Meant To Be Voluntary
I read some of your articles concerning AA and I am glad to see people who are against people being court ordered to go to AA in or out of jail. AA is not meant to be forced on anybody (although some members and others who do not understand AA think so), it is truly only for those that want it. I have had several friends who have died drunk rather than participate in AA. AA is strictly, completely for those who want it rather than for those who need it. Since people have been court ordered to AA and the whole treatment industry has grown up around it, AA has actually been weakened and watered down. I hope more people jump on the no-court-ordered bandwagon,
From: Cliff Walker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: CHUCK CHAMBERLAIN
Subject: Re: thank you
Date: Friday, May 14, 1999 6:46 PM
If AA is not meant to be forced upon people, then it seems that AA would be vigorously opposing this practice. I think the minimum demonstration to show that AA is not meant to be forced upon people would be a decision from World Services recommending to groups that they refuse to sign attendance slips.
When AA and NA and the others do this, I will again believe them when they claim that the Program is voluntary. Until they do, we have no reason to believe them when they tell the public that their program is voluntary and anonymous.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
I am going to start writing letters and working on my local level for this. There are many others like me who think this way. I am glad there are other ways for people to overcome addiction.
PS. I have been waiting for someone to file a lawsuit challenging the practice of governments forcing people to attend a spiritual entity. Maybe one of your group?
Several lawsuits are documented in our "Recovery Watch" page and also at Rational Recovery's page. Of primary concern is the courts' repeated declaration that AA is "unequivocally religious" when it comes to Constitutional definition for religion.
I wish I was in a position to lobby World Services (AA) or the World Service Board (NA) to make such a pronouncement. NA has made similar pronouncements ("recommendations") on other issues that do not reflect so heavily on NA's identity.
Don't let them pull the old "outside issue" routine on you. This is not an "outside issue" because volunteerism is crucial to NA's very identity.
I cannot (and should not) try to change AA or NA from the outside. I can, however, bring this travesty to the public attention, and can lobby for changes in public policy. Even working from both ends, I don't see us making all that much headway, what with all the anti-drug hysteria afloat.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
It has been interesting to have run across your website at this particular time. I have been thinking more and more lately on how destructive it has been to AA to have people there who don't want to be there and what can I do to raise the awareness level of others. As you know I can't do much, and I have heard the outside issue thing, but I am going to do what I can.
Thanks for your input and please keep letting suffering drug addicts and alcoholics know that AA is not the only road to recovery,
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