24
   

The cult of AA

 
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:19 pm
@Sglass,
Now that's my kinda cult!
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:20 pm
Case rested.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:25 pm
@Sglass,
Quote:
Case rested.


For those that want and need that kind of cu, ummm, ... love.

[Nice to see that you think that I'm the be all and the end all, Sglass. Can I pm you? Don't tell Merry.] Smile
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:33 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

I think however this might be the dialog I'm interested in though: One where I may say "I'm not an addict" and wanting to know what the AA member's response is. Do they evaluate my actions/behaviors, or do they hold out for me to realize that I have a problem? What would I (or anyone) need to demonstrate that they did not need to be at AA?

A
R
T


Seriously, I can answer this for you art. I know what you mean about being curious. Sometimes I think I'd like to go to a synagouge or a mosque or something, just to see what goes on.

If you just want to see what goes on at an AA meeting, I'd suggest the following. When you walk in, it could happen that no one comes up to you at all. You could go sit down, and just listen for the whole hour, and when it's over, leave.
It could happen that as soon as, or shortly after you walk in, someone comes up to you and introduces themselves. If you really just want to observe, just say to them "Hi, I'm Art. I'm visiting here from Ft. Lauderdale, and just wanted to catch a meeting" If someone asks you how long you been sober, say something like "five years"

The meeting could have 4 or 5 people there, or 100 or more.

Then the deal gets going, serenity prayer, reading the 12 steps, all that crap, you just listen. Whoever leading the meeting will ask if there are any newcomers or visitors. If there's only a few people there, they will all turn around and stare at you, and you can just introduce yourself by saying "Hi, I'm Art, and I'm an alcoholic, I'm visiting from Ft. Lauderdale." Everyone will say "HI ART" If it's a big group you can do that, or just sit there and be unnoticied, if you can.

Seriously, whatever you do if you just want to see what's going on, DON'T say "My names Art, and I'm not an addict, I just wanted to learn a little of what this is all about"

#1 - Some AA groups get really bent out of shape if you even SAY anything about addiction when this is obviously ALCOHOLICS anonymous. In other groups, they wouldn't care. Just don't risk it because Carl over there guarding the coffee machine might puff up and say "I'm Carl and I'm a gratefully recovering ALCOHOLIC" (Hi Carl) and since this is a closed meeting (meaning alcoholics only) and Art is saying he's an addict, I don't feel comfortable with my anonymity being broken." Carl will fight to the death over this. It's what he does.
#2 -Make sure if you go, to pick an "open" meeting....still, don't say you're NOT an addict or alcoholic....just go with the flow, trust me.

When picking out which meeting to go to, again, for entertainment value, pick a speaker meeting, or open discussion. Well, I shouldn't say just for entertainment value, but to really see what the alcoholic comfortable in his environment is like.

In a speaker meeting, someone will tell you their story of drinking, how they came to AA, and what it's been like since then.
In an open discussion, the leader of the meeting will ask if anyone has a topic they want to discuss, and someone may say "I'd like to talk about Gratitude" or "The 5th Step" or "Resentments" etc etc. If no one says anything, the leader will say "I'd like to talk about Gratitude" or "The 5th Step" or "Resentments" etc etc.

Then the people who always have something to say will say stuff. You may or may not be asked if you'd like to share. If you are, just say "I'm Art, and I'm an Alcoholic" (hi art) "And I'd like to just listen tonight"

At the end, a basket is passed around, you put a dollar in. Then you all stand up and hold hands and say the Lords Prayer, then squeeze each others hands saying one of many choices phrases like "KEEP COMING BACK" or "It works if you work it, so work it don't jerk it!"
Then, everyone stands in the aisles so you can't get by to go to the bathroom, or to go talk to friends, or go up to the leader before he cuts out of there, to get your jail slip signed.

If you want to bring up the fact that, even though you are there, you have no problems, now's the time to do it. That's because if it get's out of hand, the meetings over and you can leave.
For the challenge of it, go up to one of the people who had a lot to say at the meeting, and tell them you're not an alcoholic, but just want to learn more about AA.
I won't speculate as to the whole conversation, but I can pretty much guarantee it will end with the guy giving you his phone number, telling you to call any time you feel like drinking, and (this is important) "KEEP COMING BACK"

I really truly not trying to sound sarcastic or flip art, this is pretty much what goes on.

Oh sure, sometimes someone will share something and you think "wow, that's pretty cool, I'll have to think about, remember that"
Chances are though, that's about the 100th time that person has said that.

That's the thing, this is just a support group. There are no professional counselors there to steer things back when stuff goes off course.

There's the person leading the meeting, but that's just some guy or gal that's a plumber, or a hair stylist, an accountant, or some jobless and homeless person. Sure, they may try to move the meeting along when someone gets on a tear about something, or remind everyone that the subject is whatever. But it's all very free form.

Unless you really are someone with a problem, it's going to get pretty boring, pretty quick.
The 20th time in a month you hear Dolores share about how her job is causing all these resentments, and contributing to her relapses, you really want to scream "GET A DIFFERENT JOB DOLORES!!!"

eh....actually, I think it'd be cool for you to check it out, if your curious.

JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:40 pm
@chai2,
Your writing shares some similarities to Dave Barry's, Chai, and I mean that, with all sincerity and as a good thing.

0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:44 pm
@JTT,
Please do.

Since I've come to AA I have chosen Buddism as my spiritual path. And the dalai Lamai is my higher power. So now I am a 12-step B



The 12-Step Buddhist: The Dalai Lama Is My Higher Power

Share Comments 31 In Step two of the 12 Steps of recovery, we're asked to Come to Believe that a Power Greater than Ourselves Could Restore Us to Sanity. What 12-Steppers tell you in the beginning is that you can choose your own concept of what that Higher Power is, as long as you choose something. That said, one big criticism of 12-Step programs is that even though they say you can choose your own HP, they really mean God when they say God. The subtext: if you don't believe in God, you're not going to make it. And if you argue about it, you're not willing. And you have to be willing to make it. And if you don't believe now, you'll come around eventually. This leaves some people feeling like they can't do 12-Step recovery.

The book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions from AA says, "The minute I stopped arguing, I began to see and feel." We call this "becoming teachable," which is a necessary part of accepting help. But it doesn't mean that we should become some kind of blind-idiot-conformist-follower. That's why I like Buddhism--it's based more on method than blind faith. More on that later. Continuing, "AA's tread innumerable paths in their quest for faith. If you don't care for the one I've suggested, you'll be sure to discover one that suits if only you look and listen. Many a man like you has begun to solve the problem by the method of substitution." So many of us use substitution.

But deep in our hearts we may still feel like we're observers in a community that thinks and feels differently than we do about spirituality. About as comfy with "turn it over to the Universe" as an atheist in church, some people don't believe in any spirituality whatsoever. Others have been traumatized by a puritanical religious upbringing, rife with various forms of religious, emotional and even sexual abuse. Abused kids often become abusive addicts. Brain research shows us that traumatized children are at high risk for addiction--these days sooner than later. Yet the cure, seen through the 12-Step model, seems to be to go back to the problem, namely, trust.

If I was traumatized as a kid and have no ability to trust anyone, let alone a religious body or authority figure due at least in part to that trauma, why the hell would I consider "turning it over" to a Higher Power to treat my addiction? Why indeed. The answer is because we want to end suffering. That suffering can kill us or make us "willing to go to any lengths." But what I found was that going along with the program, renaming their version of God to a friendlier "Universe" or "Divine Love" or "Positive Thinking" didn't keep me sober. In fact, it was part of the reason I needed to drink again after a decade of sobriety. Substitution will only get you so far without some serious dedication to spiritual growth.

Zen Buddhism is non-conceptual, non-dualistic and, at least in the school I came up in, non-scriptural. I sat meditating for years looking into what seemed a black hole. Feelings came up and it made me upset. Committed, I continued to "sit through it," always with the ongoing help of a therapist.

But my relationship to the 12-Step community suffered as I sat in meetings where people professed to know God's will and seemed to be floundering on surfaces of spirituality that I'd delved deep into--years earlier, and found wanting. So the concept of no concept didn't work either. I needed something or someone more concrete to practice trust with. I'd later find that in Tibetan Buddhism, but not without a fight. I won't go into that here as I've covered it in detail in the 12-Step Buddhist. I'd like to suggest that if you don't believe in God, use the perfect role model: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (HHDL).

If belief in a God that you can't directly see, touch and feel is difficult, why not use a real living spiritual master? One might say, "Buddhism may be interesting, but who was the Buddha anyways and how would his teachings be applicable to our high-tech modern life?" Although the practice of the Dalai Lama as Higher Power may seem esoteric on its face, no one can argue that HHDL is indeed alive and well and highly regarded on the earth right now. With that consideration, it makes sense.

Bob Thurman outlines the many reasons why the Dalai Lama is an important world leader in his book, Why the Dalai Lama Matters, Atria/Beyond Words 2008. While it's true that His Holiness is an amazing diplomat and peacekeeper, his significance to me as I know it is for Dr. Thurman, is as a spiritual master. I've met Bob Thurman a couple of times and I can tell that he's spent a lot of time with the Dalai Lama. They both have this kind of glow that is unmistakable. In Tibetan Buddhism we call our number one spiritual master (though we can have more than one) our Root Guru, who is the source of all Dharmas (enlightened teachings). What this means is that we literally see the guru (teacher) as Buddha (Awakened One). This view is really a preliminary practice for eventually seeing all beings --even the nasty ones -- as Buddhas and the whole universe as what is called a Pure Land. Through mind training in this way we practice the path whose goal is to end suffering for all living beings. We can't end suffering so long as we see separation due to political, ideological, territorial and other disputes which have at their origin the attachment of ego.

To that end, we can use our root guru as a sort of Pure Vision of perfected enlightenment. Without going into detail on how to find a root guru and the differences between traditional views of this, my advice is that it's a no brainer to use HHDL. His behavior is impeccable -- although he doesn't claim to be perfect. Almost without exception he is considered to be the highest teacher in Tibetan Buddhism by all the schools and all their lamas. My own teacher sees HHDL this way. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

The Dalai Lama is certainly a power greater than myself politically and spiritually. Tibetan lamas can be very accomplished yogis who are extremely adept at very advanced forms of meditation. Yet there are very few lamas who wouldn't prostrate at the sight of him. Most would cry if he looked their way with his signature benevolent smile that he gives all living beings. Whether one considers him the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig in Tibetan), the Bodhisattva of Compassion or not, he is truly one of the most powerful spiritual figures in world history. Could he qualify to be my HP? Good enough!

How can we apply the concept of HHDL as HP to our recovery in Step Two? Simple. In order to "come to believe," or if we simply want to be restored to sanity, we can follow the path of this sane and saintly monk. We can read his books, follow his teaching schedule in person or online, listen to his audio teachings on our iPods. Above all, in any situation we can ask ourselves the obvious question: What would the Dalai Lama do?

To use some ideas from Tibetan Buddhist practice, we can also make prayers for his long life. Here's one:

In the land encircled by snow mountains
You are the source of all happiness and good;
All-powerful Chenrezig, Tenzin Gyatso,
Please remain until samsara ends.

Another practice would be to visualize the Dalai Lama sitting on the top of our heads on a thousand-petal multi colored lotus. He smiles and sends compassionate rays of light down through the middle of our crowns, filling our bodies with healing light. If we want to say the mantra of Chenrezig, OM MANI PADME HUM it can be considered a form of prayer. Although technically mantras of this sort are said to be the actual enlightened speech of enlightened beings and aren't separate from them, or any living being for that matter.

To take it a step further, one can receive tantric initiations of Chenrezig from qualified lineage lamas--even the Dalai Lama himself. Most if not all of these include some form of Guru Yoga practice in which one practices the principles outlined above, but in a deeper and more systematic manner. For more on guru yoga, please see Step 11 from the 12-Step Buddhist for a method directly applicable to recovery. I would refer more serious students to examine for further study the amazing book, "The Union of Bliss and Emptiness: Teachings on the Practice of Guru Yoga," by The Dalai Lama. Below is a prayer of praise and request from this book, which one might use in a guru yoga practice.

Vajradhara, source of all realizations, lord of sages;
Avalokiteshvara, great treasure of compassion of non-apprehension
Manjushri, lord of stainless wisdom;
Lord of the secret, destroying all lords of maras;
Sumatakirti, crown jewel of the sages of the land of snows:
To you, guru-buddha, comprising the three objects of refuge,
I make requests, showing respect with my three doors.
Please grant your blessings to ripen and liberate myself and others;
Please bestow the supreme and common realizations.
--page 122. Snow Lion Publications


Whatever you choose, may your practice bring benefit and relief to all who suffer.

-d

Books & More From Darren Littlejohn


The 12-Step Buddhist


Follow Darren Littlejohn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/12stepbuddhist

Addiction & Recovery
Meditation
Tibet
Buddhism
In Step two of the 12 Steps of recovery, we're asked to Come to Believe that a Power Greater than Ourselves Could Restore Us to Sanity. What 12-Steppers tell you in the beginning is that you can choos...
In Step two of the 12 Steps of recovery, we're asked to Come to Believe that a Power Greater than Ourselves Could Restore Us to Sanity. What 12-Steppers tell you in the beginning is that you can choos...
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tristanwitch 01:56 AM on 4/29/2010 0 Fans
Religions are what I would refer to as "dead" social "Forms", whereas Spirituality is much more Vibrant & Alive and more in the Here & Now......
I'm known as a 3rd Step Junkie to most that I sponsor & work with ....I love to keep it as SIMPLE as humanly possible,sooooo----whenever I, or anyone I'm dealing with that has a problem/situation, I just ask them if they are working that 3rd STEP-------usually there will be a few seconds of mute silence followed by that proverbial, "oh yeah"--where they admit to themselves and me that they have taken THEIR will back again. I've never seen this solution "fail" except for those that are "constitutionally incapable of being honest".....and as far as the "addiction/alcoholism", etc.,....... in the Big Book of Alcoholics anonymous it states very clearly, "Dringking was but a SYMPTOM of our Disease", thus showing us true "seekers" ---that if we tke awasy all the substances AND disfunctioanla BEHAVIORS-----THEN we finallly arrive at the ROOT of the "problem" ------our messed up wiring in our BRAIN....and guess what: it's a permanent malady---we can't "CURE" it; we can only put it in REMISSION by practicing some form of these 12 Steps and some form of a Spirituality, just as long as my Higher Power is not MYSELF anymore ..........................it can be anything EXCEPT my SELF!!!!! Keep it simple and remember what the Dalai Llama said---"My "religion" is KINDNESS" .
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khanti 12:13 PM on 3/28/2010 30 Fans
Don't stop your contribution in the HuffPo Mr. Darren. Move beyond the 12- Step Buddhist in your Dharmaduta contribution to help others.

Much Metta.
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Mumon 04:09 PM on 3/19/2010 1 Fans
If it works for you, very good. But the Dalai Lama has his own karmic debts, and they are not insignificant, even though I respect the Tibetans on what they do.

Hope you get to China sometime.
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willows 12:06 PM on 3/16/2010 0 Fans
I hear lots of concepts and opinions here, including mine right now in writing this...I guess the "self" has me at this moment ha, ha.
When the Buddha was dying he told Ananda "Be a lamp unto yourself". In other words "Do not believe anything you hear or read unless you experience it for yourself".
From a simple "Lamp" buddhist....be kind.
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Whitley2009 09:27 PM on 3/15/2010 276 Fans
There is a world of difference between Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. I have always thought that the Mahayana school was one of great common sense in approaching one's spiritualism or awareness. That school teaches one can transcend personality and become one with the Buddha and an impersonal Ultimate Reality, The Tibetan school, however, is fraught with corruption and child abuse. The Dalai Lama's priests worked with the royalty of Tibet to horribly oppress their people in a system worse than slavery. Through the centuries of suffering, the Dalai Lamas and their priests told the malnourished and enslaved peasant/serfs of Tibet they were suffering because of the evil they did in prior lives.

Over the years, since the Dalai Lama was kicked out of Tibet, I have never heard him address the issue of his corrupt priesthood and its obsession with pedophilia once.

I doubt he ever will.
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Lisa Ryder 12:00 AM on 3/16/2010 231 Fans
When you say Mahayana there is a vast number of traditions and schools all over Asia which includes Vajrayana. What you say is ignorant to the 10th degree. Check out Kukai and esoteric Buddhist discourse ;-)
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OtayPanky 06:40 AM on 3/13/2010 132 Fans
Blogger: If belief in a God that you can't directly see, touch and feel is difficult, why not use a real living spiritual master?

---

How about "Why not accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior"?

There's a line between sharing vs prostelyzing when it comes to religion - or lack of it. You've crossed it.

Crossing it in an open forum not dedicated to your specific path is not skillful means. And crossing it while advocating for the AA program certainly is not in line with the philosophy espoused in the 12 Traditions, which include both anonymity, and attraction rather than promotion.
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Lisa Ryder 08:26 AM on 3/13/2010 231 Fans
Think goodness personal opinion is just a personal opinion.
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ricknettles 11:19 PM on 3/13/2010 0 Fans Follow
Or, how about Muhammed... Or, your sponsor... Or, your home group... Or, the door knob. How about whatever higher power works for you today. Do you disagree?

It really is too bad you have drawn lines that should not be crossed. I know if I am drawing lines I have lost my willingness and I see myself judging others. When someone says something in a meeting (or anywhere) that upsets me it is an opportunity for me to examine my self. What exactly is it that upset you so in Darren's post? Is it merely that Darren's path to sobriety did not include Christianity?

Finally, I saw Darren's name at the top of this blog and the anonymous '-d' at the end. In between I read about an experience, strength and hope that differs very little from stories I read in the Big Book and hear in meetings. I don't get your criticism.
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akindependent 12:07 AM on 3/13/2010 10 Fans
Nelson Mandela is my higher power. When he spoke about forgiving those who imprisioned him for decades, it blew me away. I will never achieve that generosity of spirit, but it does inspire me to curb my lesser instincts.
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Pema 09:56 PM on 3/13/2010 125 Fans
oh i am not so sure about that...the fact it touched you so deeply, i think in the occasion, you would rise to it.
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alb0401 11:55 PM on 3/12/2010 1 Fans
I'd make the Dalai Lama's "My religion is kindness" my higher power, or at least my inspiration.

Easy and heartfelt.

For me, it seems a needless and distracting exercise in concepts to do the prayer of praise (or any of a hundred others) that you excerpted. That feels forced and really remote to me, and loses the heart that HDDL's summary above rings full of.

Very good analysis, though, in your first 3 paragraphs. I have felt the same.
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C Vikram Surya 07:43 PM on 3/12/2010 9 Fans Follow
Darren --

Interesting article -- nicely written and I can identify with many of the things you share. In my own experience, I also have been enriched tremendously by my experiences with people and literature of various 12-step fellowships, as well as with the teachers and teachings of various paths of Buddha Dharma, along with many other spiritual and secular experiences.

I'm writing because I wanted to share that I did experience a certain discomfort reading your post, and I wanted to ask you if you might reflect -- in light of your public self-declaration as a 'recovering addict' and your frequent quotation from AA and other 12-step literature -- on your view of the 11th tradition of most 12-step programs:
"Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. We need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films."

Do you see The Huffington Post as a form of press -- a medium of mass-duplication and mass-distribution to the public of text and images -- albeit an electronic one? What's your view of whether to, or how best to, practice maintaining anonymity in such a forum?

Thanks,
C. Vikram Surya
http://www.vikramsurya.net
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alb0401 11:58 PM on 3/12/2010 1 Fans
Hey, he said he's a 12 STEP Buddhist not a 12 TRADITION Buddhist. Smile
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Bradley Conley 04:53 AM on 3/13/2010 8 Fans
Dear Mr. Surya,

I understand your concern regarding the eleventh principle, and I cannot speak for Mr. Littlejohn, but my anonymity is mine to do with what I may, and I choose to live free of it. This approach helps to add a dimension of closeness, of humanity, to the recovery process. I have applied this to every aspect of my routine and I have been able to affect change in a wonderful number of people while still in the relatively early stages of my own recovery. If the timid souls out there can see that recovery, much more a life of beautiful abstinence, is not frightening but enlightening, would they not feel more attuned to the idea? We need to trust, to build rapport, to enlarge and encourage the recovery community. I had lived so many years in the fog, frustration, and fright of addiction that I would not feel truly in recovery were the dream not shared of a life unpolluted.

As AA states quite clearly, it is all but "suggestion only". I allow the twelve steps to guide my life, but the twelve tradition do not govern it - at least not the eleventh.

Peace, love, and wonderful sobriety,
Brad Conley
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Mumon 04:07 PM on 3/19/2010 1 Fans
But EVEN THOUGH he's not an official spokesman for the religious group, in fact, he is effecting relations to the public for that organization, because the public that reads him will form thoughts and ideas in their heads of what a 12 Step group is from him.

Having said that, I think it's clear he does not speak for them any more than I do; on that I think he and I would agree.

I don't think he speaks for them, and regarding his own anonymity, I suppose it is his business.

But there are other comments I have to make elsewhere.
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HST 03:49 PM on 3/12/2010 144 Fans
"My religion is kindness"
-The Dalai Lama
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rivergirl301 08:58 PM on 3/12/2010 27 Fans
I do not belong to any religion, but I do love The Dalai Lama. There is no other religious leader I can say that about.
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Pema 03:13 PM on 3/12/2010 125 Fans
when you met a buddha on the road...there is a reason for this john.
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Honora 10:01 AM on 3/14/2010 2 Fans
I don't have a religion & I know I have to muster courage every day to live my life well & with kindness no matter what.
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Laura Oshea 03:00 PM on 3/12/2010 1 Fans
AA Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous was written by recovered alcoholics for alcoholics. It works best that way.
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Darren Littlejohn 04:09 PM on 3/12/2010 181 Fans Follow
Hi Laura. Good point. It should also be noted that there are hundreds of adaptations of the original 12 Steps of AA for everything from overeating to sex addiction and gambling. If people are pure alcoholics, in that they didn't have a problem with any other addiction, then AA would probably be their best best. But I'm of the opinion that the principles of the 12 Steps can be "logically interwoven" into any path.
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alb0401 12:00 AM on 3/13/2010 1 Fans
But the 12x12 was an addition where Bill W started to really bring out the idea of the steps being used with other problems than just alcohol. See intro of it.
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Joe Shoemaker 07:42 PM on 4/12/2010 63 Fans Follow
The authors of the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" (commonly referred to as "The Big Book") were also Christians. They brought their worldview and epistemology to that book, relatively unadulterated.

Though interesting literature, it's very dated.
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JulieDole 02:31 PM on 3/12/2010 100 Fans Follow
I suggest reading Malcolm Gladwell's piece n this week's New Yorker.

He suggests that social mechanisms trump the theory of "disease" when studying alcoholism.

This echoes the relatively greater success in the UK of social theory (i.e., non-disease) approaches to alcoholism. These programs have had much lower rates of recidivism than 12-stepping, "disease"-focused programs.
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Darren Littlejohn 04:11 PM on 3/12/2010 181 Fans Follow
@Julie Thank you for the comment. That's interesting and I do enjoy Gladwell's work. But we're not discussing the disease concept here specifically. Many people see the mention of 12-Step as an opportunity to refute. And as I always say, if you don't want to go to 12 Step programs then please use whatever you feel will help you. Also, the practices I suggest are actually applicable by anyone - addicted or not.
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Michael Maitri 01:01 PM on 3/12/2010 0 Fans
The only power greater then ourselves that can restore us to sanity is truth. Truth is the greatest power in the universe without it there can be no recovery. Truth allows us to break free from those desires and cravings that destroy the mind and damage the body. People need to stop looking outside themselves for the answers. It’s when people look outside themselves that they become attracted to drugs and alcohol. In order to break free from their addictive behavior they need to train and develop their mind. This can be done by following a meditation practice designed to get at the root causes of their addiction. In cases where addiction is involved people should seek out a qualified master to guide them in their meditation practice.
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JulieDole 02:40 PM on 3/12/2010 100 Fans Follow
This reminds me of the Tao of Pooh, whose 3 tenets were:

1) Be willing to open your eyes
2) Be honest about what you see
3) Have a sense of humor.

This may explain why psychedelics, religion, self-hypnosis, etc. may aid in recovery. (I am not advocating here, merely pointing to studies.)

The first two act as catalysts, helping the user to recognize the pain they inflict on others, and to feel others' pain. And all three may assist in keeping an upbeat, hopeful attitude, helping them stay on the higher road, which takes wor
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:44 pm
The blogger in me thinks this could be a good topic for a piece. I'm no keen on lying about myself. Isn't that a bit cynical? If I did a piece, I'd want to make it as pure as possible.

A
R
T
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:53 pm
@failures art,
That one might need to lie also makes me a bit fearful about AA, or at least some of the folks in it. I can understand folks getting nervous about being spied on, that they could easily think the spyer was not being genuine.

I would hope that if you laid your cards on the table, and those cards were the real deal, that pretty much any AA group would welcome you.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:57 pm
@Sglass,
Quote:
Please do.


I was, of course, just funnin', but thanks for the invite, Sglass. I just may do that sometime.

My first thoughts, when I was scrolling thru, was spaaaaaammmmmmmmerr, and I thought I'd see an invite from the moonies or someone with that sort of bent.

I kinda like the stuff of Buddhism that I've been exposed to but I better shut up lest I be attacked for going off topic, trolling and the like.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:21 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
There's the person leading the meeting, but that's just some guy or gal that's a plumber, or a hair stylist, an accountant, or some jobless and homeless person.


Would you say, Chai, even allowing for the sake of argument, that there are cult like qualities to AA, that these non-professional people do a pretty good job of doing what they do?
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:47 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

The blogger in me thinks this could be a good topic for a piece. I'm no keen on lying about myself. Isn't that a bit cynical? If I did a piece, I'd want to make it as pure as possible.

A
R
T


ok, then tell the truth.

it could be really interesting, if you doing it to write a piece about it.

just be prepared to not be believed.
the more you say "no really, I'm serious" the less you will be believed.

the premise is, and I can see the point (I mean, how many people are weirdos like you and me, who want to go to AA meeting, synagouges, etc, just to see what it's like) that if you didn't have a problem, you wouldn't be there.

One time, I was at a meeting (a closed one it happens, although I never paid attention to that sort of thing) where this teenage girl came in with her mom.

I remember there were only like 6 other people there, besides them.
When asked if there were any newcomers, the girl said "I'm doing a project for school about alcoholism, and I just wanted to see what happens at an AA meeting" Her mom was there because, well obviously, she's just a kid.

Holy ****.
Carl is sitting there, all silent....until it comes to his turn to introduce himself.

Then we all have to get an earful, for like 10 minutes about how he's been outed as an alcoholic (yeah, like no one saw him get plowed every night for 15 - 20 years), how these people (a lady and her kid) shouldn't be here, how this should have been brought up by them before they ever came into the room, how maybe tonight was the night he felt the need to share something he could never share in front of a non alcoholic....and on and on and on...

The leader, who did happen to be a really cool guy, said "well, how about a group consensus? Does anyone mind that this young lady and her mom sit in so she can write her paper?
No one else ******* cared of course. But Carl just whined and pewled. I'm amazed the mother took it so long.
Finally she said, "ok, we'll leave"
The girl was disappointed, but Carl had his day.

heh, might make a better piece, come to think of it.

actually, go to a few different meetings, big and small, to have the opportunity to experience Frank and Carl and Dolores and the rest of them

0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:02 pm
I've got a few more questions, if ya'll don't mind.

1. Are AA meetings supposed to make you comfortable with your problem, ie. is the problem something that is supposed to be talked about in certain public situations, like your broken baby finger, or your teenager acting up?

Do those of you who are recovering alcoholics but don't particularly like AA, do you think it's helpful to be completely forthright about this issue? Is this a catharsis that many/most/some/all RA's feel helps?

2. Has medical science actually found the mechanism for why some are, for lack of a better term, medicinally/chemically hooked on alcohol? Are there not social alcoholics, people who are not "medicinally hooked" on alcohol?

Is it even possible that there could be people who are not hooked on heroin in the withdrawal sense, or asked another way, do some only experience light forms of withdrawal?

3. Damn, I forgot #3. It was something about memory or something like that. Smile
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:19 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
There's the person leading the meeting, but that's just some guy or gal that's a plumber, or a hair stylist, an accountant, or some jobless and homeless person.


Would you say, Chai, even allowing for the sake of argument, that there are cult like qualities to AA, that these non-professional people do a pretty good job of doing what they do?


When I say leader, the term is very loose.

I guess every group does it slightly differently, but in what was "my home group" There was a big whiteboard on the wall, with all the meeting times and dates on it.

If someone wanted to lead a meeting, well then, by Goll, you can just walk over to that board and put your name on some date, or claim a bunch of Tuesdays or whatever in a row.

If that person doesn't show up, had another obiligation, it would of course be only polite to ask a friend, or someone you know at least, to take that slot for you.

Sometimes though, whoever was supposed to be there forgets, doesn't show up, whatever.

At that point, someone will look at you and say "JTT, why don't you lead this meeting" Because you "can't refuse an AA request" rather than saying "why don't you, lard ass?" You say "yeah sure".

Then, all you do is take a copy of the 12 step and hand it to someone to read when the meeting starts, hand a copy of the bigbook to someone else to read something else and say "All right then, let's do this whore"....no you don't really say that, you just say it's time to start.

Then you just get those people to read their stuff, ask everybody if they have a topic, and if someone gets too long winded, watch for them to draw a breath and jump in and say "Thanks for sharing Lars. Louise, would you like to share"

About 10-15 minutes before the hour, you hand out the basket(s) to collect the dollar bills, casually keeping an eye on its where it is, especially when it's in the vicinity of that Isabella.

Then you ask if anyone has any "burning desires" meaning you gotta say something or you're going to walk out of there and go straight to a bar.

One time, swear to God someone raised their hand and said "yeah, I'd like to say that I wish Lars would shut the **** up after 2 minutes"

The same cool guy I mentioned? Whenever he was leading a meeting, and Lars wanted to speak (he ALWAYS wanted to speak) he'd say "Ok Lars but you've got 5 minutes to say what you've got to"
Then he'd cut him off.

So, no there really isn't anything they "do" so there's nothing for them to be good at.

I'm telling ya, this isn't like someone says, "you know I was reading something really interesting today about the biochemical aspects of alcoholism, and there is a program starting at Johns Hopkins to investigate the correlation to alcoholism and depression"

ohhhhh noooooo......then the discussion would begin with let's say Ruth saying "I'm grateful I'm an alcoholic. If there were a cure I wouldn't even want to know about it. In the big book it says.....", then Katie bar the door.

It's all right for an car salesman or an unemployed waitress to tell you that you shouldn't take any mind altering substances, like anything the doctor has perscribed for you. But it's not ok to discuss any actual factual information or investigations being done in the field.

Another question you asked, I'll just give you the answer.

No. No one in AA will EVER tell you to go to another source of help. I'm totally not kidding when you will be told that there is NOTHING else that will keep you from drinking.
You will be told if you leave, you will start drinking again, maybe not now, but you will.
If you say your wife and you are having marital problems, you will be told she needs to go to Alanon.
No one will bring up that when they saw your wife last week, she had 2 black eyes. Or suggest that maybe their problems are financial, sexual, the fact that you're never home for most of the night, because you're here, and she'd just like a chance to go to dinner with you, alone.

When you get really emeshed in AA, everthing that happens to you, and I mean everything, is because of your alcoholism if it's bad, or because of AA if it's good.

I'm not, and I said this before, saying there isn't a place for AA. That it isn't a good thing to have a support group to help you in times of need.

But, I don't think I can come up with any other type of support group where you're told the only way you can make it, is if you never stop going there.

The word is "support". You are supposed to accept support until you are able to support yourself.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:24 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Do those of you who are recovering alcoholics but don't particularly like AA, do you think it's helpful to be completely forthright about this issue? Is this a catharsis that many/most/some/all RA's feel helps?



I think sglasses responses on this thread answers that one.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:32 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
"All right then, let's do this whore"....no you don't really say that, you just say it's time to start.


Just when you get my interest piqued, you go and spoil it. I was considering lying, just to get into the group.

I enjoyed the story again, your take on things, but I don't think you answered my question. And maybe it's kinda, no I know it's a hard one to answer.

As bad as they all are, professionals we know they clearly are not, does AA have a pretty good record, number wise, of keeping people, not just completely sober, operating as pretty functional citizens/human beings/... ?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:44 pm
@JTT,
I read some article on that, as in no, but no links, long lost in a computer crash.

Neither do a lot of super duper recovery places, again no links.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 08:09 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:


As bad as they all are, professionals we know they clearly are not, does AA have a pretty good record, number wise, of keeping people, not just completely sober, operating as pretty functional citizens/human beings/... ?


No.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  0  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:20 pm
@JTT,
The surveys have mixed results... there are some studies that show for certain people it is effective (compared to other programs).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effectiveness_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

It is clear that some people find the AA program helpful.

The group-think in the anti-AA camp (as evidenced by this thread) is impressive.

In this very thread you have paranoid claims about AA, emotional appeals againt AA with little rational evidence. And any counter-evidence to the anti-AA narrative is ignored and people who find AA helpful are ridiculed and attacked.

This thread is almost cult-like (and I don't even believe in cults).

JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:51 pm
@ebrown p,
That's often the case with things similar, like religion. Those that get gone from religion are often pretty strident on its failings. That gives their remarks an almost anti-cult cultish veneer.

I haven't noticed a lot of group think in the responses. Just because the complaints have been of and on the same topics, how many topics can there be about what AA does and how it does it? Agreement that similar behavior exists isn't evidence of group think or cultish behavior.

0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:57 pm
@ebrown p,
I should have realized that my question was a much more complicated issue than I initially thought. Dumb me!
0 Replies
 
 

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