The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy
by A. Orange

The idea that you'll have more intrinsic worth sober than drunk is a bigoted, fascist view that holds that members of certain groups are intrinsically less or more deserving than others — a view that has caused more human suffering than any [other] single idea.

— Jack Trimpey

This is President Abraham Lincoln, speaking to John M. Thayer, a brigadier from General Ulysses S. Grant's army, about the complaints about General Grant's drinking:

"Delegation after delegation has called on me with the same request, 'Recall Grant from command,' as the members of the delegations were not willing that their sons and brothers should be under the control of an intemperate leader. I could not think of relieving him, and these demands became very vexatious. I therefore hit upon this plan to stop them.
      "One day a delegation headed by a distinguished doctor of divinity from New York, called on me and made the familiar complaint and protest against Grant being retained in his command. After the clergyman had concluded his remarks, I asked if any others desired to add anything to what had already been said. They replied that they did not. Then looking as serious as I could, I said:
      "'Doctor, can you tell me where General Grant gets his liquor?'"
      "'The doctor seemed quite nonplussed, but replied that he could not. I then said to him:
      "'I am very sorry, for if you could tell me I would direct the Chief Quartermaster of the army to lay in a large stock of the same kind of liquor, and would also direct him to furnish a supply to some of my other generals who have never yet won a victory.'"
      Lincoln handed Thayer a friendly slap on the leg, lay back in his chair, had a laugh, and resumed:
      "What I want and what the people want is Generals who will fight battles and win victories. Grant has done this and I propose to stand by him. I permitted this incident to get into print, and I have been troubled no more with delegations protesting against Grant. Somehow or other I have always felt a leaning toward Grant. Ever since he sent that message to Buckner, 'No terms but unconditional surrender,' I have felt that he was a man I could tie to, though I have never seen him."
      The secretaries, Nicolay and Hay, noted that when overzealous people had accused Grant of intemperance, Lincoln's reply was, "If I knew what brand of whiskey he drinks I would send a barrel or so to some other generals."
Abraham Lincoln, The War Years, Carl Sandburg, Volume II, pages 119-120.

An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature.
William G. Wilson, The "Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd and 4th Editions, page 16.

Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking. ... This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon.
William G. Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 44.

Drinkers are like that.
William G. Wilson, The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 9.

To describe drunkenness for the colorful vocabulary is rather cynical. There is nothing easier than to capitalize on drunkards.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian author, playwright.
Letter, December 24, 1886, to N.A. Leikin. Complete Works and Letters in Thirty Volumes, Letters, v. 1, p. 282, "Nauka" (1976).


        Many A.A. members participate in a tacit conspiracy to stereotype alcoholics. And the picture they paint of themselves isn't a pretty one.

In the book Bill W. by Robert Thomsen, the author tells the story of how the "Big Book" got its name back in the year 1939:

Akron favored "Alcoholics Anonymous," New York "The Way Out." Another burning issue, another impasse, and one that was resolved only when Bill sent a wire to Fitz in Maryland asking him to go to Washington and find out how many "Way Out"s were registered at the Library of Congress. Fitz's reply informed them that there were already twelve books entitled "The Way Out" and, as far as he could discover, no "Alcoholics Anonymous." That did it. No drunk was going to risk being the thirteenth anything. The book had its title, the fellowship had a name.
Bill W., Robert Thomsen, pp. 285-6.

The key sentence is "No drunk was going to risk being the thirteenth anything." All I can say is: "That's funny. I was an alcoholic for twenty years, and I never had a problem with being the sixth, or the twelfth, or the thirteenth anything. And I can't think of any drinking buddies who were particularly superstitious about the number 13. So why are you writing such garbage about us alcoholics?"

I'm not singling out that particular book for any special criticism; that book is just another pro-A.A. book that follows the standard A.A. party line about everything. The Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous is far worse when it comes to stereotyping alcoholics. And Bill Wilson's second book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is even worse than that one.

The author, Robert Thomsen, could have described the situation something like this:

"Bill Wilson and the other founders of A.A. decided not to use a name that had already been used, by other people, for other things, a dozen times over."
Or he could have written,
"The A.A. founders sensibly decided to use an original name, rather than one that had been already been used so many times, by so many other people."

Those would have been honest, factual statements. But Thomsen didn't do that; instead, he slipped a stereotyped slur against alcoholics into the text:

"No drunk was going to risk being the thirteenth anything. The book had its title, the fellowship had a name."

Notice how Thomsen implied that those A.A. members were afraid to take a risk, and implied that they were superstitious, afraid to risk the number 13. Notice how Thomsen called those early A.A. members "drunks," in spite of the fact that they weren't drunk. None of those people had any alcohol in their bodies. They were the successful A.A. members who had been sober for months or years. A.A. members often call themselves "drunks" too, even when they aren't drunk.

Such self-deprecation is supposed to be part of the "different" A.A. humor, but it's all part of the tacit wink-and-a-grin conspiracy to stereotype alcoholics. A.A. members actually gladly and gleefully participate in stereotyping themselves, because it makes them feel different from the "normal people", and special, and also part of a group. (It's a propaganda mind game called "creating a granfalloon".)

Also, promoting the idea that "we are all alike" allows some people to avoid their own feelings of inferiority relative to others in the group, and also allows them to avoid assuming personal responsibility for their past actions. It allows some people who have been really vicious cruel sickos to feel that nobody else is any better than them: "Us stupid drunks, ha ha, we are all alike, and just look at what alcohol made us do."

It's just like Flip Wilson's character Geraldine, who was always saying, "It isn't my fault. The Devil made me do it."
In A.A., "Alcohol made me do it. We are all the same because alcohol made us all do bad things."
Promoting the disease concept of alcoholism, and claiming that alcoholics can't control the disease, is just more of the same talk, just another way to avoid taking personal responsibility for one's own life.

One A.A. member recently expounded,

Sharing our many experiences with our friends in Twelve Step meetings helps us understand how very similar we all are. We are unique only in the sense that each of us has a special contribution to make in life, one not quite like anyone else's.

Keeping secrets from others can make us fearful. We think, could they really like me if they knew this? Yet we feel profound relief when we share our most shameful secrets in a meeting and the men and women listening to us don't blink an eye.
Jim B., in the newsgroup alt.recovery.aa, 25 May 2006.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.recovery.aa/browse_thread/thread/b5c9784ff00e9002/dae27c64e752e710#dae27c64e752e710

Thus, the author, Robert Thomsen, could tell the absurd story that Alcoholics Anonymous got its name because "no drunk was going to risk being the thirteenth anything", and no A.A. members objected to such nonsense. They had plenty of opportunities to object: The author states in the foreword that he knew and worked beside Bill Wilson for the last twelve years of Bill's life. (That means that Thomsen was almost certainly an A.A. member, and even worked at the A.A. national headquarters, alongside Bill Wilson.) Many high-ranking A.A. members, including the A.A. archivist and General Service Board staff members helped in the creation of the book. But it seems that none of them objected to that line about how Alcoholics Anonymous got its name because of the mental peculiarities or superstitions of those early alcoholic members. Of course not, they liked such stereotyping. Robert Thomsen probably learned it from them.

That is especially likely in light of the fact that Thomsen's book was based on a set of autobiographical tape recordings that Bill Wilson made before his death. (The Hazelden "autobiography", "Bill W.: My First 40 Years", ostensibly written by Bill Wilson, but actually ghost-written by Hazelden staff members, was also based on that same set of tapes.) So Robert Thomsen got the "Us Stupid Drunks" routine straight from Bill Wilson.

It is likely that Bill Wilson's entire story about having to decide between the names "The Way Out" and "Alcoholics Anonymous" is apocryphal, just like so many of Bill's other stories about A.A. history.6

The simple truth is that the Salvation Army had been using the name "The Way Out" for their religious cure for alcoholism ever since 1890, when General William Booth published his book, "In Darkest England and the Way Out". For Bill Wilson to come along in 1938 and use the same name for his book about his "new" religious cure for alcoholism would not have been very original, to put it mildly.

And considering how much the Salvation Army works with derelict alcoholics and street drunks, it is extremely unlikely that all of those original A.A. members could have been so ignorant of the Salvation Army program and its terminology.

Lastly, Clarence Snyder over in Cleveland, Ohio, had already been using the name "Alcoholics Anonymous" for his group of alcoholics for a while. It was Snyder who created the "Alcoholics Anonymous" name for the organization when he and his group of alcoholics broke away from the Oxford Group cult. Hence the Ohio alcoholics wanted the book to have the "Alcoholics Anonymous" name.

Bill Wilson was extremely reluctant to give Clarence Snyder the credit for creating the "Alcoholics Anonymous" name (or for anything else), and you almost never read about that in official A.A. "council-approved" literature. Here, Robert Thomson repeated Bill Wilson's cover-up. He wrote only that "Akron favored 'Alcoholics Anonymous'" without mentioning why.



The Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book" is loaded with stereotypical put-downs of alcoholics:

  • Our [alcoholic] actor is self-centered — ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining about the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the Twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?
          Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.   ...
    ... the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 61-62.

    Notice how Bill Wilson used the preacher's "we" in many of the following quotes. A preacher will say,
    "We are sinners. May God have mercy on us."
    when he really means,
    "You are disgusting sinners. May God have mercy on you."

    Well, Bill Wilson did that a lot — "Oh, us nasty alcoholics! We are all so bad! So stupid, so selfish, so self-seeking! We think we are God!"

  • Actually we were fooling ourselves...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 55.

  • Alcoholics being the argumentative lot that we are, the A.A. membership will undoubtedly come up with a few who will dispute these figures.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 399.

  • Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves?
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 54.

  • ...the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page XXIV.

  • More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 73.

  • The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 82.

  • Like most sick people before me, I was implacably selfish, and chronically self-centered.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 401.

  • An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 16.

  • Many alcoholics are enthusiasts. They run to extremes.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 125.

  • Drinkers are like that.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 9.

  • An alcoholic cannot accept the news that he's an alcoholic unless there is a meaningful explanation given, and an offer of help, such as you get in A.A.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 406.

  • In A.A., I have had to be torn down and then put back together differently.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 420.

  • Even so has God restored us all to our right minds.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 57.

  • Here I am, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons, a diplomate of one of the great specialty boards in these United States, a member of the American Psychiatric Society, and I have to go to the butcher, the baker, and the carpenter to help make a man out of me!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 348.
    (What? If you are a distinguished doctor who has a drinking problem, you aren't really a man? Says who? Why not?
    Was A.A. co-founder Dr. Robert "Bob" Smith not a real man?)

  • We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 88.

    That smacks of ego deflation with the intended goal of breaking down a recruit's will to resist indoctrination, and it is yet another veiled demand for surrender to the group. "God disciplining us" really becomes the group and the sponsor running our lives. Like Bill Wilson told his psychiatrist,
          [A.A. members are] impersonally and severely disciplined from without.
          (A personal letter from Bill Wilson to Dr. Harry Tiebout, 9 Nov 1950, quoted in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 129.)


And Bill Wilson regarded alcoholics with even greater contempt when he wrote his second book, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions":

  • Few indeed are the practicing alcoholics who have any idea how irrational they are, or seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. Some will be willing to term themselves "problem drinkers," but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill. ... no alcoholic ... can claim 'soundness of mind' for himself.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 33.

  • We thought "conditions" drove us to drink, and when we tried to correct these conditions and found that we couldn't do so to our entire satisfaction, our drinking went out of hand and we became alcoholics. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 47.

    "We" were really stupid, weren't we?
    That was one of Bill Wilson's stranger declarations of the cause of alcoholism. Bill had so many different goofy "causes" of alcoholism, ranging from nagging wives to instincts run wild.
    Bill Wilson totally overlooked the simple fact that many people drink because they feel bad and want to feel better...
    And getting drunk to kill pain and feel better is most assuredly "changing oneself to meet conditions", isn't it?

  • Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking. ... This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 44.

  • By now the newcomer has probably arrived at the following conclusions: that his character defects, representing instincts gone astray, have been the primary cause of his drinking and his failure at life...
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 50.

    "Instinct run wild", "character defects", and "instincts gone astray" — that's three more of Bill Wilson's goofy "primary causes of alcoholism".

  • Self-righeous anger also can be very enjoyable.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 67.

  • ...we reluctantly come to grips with those serious character flaws that made problem drinkers of us in the first place...
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 73.

  • We naturally congratulate ourselves on what later proves to be a far too easy and superficial point of view. We temporarily cease to grow because we feel satisfied that there is no need for all of A.A.'s Twelve Steps for us. We are doing fine on a few of them.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 112-113.


Now Bill really lays on the "Preacher's We" attack ("We are worthless sinners. May God have mercy on us...."):

  • ... in A.A. we slowly learned that something had to be done about our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 47.

  • No matter how far we have progressed, desires will always be found which oppose the grace of God.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 66.

  • We alcoholics are the biggest rationalizers in the world.
    The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill, William G. Wilson, page 160, and
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 292.

  • We never wanted to deal with the fact of suffering. Escape via the bottle was always our solution.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 74.

  • We want to find exactly how, when, and where, our natural desires have warped us.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 43.

  • If all our lives we had more or less fooled ourselves, how could we now be so sure that we weren't still self-deceived?
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 59.

  • As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions.
    The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill, William G. Wilson, page 267, and
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 236.

  • How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.   ...   We are certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in. This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds good in the speaking, but it still has to meet this acid test: how well does it actually work? One good look in the mirror ought to be answer enough for any alcoholic.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 36-37.

    So, because you screwed up before, you must now choose slavery, and let your sponsor and the other A.A. group old-timers do your thinking for you and tell you what to do and what to think.

    Notice how Wilson declared that simply using your own intelligence and will power to manage your own life and take care of yourself is "playing God". Bill claimed that God, and only God, had the right to dictate orders to you and tell you what to do with your life, so if you managed your own life by using your intelligence and will power to take care of yourself, then you were usurping God's authority. Bill says that you don't have the right to make such decisions. Then Wilson implied that you are mentally incompetent and unfit to manage your own life, so you can't do it. You are only fit for slavery. You are only fit to be ordered around by somebody else, like him.
    But who ordered Bill Wilson around, and corrected his thinking and gave orders to him?
    Nobody.
    (That's another standard cult characteristic — the guru bosses everybody else around, but nobody bosses the guru around.)

  • But it is from our twisted relations with family, friends, and society at large that many of us have suffered the most. We have been especially stupid and stubborn about them. The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being. Our egomania digs two disastrous pitfalls. Either we insist upon dominating people we know, or we depend on them far too much.   ...   When we habitually try to manipulate others to our own willful desires, they revolt, and resist us heavily. Then we develop hurt feelings, a sense of persecution, and a desire to retaliate.   ...   We have not once sought to be one in a family, to be a friend among friends, to be a worker among workers, to be a useful member of society.   ...   Of true brotherhood we had small comprehension.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 53.

    Bill Wilson was practicing psychological projection again. He was the one who really exhibited those characteristics. He was the one who treated other people like that.

  • Sometimes, when friends tell us how well we are doing, we know better inside. We know we aren't doing well enough. We still can't handle life, as life is. There must be a serious flaw somewhere in our spiritual practice and development.
    Bill Wilson, AA Grapevine, June 1958.
    Also see:
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, April 21.

  • We failed to see that, though adult in years, we were still behaving childishly, trying to turn everybody — friends, wives, husbands, even the world itself — into protective parents. We refused to learn that overdependence upon people is unsuccessful because all people are fallible, and even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands for attention become unreasonable.
    As Bill Sees It, Bill Wilson, page 265.

  • What are we likely to receive from Step Five? For one thing, we shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation we've always had.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 57.

  • To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman many A.A.'s can say, "Yes, we were like you — far too smart for our own good.   ...   Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on brain power alone."
    As Bill Sees It, quotes from William G. Wilson, published by A.A.W.S., page 60.

  • Such gross misbehavior is not by any means a full catalogue of the harms we do.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 81.

  • Few people have been victimized by resentments more than alcoholics.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 90.

  • Thus blinded by prideful self-confidence, we were apt to play the big shot.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 92.

  • We can try to stop making unreasonable demands upon those we love.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 93.

  • We "constructively criticized" someone who needed it, when our real motive was to win a useless argument. Or, the person concerned not being present, we thought we were helping others to understand him, when in actuality our true motive was to feel superior by pulling him down. We sometimes hurt those we love because they need to be "taught a lesson," when we really want to punish. We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom. This subtle and elusive kind of self-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 94-95.

  •       When we insisted, like infants, that people protect and take care of us or that the world owed us a living, then the result was unfortunate. The people we most loved often pushed us aside or perhaps deserted us entirely. Our disillusionment was hard to bear.
          We failed to see that, though adult in years, we were still behaving childishly, trying to turn everybody — friends, wives, husbands, even the world itself — into protective parents. We refused to learn that overdependence upon people is unsuccessful because all people are fallible, and even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands for attention become unreasonable.
    As Bill Sees It, quotes from William G. Wilson, published by A.A.W.S., page 265.

  • Either we had tried to play God and dominate those about us, or we had insisted on being dependent upon them.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 115.

  • Self-supporting alcoholics? Who ever heard of such a thing?
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 160.

  • Alcoholics are certainly all-or-nothing people.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 161.

  • ...our crippling handicap has been our lack of humility.   ...
    We never thought of making honesty, tolerance, and true love of man and God the daily basis of living.
          This lack of anchorage to any permanent values, this blindness to the true purpose of our lives, produced another bad result. For just as long as we were convinced that we could live by our own individual strength and intelligence, for just that long was a working faith in a Higher Power impossible.   ...   That basic ingredient of all humility, a desire to seek and do God's will, was missing.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 71-72.

    Bill Wilson constantly declared that all alcoholics were just as arrogant and egotistical as he was — completely lacking in "humility". Then Mr. Wilson declared that humility required "a desire to seek and do God's will".

    Watch out. That twist on "humility" is an important redefinition. It completely changes the meaning of a lot of Bill's proclamations and directives, and common A.A. slogans:

    • "Get humble or be made humble."
    • "Unless one attains some degree of humility, one is condemned to drink."
    • "Humility is the soil in which all other virtues grow."
    • "Humility is that virtue which reduces a man to the proper size without degrading him, thereby increasing him in stature without inflating him."
    • "Humility is like a venereal disease. If you have it, you don't talk about it."

    So it is that we first see humility as a necessity.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 73.

    You may have thought that all of the innocent-sounding appeals for "humility" were just appeals to not be egotistical — appeals to quit thinking you are better than everybody else — but now they get changed into demands that you spend all of your time doing Step Eleven, "praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." In other words, following orders.

    F.Y.I: The American Heritage Dictionary defines 'humble' as:

    humble
    adj.
    1. Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit.
    2. Showing deferential or submissive respect.
    3. Of low rank or station; unpretentious: a humble cottage.
    — tr.v.
    1. To make lower in condition or station.

    It doesn't say anything about practicing Frank Buchman's strange religion or "surrendering to the Will of God". Humility does not mean "a desire to seek and do God's will". Bill is just playing cultish word-redefinition games again...

    But you must do "God's Will", as defined by your sponsor (because you are supposedly too dishonest to correctly hear the Will of God by yourself), which ends up making all of the appeals for humility into veiled demands that you obey the orders of the cult elders — the group's old-timers — as they interpret God's will for you:

    If all our lives we had more or less fooled ourselves, how could we now be so sure that we weren't still self-deceived? How could we be certain we had made a true catalog of our defects and had really admitted them, even to ourselves? Because we were still bothered by fear, self-pity, and hurt feelings, it was probable we couldn't appraise ourselves fairly at all.   ...
          ... At this stage, the difficulties of trying to deal rightly with God by ourselves are two-fold. ... Somehow, being alone with God doesn't seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person.   ...
          The second difficulty is this: what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken? Lacking both practice and humility, they had deluded themselves and were able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them.   ...   Surely then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders in this fashion. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 59-60.

    Notice the heavy-handed use of propaganda tricks in Bill's sermon:

    • "If all our lives we had more or less fooled ourselves, how could we now be so sure that we weren't still self-deceived?"
      == That is Assume the Major Premise. Who says that we had fooled ourselves for all of our lives?
      That line also uses guilt induction, and The Preacher's We.
    • "Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous."
      and
      "...a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders..."
      == That is Fear-mongering, Playing On Emotions.
    • "...it was probable we couldn't appraise ourselves fairly at all."
      and
      "...what comes to us alone may be garbled."
      and
      "While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves."
      == Those are Sly Suggestions, finishing up with another trick:
    • Assumption Of Facts Not In Evidence:
      "while we are still so inexperienced..."
      • == As if people can only contact God by doing Bill's cult religion, and no alcoholic ever had religious experiences before following Bill's teachings.
        (But what about all of those Catholic priests who ended up drinking too much sacramental wine? Were their lives just spiritual voids before Alcoholics Anonymous?)
      • == And as if Bill's Buchmanite practices actually worked to give people "contact with a Power greater than ourselves" and "spirtual experiences" and "spiritual awakenings"...
      • == Oh, and who says that the sponsors really know anything about God and spirituality, and can really hear the Voice of God better than the newcomers? That's another groundless assumption. And that is quite an important assumption. If we find that the sponsors are no more spiritual or psychic than the newcomers, then that blows away Bill Wilson's whole reason for making the newcomers obey the "spiritual guidance" of the old-timers.

  • Bill continued his criticism of "The Generic Alcoholic":

          We have had a much keener look at ourselves and those about us. We have seen that we were prodded by unreasonable fears or anxieties into making a life business of winning fame, money, and what we thought was leadership. So false pride became the reverse side of that ruinous coin marked "Fear." We simply had to be Number One people to cover up our deep-lying inferiorities.
    ...
          True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 123, 124-125.

    Of course Bill Wilson was arbitrarily redefining words again. The word "ambition" does not mean any such thing.

  • In teaching us his methods of prayer and meditation, Bill wrote:

          "Shucks!" says somebody. "This is nonsense. It isn't practical."
          When such thoughts break in, we might recall, a little ruefully, how much store we used to set by imagination as it tried to create reality out of bottles. Yes, we reveled in that sort of thinking, didn't we?
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 100.

    That is complete nonsense, just more of Bill's delusional ravings.
    Our "imagination" was not trying to "create reality out of bottles."
    We did not "revel in that sort of thinking."
    We drank alcohol because we wanted to feel good, period.
    Bill Wilson is trying to claim that our thinking is hopelessly, permanently, broken, just because we drank too much alcohol and got sick for a while, so now we should all just unquestioningly accept all of his superstitious, pseudo-mystical proclamations, including his instructions about how to hear the Voice of God.

    Here we can clearly see that the constant put-downs are a power game, one intended to elicit submission, conformity, and obedience in the followers of Bill.



Other pro-A.A. literature repeats the self-contempt chant:

  • People gave me many other good suggestions as well. They suggested that I stay out of relationships. I was young and single, and I rejected this idea out of hand. For the first year I bounced from one sick relationship to another. They suggested that I get a sponsor. I had no idea what a sponsor was and I was too proud to ask, but I was sure I didn't need one. After all, I was smarter than the rest of these people. They might need someone to tell them how to run their lives, but double vision, neck brace, and all, I was doing just fine on my own.
    Window of Opportunity, an excerpt from the 4th edition Big Book, Anonymous, AA Grapevine, December 2001, page 40.
    Also:
    The Big Book, 4th Edition, Window of Opportunity, page 427.

    Laugh Cue!
    — Meaning: now is when all of the people at the meeting are supposed to laugh knowingly, reflecting with mirth and hilarity on how stupid we have all been. For an alcoholic to actually imagine that he could think for himself, or run his own life without a sponsor, or find happiness in a relationship outside of wonderful Alcoholics Anonymous...
    Ha, Ha.
    How stupid could anybody be?

  • Best of the Grapevine also tells stories like:

    Perenially immature as long as we drink, we share with true children an unshakeable faith that, if only we find the magic word, we will get the moon for Christmas. Like children, we are prone to tears and tantrums when we don't.
    The Impossible Dream, in Best of the Grapevine, pages 58-59.

  • I no longer have quick, simple answers for staying sober, although at times I sound as if I do. For example, I have said I had sobriety of the head, not sobriety of the heart, in the first year, and I've been so proud of this eloquence that I was deaf to the vanity revealed: the implication that my own superior ability at rational thinking kept me from drinking.
    Tradition One, in Best of the Grapevine, page 34.

    In Alcoholics Anonymous, it's a big sin to believe in rational thinking, or to believe that you have any... They consider that "vanity" and "egotism".
    In this case, the writer was supposed to believe that an invisible ghost or "Higher Power" was keeping him sober, not that he was sober because he wisely chose to not drink any more alcohol.

  • Indeed, one hung-over fellow attended his very first A.A. meeting, by mistake, on the night we were stomping all over a new little baby budget for the group, shyly proposed by a new treasurer. We started at 7:30, waxed wackier and wrother than usual, and by 10:30 never had gotten around to mentioning alcoholism at all, much less recovery. As soon as the meeting was over, however, this new prospect rushed up to the somewhat wrung-out harassed chairman and pumped his hand joyously. "I want to join!" he exclaimed. "I can tell you're my kind of people, all right!" And he never took another drink.
    Tradition Seven, in Best of the Grapevine, page 116.

  • Another story in the Big Book declares:

    ...   A man calls me on the phone. Will I take a young fellow who has been drinking for two weeks to live with me? Soon I have others who are alcoholics and some who have other problems.
          I begin to play God. I feel that I can fix them all.   ...
          Nothing is right. Finances are in bad shape. I must find a way to make some money. The family seems to think of nothing but spending. People annoy me.   ...
          I'll get drunk! It is a cold-blooded idea. It is premeditated.   ...
          I cannot see the cause of this temptation [to drink] now. But I am to learn later that it began with my desire for material success becoming greater than my interest in the welfare of my fellow man.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 507, and The Big Book, 4th Edition, page 218.

    What nonsense. That was a poor alcoholic talking, not an Enron executive. And part of his problem was that he was caring for other alcoholics instead of making money, and he felt that he was under a lot of pressure and stress because of it, so he thought about taking a drink to relax. Nevertheless, the author still had to parrot the standard "selfishness" cult dogma (but only after another member told him that selfishness was the cause of his unhappiness, which it obviously wasn't).

  • Terence Gorski says:

    In most Twelve Step literature, the addictive self is called the "ego." Whenever I hear or read the word ego, I substitute the words addictive self.
          The goal of a Fourth Step is to deflate the ego — or, in other words, to deflate the addictive self. The addictive self is marked by grandiosity (addicted people feel that they are more than or better than everyone else) and self-centeredness (they believe that they are the center of the universe and there is little room left for anyone or anything else).
    Understanding the Twelve Steps, Terence T. Gorski, page 81.

    That whole statement is ridiculous. Alcoholics and addicts do not get high because they suffer from delusions of grandeur; they get high because they feel bad and they want to feel good.

    And Gorski gives us a grossly incorrect definition of "ego". Nobody else uses that definition.

    A more realistic definition is:
    Your ego is your idea of what you are,
    or,
    Your ego is your opinion of yourself, including your self-respect and your feelings of self-worth.

    The American Heritage Dictionary defines 'ego' as:

    ego
    n.
    1. The self, esp. as distinct from the world and other selves.
    2. Psychoanal. The personality component that is conscious, most immediately controls behavior, and is most in touch with external reality.
      1. Self-love; egotism.
      2. Self-confidence; self-esteem.

    So why must your feelings of self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-respect be destroyed?
    To burden you with guilt, to weaken your independence, and to make you more amenable to surrender to the cult, that's why.

  • Mr. Gorski continues with the guilt-inducing party line. (Remember that "character defects" was redefined above, by Bill Wilson, to mean "sins".)

    In completing Step Six you:

    1. Acknowledge that in sobriety your character defects often drive you into self-defeating behaviors with problematic consequences.
    2. Acknowledge that your character defects give you temporary pleasure that you enjoy.
    3. Identify the character defects that you are ready to give up.
    4. Ask for the willingness to do what is necessary to remove the character defects that you are ready to give up.
    5. Identify the character defects that you are still unwilling to give up.
    6. Ask for the willingness, at some time in the future, to give up the character defects that you still choose to hold onto.
    Understanding the Twelve Steps, Terence T. Gorski, page 117.

    Character defects give you pleasure??? What he means is, "Sins give you pleasure." Like illicit sex giving you pleasure.

  • A rehash of the Big Book that targets teenage drinkers declares:

    We must rid ourselves of this selfishness or it'll kill us. It's that serious. Selfishness usually leads to relapse. And relapse, in our case, is often fatal. Now, we can't rely on ourselves to be rid of our self-centeredness — it would be rather self-centered to think we could, don't you think? There's help. God can deliver us from our self-centeredness.
    Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, John R., page 24.

    Question:

    • What study or poll found that "selfishness usually leads to relapse"? Where did that come from?
    • How many people participated in that study or poll? For how long?
    • How much more did the selfish people relapse than the non-selfish people?
    • How much selfishness was required to trigger a relapse?
    • How did they define and measure selfishness? Self-centeredness?

    Obviously, that is just a bunch of made-up propaganda, based on nothing but the dogma of a cult religion — just some more parrotting of the teachings of Bill Wilson, which he copied from the fascist cult leader Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman, who insisted that everybody had to give up selfishness by coming under "God-control" — that is, by becoming his slaves.

  • "No alcoholic will blame himself for a relapse."
    — A.A. slogan.

  • Jack Alexander, the famous Saturday Evening Post magazine writer, and true believer Alcoholics Anonymous convert, suggested that Bill Wilson write to the condemned convict Caryl Chessman because he thought that perhaps the 12-Step program could help criminals, because:

    "There is a close resemblance between the criminal psychopath and the alcoholic mind. Both are grandiose, resentful, defiant, and hating of authority; both unconsciously destroy themselves trying to destroy others."
    'PASS IT ON' The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, page 364.

    Wow. Obviously, alcoholics are such terrible people that they should all be put in San Quentin prison.

  • And a story in the AA Grapevine tells us:

    "The First Step showed me that I was powerless over alcohol and anything else that threatened my sobriety or muddled by thinking. Alcohol was only a symptom of much deeper problems of dishonesty and denial."
    Listening to the Wind, anonymous, AA Grapevine, December 2001, page 34.

    Again we get Bill Wilson's lecture that alcoholics drink because they are dishonest. The author was just parrotting Bill Wilson's rap on page 58 of the Big Book, which declared that drinkers were "consitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves", and "naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty".

  • An A.A. true believer wrote in a newsgroup that alcoholics are pretty much mental midgets:

    I'd say that few alkies, especially while still drinking, can handle the concept of quitting, even if they've tried to do just that a hundred times. Stopping... or putting it on hold for today or right now... is something we can grasp.
    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.recovery.addiction.alcoholism/msg/52f7483a01340ba4

    Well, since the Harvard Medical School reports that more than 50% of all alcoholics eventually quit drinking, mostly on their own, alone, apparently alcoholics really can handle the concept of quitting drinking.

  • A.A. slogans say:

    • "You have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem."

    • "The only thing alcoholics do in moderation is the 12 steps!"

    • "You're a liar, all drunks are liars."

    • "We're All Here Because We're Not All There."

    • "I was stuck at stupid."

    • "I don't have the solution - but I certainly admire the problem."

    • "My plan doesn't work. All I want to do is get high."

    • "Some people are so successful in recovery, they turn out to be almost as good as they thought they were while drinking."

    • "Put down the magnifying glass you use to look at others and look in the mirror."

    • "He suffers from terminal uniqueness."

    • "All I want is a little more than I'll ever get."

    • "The most difficult thing I have ever had to do is follow the guidance I prayed for."

    • "If you think you're happy, you are. If you think you're wise, you're not."

    • "My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot."

    • "Why don't you write and give me a chance not to reply?"

    • "Have a GREAT Day — Unless you don't want to."

    • "Keep It Simple, Stupid."

  • The pro-A.A. web site "Barefoots World" says:

    We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work".
    http://www.barefootsworld.net/aalibertymag1939.html

    But what about all of the other things that did work? Nobody fails all of the time.
    And what about all of the people who walk out of A.A. and successfully quit drinking anyway?
    What about all of the people who quit a week or two before their first A.A. meeting?

  • A story posted in the newsgroup "alt.recovery.aa" said,

    ...my sponsor shared with me that on the day he made five years and feeling a bit full of himself and a little too comfortable in his sobriety, his sponsor congratulated him and asked if he could show him those five years.
    Thread: "Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease", Thurs, Mar 23 2006.

  • In 1976, the Rand Corporation released a report, Alcoholism and Treatment, R-1739-NIAAA, which stated that many alcoholics recovered from their self-destructive drinking behavior by tapering off into moderate drinking. A.A. and the alcoholism treatment industry were outraged. They claimed that publishing such information was irresponsible and would kill many alcoholics by encouraging them to drink and not seek treatment. They claimed that the stupid alcoholics simply could not handle the truth, so we should not tell them the truth.

    Ariel Winters reported in her book,

    In a news item in the Los Angeles Times on June 12, 1976, California members of the Alcoholism Advisory Board, who met in San Francisco, were quoted as calling the Rand Report "methodologically unsound and clinically unsubstantiated. The lives of many persons with the disease are now endangered." But Dr. Robert Moore, a San Diego, California, physician and researcher, says that he found the study was "carried out in a reasonable manner" and that the critics were merely "nitpickers."
    Alternatives for the Problem Drinker: A.A. Is Not The Only Way, Ariel Winters, 1978, page 29.

    Under the heading "Report Enrages Ex-alcoholic," Ann Landers printed a reader's letter complaining that the statement that some alcoholics can drink again was "tantamount to tossing a firebomb into a crowd at a football stadium." The irate reader went on to say: "Rand deserves a kick in the collective pants for their irresponsibility in releasing such destructive materials." Ann Landers was "horror-stuck" by the Rand release and added: "I hope that enough high-powered experts in the field of alcoholism will clobber that report sufficiently so that we will soon be reading a retraction." She blasted the report as being "idiotic and dangerous."
    Alternatives for the Problem Drinker: A.A. Is Not The Only Way, Ariel Winters, 1978, pages 30-31.

    UPDATE: Much later, in August of 2009, Roger Ebert revealed that he was a secret member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and Ann Landers attended at least one meeting as his guest. So Ann Landers was not revealing her bias there.

    Morris Chafetz responded,

    "The paternalistic attempt to protect alcoholics from themselves by suppressing the study's conclusions is a gesture of profound contempt that only increases the social stigma alcoholics have experienced for far too long."
    Alternatives for the Problem Drinker: A.A. Is Not The Only Way, Ariel Winters, 1978, page 33.



And Hazelden has plenty of insults for you, too:

  • Alcoholics love to wrestle with authority figures.
    The Way Home, Hazelden Foundation, page 79.
    ("So quit resisting authority, and surrender to the cult, darn you!")

  • Alcoholics have consistently poached on the tolerance of humankind.
    The Little Red Book, Hazelden Foundation, page 57.

  • Arresting our alcoholism is not possible until we have knowledge of our defects; therefore, we take definite steps toward correction of our physical, mental, and spiritual disability.  ...
          The beginner cannot fail to be impressed with the array of flaws he or she will uncover and wish to correct. The caution to be observed in taking this Step is few of us are ready and willing to surrender all of our defects. We wish to cherish a few...
    The Little Red Book, Hazelden Foundation, pages 48-49.

    Once again, we see the medical-to-moral morph in action — alcoholism isn't caused by an allergy to alcohol, or a defective gene, or a disease, or poverty, or even by child abuse — alcoholism is allegedly caused by "spiritual disability", "an array of flaws", "defects of character", and "moral shortcomings"...
    And then they sneer at us and declare that we are so sinful that we wish to "cherish" some of our "defects".

  • March 29 — A.A. Thought for the Day
    Before I met A.A., I was very dishonest. I lied to my spouse constantly about where I had been and what I'd been doing. I took time off from my work and pretended I'd been sick or gave some other dishonest excuse. I was dishonest with myself, as well as with other people. I would never face myself as I really was or admit when I was wrong. I pretended to myself that I was as good as the next person, although I suspected I wasn't. Am I now really honest?
    Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Hazelden Foundation, March 29.

    Yes, is he really impecably honest now? Does he tell nothing but the truth now, as a result of the A.A. "program"? Will he candidly tell us the whole truth about the ugly but important issues that really matter, like the immense A.A. failure rate, and Bill Wilson's philandering and embezzling, and how Bill Wilson sold an old pro-Nazi cult religion as a quack cure for "alcoholism"? Or is this dishonest selfish guy still dishonest and deceptive and in denial? This guy's habit of taking undeserved sick leave is of little consequence compared to the numbers of people who die because they get a quack cure for alcohol addiction.

  • March 30 — A.A. Thought for the Day
    Before I met A.A., I was very unloving. From the time I went away to school, I paid very little attention to my mother and father. I was on my own and didn't bother to keep in touch with them. After I got married, I was very unappreciative of my spouse. Many a time I would go out all by myself to have a good time. I paid too little attention to our children and didn't try to understand them or show them affection. My few friends were only drinking companions, not real friends. Have I gotten over loving nobody by myself?
    Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Hazelden Foundation, March 30.

    Gee, I guess he was a regular creep before he "met A.A.". But now that he has "met A.A.", are we supposed to assume that A.A. has made him into a loving person? Does he even call his mother now?

    Maybe, because the following three entries in that book are:

  • March 31 — A.A. Thought for the Day
    Since I've been in A.A., have I made a start towards being more unselfish? Do I no longer want my own way in everything? When things go wrong, and I can't have what I want, do I no longer sulk? ...
    Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Hazelden Foundation, March 31.

    Actually, Bill Wilson was the one who sulked when he didn't get his own way. Apparently, the main thrust of the Hazelden 12-Step program is to cure people of being like Bill Wilson.

  • April 1 — A.A. Thought for the Day
    Since I've been in A.A., have I made a start towards being more honest? Do I no longer have to lie to my husband or wife? Do I try to have meals on time, and do I try to earn what I make at work? Am I trying to be honest?
    Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Hazelden Foundation, April 1.

    "Do I no longer have to lie...?" That is like the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" You are damned no matter whether you answer yes or no.

  • April 2 — A.A. Thought for the Day
    Since I've been in A.A., have I made a start towards becoming more loving to my family and friends? Do I visit my parents? ...
    Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Hazelden Foundation, April 2.

  • April 5 — A.A. Thought for the Day
    People often ask what makes the A.A. program work. One of the answers is that A.A. works because it gets a person away from himself as the center of the universe.
    Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Hazelden Foundation, April 5.

    That is nonsense, and a total reversal of reality. A.A. does not work — it raises the rates of binge drinking and death. And A.A. is totally selfish. There is even an A.A. slogan that says, "This is a selfish program." A.A. is all about "my sobriety", and "my program", and "saving my life", and "my Higher Power", and "my powerlessness", "my insanity", "my will and my life", and "my moral shortcomings", and "my defects of character". The only part of the 12 Steps where you even pretend to care about the welfare of others is Step 12, where you go recruiting for A.A.

  • Mental handicaps stand between us and recovery. Our lack of self-criticism defeats an honest evaluation of our alcoholism. Use of the word sanity offends our false pride. We admit our illness but rebel against questions of mental soundness.
    The Little Red Book, Hazelden Foundation, page 24.

  • Most of us saw our self-appraisals as exact; because we had conceded to God the error of our former alcoholic thought and conduct, we saw no need to go further. We reasoned God knew and would forgive us, so the matter was closed.
          This is sugarcoated alcoholic thinking. It follows the old pattern and is but a pretense, a new form of escape from responsibility. We must give our long-hoarded secrets to another person if we are to gain peace of mind, self-respect, and recovery from alcoholism.
    The Little Red Book, Hazelden Foundation, page 68.

    You must neurotically wallow in guilt, telling another person all about your sinful defects of character and moral shortcomings, if you wish to feel good?

    And precisely how does confessing your most embarrassing personal secrets to another person cure alcoholism?

    What study, survey, or poll established that we must give our secrets to another person in order to "gain peace of mind, self-respect, and recovery from alcoholism"? Who proved that to work?
    (What A.A. Trustee Prof. George Vaillant and other doctors proved is that it does not work — that it raises the death rate, and it increases the rate of binge drinking.)

    And what happened to the slogan about "There are no musts in A.A., only suggestions"?



And it isn't just Alcoholics Anonymous that loves to induce guilt. Al-Anon likewise burdens the wives and children of alcoholics with masochistic self-contempt and self-doubts, so that the whole family can be neurotic:

  • While the alcoholic picked up a drink and became drunk on alcohol, I picked up the alcoholic and became drunk on control and approval-seeking.
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon staff, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1990, page 254, September 10.
    Also: Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 254.

  • If you're living with an alcoholic, no way you're not going to be sick yourself. You've got all the symptoms without the glass in your hand.
    Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 217.

  • The longer I am in Al-Anon, the more clearly I perceive that alcoholism is indeed a sickness, a compulsion, an obsession. But haven't I, too, been afflicted with a sick compulsion? Wasn't I determined to "save" the alcoholic, and that to the same degree as he was addicted to alcohol?
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1990, page 72.

    So, ladies, if you actually want your husbands to quit drinking themselves to death, you are some real sickos... You need to do Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps to Buchmanism, and get down on your knees and confess all of your sins.

  • The most important thing to consider is this: Am I desperate enough to try the Twelve Steps, even if I don't believe anything is wrong with me?
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1990, page 70.

    "Am I desperate, irrational, and stupid enough to practice a bunch of guilt-inducing cult religion nonsense, even though I'm not a brain-damaged alcoholic?"

  • A condescending Al-Anon slogan declares:
    "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
    How Al-Anon Works for Familites and Friends of Alcoholics, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1995, page 195.

  • Al-Anon continues with:
    The self-searching suggested by Step Four is a long-term undertaking. It must go on for as long as I remain blind to the flaws which create so much trouble for me.
          I must go on day after day trying to face myself as I am, and to correct whatever is keeping me from growing into the person I want to be.
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1990, page 70.

    The lady says, "Let's see now... The biggest flaw that is creating so much trouble for me is my husband's suicidal drinking... It bothers me, watching him kill himself. I guess I'd better do the Fourth and Fifth Steps again, and list and confess my sins some more..."

  • We are told in Al-Anon that there can be no progress without humility. This idea is confusing to many at first, and it almost always encounters a stubborn resistance in us. "What!" we say, "am I supposed to be a submissive slave to my situation and accept everything that comes, however humiliating?" No. True humility does not mean a meek surrender to an ugly, destructive way of life. It means surrender to God's will, which is quite a different thing. Humility prepares us for the realization of God's will for us; it shows us the benefits we gain from doing away with self-will. We finally understand how this self-will has actually contributed to our distress.
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1990, page 61.

    So, you got it right the first time, lady. You are supposed to be a meek, submissive slave. You must surrender to the cult. Remember that Bill Wilson declared that an attitude of proper humility must include "a desire to seek and do God's will." (12X12, page 72.) So all of the innocent-sounding appeals for humility are not requests for people to avoid egotism; they are really demands that people to give up "self-will" (taking care of yourself, making your own decisions, and running your own life) and "surrender to God's will" (as "God's will" is defined by their sponsors and other group elders, of course).

  • When a newcomer to Al-Anon tells his or her sponsor about the alcoholic conflict in the home, we must realize this is only one side of the story.
          At first these reports of our grievances are highly-colored and dramatized by our confusions. A small incident may be blown up out of all proportion to its reality; constant tension, anger and frustration have deprived us of a rational perspective.
          Growth in Al-Anon brings us to compassionate understanding of the alcoholic's deep guilt and unhappiness. As we apply the program day by day, we become willing to acknowledge that we, too, must share the responsibility for the family troubles.
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1990, page 162.

    What vicious, guilt-inducing lies. The housewife is "confused" about the misery at home, and her vision is "highly-colored"? The housewife must accept blame for her husband's drinking? The family troubles are her fault?

    That's like Bill Wilson's rationalization that his wife Lois' nagging him to quit drinking is what drove him to drink. (And it was also allegedly what drove Bill to his mistresses' beds). It was all his wife's fault for being such a nag and a killjoy.

    Nina Brown described living with a narcissist:

    Off-loading Blame

    If your partner has a Manipulative DNP [Destructive Narcissistic Personality], you are likely to be accustomed to [his] tendency to off-load blame, and many times you are the recipient of the blame. It doesn't matter how big or small the offense is, your partner never accepts responsibility for mistakes as errors. Worse, you may be blamed for things that are not your fault or are not under your control.
          This tendency to off-load blame is a manifestation of the inflated self. Your partner feels that [he] can do no wrong and is superior. Other words to describe this self-perception and attitude are grandiose and omnipotent.
    Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner, Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, page 123.

    And don't you just love the part about how the housewife cannot even see clearly: "her grievances are highly-colored and dramatized by her confusions" — "this is only one side of the story."?

    Bill Wilson really hated his wife Lois nagging him to quit drinking and smoking himself to death. He hated her criticizing him for throwing drunken temper tantrums and messing around with other women, so he struck back at her at every possible opportunity, claiming that she couldn't see clearly, and was confused, even writing in the Big Book that she was silly, unspiritual, selfish, and dishonest, while she worked in Loesser's department store to support his crazy unemployed drunken thieving philandering ass.

    Like the American Psychiatric Association says:

    Vulnerability in self-esteem makes individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder very sensitive to "injury" from criticism or defeat. Although they may not show it outwardly, criticism may haunt these individuals and may leave them feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow and empty. They may react with disdain, rage, or defiant counterattack.
    DSM-IV-TR == Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision; Published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC. 2000; pages 658-661.

    Bill Wilson was so arrogant that he didn't consider his wife Lois qualified to even have an opinion about him, and he was so thin-skinned that he just couldn't tolerate her criticizing him at all, so he routinely counter-attacked and put her down.

    And even today, Bill's fawning followers in Al-Anon still parrot Bill's denunciations of "the wife":

    • "You are just a silly housewife, suffering from "confusions"...
    • "When you think that your husband is getting drunk and yelling and throwing drunken raging temper tantrums and tearing up the house and kicking out the door panels and throwing a sewing machine at you, and then stealing money out of your purse to go buy more booze, and drinking himself to death...
    • "Well, that isn't really what he is doing.
    • "You are confused. Your vision is highly colored. You are just a nagging killjoy housewife who is blowing things out of all proportion."

  • And Al-Anon continues to teach, with biting sarcasm and condescension, how the husband's alcoholism is really all the wife's fault:

          Once upon a time there was an Enormous Thumb belonging to a woman with an Alcoholic Husband and Three Teenaged Children.
          The four of them lived under her thumb, so of course they couldn't do much growing up. Often their spirits writhed under the weight; every time they tried to get out from under, they'd do something wrong and the thumb would clamp down on them again.
          Father managed by keeping himself flattened out drunk most of the time; he was so cute about escaping to a bottle that, no matter how much mama watched, she couldn't catch him at it until he'd drunk himself into unconsciousness. Everyone thought she was a Very Nice Lady, and they were sorry she was having such a hard time with her family.
          There was really no reason for her to come to Al-Anon to solve her problems because she always knew just what to do about everything. But she did want to make her husband stop drinking, so she thought she'd try it. She was quite unhappy at first because some of the members were not inclined to Pull any Punches. She was quite indignant when they tried to show her what she was doing to her family, but to everyone's amazement the Thumb began to shrink and lose weight, and things looked brighter.
          More and more she realized what she was doing and, being a Determined Character, she applied the program every day and her other problems took care of themselves very nicely.
    One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1990, page 286.

    Yes, Mrs. Housewife, you are such a bitch. It's all your own fault that your husband drinks alcohol while you keep the family together. But if you just practice Bill Wilson's 12-Step religion and grovel and confess enough, your husband will stop drinking.

    By the way, that condemnation of the wife really is alcoholic thinking codified into formal 12-Step church dogma. Some alcoholics rationalize their drinking with complaints to their wives like, "You've been nagging me all day long. I did the only thing I could do — drink to block you out!"
    So, by that logic, it is the wife's fault that the guy drinks too much.

    And the housewives who are fooled by that routine will feel guilty and say things like, "I should't be so hard on him. He'll get over it. It's just a phase he's going through..."2 Alas, it ain't necessarily so.



Back to slamming alcoholics: A.A.W.S. (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.) publishes plenty of stereotypical put-downs of alcoholics too (in addition to Bill Wilson's). The following confessions make heavy use of the technique of "I'm saying 'I' but I mean 'you', because us stupid alcoholics are all alike, and you also need to learn what I learned..."

  • When I came to A.A. my spiritual life was bankrupt; if I considered God at all, He was to be called upon only when my self-will was incapable of a task or when overwhelming fears had eroded my ego.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 314, November 1.

  • An admission of personal powerlessness over alcohol is a cornerstone of the foundation of recovery. I've learned that I do not have the power and control I once thought I had.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 11, January 3.

  • It's the side of myself that I refuse to look at that rules me. I must be willing to look at the dark side in order to heal my mind and heart because that is the road to freedom. I must walk into darkness to find the light and walk into fear to find peace.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, May 1.

  • For so many years my life revolved solely around myself. I was consumed with self in all forms — self-centeredness, self-pity, self-seeking, all of which stemmed from pride.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 71, March 3.

  • I allowed selfishness to run rampant in my life.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 326, November 13.

  • Some of us have spent many years trying not to grow up.   ...  
    Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me grow up into a happy, grateful adult.
    Action for the Day: There are happy grown-ups. I'll find one to be my sponsor.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, April 26.

  • When I did my personal inventory I found that I had unhealthy relationships with most people in my life- my friends and family, for example.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, April 24.

  • If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of the normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, April 26.

    So ordinary people can handle anger, but those wimpy brain-damaged alcoholics cannot?

  • My higher power created me for a purpose in life.     ...
    God has allowed me the right to be wrong in order for our Fellowship to exist as it does today.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 311, October 29, and page 306, October 24.

    "Higher Power" created me for a purpose, and God says that my purpose in life is to be wrong so that A.A. can be right?
    God gave me the right to be wrong?
    That is some strange twisted Calvinism — you are doomed, predestined to be wrong, the day that you are born. The purpose of your life is to be wrong.

    Why didn't God give me the right to be right?
    Especially, why didn't God give me the right to be right without Alcoholics Anonymous?
    HINT: I think He did.

  • The last three steps invoke God's loving discipline upon my willful nature.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 317, November 4.

    Such masochistic nonsense... Break out the black leather and the whips and call Donna the Dominatrix.

  • When I prayed, I used to omit a lot of things for which I needed to be forgiven. I thought that if I didn't mention these things to God, He would never know about them.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 185, June 25.
    (Aren't us alcoholics really silly and stupid? Ha ha.)



Then Bill Wilson fired some more shots at the stereotypical alcoholic:

  • I thought of talking about the good old days because, you see, the alcoholic doesn't like to live any place but in the past.
    Bill Wilson, in a speech given at a Spiritual Healing Seminar, March 25th, 1954, in New York.

  • Most of the alcoholics ... were still childish, emotionally sensitive, and grandiose.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 123.

    Yes, that is an accurate description of William Griffith Wilson, but not everybody else. In fact, that is exactly how Dr. Harry Tiebout, Bill's psychiatrist, diagnosed Bill Wilson: "he had been trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of 'His Majesty the Baby.'" Again, we are seeing Bill Wilson practicing psychological projection — offloading blame — accusing others of having the very character flaws that he himself exhibited, and accusing others of committing the sins and crimes of which he was guilty.

  • We "constructively criticized" someone who needed it, when our real motive was to win a useless argument. Or, the person concerned not being present, we thought we were helping others to understand him, when in actuality our true motive was to feel superior by pulling him down. We sometimes hurt those we love because they need to be "taught a lesson," when we really wanted to punish. We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 94.

    Such a poisonous hatred of life and the human race.

    It is easy to see why Bill Wilson was suffering from an 11-year-long spell of deep, crippling, clinical depression when he wrote that.3 Wilson just went on and on, ranting and raving about how bad we all are... Poor old Bill was really insane.

  • If our tempers are consistently bad, we arouse anger in others. If we lie or cheat, we deprive others not only of their worldly goods, but of their emotional security and peace of mind. We really issue them an invitation to become contemptuous and vengeful. If our sex conduct is selfish, we may excite jealousy, misery, and a strong desire to retaliate in kind.
            Such gross misbehavior is not by any means a full catalogue of the harms we do.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 94.

    This is just a never-ending assault on any few shreds of self-respect or feelings of self-worth that A.A. members may have left. It's guilt induction to the max. No wonder A.A. has such a high suicide rate.

  • Since defective relations with other human beings have nearly always been the immediate cause of our woes, including our alcoholism, no field of investigation could yield more satisfying and valuable rewards than this one.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 81.

    So now alcoholism is caused by "defective relations", is it?

    Earlier, Bill Wilson declared that our self-destructive drinking was caused by our sins, moral shortcomings, defects of character, instincts run wild, instinct gone astray, self-will run riot, self-seeking, selfishness, desires that far exceed their intended purpose, and failure to practice religious precepts properly...
    What will it be next?
    (Hint: "Natural desires warping us" and nagging wives.)

  • According to the A.A. history book PASS IT ON, when Bill Wilson got dosed with LSD his first time, Dr. Sydney Cohen offered Bill several pills, and told Bill to take one. Bill said, "Don't ever do that to a drunk," and he took two.

    Don't ever do that to drunk? They can't control themselves with anything?



Mr. Wilson even claimed that the Twelve Steps had to be written because alcoholics were so dishonest. While writing the Big Book, he had this problem:

Well, we finally got to the point where we really had to say what this book was all about and how this deal works. As I told you this had been a six-step program then.
...
The idea came to me, well, we need a definite statement of concrete principles that these drunks can't wiggle out of. There can't be any wiggling out of this deal at all and this six-step program had two big gaps which people wiggled out of.
— Bill Wilson, Transcribed from tape, Fort Worth, 1954, was on http://www.a1aa.com/more%2012steps.htm [Dead Link]

Bill Wilson considered his fellow alcoholics to be such a bunch of dishonest slippery cheaters that they had to be locked into an iron-clad contract from which no escape was possible, or else those drunken bums would "wiggle out of" the "spiritual" work. That's a pretty poor opinion of your fellow A.A. members. How can A.A. be such a wonderful organization if the members are all so bad?

And note that A.A. was not a democracy, or an easy-going self-help group of equals. A.A. was a dictatorship run by Bill Wilson, who locked the alcoholics into contracts that they couldn't "wiggle out of".

In his second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Wilson even declared that alcoholics are such worthless, immoral louts that they must be beaten into submission:

Why all this insistence that every A.A. member must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing A.A.'s remaining eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.'s message to the next sufferer? No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't care for this prospect — unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.
      Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A., and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation. Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be.

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 24.

So, alcoholics are such bad people that they don't want to do good or be good?

  • "Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant?"
  • "Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer?"
  • "Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.'s message to the next sufferer?"
  • "No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't care for this prospect..."
  • Alcoholics are not willing to admit their faults and convict themselves of sins and spiritual crimes until they are close to death.
  • Only then will they become "open-minded" to the idea of joining a cult religion like Buchmanism, and "convicting" themselves of numerous sins.

[A.A. members are] impersonally and severely disciplined from without.
(A personal letter from Bill Wilson to Dr. Harry Tiebout, 9 Nov 1950, quoted in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 129.)

We saw we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 75.
"Gee, thank you Massuh. You mean that today I can grovel before you without getting whipped? You are so kindly, Massuh, even if it is just for today."

In 1955, at the A.A. twentieth anniversary convention, Bill Wilson said,

...drinkers would not take pressure in any form, excepting from John Barleycorn himself. They always had to be led, not pushed. They would not stand for the rather aggressive evangelism of the Oxford Group. And they would not accept the principle of "team guidance" for their own personal lives. It was too authoritarian for them. In other respects, too, we found we had to make haste slowly. When first contacted, most alcoholics just wanted to find sobriety, nothing else. They clung to their other defects, letting go only little by little. They simply did not want to get "too good too soon." The Oxford Groups' absolute concepts — absolute purity, absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love — were frequently too much for the drunks. These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets.
      Besides, the Oxford Groups' "absolutes" were expressions peculiar to them. This was a terminology which might continue to identify us in the public mind with the Oxford Groupers, even though we had completely withdrawn from their fellowship.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 74-75,
and
Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 46.

Note the deception inherent in that program:
  • Bill Wilson believed that he could foist Oxford Group theology — Buchmanism — on his followers, and they wouldn't know it if he changed the names of things like The Four Absolutes.
  • The old-timers dispense the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous to the beginners "by teaspoons, not buckets." Newcomers learn the true nature of the Alcoholics Anonymous program only a tiny bit at a time.
  • They won't find out what membership in the group really entails until they are committed members and well-indoctrinated, and attending meetings has become a habit.
  • That is deceptive recruiting, another standard cult characteristic.

Bill Wilson even faulted alcoholics for not liking the fascism inherent in Frank Buchman's cult religion: "It was too authoritarian for them."
So, according to Bill Wilson, you should even feel guilty and inadequate for not liking authoritarian fascism — you wish to "cling to your other defects."

Frank Buchman's cult used the very same technique — that is where Bill Wilson learned it — they accused anyone who dared to criticize Frank Buchman, his teachings, or his pro-Nazi politics, of being immoral and sinful: guilty of "perhaps the rationalization of some grave hidden weakness or the sin of jealousy or laziness or cowardice" — "...opposition to Moral Re-Armament has special significance. It always comes from the morally defeated".

And of course Bill Wilson assumed that he was spiritual enough to handle high-falutin' morality like The Four Absolutes, even if the average A.A. member was just a stupid loser who didn't want to get too good too soon.



Obviously, William Wilson had nothing but hatred and contempt for his fellow alcoholics. I know that that directly contradicts the conceit that Bill spent the second half of his life selflessly helping other alcoholics and serving their needs like some great self-sacrificing saint. He didn't; he spent the second half of his life building a cult religion, making himself the leader, and making other alcoholics his fawning followers and brown-nosing slaves who supported him in luxurious comfort for the rest of his life. Bill Wilson got a free house in the country ("Stepping Stones"), a free Cadillac car, and enough money that he never had to work again, as well as countless mistresses, while he exhorted all of the other alcoholics to abandon self-seeking, to quit being so selfish, and to give up all thought of the profit motive. Bill Wilson even wanted the national Alcoholics Anonymous headquarters to pay his mistress, Helen Wynn, for him, but they balked at that one, and told Bill to pay her himself. Bill was furious at their effrontery.


The first two standard rules of any cult are:
      1) The guru is always right.
      2) You are always wrong.

The greater the guru is, the less you are. The guru and his teachings are above questioning, and you are completely unqualified — too stupid, too ignorant, too unspiritual, too sinful, too evil, too new — to judge the guru or his teachings. The properly-behaved followers never question the guru; they accept their subservient role.
The guru criticizes the followers, but they never criticize the guru.

But the average alcoholic "out on the streets" would not believe in Bill Wilson's grandiose delusions, or join his cult religion, or follow his orders, or even agree with him, so Bill hated them and spoke of them with nothing but sneering contempt:

Let's look first at the case of the one who says he won't believe — the belligerent one. He is in a state of mind which can be described only as savage.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, Page 25.

... we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 49.

Neither was the average alcoholic "as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be" — that is, eager to masochistically Convict himself, to find himself guilty of sins. This is another one of the peculiarities of Frank Buchman's sick cult religion slipping into Alcoholics Anonymous, again — Conviction, one of the "Five C's".

      Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A., and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation. Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 24.

Only the truly desperate, dying people could be made to do what Bill Wilson wanted, so, according to Bill, those horrible evil alcoholics had to be beaten with the lash of alcoholism, and forced to do the good and right thing — to join A.A., and surrender their minds to the group, and do Bill's Twelve Steps, and Convict themselves of all kinds of sins...

I have sat in A.A. meetings, and heard people share the "wisdom" that all alcoholics have short fuses, and are quick to anger, and have little ability to tolerate frustration or pain. I've also heard that all alcoholics are selfish and care about nothing but drinking and getting their own creature comforts. I've also heard that all alcoholics become violent brutes when they get drunk, and beat up their friends and wives and kids. But that doesn't match my own experiences at all. It doesn't match even half of the alcoholics I've known. It does match a rare few, but only a very rare few.

But new A.A. members get indoctrinated with such ideas as soon as they start attending meetings. You just wanted to quit drinking, and now you are being told what all of your standard character defects (sins) are? And if you object, and say that you aren't like that, your sponsor or another elder is liable to accuse you of being in denial about your true nature. Somehow, I don't think that is helpful. In fact, I believe that it is very harmful to a lot of people.

The A.A. coins say,
"To thine own self be true",
not
"Use this coin to buy stereotypes of yourself."



It's interesting to note that A.A. isn't alone in this habit of applying negative stereotypes to alcoholics and drug addicts. Chuck Dederich, the leader of the drug and alcohol recovery program turned crazy cult called Synanon, said,

"Addicts are emotional children who won't gamble. Addicts, like children, want a sure thing."
The Tunnel Back, Synanon, Lewis Yablonsky, page 398.

This is obviously false, totally untrue, and complete nonsense. Addicts take crazy chances, totally insane chances, and live lives of great uncertainty, and often lose their lives on a bad gamble, like, "I think I can do this much without overdosing. This isn't too much, is it?" or "I think he gave me smack, not cleanser, so I'll shoot it and see."

Another Synanon member echoed the attack on Synanon members:

"You lifestylers are so goddamn dumb that you think the Synanon miracle has no limitations — not true! When you are up against nine-fingered cats like me — you are dealing with 'damaged goods'. Can't you get that through your skull? Give a dopefiend an inch and he'll take your ruler. Bring something broken in two pieces to one of our Homer Half-Heads and say 'Fix it,' and he'll return it to you in four pieces, exulting that 'It's fixed!' It may interest you to know that management has, in fact, decided to eliminate repair jobs from our service stations. The risk is just too great. The Peter Principle of our monkies is exceeded when they are asked to do more than get the gas in the right hole."
Escape From Utopia: My Ten Years in Synanon, William F. Olin, page 139.

It's interesting to note that those remarks were addressed to the author, William F. Olin,, a "life-styler" who was a successful architect outside of Synanon — a non-addict who joined Synanon for the Utopian communal lifestyle. And Synanon also had another member who was a doctor, and there were many more members with professional skills. But according to that condescending speaker, all Synanon members were stupid dope fiends who couldn't be trusted with anything more complex than pumping gasoline.

Such denigration of the addict is just another way for the cult or its leader to control the individual members by making them feel small and inferior. Calling them "children" enhances the effect of making the leader more powerful and the followers weaker. In some cults, like Reverend Jim Jones' People's Temple (the one where 914 people committed suicide for Jones), the leader was even called "Father," while he called the followers "my children."

Bill Wilson had the same condescending attitude towards his fellow alcoholics:

We shall have our childish spats and snits over small questions of money management and who is going to run our groups for the next six months. Any bunch of growing children (and that is what we are) would hardly be in character if they did less.
The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill, William G. Wilson, page 143, and
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 233.

Bill Wilson used the same wording when he explained how everyone had to be "controlled by God", which is pure Buchmanism. Wilson denounced taking care of yourself and being free to live your own life as "playing God":

First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children.   ...
... We had a new Employer.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, pages 62-63.

But being "controlled by God" ended up being "controlled by the A.A. elders" who interpret the neophytes' "Guidance" for them, and tell them what God really says.



I strongly suspect that a big part of the reason for this "Us Stupid Drunks" routine is to break down the ego of the new convert, to subvert his will to resist. The newcomer won't surrender to the cult until he despairs of saving himself. The newcomer must believe that he is incapable of helping himself, that he is so flawed and broken and defective that he has to give up on himself, and believe that something, some Power greater than himself, like the group or God, will fix him. Many parts of the program are designed to break down the newcomer's mind, will, and self-confidence, by inducing guilt and self-doubt, and this "Us Stupid Drunks" conspiracy is one of them.

Note that there is a strong power game going on in the "Us Stupid Drunks" conspiracy. At a meeting, the speaker will denigrate himself, and list all of his terrible character flaws and shortcomings. He tells the tale of his horrible alcoholic history and all of the bad things that he did. He makes himself unassailable by doing that. You cannot very well then jump on him and accuse him of being a sack of motherfuckers. He just said that he was. But then a subtle mind game starts: the speaker implies that you are just as bad. "Alcoholics are like that," he says, and everybody around you grins and nods. (And they might say that he is being completely honest, and if you would be completely honest too, then you would admit that you also had such defects of character and moral shortcomings.) But then he claims or implies that because he has been working on the problem for many years, with the help of A.A., he has made at least some small amount of progress in overcoming the problem. But you, you immoral newcomer, you have not. So he is your moral superior, and you should surrender your will to him and let him be your sponsor and tell you what to do with your life.
(And then there is the threat that if you won't conform and follow the program, your fate will be "Jails, Institutions, or Death".)

Psychology Today magazine published an article, "Does 12-step Treatment Work by Inducing PTSD?" By Marc Lewis, Ph.D. One of the comments was:

There are many times in the past 20 years of my sobriety that I've begun shaking just imagining all that would happen to me if I ever took another drink. And when you say people in AA are stereotyped, that is absolutely my experience. The "alcoholic personality" is something I've heard for the whole time I've been in AA, how we are all simply egotistic and selfish with the oft-spoken "self-centered fear". The fear is also used to run all the segments of AA itself, if you say you haven't time for a service commitment "Well, remember that your DISEASE is out doing pushups in the parking lot and if you drink again you will go to jail or die, and people who are busy in service work to AA don't get drunk". Very convenient, that guilt and fear.
— "anonymous", January 18, 2013 - 11:24am,
in comments to "Does 12-step Treatment Work by Inducing PTSD?" By Marc Lewis, Ph.D. on January 16, 2013 in Addicted Brains, Psychology Today
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201301/does-12-step-treatment-work-inducing-ptsd/comments?page=0



The Alcoholics Anonymous literature teaches self-contempt and self-loathing. One of the saddest examples of this is Bill Wilson's second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. By the time Bill wrote that, in 1952, he was deep into his madness, in the middle of an eleven-year bout of deep, crippling, clinical depression, and he just raved hatred of alcoholics nonstop for 192 pages. He had jewels of self-contempt and self-loathing like this to offer to newcomers:

      Now let's ponder the need for a list of the more glaring personality defects all of us have in varying degrees. To those who have religious training, such a list would set forth serious violations of moral principles. Some others will think of this list as defects of character. Still others will call it an index of maladjustments. Some will become quite annoyed if there is talk about immorality, let alone sin. But all who are in the least reasonable will agree upon one point: that there is plenty wrong with us alcoholics about which plenty will have to be done if we are to expect sobriety, progress, and any real ability to cope with life.
      To avoid falling into confusion over the names these defects should be called, let's take a universally recognized list of major human failings — the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth. It is not by accident that pride heads the procession. For pride, leading to self-justification, and always spurred by conscious or unconscious fears, is the basic breeder of most human difficulties, the chief block to true progress. Pride lures us into making demands upon ourselves or upon others which cannot be met without perverting or misusing our God-given instincts. When the satisfaction of our instincts for sex, security, and society becomes the sole object of our lives, then pride steps in to justify our excesses.
      All these failings generate fear, a soul-sickness in its own right. Then fear, in turn, generates more character defects. Unreasonable fear that our instincts will not be satisfied drives us to covet the possessions of others, to lust for sex and power, to become angry when our instinctive demands are threatened, to be envious when the ambitions of others seem to be realized which ours are not. We eat, drink, and grab for more of everything than we need, fearing we shall never have enough. And with genuine alarm at the prospect of work, we stay lazy. We loaf and procrastinate, or at least work grudgingly and under half steam. These fears are the termites that ceaselessly devour the foundations of whatever sort of life we try to build.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, pages 48, 49.

Whew! Have you ever seen such a twisted and warped view of human life? Talk about wallowing in self-hatred! (And that is just a tiny part of that book. That's just the first piece of junk that I picked out. The whole rest of the book is like that too.) It is obvious that Bill is teaching self-contempt, and working hard to induce guilt and self-doubt in every reader.

And he shoves it all at us under the guise of "We alcoholics are like this. There is plenty wrong with us alcoholics."

I have to say, "Speak for yourself, Bill, I'm not like that. I may not be perfect, but I'm sure not like that."

Starting at the top, Bill moronically talked about, "To those who have religious training, such a list would set forth serious violations of moral principles."
"Gee, duh, God? Duh, I never heard of him. I never got none of that-there religious training stuff... Duh..."
But those of us who have heard of God had better start feeling guilty: we are talking about some serious violations of moral principles here!

And then, for us dummies without religious training, Bill said he was going to give us a list of "defects of character", or an "index of maladjustments".

Then he launched a preemptive attack on those people who might disagree with him: "Some will become quite annoyed if there is talk about immorality, let alone sin." Then he said, "But all who are in the least reasonable will agree..." If you don't agree with Bill, then you are "unreasonable." And I'll bet you are an atheist and really evil, too, and that's why you object to any talk about "immorality" and "sin." It just seems to be part of Bill's paranoia that he always has to get that dig in there, attacking those who will disagree with him, even before anyone has had a chance to disagree.

Then Bill launched into some heavy self-contempt: "there is plenty wrong with us alcoholics..."

Now let's not be "unreasonable" here. There may indeed be some things wrong with recovering alcoholics that need to be fixed — maybe even "plenty of things." But watch carefully: there is no fix offered. Not really. Just a chance to feel guilt and self-contempt. Just a chance to feel so bad about yourself that you give up, and surrender to the cult in despair, and become converted into a crazy cult member.

This is just so typical of Bill's insanity: everything he says almost rings true, it almost has some truth in it, you can see what he is getting at and almost agree with it, but there is just something a little bit off about all of it.

Bill will go on and on and on for a whole book, and tell you that you have to do the Twelve Steps because we are all so sinful, but he actually has no fix to offer you. Claiming that the Twelve Steps will magically fix you is not a fix. Claiming that God will zap you in Step Seven and take away all of your defects of character and moral shortcomings is not a fix. Claiming that you must surrender your will and your life to God, A.A., and your sponsor because you are so rotten is not a fix.

Bill just exhorts us to wallow in self-contempt, shame, and guilt, and make lists of all of our faults and defects — this being our Fourth Step — without having any real healing or therapy to offer. Bill claims that God will smile on us if we do the Twelve Steps, and that we will attain some kind of bliss, Gratitude and Serenity, and arrive in some kind of Heaven on Earth if we work the Steps thoroughly enough, but that's it.


William Griffith Wilson
Bill wrote in the Big Book (page 100),
"Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!"

That's Bill's plan for you. Obviously, we have a big problem with recovery if God isn't a dictator... And this is uncomfortably reminiscent of Frank Buchman's admiration of Hitler, and desire to see the whole world run by Christian Fascist dictators who would force Buchmanism on everybody else in the world.

But suppose God really is a Fascist Dictator, and we really are supposed to follow His orders. How do we get those orders? Buchmanism comes to the rescue again: we receive Guidance. That means that we sit quietly and hallucinate that God is talking to us and giving us orders. In A.A., this is known as Step Eleven:

"11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

So, we should mistake our own random thoughts and the jabbering of our subconscious minds for The Voice Of God, dictating our work orders to us. Then, after we have double-checked the received orders with our sponsor or other group elders, to make sure that they are good orders, we follow the orders. We go do whatever the voices in our heads tell us to do. Gee, and Frank Buchman dreamed that one up without even any help from psychedelic drugs, which hadn't been discovered yet. He really was ahead of his time.

And do you know what else is missing here? Humor. There is no lightness or humor in any of that. It's all darkness, just Deacon Death droning on and on about immorality, sin, defects of character, and soul-sickness. Bill appears to have really had some soul-sickness.

So Bill now launches into his attack on human character. He says that he is using a "Universally recognized list of major human failings — the Seven Deadly Sins." Actually, that is not a universally-recognized list; it is specific to the Medieval Roman Catholic Church. Members of other churches may object to the assumption.

And that list of sins is pretty perverted. Note that neither cruelty nor murder is listed as a deadly sin, but sex, as lust, is. Thus, a Nazi soldier could torture and murder thousands of Jews without committing one of the Deadly Sins, as long as he laughed while he did it, so that he wasn't "Angry". And a Catholic priest like Grand Inquisitor Torquemada could torture and execute tens of thousands of women, girls, and baby girls for being witches, men for being heretics or wizards, and Jews for being Jews, without committing one of the Deadly Sins, either. Convenient. Personally, I would prefer an official church-approved list of "deadly sins" that considers cruelty and murder worse than gleefully making love with a wonderful woman.

But anyway, Bill says that Pride is the first sin. Pride leading to self-justification, which, in combination with conscious or unconscious fears, and making demands upon ourselves, leads to perverting or misusing our God-given instincts, which in turn leads to covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Why, it's a regular old domino theory. And the ankle bone's connected to the leg bone, and the leg bone's connected to the knee bone, and the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone...

All of which is completely untrue. Period. That garbage is not true on any level, not morally, or religiously, or psychologically, or medically, or biologically. It is meaningless gibberish, just the deluded ranting and raving of a mentally ill man. Pride does not lead to any of what Bill says. Pride does not lead to self-justification. Doing something wrong, and then trying to rationalize it, is what leads to self-justification. Pride does not lead to all of those other "sins", either. Bill wrote, "Pride lures us into making demands upon ourselves or upon others which cannot be met without perverting or misusing our God-given instincts." That is insane, meaningless nonsense, just a bunch of words strung together without any real logical or rational meaning. It sounds like it means something, but if you look closely, you will find that it is nonsense.

Note that Bill Wilson did not denounce excessive pride, or false pride, or arrogant pride, or boastfulness; he just said "pride".

In fact, there is nothing wrong with having some pride in yourself. It is not a sin to pick your face up out of the mud and say, "I'm good at what I do. I'm nice to other people. I don't have to be a doormat and feel guilty about everything." Bill thinks that is a big sin, The Mother Of All Sins, in fact. From Bill's point of view, the real problem with having a little pride, or a little self-respect, is that if you still have some pride in your good qualities, then you won't totally give up on yourself and surrender your will, your mind, and your life to Alcoholics Anonymous.

So Bill wants to crush your pride, just like how he says he wants to crush "self-seeking" in the Big Book. And just like how he wants to crush "self-reliance" and make you dependent upon Alcoholics Anonymous.


A.A. cofounder Bill W. in 1949.

That is just Bill's contempt for you, a product of his warped and delusional mind. Period. If you believe Bill's garbage, you're gonna get sick. He will poison your mind with his hatred of humanity.

Bill Wilson even used the term "warped" to describe himself and his fellow alcoholics:

We want to find exactly how, when, and where, our natural desires have warped us.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, p.43.

Bill thought that his natural desires had warped him. And he thought that both his natural desires and instincts were evil things. I'm telling you, that poor guy was quite insane, and you can't take his sermons seriously.

Bill also said:

Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, p.44.

No, I don't see that at all. Bill is trying to induce contempt for human life by talking about instincts run wild, and natural desires being bad. He is trying to bring up images of some vicious savage wild animal, out of control, snarling, gnashing teeth, slobber all over the place... Again, all untrue.

He is also hinting at a Gnostic heresy: the idea that all goodness is in Heaven, and everything down here on Earth is evil; all life is evil, and dirty, and part of Satan's domain. In the Big Book, Bill wrote:

Judging from what I had seen in Europe and since, the power of God in human affairs was negligible, the Brotherhood of Man a grim jest. If there was a Devil, he seemed the Boss Universal, and he certainly had me.
The Big Book, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, page 11.

The funny thing is, after he flipped out on belladonna, and saw the White Light and "the God of the preachers", as he called it, Bill Wilson just happily declared that everyone should have a spiritual experience. But he obviously never stopped hating this world, and he never stopped hating human nature.

And once again, what happened to the Disease Model of alcoholism? In the beginning, to get us to join, they said that alcoholism was a progressive, incurable disease. They suggested that it was like an allergy, and that perhaps it was also genetic, inherited from Father. But then they pulled a quick bait-and-switch stunt on us, a "medical-to-moral morph", and now they are saying that alcoholism is caused by The Seven Deadly Sins, and natural desires warping us, and instincts running wild. And then Doctor Bob said that "selfishness" is the cause of alcoholism.

Nope, I'm not biting on that hook. This is obviously a big mind game, with you and me as the intended victims. Bill and gang just want to make us feel guilty and ashamed of ourselves, so that we will be more willing to surrender our wills and our lives to the cult.



Freshman Biology teaches us that instinctive behavior is that behavior which is ingrained in a species and cannot be changed. We humans have surprisingly few instincts: We have the urge to eat food, the urge to merge with the opposite sex, the urge to care for our young, the urge to survive, and the urge to socialize — to form relationships with a mate and other members of a tribe. That's about it. We have lots of tendencies, and lots of desires, but few instincts. We seem to have largely replaced instincts with brains, and most of what we do is learned behavior, rather than instinctive. No way do our instincts "run wild" and cause us to drink destructively.

  • Instinct (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition, 1993.)
      n.
    • 1. an inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.
    • 2. a natural or innate impulse, inclination, or tendency.
    • 3. a natural aptitude or gift: an instinct for making money.
    • 4. natural intuitive power.

  • Instinct (Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, 1993.)
      n.
    • 1 obs: INSTIGATION, IMPULSE
    • 2: a natural or inherent aptitude, tendency, impulse, or capacity
      <an ~ for the right word>
      <his ~ toward success>
    • 3
      • a: complex and specific response on the part of an organism to environmental stimuli that is largely hereditary and unalterable though the pattern of behavior through which it is expressed may be modified by learning, that does not involve reason, and that has as its goal the removal of a somatic tension or excitation
      • b: behavior that is mediated by reactions (as reflex arcs) below the conscious level — usu. not used technically


Bill is confused about instincts and desires. He gets them all mixed up. He really should have taken at least one course in biology before he decided to appoint himself the all-knowing, all-wise Guru. In the long quote above, he talks about "God-given instincts," which makes them sound okay. But then he says they run wild and make us drink. Not so. Not even vaguely true. Instincts do not and cannot "run wild."

Also, Bill says that we suffer from "Unreasonable fear that our instincts will not be satisfied." Wrong again. We satisfy desires, not instincts.

Likewise, Bill says, "When the satisfaction of our instincts for sex, security, and society becomes the sole object of our lives, then pride steps in to justify our excesses."

Where did that come from? Bill was talking about pride being bad, and then he suddenly accused us of having no goals in life but sex, security, and society, and of pursuing those things to excess. Which, actually, is a very strange, very bizarre, accusation. Plenty of preachers denounce sex, but I don't recall any other preachers criticizing people for wanting security and society. (Isn't the church a society?) And there is a strong implication there, that you are evil because you are only seeking satisfaction of your own desires — which Bill incorrectly calls instincts again — rather than doing "The Will of God" (as defined by Bill Wilson, of course).

Ironically, the people who seem to really want "security and society" most are the A.A. members. The rules of the A.A. game are, you have to go to the meetings for the rest of your life, forever, and you can't ever quit or leave. That gives the A.A. members the secure feeling that the meeting will always be there for them, that they can rest secure in the knowledge that they will always have that little piece of society, that familiar circle of friends, forever. Few other "fellowships" or social clubs say that you have to attend the meetings for the rest of your life, or else you get a death sentence. (Other than the Mafia...)


Let's look at an obvious instinct. At a certain time of the year, a female bird gets an irresistible urge to build a nest. So she starts grabbing sticks and weaving them into a nest. That is instinct in action. The male bird decides to help out, and grabs a stick and shoves it into the nest. The female immediately jumps on it and says, "No, no, no, that's all wrong." She rips the stick out and shoves it back in, her way. She has a very specific idea of just how that nest is going to be. It has to be just so! That's instinct again. The male watches, crestfallen, and then decides to go get another stick. He comes back with one, and looks at the nest, and thinks, "There," and shoves it in. The female immediately jumps on it and says, "No, no, no, that's all wrong," and rips it out, and shoves it in her way, again.

I watched those two repeat that routine until I was laughing. The poor guy just couldn't do anything right.

Now that is instinct. They are just doing their thing. No way can such instinct "run wild." What's she going to do, go crazy and build twenty nests? Actually, those birds were already wild, they had always been wild, and so were their instincts, I guess. And there is no "unreasonable fear that their instincts will not be satisfied." They are just following their urges to do what they are supposed to do. And the system works. The nest works, the eggs hatch, the baby birds live, and life goes on.

Lest you think that the bird example is too far removed from human behavior, let me tell you that it isn't. My wife turned into the same kind of compulsive mother bird when she was pregnant. She was actually waking up in the middle of the night, saying that she had a dream that the baby had been born, and we didn't have enough blankets or diapers, so we had better get more. We had enough, but she was worried anyway. Then she was worried about us not having enough firewood, and then she was worried about us not having enough food. I'm not joking. She was like that. A fussy nest-building mother bird, worrying that the nest wasn't perfect enough. That's the instinct to care for the young expressing itself. Sometimes it seems pretty extreme, but it keeps the babies alive. In no way is it "instinct run wild."

But Bill, alas, doesn't understand that at all. He has this idea that instincts are horrible things.

Now her worrying about the welfare of the baby that was soon to be born almost sounds like what Bill was talking about, "Unreasonable fear that our instincts will not be satisfied." But it isn't. Being concerned about the welfare of a baby is definitely not "unreasonable fear" or "instinct run wild". And it sure isn't the destructive force that Bill described in the long quote above, where Bill said that such "unreasonable fear" would lead to all of the other Deadly Sins, even Sloth, and make us into horrible creatures. No way. It's just a fussy mother bird, wanting her nest to be perfect, so that she can take good care of her babies.

And then Bill says, "We want to find exactly how, when, and where, our natural desires have warped us." Nonsense. We have not been warped by our natural desires. Period.

There is simply nothing wrong with our natural desires. If we didn't eat, we would die. If we didn't have sex and reproduce, we would become extinct. If we didn't feel rage and anger when threatened, or when our children are threatened, the saber-toothed tigers would have eaten us all long ago. We happily feast like gluttons when food is available because it's going to be a long, cold, hard winter to endure, with little or no food available. Likewise, we have enough selfishness to make us seek our own survival, and enough selflessness to make us help our fellow tribe members also survive. We work hard when we need to, and goof off when it's convenient. We really aren't all that bad. Nothing in us warrants Bill Wilson's hatred of human nature. No wonder the poor bastard drank. He was a real sicko.

Bill's parents obviously really messed up his mind. Something that the A.A. literature doesn't like to mention very often is the fact that Bill Wilson was the abused son of an alcoholic father, and that alcohol destroyed his family when he was young, which made him an untreated Adult Child Of an Alcoholic (ACOA). Bill's father abandoned the family when Bill was still just a boy, and Bill's mother had serious mental problems of her own — she ended up in a mental institution later in life, and she may well have actually driven Bill's father from the house. The official A.A. history book PASS IT ON tells us that Bill's mother was strong-willed and cold — she "lacked the warmth and understanding that might have stood her son in good stead at such a difficult time [the divorce]." that.4 Bill Wilson said:

"My mother was a disciplinarian, and I can remember the agony of hostility and fear that I went through when she administered her first good tanning with the back of a hairbrush. Somehow, I never could forget that beating. It made an indelible impression on me."
'PASS IT ON' The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, page 25.

In addition, Bill lived with his grandparents after his parents divorced in 1906, and his mother moved to Boston to continue her studies in osteopathy. Obviously, Bill's parents and grandparents shamed him and berated him for his natural desires, and taught him a Puritan contempt for nature and for life. In 1909, Bill was sent to The Burr & Burton Seminary, a private school in Manchester, Vermont. Then Bill's teenage girlfriend at Burr & Burton, with whom he was very much in love, died suddenly from complications following an operation for a brain tumor, and it affected Bill deeply — he went into a three-year-long depression, and failed to even graduate from high school.5 Then, of course, Bill later turned into a raging alcoholic, and displayed all of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and delusions of grandeur. And then Bill suffered from severe, prolonged, bouts of deep crippling chronic depression for most of his life. (His last period of depression lasted for 11 years, from 1944 to 1955.) It is difficult to say exactly who did what to Bill, but together, they induced in Bill an insanity from which he never recovered. And now he wants to do the same thing to us. No thanks.

Well, to finish on a positive note, we aren't that sick, and we don't have to follow in Bill Wilson's footsteps. We can do much better things, more fun and enjoyable things, with our lives.

Don't buy the stereotypes. Don't buy into the game when someone starts talking about "us stupid drunks, we are all like this or all like that." Wake up and smell the coffee, and realize that they are trying to pull a fast one on you, and confuse you about who you really are. They are trying to kill off what little self-confidence or self-respect you might have left. Don't let them do it to you.



In the back of my mind, I'm hearing someone ask, "Well, if it wasn't our desires warping us, why did we drink destructively? Isn't it insanity to drink until you are so sick that you are dying?" And, obviously, the same goes for taking drugs until you die, or smoking cigarettes until you can't breathe.

Fair question.

See the next file: The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

Also see: Rat Park and Other Children's Stories.



Footnotes:

1) "Perfect enough": I know full well that that is terrible grammar. I'm just expressing what she was feeling. Incidentally, the authors of The Constitution of The United States did the same stupid thing, in The Preamble: "...in order to form a more perfect union..."

2) See Under The Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism, by Dr. James R. Milam and Katherine Ketcham, page 104.

3) Bill Wilson the chronic depressive: See 'PASS IT ON' The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pages 293-294. Also see these quotes.

4) ibid, page 25.

5) ibid, pages 35-37.

6) Some of Bill Wilson's apocryphal stories about A.A. are:

  • The story of chosing good over evil in the hallway of the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio, in the spring of 1935, is a fabrication that is physically impossible. Bill told a story about being torn between going into the bar at one end of the hall, or telephoning a church from the pay phone at the other end of the hall, but the bar and the public telephone were actually on different floors of the hotel.
  • Likewise, Bill's story about telephoning Rev. Tunks from the Mayflower Hotel just by chance, and luckily finding a fellow member of the Oxford Group religion was another deception. That event was not a miracle or divine providence, or even a coincidence. Rev. Tunks was the most hard-core Oxford Group cult member in Akron, and New York Oxford Group members almost certainly told Bill to call Rev. Tunks while he was in Akron. Bill Wilson's mentor in New York City, Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, was the man who "changed" Rev. Tunks into an Oxford Group member, so Shoemaker knew all about Rev. Tunks. It is highly likely the Shoemaker told Bill Wilson to call Rev. Tunks and to attend Oxford Group meetings while he was in Akron.
  • The financing and writing of the Big Book was not as Bill described it in his book "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age".
  • Bill Wilson grandly boasted about "the First One Hundred" when there were only 40 A.A. members.
  • Likewise, Bill wrote in the Big Book that A.A. had saved "hundreds" when there were actually only between 40 and 70 A.A. members in the whole world, and they didn't stay sober. Fully half of the orginal authors of the Big Book relapsed and returned to drinking.
  • Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book that he was a faithful husband to his wife when he was really a shameless philanderer who used A.A. meetings as meat markets.
  • Bill described the tyrannical child-abusing Dr. Robert Smith as a kindly old soul, which he wasn't.
  • Bill described his wife Lois as a happy housewife, content to work in a department store and support him while he goofed off and went to A.A. meetings, when in truth she was bitterly unhappy, screaming, "Damn your old meetings!"
  • Bill Wilson lied about the early A.A. success rate. Bill also lied when he claimed that his new cult was much better at treating alcoholics than were all of the doctors, ministers, priests, and psychiatrists who tried to help alcoholics.
  • Bill Wilson lied when he declared that Marty Mann was the first woman A.A. member. No, she wasn't, Marty Mann was at least the third woman, or later. The first woman to become sober in A.A. was Jane Sturdevant. The second woman in A.A. was Florence Rankin, who wrote the story "A Feminine Victory", which appeared in the first edition of the Big Book. Unfortunately, the Twelve Steps didn't really work for her, either, for very long. She relapsed, and disappeared. (She is said to have committed suicide in Washington, D.C.) So Bill changed the story and started bragging about Marty Mann being the first woman member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Bill Wilson claimed to be a stock broker when he was merely a Wall Street hustler who touted stocks to speculators. Likewise, Bill's boosters brag that Bill invented the art of stock market analysis in the 1920s, as if Charles Dow didn't create the Dow-Jones Industrial Average and start publishing it in the Wall Street Journal around the turn of the century.



Bibliography:


Bill W.     Robert Thomsen
Harper & Rowe, New York, 1975.
ISBN: 0-06-014267-7
Dewey: 362.29 W112t


The "Big Book":
Alcoholics Anonymous, Third Edition, 1976,     published as "anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, Joe Worth, and more than 40 other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY.
ISBN: 0-916856-00-3
Dewey: 362.29 A347 1976
or
Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, 2001,     published as "anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, Joe Worth, and more than 40 other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2001.
ISBN: 1-893007-16-2
Dewey: 362.29 A347 2001


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, by 'anonymous'
(The real authors were William G. Wilson and Tom Powers)
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2000.
ISBN: 0-916856-06-2 (smaller hard cover edition, 2000)
ISBN: 0-916856-01-1 (larger hard cover edition, 1984)
Library of Congress catalog card number 53-5454
Dewey Dewey: 362.2928 T969 1965
This is one of the most insane and vicious books around. It is right down there with Mein Kampf as far as its ratio of lies to truth, and hate content, is concerned. It is ostensibly Bill Wilson's explanation of his Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, but it is really something quite dark and evil, Bill Wilson's poisonous contempt for human nature masquerading as spirituality. It was written while Wilson was in the middle of his eleven-year-long bout of deep clinical depression, and it shows. It is really a brutal, hateful assault on the character of people who happen to have a drinking problem. Bill Wilson hated himself and his own character flaws, so he projected all of his own weaknesses and character flaws onto the alcoholics around him, and also onto a mythical stereotypical alcoholic, and then said, "Look at him. Look at how disgusting he is. We are all like that." This whole book is non-stop guilt induction.


'PASS IT ON'; The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world     'anonymous'
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984.
ISBN: 0-916856-12-7
LCCN: 84-072766
LC: HV5032.W19P37x 1984
Dewey: 362.29/286/O92
This is the official, council-approved version of the history of A.A.. Strangely enough, there is some very interesting stuff in here, including chapter 16, which describes Bill's spook sessions and séances, talking with the spirits of the dead, and communicating with spirits through spirit rapping and the Ouija board. See pages 275 to 285.


Rational Recovery     Jack Trimpey
Pocket Books, 1996
ISBN: 0-671-52858-0
Dewey: 362.2918 T831r
Especially check out the chapter in the back that contains a transcript of a counselling session where Trimpey brings up and talks to The Addiction Beast. It really rang a bell for me.


The Tunnel Back, Synanon     Lewis Yablonsky
The Macmillan Company, New York, 1965.
LCC 65-10664
Dewey: 362.29 Y12t


More Revealed     Ken Ragge
Alert Publishing, Henderson, Nevada, 1992.
See page 178 for stories about people just accepting molestation or rape.


AA Horror Stories     Rebecca Fransway
See Sharp Press, Tucson, AZ, 2000.
ISBN: 1-884365-24-8
Dewey: 362.2918 T971 2000
Blame-the-victim as the standard method of handling rapes is described in many chapters. Start with pages 47, 49, 55, and 145.


Understanding the Twelve Steps     Terence T. Gorski
A Fireside Book, published by Simon & Schuster, New York, 1989.
ISBN: 0-671-76558-2
LC: HV5278.G67 1991
Dewey: 362.29'286—dc20
LCCN: 89-77134
This is just the usual 12-Step dogma, cut and pasted by a paper shredder. — By that I mean, there is not a single new, different, creative, or original thought in the whole book; it's just the same old stuff, slightly rearranged.
      What is curious is the fact that three years after he published this book, Terence Gorski quite perceptively denounced the entire Adult Children of Alcoholics and co-dependency 12-Step movement:

In 1992, Terence Gorski, a prominent spokesperson within the field of addictions, addressing a conference of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, stated:
If I were hired by the enemies of the chemical dependency field ... I couldn't give them a better strategy [to destroy the field] than the adult children of alcoholics movement and the codependency movement. When we as a field expanded addictions to include all compulsive disorders we destroyed our constituency base ... destroyed our funding base ... destroyed our economic stability.
The Tenacity of Error in the treatment of addiction, Michael J. Lemanski, Humanist, May/Jun97, Vol. 57 Issue 3, p18.


Narcissism, Denial of the True Self     Alexander Lowen, M.D.
Macmillan Publishing Comany, New York, 1983, and
Collier Macmillan Publishers, London, 1983.
ISBN: 0-02-575890-X
LC: RC553.N36L38 1983
LCCN: 83-18794
This is a great book, a real classic. Dr. Lowen advances the idea that narcissism is not falling in love with one's self, but rather with a false image of one's self. That small subtle difference actually makes a very large difference. In the original Greek mythology, Narcissus died — starved to death — because he was obsessed with his own image and stared at it endlessly. But as Narcissus approached death, his real emaciated appearance could not have been very attractive. Narcissus was seeing an illusion, not his true appearance.
      Dr. Lowen advances the idea that narcissism is often caused by child abuse and prolonged humiliation and pain in childhood. The child adopts a persona where he feels no pain and is powerful and invulnerable. The child thinks, "When I grow up, I'll be so powerful and strong that no one can hurt me or humiliate me ever again." Then the child, who grows into adulthood, spends the rest of his life pursuing and defending an illusion. Narcissists are obsessed with defending and preserving their image — they can't stand it if somebody "makes them look bad" — they can't stand criticism. They deny their true feelings and put on a mask of unfeeling, because they imagine that it will keep them from being hurt again. Likewise, they completely disregard other people's feelings. They are obsessed with power and control, so that they can control the world around them and prevent anyone from humiliating them again. Narcissists are often extremely seductive and manipulative people, often charismatic charmers, and occasionally high achievers as well. They lie habitually, without giving it a second thought. They fear insanity.
      In other words, Dr. Lowen was describing Bill Wilson, the abused son of an alcoholic father and a neurotic mother.


Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner     Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC
New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Oakland, CA, 2003.
ISBN: 1-57224-354-6
Dewey: 158.2 B879L
This book tells you how to cope with being married to an obnoxious narcissist. The one thing I couldn't see was, "Why bother?" Nina Brown makes narcissists sound so bad that you really don't want to be married to one. But if you are some kind of long-suffering masochist who really wants to go through it all, read this book.
Quotes: here and here and here.


Also see the bibliography.



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Last updated 27 January 2015.
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