Why I believe the 12 Step Movement is another religion

harleysportster's picture

I have pondered upon writing something about my unease and disapproval with AA and it's 12 steps for quite some time. However, it is a sensitive subject and one that is apt to stir quite a bit of emotions on all sides of the fence. However, I feel that if I am to continue to be an open Atheist and continue to address the problems that I see with theism in the world, then I should not shy away from any subject, irregardless of it's controversy.

I will start out by saying, for most of my life, I knew very little of AA and what it proclaims to teach. I only knew what I had seen in the movies. A group of people trying to help one another overcome their problems and gathering together to get through those problems without a drink or a drug. Sounds good on the outside. In principle, there is strength in numbers and alcoholics and addicts tend to have a social stigma attached to them. What better for them, than to gather together and support one another ?

Nothing.

But is that what AA really does ?

Or is it possible, that AA is another quasi-religious movement that is not so much concerned with drinking, as it is converting people to it's rather strange ideas of what it calls "spirituality" ? AA tends to dodge the religious label by calling itself "spiritual but not religious". But, let's take a look at some of AA's literature and what it says.

I have a family member that became heavily involved in AA. As most people on here know, I grew up in a very strict, theist background and this guy was not one of those. He was quite a heavy drinker. However, after a few years in AA, his behavior changed so radically and a few of the meetings I attended with him for support disturbed me so greatly that I decided to read some AA "approved" literature. (No other literature can be read at a meeting unless it meets AA approval I might add). Here are some excerpts from AA's 12 steps and 12 traditions (a book commonly known as the 12 and 12 in AA):

AA wrote:

Some of us won't believe in God, others can't, and still others who believe in God do not have faith that HE will perform his miracles.Yes, you have got us over the barrel alright, but where do we go from here ? 

Sound rather anti-Atheist to anyone ? Well, there is more. Listen to this naked assertion on the part of AA :

AA wrote:

Let's look at the first case of the one that says that he will not believe in God. The most belligerent one. He is of a state of mind which can only be described as savage. His whole philosophy in life, in which he is so glorified, is threatened. It's bad enough, he thinks, that alcohol has him down for keeps. But now, still smarting from that admission, he is faced with something really impossible. How can he possibly cherish the thought that man, risen so majestically from a single cell in the primordial ooze, is the spearhead of evolution and the only God that he knows ?Must he renounce all of this to save himself ?

I am going to skip ahead a couple of sentences here and type an excerpt from the next paragraph :

AA wrote:

His sponsor will probably say " Take it easy, the hoop that you have to jump through is alot wider than you think. At least I have found it so. So did a friend of mine who was a one time vice-president of the American Atheist Society, but he got through with room to spare".

And this excerpt :

AA wrote:

No man, we saw, could believe in God and continue to defy HIM. We saw that belief meant reliance and not defiance

AA wrote:

The fact was , we really hadn't cleaned house so that the grace of god could enter into us and expel our obsession

Where, in all of these readings, I wondered, was there talk of drinking ? Where were they addressing the issues of what it could do to your liver ? Your health ? The best way to detox ? Possible dietary prescriptions for those in malnourishment ?

Defenders of the 12 step movement often say that the material was written in the 1930's.Long before they understood psychiatric issues or the actual health issues of alcohol abuse. So why hasn't AA evolved and changed ? Why hasn't some of the material been jettisoned in favor of more modern adaptations ? Why are they still treating people with outdated literature and spirituality when it has not been conclusively proven to work ? And why all of the insistence that a man MUST have some sort of "Higher Power " or "GOD" in order to recover ? Walk into a roomful of AA members and say that you have done it on your own and I almost guarantee the response will be less than favorable. Listening to my family member, who is a part of it, is like listening to a broken record of all the other members. ( i.e. I was just dry, until I began working the steps, got a sponsor, read the Big Book, started to pray, etc.)

AA's founding members did not see the psychological and physical aspects of addiction, they attributed drinking to " a spiritual disease caused by moral shortcomings, defects of character, the seven deadly sins, selfishness, fear, and keeping secrets". Granted, this may have been long before the medical community understood what it does today. But why hasn't AA evolved and adapted new teachings ? Doesn't it seem to smack of religion when there is a sacred text that can not be altered, changed or questioned ?

How about this entry, that is in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book on page 77 :

AA wrote:

At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But that is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to be of maximum service to God

Or this one :

AA wrote:

Remember that we deal with alcohol. Cunning, baffling, powerful, without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has All Power. That one is God, may you find him now !

Notice how often the word "god" ends up in this literature. Not "Higher Power" not "good orderly direction" not "group of drunks" not "sponsor" but GOD .

Often times, I have heard people in open meetings claim that no one can get there by mistake. That "GOD" bottoms them out, lets them become drunks and leads them there for the sole purpose of finding him.

Exactly what does all of this have to do with the psychological and physical aspects of quitting drinking ? Again, the defenders can state that this was the 1930's at the time of these writings, so why hasn't AA deemed them outdated and re-written them ? Would you seek the professional help of a doctor who would only follow medical texts from the 1930's ?

AA's refusal to evolve, AA's refusal to allow any questioning of it's literature, smacks to me of borderline, fanatic theism.

While it is technically possible to hold differences of opinions with the mainstream crowd of AA and while it is possible to hold Atheist beliefs and be a member, that person is probably going to face scorn and be ignored. If my family member's groups are any indication of AA as a whole. Which he tells me that the AA meetings that he attends all over the country are about the same.

Why do most meetings begin with the Serenity Prayer and end with the Lord's Prayer ? I am unaware of any meetings that begin with a Buddhist Prayer, A Hebrew Prayer, A Wiccan Prayer, An Islamic Prayer, A Hindu Prayer or a Native American Meditation. Nope, they almost all begin with the Christian Serenity Prayer and end with the Lord's Prayer. The Protestant version of the Lord's Prayer, I might add (growing up in a Catholic household, I can attest to the slight differences in the two).

I have noticed that a large majority of the public seems to be unaware of SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery, Secular Arm For Sobriety, and HAMS. If you think that you may have a problem with alcohol, you need not think that the kooky spirituality of AA is your only solution. There are plenty of secular organizations and support groups that are just as dedicated to helping you get out from under your addictions. Perhaps more so, because there aim is to treat the addiction and not lead you to some odd version of spirituality.

I believe that addicts and alcoholics need each other to overcome their problems. But I also believe that they should give THEMSELVES the credit for kicking the habit and overcoming it. I find it rather disgusting that an alcoholic, when he gets sober, gives all of the credit to "GOD" and AA, and when he relapses, he places the blame solely on himself. I have actually heard members say their relapse was due to the fact they had "turned their back on god". Does this remind anyone of the type of medieval thinking that lead to flagellants when the Black Death was raging across Europe ?

 

 

 

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

harleysportster's picture

I have

I have both the AA "Big Book", the 12 and 12, and as Bill sees it, to back up more of my claims should the discussion continue. I was not completely satisified with the finished product of this latest addition to my blog, but am prepared to add more as needed, if  need be.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

ex-minister's picture

harleysportster wrote:AA

harleysportster wrote:

AA wrote:

Let's look at the first case of the one that says that he will not believe in God. The most belligerent one. He is of a state of mind which can only be described as savage. His whole philosophy in life, in which he is so glorified, is threatened. It's bad enough, he thinks, that alcohol has him down for keeps. But now, still smarting from that admission, he is faced with something really impossible. How can he possibly cherish the thought that man, risen so majestically from a single cell in the primordial ooze, is the spearhead of evolution and the only God that he knows ?Must he renounce all of this to save himself ?

 

Guess you weren't expecting me.  

Am I reading the statement right you quoted above? Does AA accept evolution? I hadn't read anything like that in alanon.

What 12 & 12 page is that on?

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

harleysportster wrote: 12 step Movement just another religion

 Man, I can't wait to sit down, and read this, but its gotta wait until late tonight. O'well !

Signature ? How ?

ex-minister's picture

SMART RECOVERY

Video paste. If not seen Mod please help again.

 

 

link for video

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzjpGp4B6Q4

 

Smart Recovery website

 

http://www.smartrecovery.org/

FAQ Q. Is SMART Recovery® as effective as AA? A. From a scientific perspective, the effectiveness of all support groups for addictive behavior is unproven. The only way to answer that question is to attend meetings from all available groups, and reach a personal conclusion about the best approach to recovery.

 

SMART vs. 12-Step Programs At SMART we believe that each individual finds his own path to recovery. For some participants, that may include 12-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While the SMART approach differs from AA and NA, it does not exclude them. Some SMART participants choose to attend AA or NA meetings when they cannot attend a SMART meeting. Some find that what they hear at AA or NA meetings helps them on their path to permanent recovery.

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

Kapkao's picture

There ya go HS!

There ya go HS!

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)

harleysportster's picture

ex-minister wrote:Guess you

ex-minister wrote:

Guess you weren't expecting me.  

Am I reading the statement right you quoted above? Does AA accept evolution? I hadn't read anything like that in alanon.

What 12 & 12 page is that on?

 

Hehe, yes I was expecting you. That is cool, I welcome your feedback. . In the AA 12 and 12 that is under the chapter that begins Step 2. Maybe alanon uses a different type of literature as I am unfamiliar with alanon. But if you have an AA 12 and 12, open it up to step 2 and these excerpts are in the first few paragraphs.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

ex-minister's picture

Why doesn't AA just change its literature?

 AA/Alanon are the most unusual organization I have ever been a part of. They are bottom up when it comes to authority.  There are no spokepersons or leaders. Tradition 4 speaks to this - Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole. This means the power in the group is at the lowest level. What would be called the higher level part of the organization is simply volunteers who help organize where it is a must but they do not direct or are in charge. It is a flat authority structure, no one member has more of a voice than another.

I have had experience with this in alanon multiple times. I have wanted to change something (alanon tradition 5, changing aa to alanon) or get direction on what was the right way to handle something. In most organization it goes up the chain until some level of boss makes that decision. In these organization you won't be given a direct answer. You will only be given suggestions. I tell you I found it quite frustrating since I like to get shit done. But I have come to appreciate it. I don't find my answers from someone else. I can ask for help, listen to the experience of others, but in the end I have to make my own decision. The suggestion I got for changing a tradition is I would have to get the majority in my group on the same page and then we would talk to other groups and ultimately meet in some annual event which is made up of representatives from all over the country and world from each individual group. A discussion would be done and then a vote. No one in the upper organization could make such a decision, it has to be the worldwide individual groups voting.  

So the point of all that is the literature doesn't get changed much, only rarely. It is like looking at a fossil record. You see older literature like from the 1930s and it has that mentality and as you go forward you see the changing attitudes thru the decades. Harley, therefore I suggest you quote from more recent books. If you google search AA literature I think you will find lots of books. I know the big book is on the web. Don't have the 12 & 12 but will look for it.

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

ex-minister's picture

harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

ex-minister wrote:

Guess you weren't expecting me.  

Am I reading the statement right you quoted above? Does AA accept evolution? I hadn't read anything like that in alanon.

What 12 & 12 page is that on?

 

Hehe, yes I was expecting you. That is cool, I welcome your feedback. . In the AA 12 and 12 that is under the chapter that begins Step 2. Maybe alanon uses a different type of literature as I am unfamiliar with alanon. But if you have an AA 12 and 12, open it up to step 2 and these excerpts are in the first few paragraphs.

 

So I will have to hunt the book down. What is your assessment of what the quote says in regard to evolution? Perhaps you can read the context and see if the big book accepts evolution. Please let me know. I don't think it is anything earth shattering except the novelty of it from a book from the late 30's. There were a lot of Catholics (Irish and drinking-what are you kidding me?) in the organization. I don't think the Pope had blessed evolution yet, but perhaps it shows the direction where it was headed.

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

harleysportster's picture

I don't think

I don't think that AA has an exact opinion when it comes to evolution. Remember in the traditions where it says that AA has no opinion on outside issues. However, the traditions also say " Each group hs but one authority, a loving god as he may express himself in our group conscience, our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern".

Yet it seems that many of these "trusted" servants have appointed themselves as  spokesmen for "god".  How exactly does a group of people proclaim to recognize the voice of "god" in their meetings  ?

Beside that, alcoholism is supposedly a disease. Why then, are they treating a disease, with morals and spirituality ?

Does the medical community attempt to treat clinical depression or bi-polar disorders with spirituality ? Or do they attempt to recognize such things as chemical imbalance for what they really are ?

Again, I think a group of people that are gathering together to solve a common problem is a good thing. But I do not like the type of religious, spirituality that AA prescribes as a solution to the problem.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

ex-minister's picture

Your concept of God

harleysportster wrote:

I don't think that AA has an exact opinion when it comes to evolution. Remember in the traditions where it says that AA has no opinion on outside issues. However, the traditions also say " Each group hs but one authority, a loving god as he may express himself in our group conscience, our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern".

Yet it seems that many of these "trusted" servants have appointed themselves as  spokesmen for "god".  How exactly does a group of people proclaim to recognize the voice of "god" in their meetings  ?

Again, I think a group of people that are gathering together to solve a common problem is a good thing. But I do not like the type of religious, spirituality that AA prescribes as a solution to the problem.

Will address your disease question later.

 

I have never been in a meeting where someone said God has spoken to me and this is what we are to do. Now in the fundie world that happens all the time.  In a church they are like-minded (narrow minded) and will buy such bullshit, but I don't see that happening in an AA/alanon group unless it has seriously gotten sick. I would expect many to bristle up and tell them they are full of it.  The programs attract quite a number of people with all different points of view on God. This is why the big book in the chapter "We Agnostics" says

big book wrote:
When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your conception of God.

There is no consensus of opinion on God, it is left up to you.  The leaders are trusted servants, they don't govern. To this point they don't tell you you have to believe in their concept of god.

On the aa.org website you will find their FAQ pamphlet

http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-2_44questions.pdf

Here is a pertenent clip.

 

You are correct. AA/alanon tradition says each group has no opinion on outside issues. Just as controversial as evolution is   (it is embarrassing to type that) so is religion and god. It is odd a favorable statement about evolution wound up in the big book and I am sure there are many fundie members who would love to have that removed. But it is hard to change the fossil record of program literature as I noted before.  The god stuff is also there. As the last paragraph of in FAQ says above it is a place where you can work out an acceptable solution to this subject, but it is entirely personal. No one can answer that for me. I worked it out of my life and still am a member in good standing.  Being there are about 25 years now I have never known anyone to mock me or try to change my mind. I don't say that doesn't happen in other groups but assholes are everywhere.  If I was so attacked I would pull out the quotes I have been using. It is wonderful that the steps have in it "god as we understood him" (step 3 & 11) because those are prominent at meetings. We can "thank god" for the atheists in the original meetings who requested that be added. When god comes up I sometimes say that.

 

In my experience god doesn't come up as often as you think especially as often you would hear it in churches.  It is not a key topic at all. People come into alanon trying to figure out how to get their alcoholic sober after many years of trying. That is the focus to realize I am powerless over this disease. I didn't cause it, I cannot cure it and I cannot control it. But I can focus on myself and live my life, working out why I have such a need to make others change so my life can be safe (playing god). If you take in the last few sentences you can easily relate it to fundamentalism. They say there is one way and a fundie needs to have the world think just like them so their world can be safe. A quite immature approach to life. I didn't grow up as a child. I just got taller. Alanon taught me to grow up and to let others be who they are instead of the way I want them to be. I learned that is love. The former stuff I call love was not love but demeaning the individuality of that person. When these programs speak of spirituality it is speaking of this. Alcoholism is a disease of relationships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

harleysportster's picture

Quite a few

Quite a few points to research and comment on ex-minister. It will take me a little bit of time to look into the literature and address the issues that you have brought to light. Thanks for keeping me on my toes and challenging my position. For if no one ever did that, how would I truly know I was right ? I'll try to address each point, in my next response.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

Kapkao's picture

harleysportster wrote:For if

harleysportster wrote:
For if no one ever did that, how would I truly know I was right ?

I think most people here would take it as they would receive most other points of view from a third party -like many people no doubt receive Ex-minister's apologetics for the program; that is to say, with a great deal of cautious reservation and doubt. A collection of possible questions would be as follows; "What is soinso's agenda", "what is their stake in this examination of AA", "what do they have to gain from a given outcome to these personal investigations", "how severely have their past experiences tainted their judgment of AA", and "does soinso have an axe to grind".

Something that I find particularly troubling is that most of the discussion so far has been about literature. Literature by itself, IMO, isn't enough to discern much about an organization in practice. The trouble with learning anything about AA/NA 'in practice', as an entire organization, is that there hasn't been much in the way of large-scale investigation into the various groups around the globe regarding their effectiveness, their practice, the licit or illicit behaviors of one member towards another in the same group (such as thirteenth stepping), and so forth. What few investigations that have materialized have been hampered to no end by the extreme decentralization (that ex-minister alludes to frequently) and level of opacity -both have been referred to as a "benign anarchy"- found in the various Anonymous organizations.

There has been Arther H Cain, who after being present for 500 AA meetings between 1947 and 1964, said it had now slowly transformed into a "cult" and said it was "a hindrance to research, psychiatry, and to many alcoholics who need a different kind of help",  despite having written "I do not suggest for a moment that a single A.A. quit the fellowship. On the contrary, I strongly urge sticking with it. To anyone who is having trouble with alcohol I say: try A.A. first; it's the answer for most people" just moments prior to that exclamation. He nevertheless thought that AA had become a domain of irreligious misfits "Dogmatic and opinionated in their nonbeliefs". (Don't take my word for it- http://harpers.org/archive/1963/02/0014211 )

Cain's statement has, to this day, either justly or unjustly created a militant divide between AA members, many non-AA alcoholics, and much of the non-alcoholic general populace.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)

ex-minister's picture

Kapkao wrote:harleysportster

Kapkao wrote:

harleysportster wrote:
For if no one ever did that, how would I truly know I was right ?

I think most people here would take it as they would receive most other points of view from a third party -like many people no doubt receive Ex-minister's apologetics for the program; that is to say, with a great deal of cautious reservation and doubt. A collection of possible questions would be as follows; "What is soinso's agenda", "what is their stake in this examination of AA", "what do they have to gain from a given outcome to these personal investigations", "how severely have their past experiences tainted their judgment of AA", and "does soinso have an axe to grind".

Something that I find particularly troubling is that most of the discussion so far has been about literature. Literature by itself, IMO, isn't enough to discern much about an organization in practice. The trouble with learning anything about AA/NA 'in practice', as an entire organization, is that there hasn't been much in the way of large-scale investigation into the various groups around the globe regarding their effectiveness, their practice, the licit or illicit behaviors of one member towards another in the same group (such as thirteenth stepping), and so forth. What few investigations that have materialized have been hampered to no end by the extreme decentralization (that ex-minister alludes to frequently) and level of opacity -both have been referred to as a "benign anarchy"- found in the various Anonymous organizations.

There has been Arther H Cain, who after being present for 500 AA meetings between 1947 and 1964, said it had now slowly transformed into a "cult" and said it was "a hindrance to research, psychiatry, and to many alcoholics who need a different kind of help",  despite having written "I do not suggest for a moment that a single A.A. quit the fellowship. On the contrary, I strongly urge sticking with it. To anyone who is having trouble with alcohol I say: try A.A. first; it's the answer for most people" just moments prior to that exclamation. He nevertheless thought that AA had become a domain of irreligious misfits "Dogmatic and opinionated in their nonbeliefs". (Don't take my word for it- http://harpers.org/archive/1963/02/0014211 )

Cain's statement has, to this day, either justly or unjustly created a militant divide between AA members, many non-AA alcoholics, and much of the non-alcoholic general populace.

I too have had concerns that HS and I would get into a literature off and I agree that would not be productive either, particularly in light of what I said before (i.e. its a fossil record). However, the only other thing I can add is my first hand experience. I would say I easily triple the number of meetings attended by Arthur H Cain. His AA to my alanon meetings of course. 

It has been very helpful to me and I haven't experienced it as a program where you have to believe in a god. It certainly helped me come to my personal decision to be an atheist, resulting in finding my way to this website and grateful to it as well. I do witness fundies coming in the rooms and the tighter they hold to that the less progress they make in recovery.

AA/alanon is non-professional. Its benefit as HS has noted is people with a common problem can get in a room and talk about it and support each other. It is like when someone gets cancer. They go to an oncologist, but also can go to support groups. When I had cancer I went to an oncologist and they told me about the support groups. (However, I just couldn't bring myself to going). When my life was falling apart because of how alcoholism affected it I went to a therapist. She was the one who within a few weeks said it might be good for me to go to alanon. I had no idea what she was talking about. But from the first meeting I totally identified with the people in the room and learned from them. YMMV.

 

 

Kapkoa wrote:
 1. what is the soinso's agenda? 

Alanon has helped me throw off the shackles of religion & the affects of the disease of alcoholism. I will be forever grateful. 

 

Kapkoa wrote:
 2. what is their stake in this examination of AA

I am a willing participant in this examination. If there is dirt there I want to know, but I also don't want it to be falsely accused either. It is one thing I have lots of  first-hand experience in so I should be able to add to the conversation. 

 

Kapkoa wrote:
 3. what do they have to gain from a given outcome to these personal investigations

An exchange of information. Gains already - HS has introduced me to the orange papers and other programs I was unaware of. Also, learning how non-members view these programs. Additionally talking to you guys for the first time on the other side of the fence and doing so in a rational way. That is pretty cool.

If this investigation resulted in me being thoroughly convinced these programs were a cult I would be utterly dumbfounded and wonder how I couldn't have seen it before. I would immediately go back into therapy and of course the therapist would be against 12-step support groups.

 

Kapkoa wrote:

4. how severely have their past experiences tainted their judgment of AA

 It is hard for me to say but I am a hellava lot happier now. 

 

Kapkoa wrote:

5. does soinso have an axe to grind

I would think you could tell from my general posts that my only axe to grind is against fundamentalism. 

 

 

Now Kapkoa please respond to the same questions? For question 3 I would like you to respond to the outcome as if you were convinced these programs are not a cult nor a religious organization but positive programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

Kapkao's picture

ex-minister wrote:I too have

ex-minister wrote:
I too have had concerns that HS and I would get into a literature off and I agree that would not be productive either, particularly in light of what I said before (i.e. its a fossil record). However, the only other thing I can add is my first hand experience. I would say I easily triple the number of meetings attended by Arthur H Cain. His AA to my alanon meetings of course. 

It has been very helpful to me and I haven't experienced it as a program where you have to believe in a god. It certainly helped me come to my personal decision to be an atheist, resulting in finding my way to this website and grateful to it as well. I do witness fundies coming in the rooms and the tighter they hold to that the less progress they make in recovery.

AA/alanon is non-professional. Its benefit as HS has noted is people with a common problem can get in a room and talk about it and support each other. It is like when someone gets cancer. They go to an oncologist, but also can go to support groups. When I had cancer I went to an oncologist and they told me about the support groups. (However, I just couldn't bring myself to going). When my life was falling apart because of how alcoholism affected it I went to a therapist. She was the one who within a few weeks said it might be good for me to go to alanon. I had no idea what she was talking about. But from the first meeting I totally identified with the people in the room and learned from them. YMMV.

 

 

Kapkoa wrote:
 1. what is the soinso's agenda? 

Alanon has helped me throw off the shackles of religion & the affects of the disease of alcoholism. I will be forever grateful. 

 

Kapkoa wrote:
 2. what is their stake in this examination of AA

I am a willing participant in this examination. If there is dirt there I want to know, but I also don't want it to be falsely accused either. It is one thing I have lots of  first-hand experience in so I should be able to add to the conversation. 

 

Kapkoa wrote:
 3. what do they have to gain from a given outcome to these personal investigations

An exchange of information. Gains already - HS has introduced me to the orange papers and other programs I was unaware of. Also, learning how non-members view these programs. Additionally talking to you guys for the first time on the other side of the fence and doing so in a rational way. That is pretty cool.

If this investigation resulted in me being thoroughly convinced these programs were a cult I would be utterly dumbfounded and wonder how I couldn't have seen it before. I would immediately go back into therapy and of course the therapist would be against 12-step support groups.

 

Kapkoa wrote:

4. how severely have their past experiences tainted their judgment of AA

 It is hard for me to say but I am a hellava lot happier now. 

 

Kapkoa wrote:

5. does soinso have an axe to grind

I would think you could tell from my general posts that my only axe to grind is against fundamentalism. 

 

 

Now Kapkoa please respond to the same questions? For question 3 I would like you to respond to the outcome as if you were convinced these programs are not a cult nor a religious organization but positive programs.

1. the questions weren't directed at anyone in particular. Certainly, because you come to AA/alanon's defense so often, it does (at most) look suspicious.

2. to respond to the outcome as if I were convinced these programs are positive... I would have to first be covinced that they are, indeed, positive programs. Certainly, some people are helped by the Anonymous programs, if only by virtue of a temporary intermission. I don't think anyone here doubts that. I also don't think anyone doubts that there is a high level of variability of the therapeutic quality offered by the various groups out there, as can be indirectly inferred by your remarks to the effect of "some groups are filled with assholes [...]so move on and find a better group." (forgive me if my retelling of your words aren't quite accurate enough, as I have what feels like a bit of a tooth abscess and can't be bothered to look up old posts. Yeah, tooth abscesses kinda suck)

One could also infer that there is a strong spiritual and/or religious aspect to the Anonymous programs. Particularly, it feels as if AA has a strong hint of Abrahamic religiousness. 

So you've been to more meetings in an alcholism program than Cain has? Well that kinda goes without saying with you having been a part of the program 20+ years and him having only spent 17 years in it. Additionally, I think one can agree that, oneupsmanship aside, every additional group meeting per year past x does not convey any additional relevant expertise when determing the cult-like qualities of the Anonymous programs, particularly how one or another program has devolved into thisorthat-negative-state over time.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)

harleysportster's picture

Some sources and opinions

Here is one person's experience :

http://www.moonmac.com/Cult_Called_AA.html

From Jack Trimpey, the founder of Rational Recovery :

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

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

Kapkao's picture

errr, minor clarification.

errr, minor clarification. When I said Cain had been in AA 17 years, I meant that's how long he had been in it by the time of his infamous 1964 "cult" declaration.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)