I’m called an AA Basher because I am opposed to AA for numerous reasons: My personal experience with the program making my problems worse. The fact AA is grossly ineffective yet has a monopoly over the treatment industry. The 12 Steps are negative, and use religion to scare believers into submission, and teach dependency.
For anyone with self-esteem issues, also including severe past history of abuse, the 12 Steps are the worst medicine a professional can prescribe. I am not an AA Basher for pointing this out, I am simply putting the facts out there. Bulling people online in an attempt to embarrass, shame, or run them into a corner to hide is not proving AA members to be “healthy” after working the 12 Steps. It actually makes you appear cruel, heartless, and disturbed.
I guess I should thank the online bullies for illustrating the point so many of us have tried to make. If it’s wrong to point out AA has no safety policies, no code of conduct against sexual harassment, or any formal complaint process, then it just further discredits the organization. No one should seek help at any group, dealing with any problem, and have to put up with harassment. Yet, the books themselves are seeped in bigoted sexist language and that seems to foster a culture that permits crime.
Yes, crime happens anywhere, but I can’t think of any organization or business as lawless as Alcoholics Anonymous. If your loved one is murdered by an AA member, AA will offer no condolences. Meetings are open to the public, even the closed meetings, and all you have to do is announce you are a member. AA calls “anonymity” a spiritual principle, but how is denying a rape victim help and protecting a rapist SPIRITUAL?
I’m bashing harassment, abuse, rape and murder— all of which deserve to be bashed.
I’m bashing an organization’s silence on the matters.
I’m bashing an operation that allows crime to persist and does nothing to address members’ concerns.
I’m bashing a fellowship that uses books that sends women’s rights back to the 1930s.
Only in AA would bashing misconduct and unethical, immoral business practices be wrong; Which is precisely why I oppose the organization of Alcoholics Anonymous.
However, opposing the organization of AA does not mean I oppose every individual member. Many are working above and beyond the confines of only carrying the AA message. They are more interested in reaching out and helping others than trying to sell them on AA. I’m “accused” of wanting AA to change. Yes, I absolutely do want AA to change, because progress is not a bad idea. I’m accused of wanting AA members to be knowledgeable about treatments for alcoholism that are not AA. Guilty as charged.
In Tracy Chabala’s recent article, “What It’s Like to Go to SMART Recovery After Eight Years in AA,” she writes that the SMART facilitator mentions other forms of recovery:
He seemed happy that I was there, and then he started the meeting with an explanation of what SMART is—an abstinence-based recovery program based on self-management and self-reliance, one that uses mostly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and some Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), all proven through scientific research to help with addiction. He told us we were encouraged to participate in meetings as long as they were helpful and discontinue if we felt we had adequately achieved our goals. He told us some people attend other recovery programs like LifeRing, SOS, or AA, and others just did SMART alone.
Is this SMART facilitator remiss for mentioning other “brands” by name? No, he is informing people that other options exist so they can get as much help as they can get or want to get.
Is being knowledgeable about alternatives to AA sound horrible to anyone? It sounds responsible to me. Does wanting AA to safeguard their members sound horrible to anyone? It sounds like being accountable to me. Responsibility and accountability are taught in AA, but how has the organization set an example with dodging responsibility, allowing misconduct in the rooms, and taking no accountability whatsoever that there are no rules against 13 Stepping, sexual harassment, and other crimes?
Again, I blame the literature that teaches a person is at fault even if they are the ones who were hurt by another person. I blame literature that makes it perfectly clear if a person does not give themselves FULLY to the AA program they will drink and they will die. What AA has done is created a perfect scenario of sitting ducks, who believe if they tell on a perpetrator they are blaming, pointing fingers, breaking their anonymity if they tell the police, and not seeing “their part in it.”
Of course, if an AA member grabs your ass and fondles your breasts, you should report this violation to the proper authorities. However, AA does not have a disclaimer making it abundantly clear to ALL members that the law of the United States comes before the 12 Steps. At this point, I am sick of hearing how professionals coerce AA attendance and even impose consequences on those who fail to comply with going to meetings. This includes doctors, nurses, lawyers and pilots.
Tom Gleason writes of institutional abuses of power and 12 Step coercion on his blog: Not Powerless. Michael Langan writes of those in the medical profession forced to participate in 12 Step groups and more on Disrupted Physician. And there is talk of pilots suing the FAA and their employers for forcing them into 12 Step programs.
Members are actually told outsiders, those not in the program, don’t understand AA and don’t realize that sick people (those who rape or molest children) need AA’s help too. How dare a person “play the victim” because they are hurting a sick person (a rapist) who needs to work the AA program? How selfish and self-centered of the victim, who wants all the attention on them, and is building a resentment which AA teaches will lead to alcoholic death. Let it go, they tell the victim.
Because of all of these injustices and problems within AA, and the fact I talk about them, I’m called an AA Basher. I wrote about this for The Fix over a year ago, but little has changed. If you point out AA’s problems, you will be called a lot of bad names in an attempt to discredit you. However, facts cannot be discredited and this reflects poorly on the name callers, not the individuals pointing out the truth.
Recently, I posted a video featuring Hitler, and although that is a strong artistic statement meant to indicate dictatorship (sponsors, oldtimers) and the rigid adherence and loyalty members develop to AA, I’m back to being called an AA Basher. Actually, I’m a Hitler Basher. His image is in there because it’s a strong image of what I am against: Hate, abuse of power, and killing innocents. I see a lot of hate, abuse of power, and innocents killed in AA. If the shoe fits…
I am sorry it’s hard for people to hear that AA is not perfect and many are harmed by its program, but the truth hurts. I wish those who devoted time and energy getting mad at me would take that time and energy and work to make AA better, instead of defending AA warts and all. Warts. No, more like Deathly Lesions. As though rape and murder are just pesky annoyances one must put up with while attending AA.
Yet, if members continue to defend the product they’re selling, and the public becomes more aware of the product’s defects, the less consumers will buy the product. AA’s reign of cover-ups and silence is over. It’s time to fix the system, because AA refuses to change while the rest of us refuse to allow AA to hurt anymore people.