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Review:

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

If the sheer amount of dogmatic death threats within the book Alcoholics Anonymous wasn't bad enough along comes the sequel. Written during his 11-year crippling bout of depression, William Griffith Wilson with some help from Tom P. wrote a guide which, in Wilson's words, "...to become happily and usefully whole." Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (12x12) is an expanded guide on how one should "work" the Steps and Traditions.

The standout piece within this twisted text is The Story of Ed as related within the discussion of the Third Tradition (pp. 143-145). It is a tale of how Wilson and his wonderful Gang Of Drunks kicked Ed out to die an alcoholic death just because he wouldn't submit to Wilson's idea of what God was. It is the sick fantasy made real which Wilson offered as mere conjecture within the Fourth chapter of the book Alcoholics Anonymous ("We Agnostics") and shows as to what length Wilson's cult would go just to get someone to hit bottom just because of such blasphemy.

In retrospect, I don't believe Ed was an atheist. To correlate this story with "We Agnostics" proves that Wilson deemed anyone as an either an atheist or an agnostic if they disagreed with any of Wilson's ideas of God. In the hundreds of meetings that I have participated in there is a distinct idea of God that A.A. defines within its image. From the 12x12: "Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant." (pp. 174)

Even worse, in spite of the Traditions, all of Wilson's dreams have come true as listed within the discussion of Tradition Six (reformatted in list form with additional commentary for emphasis from pp. 155-156):

Here are some of the things we dreamed:

  • Hospitals didn't like alcoholics, so we thought we'd build a hospital chain of our own. (Hazelden, as the "Minnesota model", opened utilizing Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith's indoctrination techniques from Akron, Ohio.)

  • People needed to be told what alcoholism was, so we'd educate the public, even rewrite school and medical textbooks. (Marty Mann, the second female member of A.A., along with Wilson and Smith, founded the National Council of Alcoholism - NCA [now known as the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - NCADD] to promote such ideology. Dr. Ruth Fox founded the American Society on Addiction Medicine, ASAM, to pitch the disease mythology towards medical physicians.)

  • We'd gather up derelicts from skid rows, sort out those who could get well, and make it possible for the rest to earn their livelihood in a kind of quarantined confinement. (In essence choosing from such a lot to recruit future counselors for the aforementioned facilities, nevermind the obvious conflicts of interest if they were to claim they were "social workers" working independently of A.A.)

  • Maybe these places would make large sums of money to carry on our other good works. (Stays at Hazelden and Betty Ford, for example, costs tens of thousands of dollars.)

  • We seriously thought of rewriting the laws of the land, and having it declared that alcoholics are sick people. No more would they be jailed; judges would parole them in our custody. (Mandatory mental imprisonment and indoctrination within A.A. meetings or jailtime within an actual physical prison!)

  • We'd spill A.A. into the dark regions of dope addiction and criminality. (Most A.A. and 12-Step meetings in general take place at night.)

  • We'd form groups of depressive and paranoid folks; the deeper the neurosis, the better we'd like it. It stood to reason that if alcoholism could be licked, so could any problem. (Hence the expansion of Buchmanism as the "treatment" for all types of behaviors from gambling to performing an inordinate amount of research upon the internet...and labeling it as a compulsion only a "spiritual experience" can cure within various "Anonymous" sects. And my, are those folks depressed...just like Wilson himself!)

Nevermind the fact that A.A. will never hold itself accountable to the Traditions which are nothing more than an unenforcable facade. The Traditions look wonderful to an outsider but they will NEVER be enforced by the leadership of A.A. for one reason from the 12x12 itself (pp. 192):

They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern.

No one within the membership is held accountable. No one ever will, that is, unless A.A. members "carry the message" with their own translated versions of the book Alcoholics Anonymous and distribute them outside the auspices of A.A. World Services. Nevermind the abuses as documented not only within with 12x12 via the story of Ed but through Rebecca Fransway's "A.A. Horror Stories", those books should never be distributed lest the message becomes diluted within Mexico and Germany! That kind of activity will net'cha a lawsuit!

Hypocritical, twisted and sick. If there's anything which is so dark and perverse it would be this book. It is not just documentation of tragedy and despair projected from one man's sick mind upon alcoholics, it is a darkly unfunny farce of what A.A. has aspired and devolved into today. It's everything Wilson ever dreamed of. For shame!

--dr.bomb


Download Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in WinHelp format.
MD5: F7F019154389AE25156BEAC3A2AC1372

Download Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in ASCII plaintext format.
MD5: 2C5746FAF502C3ADAA9E45663F75A5AF

Note: Both files above are distributed in .ZIP archive format. Download a .ZIP utility to decompress them. Both .ZIP files are unmodified and presented as-is from their original pro-A.A. download sources. Consider this my own idea of 12-Step work put into action.

ARID Media .PDF version of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Back to the Books page.


Last updated 2005/09/04 - Added link to ARID Media .PDF version
Updated 2005/06/24 - Added link to "The Story of Ed"

First posted 2005/04/18

(c)2003-2005 dr.bomb & The ARID Site - All Rights Reserved
Quotes are attributed to their appropriate sources.
E-mail policy: If I feel it's outrageous enough in an informative sense I'll publish it at my own discretion.

drunken cultists