Our correspondent writes:
“LAMBETH BEGINNERS STEP CHIP 7pm St Anne's and All Saints Church, Miles Street. Attendees at the Friday group you mention [See our Cult Where to Find GB] (South Lambeth Beginners Big Book Study 7pm St Anne and All Saints) below have to attend the Monday group too - same format (Vision), same sponsors ….. same 2 names (Nick and Lewis) given as contacts. You can't mention one without the other! They go hand in hand and attendees must attend both Monday AND Friday meetings where the tiny group of sponsors hold great influence and sway. Woe betide you if you share anything but joy - pain is most definitely not allowed!”
They go on to mention the “control and strange daily rituals” prevalent in these groups (Miles Street and the Ashmole meeting) together with the “daily torrent of phone calls starting early am and going on till late … as they [newcomers] ticked off their duty to call 2 newcomers a day. It felt like harassment and I stopped going to AA”.
Fortunately our correspondent reports that they subsequently discovered REAL AA, found a “sensible sponsor” with some REAL experience of REAL recovery and now participates in “very happy NORMAL [our emphasis] step based recovery”.
Comment: Of course you can't blame newcomers for their conduct. They don't know any better. If all you were exposed to was fear based recovery (which, after all, is what the cult is all about) then you'd start doing weird stuff as well! With its never ending list of do's and dont's (we're surprised the cult haven't added the prohibition 'don't step on the cracks in the pavement or you'll drink' to their already extensive list of mostly absurd rules) it's hardly surprising that newcomers exist in a state of almost constant fear of relapse. The fact is that your average alcoholic having once grasped the essential truths that if you drink you're fucked EVERYTIME, that you'd better stop FOR GOOD, and that if you think otherwise you're totally BONKERS can stay sober EASILY... It's a piece of cake.... It doesn't require ANY EFFORT at all .. you can do any damn thing you want as long as you keep your shit together (with or without a god in your life) and leave the sauce alone. You can practise any damn programme you feel like (or none at all). You don't NEED a sponsor or HAVE to write endless (very boring) gratitude lists, pester newcomers, shave every day (we kid you not!) and all the rest of the stuff that the cult parade as being the “essentials” of recovery. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are all that is required as far as we know... and that's not too difficult is it! So lighten up! Seize the carp (as in carpe diem), have fun, fuck up a few times and enjoy the ride! (Ooooh! What terribly unsober language!!)
The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous … and all round anarchists!)
PS Thanks to our correspondent