Twelve Stepper: My God
Is A Suburban Train
David Ward

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "david ward"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: September 23, 2001 6:53 AM

1. How comes only slightly over one percent of those who try AA are still there after five years -- according to AA's own Triennial Survey?

2. How come Twelve Steppers hold the record of writing the highest per-capita abusive letters to our Forum than any other group of people?

In other words, if you take the number of people from each people group who write to us and divide that number by the number of letters that display abusiveness toward us in the initial message, Twelve Steppers win hands down as being the single most abusive group on our entire board. This problem is so bad that I've been tempted several times to bar Steppers from this Forum -- I certainly get very little out of what they have to say, 'cause almost all of it is lies and arrogance.

Why is that?

3. If you don't have to believe in God (also known as "Him") in order to stay sober, then why does the AA "Big Book" say that you do? Atheists and agnostics are repeatedly: pitied; told we are deceiving ourselves; told we are going to die if we don't believe in God (also known as "Him"); told that we actually really do believe in God (also known as "Him") "deep down inside" -- if we could only be honest enough to admit it; told that much of our problem is prejudice against "spiritual things" -- whatever that means -- eliminating the possibility that some of us have spent years scrutinizing religious claims (and even the claims of Twelve Steppers!); told we will have difficulties if we don't change our religious views; coaxed to join the "over half" who have had problems in this respect but are now happy believers in God (also known as "Him").

Don't take my word for it: listen to AA co-founder "Doctor Bob" Smith:

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"If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you." (page 181)

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Yeah, we won't be tossed out of meetings, but the "Big Book" sure forecasts certain doom if we are unwilling to change our religious views to toe the party line, giving us the classic either-or ultimatum:

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"To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster ... To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face." (page 44)

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The "Big Book" tells us that atheism and agnosticism are forms of dishonesty, and that we really only have two options: Religion or Death:

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"But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life -- or else. Perhaps it is going to be that way with you. But cheer up, something like half of us thought we were atheists or agnostics." (page 44)

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And note that contrary to what our own minds tell us about what we ourselves believe, the AA "Big Book" asserts that we really do believe that gods exist, deep down in side. In other words, the "Big Book" says that mine is not the final word as to what's going on within the privacy of my own mind. It's a form of prejudice, according to Alcoholics Anonymous:

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"But [the newcomer's] face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored. We know how he feels. We have shared his honest doubt and prejudice. Some of us have been violently anti-religious." (page 45)

"...as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results..." (page 46)

"Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you..." (page 47)

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And don't forget that AA has a captive audience of impaired people, about half of whom have been ordered to attend by courts or personnel departments or child services agencies or professional boards, etc.:

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"[We] often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things make us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned.... Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became ... open minded on spiritual matters. ... In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness." (pages 47-8)

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The "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous plainly admits that recovery from the mythical and folkloric "disease" of "alcoholism" is secondary to its "religious trappings." The religious conversion experience is Priority Numero Uno in AA:

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"Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.... [That] means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty arises with agnostics." (page 45)

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Did you see that? Once more: AA admits that recovery from "alcoholism" plays second-fiddle to getting religion.

So, what was it that you were saying about God not being necessary? If you're telling me the truth, then how come after I join I pick up the "Big Book" and read stuff like this? Why does the AA "Big Book," tantamount to AA's Bible, repeatedly warn that I won't get anywhere until I get a God?

(And who cares which God? None of 'em! I'm an atheist for Christ sakes!)

Is this some sort of bait-and-switch head game that AA plays with us? telling us we don't need a God -- waiting until after we join to tell us to read the AA "Big Book" and find out how to "work" the Program (i.e., "Get a God, sucker!").

No wonder so many people who have listened to the AA sales pitches and have tried AA for themselves and know what's involve have become so bitter about the Twelve Step Programs! The Alcoholics Anonymous Program is the most ruthless religious con game that I have ever encountered.

And I haven't just read a few books or watched a television special on the subject: I have been studying exploitative religious and political cults off and on for just short of thirty (30) years, collectively logging over thirteen (13) years of almost full-time study of scary religious cults over that period of time, and collectively logging three years of intensive indoctrination within the Twelve Step Fellowships plus collectively logging over seven additional full-time years of "deprogramming" work (for both myself and later to help thousands of others come down from their AA experiences).

After all that experience, I repeat: The Twelve Step Program is the single most viciously exploitative religious cult I have ever encountered. The damage that the Program does to its victims (the indoctrination) is so subtle and so thorough (and so thoroughly terrifying) that it's almost impossible for an individual to ever return to the former state. Some elements of the AA indoctrination will probably remain in most former members for life.

This is my opinion, and I thank you for sharing yours. Have a nice life. I am not trying to talk you out of being in AA, since you appear to like it there. I am not trying to shut AA down. I will continue to work to educate the public as to the dangers of AA and will continue to lobby both government and industry to stop recommending AA to people who display substance abuse problems.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Added: September 23, 2001

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "david ward"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: September 23, 2001 8:56 AM

I just quoted eight different passages from the Big Book that say that you do have to believe in God (also known as "Him") in order to stay sober. These passages called anybody who says they don't believe in God (also known as "Him") dishonest and prejudiced.

Six of the Twelve Steps make a direct reference to this Him-God, and a seventh makes an indirect reference. The rest make no sense unless you believe in a rescuing deity. What's that I used to always hear at meetings, "Work the Steps or die"?

Tell you what:

Have a nice life and please go bother somebody else.

We encourage honest dialogue here, and we just don't like dealing with liars.

[Readers: The statistics that I "made up," come from the AA memo titled "Notes on the Triennial Surveys" and was once available for a few bucks from AA headquarters in New York. If it is not still available, several people that I sent there to get one would likely have gotten back to me and told me that they don't give them out any more. So, I assume you can still get it based on nobody coming back and telling me otherwise when they asked me where to get it.]

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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