Alcoholics Anonymous:
The Only Hope;
You're Responsible
For This Page
Dave E.

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Dave E <david.mre.uk@cwcom.net>
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Thursday, October 28, 1999 2:46 AM

I could not imagine such a thing. Have you found a site such as you describe? Tell me the URL and I'll show that webmaster a thing or two! People have no business telling addicted people that they have no hope or that they are powerless because this is not only an outright lie but a dangerous and destructive lie.
 

Do you mean, "What is my problem with Alcoholics Anonymous?" My problem with Alcoholics Anonymous is clearly stated on my website. It started when I was taught that I was powerless over my addiction, which made sense before I had all the facts. It ended when I realized that I had been illegally forced to undergo religious instruction in the form of 25 months of court-mandated AA attendance.

In short:

AA admits that fully 95 percent of those who try AA drop out within the first year. The study wherein they admit this is the triennial survey. For twenty-one years, now, AA's triennial survey has shown between a 94- and 96-percent dropout rate for the first year.

The results of these surveys are published by AA but are not puclicized by AA. They are actively suppressed, and the membership and the public is told a different story. This makes sense because these are dismal figures that nobody would rightly be proud of; nevertheless, AA tells the public that "it works!" AA keeps publishing the 1939 edition of its book which makes lofty claims about AA's success rate, but never inserts footnotes indicating what AA knows is the truth: AA does not work for very many people at all.

Meanwhile, AA and NA have allowed themselves to become institutionalized in that they go along with the Government's decision to force people to attend AA against their wills. Several high courts (U.S. Circuit and State Supreme) have ruled that AA and NA are "unequivocally religious" when it comes to the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The legal use of the word religion is differen from how you or I would use it in everyday conversation. AA is one of the "religions" that the Unites States Constitution forbids the government to "establish" and when the lower courts sentence people to attend AA instruction they establish a religion (AA).

My beef with AA is that it endorses this patently illegal practice (and becomes culpable in this lawbreaking) whenever a group secretary signs a meeting attendance verification slip. AA could easily recommend that groups not sign these forms, -- They won't stop doing this because the enforced recruiting strengthens AA's numbers and financial situation. It also legitimizes AA's message which cannot be legitimized on its own merit. AA must have this illegal endorsement to have any legitimacy at all, because its recidivism rate is so phenomenally poor that no branch of medicine (or method) with figures like AA's would be allowed to do business.

Finally, as to the claim that AA is primarily about making people moral, I refer you to a photo of a recent piece of mail I received from a Twelve Stepper in Florida.
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9834.htm
Although very few AA members I have encountered would go this far, hardly any of them are willing even to entertain the notions that: (1) AA might not be all it's cracked up to be; (2) other methods may be equal or even superior in thier effectiveness; (3) the vast majority of Americans who have had drinking problems at one time or another quit on their own, without any help whatsoever.
 

Planned permanent abstinence is the solution to both of the problems you describe: alcohol dependency and recovery group dependency. You can whistle in the dark if you want to, I don't care; however, you may want to consider a synopsis of what people have said when they quit on thier own, and stayed quit, without help.

First, you already exert absolutely no effort at not drinking: how much effort or work or energy does it take not to do something? It is life that take effort.

This is my big problem with the AA philosophy itself. It teaches people the false doctrine of powerlessness, for the purpose of hooking people into the AA program -- as life-long supporters and as unpaid recruiters.

The truth is, you know better than to drink; this is clear from your letter. Where is that notion in your head -- that notion which seems like you want to drink -- coming from? I say that it is a primordial, predatory appetite that has no access to your voluntary muscles such as your arms. Also, this appetite is stupid in that it doesn't know the likely consequences of drinking any more than a dog knows that the steak that a disgruntled neighbor just tossed over the fence is laced with poison. The dog will eat the steak unless it has been highly trained as a guard dog, in which case it won't be awareness of the likely consequences that will prevent the dog from eating the steak. This appetite portion of the human brain is no smarter than a dog or a horse or a crocodile: it cannot think abstractly and thus cannot predict likely outcomes of specific behaviors.

So, then, if this "voice" in my head thinks I want to get loaded, and if I -- the boss -- know better than to get loaded, what do I do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This "voice" is powerless to act, it can only jump up and down and snivel and wink its eye and try to bluff. It cannot hurt me and it certainly does not control me. This "voice" or "urge" is merely annoying, nothing more.

The only way I will ever get loaded is to deliberately decide to get loaded, and then deliberately carry out that decision. As long as I know what is in my best interest -- never to get loaded again -- I will never become impaired by drugs or alcohol again. This is why I teach people to make a decision for planned, permanent abstinence; I think "One day at a time" is a reservation which means "Try me tomorrow" and that "Keep coming back" is a reservation which means "You cannot stay clean under your own power." Where is the hope in that?

I don't need a program to teach me that. Nobody does. If you don't know this, it takes only about 20 minutes to go over it. I have taught thousands of people how to stay clean and sober without the program. Why do you wish to hold me accountable for thanklessly and sacrficially providing this empowering service to others, and then turning around and paying thousands of dollars out of my pension to keep the local chapter afloat?

The technique that I taught for seven-and-one-half years is powerful enough that I taught several bartenders how to quit drinking without changing careers. I taught hundreds of gay men and lesbians how to quit drinking without having to abandon the bar scene, which is the cultural center of most gay and lesbian communities. One time, I showed an extremely successful topless dancer how to quit cocaine without changing careers. She didn't want to stop dancing but the cocaine was killing her. Later, after she dried up from the coke and booze, she realized that she didn't want to continue dancing, but that decision is out of my realm; at the time she wanted to learn how to quit, she didn't want to change careers, and I helped her learn how to quit on her own terms.

You have a problem with that?

If so, then I would like to hear you make the case for the disease and/or powerlessness models -- or else for any model that says that drinking and drugging is a behavior and that it is a deliberate choice and that that's as much as we can agree about on the subject. When you come up with your statement, go to the Rational Recovery page and submit it to the webmaster. They have a section which consists of all the evidence they have received that "alcoholism" is, in fact, a bona fide disease and that people called "alcoholics" are actually powerless over their appetite for pleasure and self-indulgence. I read that section of their page just the other day. It's pretty funny.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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