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12-Step Assumptions and Fallacies

Monday, October 10, 2005 - dr.bomb

The core of Alcoholics Anonymous is its program known as the Twelve Steps. This is the original version from the original manuscript as published in multilithed book form in 1938(1):

  1. Admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God as we understood Him.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  6. Were entirely willing that God remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings - holding nothing back.

  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make complete amends to them all.

  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

  12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Notice that there are zero instructions within the steps regarding abstinence from recreational drugs, health, self-effacy and personal liberation. Instead it teaches a slavish devotion towards dependence and submission to addiction itself.

Steps One through Three directly assume that the newcomer or the person who is attending the cult has a totally unmanageable life due to their one problem behavior (problem drinking), is insane and has no spiritual leanings in regards to the monotheistic belief system of A.A. itself. It's there that newcomer is mandated to accept the group's diagnosis or to suffer the cliched fate of "jails, institutions and death." This diagnosis is rendered not through interviewing the person but just as they walk into the group and stating that they're new. Step by Step, it's one false assertion after another leading to various indignities along the way.

Step One is false. If this step were in any way true then the membership of A.A. would all be drinking instead of at a meeting. To choose between drinking and meeting attendance implies that the person does have the power to choose and taking action based upon that choice. No one is powerless regarding the choice to move their own muscles to procure and ingest their recreational drug of choice. Likewise, it is possible for anyone to quit drinking once and for all and to stick by that decision as a form of personal ethics. When you consider the fact that in the United States that we encourage people to quit smoking is it really that much of a stretch to adapt simple and direct instruction in encouraging people in quitting smoking to quitting other forms of self-intoxication? To teach someone that they are powerless over resisting their own innate desire to feel good is the worst thing to teach someone who wants to kick a bad habit for good.

Step Two is false. The person may have exercised poor judgment while intoxicated such as drinking then driving. However that does not mean that the person is insane, much less needs to be restored to A.A.'s idea of sanity. In fact the simple observation that the person showed up to a meeting or has procured information on how to end their bad habit is evidence of self-preservation, an act of sanity itself.

Step Three is, by extension of Step Two, is false and shows A.A.'s religious agenda. Any doubt that A.A. is not religious is easily confirmed by just asking oneself, "How can the act of turning one's life and will over to the care of God not be religious?" Likewise, sanity is redefined from being a psychological measure of self-effacy and well-being to the degree of being under "God control" and parroting such platitudes.

And who ultimately gets to define what God is? Why A.A., of course! From its churlish "Group Of Drunks" and its "Good Orderly Direction" slogans right on down to its outright admission that "You can, if you wish, make A.A., itself your 'higher power'"(2), A.A. makes no distinction between God and A.A. and considers itself and the theism as practiced by the general public to be interchangeable yet with A.A. taking precedence. The "we" within the Third Step in regards to understanding the nature of God is one of A.A.'s own definition: A fascistic autocratic bully who will torture His parishioners until they follow His dictates as interpreted by A.A.(3).

The first three Steps therefore comprise very poor judgment upon the organization and its devotees making diagnoses as "experts" on alcohol addiction. Likewise, instead of empowering the individual to "KNOCK IT OFF!" once and for all the tragedy lies with the First Step where surrender to the addiction is mandated.

The next four Steps comprise the conditions in which, while under "God control", must be fulfilled so that the goodies of Step Seven, "Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings - holding nothing back," will be delivered on heretical demand.

Much mangling of the American English language was used by Wilson to mask that one big secret of these specific Steps: It's not about finding what's wrong with you but to confess your sins:

"That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins."
-- William Griffith Wilson, "Step Six", pp. 65 Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Therefore, Steps Four through Seven read completely differently when the cowardly euphemistic language of A.A., known as Buchmanese, is removed:

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our sins.

6. Were entirely willing that God remove all these sins.

7. Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our sins - holding nothing back.

And who says that this "God" will remove these "sins" on demand? Again, A.A.! This is nothing more than a gnostic heresy which flies in the face of Christianity, a religion that A.A. is often mistaken of practicing the tenets thereof. Nevermind the fact that every human being has free will to decide for themselves who to do or not and act accordingly, including sinning! Here, because one defines their self as being powerless, why bother restraining one's own actions in response to desire? Instead of honoring God by abstaining from drinking one is made into a pawn of God and by only following the dictates of this "higher power", one will be relieved from the desire to drink. So instead of standing up for yourself, instead beg and pray on your knees that someone else will do it for you. That is the philosophy of infantilism, plain and simple.

But it gets worse: "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our sins?" This is where a third party, the sponsor, enters the picture. Because A.A. makes the false claim that it knows what God wants it therefore believes that if you don't confess the right way then God won't perform soul surgery on you to remove your sins.

The ulterior motive is that A.A., through the sponsor, is going to learn of all your dirt. Is that sponsor, "another human being", sworn to confidentiality? Will what's said to that person remain private between all parties involved? The answer is NO on all counts, especially when one makes the decision to leave A.A. for good and starts criticising the cult. The only thing which is more common in A.A., besides binge drinking, is gossiping amongst its oldtimers from room to room. The whole idea of such a confession session within a destructive thought reform cult is not for absolution but for the cult to learn more about the individual and to maintain intimate control over their actions and reprimand them accordingly when the sheep goes astray.

Within the framework of the criminal justice system, such an inventory is admissible as evidence of criminal behavior. It's where this harmful confession of sins turns into a deadly confession of crimes that serves to allow the police state to exact more punishments upon the human being. It's where the falsehood of confidentiality within A.A. is exposed for what it is as one, as will be proven later, must make amends lest they drink again.

Which segues into Steps 8 and 9, where one most atone for their aforementioned sins:

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Frankly, when one quits drinking and their friends and family know that they quit, then the atonement has already been made. It's far easier to make the correct moral decisions when one hasn't engaged within the prime immoral action, which is problem drinking, to begin with. As has been proven here so far there has been ZERO advice given on how to quit drinking, much less any directive given to do so, with the Steps.

In lieu of such obviously vital information which would result in authentic self-improvement, the person is labeled as being a chronic sinner and the evidence is through the lists of people they allegedly harmed. Never is it suggested that there are ever people in the world who have harmed the person. Likewise, never is it suggested that the amends be aborted if such action would harm the alleged sinner.

And as far as who is harmed, this means EVERYONE even though that the actions may have occurred even decades ago. Does the person who was allegedly harmed want to have all of those past wounds reopened? Is this really healthy for the individuals involved? And what does this have to do with abstaining from drinking alcohol?

The answer is quite obvious: The person is obviously so full of sin that, if their amends should fail, it's they, the admitted sinners who were always at fault and this is further evidence of their prime malady: The spiritual disease of resentment-based compulsive sinning(4). So it's no longer about their problem drinking per se for the "bottles were only a symbol"(5). This entirely changes the meaning of the First Step from being powerless over alcohol to being powerless over sin.

And what are these sins comprised of? Bastardizing and making a mockery of Christianity in the process, it's primarily the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Therefore, one way or another through these double-binds, it's no wonder why the person in question can't possibly emerge with new-found strength but with a further-ingrained dependency upon the cult.

As proven through the confessions, because that person is such a debilitated piece of shit sinner that means Continuance of the Procedures is in order:

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Again, never is it stated that this person can ever be right about anything within their lives, for that would contradict the second part of the First Step ("that our lives had become unmanageable") yet would be evidence of a claim of the sinner of "soundness of mind"(6). It's even a Deadly Sin, pride, to even make the claim to begin with(7). So the still unrepentant sinner should repeat Steps Four through Nine.

By this time the person should be a quivering heap of protoplasm at the mercy of these double-binds. The person, instead of experiencing authentic self-improvement, is now totally unsure what to do next. Their self-effacy has been reduced to rubble. Their individuality smashed beyond all hope of salvage. So the one last thing to do is to retreat within their broken, battered shell of their own humanity yet still seek approval from the cult:

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Despite how these two Steps seem different, one eventually flows into the other though the idea of a religious conversion, euphemistically referred to as a "spiritual awakening". It's where one now-cagey mind now offers a primitive solace and where the only "friends" they have left are those within the cult and the voice of "God" within their own head. Thanks to the preceding Steps they have no need for outside contact since those "Earth People" will never understand the nature of their malady until they evangelize the "truth" of the Steps.

By now, through having a sponsor intimately knowledgeable of the person's own sins and actions, that person is now fully under "God control". Because A.A. is the sole interpreter of God's will the sponsor is acting as a proxy for A.A. Therefore, when one hear's God's "voice" in their head that divine guidance must be checked by the sponsor. Any idea which criticizes A.A. is nothing more than one's own "disease" talking to them. As in, it's not the person's interpretation of God by the collective "we" of the cult who determines it and God always sides with the collective good of A.A. itself.

In the end, the person is powerless over their sins and, if it wasn't for A.A. and its Steps, they wouldn't have realized what an imbecile they were to run their own life like that. And now A.A. is their sole link to sanity. It's through evangelizing via "carrying the message" to others (especially "alcoholics") where they hope to keep A.A. alive or the person will ultimately "sign their death warrant"(8).

With the notion of a death warrant in mind, that means if the person does not work the Steps the assertion is that they will die an alcoholic death(9). Indeed, to not work the Steps is considered not "spiritual". In fact the word "drink" literally becomes a euphemism for "death"(10), rendering the Steps as forced religious conversion using the fear of not the action of drinking but the induced phobia of the desire to do so as the whip with "serenity" as the carrot which is always out of reach.

In the end you wind up with a fully-regressed shell of a human being. A frightened creature which cannot plan for the future through the daily reprieve(11) of a "One Day At A Time" existence possessing a stunted sense of maturity regarding their own mortality in which a fear of uncertain death lurks around every slippery corner of their lives. It's where the only solace of their now meager existence rests solely within the rooms where Buchmanites congregate in perpetual procrastination.

But hey! They're all going to die anyhow. You disgusting peasant might as well help a few new sinners to achieve A.A.'s twisted notion of sanity through "Twelfth Step Work" lest it's more proof of your sick, diseased, sinful and corrupt character.

Thus, the reworked Steps as they are actually perceived by the fully indoctrinated member:

  1. Admitted we were powerless over sin - that our lives had become unmanageable...or we will die!

  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity...or we will die!

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God as A.A. understands Him...or we will die!

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves...or we will die!

  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our sins...or we will die!

  6. Were entirely willing that God remove all these sins...or we will die!

  7. Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our sins - holding nothing back...or we will die!

  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make complete amends to them all...or we will die!

  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others...or we will die!

  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it...or we will die!

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out...or we will die!

  12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially sinners, and to practice these principles in all our affairs...or we will die!

Footnotes:

1) The original manuscript is available in electronic form from http://www.anonpress.org

2) 12x12 pp. 27

3) A.A. pp. 100

4) A.A. pp. 64

5) A.A. pp. 103

6) 12x12 pp. 33

7) 12x12 pp. 48

8) 12x12 pp. 174

9) A.A. pp. 44

10) A.A. pp. 66

11) A.A. pp. 85

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Last updated 2005/10/10

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Quotes are attributed to their appropriate sources.
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