10.20.09

Posts Tagged ‘anti-AA

the doorknob debate

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For millions of addicts around the world, Alcoholics Anonymous’s basic text – informally known as the Big Book – is the Bible. And as they’re about to find out, the Bible was edited.

via AA original manuscript reveals debate on religion.

Well, of course it was edited. It was a book manuscript.   Jesus.

As for purposefully de-emphasizing the “religious” facet of the Program, the directive in the BB to not talk about God too much or share the BB right off the bat is right there in the book.   This is not news. The publishing of the original manuscript is news; that’s awesome and cool.

In my readings I’ve been over all kinds of AA deprogramming/debunking material, looking specifically for  helpful advice about changing one’s attitude and safely steeping out from the AA sphere while continuing to grow and not regress into “white-knuckling it.”   For me, whether or not AA is a “cult” or “religious”  is as stupid a debate as a drunk figuring out if they are “alcoholic” or not.  The name is not the reality, the reality is the reality.

The only part of the “spiritual program” that sits wrong with me, for me, is the sheer bullshitness of stating “god can be whatever you want, god can be a daisy” then presenting steps 3 and 7. Could any rational person easily turn their will over to a daisy, and then pray to the daisy to supernaturally change their personality? Come on. The truth is God can be what you want for a while but the expectation is eventually one will come around to the Real God.  I personally have no problem with God as God or praying to God.  In a beginner meeting last week a new visitor piped up at  discussion open: “I am having trouble with the God part.” The room became home to an award-winning smug expression collection at once.  The woman was then cross-talked over and over about how there was room for all beliefs and non beliefs….but she would eventually see the light.  The obligatory “doorknob” statement made its appearance.  I was struck at how not open -minded the group is.  I saw sanctimonious dismissal and disinterest in a newcomer’s worldview and honest questions, and a blind assertion of The One Truth.  My acceptance of AA as a place of open-mindedness was destroyed. The only open-mindedness in the Program  is admonished upon any who think or act in any deviation from the written instructions or conventional wisdom.

The point is that I don’t care if AA is a religious cult or not. I care about its humanity and honesty.

Written by xty

September 23, 2010 at 09:55

dénouement

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Many a newcomer will immediately feel comfy and cozy in the rooms of AA simply because the dynamics of the group mirror that of the newcomer’s dysfunctional family of origin.

  • Don’t think, don’t feel.
  • If you do feel, be advised that certain feelings are not allowed.
  • We know what’s best for you.
  • You don’t know what’s best for you, and we won’t even ask your opinion.
  • The family is correct, it is your feelings which are screwed up.
  • You must honor and respect us. You must be grateful for us. We gave you life. You are not allowed to be angry at us.
  • “Ouch! It hurts!” you say — “We’re only doing this because we love you” — they respond
  • “This doesn’t make sense!” you say — “Do it because I told you so!” — they respond
  • We will love you only if you do “this”, “that” or “the other”… we will love you conditionally
  • Don’t speak the truth — We can’t handle it.
  • Be sure to always pretend that everything is allright, otherwise the family will fall apart.

from AA Deprogramming

I’m almost finished with this tedious string of AA angst. I know it’s boring or upsetting to probably everyone but me, and why am I apologizing?  I notice my mind simply will not allow me to have these feelings, examine the Program and my experiences with it, without a sense of alarm, that I have stepped outside a force field and better scurry back in before my skin melts.

Pretty chilling stuff, that quote above.  It’s true – for the most part. Fortunately I have spoken with three people in AA that have been open-minded enough to allow me to be where I’m at without castigation or telling me without hesitation that I am an arrogant narcissist  who is judgmental and has no idea what she needs.  Three. I am blown away and very happy to report this has been helpful – I’m not 1000% alone. I can be rigorously honest with folks without them being threatened and retreating to knee-jerk one-size-fits all fundamentalism.

I see my language and tone has tempered but a little. I’m accepting thatanger and resentment are healthy emotions and responses sometimes. It is the longevity and handling of them that can be a “character defect.” These feelings will pass and I will have experienced reality in person and move on. I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater then.  As I said in an email:

“I realize the problem is definitely centered in me and what I expect in the way of support and friendship.  that isn’t what aa is for.  AA is A A.  Take it or leave it. Quit hoping to get something out of it besides what it is.”

Written by xty

September 22, 2010 at 10:35

puerile mantras and self-respect

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Here I am in day 3 of tears, guts hurting, huge conflict and misgivings. It is astonishing how heartbreaking and fear-inducing contemplating quitting AA is, how identical the feelings are to quitting drinking:

Can’t live with it or without it. Maybe there’s a way to make it work. I’ll just try one more time…only on weekends….

…and no matter what transpires when I try one more time and it is a ridiculous frustrating experience it will be my fault and my defects and lack of willingness that caused failure.

Can that really be true? Is it a fact that everyone in AA is healthy, has a good sense of boundaries, is openminded, values helping others as if their life depended on it, is reliable and honest, except me? Is it also true that if I have a feeling that is pro-AA I am in spiritual light, and if something about my community causes me disturbance the only truth about it is there is something wrong with me? I believe that self-examination and humility are crucial to sobriety, but some of these black and white premises are unrealistic moonshine that undermines the program’s credibility to me.

Fuck.

An AA told me yesterday that “I have no idea what I need.” An AA who has had about 5 superficial under-ten-minute conversations with me. I’m turning to the handful of people who actually know me for support, but none of them are around in person and I’m lonely. Clearly I am troubled and need to work some things out.

I feel like I’m going through a horrible detox. I am going to visit a couple of churches, keep being mindful and spiritually focused as I can.  I have overreacted to recent events, yes. I also refuse to accept all my questions and thoughts and feelings are to be patronizingly dismissed.

After writing the above I am in the end able to see this :  I am indeed  hurting the most because of my own heart in the end. It is my fault.  I have wanted things to go smoothly, I have wanted compassion, support, and friends.  That’s why A A causes me so much anguish. That’s not what AA is for. AA is AA.  My challenge is  to be ok, at peace, and move forward.

Written by xty

September 21, 2010 at 15:39

shut up and paint

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Thinking my little head off. Yeah, I’ve been sorta prolific here now that I’ve resumed the blog….and also voluminous in my reading of other recovery related (as well as some 12 step bashing) material / blogs.  I’m enjoying the hell out of it, and I also think I’m getting some stuff out of my system that’s been clogging the spirit, if you will.  (Will you?)

I ended up with a rather scorching email from sponsor S yesterday; scorching but fair; scorching but also partly fueled by a little misunderstanding.  (I don’t have the whole story yet, may never, but  based on a few emails, it seems she spent some time yesterday under the impression I am friendthegirl over at my and your favorite anti-AA blog Stinkin’ Thinkin’.)  There was a suggestion that we may not need to work together any more.  I was kinda like “file under: Dag!”  but also, the fair part is that she is indeed right about one thing, the main thing, the only Thing really:

Talking about AA theology, culture, pros/cons, whatever, is completely pointless when it comes down to not drinking and aspiring to a better life for one’s self and loved ones. Fucking go to AA or don’t; fucking work the steps or don’t.

My friend Ian and I ended up at a coffee shop after an al-anon meeting this a.m., and I shared a little about this. I told him that I basically am where I’m at right now for two reasons. One, I’ve pretty much done it all and not done it all and either one of those has both worked and not worked. Depends on the day, year, city, throw a dart at the history map and hit an iteration of alcoholic life.  It has evolved to what I am certain is THE critical recovery attempt of my life. The whole ridiculous and heartbreaking saga has led up to this.  I don’t want to drink again. I’m totally scared out of my fucking mind.  I’m going to talk about what’s been in my head these past few years until I have finished talking about it.   If I’m wasting someone’s time, I hope they will say goodbye before they leave, but I don’t expect it anymore.  Two, I have worked a total of about 50 hours since October 2009 and the majority of that time I have spent residing alone in the coldest bad-weather winter I can honestly ever remember.   I burned out on library books; I burned out on movies; I’ve seen every season of any tv series I’ve been remotely interested in.  I go to meetings, I’ve taken up meaningful, suitable service work.  With all the other time, I’m keeping my mind completely occupied.  This week, with blogging bullshit.   (On top of it, I started doing it all on Linux just for extra complication….)  This week,  I have not thought about taking a drink.  So, although I have written and read and talked  more about recovery the past several days than in the preceding year and a half, in some way I’ve managed to shut up and paint.

Is it helping me be “teachable?” Am I letting go of reservations? How about humility? Is that around anywhere?  Not always, but that’s where I’m aiming.  I went outside to have a cigarette a while ago and it came to me that I must remember I’m crazy and I’m on a path of no path:  relax.  And I reminded myself that I haven’t stopped praying, whether I “feel” faith or not; that could be said to indicate I have some.

Written by xty

March 6, 2010 at 18:44