Quantcast

«

»

Oct 04 2011

Enemies of Bill

It’s about time someone reviled 12-step programs. Go say hello to Matt Dillahunty, who is apparently doing the same thing I am…prepping for the Texas Freethought Convention.

42 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    A3Kr0n

    I’ve been reviling 12-step programs. I started a whole website to do just that. New job/no time. Better get back to work!
    I have still been reviling them in person though.

  2. 2
    DLC

    I have nothing against support groups for substance abuse (or other addictive behavior), but I do call “Bill’s ” methods into question. Especially the religious angle. I don’t know off-hand of any studies showing that their methods are actually any better than any others.

  3. 3
    joed

    without aa there would be a whole lot of lost people out there. aa has a useful place in society and helps people get in touch with their lives.
    unfortunately most folks that become involved with aa are not able to Ever grow out of the dependence they develop on aa.
    perhaps the biggest problem with aa is its use of terms like, denial, enabler, and these sort of–just-so, one size fits all catch-words that allow the “counselor” to control the subject.
    Also, it seems that every adult has the right to destroy their own life. aa seems to be the judge of other peoples lives and says the adult doesn’t have that right.
    there are much better “therapies” for helping people overcome problems but for many folks aa with all its authority is fine for most folks and the idea of “higher power” as we know is so right and comforting to the majority of drunks and others.

  4. 4
    Crys

    I suggest Penn and Teller’s “12-Stepping” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU2YliYttnQ) if you want a few laughs along with the reviling, as well as the only piece of evidence they could find on the efficacy of the 12-step program. It is enormously outdated, but it does show that it has the same exact success rate as those who quit all by themselves: 5%

  5. 5
    WilliamRDickson

    While the twelve-step process itself is highly suspect (and there isn’t any significant research I’m aware of to support it, because, well, it’s anonymous), many people just seem to find it helpful to spend time with other people who are dealing with the same problems. There are secular alternatives (e.g. Lifering) that provide the hang-out-with-people-who-know-what-you’re-going-through support without the woo trappings, but they have far fewer meetings in far fewer locations. I’ve known several atheist addicts who, while they don’t buy into the twelve steps, would much rather put up with the nonsense parts of AA in exchange for the support from people who understand what they’re experiencing than try to go it alone.

    Hopefully groups like Lifering and the few other secular support organizations will continue to grow and provide some good alternatives.

  6. 6
    Smoochie

    See, this is why I read rational blogs. To learn.

    I (a Brit) had no idea that AA was a Christian organisation. I’d always assumed it was secular charity, as the majority of the large chartities in the UK are.

    And now, a drink…

  7. 7
    A3Kr0n

    WilliamRDickson #5 is correct. A.A. is a place to be with people that have similar problems, and help each other. A.A. is not a Christian group as Smoochie #6 suggested, but you know Christians, and how they like to be involved! Also, the group was formed before WWII, and is based on popular beliefs of that time.
    The time to change is now! The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that it is not a religion, that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Most meetings announce prayers “for those who wish” (I like that phrase!). People who bring religion into A.A. meetings are hurting that group’s primary purpose, which is to carry it’s message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

  8. 8
    uncle frogy

    I would like to add some more to what A3Kron had to say. AA and the rest of the 12 step programs and there are many different ones are all made up of humans and have many of the same problems as other groups that are made up of humans have.
    There is no “counselor” to control anyone though as in any grouping of people there are controlling bossy people who will gladly tell you how you should do things. There is no authority to in force anything and no rules to in force. The 12 steps are called the 12 suggested steps not commandments.
    It is the god of your own understanding it is no where defined in any 12 step program . Right up front it says take what you liked and leave the rest. There are many none believers involved in 12 step programs as well as believers there are even people who are “born again christians”
    the 12 step process and the many programs help many learn how to cope with the problems that are encountered in life.

    I always wonder about the strong negative reaction some people have to AA though.

    uncle frogy

  9. 9
    jennyjfwlucy

    Oh, for Pete’s sake. Why you gotta pick on seven step programs, particularly when, as joed and williamRDickson point out, there’s not a lot of alternatives out there?

    AA doesn’t make money.
    It doesn’t say you have to believe in anything.
    It doesn’t meddle with politics or social causes.
    It doesn’t concern itself with textbooks, creationism, 10 commandment monuments, or anything else stupid.

    It’s just there. Just leave it alone.

    Seriously, people who need help with addictions already use every damn excuse in the book to avoid getting any kind of treatment. Ripping on AA for being religious provides IMHO yet another excuse for them to avoid facing their problems head on.

    People who have a drinking problem but who “don’t want to deal with all those God-botherers,” do you really give a damn/does it really MATTER if a belief in a higher power is an optional aspect of something that will get you out from under the thumb of booze? Who fucking cares? It’s optional. Optional.

  10. 10
    Chandrasekhar

    It’s not really fair to call AA a Christian organization. It is inherently religious, but the funny thing about it is that it is a philosophical descendant of various occult groups. The whole “power of thought and will” angle, couched as it may be in a conception of the divine, has a lot to do with things like Mesmerism and Christian Science and all those other contemporary groups. Isn’t that weird?

  11. 11
    voskw

    Uncle frogy, I do understand where all the negative reactions comes from. AA has always made me uncomfortable with its religious or spiritual overtones too. I have been going, off and on, to AA meetings for over 20 years, and I’m not even an alcoholic! The reason? My same-sex partner, over 20 years ago, came home from another night of drinking (and spending the night in the county drunk tank). As I was about to leave him, he said “I think I have a drinking problem and need to go to AA, but I’m afraid to go by myself, will you go with me?” Well, what can I say? I loved him, so I’ve been going ever since. Our lives together for the last 23 years are owed to the rooms of alcoholics anonymous. We are both successful, educated, productive members of society, and we are both atheists (Well, he’d probably consider himself more of an agnostic, while I consider that position to be one of a fence-sitter, and I think he’s really an athiest who simply does not like the word, but I’m drifting off-subject). Needless to say, we have had numerous converations about why AA works, and why it has to rely on a “god concept” so heavily. I can say that we are both evidence-based people, so the conversations sometimes become passionate. But one thing we can both agree on; AA works. And it helps people stay sober, and get their lives back on-track, which is really a very big deal.

  12. 12
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    *sigh* Damn it. You always put up the posts I’m most interested in when I have the least amount of time to respond to them. :)

    I wouldn’t say I revile 12-step programs, but I certainly don’t care for their lack of efficacy and potential to do substantial harm. I will also say that there are those individuals who thrive in AA and find it exactly a perfect fit for their needs and addiction. Which is wonderful for them, and I’ve firmly supported clients when that was the case.

    However, the problem is that those programs are NOT a perfect fit for everyone (my paper on this is at home, hard copy, unfortunately or I’d have my stats at hand), and can also be harmful for those who don’t fit. The bigger problem that results from this is that AA & similar programs are frequently viewed as the only option out there. And in rural or isolated communities this is actually true.

    Which then leaves individuals who greatly need help with a resource that doesn’t help them, and can harm them–and then they are BLAMED for not succeeding in sobriety because their only help was not helpful. Which in turn leads them to blame themselves and piles onto the downward spiral of addiction.

    A majority of the work I’ve done over the years is with victims of trauma–sexual, physical, emotional child abuse and neglect, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, etc. And AA in particular can be extremely harmful for victims of sexual abuse when the focus on admitting to being ‘powerless’ over addiction; being powerless is the one thing victims try not to be.

    must get back to work.

  13. 13
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    If I recall correctly from the last online discussion I saw about this, AA is set up so there cannot be studies of efficacy: by design, there is no way to identify who is and isn’t going to meetings, or whether/to what extent they or anyone else are using AA methods.

    That leaves anecdotes, on all sides, and those probably skew to the extreme cases: the people who say AA (or NA or a related group) saved their lives, and the ones who say it was useless (for themselves or for people they care about). Not the ones who, say, got their lives back on track by some other method, without ever touching AA (which some AA boosters say is impossible or proves that those people weren’t really alcoholics). Not the ones who went to some AA meetings, but think that something else is how they got sober.

    Note: stories of the form “so-and-so didn’t go to AA, kept drinking, and is dead now” don’t count, because they assume the point they’re trying to prove, namely that AA would have changed that outcome.

  14. 14
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    One of the best things about the internet is that it allows atheists to access atheist/agnostic 12-step groups – a good one is http://groups.google.com/group/atheist-aa. The experience of very very long-term sober people who are also atheists is useful for those trying to figure out how to deal with the bizarre theocratic tone of AA in a lot of places.

    The very odd thing is that there have always been out atheists in AA, from the very beginning, before the publication of the book, even. It’s only in the last 15 years that the Christian gotta-have-a-god fools have gone to town making sure that everyone believes the right way and that they get to kick out all the atheist groups.

    One other thing: one reason a lot of AAers become atheists is actually following the Big Book’s prescription to carefully figure out a version of god that one can believe in. Doing this honestly is a good way to get towards the “what most people call god is a combination of their own inner resources and the wisdom of other people.” This works even better than the Magic Sky Fairy, without any woo, and you don’t even have to call this “god.”

  15. 15
    Usernames are smart

    Oh Dear.

    AA is _NOT_ the only way. I find it hard to believe any AAer would say that (since it says just as much in the big book).

    AA is _NOT_ religion — in fact, AA is predicated upon the idea that religion doesn’t work to stop an alcoholic from drinking!

    * There are some religious remnants (e.g., saying the lord’s prayer) left from the sources Bill W based the program on. There is an ongoing effort to get rid of those.

    The point of “admitting powerlessness” is to stop trying to do the same thing, while expecting different results. Don’t confuse being powerless with being a victim.

  16. 16
    benjaminking

    The first issue I purchased of Skeptical Inquiry magazine (or maybe it was Skeptic magazine) had a feature on Secular Organizations for Sobriety and the realities behind AA. Illuminating stuff for someone who has had no experience with AA and 12 steps programs outside of fictional portrayals.

    The stupid is strong in this thread. So fucking what if there are few alternatives, or it has helped some people. 12 step programs based on submitting to higher powers should not get a free fucking pass. Church gave me the first opportunities to question my beliefs and look deeper into the authorship and historicity of the Bible. Doesn’t fucking mean Christianity shouldn’t be criticized and critically examined at every opportunity.
    Seriously, no organization, no how much good it has done or how benign it may appear, is exempt from rational inquiry. This is a fundamental principal of freethought and skepticism, and one of the ideas that attracts me to this blog over others in the skeptical/humanist/atheist sphere. Depressing to see people leap to AA’s defense.

  17. 17
    tim gueguen

    Even if AA can be proven to be effective it’s still a problem because it’s so come to dominate dealing with addictions, at least in North America. Its omnipresence prevents people from realising there are other methods of dealing with addictions that might be more right for them. Has anyone for example seen an American movie or television series that doesn’t have an alcoholic go to an AA meeting when they try to deal with their addiction?

  18. 18
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    AA literature, especially the old stuff, is clear and explicit that medical treatment is necessary and that better research will provide better treatments. The problem is that the appalling treatment-center industry has glommed onto 12 step self-help as a revenue stream and not-coincidentally, has enshrined the woo-ish aspects as dogma, and ignored or suppressed the practical/cognitive/choose what you want that works aspect (that’s the part that works without fancy woo-treatment). Also, a lot of the judicial/mental health/medical community have decided, actively or not, to let the for-free self-help community deal with the issue, regardless of whether it’s effective. I get the feeling that there’s a “Why pay for research when these guys will do it for free?” attitude in research and treatment funding.

    12 step programs are a great resource for people who want to be there, but it’s a SELF-HELP program, not a “We wish to have resentful, intoxicated, unwilling people forced to come to our meetings.” No one should be forced to attend AA meetings.

  19. 19
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Well, the title of this post gave me a moment’s pause, I must say: The last thing I need is the enmity of the Horde!

  20. 20
    jennyjfwlucy

    It’s hardly AA’s fault that other avenues of treatment are not more widely available.

    AA also never says it is the only way to get sober — just that it is the only way that has worked for its members.

    And AA does NOT require belief in God. Period.

    AA is like . . . the moon. It is there. It doesn’t give a damn if you want to go to it or not. It doesn’t want your money. It doesn’t want your vote. If you happen to want to go to the moon, it’s there. But it’s not recruiting.

    And so to put it in the same category as schoolbook tamperers or evangelical churches or missionaries or creationists is simply foolish. Don’t tar it with that brush, though, because unlike those groups of people, AA doesn’t need you.

    And I’ve read those skeptical inquirer articles and I think they are a load of horse manure.

  21. 21
    Ingdigo Jump

    And AA does NOT require belief in God. Period.

    Just any magical being that can change your personality and remove character flaws upon request

    And so to put it in the same category as schoolbook tamperers or evangelical churches or missionaries or creationists is simply foolish.

    *snicker* Might I offer you my cockscomb nuncle?

    AA doesn’t need you.

    Isn’t that what cults say?

    A.A. is a place to be with people that have similar problems, and help each other.

    A.A is a place where people who claim to have a medical problem hang out with other people who have that problem in an attempt to cure it, despite none of them being trained in medicine.

    Because nothing works better for making you get over an all consuming addiction like constantly reinforcing thoughts about it.

  22. 22
    Ingdigo Jump

    Seriously, people who need help with addictions already use every damn excuse in the book to avoid getting any kind of treatment

    You’re implying AA isn’t another excuse to avoid getting treatment.

  23. 23
    voskw

    Boy, commenting here is not for the faint of heart, eh? Well, I’m glad that benjaminking and others are so passionate about their positions. The title of PZ’s post is “Enemies of Bill”. For those of you who may not know, that’s a play on words to “Friends of Bill” which is a term used in AA in reference to Bill W., one of the founders of AA. PZ’s post links to someone who posts that they revile(d) 12-step programs. I can’t speak for AA any more than I can speak for the athiest community, so I’m simply left with my little opinion (take it or leave it). But I, as an atheist, am not an enemy of people who desire to get sober by any means possible (even those who believe in the magical purple ass-fairy to do so). Nor do I revile anyone who makes the attempt to get and stay sober (in AA or by any other means). I guess the common ground I have with benjaminking is that I too think that no organization, no matter how much good it has done or how benign it may appear, is exempt from rational inquiry (his words, very well said too). Any sober aloholic who tells me that their purple ass-fairy god keeps them sober is going to get the same eye-rolling that I reserve for the ones who credit Jesus. But the fact still remains that they’re sober. And I’ve found (in my limited experience) that sober people are immensely more receptive to rational appeals than ones smashed out of their gords; even the ass-fairy theorists! And seeing people defend AA does not depress me. But I do wonder if having an attitude that essentially says “Yes, alcoholism is bad, yes you need to get sober, but I don’t approve that you do it in a way that relies on the supernatural, because I don’t believe in that!” is really a good position to have either. Even you, benjaminking, said church was the first opportunity to start questioning religous claims (I’ll presume you were sober when that happened). Many practicing alcoholics, mind you, are so hopeless that they do not have the resources or mental capacity to make ANY rational arguments whatsoever. So even though I too would prefer that there was less (or none) of the “god” stuff in AA, being sober, whatever path is taken to get there, is likely a necessary first step (no pun intended) if they are to eventually reach the same conclusions that I have about the nature of reality.

  24. 24
    The Sailor

    Ahh, I get it, the state forces you into a religious indoctrination program so you aren’t imprisoned.

    AA successes are a testimony to a higher power. Their failures are the individuals’ fault.

    Sounds like a religion to me.

  25. 25
    Danielle

    I thought I’d share my experience.

    My mom and step dad are in AA, and have been for most of my life. They go to meetings 3x a week, and I would sit outside until I was old enough to stay home alone. I’m glad they’re sober, and that AA works for them, but my experience shows why AA and other 12 step groups can be harmful. I know not all groups are like this, but I know most of them in my part of the country and a few other so called “pockets of enthusiasm” are.

    When I got into my early teens, they started pressuring me to joint Alateen. It’s a family disease, they said, and we won’t be a healthy family unless all of us are in recovery. They started taking me to more meetings, and to weekend conventions that were just meetings all day long. I resisted for a few years, but I gave in when I was 15 and had a fight with my friends. My self esteem was so low from my parents spewing their AA slogans at me and explaining that I was a part of the problem and not healthy that I eventually believed them.

    I joined Alateen. I got a sponsor, started working the 12 steps. I had to call her every day and tell her everything I did. I had to go to 3 meetings a week. I was told that I could survive off of one meeting a week, I would stay sane with two, but only if I went to three or more would I be able to recover. I was told I needed to go to weekend conferences at least twice a year, and that they didn’t count as part of my 3 meeting a week requirement. Because I was still a kid and hadn’t learned who I was, I became completely dependent. I didn’t do anything without asking my sponsor or someone else in the program first. I obeyed my sponsor and my parents without question. This escalated to the point where I was being told I should drop classes in college and graduate later so I could afford to go to more meetings (I didn’t have a car, and by bus it took an hour each way). I was also told to dump my now husband because he wasn’t part of the program and would drag me down.

    When I finally quit, I was told I would lose my relationship with God if I didn’t have the program, and once I lost my connection with God I would die of insanity. A year later I was an atheist. I’m still pretty messed up from this experience today. I have a really hard time making decisions for myself, and I’m just generally more insecure than I was when I was 15.

    What’s even scarier is that in my college town they didn’t just have Alateen, they had Alakid and Alatot. Once the kids of these AA members were old enough to talk, they were taught they were insane, but could be restored to sanity if they just gave their will to God and started working the 12 steps. Just sick.

  26. 26
    The Sailor

    “Because nothing works better for making you get over an all consuming addiction like constantly reinforcing thoughts about it.”

    This.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    @voskw, perhaps if you were sober you could use punctuation.

  27. 27
    Ingdigo Jump

    “Yes, alcoholism is bad, yes you need to get sober, but I don’t approve that you do it in a way that relies on the supernatural, because I don’t believe in that!” is really a good position to have either.

    Complete straw man.

    Here’s the thing. if AA relied on Druidic magic would you be in favor of it? The answer should be no because, and I know this is a shock, PRACTICES GROUNDED IN FICTION CAN DO DIDDLY ALL FOR CONDITIONS GROUNDED IN REALITY .

    Same reason one would oppose acupuncture.

    Know what the 12 steps need? An actual professional to help people who have a real problem. You don’t get to cut someone open to remove a tumor just because you have cancer. It doesn’t work that way.

  28. 28
    Reformthething

    Can’t we just reform the thing? The idea of an alcoholic admitting that he or she is 1) an alcoholic and 2) needs the support of others to recover and 3) should make amends for the things they did wrong is something I think that no one except the alcoholic-in-denial would find objectionable.

    Here are the steps with my commentary:

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. (I’d add “powerless AS INDIVIDUALS” since it’s by no means a universal characteristic as implied.)
    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (I’d change it to “CAME TO BELIEVE THAT THE HELP OF OTHERS CAN HELP RESTORE SANITY”)
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. (OMIT)
    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (I’d change it to “DID A PERSONAL INVENTORY OF THE EFFECTS THAT MY ADDICTION HAD ON MYSELF AND OTHERS”)
    5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (I’d change it to, “CAME OUT OF THE CLOSET ABOUT THE FACT THAT I AM AN ALCOHOLIC”)
    6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. (OMIT)
    7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. (OMIT)
    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. (Accept without objection)
    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. (Accept without objection)
    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (Change the last part to “WHEN WE HURT OURSELVES OR OTHERS ADMITTED IT AND MADE AMENDS”.)
    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. (OMIT)
    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (Change to, “WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO HELPING OTHER ADDICTS IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS”.)

    Dyed-in-the-wool AA-ers wouldn’t be able to accept a lot of this, but essentially, the people who made up AA one day just invented it out of thin air so we can too.

  29. 29
    William

    AA goes beyond pro-religion, some of its Literature/Ideology is anti-secularism.

    If AA was truly about promoting religion/spiritualism there still would not be any reason for their Literature to attack Secularism and Secular People.

  30. 30
    Carlie

    Why you gotta pick on seven step programs, particularly when, as joed and williamRDickson point out, there’s not a lot of alternatives out there?

    Because there are thousands of judges, across every state in the US, who legally require parolees to attend AA meetings. And, as onion girl said in detail, that “curriculum” can be actively harmful to some people.

    Not to mention that it teaches learned powerlessness.

  31. 31
    jennyjfwlucy

    Ing, you are flat out wrong. AA does not require belief in a SUPERNATURAL being. You can make the group itself your higher power, or nothing at all.

    And what kind of cult refuses your money, has no leadership to speak of, doesn’t take attendance and encourages you to be quiet about belonging to it?

    “A.A is a place where people who claim to have a medical problem hang out with other people who have that problem in an attempt to cure it, despite none of them being trained in medicine.”

    Yeah, so fucking what? It’s not LIKE there are a million other alternatives out there, hello!! At least they are trying and it works for some of them. Some people do need medical help as well — AA doesn’t give a shit. You think every single worthwhile human effort needs a trained and paid leader to get off the ground? Think union leaders or neighborhood organizers need MBAs or PhDs in human management?

    And Ing, you couldn’t make it more clear that you don’t really know what you are talking about when you mention druidic magic. Did you KNOW that there are Wiccans in AA? Who use Druidic spirits as their higher power? And no one gives a damn. At least Lear’s fool knew what he was talking about.

    Voske: Thank you!! Well put.

    Reform the thing: I think your changes are great and you’d have a lot of success finding members for and founding a group that would be willing to use that material. AA exists for YOU, not you for it.

    And again DON’T BLAME AA because people are remanded to it.

    That is an issue pertaining to the state, not to AA. The state could remand them to prison if it felt that that would make them less of a threat to society. I’m sure in fact that that IS an option for people who really don’t want to attend AA.

    Find a better alternative for getting drunks off the road, go on then! AA won’t care.

  32. 32
    The Sailor

    jennyjfwlucy, “AA does not require belief in a SUPERNATURAL being. You can make the group itself your higher power, or nothing at all. ”

    WRONG: “# Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God”
    # Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
    # Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
    Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    jennyjfwlucy, “It’s not LIKE there are a million other alternatives out there, hello!! At least they are trying and it works for some of them.”

    WRONG: there are no statistics supporting your position. If a drug had a an unknown chance of success it wouldn’t get funding.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    jennyjfwlucy, “And again DON’T BLAME AA because people are remanded to it.”

    AA has lobbyists who advocate for them and have convinced other godbots in the gov’t to fund them:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/alcoholics-anonymous

  33. 33
    Ichthyic

    From what I’ve seen in Southern California, AA is poorly managed group therapy with no trained oversight.

    Often used as a social club for people to meet up with people who share their problems.

    I’m not talking out of my ass here, my brother met 2 of his 4 wives there.

    while that kind of social interaction can be helpful, it typically just leads to co-dependency.

    Judges should be far more careful in deciding that AA is the option of choice to send people to that have appeared in court on issues involving drinking or drugs.

    if the idea is to get real therapy to change behavior, there are far better options.

    Well, there WERE anyway, before massive budget cuts closed most mental health care treatment facilities in CA. Now, as bad as AA is for oversight, there might not BE any better options for a lot of people, and that’s becoming a terrific tragedy.

  34. 34
    Ichthyic

    Some people do need medical help as well — AA doesn’t give a shit.

    yeah, my point exactly.

  35. 35
    Ichthyic

    Can’t we just reform the thing?

    yes, you can.

    those who participate in AA groups should ENCOURAGE participation from therapists trained in overseeing group therapy sessions.

    they should ENCOURAGE people within AA groups to followup with actual medical care and mental health practitioners.

    With a bit of work, and the help of the very judicial system which keeps sending people to AA, it could indeed be a quite a useful place to grow and heal, given the right kind of oversight and participation.

    I’d say probably the best way to accomplish that would be from within the groups themselves; use whatever resources you have at your disposal to make positive changes to your group so that the kinds of things that need to happen, DO happen.

    I’m betting that if you reach out to the mental health care community, at least some of them will be willing to volunteer their assistance to help manage and oversee some groups.

    I’d even guess that this already DOES happen with some groups; and that I just never heard of any that did. However, I’m reasonably confident it’s pretty rare.

  36. 36
    Ichthyic

    Alakid and Alatot

    *headdesk*

  37. 37
    Douglas

    I live in Houston and was very excited about the Atheist/Freethought convention this year. Just checked out the prices and I will NOT be attending. Sucks. I think the experience would be more than worth the money, but I do not have that much money to spare. Not sure the point of this comment… GOOD LUCK AT THE CONVENTION PZ!

  38. 38
    Carlie

    Douglas, you have a very legitimate point. I don’t know how this particular conference was organized, but it’s always good to have the reminder that price is a definite consideration (especially in this economy). There does need to be some tradeoff between cool facilities and ease of organizing it with the price point if a group wants a lot of attendees. It’s a good reminder.

  39. 39
    Ingdigo Jump

    And Ing, you couldn’t make it more clear that you don’t really know what you are talking about when you mention druidic magic. Did you KNOW that there are Wiccans in AA? Who use Druidic spirits as their higher power? And no one gives a damn. At least Lear’s fool knew what he was talking about.

    Yeah because Wiccans have SO much to do with the Druids *eye roll*

    You missed the point completely. Magic DOESN’T WORK. You’re gambling these people’s sobriety on a Dumbo’s Magic Feather…only it’s worse because the point of a magic feather totem is to illustrate to someone that they could do a task if they had the confidence; AA tells you that YOU ARE NOTHING WITHOUT THE FEATHER.

  40. 40
    Ingdigo Jump

    Yeah, so fucking what? It’s not LIKE there are a million other alternatives out there, hello!! At least they are trying and it works for some of them. Some people do need medical help as well — AA doesn’t give a shit.

    My point.

    You think every single worthwhile human effort needs a trained and paid leader to get off the ground? Think union leaders or neighborhood organizers need MBAs or PhDs in human management?

    Strawman

    MEDICAL conditions DO need medical expertise. You’re not just leading a group, you’re attempting to treat a condition. In my opinion AA claims that they belief Alcoholism is a disease and then proceeds to attempt to treat it without a license. By their own view they are criminal.

  41. 41
    The Sailor

    Douglas, do you have a substance abuse problem? Do you really think “I live in Houston and was very excited about the Atheist/Freethought convention this year. Just checked out the prices and I will NOT be attending.”

    Why would you think this has anything to do with this thread?

    Why would you think anyone cares?

  42. 42
    Hershele Ostropoler

    Vicki, 13:

    Not the ones who, say, got their lives back on track by some other method, without ever touching AA (which some AA boosters say is impossible or proves that those people weren’t really alcoholics).

    So a sort of inverse sharpshooter fallacy. Or is that no true Scotsman?

Comments have been disabled.