AA MINORITY REPORT 2013

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Saturday, 17 September 2016

The cult (per)version of Step One


Our correspondent writes: 

David B and Step 1. 

In the 1990's I attended the Vision For You cult group held in Eaton Square, London. This was when David B, founder of the cult movement in the UK, was still alive and holding court with his harem of young male sponsees (not for nothing was he called the Queen of Chelsea, but I digress). One thing I learned was that David B's definition of step one of the AA program was different from what is to be found in AA literature, and totally confusing to newcomers and others. 

David B emphatically said many times that (I quote) “if you don't do everything your sponsor says you do not have step 1.” He taught that “doing what you are told by a sponsor” is what step 1 was all about. Part of that blind obedience was doing 6 or more Daily Suggestions which he had printed out on a small card of similar size to the Just For Today Card. Note: he was making group fellowship depend upon a card he had made up himself without any consultation with other groups or AA as a whole: thus breaking the AA Traditions (Tradition 4 in particular), which still to this day is a continuing source of disunity and confusion within the fellowship. I recall a young man who attended the Visions cult back then who was given the nickname “6 Things” because he always shared he did the so-called 6 things on the Daily Suggestion card every day and that is what he thought kept him sober. One evening he failed to turn up for the regular cult meeting and returning some weeks later he informed us that he had been drinking and the excuse he gave was that he had forgotten to do one of the 6 things. A number of the more experienced members in the meeting smiled when they heard him say that. They smiled because they knew it was a pretty lame excuse of the kind alcoholics make when they really just want to carry on drinking anyway. As it says in the Big Book (page 132) “Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we bust into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past... “ “Mr. 6 Things” stayed sober for a short while longer, then he disappeared altogether. Sadly we heard he was drinking again. It's a shame I cannot remember his real name, just his cult nickname “6 Things”. Clearly this poor confused young man had no idea what AA's step 1 really was, other than the obedience nonsense David B had made up. One of the 6 things was to ring your sponsor every day and do everything he tells you. I'm 100% certain David B didn't do 6 things every day. He didn't have a sponsor, so how could he? So by his own definition he did not have step 1 himself. The irony of that did not seem to dawn on him. However many of his followers eventually woke up to his dishonesty and hypocrisy and left the Visions cult, went into mainstream AA, and grew up. But Mr. 6 Things came to AA and never really heard the true authentic message of Step 1 as described in AA literature where there is no mention of blindly obeying sponsors or following made up suggestion cards. Instead Mr. 6 Things was just another human guinea pig for David B's colossal ego. David B thought he knew better than AA and could concoct his own literature on a whim and dishonestly pass it off as AA to the newcomer. To this day the fraud continues within the cult groups that are descended from his sponsorship. His bad example with regard to breaking the Traditions by composing his own literature is now being copied and continued. The card itself mutates, getting ever more complicated, I saw one recently that had over 20 daily tasks for the newcomer to worry about. No more pretence of “six things”, it was a neurotics charter for imprisoning newcomers in the author's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Not so much relax, take it easy, and easy does it (sayings to be found in the Big Book pages 86 & 135), and, of course “Keep it Simple” - but rather “Make it More Complicated and fret about it”. I feel sorry for newcomers who stumble in on these lawless cult groups. What they are encountering is not AA at all, but a dangerous warped mutation founded upon lies.

I doubt David B had step 1 at all in any real sense. It is known that he invited newcomers and sponsees to have dinner with him at his flat in Chelsea. Guests at these dinners noticed that there was always a bottle of red wine in his kitchen. He freely boasted that he added red wine to his recipes “to give it that extra something” in his words. Well, it certainly gave his dishes something extra - it's called alcohol. It is a scientific fact that in spite of cooking, even for a long time, a significant percentage of alcohol still remains after cooking.......




Alcohol content after cooking – see highlighted column
Source: USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors 

.....Remembering that alcoholism is an illness of physical allergy and mental obsession, one has to consider how a man, who was an alcoholic himself, was not only experimenting with wine in his own food at the very least, but also feeding it to other alcoholics who came to him for help and trusted him. This, combined with his nonsensical and unfounded claims that step 1 was all about obeying sponsors (i.e. him) and doing tasks on a card he made up himself in defiance of AA Tradition and protocol, It seems conclusive to me that not only did he have delusions of grandeur, and was a selfish narcissist who did not truly care at all for the welfare of others (all symptoms of alcoholism), but, as a compulsive alcoholic, what really mattered to him was feeding and playing around with the prime object of his obsession, namely alcohol. And this was the founder of the AA cult movement in the UK.” 

Comment: There is NO safe level of alcohol for an alcoholic .. 100% abstinence is what AA is about ….. So much for the recovery 'experts'!! They'll end up killing you!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Thanks to our correspondent 

See also A new campaign

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Religious Roots of Shaming-as-Rehab Programs


In many Spanish-speaking communities throughout major U.S. cities, people struggling with substance addiction turn to unlicensed rehab groups, programs offering therapy ranging from testimonies to intensive—and sometimes harsh— residential regimens. Of murky historical origin, these rehab groups borrow from Pentecostal Christianity and self-help culture, and frequently provide help to those unable to access more mainstream care. Often using the name and adapted logo of Alcoholics Anonymous, they are typically started and overseen by padrinos (“godparents”), who are pastors, recovered addicts, or both.”


Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

See also A new campaign

PS Thanks to our contributor

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Humility and 12-Step Recovery



An interesting analysis of what humility is … and is not! We thought of sending the link to Clancy I (c/o of the Pacific/Atlantic groups) and sundry other recovery 'experts.....but then what could he/they possibly learn!

Favourite quote: “Kant held that kneeling on the ground even to express reverence for heaven is contrary to the absolute human dignity of being a rational moral agent and amounts to grovelling”

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

See also A new campaign

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A new campaign


Well it's been fun but all good things must come to an end......well not really ….

We've been going (in one form or another) since 2007... seems a helluva lot longer! aacultwatch launched its Stop Press section (an early form of the blog format we later adopted) in that year with the highly edifying (and attention grabbing) title “Debbie Does Dallas”.....which proved to be highly popular (although rather disappointing for those who expected something quite different!).....




Since then we've attempted to raise awareness of cult activities in this country (and others) with some modest success. But there are only so many ways you can say the same thing (eg. Tradition Four does NOT imply unqualified group autonomy, 'sharing' your experience does NOT mean 'directing', controlling, bullying and abusing newcomers, Wayne P (Plymouth Road to Recovery CULT group) really SHOULD buy some braces to stop his trousers from falling down, Clancy I is NOT to be taken seriously (even if he does!), Joe and Charlie did NOT produce a definitive interpretation of the Big Book etc etc etc.....) and so we've decided to move on …. to bigger and better things... Over the last few weeks we've been preparing a new initiative. Whereas the aacultwatch campaign is mostly aimed at AA members (especially newcomers) we've decided that we needed to shift the focus somewhat. Our main concern has always been the welfare of those who come to AA for help (ie. NOT to be bullied). Over time we've come to the conclusion that Alcoholics Anonymous itself is structurally incapable of reform. Since there is no centralised authority any guidance offered with respect to combating bullying etc is only as effective as its local implementation. Unfortunately the latter is sorely lacking (with some notable exceptions). Collective responsibility IS implied in Tradition Four and yet there's seems to be a widespread reluctance to apply that principle. More often than not unacceptable conduct (especially where it has become effectively institutionalised ie. cult groups) goes unchecked simply because no one is prepared to grasp that particular nettle. The only effective way in which newcomers can be protected, it seems, is to ensure that they are made fully aware of the dangers they may encounter BEFORE they actually attend AA meetings. Moreover many of the agencies currently referring clients to AA (eg. probation service, treatment centres, GPs, etc) may not be cognisant of these hazards. Unfortunately, and not entirely unsurprisingly, the AA national website presents a somewhat idealised version of the fellowship. For example in their FAQ section (under Is it a cult?) the following is stated:

Its [AA] members are not forced to attend meetings, they are free to leave at any time and the programme of recovery is simply a list of suggestions which while many do chose to follow, also many chose to go their own way about it. The majority of members quite happily fit the culture of AA into their normal life and belief systems.”

However any newcomer who attends cult groups within AA in Great Britain will very rapidly find themselves under considerable pressure to continue with (only) those particular meetings, that “suggestions” very quickly transmogrify into 'directions', and that finally there is very little if any licence to “go their own way”. The official AA 'line' fails to acknowledge the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) dynamics of cult indoctrination. This is a reality that needs to be communicated to potential members (as well as the aforementioned referring agencies) if a truer picture of AA's actual operation is to emerge.

Therefore, to remedy this deficit, we will shortly be launching a national campaign (and website) aimed directly at potential (and actual) newcomers as well as a range of referring agencies (probation service, health trusts, 12 Step treatment centres, GPs, employers etc throughout Great Britain but including other interested parties: MPs, local councils, various media, religious organisations etc). Our objective will be to draw attention to the real benefits AA may afford those who suffer from chronic alcohol addiction but not omitting the dangers inherent in attending (some) AA meetings: in our view to be forewarned is to be forearmed. This, of course, may result in some individuals electing to seek help elsewhere. However there exist a growing number of alternatives to AA both 'live' and online, free and not free, including Smart Recovery, counselling, psychotherapy, Stop Drinking ….. Priority should always be given to the welfare of the individual rather than the reputation, deserved or not, of any organisation (including AA).

The existing aacultwatch site will remain 'live' but our activity will be much reduced. However if anyone wishes to draw our attention to (and potentially publicise) cult misconduct please do not hesitate to contact us.

Finally we would like to thank all our supporters (and various contributors) past and present without whom aacultwatch would literally not exist!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Exploring the CULT in culture


The four factors that Deikman cites as characteristic of cult phenomena are:

compliance with the group
dependence on a leader
avoidance of dissent
devaluation of outsiders.”

Comment: Ticks ALL the boxes!


Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Our thanks to our contributor

Monday, 1 August 2016

Excuses... excuses!


Looking for an excuse to go back on the sauce? Here are 12 real life feeble excuses some alcoholics have made for jumping off the wagon.

1. I missed the bus.

2. It was raining and I just got bored..

3. It was too hot and sunny and I got thirsty.

4. It was freezing cold and I reckoned a few shorts would warm me up.

5. I was so sad after my cat died, I needed some southern comfort.

6. I was so happy with my cute new puppy, I just had to celebrate.

7. My football team lost.

8. My football team won.

9. I was doing the 6 Daily Suggestions card, but I only rang one newcomer instead of 2, so I drank. (Yes, believe it or not, someone has actually used that as an excuse!)

10. I did my Step Four the wrong way with the wrong sponsor. Instead of referring to a list of 14 defects of character I was given a list of 15, and therefore I drank. (We kid you not!)

11. I read an aacultwatch article and they forced me to drink. (Best excuse of all, BSE - Blame Someone Else – because it's always someone else's fault.)

12. Make the next one up yourself. As you can see from the above, any laughable old tosh will do.

Yes, excuses, excuses. Alcoholics have come up with some epic yarns for getting sloshed. And there are many more where they came from. And remember, they are always “justified”, aren't they!

P.S. “Going to any lengths” means you don't drink no matter what. Capisce?

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Thanks to our contributor

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Questions (not) accepted for conference 2016 (contd)



Comment: See “Internet Safety”. This concludes our review.

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)