“You’re Just Anti-AA!” (Like I just woke up and decided that for no reason?)
In this Internet age a blogger is like an apple, on a tree, in an orchard, of many orchards. That is a bad analogy, rarely have I seen a blogger live a glamorous life unless they’re Jenna Marbles, Zoella or Isabella Rose Taylor (ages 25, 24, and 13 respectively). I’m 32 and I’m an AA critic. Maybe if I wore a tiara and heels I’d get more attention. But whatever I wear doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter.
The main problem for women blogging about something as serious as addiction recovery issues is that it isn’t about fashion, make-up, or sex. Ok, so there is sex but it’s mainly related to 13 Stepping and assaults. So it’s not even humorous or entertaining.
Doug Stanhope is funny. He cracks on how “AA tells you to make up your own God if you don’t already have a God… I’m a drunk. I can’t even make up a good excuse for why I pissed in the sock drawer last night. This is probably not a good time for me to be creating omnipotent deities.” I wish I could make more jokes it that meant getting your attention- and maybe I will- because AA criticism needs your attention.
What I learned by coming out as an ex-AA member is that criticizing AA invites current members to criticize me. And as exciting as that sounds, I say nothing negative about AA that’s more or less unreasonable than someone criticizing the Catholic Church, clean air laws, or the side-effects of Prozac.
Imagine someone saying, “Prozac gave me a high fever, diarrhea, hallucinations, upset stomach, nervousness and a decreased sex drive.” If your friend told you that, you’d tell your friend to go back to their doctor and get off Prozac. But if you tell someone, “AA gave me low-self esteem, disrespected my religious beliefs, increased depression, raised anxieties, and made me think about drinking more not less,” shouldn’t your own doctor tell you to stop taking AA? Shouldn’t your friends understand and believe you?
But no, I continue to hear from people representing themselves as AA members that the problem is with me. I did not work the steps correctly. I did not get the right sponsor. I did not try enough meetings. I can only estimate that in the thousand plus meetings I went to, and approximately three thousand plus hours of AA exposure, that in that amount of time AA would have proven itself effective.
I Remained Silent for Ten Years Too Long- I Don’t Recommend That
Yet, out of respect to current AA members, back in 2006, I refrained from criticizing AA when I left the first time. I pretended like three years of my life in the program at that point had not tattooed an impression on me. I stuffed down the times I felt afraid to talk in a meeting, was teased for bring up sexism in the Big Book, and discouraged from sharing my atheism. My entire personhood in AA was not supported, which is why to me AA is not a support group.
Now that I write blogs about my experiences in AA, I get relatively the same reaction from AA members as I did ten years ago. But I will continue to write and I will continue to let people criticize me for speaking up because I know what the alternative is like. I know what silence does to a person. Silence after abuse and mistreatment makes a person struggling hide their pain, adding to their misery, and their likelihood of drinking to stuff down their feelings.
I particularly loathe hearing this excuse from people in AA: “If you speak about how AA hurt you, I fear you will harm others who may need AA’s help.” Excuse me, kindly, but didn’t I just get finished telling you how AA harmed me? You see, I agree with AA’s practice of honestly sharing, and if someone cannot honestly share their problems I agree with AA that they will not feel better. So whenever someone in AA tells someone not to speak, they are telling someone to be dishonest.
Nothing Beats Checking Your Inbox and Reading How Stupid You Are!
I don’t enjoy being ridiculed for sharing my experience with an audience, yet that is what happened to me when I attended AA. The most bitter, condescending, harassing comments by AA members on my blogs today are a great reminder for me. But enough about them, let’s talk about me. I was told I had a massive ego when I started AA. Bullshit. I had just escaped a destructive physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive relationship. Before that, I had enough self-esteem to fill a toothpaste cap.
It’s my turn to talk and I won’t shut up, even if you don’t want to listen. Consider it karma for all those AA “leads” I had to hear that were meant to convince me what a lowlife, scumbag, jerk I was supposed to be in order to fit in with others in AA. This is part one of a series so forgive me for this long set up, but if this is someone’s first time reading my blog I felt it necessary to inform them of the situation. Alrighty then…
Now to a few short questions and answers about myself:
What’s up with the name Juliet Roxspin?
My real last name is Abram; Most people mispronounce it. They say Abraham or Abrams. It is Abram- no ‘s’.
When did you have your first drink?
I was 13, I think. I poured wine into a plastic cup and let it sit on a shelf in my room. The shelf was in a bar- my mom moved her dad’s old bar that curved like a “C” and had black leather accents like an armrest around the top, and a diamond pattern on the front. I left the wine in my room too long it was warm and sour tasting and nasty. I poured it out.
That’s a real lame drinking story. What about the next drink?
My second drink was also around 13 or 14 when my aunt brought over Dom Pérignon champagne and I had a small flute glass of it and it was fizzy, to me it tasted no different than 7 Up or Sprite. Then I went back into my bedroom and listened to Nirvana albums, probably.
Ok, but what about your third drink?
It was a warm beer my friend stole from her house and we were both 14. We went to a park to split it under a tree. It was nasty and I spat it out. It was either the same year, or my sophomore year in high school, my cousin smuggled two cans of beer for me take home as kind of like a parting gift. I drank those and it was interesting but not memorable.
It sounds like problem drinking started at an early age for you.
Lol. Well, two years later after my brother’s high school graduation, there was fridge full of Busch light in the garage. I had about three of them one night and felt a bit fuzzy, but it was also late at night so I was tired and just wanted to go to bed. I did not want to get caught sneaking out to drink with my boyfriend behind the church across the street.
… to be continued…
Thanks for reading part one in my series of self-interviews. I truly want to thank everyone who’s read my blog and for sharing their stories with me as well. You help me by reminding me that even though what I write about is met with so much anger and apathy, that if I don’t write about the abusive culture of AA more will continue to be bullied and silenced by other members. I don’t want anyone who was mentally, emotionally, physically or sexually abused in AA to feel like they are alone. There’s no excuse for abuse.
*Notes and Thoughts*
Narcissists twist and manipulate the blame from themselves and accuse you of harming them. I include a link in here, and also a link to how abusers tell their victims not to talk to others. Never let someone tell you in AA that you can’t trust others outside of AA. Don’t let them tell you to shut up or accuse you of being childish and a complainer. They are playground bullies who have not grown up.