Most of you, my small yet awesome readership, did not know that since my first serious foray in addiction-topic writing I was sharing a laptop with my boyfriend. However, I prioritized, and also procrastinated making cool FB page about geek and horror culture. But mainly, I shared my story and persisted to get heard. Even a year ago, few ex-AA members had stories sharing the harm AA caused. Now, others are climbing out of the shadows, and maybe one story I shared helped make that happen… I am a notorious quitter, by the way, but I did not give up on this anti-abuse in recovery mission. I really couldn’t have done this without you; Thank you, you know who you all are. Thanks for sharing your stories with me too.
See, if you want something bad enough you make it happen. In active addiction, this go get ’em attitude is misused. But determination is a quality addicts excel at— it is not a character defect. (Damn, wouldn’t it be nice if AA had a step listing positive traits; How fucking motivational would that be?)
And we all know motivational tools exceed the devaluing, negativity based 12 Steps; Ask how many of the happiest steppers you know and love and they gladly despise the AA literature and read non-AA books.
Look up abuse symptoms to understand the damage AA causes is real. It’s not just one form of abuse, it’s many: mental, emotional, spiritual, it can be physical, sexual, and there are bullies, too. AA tells lies (such as wives wrote To Wives), but you can’t tell the truth about it, they will say calling out the problem is your problem. You will harm others if you say bad things about AA. 4th step is victim blaming. The first step is the first step of abuse— render your victim powerless. People are abused by AA.
Ok, I have a new tablet, and for those who do know me this is a major step up. My phone connection sucks (hashtag prepay life baby) and I never bought my own computer before. THIS is like… HUGE. Another gift of post-abusing chemicals living!
I promised myself to learn how to post from this tablet, and also to post shorter blogs. So… Double score for me today. Speaking of sharing stories, if you are looking for a realistic, frank portrayal of AA Life, its good and its bad, please check out Rolf Ankermann’s new book, 12 Steps to Dead. If you or a loved one ever lost a friend or family member to recovery, his book shows why and how AA can harm a person. (Much of the AA program, by necessity, must be worked outside of meetings— at houses, restaurants, parks, libraries, etc. It is not simply “go to the meeting and go home.”)
And newsflash people, doctors and professionals are often WRONG. Many learn in class the 12 Steps are the only way, meetings are support groups, and all alcoholics benefit from attending AA. Just because they got the answer right on a test does not mean they learned something valid or correct. Which brings me to two-hatters working in the addictions field. When your own therapist will not look into options other than AA, how effective is therapy? Their AA membership should not be bias in the way of finding help for their clients. It is one thing where it is a no-no to discuss other methods in an AA meeting, and another thing when someone feels silenced from talking about their problems in AA with a therapist. If you have been 13 stepped (sexually harassed or raped) in AA, and your therapist is an AA member, they will minimize your problem, say it was an “isolated” incidents, and that not everyone in AA is protecting predators (even though your therapist is protecting them by minimizing your trauma!)
For more information about how AA is deeply embedded in our health care system, making it harder for those suffering post-AA stress syndrome to recover, please check out the new Not Powerless blog.
Also, another post-AA recovery site, Expose AA, has been revamped with a new look and is a must-go-to place for anyone who has been harmed in AA, or who wants to expose the corrupt business practices of the non-profit organization of AA, their marriages to rehabs, courts, and other health care professions.
Lastly I am sporadically known to flutter around Twitter, and you can find me there @JulietAbram. Occasionally I hear from many open minded people in recovery who want to stand united, instead of the nausea inducing pro vs anti AA battlefield which was actually IN MY STRONG OPINION an attack on those speaking against AA by calling them “anti-AA,”… as if we are anti-“help”… When we are really anti-abuse, anti-sexual crimes, and anti-psychological harm. I don’t know about you, but I am pro-recovery, and abuse is wrong wherever it happens— if abuse happens in AA I will expose it because that is the “next right thing” to do.
I love reaching out to those active in the 12 Step community eager to hear the dark truth behind the “organization” of AA and the ugly side of participating in meetings. They seem more philosophy driven than super-psyched about AA anyhow. And in time, I hope they disassociate from affiliating their good names with an organization that does absolutely nothing if a member is abused, raped, or murdered. A big congrats to former AA member and filmmaker Monica Richardson for winning the best documentary jury selection at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. The 13th Step film is now on its way to Cannes!
In the meantime, also check out The Sobriety Collective, a fun, low-key, supportive website that appreciates all paths to recovery. I aim to educate the creator of the website about my past involvement in AA, how I learned what worked best for me, and the long time it took to beat obstacles in my way. I hope in sharing stories with each other, and I mean all of us, we grow to understand there was never just “one way” to get better in the first place. And anyone that ever said that in the first place got it wrong. Sometimes, I even get things wrong. I am still learning.