Sunday, March 2, 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous...We Will Do Your Thinking For You

I certainly do not stand alone in my pursuit to remove the guarded veil of secrecy that Alcoholics Anonymous hides behind, and to penetrate the blind faith that society as a whole places in the age old movement. The new movement to re-examine Alcoholics Anonymous and demand answers from it is growing by leaps and bounds within many facets of our culture.

My personal call to action...by AA hands, my marriage was thoughtlessly dissected and directed under reckless scrutiny and ill advice. I almost lost my marriage through a process of conditioning directed at my wife by both AA and AL-Anon big wigs...conditioning that had very little basis in fact surrounding my own recovery. This is what led me to want to educate those who may be unfamiliar with the real machinery of AA, and to serve as one more supportive voice for those who may be considering joining AA, or considering getting out of Bill Wilson's boot camp. I have no agenda beyond this. I have no take on your own personal story, though I do hope that you will share your personal story. People are as unique and individual as stones on a beach. We could no more categorize and generalize those stones than we could claim authority to fence in anyone's life and herd them into church basements like mindless cattle. AA however, and related 12 step groups do just that! As blogger Laura put it:

These people have no business advising you how to train your dog, let alone how to live your life!

Do you want your life to be tossed among a heap of nameless, shapeless masses, to be identified only by the doctrine with which you are affiliated? If such an approach actually changed your life for the better, then so be it; I want to hear from you! I cannot attack this with a biased bullet, as many claim to have experienced major life changes through the 12 steps. 

However, I cannot help but think of an old and dear friend of mine, who is 30 years sober through AA. I also know his wife, which brings me to my point. You see, she is an Al-Anon woman, who was heavily abused for years, before she got out and met this friend of mine and subsequently married him. She is deeply rooted within the recovery community, and makes her rounds, not so much because she cares about helping others, but because what worked for her, (did it really though?) she feels the incessant need to impose on others..that whole cookie cutter, cattle herding idea...the very backbone of 12 step groups! The problem with this is that life is not black and white..it is one million shades of grey. This woman can be very, how do I say it, up front and coldly insistent with her thoughts as regards to recovery and to marriage, especially marriage to a problem drinker. Her glowing achievements are two-fold...she repels many people, but in equal measure she draws vulnerable people to her, and directs their lives in true old-timey, hard-assed, 12 step Big Book thumping fashion. The consequences of her grip on the local recovery community are still outweighing the rate at which her personal recovery group is shrinking. (The one wherein she holds court as the group matriarch) She backs her claims fiercely with the 12 steps, of both AA and Al-anon. 

One day this friend of mine confided in me regarding his wife's occasional callous, demanding demeanor toward him. I asked him how he felt about that treatment coming from his wife, and not in a smart ass way, but in an honest way, as one friend would ask another. (I'm big on friends before affiliations)

His reply:

"Well, it's better than how I used to live. I can't go back to what I was."

So he was resigned, and okay with it.

The trouble is, these people are everywhere, and they operate within 12 step communities like termites on rotting wood. They search out newcomers, frightened wives, alcoholics and hard drinkers who will grab every last straw in the heat of their own desperate moments in life. 

Trust me, I was indoctrinated at age 16, a street kid, loaded on cocaine, booze, and without hope. AA came along and presented itself as my only saviour. I was programmed to believe that my destructive thoughts and actions were a product of my disease , and the good times and positive achievements came only as a result of my working the steps.

To Sponsor :  "I had a great time tonight with that Sheri girl I just met!"

Sponsor: "Great! See what happens when you work those steps?"

To Sponsor: "That waitress I work with has me at my rope's end! I just want to scream at her!"

(I'm dulling it down...I'm usually not that precisely polite in the heat of a moment. :)

Sponsor: "Woah! Back it up! Get back into your steps!"

So you see...well, you draw your own conclusions.

I was a shy child, and a child of divorced parents. The parent war was in full rage, and my self esteem out of the gate was basically in the toilet. That is no excuse at all, but being in such a state, as many addicted souls find themselves, it is proven that many such a person will find a 12 step group and take it for face value, as I did, clutching the 12 steps like a life raft! If you're drowning and someone throws you a rope, you'll grab hold! You won't question it, because if you let go, you may just mark your doom! It is reckless and irresponsible for these unqualified "sponsors" and other ill-advising members, with all of their individual slants and agendas, whether within Al-Anon or AA, to hand out life altering curriculum to vulnerable souls!

If you leave you will surely die. If you're having a bad day, you aren't working your steps. If you're having a good day, be careful...you will get cocky have a slip. You are diseased for life. You cannot leave AA safely, ever...etc etc add puke. It goes on every day in every 12 step basement!

I'll deal with one the biggest offenses of all, as goes negligent and ineffective generalizations in my next post..those precious AA Slogans. 

There is no agenda here ladies and gents...we just want to get closer to the truth! 


  1. Nice! You have a way with words, and you're right on every point!


  2. Thanks! I take it you're familiar with AA. AA needs to be brought into a realistic light. Thanks for reading!