The REAL Pittsburgh A.A. FAQ
Wednesday, April 5, 2006 - dr.bomb
The Frequently Asked Questions page on A.A.'s Pittsburgh Area Central Office website is pretty thin. While this wonderful organization within my backyard does claim to field questions the answers, from the very brief to just flat-out cliche-ridden nonsense, left a lot to be desired.
So, for the sake of Informed Consent, is the expanded version for those who really want to learn something about the organization before making a firm commitment to it. The original questions and answers are presented in blockquote italics with paragraphs of information for your enlightenment.
Be careful with the word "alcoholic". It does not just refer to merely drinking a lot against one's own better judgment. According to The Buchmanese Lexicon (BD = Buchmanite Definition):
Of course no one in A.A. will tell you directly that to be an alcoholic means to be a devout adherent to the dogma of alcoholism, as practiced by A.A. itself just as a Catholic practices Catholicism. A.A. members are masters as being deliberately oblique regarding that fact. The double-bind is this as practiced within A.A: If one is there and states they have a drinking problem then they will think that they are a "problem drinker", a.k.a. an alcoholic. If one is unsure if they are a real alcoholic, as in one of the many true-believers within the rooms, then the claim is that the person is in denial, a sign that the person is an alcoholic nonetheless. In other words, no matter the circumstances, you must be one or you wouldn't be in that room to begin with.
Apologists for A.A. claim that the idea of being in denial is only a new idea and one which A.A. does not endorse along the lines that it isn't mentioned with the first sacred 164 pages of Alcoholics Anonymous. The fact is that A.A. does endorse that idea 100% and was still published within that book:
The fact is that the idea of being in denial is not concerning the person's drinking problem. Only the individual knows for certain through their own ambivalence (they want to quit but feel that they can't) and by showing up at A.A. they believe that, through its own P.R., that it has the answer. The truth is that the person new to A.A. can see simply that it is intensely religious and A.A. does its part to claim that it's the newcomer's perception which is askew.
Certainly, if there is denial being practiced it is definitely being practiced by A.A. itself, especially concerning its religious trappings. A.A. will not admit that most who come to A.A. are aware of their drinking problem and want to learn how to quit without having some foreign philosophy imposed upon them.
As for the claim that "No one in A.A. will tell you whether you are or not" an alcoholic...
That is a lie!
That lie is proven by A.A.'s own book, Alcoholics Anonymous, within its "Story of Fred":
And isn't it a little suspicious that this organization will literally talk people out of quitting drinking? You have every right to be suspicious. There will be more on that later for more will be revealed.
An A.A. meeting is a form of ritualized protracted procrastination comprising of one big group circle jerk: Mutual masturbation for only not drinking for one day rather than quitting for good, going ALL IN, for one LIFETIME at a time. The membership gives witness to divine intervention, forms all sorts of complicated excuses for continued chemically-enhanced stupidity by doing their best to hide the real reason why they stayed loaded: Because it felt good!
Instead of quitting and moving on with a post-addiction life, those who remain become addicted to the group itself. A hierarchy is established in which one's rank is determined by how long ago they had their previous drink. The power structure is maintained by its rank and file, also known as oldtimers, who threaten that IF one doesn't do as the group dictates THEN that person will drink. In fact it is common for newcomers to be told that IF they don't want to be in A.A. THEN they can go to the bar instead. Very rarely, if ever, is one encouraged to just independently quit. In fact that's considered "going it alone" and is frowned upon within A.A
The nature of the recovery group movement, further dependency based in social cultism as the "cure" for substance dependency, is no accident. The book Alcoholics Anonymous even admits it:
The truth is that life is wonderful after one resolves their addiction, indeed "curing" themselves, once and for all. When one quits for good they realize that it's A.A. which promotes the fear that life is meaningless either without alcohol (or any other recreational drug, for that matter) or without its meetings. Of course one will find the same old challenges and problems to solve but that's life and that's normal. It's just easier to handle life itself without the twin monkeys of addiction and "recovery" on one's back to complicate matters further.
For more details of what happens within the rooms I highly recommend reading Rebecca Fransway's "12-Step Horror Stories" (2000, See Sharp Press). It's the other side few ever read about within the corporate-owned/corporate-subsidised mass media (much less A.A. and its promotional front organizations).
That is a lie!
How can the directive to "turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God" (Step 3) not be religious? Or how can "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God" (Step 11) not be religious? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, prayer is this:
Even when it lies by hamfistedly using synonyms, as in claiming that A.A. and its "suggested" program of "recovery" is spiritual and not religious, such a simple fact cannot be refuted. Likewise, for a religious organization which claims not to be one and just a simple program, it's REAL purpose as stated within the book Alcoholics Anonymous proves this to be a lie:
A.A. is a direct descendant of the Oxford Group Movement (OGM) in which renegade Lutheran minister Rev. Samuel Shoemaker helped to spread within the United States, where William Griffith Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith were both members. Originally known as The Alcoholic Squadron, this sect of Buchmanism splintered from the OGM due to internal conflicts. Contributing to the split between The Alcoholic Squadron and the OGM would happen to be from the actual founder of the OGM, Dr Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, who stated within a 1936 World-Telegram interview, "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler..." The fallout from that interview with Buchman's praise of Hitler and fascism in general, all the better according to Buchman to bring the world under theocratic control, merited a name change of the OGM into Moral Re-Armament (MRA).
Quite the contrary to what A.A. members state, A.A. itself was never based upon any form of Christianity. Again, A.A. via cofounder William Griffith Wilson states:
For more information on A.A.'s ties with the OGM/MRA, I highly recommend Charles Q. Bufe's Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult Or Cure? (1998, See Sharp Press) and Michael Lemanski's "A History Of Addiction And Recovery In The United States" (2001, See Sharp Press). Likewise, both also detail the hidden structure of A.A. regarding its numerous front groups which perform the promotion of A.A. which A.A. claims it doesn't engage in, such as the National Council on Alcoholism (now known as the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), founded by A.A. member Margaret "Marty" Mann and A.A. apologist Elvin Morton Jelinek with both Wilson and Smith as primary board members during its formative years.
First off, none of the membership has resolved their problem drinking but simply substituted one addiction for another: religomania for dipsomania. Ask any of them, point-blank, in regards to all of the problems their own over-indulgence in alcohol produced and ask them if they will ever drink again in this lifetime. The hostile and defensive reaction you'll receive will reveal the double-edged sword of the membership requirement as stated within A.A.'s Preamble: As long as they remain in profound self-doubt and ambivalence regarding their own behavior toward their habitual self-intoxication then they can claim that they merely want to stop...but for only one day. Which brings to mind if they know that it's wrong for them to drink just for today then why keep the option open for the day after?
Secondly, drinking alcohol is indeed a 100% volitional action based in individual willpower. Indeed, isn't one choosing between meeting attendance and drinking? Isn't the action of choice itself an affirmation of willpower? Anyone has the choice to drink or not just as they have the choice to dance or not. Unfortunately, due to A.A.'s indoctrination based upon pseudoscience, fascism-based religion of the OGM/MRA and many numerous conditions attached to their tentative daily abstinence from self-intoxication, the belief is that with so many things out there which can provide convenient excuses for drinking then actual permanent abstinence is considered impossible.
Which brings this brief discussion to God in A.A.: A.A. is itself practicing a distinctly monotheistic religion known as Buchmanism or, if you will within the context of A.A. itself, alcoholism. The irony is that A.A. considers that this God is the One with all power and should be sought out. Which begs the question: If this deity had "all power" then why even create this whole bureaucracy to begin with and let millions suffer a mere "daily reprieve" rather than be cured outright? The answer is that this deity of convenience, a product of the OGM/MRA and infused with the same fascistic leanings, is nothing more than another excuse for A.A. to use fear to keep its membership coming back. In this case, just as it has no information to teach people to quit drinking once and for all (as noted previously it does tell people to drink if they're skeptical), it leverages that fear by insinuating that it's the only thing which works. That means one has to endure a religious conversion for the goodies of abstinence, even if that "gift" is only for one day. Likewise, IF one doesn't keep their faith in A.A. in order THEN they will drink and die.
Regarding the claim that, "There is room in A.A. for people of all shades of belief and nonbelief."...
That is a lie!
An entire chapter within the book Alcoholics Anonymous (Chapter Four: "We Agnostics"), a chapter which contains ZERO information on how to quit drinking, is nothing more than an extended rant by William Griffith Wilson denouncing anyone who may not accept Wilson's religion as being an agnostic or an atheist. The penalty for not believing what Wilson and A.A. believes is, of course, death:
Within the sequel to Alcoholics Anonymous, Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions, Wilson even details how he and his wonderful fellowship kicked out a man simply because that man didn't believe in Wilson's specific God. With that in mind, even a Christian who realizes that man does have the choice to sin or not would be regarded as an atheist or agnostic within the context of A.A.'s own religious fundamentalism (or someone to put aside their religion for awhile, for that matter).
Unfortunately, according to OGM/MRA dogma, one is considered powerless over sinning. That means, in light of A.A.'s First Step where Wilson simply replaced "alcohol" for "sin", one can never be redeemed. To be concerned about, marginally skeptical of or rejecting A.A.'s dogma outright is considered "blasphemy".
You could bring your family, but do you really want to? Realize that A.A. and its 12-Step clones are the de facto dumping ground for convicted felons, ranging from substance addicts, rapists and pedophiles (among others), from the judicial system. The rank and file, those with plenty of Time, have not resolved their addictions at all and have become much worse in regards to their new addiction to The Program. There are also those who simply go not to resolve any addiction at all but to take advantage of those who are new and know not what they're in for. A.A. is a conmans' paradise.
When realizing what a cesspool Buchmanism is, the best thing one can do is to keep their family away from it, especially away from its counterparts Al-Anon and AlaTeen. Speaking of Al-Anon, a simple thing to keep in mind is this simple formula:
A.A. = Alcoholics Anonymous = Al-Anon
It's the same thing, with the same 12-Steps, but targeted towards the problem drinker's family. Keep your family away from it, in all of its forms, or they may wind up getting hurt from Buchmanism's own government-coerced criminal element. In fact, I highly recommend NEVER sharing any personal information at ANY meetings whatsoever as well with those facts in mind.
What's not stated is the belief among the rank and file that IF A.A. were to go away THEN many of these so-called alcoholics will drink and die. It's an addiction itself when people feel they need to attend not for the sake of their own drinking problem but a twisting of morality through guilt. To them it's considered unconscionable to not have a home group which needs people to attend. Not for the sake of helping people quit drinking but to keep A.A. alive so that others can attend and be recruited.
The sponsor is actually a proxy for A.A. itself: To act as if they were your friend if only for the sake of keeping you, the sponsee, in line. There are no rules to confidentiality with A.A. so, if the sponsor has a problem with you, they'll probably tell their sponsor, and so forth and so on. Conversely, since all of the sobriety is predicated on a series of conditions (IF...THEN...) to be fulfilled, IF you don't do as your sponsor a.k.a. A.A. proxy dictates THEN you will drink and die.
Likewise, knowing the criminal element which A.A. is largely composed of, more than likely you'll be conned. Just as you wouldn't want to bring your family to any 12-Step meeting or related function that recommendation goes DOUBLE for allowing even one of those degenerates into your life and your own home.
Finally, why the same sex rule? Because outside of the prevalent binge drinking and gossiping, sexual relationships occur frequently. Worse, rape is a de facto outcome regarding the populace within the rooms, where sex itself is an unbridled power play. For women, they are considered second-class citizens both from within and according to A.A.'s own outdated misogynistic dogma.
That's not to say that women within the rooms can't be as manipulative as the men. In general ALL of the rank and file cannot be trusted. Trust your own intuition. If something doesn't seem right then get out of there, pronto!
The implication is that by referring to the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (its actual title), as a textbook is that it has some important educational merit in teaching people how to quit drinking. The fact is that there is no such advice to be found within its obsolete and sacred pages (especially the first 164 which A.A. refuses to change...not out of factual basis but since A.A. believes William Griffith Wilson to be "divinely inspired" regarding the authorship of such pages). However, there is explicit advice to try drinking again:
And, if you should pass that test by not having "jitters", A.A. will congratulate you in your return to moderate drinking:
Again, from an organization which claims to be abstinence-oriented and where many felons are mandated by the judicial system to attend, isn't it suspicious for A.A. to tell people to try drinking again (much less celebrating that fact)? From my own personal experience I've personally witnessed people being told during meetings to go out and drink if they happen to disagree with any of A.A.'s dogma. It appears that A.A. is the FIRST moderate drinking organization.
Likewise, as with a previous quote above, a contradiction is revealed within A.A.'s own divinely-inspired propaganda: A.A. states that it doesn't diagnose alcoholism and yet they did that with Fred while he was in the hospital recuperating from his own overindulgence in alcohol. That's not education. That's indoctrination.
As for the "disease" of alcoholism, there is no pathological evidence of one. Despite Margaret "Marty" Mann's claim:
...when one actually reads about what diabetes, cancer and TB actually is (much less human disease in general), her analogy falls to pieces. It doesn't matter if you have an entire organization and its membership parrot the same lie for truth and fact is not made "true" via consensus just as if all of them parroted that "2+2=5".
The whole idea behind the disease mythology is to simply destigmatize chemically-enhanced stupidity. While one can't really live down the mythological disease nonsense when one is literally a minority of one within the rooms, one can do something about stupidity: You learn from your mistakes, choose to quit being such a self-indulgent ass and wise up. You probably even did some very stupid things while drunk as a skunk. You can choose to live smarter and simply preserve your better judgment by never drinking/drugging again.
There is no disease called alcoholism or addiction, therefore there is no excuse to drink against your own better judgment.
The book, which is entitled Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions, even contains some very dark passages which detail how to kick people out who choose not to abide by A.A.'s spirituality, nevermind the fact that they clearly want to learn how to quit drinking. "The Story Of Ed", detailed in pp. 143-145 within the essay on the Third Tradition, describes how Wilson and his lackeys kicked Ed out not because of his drinking problem but because he didn't accept Wilson's theology.
This book, the sequel to Alcoholics Anonymous and written by William Griffith Wilson in the middle of his eleven-year depression, is not as politically correct as its predecessor. Much of Alcoholics Anonymous's content was corrected not to be as offensive towards Catholics, especially in light of the Vatican denouncing the OGM in light of Buchman's pro-Hitler remarks. As A.A. became accepted within society as its ties with OGM/MRA were forgotten or covered up accordingly, Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions was much more brash in its outright bigotry towards those who wanted to quit drinking but could not accept its theology:
Again, one should be suspicious of any organization which claims to be pro-abstinence yet tells people who have some healthy skepticism towards the dogma in question to drink more.
Note the arrogance of the group proclamation that "many of us were not very wholehearted about that" regarding one's desire to stop drinking. The truth is, according to Charles Bufe's Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult Or Cure?, that at least 60% of people in A.A. were coerced by the medical profession and the criminal justice system into attending A.A. Coercion is now A.A.'s primary source for new members and, regarding the criminal justice system, that coercion is literally at gunpoint.
Quitting drinking and attending A.A. are two completely different activities. In my case, I thought that A.A. would teach me how to quit. Years later, as I revisit A.A.'s material and look back at those events in my life within the rooms where I though the answer was there, I realize now that A.A. has never had any intention of teaching people how to quit. Blinded by desperation I believed the lies. After all, when one learns how to quit one can't meet A.A.'s requirement of possessing the "desire to stop drinking" because one simply has decided to NEVER drink again. Conversely, people who want to drink again also can't meet A.A.'s membership requirement for they also have no desire to stop either.
What A.A. teaches in lieu of the skill of abstinence is to instill profound self-doubt to the point one that one's own self-confidence is wrecked. Uncertainty is what A.A. capitalizes upon as it teaches its membership that their own confidence is a liability and that the future is always unknown. Never, when one says that they'll never drink again, will they be supported by the organization. Instead the person will be told that they'll drink again and to "keep coming back"...or else.
That's not support. That's sabotage.
True. No one will bother you as long as you're perceived to be outside A.A. instead of inside A.A. A.A. will do what it can to shun those who reject its dogma while encouraging those who embrace and internalize it. After all, who is going to evangelize A.A. via the Twelfth Step? A dissenter? As for those who've had significant time within the rooms, the rank and file will perceive something is wrong with that individual and attempt (in vain) to win that person back into the fold. Since A.A. can't find out about anyone's whereabouts, newcomer and former oldtimer alike, fantasies and gossip based in ill-will runs rampant.
Likewise, the more one trusts A.A. the more one will have the tendency to reveal more about themselves and their life. Usually through A.A.'s proxy, a sponsor, that information will be disseminated, as there is no confidentiality within the rooms for each and every meeting is public for the sake of attracting potential walk-ins. While one is given the directive of "what's said in the rooms stays in the rooms", that statement rings hollow as gossip about the demise of former members and their own exploits is usually issued by oldtimers as a series of examples of what happens when A.A.'s doctrines are not followed.
Then there are the apologists: Those who know the facts and horrors of A.A. but still cling upon the mishappen idea that A.A. "helps" people or excusing it with "whatever works". A.A. loves apologists for no matter how critical they may appear to be they'll still repeat the lie that A.A., despite its "flaws", is still a good abstinence-based organization. And besides, the apologists who create programs of their own which involve meetings are not The Real Thing, which is A.A. Apparently, the unspoken rule is to speak good things of A.A. no matter what...or else! Not that A.A. will give an apologist the time of day, though.
How does A.A. know that one's identity will not be disclosed? If disclosure does result, what form of enforcement is in place to reprimand errant members short of the threat of drunken debauchery? The fact of the matter is that A.A. does not govern over its membership and groups. This fact is stated within the short version of Tradition Two and within the long form of Tradition Nine:
In other words, the Traditions are just for show: To present the appearance of a standard for ethical conduct which flat-out contradicts itself. What good are the Traditions when they will NEVER be enforced?
Besides, the real reason for A.A. anonyminity is this: Most of its evangelizing ("Twelfth-Stepping") members in its early days went back to their drunken ways. Ebby Thatcher, William Griffith Wilson's sponsor, went back to bottle. So did Russell Firestone and Morgan R, two early A.A. proselytizers. And, of note, most of the writers of the stories within the First Edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, A.A. was such a failure that even Wilson admitted it during the memorial service of Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith:
An internal A.A. memo, recently published online after roughly fifteen years, disclosing the composition of A.A.'s abstinence time showed that members with lots of abstinent time are rare. In fact, that very memo discloses much more, such as up to 95% of newcomers leave within the first year. Of those who remain, only half of them will even approach five years of "long-term" abstinence within the rooms. If there's anything which can be proven is that A.A. has been and always will be an outright failure.
No wonder its membership remains anonymous! Would you want to be personally associated with an outright failure of a so-called "quit-drinking" program?
If you've been introduced to A.A. and are skeptical of it, that's your better judgment kicking in. Trust yourself! If you do meet someone you know who is in A.A., do them a big favor and let them know the truth about A.A. and that you can provide them with information which A.A. chooses not to disclose up front, especially the fact that most people with do make it on their own, WITHOUT A.A.
For Further Reading:
Articles: (more available here)
Lies Recited At Most A.A. Meetings - The beginning of the Fifth Chapter ("How It Works") within the book Alcoholics Anonymous is chock full of lies.
12-Step Assumptions and Fallacies - Witness how the 12-Steps can turn someone into a fear-filled true believer. Also check out the analysis of the 12-Steps in the online versions of Chas Bufe's Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult Or Cure and Ken Ragge's The Real A.A.: Behind The Myth Of 12-Step Recovery.
The Big Pro-Addiction Swindle - More facts and tons of quotes from Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions proving that A.A. has no interest in teaching people how to self-recover from addiction.
Disease Or Doctrine? - The entire disease mythology of addiction is debunked, using a copy of Micro$quish Encarta and Alcoholics Anonymous no less.
Books: (more available here)
Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult Or Cure? by Charles Bufe
The Real A.A.: Behind The Myth Of 12-Step Recovery
by Ken Ragge
Rational Recovery: The New Cure For Substance
Addiction by Jack Trimpey
Twelve Step Horror Stories: True Tales of Misery, Betrayal
and Abuse in NA, A.A. and 12-Step Treatment edited by Rebecca Fransway,
Websites: (more available here)
The Orange Papers: The definitive and very scholarly website which deconstructs A.A. and provides a wealth of detail regarding that organization's history and (lack of) effectiveness.
More Revealed: Ken Ragge's website which features online books for your research needs regarding the truth about A.A.
Last updated 2007/03/06 - Added links to the Buchman interview and A.A.'s front groups.
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