Alcoholics Anonymous
Is Not Perfect
Rachael BlackRaven

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <>
To: "BlackRaven"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 00:14:20 -0700

The author obviously never studied the results of AA's own "Triennial Survey" wherein AA consistently gives itself about a 95 percent recidivism rate in the first year.

These figures can be corroborated by comparing Narcotics Anonymous's sales of the various"clean-time" keytags. The sales of nine-month keytags are well under ten percent of the "welcome to NA" keytags, though when I studied those figures the one-year tag sold slightly higher than the nine-month, due to the fact that many groups gave a one-year tag to anyone who had multiple years. NA now has a special tag for "multiple years," so the sales figures for one-year tags would predictably fall below those for the nine-month tag.

The implications behind these figures are also corroborated by the American Lung Association, who told me that fully 94 percent of smokers quit without any help whatsoever. To highlight the shocking implications behind these facts, anti-"treatment" lecturer and advocate Stanton Peele regularly asks his audience how many have quit both drugs or alcohol and tobacco. When asked which is harder, those who had quit both substances almost always tell him that the tobacco was harder to quit. It is interesting that if drugs and alcohol are easier to quit than tobacco, and if only an insignificant number of smokers even seek help when they quit, that we install these expensive, ineffective treatment programs for drugs and alcohol, and insist that AA is the answer (and insist that it works when the truth is that it doesn't).

The point I am trying to make on my site is this: with all the whooping it up for AA and NA, and with all the court-mandated coercion into the AA and NA programs, those programs simply don't work. Their effectiveness is considerably worse than the natural outgrowth of addiction, and certainly worse than chance for the comparatively few addicted people who end up trying the Program. The doctrines of powerlessness, group-dependency, abstinence conditioned on one's relationship with a rescuing deity, and temporary "Just For Today" abstinence can be shown to actually impair one's prospects for long-term abstinence. Quitting once and for all, and doing it entirely under one's own power has shown itself to be a much better prospect.

Finally, when push comes to shove, the Program is not about quitting an addiction, the Program is about the Program. Furthering the Program's agenda is more important than anyone's continued sobriety. Furthering the Program's agenda is more important even than obeying the United States Constitution when it comes to cooperating with agencies that illegally mandate people into the Program in violation of the First Amendment. In fact, furthering the Program's agenda is even more important than the Program's own core tradition that says the Program is strictly voluntary and that nobody should be forced to become involved in the Program against their will. This is evidenced by the fact that the groups continue to sign people's meeting attendance slips and refuse to express an opinion on their own core tradition about the Program being voluntary.

Meanwhile, two studies have shown that between 70 and 80 percent of those who were once addicted to drugs or alcohol quit on their own without so much as reading a pamphlet.

The Twelve Steps are law when some poor schmuck has been mandated into the Program by a court, or has been coerced into the program by an agency such as Adult and Family Services at the risk of losing the custody of one's own children -- just for blowing .08 in a .07 state (a single pound of Guinness)! The Twelve Steps then become law because the "Big Book" pronounces dire warnings and predicts fearful consequences of any who would dare to think for oneself on such matters as the Twelve Steps.

Sure the Twelve Steps are "suggested": The Steppers and the literature "suggest" that you work the Twelve Steps (read: get religion) because your only other choice (according to the "Big Book") is to die a miserable death. And if you don't tow the party line in some Twelve Step communities, they will ostracize you and things can get quite tough -- especially when you don't know the truth and all you think you know is just the official Twelve Step disease and powerlessness dogma. If you come to believe you're powerless, you become powerless!

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.