I feel that it has hurt many, many more people.

author by Ferguspublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 11:26Report this post to the editors

Pull the other one. AA is a very wealthy organisation whatever its limited public accounts say. there's the money given at meetings and then there's the real money donated less publicly. this is one organisation that we need to know a lot more about. the indoctrinated loonies like recovered alcoholic are only the foot soldiers sent out to spread the message. take no notice of him.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 08:01Report this post to the editors

and how exactly is aa operating to any known business model?

please explain.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 08:00Report this post to the editors

and how exactly is aa operating to any known business model?

please explain.

author by James Jamersonpublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 03:47Report this post to the editors

http://www.orange-papers.org

author by scrillapublication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 03:13Report this post to the editors

please, have you really looked into AA? I can venture a guess and say no.Cause if you had, you would realize AA is not far from the business model. oh and by the by, AVRT is absolutely free, just like the unoriginal 12 steps.

author by scrilla22publication date Céad DFómh 19, 2005 03:10Report this post to the editors

yeah, thats the ticket.give 'em hell with the tiny "success "rate.tell me, where in that little program does it state anything about stopping the drinking?

and what is up with the "one of us" stuff.get real, sounds like a bunch of cult-talk to me

author by "John"publication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 20:20Report this post to the editors

It doesnt pretend to be anything else. It shows an alternative to the AA approach which supports the growing unease with what AA are doing. I make no claim for this therapy one way or another - it is an interesting and well expressed analysis of why they think the AA approach doesnt work.

And it's a welcome relief from the relentless hectoring you are engaged in on this commentary. There ought to be a rule against what you are doing here.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 20:10Report this post to the editors

the above post by john is not original comment, it is completely cut and pasted from RR website.

and he calls AA's brainwashed!

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 20:02Report this post to the editors

Rational recovery is a business based on a business model, just another part of the addiction/treatment industry.

So thats it, whats the story john, did you buy the RR (registered trademark) Irish franchise?


CONMAN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

author by "John"publication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 19:52Report this post to the editors

http://www.rational.org/faq.html

An interesting US–based self-help programme that does not require attendance at groups etc.

Here’s how they explain the AA method:

"Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions of people. Why is Rational Recovery so critical of 12-step recovery groups?

If you object to criticism of AA, you should read no further. Our approach, AVRT, identifies the Addictive Voice regardless of its source. AVRT shows that recovery groups, especially 12-step groups, are virtual fountains of Addictive Voice. When you have taken The Crash Course on AVRT, you will probably be able to see more clearly that recovery groups are harmful as well as ineffective.
Our reluctant conclusion, that AA is only the painted shell of addiction itself, is born of tragic outcomes and simple logic. We base our opinion on daily, direct observation of the 12-step recovery group movement for two decades. We are highly suspicious of praise for AA by people whose identities and personal lives are defined years later by a period of . We do not care about their spiritual visions and gratitude toward AA/NA, because in spite of all their piety and enthusiasm, they are still in the jaws of addiction, staying sober one-day-at-a-time, engaged in occult spirituality, languishing in the social ghetto of recovery groups. That, we believe, is a tragic outcome of addiction, actually an unnecessary extension of addiction.
We do not believe that members of AA are helped because their program does not explain how to actually quit drinking or using. Instead, they promote a passive, dependent approach in which sobriety is an indirect result of self-improvements and divine intervention. We believe that there is too much at stake to depend on others, including God, for that which we can do ourselves. To seek God while in the grip of addiction is absurd; addicted people cannot conceive of a power higher than their own addiction.
When people first attend AA or NA, they are usually on the brink of recovery, ready to take the plunge into permanent abstinence but troubled by the difficulty of making such a commitment. Instead of receiving encouragement and constructive advice, such as at this webstite, newcomers are met with the worst possible advice! Desperate and vulnerable newcomers are told that planned, permanent abstinence is useless, because they all tried themselves and failed!
In AA doctrine, free will is just an illusion of a mysterious disease. Any plan to quit altogether is doomed, they say, and their only hope appears to lie in tentative, one-day-at-a-time "sobriety" coupled with unending occult religious experience. While most newcomers are put off at the strange-sounding belief system, many are seduced by the one-day-at-a-time approach, which, of course, is a reprieve from the painful decision to never drink or use again.
Recovery groups are based upon the uncertainty principle, whereby all group members must remain uncertain about the future use of alcohol and other drugs. For example, if you plan to continue getting high, then you will have no purpose for attending. Likewise, if you knows you will never drink/use again, you will not want to hang out with people who would undermine your confidence. In fact, recovery groups oppose the concept of abstinence, favoring "sobriety," one-day-at-a-time, forever. People expressing ideas related to AVRT are said to be "in denial, and they are predicted by the group to suffer and fail."

author by "John"publication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 19:10Report this post to the editors

You really want to monopolise this discussion dont you.

You dont answer the questions put to you. This is a classic AA assault on an AA critic and it becomes more and more obvious as your comments go on.

AA - programme or whatever - is not infallible.

Is the AA capable of constructive criticism of its own programme/organisation?

If so, what does it think it could do better or differently?

Can it answer these questions without blaming other people or the alcoholics who go to them for help.

Your personal theory re 'diagnosed' and 'undiagnosed' alcoholics at AA is pedantic and silly. If that's the thread by which your conviction hangs, then God help you.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 19:03Report this post to the editors

carried out in 2004 showed that 76% of those attending AA had never been diagnosed alcoholic. It also showed that of those who had been diagnosed , 86% had not drank sinceFIRST attending AA/ had only one relapse.

Now John would you like me to explain this to you in little words?

seven out of ten people attending AA have no idea whether or not they are alcoholics since no doctor has ever diagnosed them as being alcoholic....

three out of ten are diagnosed and of these more than 2 out of three never drink again.

It works for alks john, it doesn't work for plain alcohol dependant wackos john, they need serious professional help, face it john, i know its hard, but johnny boy, you just aint one of us!

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 18:56Report this post to the editors

in relation to my referring to undiagnosed people attending aa you replied

"That's between 80-98% of the people who go to AA you're talking about."

thats right john, over 70% of those attending AA have never been diagnosed by a medical practitoner to have Alcoholism!

and then they wonder why it won't work for them.

could it be because its for alcoholics? diagnosed alcoholics?


you really do need professional help.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 18:51Report this post to the editors

still not answering anything, john.


have yoy been diagnosed with alcoholism?


whats your next campaign, to complain that aspirin doesn't work for people who don't have heasaches.

Either you are a complete nutter or you are seriously out of touch with reality, man!

author by "John"publication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 18:47Report this post to the editors

"What sort of sick, sorry , fu**ed up human goes out of their way to pretend to have a disease they actually have never been diagnosed with! thank f**k i'm only an alky!!!!!!"

That's between 80-98% of the people who go to AA you're talking about. What a lovely turn of phrase you AA people have. What an obnoxious perspective.

The idea that anyone pretends to be an alcoholic is barking mad. It only goes to show how far from reality AA has to take people in order to keep them addicted to the organisation. You've had a particularly thorough brainwashing there, RA.

The only questions here that have not been answered are these:

In what way does AA fail people?

Is it conceivable that it is the AA Programme/Book/Organisation that is/are responsible for the massive failure rate?

You are incapable of answering these questions without resorting to disparaging the people that AA has failed.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 18:35Report this post to the editors

There are NO aa meetings in Ireland where you can smoke! it has been so for more than a year!!Smoking is banned totally in all AA meeting rooms under the smoking ban legislation.

Also your "scientific knowledge" of alcoholism is about ten years out of date. See John, some of us are actually involved in the research!

Are you a diagnosed alcoholic John? by a registered G.P that is, at the very least?

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 18:24Report this post to the editors

There is an exact science to diagnosing alcohlism. Sorry, John, but bullshit just won't do on this forum. Any Doctor will be happy to inform you as to the diagnosis of alcoholism.

You say you want debate, well debate! In fact you have not answered one question put to you.

What sort of sick, sorry , fu**ed up human goes out of their way to pretend to have a disease they actually have never been diagnosed with! thank f**k i'm only an alky!!!!!!

author by "John"publication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 18:04Report this post to the editors

I’ve found non AA groups in other countries too but so far as I’m aware there is nothing in Ireland. If you know of any here it would be good to hear about them. I know that members of some non AA groups in the US have found themselves targeted by alleged AA people determined to convince them that they are going to fail etc etc. The same is happening with this commentary - it's being bombarded by AA promoters who insist on wrenching the discussion back inside the same airless AA logic. I think the idea is to prevent an real discussion of the alternatives.

The poster called 'recovered alcoholic' is really trying to discredit the people for whom AA doesn’t work, in my view. He is justifying the massive failure rate by saying either that it is only disgusting people for whom it doesnt work or by pretending that they are not alcoholics at all. There is no exact science to diagnosing who is or who is not an alcoholic – we don’t even know exactly how it is caused. The distinction between 'real alcoholics' and those with a lesser dependence is utterly spurious. One thing is for certain, though, alcohol consumption is the most critical factor. If you don’t drink alcohol you cant be an alcoholic.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 16:29Report this post to the editors

What do you mean by AA?
Do you mean the loose affiliation of groups?
or do you mean the original programme published in 1939 in the book Alcoholics Anonymous?

The book is definately "religious" in that it is a prerequisite of using the programme that one believes or comes to believe in "a power greater than oneself". The book does not try to hide this fact and in its forewards are very clear what it is, what it is about and what the objective of the book is. The fact that the contents of the book have been and continue to be misrepresented by both AA the organisation and the treatment industry is not the fault of those who wrote the book.

I would also ask that you define alcoholism, this is important because a definate medical diagnostic definition exists, are you using it or are you trying to redefine alcoholism?

The inability of both the treatment industry and the AA organisation to accept that up to 70% of those who have alcohol dependancy/addiction problems are not diagnosable alcoholics is a major factor in causing the debate.

Treatment of alcohol dependancy/addiction is achieveable through the dual avenues of abstainance and therapeutic intervention.

Treatment of alcoholism is a totally seperate issue. According to the medical profession there is no known treatment for alcoholism that works. there is ongoing clinical research into the actual chemical reactions caused in the brains of alcoholics, to date these studies show that the frontal lobe area of the brain is affected differently in alcoholics than in others. Scientists have been able to show the particular area on scans of the brain. An alcoholic would still be an alcoholic if they never consumed any alcohol.

Those who are serious about debating this issue need to be clear about the parameters. There is no doubt that AA does not work for the majority of people who try it. Rather than conclude that the AA programme fails to treat alcoholism it would be wise to ensure that those for whom it fails are actually diagnosable alcoholics in the first place. Or whether they are people who have developed a dependency on/ addiction to alcohol. Dependency on/ addiction to alcohol is not of itself sufficent to diagnose alcoholism.

Alcoholics are known to regularly be capable of remaining abstainant for prolonged periods. This in itself , without the need for scientific evidence, shows that alcoholism is not a dependency/addiction issue.

I am a diagnosed alcoholic, by that I mean that both a G.P and a psychaitrist have diagnosed me as being alcoholic. I attended AA and read the book, it worked for me. I no longer attend AA meetings as I see that a growing number of those I meet in AA are definately not alcoholics, thay have not been diagnosed either by a doctor or by the self diagnosis possible through identification with the symptoms described in Dr. Silkworths chapter of the book AA. Largely they are dependent/addicted to alcohol, they don't need AA. They are sent there by well meaning doctors,priests,employers,friends and family and label themselves alcoholic. This is unfortunate but true.

So in opening debate be aware that there are alcoholics who are not only diagnosed but informed and educated on the topic. I have a third level qualification in this area and work in the addiction fiels, dealing with the most chronic cases.

I look forward to the day when the alcohol dependants/addicts leave AA to those of us who actually need it in order to treat our actual alcoholism.

author by Bill F.publication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 15:42Report this post to the editors

John,

I've had a look and there seems to be alternatives to AA listed on the Internet now - as can be viewed at the following address:
http://www.google.com/search?q=aa+alternatives&btnG=Google+Search

Also, I know there used to be, and possibly still is, an organisation called "ACCEPT" which was very largely made up of people who did not like AA. They were based in New York (as far as I can remember), but did have at least one branch in London in the late 1970's in the Hammersmith area.

author by Rickpublication date Máirt DFómh 18, 2005 15:29Report this post to the editors

Thank you for your interesting article.
Perhaps the stranglehold that AA has held on the media for seventy years is finally beginning to be broken as a result of the power of the internet.
The sickening truth is that in 2005, the preferred method of treating substance abuse is still a bizarre conglomeration of religous cults based on the AA model.
It's time to speak the truth openly about it, and the corrupt, incompetent treatment "industry" that keeps the monster supplied with fresh meat. Follow the money.
I guess seventy years really isn't that long when one considers that the practice of bloodletting went on for hundreds of years in the dark ages. AA is the modern day equivalent of such nonsense.
The world deserves better, and hopefully will start demanding it.

author by pushing itpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 21:21Report this post to the editors

are also interestingly touched by smack. Very few smack heads like drinking, until you get the real hang of doing smack, you vomit a lot, and that includes food and alcohol but (and check this out! you don't feel bad about it). Smack is an excellent way to get off drink. Honestly it is. You won't suffer detox, shakes, paranoia associated with alcohol withdrawl, coz Smack is such a great drug.

Getting off smack, can bring you many ways.
One means signing up for free narco-replacement drugs for which you will have to register with the local equivalent of narcotics anonymous where everyone smokes cigaretters, generally coz nobody is going to get them to stop, and you have to prioritise. The other is... take up alcohol instead!

Alcohol will get you through the shakes, detox, paranoia associated with Heroin withdrawl. If you choose the sugary variety of alcohol like Beer, you might also put some weight back on. Alcohol is cheaper than Smack, and much more social. You'll often find people say, "oh he was a bad bastard but that was the dhrink and sure he had a great sense of humour and supported a weekly column on GAA sports for thirty years". You don't hear that sort of story about smackheads. There - if after ten years swapping smack for dhrink you're still addicted to one or the other, then you have

"a problem with the peer group".

Change your pals. Dump your chums for others more like you, more on "your wavelength". Use google. Thanks to modern technology you don't have to feel left alone. Remember a smackhead is not a bad person, until they are marginalised or stealing your dvd. They deserve as much sympathy and understanding as alcoholics if not more because they cause less road deaths.

http://heroin.org/

author by "John"publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 20:13Report this post to the editors

Thank you at least for not abusing me personally.

Mere membership of AA is not really the issue to hand here. It's the programme itself which is in question. But Id hoped to get a debate going about alternatives based on the fact that AA doesnt work for the majority of people who try it.

author by Bill F.publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 19:30Report this post to the editors

For what it's worth, I believe that many of the problems in AA stem from the fact that too few AA members are fully aware of the Traditions of AA, and their often deep, and subtle implications.

AA Tradition 3, for example, allows everyone with "a desire to stop drinking" to be a full member of AA.

Though I, and many other members I know , believe that is how it should be, there is an obvious price to be paid in terms of those who would exploit this situation.

For anyone who is interested, the "short form" of AA Tradition 3 is:
"The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking."

and the "long form" is:

"Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. "

Information on AA's Traditions can be found at:
http://www.aa-louisiana.org/trad.htm

General information on AA:
http://www.google.com/search?q=Alcoholics+Anonymous&btnG=Google+Search

author by "John"publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 17:46Report this post to the editors

You know well that if I name the meetings I can easily be identified, if not by you, by others at those meetings who are aware of my objection. Silly taunting like yours is not debate anyway. What is your problem? You'd like to do the AA check up on me, is it? Arrange for more cold-shouldering? Create difficulties for me in my work life perhaps - as has happened to more than a few people. Nice try.

Anyone pretending there is exact science about the cause of alcoholism is a charlatan. Nothing at all has been proved and the motive for almost all of the research to date has been, guess what, to find a drug to deal with it. Profit again - proft from the alcoholism, proft from the 'cure' and no serious challenge to the real cause: the alcohol itself. It's disgusting to find people who have been in the worst possible situation because of drinking still encouraging other people to think of alcohol as benign. We should no more be drinking alcohol than we should be smoking or taking heroin. It has been tightly woven into our culture so as to be unquestioningly acceptable. A completely different perspective on it is needed - and the AA wont help us with that, I'm afraid. Of course, if there was no alcohol, there would be no need for AA either. AA people replace their dependency on alcohol with a dependency on AA. Their lives are still all about alcohol. People who havent drunk for 15 years and more are still attending meetings 2 or 3 nights a week. They are terrified of finding out that maybe the theory had some flaws after all, that there are criticisms that can be made.

The baseline for all of your arguments is the same old AA sing song: only those who succeed at its programme are decent people. The rest (between 80 and 98%) are time wasters, sex addicts (for God's sake) or not even real alcoholics! That's a really scientific explanation for why AA is such a miserable failure for most of us. So you know one person who abused someone else's trust!

So you think the AA programme is infallible? If not, why not? Is there anything it could do better?

Personally, I'd rather talk about other possibilites - I'm tired of wasting time on AA and wish I'd never set foot in one of their meetings.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 16:31Report this post to the editors

you wanted debate! so wheres the smoking meeting? address the questions put to you!

seems you don't like debate!!!!

author by "John"publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 16:13Report this post to the editors

There you go with the personal abuse again, COD. Anyone who doesnt see it like you must be a complete bollix, is it? I hope non alcoholic readers are beginning to pick out the AA themes here.

I'm not 'whinging'. Im saying AA doesnt work for the vast majority of people who try it out. Why not? That's not a 'whinge', thats a legitimate and necessary question - but you are not able to answer it, are you? It's no use beig annoyed at me about it. The world doesnt owe me a living any more than it owes AA a better reputation than it deserves. If a discussion about alternatives to AA makes you angry, then dont read or contribute to it. It's clearly not doing you any good at all.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 16:03Report this post to the editors

Firstly John, you did not answer any of the questions I asked. How convienient!
Secondly, I repeat again i do not belong to AA and am not a member of AA.
Thirdly, I have witnessed at first hand what goes on in AA and yes the people who perpetrate such abuse of the vulnerable are sickos!
Fourthly, There are virtually no AA meetings in Ireland where smoking is permitted, almost all meetings in Ireland of any type are covered by the smoking ban.
Fifthly, there has never been by any study carried out by any medical faculty anywhere are co relation made connecting Alcoholism with the amount of alcohol consumed regularly, I challenge you to produce one if such exists.
Sixth, the medical profession including psychaitry and psychology make a clear distinction in regard to Alcoholism as a definable and diagnosable disease. Sorry John, but that is a fact.

If you are genuinely interested in advancing our knowledge of alcoholism then that is great, however you don't seem to be, you seem to be on a crusade against AA. The facts about AA are also very clear and very well documented. Unfortunately, as an organisation it has become irrelevant in dealing with alcoholism, largely due to the fact that it is populated by people who are not diagnosable alcoholics, and who have found a home in AA where they lead the same selfish and immoral lives as before but without alcohol. I cite the case of a lady whom I know who recently phoned an AA member for help because she wanted to stop drinking, He called around to her alone(this is against the recomendation of the book AA) brought her more alcohol, waited until she passed out and had sex with her and left. This is by no means anuncommon occurance, as is the life insurance salesmen, the car salesmen and the many other types who prowl AA meetings looking for the next vulnerable newcomer to rip off.

Latest studies in the area have made definate advances in locating the section of the brain that is affected in alcoholics, have made definate links with ADD and continue to build on our knowledge of this disease. As someone who has this disease I welcome all such studies and remain openminded about possible treatments. I would say that your posts have not addressed the questions asked of you, have shown a clear lack of understanding of the subject and are based on your own ill concieved notions of alcoholism rather than any scientific approach. By all means continue your crusade against AA, but don't try to pretend to me that it is anything other than that. Basically John, you don't know what you are talking about and you are full of shit.

Now where is that AA meeting that you can smoke?

author by belchpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 15:56Report this post to the editors

OK fair enough. Heroin isn't for everyone. You could try migrating for a few weeks to an "expensive alcohol" state, or even a "no-alcohol" state. Convert to Islam, or if thats too exotic be a Mormon, they'll get you off cigs for free too.
In Russia the alcoholics abuse spirit alcohol bought from hardware stores, and the debate on whether or not to discourage them by making it more expensives has raged in public life since Gorbachov was pre-pizza. Thankfully in ireland they put poison in the methys. Then again they put poison in the smack too. Come to think of it they put poison in everything.

author by codpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 15:41Report this post to the editors

'John' - what is going on up-top.? Are you a tad 'touched'? The world does not owe you a living man. Get off your 'woe-is-me' arse and stop yer whinging. Regardless of whether I'm an alcoholic in AA or not, you are annoying and failing to comprehend the posts and efforts that various people are making toward trying to explain bits and pieces to you.

I really am not able to tell whether you're a troll or just a particularly ill man.

author by "John"publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 15:30Report this post to the editors

There are a lot of meetings in AA where you can smoke. They are the norm and not the rule, as I suspect you well know. Smokers are taking the lives of other people too.

Look over your last post and the way you describe the people at AA meetings. Notice your contempt? The good people are, after all, only the people like you (the tiny minority) for whom the thing worked. Everyone else is a sicko, or even a sex addict???


Like all AA programme advocates, you refuse to engage in this debate other than on your own terms. Therefore it isnt a proper debate. The reason for my original post was not to disucss AA at all, but to discuss alternatives. I’ve had to respond to AA defenders (programme only or otherwise).

The main reason we don’t have alternatives is because of the AA monopoly - my reason for writing in the first place. Health and social services have been brainwashed into thinking that referring people with alcohol problems to AA is a problem sorted. Well it isn’t - for many of us it makes things significantly worse. This isn’t because we are 'sicko's' or 'sex addicts', but simply because it doesn’t work for most people. It’s not true to say that most people don’t try the programme. This is real AA speak, of course. What you mean by that is that people who have tried and ‘failed’, never really tried - ergo they have never attempted the programme ‘properly’ i.e. as deconstructed, humiliated and fully brainwashed devotees.

You make the distinction between heavy drinkers and true alcoholics. There is no distinction - it's a question of degree and so long as AA go on perpetuating the myth that only some people are true alcoholics they will be doing the world a miserable disservice. We know of course that if the AA were ever to admit out loud that all alcohol consumption is dangerous you'd soon see a backlash from the booze industry. But for the moment, the alcoholic has been defined as the shambolic drunk of cartoon repute and while there are plenty of us who conform to this there are lots of others who dont - all wreaking havoc on themselves and on the people around them in their various ways. This has nothing to do with the emotional ability of the alcoholic and everything to do with the alcohol itself. Anyone who takes alcohol behaves like a prick.

You also talk about alcohol the disease - the physiological dependency. You're happy to rely on that to distinguish between alcoholics and non-alcoholics. When it comes to recovery, though, its down to the character of the person concerned. What about the dependency, then? If that's what gets you into it, isn’t that at least a part of what we should be tackling to get us out of it? How does it work and why? We ask these questions of any other ‘disease’ – why not this one?

It's monumentally dishonest of AA (or anyone else) to pretend that there is no correlation between the amount of alcohol consumed and the likelihood of alcoholism occurring. This is utter bullshit - and its dangerous bullshit.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 13:55Report this post to the editors

I am not aware of any aa meetings in ireland where you can smoke. So please tell me where the smoking meetings are? If you were bullied then that is wrong. If however it was a group conscience decision that went against you(democracy) and you refuse to accept it then you need to look at that yourself.

There is much wrong with AA(the organisation). This is because in my personal experience most members and groups are not recovered, simple, they are still full of ego and selfishness and care little for the well being of others.

Since I am not a member, I am not going to debate that. What I will debate is the usefullness of the AA programme when used according to the instructions in Alcoholics Anonymous(the book).

I followed the instructions and it was difficult, as are all spiritual practices,however at that point I was quite honestly fucked. I stopped drinking and took a long hard look at myself and saw a lot i did not like. I then made a conscious effort to change my behaviour, to be helpful to others and to be a functional part of the society I live in. Today I have achieved that.

you seem to have totally missed the point that the programme is spiritual, its only purpose is to bring a person into contact with their own conscience and in doing this help them to see that their are choices.

I work in the field of addiction and know that a lot you have ststaed is not based on scientific research. What other methods are successful? What studies show that alcoholism can be treated by other methods? I know of no treatment centre in Ireland that provides studies as to their effectiveness, most though will privately admit to a 70% failure rate.

I genuinely believe that the main problemof this debate is the mis diagnosis of heavy drinkers as alcoholics, and the medical profession have grave concerns regarding dual diagnosis. The first step in addressing the issue of alcoholism is to accept that only a small percentage of those who present with symptoms of alcoholism are actually suffering from the disease of alcoholism, which is effectively an allergy to alcohol. Sadly many who are heavy drinkers are mis diagosed into that category by both the medical profession and social services, I suspect that this is because it offers an easy out and the patient can be fobbed off with the "go to aa and youll be fine" attitude.

Your comments about the organisation AA are well founded, I made that clear in my postings above, however I believe you need to make the distinction between the organisation and the actual recommended programme.

Finally, I would like to know how the programme failed you? Did you follow the guidelines outlined in the book? did you ask yourself the questions?Did you read pages 21/22 to see if you actually had the symptoms of alcoholism? were you dangerously and disguistingly anti social?Or was it merely a case of a few drinks too many? I do not intend to be facetious, I am asking with genuine concern.

I practise the AA program, I do not attend AA, I am not a member of AA. In my opinion AA has become little more than a pick up joint for lonely sex addicts, and is populated in the main by self seeking sick people who are no more alcoholic than the man in the moon.

Notwithstanding that, there are some good people in AA who are on the programme, however they are in the minority.

I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve John, if you are trying to change AA no doubt you will fail. If you are saying the programme does not work I disagree, my experience is that it does. If you have another solution for treating the disease of alcoholism I would be delighted to hear what it is.

What I do know, is that slagging off the programme is not the way to deal with the serious issues involved. I watch people die on a regyular basis from alcoholism, it's a regrettable aspect of my job. And John when I say die I mean fucking DIE, slowly and painfully, mostly they are too far gone to help. Neither AA nor anything else will wotk for them.

The programme of AA does not claim to be the only way, it is specific about that. The programme of AA does not claim to work for all, it is also specific about that. The programme of AA claims only that if you follow it's simple principles you will be in a better position to recover from this terrible disease, nothing else.

Unfortunately, John, there is litle in life that is perfect and if you are expecting perfection from AA or anything else then I strongly suspect you will be disappointed, it is humans you are dealing with after all and you know what John, the rest of us are just as imperfect as you. If you ever want a fuller explanation of the ACTUAL programme let me know and I would be more than happy to sit down and discuss it ith you.

author by "John"publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 13:14Report this post to the editors

What it says in the book and what happens on the ground are two very different things in that regard. The message you get loud and clear is this: if it didnt work for you it can only be your fault. You've said as much yourself. Even here on this thread one poster has accused me of being beligerent because I asked for a non-smoking meeting in my home town. Do you support that kind of bullying? This accusation was made even though Id explained I have asthma. This is typical AA style. AA people never answer the real questions and always throw the discussion back on to their own restricted and internailsed logic.
You have admitted the programme is not infallible so tell us where you think it could be better? What are its weaknesses? But I dont want to dwell on the AA programme, to be honest. I've had too much of it already. We need public recognition that the AA programme is of dubious benefit to most alcoholics and to focus on alternative approaches.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 13:13Report this post to the editors

john, as you must know aa does not have an opinion on any issue and that includes alcohol. All people whodrink are not affected by alcoholism, actually worldwideit is a relative minority. If you are suggesting that aa should become involved in some formof temperance/prohibition movement then you need to read their history and traditions. The responsibility to inform the public about the dangers of alcohol is that of the Dept of Health.

Some people can die if they eat peanuts, would you suggest that we should ban the growing of peanuts to protect those few?

Some people are alcoholics, i'm one, I would not for one moment suggest that alcohol should be denied those who enjoy it sensibly. You are beginning to sound a bit like the dog in the manger, if I can't drink nobody should!

As for your suggestion that I am saying that those alcoholics who tried the programme and failed are somehow personally to blame, I did not suggest that. What I am suggesting is that just because someone says they are" on the programme" does not necessarily mean they are.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 13:13Report this post to the editors

john, as you must know aa does not have an opinion on any issue and that includes alcohol. All people whodrink are not affected by alcoholism, actually worldwideit is a relative minority. If you are suggesting that aa should become involved in some formof temperance/prohibition movement then you need to read their history and traditions. The responsibility to inform the public about the dangers of alcohol is that of the Dept of Health.

Some people can die if they eat peanuts, would you suggest that we should ban the growing of peanuts to protect those few?

Some people are alcoholics, i'm one, I would not for one moment suggest that alcohol should be denied those who enjoy it sensibly. You are beginning to sound a bit like the dog in the manger, if I can't drink nobody should!

As for your suggestion that I am saying that those alcoholics who tried the programme and failed are somehow personally to blame, I did not suggest that. What I am suggesting is that just because someone says they are" on the programme" does not necessarily mean they are.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 12:55Report this post to the editors

John, firstly money.
There are no dues or fees! you don't have to pay anything, as for how much money aa has, since aa in ireland is a registered charity it's accounts are open for all to see as i understand it has a reserve of about three quarters of a million euro, thats about thirty euro per member.

Public debate is precluded by AA traditions , see tradition ten. This is as a result of what happened to a previous alcohol movement known as the washingtonians, who were torn apart by such debate.

I am not a member of AA and as such would be happy to publicly debate the book Alcoholics Anonymous with you, anytime anyplace!

Just for the record AA is the largest functioning Anarchist organisation on the planet, that is something that pisses a lot of people off and something that most people find hard to understand.

The fact that some of the members of aa choose to stay sick selfish and fucked up rather than actually trry the programme(a programme where all the decisions are made by YOU!) does not take away from the fact that the original book is one of the most important medical advances in the area of alcoholism in the history of mankind.

Please list your questions john and lets see if they can be answered.

author by "John"publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 12:37Report this post to the editors

Anyone who hasnt read it should read it. However, the people that I am talking about are those who have definately read it, have tried the programme (often several times) but the programme didnt work. There are far more of us than there are of you. AA fundamentally accept alcohol as a normal and reasonable aspect of our culture which is extraordinary given all that they know about what it does. Again, you are implying that if the AA programme doesnt work it must be the fault of the person. The AA programme is not infallible - not by a long shot and its acceptance as virtually the only method of tackling alcoholism needs to be blasted out of the water. If it works for you, great. But the rest of us clearly need something more effective. We also need to undo the damage that AA did to us while we were vulnerable to psycholgical manipulation.

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 12:32Report this post to the editors

please read page xxi of the foreward to the second edition of Alcoholics anonymous(included in all copies of the book printed since 1945),, i quote

" upon therapy for the alcoholic, we surely have no monopoly"
Seems pretty straightforward!
AA does NOT claim to be the only way.

Perhaps you should research the subject a little more before posting articles about it? Try actually reading the book!

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 12:24Report this post to the editors

john is wrong about the alleged need for emotional stability, Alcoholics anonymous(the book) is quite clear, "some of us suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but we can recover if we have the capacity to be honest"(A.A pg 58)

John is also wrong about something else, AA is for Alcoholics not heavy drinkers! heavy drinking may be an addiction or may not, however alcoholism is something else entirely, AA gives a description of the typical alcoholic on pages 21/22. "disguistingly and dangerously anti social" is one of the terms used. Alcoholism is not about drinking every day, it is about what happens when alcohol comes into contact with the brain of an alcoholic.

Having said all that, aa meetings and groups are full of unscrupulous and dangerous people who will take advantage of newcomes both financially and sexually. As someone who has attended the aa meetings I know this from first hand experience.That does not change the fact that according to the book Alcoholics anonymous there is NO need to attend aa meetings!!!

The big book of aa is a bit like the bible, often quoted and rarely followed by those who quote it!

author by recovered alcoholicpublication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 12:09Report this post to the editors

Interesting article alright. However the writer fails to make the distinction between Alcoholics Anonymous and the organisation AA. Alcoholics Anonymous is a book, published in the late thirties to spread the word about a method of combating alcoholism. up to that time there was no known method of helping alkys to stop drinking.
The tragedy is that mention of this book at meetings of aa is met with disdain. The simple programme outlined in the first 164 pages works very well for those who try it, unfortunately most people attending AA refuse to try the programme.

I am a recovered alcoholic. drink does not bother me any more. I used the programme and it done what it said it would do, it caused me to have a spiritual awakening. I don't attend aa meetings as I don't need to nor do I remember anywhere in the "Big book" where it says you should.

Read the book, then make a judgement!

author by "John"publication date Luan DFómh 17, 2005 11:37Report this post to the editors

The 30-year old driver responsible for knocking her down while she waited for a lift home was arrested on drink driving charges. She'd been out partying herself, too. On the radio this morning, one DJ was wondering what more could be done. 'We've tightened up on the drink driving laws' he said, as if that were the beginning, middle and end of it.

Irish society's love-affair with alcohol has been a sick relationship for a long time. After three of four drinks, every group turns into a shouting, bullshitting gathering. The bonhomie all too frequently turns to bad-humour and violence. Lack of inhibition results in drunken sexual relations which degrade both parties. Children are conceived and born - which of us wants to know that drunken foolishness was the reason for our existence? Even at the best of times nobody is listening to anybody else and its all forgotten the next day anyway when people will be feeling physically sick and mentally dull. The forced gaiety of the previous night is replaced by irritability and impaired judgment affecting everything we do in the supposedly sober and important part of our lives - now a secondary consideration for far too many people. WTF is that all for?

Alcoholism is a feature of nearly all post-colonial societies. We ought to look hard at this fact as Irish people. Why do we continue to degrade ourselves with our drunken idiocy? Why do we continue to live down to the Paddy stereotype that has been so successfully promoted around the world? We imagine it's funny - but to other people it isnt funny at all. We just look like a lot of drunken trolls. Have we no self-respect? Is this all we can do with our wealth - a nation of people sinking into alcoholic myopia? The situation has already reached critical mass. Most of our young people are early-stage alcoholics by the time they are in their early 20s. The drinking pattern is already set for them before they ever begin to work, get married or start to raise children.
There are powerful vested interests out there who do not want us to see this situation for what it is. They want you to believe that the alcoholic is somebody different, that you are not likely to be one of those people. The AA supports that view - only emotionally incapable people are alcoholics, it says. They want to persuade you that its ok to go on drinking until you realise that its too late for you.
Alcohol is a dangerous and addictive substance and anyobody who drinks enough of it will become an alcoholic. Alcoholics come in all shapes and sizes: from the man lying in the gutter in the middle of the day to the surgeon in his elegant home every evening. The judge over his claret lunch and the mother secretaly drinking at home. They are all alcoholics however well-dressed they are and to whatever extent they are able to disguise it. The lives of everyone around them are affected - many of whom will also be alcoholics to a greater or lesser degree. The problem does not lie in the person, it lies in the alcohol.
It should be banned.

author by "John"publication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 15:51Report this post to the editors

You can't answer the questions but that doesnt mean they arent worth asking. You and others believe AA has been the saving of you. Many more people believe the opposite is true and that we need to recover from AA as much as from the alcoholism itself.

author by codpublication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 15:12Report this post to the editors

I have not said at any time that you are disgusting. If you're an alcoholic, then you're just the same as me in that respect. It's just that I'm not drinking. I'm still of messy alcoholic temperament to a degree however. By the way, I did actually warn you that I am also quite snarly.

The 'snarl' that you might be experiencing, however, is entirely understandable as you seem to be trying to shake the belief that some people have in AA. If it's working for some but not for you, why the need to attempt to bugger it up for the more fortunate ones?

I've already said I am not able to answer your questions sorry. I seriously do not know the answers.

author by "John"publication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 15:03Report this post to the editors

Is the AA perfect?

Might it's minimum 80% failure rate have anything to do with weaknesses in its method?

Are the psychological processes it recomends damaging people?

What is the extent of its unknown influence on public health and other services?

How much wealth does it have?

These are not beligerent questions, they are entirely sensible. Eeryone has in interest in this, not just alcoholics. Some objectivity is badly needed here.

And if we are talking about beligerence, look at the comment you've just posted. The AA snarl always waiting just below the surface - beating up on the thinking alcoholic.

Why don't you just answer the questions?

Here is a link to another debate:

http://www.deanesmay.com/archives/006854.html

Another article that looks at the growing concern about AA and what it does to people who want to keep their intelligence and who also want to give up alcohol:

http://www.creative-personal-growth.com/alcohol-abuse.html

Go round the internet, you'll see how many of us are asking the same questions. We're not the disgusting people that COD and people like her would have you believe.

author by codpublication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 14:49Report this post to the editors

I mis-edited a bit there... Sounds fairly dodgy and disjointed in parts. Sure you'll get around it though.

author by codpublication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 14:33Report this post to the editors

I dare say that what I'm about to type is not part of my 'program of recovery' 'John' but you obviously have an axe to grind for some reason and you sound like a belligerent sort of a man.

I do not have any answers for you and I doubt that anyone does. I still do not understand why you blame AA for apparently failing you... and regardless of what you type here, blame is precisely the angle.

Yes, more research is required. Yes, more should be done about alcoholism. Yes, it's a f*cking horrible disease but how does any of this fall back on AA??? I just do not get the connection?

Some people who come in to AA are mongrels when they come in and they presume it's because they drink. It turns out after a while of sobriety that they are still mongrels even when sober. It's not an organisation that will give you a new personality or take away any underlying problems. It's purely a bunch of people who get together and follow a recommended program that other similar people have followed with some successful outcomes.

It's a shame it doesn't work for you but perhaps if you put as much energy into - gee, I don't know - say putting up with the smoke or moving your chair out of the way it, as you do dwelling on the failings, you might not spend so much time practising 'woe-is-me' and take a bit of advice or assistance.

I don't know what your answer is sorry 'John'. To put it extremely crudely, I would have eaten sh*t to stop drinking and stay sober, so I am not able to think of anything that would have kept me away from the AA stuff once I'd had a whiff of it.

Good luck mate.

author by "John"publication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 13:57Report this post to the editors

‘I’d imagine, however, that the structures of AA do not get involved in public argument such as this because it is counter-productive.’

Why should it be counterproductive for AA to openly analyse and discuss their method? What makes them so different from every other organisation? AA is effectively compulsory because it has become the method of choice for many professional organisations and the only thing available for most people. There is virtually no research into treatments because of the widespread misconception that AA are the solution, even though it fails most of the time. Health and social institutions rely unquestioningly on them all over the world. When people point to the failure rate, the AA says that’s the fault of the people not the method. No discussion. ‘All I know is it worked for me and I was really miserable’ is not an answer to the question.

The issue here is not people like you who think AA is great. Good for you and you are welcome to it. Nobody wants to take it away from you. But most of us who pass through think its crap and that there are gaping holes in what it claims about itself and that a lot of people (non alcoholics) who should know better have been taken in. AA also plays dangerous psychological games with people. You defend the AA. Calling yourself a ‘pisspot’ and describing the characteristics of the alcoholic life still do not answer the questions: why does it not work for so many people? Is it even conceivable that AA is doing something wrong? These are legitimate questions.

‘I guess it is people like me who have confidence in AA because it is working. I don’t care why and I don’t care if it is considered a cult. I’d take this cult any day to the compulsion that drove me before continue drinking.’

But this cult is failing at least 80% of people who approach it for help. And when they fail, in classic cult style, the AA’s response is to denigrate them. What about that? Could AA be doing it better for them? Pointing to your own success with it does nothing to address that. What are AA’s weaknesses? Does it have any?

It is also disingenuous to make out that AA have a friendly ‘take us or leave us, we don’t mind’ attitude. Committed AA people entice you in with that attitude but a different attitude altogether awaits you once you engage with the programme.

You deny the possibility that AA can do harm – and that you’ve never seen it. Thousands – in fact millions of people disagree with you and have had very different experiences indeed. If you are compliant and don’t question what is recommended you wont meet with the negative side, of course. When I was having doubts about AA and tried to debate the issues I was treated with hostility. The friendship and support were withdrawn. In the small community in which I live the entire group membership cold-shouldered me everywhere I went. Asked if they would consider having non-smoking meetings because my asthma was affected by all the smoking and was told I was ‘looking for an excuse to go drinking’ because Id had to say I couldn’t continue coming to many of the meetings. I was told I should be prepared to do a 60 mile round trip to get to the nearest non smoking meeting. So much for the ‘fearless and searching moral inventory’ that they had all claimed to have done. Nobody needs to rely on my experiences alone – if they want to see the other side of AA the internet is filled with descriptions of similar experiences.

AA people, while talking brutally about themselves personally, always imply that the organisation functions in a saintly manner. It does not. There are cliques and hidden agendas and all sorts of goings on – just the same as with any human organisation. There are circles and inner circles and stages of progression into an informal inner sanctum. Lifers are very wary of newcomers although they disguise that well. It is not at all what it seems on the outside and there is a very definite strategy about what the public face must look like. Challenges such as this one are taken very seriously. AA functions like a secret society and the extent of its real influence is something that needs to be investigated and brought out into the open. Make no mistake, with representatives at every level of society, AA is a very powerful organisation, blindly dedicated to its own airtight philosophy. It brooks no criticism and the strategy by which it does that is simple: it refuses to discuss it and throws it back on the person making the criticism. That person, by definition, is always an alcoholic because nobody else gets involved, and that fact is routinely used to undermine any legitimate question the person has.

Money and effort need to be put into researching and testing alternative approaches and into understanding the nature of substance addiction. This suggestion is a threat to the booze industry of course, so nobody should be holding their breath for answers any time soon. But be aware of what the AA are like and that it probably wont work for you.

author by codpublication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 04:12Report this post to the editors

‘John’, I cannot speak for AA as an institution at all. I’m only able to give my opinion as a pisspot. I’d imagine, however, that the structures of AA do not get involved in public argument such as this because it is counter-productive. Ultimately, if anyone wishes to give AA a go, that’s entirely his or her business. It’s not compulsory and anyone attending it is there because they want to be there or because they are so desperate and defeated that they feel they have to be there!

What are the other options? What alcoholic actually envisages being able to live without grog prior having a go at AA? From my experience – personally and through observation – AA is usually the last ditch attempt at sobriety and often even after such efforts as massive psychiatrist’s bills, botched suicide attempts, crime, destruction of family, loss of friends and jobs (and teeth!) and in the face of complete moral degeneration and into the grips of insanity. They were some of the options for me prior to even being willing to try AA. The will to avoid the inevitable so that I could keep drinking was overwhelming. I simply could not stop.

Fortunately for me I now believe, my grand father, a fairly conservative old Irishman (and who was not afflicted with the ‘family legacy’), happened to make comments within earshot of me as a kid that if you’re an alcoholic, ‘you should go to AA and you can never drink again’. He apparently made those comments because he’d had friends who’d been hopeless alcoholics and had found some sort of peace of mind and sobriety through sticking to the AA guidelines.

I’d say if anyone were able to come up with a better, more effective option for alcholics, sensational, get it out there because millions are still suffering. I’ve never heard the infallible claim John. AA offers one method to alcoholics for living without grog, that’s all. And when so many approaches do not work, I guess it is people like me who have confidence in AA because it is working. I don’t care why and I don’t care if it is considered a cult. I’d take this cult anyday to the compulsion that drove me before to continue drinking. All that I know is that I couldn’t stop and stay stopped before and I can now and if you’re an alcoholic, surely you understand the complete relief that a feeling of not having to drink and not being obsessed with getting a drink might bring.

I’ve not actually seen any evidence of AA causing harm so I’m not able to comment on that area from any perspective other than personal experience. I have seen massive benefits coming through AA however. I would also hardly say I’m ‘euphoric’. I would best describe myself as a naughty, grumpy, snarly, self-indulgent old cow who completely lacks restraint and maturity (though frighfully modern and attractive). My pleasure, however, is in being sober and not feeling the compulsion to drink and not completely rogering my kid’s life through my active alcoholism.

I understand AA to proffer its approach as ‘a’ method that has been found to work in instances where people follow a simple program. There doesn’t appear to be anything magical or secretive or mystical about the program. It’s just that some dudes who follow it seem to stay sober and live a reasonable sort of a life when they stick to it. I fail to see the insideous side that you apparently see. It’s entirely voluntary and if it saves only 1 in 1,000 alcoholics from the insanity of alcoholism, more power to it. (That figure is plucked from nowhere by the way.)

In my many years in AA, I’ve not ever been told and I’ve not ever heard that this way is the only way. In fact, the approach seems to be that if you are able to kick the grog and live moderately sanely using some other method, do it… but if you are not able to, the ones who are in those rooms have. The message that I gather is simply that the pisspots in those rooms have tried nearly every other method or approach or intervention and have not been able to live any other way.

author by Rylianpublication date Sath DFómh 15, 2005 01:23author email lavosfanfiction at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

The article above is a very interesting read, and i entirely understand where the author is coming from. I am a 21 year old recovering alcoholic and a student at Queens. However, it is apparent to me that there are an incredible amount of young students that are in denial regarding their own alcohol addiction. This is not their fault, in my opinion. We live in a society where alcoholism has become socially acceptable.

At Queens, you can see advertising for alcohol everywhere you turn. There are three different bars in the Students Union. I know an incredible amount of people who are undoubtably dependent on alcohol, but refuse to accept it due to the fact that the idea of going out and getting plastered every night as a student has become an acceptable thing to do. This is not the venting of an aloof individual. I am genuinely worried for the futures of literally hundreds of students who are going to destroy their lives.

I am attempting to get involved in the fight against student alcoholism at Queens, because the measures taken up by the Executive Council and Queens have been nothing short of pathetic. Hardly anything has been done, for one main reason - the amount of money flowing into Queens as a result of this. I would urge others to do the same.

On the issue of the AA, I still go to the meetings. I do believe however, that there needs to be an alternative organisation for today's world. We need an organisation that can genuinely talk to young people on their level. I am planning to try and take this up in Queens, and if there is anyone out there who wants to help, drop me a line.

author by "John"publication date Aoine DFómh 14, 2005 17:23Report this post to the editors

Cod
If AA works for you and your'e glad of it - great. But the point of the article however was that it doesnt work for the majority and in more cases than it does work for, it is causing harm. Th euphoria of the people who find a solution in AA is well known but its not what Im taking about. Im glad for you all. AA owes me nothing and like I said it didnt make me into an alcoholic. But there are legitimate questions to be asked:

Why does AA believe its mehtod to be the best and only one in the face of the actual evidence?
Why does it think it is infallible in every way?

Your comment does exactly what I said earlier: you dont answer these questions and more or less imply that they are stupid/wrong questions to ask. I dont think that's good enough given the evidence of the damage that AA is doing in a lot of cases. This is a legitimate and reasonable subject to debate. If AA is so confident of its own theory why does it always refuse this discussion?

author by codpublication date Aoine DFómh 14, 2005 15:24Report this post to the editors

I'm only able to speak for myself here but as a fairly experienced alcoholic who does not drink these days, I'm a huge fan of AA. I do not attend for the social contact or for any expectation that I'm going to be provided with some cure by the equally tragic critters who frequent its rooms. All that I know is that I had completely & utterly bottomed out, was no where near the person that I had ever imagined I'd become, and couldn't live without the frigging bane of my existence, the grog.

It doesn't work for all, so what? It works for loads who give it a serious go. I've neither seen nor heard of AA damaging anyone - perhaps other than to arm a drinker with enough knowledge to mess with their continued 'research'. I personally and daily experience that it has and continues to provide an alcoholic with relative sanity and sobriety.

Sure my kid is thrilled for AA and I pray that if she also turns out to be afflicted with this rotter of a disease, that she is willing to give a fraction of the commitment that I've given to the pursuit of drinking over the years to giving AA a shot.

I genuinely feel for anyone who is an 'active' alcoholic, and to coin a phrase - 'There but for the Grace of God...'. It is a vile black hole of a disease that manages to suck the life out of everything and every person it touches. All that I am able to say in defence of AA is that it works for me, and that is f*cking miraculous because nothing else did.

author by mary - personalpublication date Aoine DFómh 14, 2005 00:20author email mother_ireland at yahoo dot ieauthor address ex-directory irelandauthor phone 01-123-4567Report this post to the editors

The most dangerous people in irish society are not the alchies. On the contrary, they are the so-called normal and sucessful sober ones!

author by Celestepublication date Déar DFómh 13, 2005 23:52Report this post to the editors

That previous ignorant posting aside, the article was interesting. A person in my family almost died from alcoholism, quite a young person, and it ruined their family life over a long period of time. The person now goes to aa, and people do comment that it does seem a bit obsessive and all the things you say. But if it helps a few people then it's good. It does require a certain mindset though - no point in going if it's not your thing to surrender to a higher power or the aliens or whatever they do.

There are other treatment programmes out there - if you care about your life and your family, go out there and investigate them.

I was once in a car with someone who had been drinking since noon - I had no other way of getting home but that's no excuse on my part. Even mild concern over the amount of drink he'd taken was greeted with sardonic laughter. That''s pretty typical of the attitude in this country and what an alcoholic is up against. I know people who've got pissed and propositioned their bosses and/or their bosses partners. All this is really seen as acceptable once there's drink taken in this country so it would be difficult to really recover unless you take it seriously and throw yourself into it. The culture doesn't really favour the recovering alcoholic so you need to create your own culture - maybe that's one explanation why Aa people hang out with one another so much. Still, it doesn't have to be AA, there are other treatments you can look into.

author by belch gurggle yawn ribbid - (((i am "the advisor" me)))publication date Déar DFómh 13, 2005 22:14author phone who you gonna call?Report this post to the editors

You just replace your addiction to Alcohol with something else, such as Crack or Smack.
Now both crack and smack are really really expensive. You'll run out of the cash you need quicker than on the dhrink. & after having spent years pissing your life away, you probably won't have :-
a) the killer criminal instinct to get into acquistive crime.
b) the sort of ass that makes your body sellable.

After a while of using either crack or smack, you'll learn lots about :-
a)people.
b)tinfoil.
c)your lungs.

This is the stage when you should either :-

A) join a listed intelligence organisation with website and share your info for the betterment of the western alliance
B) write a vigilante article for imc ireland newswire with illustrations & hope it gets approved for feature and maybe even translated and go global syndicate and you enter the underground history books.
C) think about giving up Crack / Smack.

Giving up Crack / Smack is easy. In the case of Crack by the time you are considering joining the "crack users anonymous" section of your local "narcotics anonymous" you will have forgotten how you started in the first place. The loss of personality will help you adjust to a "crack death".
In the case of Smack, you can get Methedone or another replacement Drug at your local Drug clinic *for free*

There, Simply swapping Crack or Smack for Alcohol is :-
a) a good way to really forget why you were drinking.
b) cheaper in the long run.

author by its a cult but - it workspublication date Déar DFómh 13, 2005 19:51author email billw at aa dot comReport this post to the editors

There is no one in A.A. who would say its the only way but i guess they might say its the only way that has worked for them.
A.A. is powerful but there is alot of sick people in its rooms.
It is run on principles that alot of people who log on here would agree with but can be groups can be open to strong personalities taken over. This will pass too! just like anything else but as every group is independent is less prone to an coup altogether.
And its open.
And did i mention it worked for me for time and i would own A.A. alot

author by micheailinpublication date Déar DFómh 13, 2005 19:47author email saoirse32 at fastmail dot fmReport this post to the editors

I very much enjoyed your article about AA and alcohol.

I used to attend AA meetings with my partner, but I did not like how AA made a whole separate social club out of alcoholics. They would spend large amounts of time regaling themselves with stories of their monumental experiences under the influence. Everyone would nod and agree and feel so sympathetic. It was as if by attending AA, they were validating themselves in an almost positive way. I personally was not as amused with the stories as the group was.

But the best point I liked concerning the article is that in society, alcohol is very much treated ambivalently. It is very BIG business. This explains the ambivalence. It's like war. There is a LOT of money to be made out of it, and those involved are not about to let that go. On the other hand, if the full extent of all the illness, injuries, crime, lost production, broken relationships, wasted lives, premature death, child abuse, etc. were actually attributed to the use of alcohol, it would truly astound you. If you think society doesn't turn a blind eye to it, all you have to do is look at all the drinking places which are located alongside the roads. You are beckoning people to come and imbibe alcohol and then letting them drive away. Why act so surprised then when they have wrecks or run over people and then drive on, unaware?

I agree that much more needs to be done to treat alcoholism in society. If we had a major epidemic of some biological disease, it would NOT be allowed to run as rampant as we allow alcoholism to do.

author by Shannonpublication date Déar DFómh 13, 2005 17:56Report this post to the editors

I loved what you had to say about the things that cause a person to drink. Somethings that lead a person to reach for a bottle have nothing to do with anything a person has control over. My grandparents were two such people. Grandpa had always been close to his only sister as she was the only living relative here in the states. He started to drink a wee bit more than was advisable after she was killed. Grandma hated to see him drink alone began drinking a bit with him, not enough to be a problem, just enough to keep him company. Then their third child was born and died at the age of 2 days. All hell broke loose after that. Eventually, Granpa had a stroke, and the nursing home forbade alchohol. Grandma lost her reason to drink, and managed to quit, cold turkey. I've always been proud of her for that. I've lost them both quite some time ago, but I still remember her strength in quiting, and his fun loving way of asking for his daily glass of whisky that he knew would not be given.

As you've pointed out, AA isn't the only way to quit. Nor does all of it's policies, theories, advice or techniques make any sense at all. Alcohol is addictive, though at different degrees for different people. For those who have to live with it (both the addicts, and those who care for them) it is a daily struggle. I wish you and your family the best of luck in dealing with this. It is a long and difficult journy to take, but one with an ending well worth the trouble.

author by Duinepublication date Déar DFómh 13, 2005 16:19Report this post to the editors

Níor chuala mé riamh gur chuspóir an AA an t-alcólachas a leigheas.
Is galar é agus ní fios leigheas air.
Is eagras féinchabhairitheach AA a thugann tacaíocht do lucht fulaingte an ghalair seo

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