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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Humility and 12-Step Recovery

An interesting analysis of what humility is … and is not! We thought of sending the link to Clancy I (c/o of the Pacific/Atlantic groups) and sundry other recovery 'experts.....but then what could he/they possibly learn!

Favourite quote: “Kant held that kneeling on the ground even to express reverence for heaven is contrary to the absolute human dignity of being a rational moral agent and amounts to grovelling”


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

See also A new campaign

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A new campaign

Well it's been fun but all good things must come to an end......well not really ….

We've been going (in one form or another) since 2007... seems a helluva lot longer! aacultwatch launched its Stop Press section (an early form of the blog format we later adopted) in that year with the highly edifying (and attention grabbing) title “Debbie Does Dallas”.....which proved to be highly popular (although rather disappointing for those who expected something quite different!).....

Since then we've attempted to raise awareness of cult activities in this country (and others) with some modest success. But there are only so many ways you can say the same thing (eg. Tradition Four does NOT imply unqualified group autonomy, 'sharing' your experience does NOT mean 'directing', controlling, bullying and abusing newcomers, Wayne P (Plymouth Road to Recovery CULT group) really SHOULD buy some braces to stop his trousers from falling down, Clancy I is NOT to be taken seriously (even if he does!), Joe and Charlie did NOT produce a definitive interpretation of the Big Book etc etc etc.....) and so we've decided to move on …. to bigger and better things... Over the last few weeks we've been preparing a new initiative. Whereas the aacultwatch campaign is mostly aimed at AA members (especially newcomers) we've decided that we needed to shift the focus somewhat. Our main concern has always been the welfare of those who come to AA for help (ie. NOT to be bullied). Over time we've come to the conclusion that Alcoholics Anonymous itself is structurally incapable of reform. Since there is no centralised authority any guidance offered with respect to combating bullying etc is only as effective as its local implementation. Unfortunately the latter is sorely lacking (with some notable exceptions). Collective responsibility IS implied in Tradition Four and yet there's seems to be a widespread reluctance to apply that principle. More often than not unacceptable conduct (especially where it has become effectively institutionalised ie. cult groups) goes unchecked simply because no one is prepared to grasp that particular nettle. The only effective way in which newcomers can be protected, it seems, is to ensure that they are made fully aware of the dangers they may encounter BEFORE they actually attend AA meetings. Moreover many of the agencies currently referring clients to AA (eg. probation service, treatment centres, GPs, etc) may not be cognisant of these hazards. Unfortunately, and not entirely unsurprisingly, the AA national website presents a somewhat idealised version of the fellowship. For example in their FAQ section (under Is it a cult?) the following is stated:

Its [AA] members are not forced to attend meetings, they are free to leave at any time and the programme of recovery is simply a list of suggestions which while many do chose to follow, also many chose to go their own way about it. The majority of members quite happily fit the culture of AA into their normal life and belief systems.”

However any newcomer who attends cult groups within AA in Great Britain will very rapidly find themselves under considerable pressure to continue with (only) those particular meetings, that “suggestions” very quickly transmogrify into 'directions', and that finally there is very little if any licence to “go their own way”. The official AA 'line' fails to acknowledge the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) dynamics of cult indoctrination. This is a reality that needs to be communicated to potential members (as well as the aforementioned referring agencies) if a truer picture of AA's actual operation is to emerge.

Therefore, to remedy this deficit, we will shortly be launching a national campaign (and website) aimed directly at potential (and actual) newcomers as well as a range of referring agencies (probation service, health trusts, 12 Step treatment centres, GPs, employers etc throughout Great Britain but including other interested parties: MPs, local councils, various media, religious organisations etc). Our objective will be to draw attention to the real benefits AA may afford those who suffer from chronic alcohol addiction but not omitting the dangers inherent in attending (some) AA meetings: in our view to be forewarned is to be forearmed. This, of course, may result in some individuals electing to seek help elsewhere. However there exist a growing number of alternatives to AA both 'live' and online, free and not free, including Smart Recovery, counselling, psychotherapy, Stop Drinking ….. Priority should always be given to the welfare of the individual rather than the reputation, deserved or not, of any organisation (including AA).

The existing aacultwatch site will remain 'live' but our activity will be much reduced. However if anyone wishes to draw our attention to (and potentially publicise) cult misconduct please do not hesitate to contact us.

Finally we would like to thank all our supporters (and various contributors) past and present without whom aacultwatch would literally not exist!


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Exploring the CULT in culture

The four factors that Deikman cites as characteristic of cult phenomena are:

compliance with the group
dependence on a leader
avoidance of dissent
devaluation of outsiders.”

Comment: Ticks ALL the boxes!


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Our thanks to our contributor

Monday, 1 August 2016

Excuses... excuses!

Looking for an excuse to go back on the sauce? Here are 12 real life feeble excuses some alcoholics have made for jumping off the wagon.

1. I missed the bus.

2. It was raining and I just got bored..

3. It was too hot and sunny and I got thirsty.

4. It was freezing cold and I reckoned a few shorts would warm me up.

5. I was so sad after my cat died, I needed some southern comfort.

6. I was so happy with my cute new puppy, I just had to celebrate.

7. My football team lost.

8. My football team won.

9. I was doing the 6 Daily Suggestions card, but I only rang one newcomer instead of 2, so I drank. (Yes, believe it or not, someone has actually used that as an excuse!)

10. I did my Step Four the wrong way with the wrong sponsor. Instead of referring to a list of 14 defects of character I was given a list of 15, and therefore I drank. (We kid you not!)

11. I read an aacultwatch article and they forced me to drink. (Best excuse of all, BSE - Blame Someone Else – because it's always someone else's fault.)

12. Make the next one up yourself. As you can see from the above, any laughable old tosh will do.

Yes, excuses, excuses. Alcoholics have come up with some epic yarns for getting sloshed. And there are many more where they came from. And remember, they are always “justified”, aren't they!

P.S. “Going to any lengths” means you don't drink no matter what. Capisce?


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Thanks to our contributor

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Questions (not) accepted for conference 2016 (contd)

Comment: See “Internet Safety”. This concludes our review.


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Monday, 25 July 2016

Questions (not) accepted for conference 2016 (contd)

Comment: Since there is no 'standard' way of 'working' the Steps (that is assuming one wishes to work them in the first place. After all they don't represent the sole means by which alcoholics recover – a fact explicitly acknowledged in the book Alcoholics Anonymous) there can be no “standard” guide. The Big Book outlines a possible (and “suggested”) approach but no more than that. Similarly the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (authored by Bill W) offers no more than a commentary on the subject and can by no means be regarded as definitive. Finally recovery remains the responsibility of each individual (in the company of others), and the method adopted, and the manner of its implementation, their choice alone. No “special interpretations” (ie. 'expert' guidance) are required:

As finally expressed and offered, they [The Twelve Steps] are simple in language, plain in meaning. They are also workable by any person having a sincere desire to obtain and keep sobriety. The results are proof. Their simplicity and workability are such that no special interpretations, and certainly no reservations, have ever been necessary.” (Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers page 227)


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Questions (not) accepted for conference 2016 (contd)

Comment: See “freedom of speech”.... and “parts of AA ARE highly dangerous” … and we've got a sneaking suspicion that there'll be another website appearing on the scene fairly soon that's going to cause more than a few eyebrows to raise!


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)