The Bait And Switch Con Game
by A. Orange

It's all a big bait-and-switch con game. There are so many bait-and-switch stunts pulled in Alcoholics Anonymous that it borders on amazing:

  1. Shifting objectives: First the goal is to quit drinking, and then the goal is to "acquire faith" and "come to believe" in Bill Wilson's religion.

  2. First, A.A. is just a nice neighborhood quit-drinking self-help group, and then it's a hard-core religion.

  3. First, it's only a "spiritual" alcoholism recovery program, and then it's a fundamentalist religion whose 'real purpose' is to make you 'serve God'.

  4. First, Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion, but then it is better than all of the other religions.

  5. First, Bill Wilson declared that Alcoholics Anonymous was only one of many ways to achieve sobriety, then he declared that it was The Only Way.

  6. First, A.A. members insist that Alcoholics Anonymous does not claim to be the only way, then they insist that any alcoholic who quits drinking without A.A. was not a real alcoholic.

  7. First, they will tell you that the Twelve Steps are only suggested as a program of recovery, but then you hear the slogan "Work The Steps Or Die".

  8. First, they will tell you to see a doctor, and say that "we know only a little", but then it's "We know more than doctors", "We are the experts on addictions", and "Don't take medications."

  9. First, they will tell you that you can do it your way. Then they will tell you that you must do it their way.

  10. First, they will tell you that you can "Take what you want, and leave the rest." Then they will tell you that you must follow the formula exactly, or else it won't work.

  11. First, they will tell you that you can "Take what you want, and leave the rest." Then they will tell you that you can't ever leave.

  12. First, alcoholics are charming, and then they are disgusting.

  13. First, God loves you, and then He doesn't.

  14. First, God loves you unconditionally, and then God won't save you unless you 'work a strong program'.

  15. First, God is your servant, and then you are a slave of God.

  16. First, you don't have to be perfect, and then you do.

  17. First, they tell you that Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of "rigorous honesty", and then it's gross dishonesty: "Fake It Until You Make It" and "Act As If" and "Don't tell the newcomers..."

  18. First, it's just a quiet, confidential program of attraction, then it's a tough-love program of steel-fisted coercion and promotion.

  19. First, you get declarations of easy-going tolerance, and then, death threats.

  20. First, A.A. tells you that you are responsible for your own sobriety — that you must do all of the work — but then, if you succeed, A.A. claims that it was responsible for your success.

  21. First, the story is "The A.A. program works great", but then, when people relapse, "It isn't our fault".

  22. First, A.A. promoters claim that the 12-Step program causes A.A. members to do good things, but when A.A. members do bad things, they claim that the Steps had nothing to do with it.

  23. First they tell you that you have a "disease", and you are powerless over alcohol, but then you must choose sobriety and "work a strong program" and keep yourself sober.

  24. First they tell you that you are powerless over alcohol, but if you drink any alcohol, then it's your fault because you chose to drink.

  25. First they tell you that self-reliance is bad, and then sobriety is your own responsibility.

  26. First, they talk about numbers, and then they refuse to discuss numbers. Likewise, first they claim a great success rate, and then they refuse to discuss the success rate.

  27. First, a cure, and then, no cure. First, hope of recovery, and then hopelessness.

  28. First it works, and then it doesn't. First, the story is that the Twelve Steps will work and make you quit drinking, and then they won't.

  29. First, A.A. is a great success and always has been, and then A.A. isn't a success, and never was.

  30. Redefine Words: First a word means one thing, and then it means something else.

  31. First, the insanity referred to in Step Two means that you have been insanely drinking enough alcohol to kill you, but then "insanity" means that you have not been living according to God's will.

  32. First, Alcoholics Anonymous is a community of equals, just a nice neighborhood self-help group, and then it's a hierarchical dictatorship with Bill Wilson at the top.

  33. First, you are an adult, and then you are a child.

  34. First, the alcoholics who are still drinking are our brothers, our "fellow travelers" — people who should be granted sympathy, understanding, unconditional love, and complete acceptance — and then the alcoholics who won't conform to the A.A. program are just worthless bums.

  35. The medical-to-moral morph: First, alcoholism is a disease to be cured, and then it is a sin that must be removed by God.

  36. First, A.A. is good treatment for the "disease of alcoholism", and then it isn't treatment at all.

  37. First, A.A. is a quit-drinking program for the alcoholics, and then it's a religion for the whole family.

  38. First, A.A. is very scientific and is psychologically sound, and then it isn't based on science at all.

  39. The psychological-to-moral morph.

  40. First it isn't your fault that you were born an alcoholic, and then it is.

  41. First you aren't supposed to feel guilty, and then you are.

  42. First they will tell you that alcoholism is not a moral stigma, and then they will tell you that it is.

  43. First they say that they want to reduce the stigma of alcoholism, and then they work to increase it.

  44. First they will tell you that an alcoholic is just a good person who can't control his drinking, but later they will tell you that an alcoholic is a disgusting immoral selfish evil creature who has a "spiritual disease".

  45. First they tell you that "There are no 'Musts' in Alcoholics Anonymous, only suggestions", but then they will tell you that there are many necessities and musts.

  46. First, they tell you that "You must admit that you have a problem", but then that gets changed into "You must admit that you are powerless and you have a disease from which you can never recover."

  47. First it isn't political, and then it is.

  48. First, Bill Wilson declared that the A.A. religious dogma was just the perennial Christian philosophy, "common to all denominations", but then it isn't Christian at all. It's a strange kind of Calvinist social Darwinism that believes in pre-destination.

  49. First, no one is entitled to speak for A.A., but then some special privileged people are entitled to speak for A.A.

  50. Progressive Terminology: First, they tell you to do an honest, complete, "moral inventory", and then they tell you to only talk about your "wrongs" and "character defects" and "moral shortcomings".

  51. First, ego-mania, and then abject humility. First, happiness, and then sadness.

  52. First, ego-destruction, and then bombastic delusions of grandeur.

  53. First, expect a great religious or spiritual experience, and then expect nothing.

  54. First, "unconditional love" and then hateful contempt.

  55. First, A.A. tells you to "Think, Think, Think", but later it's "Stop Your Stinkin' Thinkin'."

  56. First, A.A. tells you that "A.A. requires no beliefs," but then you have to believe everything they tell you, and have blind faith in the proclamations of Bill Wilson.

  57. First, prospective new members are offered a tolerant, open-minded "spiritual" program, but then they get narrow-minded demands for belief in Bill Wilson's teachings.

  58. Flip-flop: Literal versus vague interpretation

  59. First, the real A.A. is one thing, and then it is something else.

  60. First, "Bill Wilson was the heroic Founder of A.A., a genius who invented a new way to achieve sobriety, a saint who brought a new revelation from God, and the author of the sacred Big Book",
    but then, when people learn what an insane lying philandering thieving creep he was, the rap changes into "Bill Wilson has nothing to do with A.A. We don't pay any attention to what he said."

  61. First, you can keep your own religion, and then you can't.

  62. First, A.A. is completely compatible with Christianity, then it isn't.

  63. First it's "Surrender to God" and then it's "surrender to some A.A. members".

  64. First, it's "any God as you understand Him", and then it's "You don't understand God. You are 'confused' and 'prejudiced'."

  65. First, declarations of Religious Freedom, and then demands for Religious Conformity.

  66. First, a loosely-defined "Higher Power", and then an explicitly-defined "God".

  67. Redefine God. First you get one God, then you get a different God.

  68. Hide from newcomers what membership entails. First show them one image, then show them another image.

  69. Offer them medical treatment for alcoholism, but give them the twelve-step religion.




  1. Bait and Switch: Shifting objectives: First the goal is to quit drinking, and then the goal is to "acquire faith" and "come to believe" in Bill Wilson's religion — Buchmanism.
    Likewise, first the goal of the A.A. program is supposed to be to save the alcoholics from death by alcoholism, and then the goal is to induce "spiritual experiences" and "gut- or heart-felt experiences".
    And again, first the goal of the A.A. program is supposed to be to quit drinking, and then it is to "make spiritual progress" by practicing the Twelve Steps and confessing all of your "moral shortcomings" and "defects of character".

    Watch how the goal changes through this paragraph of instructions to the wives of alcoholics:

    There is another paralyzing fear. You may be afraid your husband will lose his position; you are thinking of the disgrace and hard times which will befall you and the children. This experience may come to you. Or you may already have had it several times. Should it happen again, regard it in a different light. Maybe it will prove a blessing! It may convince your husband he wants to stop drinking forever. And now you know that he can stop if he will! Time after time, this apparent calamity has been a boon to us, for it opened up a path which led to the discovery of God.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, To Wives, page 116.

    • Bill Wilson started off talking about how bad it will be if the husband loses his job.
    • Then Wilson rationalized that such a calamity might provide the impetus for the husband to quit drinking. (That is the propaganda trick of Sly Suggestions.)
    • Then Bill suddenly jumped to the completely illogical conclusion that
            "And now you know that he can stop if he will!"
      There is no logic to that statement. Nothing that Bill said before supports that conclusion. (That is the propaganda trick of Irrelevant Conclusion.)
    • Then Bill switched to babbling about how wonderful it was for many such husbands to get forced into a religious group "which led to the discovery of God."

    Is the goal to quit drinking and save the job, home and family, or is the goal to start believing in Bill Wilson's religion? Obviously, as far as Bill Wilson was concerned, the real goal was to get more members for his Buchmanite cult religion. Bill even said so:

    At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.

    And when Bill Wilson declared,
          "And now you know that he can stop if he will!",
    Bill directly contradicted his previous statement in A.A. Step One:
          "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol..."
    People who can stop drinking if they will are not powerless over alcohol. They have a choice in the matter. They can drink, or not drink, as they choose.

    Bill Wilson was telling one story to the alcoholic husbands — that they were powerless over alcohol and that their lives were unmanageable, so they couldn't ever quit A.A. or even graduate from the program — while Bill told the wives just the opposite — that their husbands could quit drinking if they really wanted to.


    Again, Bill Wilson pretended to be open-minded when he declared in the Big Book that A.A. was not the only way:

    We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired.   ...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, There Is A Solution, page 28.

    But that is just another bait-and-switch stunt:

    1. First, Alcoholics Anonymous was advertised as a quit-drinking program,
    2. but then Bill suddenly switched the goal, and declared that it was an "acquire faith" program, and the "faith" that you must acquire is belief in Bill Wilson's religion — "the discovery of God."

    Bill Wilson did it again here, while he also declared that you could use your Alcoholic Anonymous group as your "god" (G.O.D. = Group Of Drunks):

    I must quickly assure you that A.A.'s tread innumerable paths in their quest for faith. You can, if you wish, make A.A. itself your 'higher power.' Here's a very large group of people who have solved their alcohol problem. In this respect they are certainly a power greater than you, who have not even come close to a solution. Surely you can have faith in them. Even this minimum of faith will be enough. You will find many members who have crossed the threshold just this way. All of them will tell you that, once across, their faith broadened and deepened. Relieved of the alcohol obsession, their lives unaccountably transformed, they came to believe in a Higher Power, and most of them began to talk of God.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 27-28.

    Who says that A.A. members are on a "quest for faith"? It was supposed to be a quest for sobriety.
    (By the way, there is nothing "unaccountable" about how a cult changes people's lives, and messes with their minds, and changes their religious beliefs. It's a well-understood process.)

    Bill Wilson did it again here, in the recruiting manual for Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill taught the recruiters to handle the prospective new alcoholic members this way:

    If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 95.

    Find God? The advertised goal, what the alcoholic's wife was told to get the A.A. recruiter in the door of the alcoholic's house, was that A.A. was a sobriety fellowship that would make the alcoholic quit drinking. The wife of the alcoholic was supposed to introduce the recruiter to the alcoholic husband this way:

    You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 90.

    But then the goal changed to "finding God" and "a quest for faith".

    Likewise, the goal of Al-Anon is supposed to be to help family members of alcoholics cope with life with an alcoholic (and to learn how to nudge him towards quitting drinking, and to learn to stop enabling him to continue drinking). Al-Anon advertises on the radio, "We are the family and friends of alcoholics, and we want our lives back."

    But an Al-Anon book of daily meditations tells us this story:

    When I first came to Al-Anon, I didn't care one way or the other about a Higher Power. When I read the Steps with all those references to God, I was a little skeptical. I wasn't even sure I wanted a relationship with a Higher Power or what to do with one if I had it.   ...
          Gradually, by keeping an open mind and heart, attending meetings, and using the program tools, I became willing to have, and then actually yearned for, a relationship with a Higher Power.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 262.

    Proving once again that religious conversion is a big part of the 12-Step program. The goal of Al-Anon is to convert the rest of the family into believers in Buchmanism.


  2. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. is just a nice neighborhood quit-drinking self-help group, and then it's a hard-core religion.

    Likewise, first the religion isn't very important, but then it is.

    And first, you don't have to be religious if you don't want to, but then you do, if you want to live.

    As a come-on, to get people to consider joining Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson wrote:

    Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.

    If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 55.

    (If you dislike Bill's strange religion, then you are "prejudiced" and "thinking dishonestly".)

    But then Bill Wilson starts to lecture the newcomers about religion, using the Either/Or propaganda technique:

    When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 53.

    But [the newcomer's] face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 45.

    One of the reasons that "the newcomer's face falls when we speak of spiritual matters" is that the newcomer realizes that Bill and his gang are pulling a bait-and-switch stunt on him. The beginner came to what they said was a quit-drinking self-help group where they talk about alcoholism and quitting drinking, just a bunch of nice people who get together each week to help each other to stay sober. Now this fundamentalist preacher named Bill W. is lecturing everybody about God and true faith, and saying that you are "prejudiced" and "not thinking honestly" if you disagree with him.

    ("Oops, I must be in the wrong meeting. I thought they said this get-together was supposed to be about how to quit drinking.")

    And notice how Bill Wilson sneered at the alcoholic who wanted to talk about alcoholism, rather than get preached at:
    "...we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored."
    Bill declared that you were being dishonest and trying to "evade or ignore" the obvious truth (at least, obvious to him) if you disagreed with his dogmatic religious statements and grandiose proclamations.


    So what does any of this have to do with quitting drinking? Well, Bill Wilson insisted that only by believing in his adopted cult religion would you be able to quit drinking. Bill believed that the only cure for alcoholism was to become a religiomaniac, a religious maniac. Literally. Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, had allegedly suggested to a rich American alcoholic patient, Rowland Hazard, that "the only radical remedy ... for dipsomania is religiomania", and Bill Wilson believed it. That's the real Alcoholics Anonymous program — get religion, and pray that God will make you quit drinking.

    Remember that we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, pages 58-59.

    Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, page 43.

    As the preachers said way back in the 1800s, "Only God has the power to defeat Demon Rum."


  3. Bait and Switch: First, it's only a "spiritual" alcoholism recovery program, and then it's a fundamentalist religion whose 'real purpose' is to make you 'serve God'.

    First they say:

    Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

    But then they say:

    At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.

    One of those two statements is a lie.

    To get you to join, they will tell you that

    • "It's spiritual, not religious."

    • "It isn't a religion, it's just a fellowship of alcoholics who want to quit drinking."

    • Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Foreword, page xx.

    • "It isn't a religion, it's a self-help group — just a wonderful spiritual quit-drinking program."

    • "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs."
      Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions.
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.

    • "You can use anything you wish for your Higher Power — a bedpan, or a doorknob, or a Group Of Drunks."
      Or, in Cocaine Anonymous, "G.O.D." can be "a Group Of Drug addicts". And the best ones that I've heard lately are: "God" can be "a cat" or "a parakeet".

    But, later, they will talk endlessly about "moral shortcomings", confessions, surrender to God, and religion. You will only gradually find out that it is an intensely religious cult based on the strange teachings of a Hitler-admiring renegade fascist Lutheran minister named Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, and the grandiose proclamations of one of his mentally-ill converts, William Griffith Wilson.

    Then, in the Appendix to the second edition of the Big Book, Bill Wilson declared that the purpose of the A.A. program was to induce religious experiences so intense that they would permanently change the personality of an A.A. member:

    The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.
          Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.
          ... Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James [in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience] calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 569.

    So you can get a sudden, dramatic religious experience, or a slow gradual religious experience, but you must get one.

    Bill Wilson declared that only by doing what God dictates, as he saw an authoritarian patriarchal God dictating, will you be able to avoid death by alcoholism:

    "Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world..."
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 100.

    We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 85.

    And then, finally, Bill Wilson declared that the real purpose of his program was to get people to "seek and do God's will" every day:

    At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.

    But the only way that Bill wanted to "be of service" to other people was to convert them to his A.A. religion. He performed no other "services" for people, because:

    The minute we put our work on a service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon our assistance rather than upon God.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 98.

    So don't help the alcoholics, and don't perform any services for them. Bill says that they must learn to rely on God.

    You know, that is really heartless spiritual one-upmanship. Buchmanism is such an evil religion. Tell a cold and hungry homeless person, "I'm not going to give you any money or food or even a cup of coffee because you must learn to rely on God."

    (What does that even mean? "Rely on God"? Does God hand out sandwiches and cups of coffee to the homeless?)

    Some Alcoholics Anonymous members are such extreme religious fundamentalists that they want you on your knees, praying to God, at least once — preferably twice — every day. The slogan is:

    If you don't bend your knees, you'll bend your elbow.

    And the poem is:

    The Camel

    The camel each day goes twice to his knees;
    He picks up his load with the greatest of ease;
    He goes through the day with his head held high;
    And he stays for that day completely dry.

    The apologists for Alcoholics Anonymous constantly yammer the slogan that A.A. is not a religion ("it's spiritual, not religious"), but...
    1. They have a clearly-defined "God" or "Higher Power".
    2. They have a holy book that says what that "God" will or will not do, and what that God wants you to do.
    3. Their holy book declares that you must convert to Bill Wilson's religion, or else.
    4. They have a clearly-defined "way of life" for you, and a book that gives the commandments that you MUST follow, or else, like
      • You must confess ("admit") that you are "powerless over alcohol".
      • You must "come to believe".
      • You must attend lots and lots of their religious ceremonies. (Meetings.)
      • You must label yourself an "alcoholic". (Then they will teach you what a bad person "an alcoholic" really is.)
      • You must list and confess all of your sins.
      • You must surrender control of your life and your will to "God" or your sponsor or the A.A. group.
      • You must go recruiting and get the religion more converts. It's called "12th-Step work".
      • You must repeatedly, endlessly, perform all of the other commandments ("Steps"), or else "God" will become very angry with you and will torture you to death with alcohol poisoning.
    5. On the bright side, their holy book also declares that if you please "God" by being a proper member of Bill's religion, that "God" will give you a "miracle" and your alcohol problem will suddenly cease to exist.

    And how well does that proselytizing work?

          So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.


  4. Bait and Switch: First, Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion, but then it is better than all of the other religions.

    First, Bill Wilson declared,

    Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization.
    The Big Book, Forward to the 2nd Edition, William G. Wilson, page XX (of the 3rd edition).

    However:

    • The 12 Steps mention God, directly or indirectly, in 6 of the 12 steps. The Ten Commandments of Judeo-Christian religions mention God fewer times than that — only 4 or 5 of the 10 commandments refer to God, directly or indirectly1 — but the A.A. true believers still insist that A.A. is not a religion.

    • The Twelve Steps tell people to surrender their wills and their lives to "God" or "Higher Power" or the A.A. group, and to pray to "God" or "Higher Power" or the A.A. group, and then the Twelve Steps tell people how to pray and what to pray for, but the A.A. true believers still insist that A.A. is not a religion.

    • Bill Wilson declared that the real purpose of the A.A. program was to be of maximum service to God, but the A.A. true believers still insist that A.A. is not a religion.

      To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasize the spiritual feature on our first approach. We might prejudice them. At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God...
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 76-77.
    But then, an enthusiastic convert bragged in the Big Book that A.A. was a better religion that the others that he had known before:

    I had been brought up to believe in God, but I know that until I found this A.A. program, I had never found or known faith in the reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with me in everything I do.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 341.

    And the Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Trustee Milton A. Maxwell quoted another A.A. member as saying:

    I didn't know what peace of mind or serenity was until I found my own Higher Power...
    An A.A. member, quoted in The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up View For Professionals, Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., page 127.

    And other A.A. members say,

    I always believed in God, but could never put that belief meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him...
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, January 1, page 9.

    Notice the contradiction: The Alcoholics Anonymous true believers brag that A.A. is much better than the other religions, but they also deny that A.A. is a religion:

    Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Foreword, page xx.


  5. Bait and Switch: First, Bill Wilson declared that Alcoholics Anonymous was only one of many ways to achieve sobriety, then he declared that it was The Only Way.

    Similarly, first, "A.A. isn't for everyone", and then it is.

    And A.A. promoters declare, "There are many ways people come to sobriety. Everyone has to find their own way."

    First, Bill pretended to be humble as he declared:

    Upon therapy for the alcoholic himself, we surely have no monopoly.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Foreword, page xxi.

    Again, Bill Wilson pretended to be open-minded when he declared in the Big Book that A.A. was not the only way to recover from alcoholism (although he switched the goal to "acquire faith"):

    We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired.   ...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, There Is A Solution, page 28.

    (Again, A.A. was advertised as a "quit-drinking" program, not an "acquire faith" program. That's another bait-and-switch trick.)

    Bill continued:

    If he thinks he can do the job some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us. But point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you would like, in any case, to be friendly. Let it go at that.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 95.

    Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, A Vision For You, page 164.

    Perhaps you are not quite in sympathy with the approach we suggest. By no means do we offer it as the last word on this subject...
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, page 144.

    It would be a product of false pride to claim that A.A. is a cure-all, even for alcoholism.
    As Bill Sees It, quotes from William G. Wilson, published by A.A.W.S., page 285.

    But then Bill wrote:

    Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 35.

    For most cases, there is virtually no other solution.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 43.

    The AA member has to conform to the principles of recovery. His life actually depends upon obedience to spiritual principles. If he deviates too far, the penalty is sure and swift; he sickens and dies. At first he goes along because he must, but later he discovers a way of life he really wants to live. Moreover, he finds he cannot keep this priceless gift unless he gives it away. Neither he nor anybody else can survive unless he carries the AA message.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, Tradition One, pg. 130

    If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 72-73.

    For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 14-15.

    ... you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.     ...
    At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 44.

    "Or else", indeed. Finally, Bill Wilson wrote that you must do all of Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps all of the time, or else you are "signing your own death warrant".

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    And the Table of Contents in the same book declares:

    Absence of coercion works because unless each AA follows suggested steps to recovery, he signs his own death warrant.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 12.

    Likewise, the A.A. "First Tradition", which Bill Wilson wrote, says:

    A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die.

    And the Big Book also says:

    ...he was insisting that he had found the only cure.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 257.

    ...they had found the only remedy...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 259.

    And other pro-A.A. literature from the Hazelden Foundation declares:

    None of us in Alcoholics Anonymous is normal. Our abnormality compels us to go to AA... We all go because we need to. Because the alternative is drastic, either A.A. or death.
    Delirium Tremens, Stories of Suffering and Transcendence, Ignacio Solares, Hazelden, 2000, page 27.

    These statements come from more A.A. promoters:

    One way or another Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a similar Twelve-Step program is an integral part of almost all successful recoveries from alcohol or drug abuse. In fact, it is widely believed that not including a Twelve-Step program in a treatment plan can put a recovering addict on the road to relapse.
    The Recovery Book, Al J. Mooney M.D., Arlene Eisenberg, and Howard Eisenberg, pages 40-41.

    So, "it is widely believed" that A.A. is essential to recovery? Widely believed by whom? That is the propaganda trick of using the passive voice, where things get done by some invisible unnamed people.

    The authors are also using the propaganda trick of Everybody's Doing It, and Everybody Knows. It's just like "Everybody knows that the world is flat." Well, "Everybody knows that A.A. works great."

    The A.A. and N.A. recruiters and promoters are, of course, totally ignoring the simple fact that the 12-Step program doesn't really work at all, and it just raises the death rate.

    The statement that "One way or another Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a similar Twelve-Step program is an integral part of almost all successful recoveries from alcohol or drug abuse" is nothing but a blatant lie. Even a simple examination of the facts reveals that A.A. has an immense drop-out rate and that the A.A. program rarely works, and most of the successful people quit without A.A. or any 12-Step program.

    The NIAAA's 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:

    "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

    Likewise, the Harvard Medical School stated that 80% of the alcoholics who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it alone, without any "treatment" or "support group".

    Telling newcomers one thing, and then changing the story later, is called "deceptive recruiting" and "bait-and-switch" selling. For more on A.A. deceptive recruiting, see The Cult Test — Deceptive Recruiting

    For more on "The Only Way", see The Cult Test question: The Cult Is The Only Way


  6. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. members insist that Alcoholics Anonymous does not claim to be the only way, then they insist that any alcoholic who quits drinking without A.A. was not a real alcoholic.

    Again, first A.A. members quote Bill Wilson and insist that they do not say that A.A. is the only way:

    Upon therapy for the alcoholic himself, we surely have no monopoly.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Foreword, page xxi.

    If he thinks he can do the job some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 95.

    But then they insist that if someone leaves A.A. and successfully quits drinking on his own, that he was not a real alcoholic at all — the underlying belief being that no real alcoholic can quit without A.A., because A.A. really is the only way for a real alcoholic to quit drinking.

    Further, many people who enter [A.A.] are not even alcoholic — they are simply heavy drinkers experiencing unpleasant consequences. An example is a parent who drinks too much and makes a fool out of themselves at the PTA meeting — then goes to AA for a couple months to atone for their blunder. Another is the celebrity who crashes their car or ruins a movie because of their substance abuse then attends meetings for a while. These people can then leave AA and refrain from drinking all by themselves, and they do this with ease, because they were never really alcoholic in the first place...
    (source here.)

    That is of course The Real Scotsman logical fallacy. It works like this:

    Smith: No alcoholic can quit drinking without A.A.
    Jones: But look at Terry there. He quit drinking without A.A.
    Smith: Ah, but he wasn't a real alcoholic. If he was a real alcoholic, he wouldn't have been able to quit without A.A.


  7. Bait and Switch: First, they will tell you that the Twelve Steps are only suggested as a program of recovery, but then you hear the slogan "Work The Steps Or Die".

    Page 59 of the Big Book says:

    Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 5, How It Works, page 59.

    But then they will tell you that you must do all of Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps all of the time, or else you will die — that you are "signing your own death warrant" if you don't work Bill's 12 steps.

    A.A. promoters repeat this deception. Notice how, in the following quote, the first two sentences tell you that you don't have to do the 12 Steps, but then the third sentence says that you do. Bait and Switch.

    The Twelve Steps constitute a suggested program of recovery. The Steps are prefaced with "Here are the steps we took" not "Here are the steps you must take." Newcomers will eventually learn that solid recovery means the practice of all Twelve Steps — the entire A.A. program, but members are free to proceed at their own speed.
    The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up View For Professionals, Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., page 52.

    (Milton A. Maxwell went on to become a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc..)

    It's often said that the steps are "suggested" in the same way as when you jump out of an airplane wearing a parachute, it is "suggested" that you pull the ripcord. This story from an A.A. book of daily meditations shows how the meaning of the word "suggested" has been twisted into "absolutely required". In this and other ways, the meaning of the word "suggested" is perverted:

    I remember my sponsor's answer when I told him that the Steps were "suggested." He replied that they are "suggested" in the same way that, if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is "suggested" that you pull the ripcord to save your life. He pointed out that it was "suggested" I practice the Twelve Steps, if I wanted to save my life. So I try to remember daily that I have a whole program of recovery based on all Twelve of the "suggested" Steps.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 344, December 1.

    So when A.A. makes a suggestion, consider it an offer that you can't refuse from Don Corleoné, the Godfather:
    "It isn't like we want to put any pressure on you. I'm only suggesting that you do some things for us. Vinnie and the boys will just pay you a little visit tonight, and make you an offer that you can't refuse..."


  8. Bait and Switch: First, they will tell you to see a doctor, and say that "we know only a little", but then it's "We know more than doctors", "We are the experts on addictions", and "Don't take medications."

    First, the story is:

    Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, A Vision For You, page 164.

    And:

    We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health. But we have seen remarkable transformations in our bodies. Hardly one of our crowd now shows any mark of dissipation.
          But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons. Most of them give freely of themselves, that their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies. Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, The Family Afterward, page 133.

    ["We are miracles of mental health"?
    You've got to be kidding. Talk about denial. Bill Wilson was a raving lunatic who obviously suffered from delusions of grandeur and a narcissistic personality disorder and chronic clinical depression, and his psychiatrist, Dr. Harry Tiebout, told him so.
    Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.]

    Then Bill Wilson delivered back-handed compliments to doctors, and said that you can learn from a doctor, if you wish to, BUT you are actually more "uniquely useful" than a trained and licensed medical doctor:

    Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 89.

    And A.A. members are supposedly better than doctors for "curing alcoholism":

    I have no doubt that a man who has cured himself of the lust for alcohol has a far greater power for curing alcoholism than has a doctor.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 320.

    And you can't trust the word of a doctor because they won't tell you the truth:

    Doctors are rightly loath to tell alcoholic patients the whole story unless it will serve some good purpose.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 92.

    (Isn't warning the patient that he is going to die if he keeps on drinking alcohol "serving some good purpose"? That's what my doctor did for me.)

    And then the Big Book prints a story where a newcomer read the Big Book and concluded:

    Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.

    And Bill Wilson, while pretending to be the wife of an A.A. alcoholic, told the other wives of alcoholics that A.A. could cure cases that doctors found hopeless:

    You may have a husband of whom you completely despair. He has been placed in one institution after another. He is violent, or appears definitely insane when drunk. Sometimes he drinks on the way home from the hospital. Perhaps he has had delirium tremens. Doctors may shake their heads and advise you to have him committed. Maybe you have already been obliged to put him away. This picture may not be as dark as it looks. Many of our husbands were just as far gone. Yet they got well.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 110.

    And a doctor who went to his first A.A. meeting and found the local butcher, baker, and carpenter there, wrote in the Big Book:

    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.

    A common A.A. slogan is, "We are the experts on addictions".

    Likewise an A.A. true believer told me in a letter that A.A. is better than doctors because:

    ...doctors on the other hand have no clue or very little training about "obsessive compulsive" disorders and prescribe to the symptoms.

    See the discussion of the no medications issue in the Cult Test and in the file "The Hazelden Coffee War". And see the list of A.A. "No Meds" Horror Stories, here.


  9. Bait and Switch: First, they will tell you that you can do it your way. Then they tell you that you must do it their way.
    Likewise, first they will tell you that you have a free choice in how to work the program, and then they tell you that you have no choice, and must do it their way, or else your fate will be "Jails, Institutions, or Death".

    First, they will tell you that you can "Take what you want, and leave the rest", but soon that will morph into: "You aren't qualified to judge what you should take — your brain is messed up from alcohol, "Your Best Thinking Got You Here", and it's too early in your recovery for you to start being creative — so you should just do what your sponsor says, and Keep Coming Back!"

    Then another old-timer will grumble, "Take what you want, and leave the rest? When did this place become a cafeteria?"

    And in the Big Book, one Alcoholics Anonymous recruiter taught a new prospect that he had to change his way of living:

    "You've been trying man's ways and they always fail," he told me. "You can't win unless you try God's way."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition. anonymous, Chapter B5, The European Drinker, page 236.

    (Notice how "the A.A. way" and "God's way" just happen to conveniently be the same thing. That is the propaganda trick of False Equality — claim that two different things are just the same thing.)

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
    == Susan B. Anthony, 1896

    Likewise, a rehash of the Big Book that is aimed at youths says,

    She admitted that her way wasn't working and became willing to try someone else's way.
    Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, John R., Hazelden, 2003, page 107.

    Then, in the Big Book, Bill Wilson instructs the A.A. recruiters to pressure prospective new members to write a blank check to A.A. — to get them to agree in advance to do absolutely anything:

    ... let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 90.

    And then Bill Wilson declared that you do not even have "the right to decide all by yourself just what you shall think and just how you shall act." (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 36-37.)
    So you don't even have the right to design your own recovery program. Just shut up and do what your sponsor says —
    "Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth."
    "Just do it the tried, proven way. Don't try to change the program."

    Bill Wilson even wrote that the Twelve Steps were written down in the Big Book so that A.A. members couldn't "wiggle out of the deal" and not do his Steps:

    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]

    Notice Bill Wilson's arrogance. He felt that he was entitled to write contracts that other people couldn't get out of.

    Finally, the real kicker was Bill Wilson declaring that A.A. members who didn't "work the Steps to the best of their ability" were "signing their own death warrant". There wasn't a hint of freedom left there.

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.


  10. Bait and Switch: First, they will tell you that you can "Take what you want, and leave the rest." Then they will tell you that you must follow the formula exactly, or else it won't work.

    Again, first you get a come-on that promises freedom. But later you will hear exhortations to work a strong program exactly as your sponsor tells you to do it, or exactly as described in the Big Book.

    Some sponsors tell a story about how they tried to make some strawberry shortcake by only taking the parts of the recipe that they liked, and leaving the rest out. The result was terrible shortcake. So the moral of the story is that you must follow the 12-Step recipe exactly as it is given to you.

    Another version of this story is: Some oldtimer will sagely tell a story about trying to make a chocolate cake from his aunt's recipe, except that he decided to do it his own way and only use some of the ingredients — and the result was a terrible cake. The moral is that you must work all of the Steps, all of the time, and do the entire A.A. program, just like how the oldtimers supposedly did. (They didn't, really. Half of the original A.A. members totally rejected Bill Wilson's cult religion practices, and never "worked the Steps".)

    Then another condescending sponsor will parrot the slogan, "It's too early in your recovery for you to start being creative."

    Likewise, the more dogmatic old-timers will declare that just taking what you want produces "watered-down A.A.", and they emphasize that you must thoroughly follow "our path". And the slogan is,
          "Step One only works when you do the other eleven."


  11. Bait and Switch: First, they will tell you that you can "Take what you want, and leave the rest." Then they will tell you that you can't ever leave.

    You will get the standard cult routine of No Exit

    • "You can't leave, because if you do, you will relapse and die drunk."
    • "If you leave, you'll come back on your knees."
    • You only get the benefits if you "mine the 'limitless lode' for the rest of your life and insist on giving away the entire product." (Big Book, pages 128-129)

    And then it's the standard cult routine of No Graduates:

    "Nobody ever graduates from this program."

    The Big Book says:

    A.A. is not a plan for recovery that can be finished and done with. It is a way of life, and the challenge contained in its principles is great enough to keep any human being striving for as long as he lives. We do not, cannot, out-grow this plan.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, Sylvia K., The Keys Of The Kingdom, page 311.

    In conclusion, I can only say that whatever growth or understanding has come to me, I have no wish to graduate. Very rarely do I miss the meetings of my neighborhood A.A. group, and my average has never been less than two meetings a week.
    ... our one desire is to stay in A.A. ...
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, Jim Burwell, The Vicious Cycle, pages 249-250.


  12. Bait and Switch: First, alcoholics are charming, and then they are disgusting.

    • The Big Book contains loads of this We Are Wonderful Alcoholics hype:

      I saw in these people a quality of peace and serenity that I knew I must have for myself.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 310.

    • They had that certain something that seemed to glow, a peace and a serenity combined with happiness.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 290.

    • Bill Wilson also wrote:

      Truly did a clergyman say to me, "Your misfortune has become your good fortune. You A.A.'s are a privileged people."
      GRAPEVINE, JULY 1946
      As Bill Sees It; The A.A. Way of Life... selected writings of A.A.'s co-founder, A.A.W.S., page 133.

    • In his own story of alcoholism and joining A.A., Paul Molloy gave us this bombastic, grandiose lunacy, supposedly from a non-alcoholic who is envious of those lucky alcoholics in A.A.:

      "... there are times, oh so many times, when I wish I had been an alcoholic. The reason is that I consider the AA people to be the most charming in the world.   ...
            "I asked myself why I consider so charming these alcoholic caterpillars who have found their butterfly wings in AA. I can name a few reasons. The AA people are what they are, and they were what they were, because they are sensitive, imaginative, possessed of a sense of humor and an awareness of universal truth.
            They are sensitive, which means they hurt easily, and that helped them become alcoholics. But when they have found their restoration, they are still as sensitive as ever — responsive to beauty and truth, and eager about the intangible glories of this life. That makes them charming companions. And they are possessed of a sense of universal truth that is often a new thing in their hearts. The fact that this at-one feeling with God's universe had never been awakened in them is sometimes the reason why they drank.
            "The fact that it was at last awakened is almost always the reason why they were restored to the good and simple ways of life. Stand with them when the meeting is over, and listen as they say the 'Our Father.'
            They have found a power greater than themselves which they serve diligently. And that gives them a charm that never was elsewhere on land and sea. It makes you know that God Himself is really charming, because the AA people reflect His mercy and His forgiveness.
            "They are imaginative, and that helped to make them alcoholics. Some of them drank to flog their imaginations on to greater things. Others guzzled only to black out unendurable visions that rose in their imaginations. But when they have found their restoration, their imagination is responsive to new thinking, and their talk abounds with color and light. And that, too, makes them charming companions.
            "They are possessed of a sense of humor. Even in their cups they have been known to say damnably funny things. Often, it was being forced to take seriously the little and mean things of life that made them seek escape in the bottle. But when they have found their restoration, their sense of humor finds a blessed freedom, and they are able to reach a god-like state, where they can laugh at themselves — at the very height of self-conquest.
      Where Did Everybody Go?, Paul Molloy, pages 187-189.

      Alcoholics reach a god-like state? Good grief.

    But then they pull the switch, and suddenly the alcoholics are all so bad that they seem to be the spawn of Satan:

    • An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature.
      The "Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, 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.
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 44.

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

    Then Bill Wilson used the "Preacher's We" propaganda trick to rave about how bad "we" are:

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    Wow. I guess all of those "wonderful, charming, god-like" alcoholics should just be taken out and shot.


  13. Bait and Switch: First, God loves you, and then He doesn't.

    Steps Two and Three tell you that God is ready to immediately start working for you, restoring you to sanity in Step Two and taking care of your will and your life for you in Step Three. God is supposedly eager to come to your aid, and perform a miracle and change reality to suit you, just because you were foolish and drank too much alcohol.

    But starting with Step Four, suddenly you are unworthy of God's love. Now you have to grovel and wallow in guilt and make long lists of your sins and confess to God how terrible you have beenconfess everything, withholding nothing — and you have to spend the rest of your life trying to make amends.

    We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, page 75.

    The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, page 127.

    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.

    ...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.

    See the file "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy" for much much more of Bill Wilson's and A.A.'s rants about how terrible alcoholics really are.


  14. Bait and Switch: First, God loves you unconditionally, and then God won"t save you unless you "work a strong program".

    One A.A. missionary tells us that:

          I believe that in a hundred years historians will look back and pinpoint this milestone as the single most important event in the twentieth century. This milestone was the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio, in June of 1935.
          Besides the invaluable gift of sobriety that AA has given to millions of Alcoholics, it also started a revolution in Spiritual consciousness.
          The dramatic success and expansion of AA facilitated the spread of a radically revolutionary idea which has traditionally, in Western Civilization, been considered heresy. This was not a new idea but rather a reintroduction and clarification of an old idea, coupled with a formula for practical application of the concept into day-to-day human life experience.
          This revolutionary idea was that an unconditionally Loving Higher Power exists with whom the individual being can personally communicate. A Higher Power that is so powerful that it has no need to judge the humans it created because this Universal Force is powerful enough to ensure that everything unfolds perfectly from a Cosmic Perspective.
    Robert Burney, "Codependency", http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/codependency_recovery/113703

    (I just have to ask, what happened to the Unconditional Love of Higher Power when that tsunami hit Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia and killed hundreds of thousands of people? And now they have been clobbered by an earthquake, and next they are going to get wiped out by a volcano. Unconditional Love? Does Higher Power only unconditionally love white people on this side of the planet? Does Higher Power only care about alcoholics?)

    Of course that also begs the theological question: Where was the unconditional love of God when he let alcoholics drink themselves to death for 20 or 30 years? And why didn't God care about the welfare of the children who suffered at the hands of the alcoholics?

    But that grandiose flowery talk is followed by death threats if you don't conform to the group and Work The Steps every day:

    We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our daily activities.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 85.

    Work The Steps or Die! == popular A.A. slogan

    And finally Bill Wilson told us that we are signing our own death warrants if we don't do his 12 Steps. God's "unconditional love" won't save us:

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.


  15. Bait and Switch: First, God is your servant, and then you are a slave of God.

    • In Step Two, God will allegedly restore you to sanity for free.
            2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

    • Step Three says that God will take care of your will and your life for you, again apparently for free, just because you gave up and shoved your life at Him for repair.
            3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
      The slogans are,
      • "Let Go And Let God"
      • "Turn It Over" [to God]

    • In Step Seven, God will allegedly remove your many defects of character and moral shortcomings, and make you into a superior spiritual being, just because you humbly beg Him to do so.

    • But in Step Eleven it becomes obvious that you are to be a slave of God, having to conduct a séance and get your work orders from God every day, and spend your whole life carrying out those orders:

      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.

    And here Bill reveals that you cannot have a life of your own; you are first and foremost a slave of God:

    The notion that we would still live our own lives, God helping a little now and then, began to evaporate. Many of us who had thought ourselves religious awoke to the limitations of this attitude. Refusing to place God first, we had deprived ourselves of His help. But now the words "Of myself I am nothing, the Father doeth the works", began to carry bright promise and meaning.
          We saw that we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, © 1952,1953, 27th printing 1984, page 75.

    Finally, Bill Wilson actually wrote that we do not even have the right to think for ourselves, and that we are fortunate if alcohol destroys our brains and our ability to think independently.


  16. Bait and Switch: First, you don't have to be perfect, and then you do.

    First, you can be just another degenerate alcoholic, full of failings and "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings". It's okay, because "you're just one of us. Welcome to the club." The slogans are, "We are not saints," and "Let us love you until you can love yourself."

    But then, you must flawlessly "work a strong program" or else you will die. You have to go to lots of meetings and do the 12 Steps really well, or else you will die. Bill says that you must do the 12 Steps to the very best of your ability, or else you are signing your own death warrant...

    And you better not fail to confess every dirty little secret in your Fifth Step, or else you are doomed:

    If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 72-73.

    Likewise, you must be completely selfless and totally dedicated to doing the Will of God, or else God won't like you, and He will let you die drunk in a gutter, and it will all be your own fault.

    And if you do relapse, it's all your own fault because you didn't "really try", and you didn't "thoroughly follow our path".


  17. Bait and Switch: First, they tell you that Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of "rigorous honesty", and then it's a program of gross dishonesty.

    At the start of every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, they incant:

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 58.

    But later, you will be taught to:


  18. Bait and Switch: First, it's just a quiet, confidential program of attraction, then it's a tough-love program of steel-fisted coercion and promotion.

    • They begin every meeting by reading aloud Tradition Eleven, which says,
      "Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion...."

    • But later, they tell you to do everything you can to use the health and criminal justice systems to force people to join the 12-Step religion. The Little Red Book of Hazelden — a clone of The Little Red Book of Chairman Mao — specifically teaches recruiters to indoctrinate judges, doctors, and other officials as part of the proselytizing work. It says that faithful A.A. members can carry the message by:

      11. By telling the A.A. story to clergy members, doctors, judges, educators, employers, or police officials if we know them well enough to further the A.A. cause, or to help out a fellow member.
      The Little Red Book, Hazelden, page 128.

      Then that book even goes on to tell recruiters to teach the judges, police, doctors, and other officials just what kind of people A.A. wants coerced into attending its meetings:

      By educating doctors, the clergy, judges, police officials, and industrial personnel regarding the type of people A.A. can help, we will avoid flooding our ranks with an unwieldy preponderance of nonalcoholics.
      The Little Red Book, Hazelden, page 137.

      So much for the excuses that A.A. can't help it if the judges, parole officers, and counselors force people to go to A.A. meetings.

    And Hazelden is merely echoing Bill Wilson's instructions. In a 1939 letter from Bill to Earl T., a founding member of the Chicago A.A. group, Bill wrote:

    By educating doctors, hospitals, ministers along this line, you will surely pick up some strong prospects after a bit.
    PASS IT ON, The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pages 225-226.

    As one wit said, "A.A. is in the position of a snake who is being force-fed mice. Not that the snake was all that unwilling..."


  19. Bait and Switch: First, you get declarations of easy-going tolerance, and then, death threats.

    First, A.A. presents newcomers with a friendly, tolerant, smiley-face. They start off by telling you that A.A. is just a loose, easy-going fellowship, where you don't have to believe anything, and the Twelve Steps are only a "suggested" program for recovery.

    But later, after you have joined, they will show you the other face. They will threaten you with death, and tell you that you are "signing your own death warrant," if you don't conform and do all of Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps exactly as they dictate.

    Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.

    Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 5, How It Works, page 59.

    But after they get you to join and start working the program, the tone of the instructions changes:

    If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 6, Into Action, page 72.

    The "suggested" steps have suddenly become "vital steps", and we might not survive alcoholism if we don't do Bill's Twelve Steps, he says. On the second page of chapter 5 of the Big Book, the steps were just "suggested steps", but on the first page of chapter 6 they have become "vital steps".

    And then, in his next book, Bill really cranked up the pressure. Bill declared that alcoholics would die unless they followed his instructions and did the 12 steps that he made up:

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    "Work The Steps Or Die!"
    — Popular A.A. slogan

    "If you don't work the program, then your fate will invariably be 'Jails, Institutions, or Death'."
    — Popular A.A. slogan

    And other A.A. propagandists, like the Hazelden Foundation, say:

    "None of us in Alcoholics Anonymous is normal. Our abnormality compels us to go to AA... We all go because we need to. Because the alternative is drastic, either A.A. or death."
    Delirium Tremens, Stories of Suffering and Transcendence, Ignacio Solares, Hazelden, 2000, page 27.


  20. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. tells you that you are responsible for your own sobriety — that you must do all of the work — but then, if you succeed, A.A. claims that it was responsible for your success.

    Alcoholics Anonymous shoves all of the responsibility for quitting drinking on the individual alcoholic, and then takes all of the credit when someone succeeds in keeping himself sober.

    • To succeed in A.A., you must "keep coming back", and "really try", and "work a strong program", and "work the Steps".
    • To succeed in A.A., you cannot let anything "come before your sobriety".
    • To succeed in A.A., you must reveal every personal secret and old sin in your Fifth Step. "If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.".
    • To succeed in A.A., you must "work all of the Steps, all of the time."
    • Then, if you do successfully quit drinking and stay sober, A.A. claims that it did it.


  21. Bait and Switch: First, the story is "The A.A. program works great", but then, when people relapse, "It isn't our fault".
    Likewise, if someone quits drinking, that allegedly proves that the A.A. program works, but if someone doesn't quit drinking, then it's his own fault for not working the program right.

    First, A.A. will tell you that their cure for alcoholism works great —

    "RARELY have we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path."
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 58.

    Bill Wilson even claimed that the A.A. program was a panacea that would cure all of your ills:

    Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, page 42.

    And, in the second edition of the Big Book, Bill Wilson bragged about the great A.A. cure rate:

    "Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement."
    The Big Book, in the 1955 Foreword to the Second Edition, page XX.

    But then, when the majority of the newcomers relapse, A.A. claims that it isn't responsible for the failures:

    • "He didn't really try."
    • "He must have held something back in his Fifth Step."
    • "He had a resentment."
    • "He was constitutionally dishonest with himself."
    • "He didn't keep coming back."
    • "He didn't work a strong Program."
    • "He didn't thoroughly follow our path."

    They can't have it both ways. They can't be in control of the patient's life and health when the patient recovers — and due the credit for the success — but not in control, and not at all responsible for the failure, when the patient relapses (or just never quits drinking at all).

    • Either the cure works, or it doesn't.
    • Either the program changes peoples' behavior, or it doesn't.
    • Either the program causes people to quit drinking, or it doesn't.

    Speaking of which, they never defined just what "working the Program properly" really means. Often, they have a laundry list of things that you "must" do (after declaring that there are no "musts" in A.A., just suggestions), but they don't give a very precise definition of "working the Program properly". Considering that people's lives are at stake, giving precise instructions seems to be the least that they could do.

    "Working the Program properly" may include any or all of the following:

    1. Quitting drinking. They have a slogan that says, "Working the Steps won't make you quit drinking right; quitting drinking will make you work the Steps right."
      So, essentially, the A.A. program demands that you quit drinking and get healthy before you get the medicine.
    2. Admitting powerlessness. You must admit that you are powerless over alcohol.
      They do not explain how you can immediately quit drinking, so as to work the Steps properly, when you are powerless over alcohol.
    3. Admit that you are insane, and come to believe that a vague, unnamed, Higher Power will restore you to sanity.
      They do not explain how that is not an insane belief.
    4. Turn your will and your life over to the control of somebody or Something Else.
      They do not explain how that "Something Else" is not held responsible when things go wrong. To use a Navy analogy, when a new man is made Captain of the ship, he is responsible if the ship runs aground or sinks. He cannot blame a lowly sailor. The man who gives the orders is responsible.
    5. List and confess all of your sins.
      They do not explain what this has to do with drinking alcohol.
    6. Keep coming back to more meetings.
    7. Beg a Higher Power to fix whatever is wrong with you.
      They do not explain how this is not just wishful thinking.
    8. "Make amends" to everyone whom you ever offended.
    9. Conduct a séance and do whatever the voices in your head tell you to do. Pray for God to tell you what to do and to give you the power to carry out the orders.
      Again, they do not explain how God is not responsible for disasters when He is the Captain of the ship, giving the orders.
    10. Go recruiting and get more people to join A.A.
    And that is supposed to somehow take away the desire to drink alcohol, and keep you from drinking alcohol. But if it doesn't work, it isn't the fault of "The Program".


  22. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. promoters claim that the 12-Step program causes A.A. members to do good things, and they take full credit for members' good behavior, but when A.A. members do bad things, like relapse, or rape and murder, A.A. promoters claim that the Steps had nothing to do with it. And A.A. had no control over that person's behavior, so they aren't to blame.

    A.A. promoters and boosters routinely claim that practicing the 12-Step program causes all kinds of good behavior, and "spiritual" benefits. An article in a magazine for counselors made these grandiose claims about the effects of practicing the A.A. 12-Step program:

            Most alcoholics began drinking abusively in their teens. From that point, alcohol became their method for coping with stress, and they apparently failed to develop much beyond the adolescent personality stage. The twelve step rehabilitation program of AA helps to complete that personality development process. It also instills attitudes of positive spirituality, which will allow recovering alcoholics to deal effectively with the stresses of life and bring about a fulfilling and even joyful recovery. It does so by promoting the growth of a healthy ego in a nurturing environment.
            According to Khantzian and Mack, "The spiritual dimension of AA helps to move a person from a less mature, childish self-centeredness toward a more mature form of object love" (1989, p. 79). Essentially, the founders of AA understood that the transcendence of ego stimulates in the alcoholic a corresponding growth of positive spirituality.
    ...
            As recovering alcoholics "work the steps" of the AA program, guided by their sponsors in the supportive family environment, they begin to develop positive spirituality. This is reflected in blossoming attitudes of unconditional love, acceptance, and trust in relationships with themselves, others, the world, life, and the God of their understanding. They come to believe that they are fundamentally okay even if their behaviors sometimes are not. They begin to love, accept, and trust themselves.
    ...
            As they begin to live life through satisfying relationships with themselves, with others, and with the world, they come to believe that life is okay. They no longer see it as a purely biological happenstance or some kind of cruel joke, but rather as a condition that has profound meaning and purpose for them. They come to love, accept, and trust life. For most members of AA, it is inconceivable that such life is not ordered and supported by a loving God. Accordingly, they come to love, accept, and trust God.
            Those who achieve this level of spiritual development show the greatest happiness in recovery and seem to have the greatest sobriety. They seem to have a special presence about them, a kind of light in their eyes that draws newly recovering alcoholics to them like a magnet. They are the role models for all who are serious about their recovery. The most effective sponsors come from their ranks. They inspire all who are resolutely working the steps as well as those who have newly entered AA and have not yet committed themselves to its program.
    Spirituality: The key to recovery from alcoholism., Warfield, Robert D.; Goldstein, Marc B., Counseling & Values, April 1996, Volume 40, Issue 3, Page 196.

    (Click on that link for a criticism of that pseudo-scientific nonsense.)

    That is, of course, just such a load of Pollyanna's fluff. "Everything is just so wonderful!" Too bad it doesn't work. We could be cranking out saints on an assembly-line basis if it worked.

    And Bill Wilson even bragged that A.A. forced people to be good:

    "Then, too we have a dictatorship — and how! God constantly says to us, 'I trust you will find and do my will.' John Barleycorn, always at our elbow, says, 'If you don't conform, I'll kill you or drive you mad.' So we have all the advantages and more, of the modern dictatorship."
    Bill Wilson, quoted by his secretary Nell Wing, in Grateful To Have Been There, page 22.

    Therefore we [AA] have the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today but none of their liabilities.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 105—106.
    The full benefits of murderous dictatorships? What benefits? Benefits to whom?
    And what liabilities of dictatorships does A.A. not have?

    Even the 12 Steps themselves make grand claims of good effects. Step 12 originally said:
                12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps...

    Alas, many A.A. members complained that they were not getting the big "spiritual experience", or seeing God, from doing the 12 Steps, so Bill Wilson rewrote Step 12. Now, the revised version says:
                12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps...,

    ...Whatever a "spiritual awakening" is supposed to be...

    But when A.A. members commit fraud, or murder, or rape young female newcomers, suddenly it isn't the fault of A.A. or the 12-Step program, because A.A. had no effect on that member, none at all, and A.A. is not in any way responsible for what happened, and it's just so "unfair" to criticize the spirituality of A.A.:

    • "It isn't fair to condemn A.A. for the actions of some of its members."

    • in order to properly access a.a. one has to recognize that a.a. is filled with people that are mentally ill, and are oblivious to their condition. though this may be a fault of the organization, it is not a fault of their "program", at least in principle.
      looking at the fellowship and the 12 steps as one entity is not really fair.
      (See letter here.)

    •       Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged . No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
      William G. Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 60.

    • The problem with what you are doing is that A.A. is a place for sick people to get well. For alcoholics to come recover. It is not a place for nice kind folk to become saints.
      Posted by: "inventory" — September 13, 2007 07:12 AM, to a Washington Post readers' comments section, in response to a story about the sexual exploitation going on in the Washington DC "Midtown Group of A.A.".
      There is much more of that quote here: http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-heresy.html#sick_well


  23. Bait and Switch: First they tell you that you have a "disease", and you are powerless over alcohol, but then you must choose sobriety and "work a strong program" and keep yourself sober.

    First, "alcoholism" is a "disease", over which you are supposedly "powerless":

          I was a sick person. I was suffering from an actual disease that had a name and symptoms like diabetes or cancer or TB — and a disease was respectable, not a moral stigma!
    "Mrs." Marty Mann, the Big Book, 3rd edition page 227, and 4th Edition page 205.

    And page 92 of the Big Book instructs recruiters to:

          "Continue to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady."

    So how, if you have a "respectable" fatal disease, are you supposed to choose to get sober, and "work a strong program"?


  24. Bait and Switch: First they tell you that you are powerless over alcohol, but if you drink any alcohol, then it's your fault because you chose to drink.

    It can't be your fault if you are really powerless over alcohol.
    If you can choose whether to drink alcohol, then you are not powerless over alcohol.

    Nevertheless, the A.A. pundits constantly incant:

    Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

    But then the story is,

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are those who cannot or will not give themselves completely to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 58.

    So it's all your own fault because you would not give yourself completely to the A.A. program (because you are so dishonest). Instead, you chose to drink alcohol.


  25. Bait and Switch: First they tell you that self-reliance is bad, and then sobriety is your own responsibility.

    Bill Wilson declared that self-reliance was bad, very bad, and that dependency was good. According to Bill, self-confidence and will power are terrible things:

    We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, it was a total liability. Our sponsors declared that we were the victims of a mental obsession so subtly powerful that no amount of human willpower could break it.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 22.

    In the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous, there is no difference between self-reliance — using your own intelligence to manage your life and take care of yourself — and stubborn willfulness, deliberately disobeying the orders that come down from God.

    The book "The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill" is a collection of Bill Wilson's opinions on every subject, published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. It has an index in the front of the book. The entry for "self-reliance", on page viii reads:

    Self-Reliance; see Will

    Then the entry for "Will" lists 26 items, all of which tell us what is wrong with having a will, or being willful. In Bill Wilson's crazy theology, anybody who had a will of his own was in direct conflict with the Will of God. The only acceptable morality was to be a grovelling slave of "Higher Power" or "God, as Bill Wilson understood Him", depending on "Him" to tell us what to do with our lives:

    The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, page 60.

    ... newcomers ... have experienced nothing but constant deflation and a growing conviction that human will is of no value whatsoever.   ...
          It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that we begin to use it rightly.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 40.

    Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, page 100.
    Bill Wilson's second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, adds this Orwellian double-think:

    Therefore dependence, as A.A. practices it, is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 36.

    But then, when the A.A. "program" does not work, the A.A. promoters declare that it is your own fault, and you should learn to rely on yourself, and nobody is going to do the work for you:

    • "You must work a strong program."
    • "You must thoroughly follow our path."
    • "You must do all of the Step work."
    • "AA or any other program will only work as good as the effort that ones puts into getting sober." [sic. sp.]
    • "It's not the program that fails people — it is people who fail themselves."
    • "Work The Steps Or Die!"


  26. Bait and Switch: First, they talk about numbers, and then they refuse to discuss the numbers.
    Likewise, first they claim a great success rate, and then they refuse to discuss the success rate.

    • Alcoholics Anonymous starts every meeting by parrotting Bill Wilson's lie,
      "RARELY have we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path...", etc.,
      which implies that A.A. has a very high success rate.

    • And, again, in the second edition of the Big Book, Bill Wilson bragged about the great A.A. cure rate:
      "Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement."
      The Big Book, in the 1955 Foreword to the Second Edition, page XX.

    • But when you challenge their grandiose claims, and ask for specific numbers about the A.A. success rate, they run and hide behind statements like:


  27. Bait and Switch: First, a cure, and then, no cure.
    First, hope of recovery, and then hopelessness.
    First, confession of sins works to cure alcoholism, and then it doesn't.
    First, "it's a miracle", and then, you get no miracle.
    First, you are "in recovery", but then you never recover.

    At first, a recruiter will tell you that A.A. has the answer, the best way to survive and recover from alcoholism. And first, the story is that A.A. members are better than doctors for "curing alcoholism":

    I have no doubt that a man who has cured himself of the lust for alcohol has a far greater power for curing alcoholism than has a doctor.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 320.

    Later, they will tell you that you never really recover — your situation is hopeless; modern medicine and modern science have no cure for alcoholism, and the only answer is to abandon yourself to God and hope that God will save you.

    First, they tell you that if you go to A.A. meetings and "work the Steps", and "work a strong program", that you are "in recovery" (as opposed to being a "dry drunk"). But then you never recover.

    Likewise, first they will tell you that A.A. supplies members with miracles every day. A.A. boasts that every alcoholic who quits drinking is a miracle. A.A. clubhouses have names like "The Miracles Club". The A.A. slogan says, "Don't leave five minutes before the miracle!"

    Bill Wilson bragged:

    • We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health. But we have seen remarkable transformations in our bodies. Hardly one of our crowd now shows any dissipation.
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, The Family Afterward, page 133.

    • It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more. How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness? The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you. Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come. The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that!
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 11, page 153.

    • The very practical approach to his problems, the absence of intolerance of any kind, the informality, the genuine democracy, the uncanny understanding which these people had were irresistible. He and his wife would leave elated by the thought of what they could now do for some stricken acquaintance and his family. They knew they had a host of new friends; it seemed they had known these strangers always. They had seen miracles, and one was to come to them. They had visioned the Great Reality — their loving and All Powerful Creator.
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 11, pages 160-161.

    • What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker — then he knew.
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, page 57.

    • And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 84-85.

    • Since the original Foreword to this book was written in 1939, a wholesale miracle has taken place.
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Foreword to the Second Edition, page xv.

    • Though he is now a most effective member of Alcoholics Anonymous, he still smokes and drinks coffee, but neither his wife nor anyone else stands in judgement. She sees she was wrong to make a burning issue out of such a matter when his more serious ailments were being rapidly cured.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 135.

    • And Bill Wilson wrote that the wives of alcoholics were resentful because A.A. and the Big Book had cured alcoholics in just a few short weeks:

      Another feeling we are very likely to entertain is one of resentment that love and loyalty could not cure our husbands of alcoholism. We do not like the thought that the contents of a book or the work of another alcoholic has accomplished in a few weeks that for which we struggled for years.
      The A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, present in all editions of the book, from the 1939 multilithed manuscript through the 4th Edition, on page 118.

    • We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know one hundred men who were once just as hopeless as Bill. All have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.
      The A.A. "Big Book"Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, first edition multilith page 8 and the 1st edition hardback on page 27.

    • We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.
      The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, page 17.

    • Since this book was first published, AA has released thousands of alcoholics from asylums and hospitals of every kind. The majority have never returned. The power of God goes deep!
      The A.A. Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, "To Wives", page 114.

    • ...he was insisting that he had found the only cure.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 257.

    • ...they had found the only remedy...
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 259.

    But then, when most all of Bill Wilson's converts relapsed and returned to a life of drinking, Bill changed the story to saying that you are not cured of alcoholism: you can't ever recover, and you must spend every day of the rest of your life confessing and surrendering and seeking and doing the will of God, and you still won't ever get cured:

    • We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities.
      The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 85.

    And since you are never cured, you can never leave Alcoholics Anonymous. And you are constantly in danger of relapse. One day of failing to "carrying the vision", and you are dead. Some miracle.


  28. Bait and Switch: First it works, and then it doesn't.
    First, the story is that the Twelve Steps will work and make you quit drinking, and then they won't.

    Likewise, first the Twelve Steps will make you quit drinking, and then you must quit drinking in order for the Twelve Steps to work.

    • And, likewise,
      • First, the story is that you must do the Twelve Steps in order to be able to quit drinking and stay sober,
      • and then the story is, you must quit drinking and stay sober in order for the Twelve Steps to be able to work.
      The slogans are:
      • "The Steps don't work to make you quit drinking; you must quit drinking to work the Steps."
      • "Working the Steps won't make you quit drinking right; quitting drinking will make you work the Steps right."
      • "You don't work the Steps to quit drinking; you quit drinking to work the Steps."

    • Similarly,
      • first "Higher Power" will save you (because you are "powerless over alcohol") — you only have to "turn your will and your life over to the care of God" in Step Three —
      • But then old Higher Power won't save you — you have to do all of the hard work yourself, and if you don't succeed, it is because you are "constitutionally dishonest with yourself", and "born that way".

    • Also, A.A. advertises on radio and television that "there is an answer", implying that A.A. can help you with a drinking problem. But after membership is established, the story changes to "you must work a strong program, or else." "You must absolutely abstain from drinking alcohol, or else." You have to do all of the work, and then A.A. gets the credit.

    As one member said on the Internet:

    "I do believe that
    if I am _willing_ to stay sober,
    as _honest_ as I can be
    and if I keep an _open mind_,
    the steps will work _me_,
    not the other way around."
    A message on the Internet newsgroup alt.recovery.aa

    This A.A. member actually declared that:

    • The Twelve Steps won't make you quit drinking — it's the other way around — you have to quit drinking in order to make the 12 Steps work.
      (So why bother doing the 12 Steps if you have already quit drinking without them?)
    • You have to practice the A.A. idea of "rigorous honesty" by doing things like "Fake It Until You Make It" and "Act As If". "Rigorous Honesty" also seems to involve deceptive recruiting techniques, hiding the religious nature of the program from the newcomers, only gradually revealing the truth about the program "By Teaspoons, Not Buckets".
    • You have to "keep an open mind" by staying gullible and not being skeptical of voodoo medicine and faith healing that obviously has a very high failure rate.
    • Only then will the Steps "work for you".

    Work for you to do what?
    Work to convert you into a true believer in a cult religion, that's what.
    Work to convert you to "our way of life".


    Likewise, the first three steps imply that God will take care of you and fix you, because you are incapable of fixing yourself. You need only turn your problems over to God:

    • 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
    • 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    • 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    Bill Wilson amplified this idea by declaring in the Big Book that

    We will seldom be interested in liquor.   ...
    We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.   ...
    We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 84-85.

    So we will supposedly get saved from alcoholism without any thought or effort on our part. But, at the same time, Bill Wilson also declared that it was all our own fault if "Higher Power" did not take care of us and remove our alcoholism, because we didn't "thoroughly" follow Bill's path and "completely give ourselves", and we were born dishonest. So first it's effortless, and then it isn't effortless. First it's a miracle, and then it isn't. First, it never fails, and then it doesn't work. Bait and Switch.

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are those who cannot or will not give themselves completely to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 58.

    Translation: That means that it really is your fault, because you are defective — born that way. It sure isn't A.A's fault, or the fault of the 12-Step program, Bill says.


  29. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. is a great success and always has been, and then A.A. isn't a success, and never was.

    Again, Bill Wilson made grandiose claims of success in order to promote his new cult:

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 58.

    Since the original Foreword to this book was written in 1939, a wholesale miracle has taken place.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Foreword to the Second Edition, page xv.

    And, again, in the second edition of the Big Book, Bill Wilson bragged about the great A.A. cure rate:

    "Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement."
    The Big Book, in the 1955 Foreword to the Second Edition, page XX.

    But later, Bill Wilson revealed that A.A. was always a great failure. Cult religion just doesn't work as medical treatment. When he wasn't lying about what a great success A.A. was, Bill Wilson revealed the truth:

    At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all. Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 97.

    At a memorial service for Dr. Bob, Bill Wilson actually bragged about the pathetically low success rate of the whole A.A. program. (Bill was making himself out to be a long-suffering hero, working tirelessly to promote Alcoholics Anonymous.) Bill described the early days of A.A. this way:

    You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
    Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

    "Take the bait"? Only a few percent of "these drunks" would "take the bait"? And what percentage of those new members who took the bait actually got sober and stayed sober? Even fewer.

    You can read much more about the failure rate of A.A. in the early days here:
    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Bob_memorial


  30. Bait and Switch: Redefine Words: First a word means one thing, and then it means something else.

    • First, to the beginners, the word sober merely means "not intoxicated with alcohol", but later, the word means something else, like being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and practicing the 12 Steps "correctly", and being a "spiritual" person.

      A.A. members will ask people who have quit drinking, "Are you really sober, or just abstaining?"
      Which means, "Are you working the Alcoholics Anonymous program, or are you just an outsider?"
      In A.A. jargon, you can't be sober without "working the Steps"; you are "only abstaining from drinking alcohol" or "only dry."

      And then A.A. members will also speak of "the quality of someone's sobriety" as if evaluating levels or degrees of spirituality.

    • Likewise, A.A. gradually redefines the word "recovery". First it means recovering from the damage that alcohol did to your body, but later it means practicing the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step religion.

      In one of the more obnoxious pieces of A.A. propaganda, the authors wrote this:

      When positive spirituality dominates our lives, we have no need to alter our moods with addictive substances or behaviors. ... The opposite is true for active alcoholics and sober but nonrecovering alcoholics referred to in AA as "dry drunks." Their lives are dominated by a negative spirituality.
      "Spirituality: The key to recovery from alcoholism", Robert D. Warfield and Marc B. Goldstein, Counseling & Values, April 1996, Vol. 40, Issue 3, page 196.

      How can you possibly be "sober but nonrecovering" when alcohol was the thing that was killing you, and you aren't drinking it any more?

      Simple: A.A. redefines the word "recovery" to mean "doing the Twelve Steps, going to A.A. meetings, and abstaining from drinking alcohol". So if you aren't practicing the A.A. 12-Step religion, then you aren't "recovering".

      Also note how the authors managed to slip in that imaginary A.A. bogeyman, the "dry drunk" — "sober but nonrecovering alcoholics referred to in AA as 'dry drunks.' Their lives are dominated by a negative spirituality."
      The A.A. true believers say that you will turn into a bitterly unhappy dry drunk if you quit drinking alcohol without practicing Bill Wilson's Twelve magical Steps. And your life will supposedly be dominated by "negative spirituality".

      Just what is negative spirituality? Witchcraft? Voodoo? Satan worship? Joining the Republican Party? Acting like Bill Wilson? Really now.

      There is absolutely no scientific or medical evidence to support that statement. There is no such thing as a dry drunk, the way that A.A. describes it. The "dry drunk" story is just one more example of cultish phobia induction:
      "If you don't work Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps correctly, you will turn into a bitterly unhappy dry drunk, and the Big Bad Booze Bogeyman will get you."

    • We already covered the twisting and redefinition of the meaning of the word "suggested" above.

    • The Big Book says of one man who didn't join A.A.:

      He stayed "dry" for thirteen years! Dr. Bob often said that it was a record for what he felt was a typical alcoholic.
      The Big Book, "From Farm to City", by Ethel M., 3rd edition, page 263.

      Note how the word "dry" is in quotes. This man who abstained from both alcohol and Alcoholics Anonymous for thirteen years didn't quite qualify as really dry, in the cultish authoress' mind. Apparently, she felt that he was only just "sort of dry", without doing all of those meetings and those Twelve Steps. Obviously, even the word "dry" meant something more to her than just not drinking alcohol.

    Note that redefining words is a common cult practice. Words often have one meaning to outsiders or prospective new recruits, and quite another meaning to the old-timer insiders who are "in the know". A.A. has lots of that kind of cult-speak.


  31. Bait and Switch: First, the insanity referred to in Step Two means that you have been insanely drinking enough alcohol to kill you, but then "insanity" means that you have not been living according to God's will.

    Step Two says:
    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

    Naturally, the beginners assume that the step says that people have been drinking too much alcohol and making themselves sick, and that such behavior is insane.

    But later the religious content of the step is revealed — To the old-timers, the "insanity" was living a life not spent "Seeking and Doing the Will of God", and "Sanity is living according to God's Will, rather than one's own." (It's the same thing as the cult leader Frank Buchman taught — that ordinary people were "insane" because they were not under "God-control" and doing the will of God — that only Frank and his boys were "sane".)

    So Step Two also means: "We came to believe that God could make us obey God's wishes."


  32. Bait and Switch: First, Alcoholics Anonymous is a community of equals, just a nice neighborhood self-help group, and then it's a hierarchical dictatorship with Bill Wilson at the top.

    First, they say,
    "Nobody in A.A. has any power over anyone else."
    "There are no musts in Alcoholics Anonymous, only suggestions."
    "We offer complete acceptance and unconditional love."

    But Mr. Wilson 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

    Note, once again, Bill Wilson's actual contempt for his fellow alcoholics. A.A. isn't a "fellowship of equals" or a self-help group, it's a dictatorship where Bill Wilson gives the orders:

    • "These drunks" will try to cheat on "this deal", and they will "wiggle out of" Bill Wilson's "principles" if they can get away with it. The negative stereotyper strikes again: Alcoholics are just irresponsible immoral children who must be forced to be good by cutting them no slack whatsoever, and giving them no wiggle room."
      That is Standard Cult Rule Number Two: "You are always wrong."
      (Cult Rule Number One is "The leader is always right.")

    • By implication, Bill Wilson is the wise elder statesman who is qualified to write the contracts and discipline the children.

      And what training or preparation qualified Mr. Wilson to be a priest and an alcoholism recovery counselor?

      • Well, he drank a whole lot of rotgut whiskey and bathtub gin until Dr. Silkworth said that he was showing signs of brain damage,
      • Dr. Silkworth also said that Bill Wilson was likely to go insane if Bill drank any more. So Bill went out and drank some more.
      • Then Bill had what he later described as "a hot flash" from the hallucinogenic drug belladonna while detoxing in the hospital, and saw God...
      • And then Bill was indoctrinated by members of a fascist religious cult...

      That was Bill Wilson's training for the position of High Priest of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Later, Bill Wilson wrote to his psychiatrist, Dr. Harry Tiebout, that
          A.A. members are "impersonally and severely disciplined from without."
          William G. Wilson, in a personal letter from Wilson to Dr. Harry Tiebout, 9 Nov 1950, quoted in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 129.)

    And then Bill Wilson bragged about the nature of Alcoholics Anonymous in his history of A.A.:

    Therefore we [AA] have the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today but none of their liabilities.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 105—106.
    The full benefits of murderous dictatorships? What benefits? Benefits to whom?
    And what liabilities of dictatorships does A.A. not have?

    Today, the A.A. headquarters is certainly commanding and controlling and exercising power over others. They, through surrogates, sued A.A. members in Germany and Mexico to keep those people from publishing their own translations of the old, out-of-copyright first edition of the Big Book. Representatives of the A.A. headquarters committed perjury in the courtrooms of Mexico and Germany to claim that they still had a copyright on the book. The result was that a German alcoholic was bankrupted, and a Mexican alcoholic was sentenced to a year in prison. Look here for more on that.


  33. Bait and Switch: First, you are an adult, and then you are a child.

    Bill Wilson's complaints about alcoholics wiggling out of his "deal" reveals yet another bait-and-switch stunt: First, you are an adult, and then you are a child.

    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]
    • First, you are a responsible adult who drinks too much, and you are causing your own problems, and it's all your own fault.
      "After all, our problems were of our own making." (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 103.)
      But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn't do it. (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 133.)

    • Then, you are a responsible adult who makes the decision to quit drinking, and join Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • Then, you are just a foolish child, and you aren't qualified to make your own choices any more, or to manage your own life, or even to think for yourself. You must be supervised by your sponsor and the other A.A. group elders because "your thinking is alcoholic."
      • "Stop your stinkin' thinkin'."
      • "Your best thinking got you here."
      • "You have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem."
      • "Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth."
      • "Quit trying to play God."
      • "I don't need to understand the Power greater than myself, only to trust it." (As We Understood..., page 159.)
      • "I was beginning to see that I would require implicit faith, like a small child, if I was going to get anywhere." (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Page 259.)

    In the background, you can hear someone wailing,
    "But if you give them the freedom to make their own choices, those disgusting alcoholics will make the wrong choices..."
    And that is why Alcoholics Anonymous is a proto-fascist organization.
    Some Fearless Leader or other will do your thinking for you and tell you what to do.

    And note the reversal of the logic:

    • They say to you, "Your best thinking got you here", which is supposed to mean that you have been very stupid and your thinking is defective — you foolishly drank yourself right into an A.A. membership.
    • That snide guilt-inducing put-down ignores the obvious fact that if you voluntarily chose to go to an alcoholism rehab program — any kind of a quit-drinking program — then it really was your best thinking that got you there, and that's a good thing.
    • But A.A. says that you aren't qualified to think for yourself or make your own choices after you decide to quit drinking. You must be bossed around by someone else, like your sponsor.


  34. Bait and Switch: First, the alcoholics who are still drinking are our brothers, our "fellow travelers" — people who should be granted sympathy, understanding, unconditional love, and complete acceptance — and then the alcoholics who won't conform to the A.A. program are just worthless bums.

    The recruiting manual in Chapter Seven of the Big Book, "Working With Others," treats alcoholics as just so much trash to be filtered for new cult members to do God's bidding:

    If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do after he gets hurt some more.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 95.

    Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 96.

    It's simple: go find desperate people, and exploit them. Go find sick people with clouded thinking, and take advantage of their weaknesses.

    Bill Wilson later declared that finding suitable victims was a real chore:

    You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
    Bill Wilson, speaking at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

    And what about the hundreds who wouldn't "take the bait"?

    To Hell with them. Let them die. We "took the message" to them, and they wouldn't receive it. So screw 'em. This organization does not exist to help alcoholics, it exists to exploit them. We aren't about to waste our time or energy on those who will not do what we say.

    That really isn't an exaggeration at all. Read Bill Wilson's second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pages 143 to 145, where you will find the story of Ed, who refused to believe in God, and said so, loudly. Bill's solution to the problem of having a disobedient unbeliever in A.A. was to cold-shoulder him, to ostracize him and squeeze him out, and then to let him die alone when he relapsed. (See the full story here.)

    On the Internet, one A.A. defender blamed the A.A. failure rate on the alcoholics themselves with this sneer:

    No, the claim that AA only helps 3 or 5% of all alcoholics can't be taken seriously. It helps virtually 100% of those who are willing to follow the suggested program. The dumbshits who choose negativity and continue to run the show themselves fall by the wayside (unless they're not alcoholics).
    From: David James Polewka
    Date: Mon, May 7 2001 11:50 pm
    Groups: alt.recovery.aa, alt.recovery.from-12-steps

    Notice the demand that alcoholics must surrender control of their lives to Alcoholics Anonymous — you cannot "continue to run the show yourself" — and the euphemistic language, "the suggested program". When the demand is backed up by a death threat, it isn't a suggestion.

    Also notice the logical contradiction — the condemnation of those "who choose negativity and continue..."
    But A.A. Step One says that alcoholics are powerless over alcohol. They don't and can't have any power to choose either negativity or salvation if they are powerless.
    But this A.A. cheerleader says that alcoholics choose their fate. So they aren't powerless over alcohol.

    And lastly, notice the hateful tone as the writer described people who wouldn't conform to the A.A. program and obey instructions: "The dumbshits who choose negativity and continue to run the show themselves".
    So much for the "unconditional love" that you will supposedly find in A.A.


  35. Bait and Switch: The medical-to-moral morph: First, alcoholism is a disease to be cured, and then it is a sin that must be removed by God.
    Likewise, first, an alcoholic is an unfortunate person who has a disease, and it isn't his fault, and then he is a disgusting sinner who is selfish and resentful and willful...

    A.A. will start off by telling you that alcoholism is an incurable, progressive disease over which you are powerless, and it isn't your fault because you are powerless over your disease, but they end up telling you that you are guilty of moral shortcomings and defects of character — that you have a moral problem, rather than a medical problem.

    Likewise, first they say that you are just somebody who needs to quit drinking, but later, they will say that you are a terrible sinner, and drinking alcohol is just one "symptom" of your many underlying moral shortcomings.

    • First, the "disease" of alcoholism is declared to be incurable because it is inborn and probably genetic.
    • But as the newcomer is further indoctrinated with A.A. theology, "alcoholism" is said to be caused by selfishness and sins and resentments and instincts run wild, and immorality and character defects and moral shortcomings...
    • And then alcoholism is "a spiritual disease", "which only a spiritual experience will conquer".
    • But then again, there is no cure for alcoholism, not even a spiritual experience — not even if you have many years of sobriety and have completely recovered, because you are still permanently "diseased" and sick — because the "disease" of alcoholism is allegedly really a condition of immorality, an indication of how far we have departed from the degree of perfection which God wishes for us....

    To start with, at Step One they say that you are powerless over alcohol because you have a disease:

    •       "I was a sick person. I was suffering from an actual disease that had a name and symptoms like diabetes or cancer or TB — and a disease was respectable, not a moral stigma!" is what Marty Mann wrote in the Big Book (3rd edition page 227, and 4th Edition page 205.).

    • And page 92 of the Big Book instructs recruiters to:
            "Continue to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady."

    • And another A.A. proselytizer teaches us that:

      The greatest gift an alcoholic can receive on his road to recovery is the realization that he is sick and not evil. This is the real beginning of the rebuilding of oneself. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous gives the most accurate description of this illness: soul-sickness.
      Getting right with God (Recovery Life), Father Joseph C. Martin, Alcoholism & Addiction Magazine, April 1988 v8 n4 p35(1)

    But by Step Four, they have you busy doing a "searching and fearless moral inventory", listing all of your sins and moral shortcomings, not getting a searching and fearless medical examination. And they tell you that you suffer from immoral behavior, not a disease at all:

    • "Our liquor was but a symptom."
      (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 64.)

    • "After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol."
      (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 103.)

    • "But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn't do it."
      (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 133.)

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

    • "We AAs have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically speaking, it is not a disease entity. For example, there is no such thing as heart disease. Instead there are many separate heart ailments or combinations of them. It is something like that with alcoholism. Therefore, we did not wish to get in wrong with the medical profession by pronouncing alcoholism a disease entity. Hence, we have always called it an illness or a malady — a far safer term for us to use."
      William G. Wilson, speaking at the NCCA Symposium in New York in 1960. (transcript here.)

    • "Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn't strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins."
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 65.
      Incidentally, Bill Wilson indirectly declared that we do have control over our desires — we have "let these far exceed their intended purpose." If we are able to let our desires increase, or throttle them down, then we have control over our desires. And the desire to feel good by drinking alcohol is definitely one of those desires. So we are not powerless over the desire to drink alcohol, and Step One is wrong — we are not powerless over alcohol.

    Then Bill Wilson and A.A. tell us that alcoholism is a moral failing that is caused by:

    — all of which must be confessed to God and your sponsor, preferably on your knees, in Step Five.

    Note that drinking alcohol is not on that list. According to A.A., "alcoholism" is not really caused by drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol is merely a "symptom" of other sins, which are allegedly the real "underlying causes" of a drinking problem. (And once again, they are misusing the word symptom, and confusing it with the signs of a disease.)

    Even the word "disease" is itself subjected to this same gradual twisting and changing of meaning. In the beginning, newcomers are told that alcoholism is a disease, pure and simple — "an actual disease that has a name and symptoms like diabetes or cancer or TB". Newcomers are told that even the American Medical Association has agreed that alcoholism is a disease, and that alcoholics are sick people.

    The American Heritage Dictionary defines "disease" as:
    Disease
    n.
    • 1. An abnormal condition of an organism or part, esp. as a consequence of infection, inherent weakness, or environmental stress, that impairs normal physiological functioning.
    • 2. A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful.
    • 3. Obs. Lack of ease.


    Young Dr. Robert Smith
    In the Big Book, Doctor Bob, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, declared that his alcoholism was caused by selfishness, not a disease:

    Unfortunately for me I was the only child, which perhaps engendered the selfishness which played such an important part in bringing on my alcoholism.
    ...
    After high school came four years in one of the best colleges in the country where drinking seemed to be a major extra-curricular activity. Almost everyone seemed to do it. I did it more and more, and had lots of fun without much grief, either physical or financial.
    ...
    My whole life seemed to be centered around doing what I wanted to do, without regard for the rights, wishes, or privileges of anyone else; a state of mind which became more and more predominant as the years passed.
    The Big Book, Dr. Robert Smith, Doctor Bob's Story, 3rd & 4th Editions page 172.

    So much for it being a disease. Doctor Bob was describing a behavior problem, not a disease.


  36. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. is good treatment for the "disease of alcoholism", and then it isn't treatment at all.

    1. First, A.A. proselytizers spread the story in magazines and professional journals, and on radio and TV, that A.A. is great treatment for the "disease of alcoholism" — in fact, it is the very best thing — it has saved millions of lives — it's the only thing that works, they say. All alcoholics should be coerced into the A.A. meeting rooms for their own good, they say.

    2. Likewise, 75% of the treatment centers in the USA use a 12-Step-based Alcoholics Anonymous program as an integral part of their "treatment program" for drug and alcohol addictions. It is a $6.2 billion per year racket just in the USA. (The New York Times recently raised that number to $20 billion.)

    3. And then, when you challenge the effectiveness of the "treatment", and ask them for their cure rate, they declare that A.A. isn't really a treatment program at all, and they don't keep records.

    4. First, A.A. is good treatment, and has saved millions, but then, when it fails to help alcoholics, and they relapse and die, then suddenly A.A. is not treatment, it's just a "spiritual fellowship", and A.A. had nothing to do with the guy's death. It isn't the job of A.A. to sober people up, they say, everybody has to do it for himself.

    Dr. Ruth Fox, an early A.A. booster, declared:

    The Twelve Steps constitute the cardinal programmatic aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous, than which, for alcoholics, there is no better therapeutic approach.
    Alcoholism; Its Scope, Cause, and Treatment, Ruth Fox, M.D., and Peter Lyon, page 97.

    Note that Dr. Ruth Fox was the founder of ASAM — the American Society for Addiction Medicine — an A.A. front group that tries to sell Alcoholics Anonymous to other doctors as a cure for alcoholism. Dr. Ruth Fox also liked to torture her alcoholic patients with an alcohol-disulfiram combination, and give them LSD to make them more compliant.

    But then William L. White declared in Slaying The Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America that the effectiveness of A.A. in treating alcoholism cannot be determined because A.A. is not a treatment program and does not keep records (page 176).

    (Actually, we can so compute the success rate of A.A. treatment, and the success rate is zero or less.)


  37. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. is a quit-drinking program for the alcoholics, and then it's a religion for the whole family.

    To the newcomer, A.A. is presented as a program that will help him to quit drinking. In the Big Book, as Bill Wilson was selling the 12-Step program, he repeatedly declared that "this is what worked for us", and "this is how we got sober".

    Then Bill Wilson worked to recruit all of the rest of the family into his religion, too, because it would supposedly make them feel better, or because it might make the alcoholic quit drinking:

    Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them. The family should be offered your way of life. Should they accept and practice spiritual principles, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover. And even though he continues to drink, the family will find life more bearable.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 97.

    We think this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, the Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii of the 3rd edition.

    The original version of Step 12 made it clear that everybody was fair game for recruiting into Bill Wilson's religion:

    12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


  38. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. is very scientific and psychologically sound, and then A.A. isn't based on science at all.

    An official A.A. history book quotes A.A. founder Dr. Bob:

    He said, "Duke, I think this A.A. program will appeal to you, because it's psychologically sound and religiously sane."
    Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980, page 253.

    Likewise, Bill Wilson wrote that an A.A. newcomer said:

    "Then I woke up. I had to admit that A.A. showed results, prodigious results. I saw that my attitude regarding these had been anything but scientific. It wasn't A.A. that had the closed mind, it was me."
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, Page 27.

    Actually, Alcoholics Anonymous does not produce "prodigious results" — not unless you consider a high death rate, a high dropout rate, a high relapse rate, and a high rate of binge drinking to be "prodigious results".

    When Bill Wilson wrote that paragraph of "12X12", he was just lying again. Bill Wilson habitually lied about the A.A. failure rate, and routinely covered it up and claimed that his program was immensely successful in saving alcoholics. And A.A. is still doing that today.

    And it is Alcoholics Anonymous' attitude that is unscientific — A.A. claims that its program works in some mystical, magical way that cannot be scientifically tested or logically explained. Another A.A. propagandist wrote:

    Certainly, however, the spiritual dimension that is so strong in AA is at odds with the scientific, medical tradition. Says Dr. Ken: "We [physicians] tend to be analytical. Spirituality is a gut or heart-felt experience that certainly can't be scientifically studied and falls outside our training."
          Dr. Whitfield agrees that AA's effectiveness can't be explained in scientific terms, or tested in controlled studies.
    Doctors in A.A.; the profession's skepticism persists, but MDs in Alcoholics Anonymous say the 12-Step program could benefit all physicians, C. Thomas Anderson, American Medical News, Jan 12, 1990 v33 n2 p33(2)

    But the simplest, most obvious reason that A.A.'s effectiveness cannot be explained or measured in valid scientific tests is because there is no effectiveness to measure — A.A. doesn't work at all. To explain that A.A. works in some mystical, magical manner that cannot be measured or explained is dishonest.

    If A.A. works, then groups of alcoholics who get A.A.-based "treatment" should have a lower death rate than groups of alcoholics who get no "treatment" at all. They don't.

    Inducing pleasant "gut or heart-felt experiences" is not at all the same thing as curing alcoholism or saving the alcoholics' lives — which is supposed to be the goal of A.A., but which A.A. does not actually do.

    So that author is also using the propaganda tricks of diverting attention away from the point by changing the subject, and bait-and-switch:

    • First the effect of the Alcoholics Anonymous program is supposed to be to save the lives of alcoholics by making them quit drinking,
    • and then suddenly the effect of A.A. practices is allegedly that they induce "spirituality" and "gut- or heart-felt experiences" that can't be measured.


  39. Bait and Switch: The psychological-to-moral morph.

    A.A. proselytizers start off talking about psychological factors, "character defects", and pathological narcissism, but gradually morph that into "sins" and "moral shortcomings".

    A.A. promoters introduce us to A.A. with psychological-sounding double-talk like this:

    Alcoholics suffer from what AA calls "character defects" (AA World Services, 1976, p. 59). These are feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that dispose them to seek a sense of well-being by abusing alcohol. Such "character defects" are frequently reflective of a pathological narcissism, in which those addicted to alcohol behave as though they were the center of their universe or their own God (Kurtz, 1979). Alcoholics also possess an underlying codependency involving an alienation from their true selves and an inability to establish functional relationships with significant others in their lives (Whitfield, 1989). The combination of these biological and character risk factors makes alcoholism difficult to treat and makes the recovering alcoholic vulnerable to relapse.
    Spirituality: The key to recovery from alcoholism, Robert D. Warfield and Marc B. Goldstein, Counseling & Values, April 1996, Volume 40, Issue 3, Page 196.

    But eventually, the talk turns to this:

    That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 65.

    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.

    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.

    "And... I believe addictions are also caused by a sense of spiritual separation from God, or one's Higher Power, or union with the All-That-Is."
    Addiction: A Spiritual Crisis, Judith Wagner, Tampa Bay New Times, Winter 1991, page 18.

    • By the way, what study, survey, or poll determined that alcoholics and drug addicts became addicted to something because of "a sense of separation from God"?
    • How many thousands of addicts did the authoress question for her study?
    • If not thousands, then did she interview hundreds? If not hundreds, then tens?
    • Did she actually interview even a few dozen randomly-selected addicts outside of a 12-Step meeting room, to arrive at her conclusion?
    • And how did she measure "separation from God", and determine that it was the cause of addiction?
    • Or was the authoress just blindly parotting 12-Step religious dogma, giving us her "beliefs" that are based on no facts at all, just like the rest of the 12-Step proselytizers?
    • Also notice that the authoress began that sentence by saying, "I believe". She was substituting beliefs for facts, which is both another propaganda trick — "Confusion of Beliefs with Facts" — and a standard cult characteristic — "Belief equals truth".

    And A.A. founder Bill Wilson gave us this guilt-inducing sermon:

          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.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, pages 48, 49.

    For many, many more examples of standard A.A. guilt-inducing put-downs and criticism, see the file The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy.


  40. Bait and Switch: First it isn't your fault that you were born an alcoholic, and then it is.

    First, alcoholism is supposedly a congenital disease that is caused by an allergy or by something that you inherited from 'Father', who was also an alcoholic, but then it's all your own fault that you are an alcoholic.

    One story in the Big Book begins by telling us that the author was born with "alcoholic" problems:

    My alcoholic problem began long before I drank. My personality, from the time I can remember anything, was the perfect set-up for an alcoholic career. I was always at odds with the entire world, not to say the universe. I was out of step with life, with my family, with people in general.
      ...
    There was no material or external reason for this.
    The A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, Stars Don't Fall, page 400.

    The official A.A. history book, "PASS IT ON", tells how Bill Wilson happily discovered that Dr. Silkworth's disease theory of alcoholism relieved him of his feelings of guilt — his outrageous alcoholic behavior wasn't really his fault after all, he said, because he was powerless over alcoholism:

          Bill listened, entranced, as Silkworth explained his theory. For the first time in his life, Bill was hearing about alcoholism not as a lack of willpower, not as a moral defect, but as a legitimate illness. It was Dr. Silkworth's theory — unique at the time — that alcoholism was the combination of this mysterious physical "allergy" and the compulsion to drink; that alcoholism could no more be "defeated" by willpower than could tuberculosis. Bill's relief was immense.
    'PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Authorship credited to 'anonymous', actually written by A.A.W.S. staff, page 102.

    So, in the Big Book, Bill Wilson wrote,

    It relieved me somewhat to learn that in alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though if often remains strong in other respects. My incredible behavior in the face of a desperate desire to stop was explained.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, "Bill's Story", page 7.

    But then Bill Wilson completely reversed the story, and declared that your alcoholism was all your own fault:

    After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 103.

    But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn't do it.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 133.

    So how is it our own fault if we inherited a harmful gene from one of our parents?


  41. Bait and Switch: First you aren't supposed to feel guilty, and then you are.

    • First, the slogans are,
      • "Try To Replace Guilt With Gratitude."
      • "Screw Guilt."
      • "Alcoholism is a disease, not a moral stigma."
      But then the slogans are,
      • "We didn't fly into A.A. on the wings of victory."
      • "Nobody goes to A.A. because their life is great."
      • "You're a liar, all drunks are liars."
      • "Put down the magnifying glass you use to look at others and look in the mirror."
      • "Two sickies don't make a wellie."
      • "We are not saints."
      • "If you sober up a horse thief all you have is a sober horse thief."
      • "Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery."
      • "He suffers from terminal uniqueness."
      • "Your secrets will keep you sick."
      • "The key to step 6 is acceptance — accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go."
      • "Dating is pouring Miracle Gro on my character defects."
      • "Unless one attains some degree of humility, one is condemned to drink."

      • First, you aren't responsible for your actions because you are powerless over alcohol and you have a disease.
        Step One: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol..."

        " I was a sick person. I was suffering from an actual disease that had a name and symptoms like diabetes or cancer or TB — and a disease was respectable, not a moral stigma!"
        The Big Book, Marty Mann, Women Suffer Too, 3rd Edition page 227 and 4th Edition page 205.

      • But then comes the switch: When you are listing and confessing all of your sins in Steps Four through Seven, you are suddenly responsible for all of your actions and guilty of everything:

        4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
        5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
        6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
        7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

        "The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime."
        The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, The Family Afterward, page 127.

      • Then, the story is, "Your inner child needs a spanking."

      • And then when you are making more lists and amends, in Steps Eight and Nine, you are again personally responsible for your actions.

      • That is contradictory; you can't be both powerless over alcohol, diseased, and unable to control your drinking, and also personally responsible for what you did while you were drunk. One piece of A.A. literature called it a "paradox". It isn't a paradox, it's a contradiction, and it's just plain wrong.

        (In my humble opinion, you are responsible because you are not powerless over alcohol. Not coincidentally, the law of the land also says that you are responsible for your actions, even if you are drunk. When drunk drivers kill people, they don't get excused because they were "powerless over alcohol".)

        I'm not the only one who has noticed this contradiction. Herbert Fingarette wrote in his book Heavy Drinking:

        If the alcoholic's ailment is a disease that causes an inability to abstain from drinking, how can a program insist on voluntary abstention as a condition for treatment? (And if alcoholics who enter these programs do voluntarily abstain — as in fact they generally do — then of what value is the [disease] notion of loss of control?)
        Heavy Drinking, Herbert Fingarette, page 74.


  42. Bait and Switch: First they will tell you that alcoholism is not a moral stigma, and then they will tell you that it is.

    As a come-on, to get us to join, A.A. said that we were innocent, that alcoholism is a hereditary disease and that we couldn't help it — "we were powerless over alcohol" — and we were spared from all feelings of guilt. The Big Book said,

    " I was a sick person. I was suffering from an actual disease that had a name and symptoms like diabetes or cancer or TB — and a disease was respectable, not a moral stigma!"
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Marty Mann, Women Suffer Too, page 227.

    And, likewise:

    It helped me a lot to become convinced that alcoholism was a disease, not a moral issue; that I had been drinking as a result of a compulsion, even though I had not been aware of the compulsion at the time; and that sobriety was not a matter of will power.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict, page 448.

    And the web site of the NCADD, an A.A. front group, brags:

    The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence fights the stigma and the disease of alcoholism and other drug addictions.

    But then, after we have joined A.A. and worked a few Steps, we suddenly find A.A. making us feel horribly guilty, having to confess to our sponsors, in Steps Four and Five, everything we ever did wrong in our entire lives: "the exact nature of our wrongs":

    Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    Whoops! Wow. "Moral inventory" and "our wrongs"? What happened to "not a moral stigma"?

    For that matter, if it isn't a moral stigma, why do all of the alcoholics have to be "anonymous", and hide their real names?

    And if it isn't a moral stigma, why do those people who have abstained from drinking for years have all of the status? Why is someone with 20 years of Time considered wiser and more holy than someone who relapses regularly?

    Because alcoholism is a moral stigma, of course. And failure to quit drinking is considered a moral shortcoming and a "defect of character".

    A woman who has overcome breast cancer is not considered more moral than one who is still battling it (just luckier), and a man who is still battling prostate cancer is not considered less moral than someone who has overcome it. But an alcoholic who is still getting drunk all of the time is most assuredly considered less holy, less moral, and less wise than someone who has abstained for years.

    Of course it's a moral stigma.

    The Australian A.A. magazine printed this "joke":

    I was lunching outside with my new co-workers, including the man who'd hired me, when one of them asked, "What does that symbol with the triangle in the circle on your bike mean?"
    Caught by surprise, I panicked, and then replied, "I'm half Jewish."
    It worked.
    AA Reviver, April 2005, page 34.

    (So much for Alcoholics Anonymous being a life-style of "rigorous honesty".)


  43. Bait and Switch: First they say that they want to reduce the stigma of alcoholism, and then they work to increase it.

    First, Alcoholics Anonymous claims that it wants to reduce the stigma of alcoholism — "It's a disease, not a moral shortcoming." The web site of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (an A.A. front group) declares:
    "NCADD fights the stigma and the disease of alcoholism and other drug addictions."

    But then comes the switch, where newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous gradually learn that Bill Wilson really considered alcoholism to be a disgusting sin that was actually caused by 'self and selfishness and self-seeking and pride and trying to get your own way all of the time', and the only cure for alcoholism is to get down on your knees and confess all of your sins. And then the newcomer will learn that alcoholics are all dishonest and weak-willed and "thinking alcoholically" and "in denial", and on and on.

    See the web page "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy" for much more on how A.A. shames alcoholics and constantly puts them down with an extremely negative stereotype.

    Promoters of A.A. actually declare that you should not tell the truth about "alcoholism" to alcoholics, because those stupid weak-willed fools just can't handle the truth. You will kill them. They say that, "You are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety."

    When the Rand Corporation released a study that found that half of the recovered alcoholics did it by tapering off into controlled drinking rather than by absolute abstinence, the A.A. true believers went ballistic and declared that the authors of the study were killing alcoholics by "giving them an excuse to drink." See the story here. A more reasonable person, 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.


  44. Bait and Switch: First they will tell you that an alcoholic is just a good person who can't control his drinking, but later they will tell you that an alcoholic is a disgusting immoral selfish evil creature who has a "spiritual disease".

    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.

    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.

    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. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
    The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, "How It Works", page 62.

    Like most sick people before me, I was implacably selfish, and chronically self-centered.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, "Stars Don't Fall", page 401.

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


  45. Bait and Switch: First they tell you that "There are no 'Musts' in Alcoholics Anonymous, only suggestions", but then they will tell you that there are many necessities and musts:

    First, you get slogans that say you have great freedom in deciding what you will do for your own recovery:

    • "There are no musts in A.A., only suggestions."
    • "There aren't any 'musts' in this program, but there are a lot of 'you betters'."
    • "There are no requirements in A.A., only suggestions."
    • "The Twelve Steps are but suggestions only."
    • "We do have traditions, but remember, there are no rules in A.A."

    But then the rap changes to:

    • "It is suggested that you Work The Steps, just like how, if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is "suggested" that you pull the ripcord to save your life.

    • "Personal Recovery is all about working AA's 12 Steps... continually."

    • "You are not required to like it, you're only required to DO it."

    • Unless each AA member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps of recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. We must obey certain principles or we die.
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    • Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight. In nearly all cases, their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, if they are to re-create their lives.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William D. Silkworth, The Doctor's Opinion, page XXVI.

      Being convinced that an invisible "power greater than themselves" will save them is not being "grounded", it is being deluded.

    • "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing."
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 29.

    • We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our daily activities.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 85.

      Just where did that "vision" come from? Prayer, meditation, belladonna, delirium tremens, LSD, or delusions of grandeur?

      That question is important, because you have to be very careful about just where you get those visions from. Everybody from Charles Manson to Jim Jones to the September 11 airplane hijackers had a vision of God's will, but few of us approve of, or agree with, their ideas of God's will.

    • Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if he would recover. The others must be convinced of his new status beyond the shadow of a doubt.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, The Family Afterward, page 135.

      (And the way that the alcoholic in the story convinced his family of his new sober status was by smoking and drinking and throwing screaming temper tantrums to get his own way.)

    • I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, page 14.

      Be careful here. Don't be too enamored of light shows. Remember that the Angel of Light is Lucifer. Jesus spoke about you having love in your heart, not shiny lights in your eyes.

      Besides which, what happened to "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs"? That's yet another bait and switch trick.

    • If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, More About Alcoholism, Chapter 3, page 62.

    • But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life or else.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 44.

      You MUST do it the A.A. way, or else you will die.

    • Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, How It Works, Chapter 5, page 62.

    • We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them away any more than alcohol.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, How It Works, Chapter 5, page 66.

    • Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 69.

      You MUST do Steps 8 and 9, and make amends.

    • We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world. Rightly and naturally, we think well before we choose the person or persons with whom to take this intimate and confidential step. Those of us belonging to a religious denomination which requires confession must, and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed authority whose duty it is to receive it.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 73-74.

      You MUST do Step 5, and confess everything to somebody else, and wallow in guilt and self-contempt.

    • We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 78.

    • To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.
            Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. ...
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 85.

      Yes, you MUST pray and meditate until you hallucinate, and hear voices in your head, and start talking to dead people, like Bill Wilson did. (Really, no joke.)

    • To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 93.

      Yes, you MUST go recruiting yet again...

    • If your man accepts your offer, it should be pointed out that physical treatment is but a small part of the picture. Though you are providing him with the best possible medical attention, he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart. To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, Henry "Hank" Parkhurst, Chapter 10, To Employers, page 143.

      Yes, Alcoholics Anonymous MUST come before everything else, even work, wife, and family.
      (But it didn't do the Big Book co-author Henry Parkhurst any good; he relapsed and died drunk too.)

    • "I decided I must place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway."
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition — Chapter B10, He Sold Himself Short, page 293.

    • My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, pages 14-15.

      You ABSOLUTELY MUST go recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous, and bring the cult some new pigeons and babies, or else you will die.

    • And, last but certainly not least, of course you MUST work the Twelve Steps, or else you are signing your own death warrant...

    But wait! There is even more, much more, in the Big Book:

    1. Page 14, paragraph 2: "I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all."
    2. Page 33, paragraph 3: "If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind"
    3. Page 43, paragraph 4: "His defense must come from a Higher Power."
    4. Page 44, paragraph 3: "we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else."
    5. Page 62, paragraph 3: "Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!"
    6. Page 66, paragraph 4: "We saw that these resentments must be mastered"
    7. Page 69, paragraph 4: "We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm"
    8. Page 69, paragraph 4: "Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it."
    9. Page 73, paragraph 5: "We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."
    10. Page 74, paragraph 1: "Those of us belonging to a religious denomination which requires confession must, and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed authority whose duty it is to receive it."
    11. Page 74, paragraph 2: "The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others."
    12. Page 75, paragraph 1: "But we must not use this as a mere excuse to postpone."
    13. Page 78, paragraph 3: "We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them."
    14. Page 79, paragraph 2: "We must not shrink at anything."
    15. Page 80, paragraph 1: "If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated we must not shrink."
    16. Page 82, paragraph 3: "Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't."
    17. Page 83, paragraph 1: "Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead."
    18. Page 83, paragraph 2: "We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone."
    19. Page 85, paragraph 2: "Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities."
    20. Page 85, paragraph 2: "These are thoughts which must go with us constantly."
    21. Page 85, paragraph 3: "But we must go further and that means more action."
    22. Page 86, paragraph 2: "But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others."
    23. Page 89, paragraph 2: "To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience you must not miss."
    24. Page 93, paragraph 3: "To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action."
    25. Page 95, paragraph 3: "he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on"
    26. Page 95, paragraph 3: "If he is to find God, the desire must come from within."
    27. Page 99, paragraph 1: "it must be done if any results are to be expected."
    28. Page 99, paragraph 2: "we must try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree."
    29. Page 99, paragraph 3: "it must be on a better basis, since the former did not work."
    30. Page 120, paragraph 2: "he must redouble his spiritual activities if he expects to survive."
    31. Page 130, paragraph 2: "that is where our work must be done."
    32. Page 135, paragraph 1: "Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if he would recover. The others must be convinced of his new status beyond the shadow of a doubt."
    33. Page 143, paragraph 2: "he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart"
    34. Page 144, paragraph 3: "The man must decide for himself."
    35. Page 146, paragraph 4: "For he knows he must be honest if he would live at all."
    36. Page 152, paragraph 2: "I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I?"
    37. Page 156, paragraph 3: "Both saw that they must keep spiritually active. "
    38. Page 159, paragraph 3: "Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary."

    39. And then, best of all, the frosting on the cake is this lesson in deceptive recruiting:
      Page 144, paragraph 3: "When the man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions."

    Right. "We absolutely must abide by all of these 'spiritual' rules, or else alcohol will kill us, but don't tell the new guy that. Tell him that there aren't any musts in this program, only suggestions."


  46. Bait and Switch: First, they tell you that "You must admit that you have a problem", but then that gets changed into "You must admit that you are powerless and you have a disease from which you can never recover."

    In addition, you must admit that you are an "alcoholic", which means that you are selfish and dishonest and manipulative, and cannot ever be fixed, and your only hope of avoiding Hell is to "surrender" to a "Higher Power" who can be anything from a "god" to a stone idol or a bedpan or a doorknob, and follow his orders for the rest of your life.

    That is quite a change from just admitting that you have a problem.


  47. Bait and Switch: First it isn't political, and then it is.

    They start off by telling you that Alcoholics Anonymous has no politics — A.A. has no opinion on "outside issues", and will not concern itself with controversies outside of the realm of recovery.

    But the A.A. program is actually very political, because it removes people from the political sphere, and turns them into political eunuchs. It also makes them into reactionaries. People are taught to blame themselves for everything, and to never consider how their problems may have been caused by or at least exacerbated by societal problems. A.A. members then likewise blame other alcoholics for their own troubles, imagining that "character defects" and "moral shortcomings" are the cause of all of the other alcoholics' problems. The Twelve Steps and the rest of Bill Wilson's religious teachings talk solely about how alcoholism is the fault of the individual. The A.A. answer is solely that, "You are bad. You are selfish." They never consider or even mention the influence of any external contributing factors like poverty, racial discrimination, social injustice, war, unemployment, bad environments, broken families, sickness and pain, or past child abuse. They never consider that alcoholics may have been the victims of crimes, rather than the perpetrators of crimes.

    In addition, Alcoholics Anonymous and its other 12-Step brethren basically promote a fascist philosophy —

    • People declare themselves to be powerless over their problems, mentally incompetent, and unfit to run their own lives, so they become dependent on a dictatorial "higher power" who will order them around and tell them what to do with their lives.

      "Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world..."
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 100.

    • That also usually means, "Get a sponsor to tell you what to do." The sponsor system is dictatorial and undemocratic — it arranges the members in a pyramid-shaped hierarchy of command and control with the old-timers at the top. (While some A.A. apologists will claim that sponsees are free to dump their sponsor at any time, that is not entirely true. When people are repeatedly told that they must follow the program exactly, completely, to the best of their ability, or else they will die, and they believe it, that removes the element of free will. Fear-mongering keeps the members in line.)

    • Bill Wilson declared that we do not even have the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think or how we shall act:

      How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.   ...   but   ...   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, page 37.

      Bill declared that we are mentally incompetent, and only fit to be ordered around by a superior. That is a highly political statement. It's Fascism.

    • So is Wilson's statement that we can profit and grow through dictatorships in Alcoholics Anonymous:

      In A.A. there is active still another form of association, a form of which the world is today in great doubt. It has its virtues, nevertheless, especially for us of Alcoholics Anonymous: I am speaking of dictatorship. In A.A. we have two dictators, and we profit and grow through both. One is John Barleycorn, who is never very far from the elbow of each of us. The other is the Father of Lights, who presides over all men. God is saying to us, "Learn my will and do it." And John Barleycorn is saying to each of us, "You had better do God's will or I will kill you!"
      Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson (1957), page 225.

      Therefore we [AA] have the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today but none of their liabilities.
      Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 105—106.

      The full benefits of murderous dictatorships? What benefits? Benefits to whom? And what liabilities of dictatorships does A.A. not have?

    • And der Führer Bill Wilson even said that we alcoholics need to 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.   ...
            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.

      [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.

      Not always? Just usually?

    • Bill Wilson got his religion, his politics, and his social philosophy from Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult, where Buchman praised Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. Reinhold Niebuhr, the eminent theologian who authored the Serenity Prayer, criticized Frank Buchman's religion by writing, "a Nazi social philosophy has been a covert presumption of the whole Oxford group enterprise from the very beginning."

    But the politics of A.A. is never mentioned — its very existence is denied. That makes it difficult to discuss and challenge. As Elayne Rapping pointed out,

    As in any hegemonic discourse or ritual, the absence of apparent ideology is itself the most powerful kind of ideology, since it can never be acknowledged or questioned. The political implications of this kind of thinking, this kind of process, are apparent and depressing.   ...
          This reactionary tendency of AA is further bolstered by its tendency to exclude contact with all "outsiders" who may indeed have other ideas about what has caused a member's suffering and what might be done to assuage it. One of the characteristics of cults described by Arthur Deikman (1990) is a tendency to "devalue outsiders" and assume "an attitude of righteousness" about one's own customs and beliefs. In AA and (to a lesser degree) other recovery groups, this takes the form of labeling as "in denial" those who question basic tenets. David Forbes, for example, in a fairly sympathetic analysis by a former participant, reports on his discomfort at "the conformist norm of the language" and the prohibition against the kind of "political and theoretical categories and constructs" he normally used to speak about his life, "especially class and patriarchy." And while he insists that such concerns could be discussed in the socializing time that generally follows meetings, he admits that he "did not find many people who were interested in doing so" (Forbes 1994, p. 244). Nor did I. I did indeed hear a member, a young man, express discomfort about this language in a social gathering after a meeting. He was told by an "old-timer" that he would "get over" his "denial" when he had successfully managed to "do the First Step" and make contact with his own Higher Power. The young man never broached the subject again to my knowledge, but he soon stopped attending meetings.
          Those who find the groups most helpful, on the other hand, tend to incorporate the religious and social underpinnings of the movement more and more automatically, internalizing them as unquestioned truths. I heard so many, many people in so many, many groups make statements like this one by a young woman in an OA meeting: "Now that I've learned to trust my Higher Power, I realize that there is joy everywhere and a purpose to everything. Even when I pass by the homeless people who used to make me feel so sad and upset with this society I can feel peace and trust in God's love. There is glory everywhere, I now realize."

    Forbes, David. 1994. False Fixes. Albany: SUNY Press.
    The Culture Of Recovery; Making Sense of the Self-Help Movement in Women's Lives, Elayne Rapping, pages 100-101.

    Indeed. Bill Wilson taught that we must accept anything as God's will, and not be upset or disturbed by it:

    It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about "justifiable" anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us in A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 90.

    We can't be angry? We must always be passive doormats, and never get angry, no matter what anybody else does to us?
    (That will sure kill any social activism or attempts to fix the world.)
    Only "normal" people can handle righteous anger or resentment and fight back when harmed, and we cannot, because we are just stupid alcoholics? Well, the Big Book says,
    "Yes":

    And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.
    The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict, page 449.

    • So Dr. Martin Luther King was wrong when he got disturbed by the injustices that Blacks suffered? Those Negroes should have been Serene and Spiritual, and just accepted life in the back of the bus and working for substandard wages because it's the Will of God?
    • Women shouldn't have gotten the vote; they should have just accepted their lot in life and stayed in their place in the kitchen?
    • We should ignore the poor and the homeless, and the starving children in foreign countries, because God obviously wants them to be that way? "Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake?" It's all God's plan?
    • Is the world-wide epidemic of AIDS all God's plan too? Should we just ignore the problem because it's not a mistake — it's all the Will of God?
    • And if a wife is "disturbed" by her husband's excessive drinking, does that prove that she is sick too, like Al-Anon says?
    Apparently so.

    Elayne Rapping described the process of depoliticization very well. For her book, she observed many 12-Step groups, including A.A., S.A. (Sex Addicts Anonymous), O.A. (Overeaters Anonymous), and CODA (Codependents Anonymous), and then she told the story of one young woman who had found happiness in O.A.:

          Unfortunately, this rare success story scored a point for God not women. As this woman became more and more committed to her program, she also became more and more oblivious to social injustice and more and more smug in her certainty that her Higher Power was responsible for all her new joy in life while the miseries of others were also firmly in His hands and so, somehow, serving His purpose. This was the young woman who learned to disregard the homeless who had previously so bothered her because her new faith in God assured her that all — even their misery — was right with the world.
          In every case in which I saw an OA member dramatically "recover," she became radically religious in ways I found disturbing. The women who worked their programs as effectively as the men in AA and SA became as religious and spiritual in their worldviews and activities as these men had become. Only this time much more was lost than was gained, in social terms. To a woman, their recovery meant that spirituality became their entire lives, altering partners, professions, social activities, and — not surprisingly — social and political beliefs in alarmingly reactionary ways.
          ... And their binges, their urges to binge, their purges and fasts, were all explained in this depoliticized, indeed politically regressive, worldview.
    The Culture Of Recovery; Making Sense of the Self-Help Movement in Women's Lives, Elayne Rapping, pages 121-122.

    That leads to the next item:


  48. Bait and Switch: First, Bill Wilson declared that the A.A. religious dogma was just the perennial Christian philosophy, "common to all denominations", but then it isn't Christian at all. It's a strange kind of Calvinist social Darwinism that believes in pre-destination.

    In the final analysis, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and their other 12-Step kin have the same social philosophy as Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult. Buchman declared that that all social problems, including alcoholism and drug addiction, are caused by individual sin, and that the answer to all such social problems was to get "changed" into a group member, and then get down on your knees and start confessing your sins. So you can forget about any social activism, human rights campaigns, or saving the whales. That is actually a very political attitude — a philosophy of passivity and inactivity. As the band Rush sings,

    "Even if you decide not to choose,
    you still have made a choice."

    Such a social philosophy also smacks of Social Darwinism. It is the alcoholics' own fault if they won't get religion and get down on their knees and confess their sins. They are just being "constitutionally dishonest with themselves " — "they seem to have been born that way" — they are just spiritually inferior (and genetically inferior), and you shouldn't worry about them. The more honest and spiritual ones will survive, and the inferior specimens will die... Who needs those disgusting Untermenschen anyway?

    The A.A. slogan is,

    "Some must die so that others may live."

    It must be the will of God:

    Those who do not recover are ... men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
    The Big Book, 3rd and 4th Edition, page 58.

    So, as God selects which sperm cell hits the egg, God observes that this baby is going to be born an alcoholic, and constitutionally dishonest with himself too. This one is doomed to die drunk in a gutter. He can't help it — he was born that way. His fate is inevitable and unavoidable.

    So how is that a Christian philosophy? (It isn't. It isn't Christian at all.)

    It is also reminiscent of Heinrich Himmler's ideas of bad genes. The Nazis were big on eugenics, and sterilized and euthenized (with gas chambers) many thousands of people whom they regarded as "genetically defective". Alcoholism was considered to be one of the genetic defects that warranted sterilization or death.


  49. Bait and Switch: First, no one is entitled to speak for A.A., but then some special privileged people are entitled to speak for A.A.

    A standard A.A. slogan is that "No one is entitled to speak for A.A.". But people speak for A.A. all of the time. A.A. promoters and pundits routinely go on radio and TV, and write articles for newspapers and magazines and the Internet, praising A.A., and nobody criticizes them for "speaking for A.A.".

    One standard way of claiming the privilege of speaking for A.A. is to announce one's sober time. An A.A. old-timer stands up and brags about himself like this: "Hello. My name is Joe, and by the Grace of God and Alcoholics Anonymous, I haven't taken a drink in 15 years."

    Thus, he has established his credentials, and now he is entitled to speak with authority about Alcoholics Anonymous.

    In general, if somebody has something positive to say about Alcoholics Anonymous, then he is entitled to speak. It's quite all right. But if someone has something negative to say about A.A., then he is not entitled to speak for A.A.


  50. Bait and Switch: Progressive Terminology: First, they tell you to do an honest, complete, "moral inventory", and then they tell you to only talk about your "wrongs" and "character defects" and "moral shortcomings".

    While we are busy confessing all of our sins, note the funny progressive change in the terminology of the Steps:

    • 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    • 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    • 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    • 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

    In Step Four, we start off doing a general-purpose moral inventory, which sounds like we should honestly list both the good and the bad stuff — our weaknesses and our strengths — but

    • in Step Five we only "admit" (confess) our "wrongs";
    • and in Step Six those "wrongs" suddenly get changed into defective parts of ourselves — our "defects of character",
    • and in Step Seven, they are again our defects, our moral "shortcomings".

    There is a big difference between making a stupid mistake and having a defective character. Again, these steps are just inducing more feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and inadequacy by declaring that we are inherently defective and flawed — so terribly flawed that only God can remove the defects.

    Such progressive terminology also pushes Progressive Commitments, which is another standard cult characteristic. In the beginning, you only agreed to conduct an accurate and honest self-examination. But without anyone asking your permission, Bill Wilson twisted it into a guilt-inducing confession session.

    Likewise, there is a progressive change in attitude as we go through the Steps, from standing tall to grovelling on our knees. In the beginning, we just arrogantly presume that God will give us the goodies — will fix our minds and restore us to sanity and take care of our wills and our lives for us in Steps 2 and 3 — for no particular reason other than that we shoved our broken minds and lives at Him, and expected Him to repair them for us.
    (Which is in fact a heretical religious doctrine. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God has to do His side of that deal.)

    But by Step Seven, we have to humbly beg God to help us:

    • 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
      (We just presume that He will do it, without even asking Him what He wants to do.)
    • 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
      (We just presume that God will take care of us from now on, just because we want Him to solve all of our problems for us.)
    • 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
      (The original version of Step Seven that Bill Wilson wrote said,
      "Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings.")


  51. Bait and Switch: First, ego-mania, and then abject humility. First, they give you happiness, and then they give you sadness.

    • First, in Steps Two and Three, you are supposed to believe that you are so special and so favored that God is going to wait on you hand and foot, take care of you, solve all of your problems for you, restore you to sanity, take away all of your difficulties, take away your cravings for alcohol, and make the drink problem just disappear on a daily basis.
    • Then, when you have gotten a sufficiently fat head from that, you must grovel and wallow in guilt in Steps Four through Ten, listing and confessing your every sin, defect, wrong, and moral shortcoming, and everybody you ever harmed or offended, until you have no self-respect or self-confidence left, and you feel thoroughly rotten.
    • Then Step Ten tells you to repeat that routine endlessly, and promptly admit whenever you are wrong. That sounds like a good formula for neurosis.

    Incidentally, that pattern of behavior is called "battering". It is the same routine as what battered wives suffer through. First, their husbands are friendly and loving, but then they turn against their wives and threaten and terrorize and beat them. Just when the wives are ready to leave them, the battering husbands revert to being loving and reassuring, telling the wives that things will be better in the future and that they didn't really mean it and they love them. Then, when the wives stay, the husbands revert to attacking and beating them again. Eventually, the battered wives are so paralyzed by confusion and fear that they don't know if they are coming or going.

    A.A. does the same thing to its victims. There is a constant alternation between

    • "God loves you and is taking care of you" and
    • "God is disgusted with you for your many moral shortcomings and defects of character. You are selfish and evil and self-seeking and manipulative and dishonest. You can hardly make amends even if you try for the rest of your life." (Big Book, page 127.)


  52. Bait and Switch: First, ego-destruction and then bombastic delusions of grandeur.

    This item is just the reverse of the last one:

    1. First, your ego is crushed, your self-respect is destroyed by constant confessions of bad motives and wrong-doing and wrong-thinking, and you must abandon all "selfishness" and "self-seeking". You must reduce your self-respect and feelings of self-worth to less than nothing.

    2. Then, in Step Eleven, you suddenly discover that you are so big and so good that you are a secret agent for God — that your true mission in life is to get on the psychic two-way radio and spend the rest of your days constantly talking to God and "Seeking and Doing the Will of God", as if God really needs you:

      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.

      Why, it's just like Mission Impossible:

      "Your mission, Mr. Phelps, should you choose to accept it, is to Seek and Do the Will of God. This mission is extremely important. Should you fail, it is unlikely that God will ever recover from the shock. As usual, should you or any of your team be captured, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your existence. This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds."


  53. Bait and Switch: Expect a great religious or spiritual experience, and then expect nothing.

    Throughout the first 164 pages of the Big Book, Bill Wilson wrote about the fantastic religious or spiritual experiences that members could expect to have after they had practiced the Twelve Steps enough:

    ... you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 44.

    ... we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 79.

    ... with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 66.

    We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 75.

    He had begun to have a spiritual experience.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 11, A Vision For You, page 158.

    We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 25.

    [To Wives:] Your husband will be the first to say it was your devotion and care which brought him to the point where he could have a spiritual experience.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 8, To Wives, pages 118-119.

    Assume on the other hand that father has, at the outset, a stirring spiritual experience. Overnight, as it were, he is a different man. He becomes a religious enthusiast. He is unable to focus on anything else.   ...   There is talk about spiritual matters morning, noon and night.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 127.

    We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 130.

    "The Promises" are another example of Bill's grand claims of great "sudden revelations":

    If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.   ...   We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.   ...   Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.   ...   We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Into Action, pages 83-84.

    Bill Wilson had a fantastic vision or hallucination or "religious experience" or "spiritual experience" while he was in the hospital, detoxing from alcohol and tripping on belladonna and henbane and morphine and a bunch of other drugs. Then he claimed that his copy of the Oxford Group practices — the Twelve Steps — would induce such an experience or vision in other people without the drugs. The original version of Step Twelve, as published in the early printings of the Big Book, began:

    Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action...

    But after publication of the first edition of the Big Book, A.A. members all over the country complained that "The Big Experience" wasn't happening for them. Nobody got wonderful religious or spiritual experiences, or saw God, as a result of doing Bill's 12 steps...

    So Bill Wilson changed the "spiritual experience" term in Step Twelve to "spiritual awakening". Now Step Twelve begins,

    "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps..."

    "Spiritual awakening"? That is so vague that it can mean just about anything.

    Even the "spiritual experience" phrase itself had already been the result of such rewording — William James' book was titled The Varieties of Religious Experience, and that's what Bill Wilson talked about in the beginning, and that's what Bill Wilson sought to induce in other people — an overwhelming dramatic religious experience.

    Wilson wanted to induce religious experiences that were so powerful and stirring that they would instantly transform people's lives, and make them quit drinking forever. But the word "religious" was a problem, remember — Bill Wilson didn't want to offend the Catholic Church. A Catholic priest reminded Bill that inducing religious experiences was The Church's job, not Bill's. So "religious experience" became "spiritual experience" which then got toned down to just a "spiritual awakening."

    Then Bill added an appendix to the second and third editions of the Big Book, "Appendix II, Spiritual Experience", where he explained that members should not expect "sudden and spectacular upheavals" or expect to "acquire an immediate and overwhelming 'God-consciousness' followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook", like Bill Wilson said that he had gotten (from hallucinogenic drugs) and had written about at length in the front section of the Big Book. No, Bill said, members should not really expect any such sudden or dramatic results; rather, they should just settle for small, slow, gradual changes, like an "educational experience", or like the hang-over slowly clearing, and then call that a "spiritual experience."

    So the wonderful dramatic "electric" experiences that Bill Wilson wrote about in the front of the Big Book aren't going to happen for you, after all:

    The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.
          Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.
          ... Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James [in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience] calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 569.

    No, the changes haven't been "brought about by himself alone." The good changes are caused by quitting drinking. The bad changes, the ones he isn't supposed to be aware of until it is too late, are caused by mind-control techniques and indoctrination in cult religion.

    And don't you love the part about how you won't be aware of what "profound alterations" they are doing to your mind until much later? Your friends can see it, but you can't.

    Both Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer and Dr. Edgar H. Schein listed that as one of the key components of an effective brainwashing or thought-control program:
    "Keep them unaware that there is an agenda to change them, and unaware of how they are being changed, step by step." — Singer.
    "Keep the person unaware of what is going on and the changes taking place." — Schein.

    Also note that Bill Wilson plainly stated that the goal is to induce religious experiences sufficiently powerful to cause dramatic and permanent personality changes. That contradicts the slogan that "It's spiritual, not religious."

    • So, the
      • "religious experience" got reduced to a
      • "spiritual experience", which got reduced to a
      • "spiritual awakening", which got reduced to an
      • "educational experience".

    • Just about anything will qualify as your "educational experience", or your "spiritual awakening".
      (Heck, if I want an educational experience, I can watch Public Television, or read a good book.)

    • So, if your head is clearer now than it was when you were drunk, then, by golly, you have already had a "spiritual awakening" without even noticing it.

    Bill Wilson did not get his "spiritual experience" from doing the Twelve Steps and confessing all of his sins and wallowing in guilt. Bill actually got his "electric results", and saw God, while detoxing in a hospital and tripping on a combination of alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens, and a hallucinogenic drug cocktail that contained belladonna, henbane, morphine, strychnine, and a bunch of other things. But Bill didn't bother to mention that small detail in the Big Book...

    What Bill did mention was that, the next day, one of his friends, either Ebby Thacher or Rowland Hazard, gave him the book The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, and Bill read about other people having had similar religious experiences when they were really down, sick, in despair, and dying. (Note: James' book was about religious experiences, not "spiritual" experiences.) From reading that book, Bill Wilson came to believe that he had had a religious experience, and that "deflating peoples' egos" and crushing them into hopelessness would duplicate the religious or "spiritual" experience in them without the drugs.

    It didn't work. It still doesn't work. It just makes some A.A. members neurotic, bitter and frustrated, while they wait forever for "The Miracle" to happen.

    It also makes some members delusional, where they mindlessly, frivolously, proclaim that every little sentimental rush or emotional reaction that they get is a big 'spiritual' experience...

    It even makes some members suicidal.

    In a way, Bill Wilson was ahead of his time. In the nineteen-sixties and seventies there were many phony gurus who came here from foreign countries — most often from India — and told the kids that they had some special yoga or chanting or meditation or something that would duplicate the LSD religious or spiritual experience, without the drugs. They cheated the kids out of a lot of money before the kids wised up.

    That same bait-and-switch stunt is still being pulled on new A.A. members today. Initially, they are led to believe that they will experience revolutionary changes in their lives, and will have wonderful dramatic religious or spiritual experiences just like Bill Wilson described in the Big Book, and also described later on in his second book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

    The slogan is, "Don't leave five minutes before the Miracle!"
    So you can't ever leave, or you will miss The Big Experience that might have happened five minutes later. (No Exit is another standard cult characteristic.)

    Only later are the newcomers told that they should consider any small improvements that have happened in their lives to be a "Miracle" and a big "spiritual awakening".

    "Well, you aren't drinking any more, are you? Isn't that a Miracle?"

    You aren't supposed to answer:

    "A Miracle? No, I don't think so. It looks a lot like simple common sense — I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired, so I finally got my act together and quit doing it. I thank God for my sobriety, but I wouldn't call it a 'Miracle'. A miracle is when somebody uses supernatural powers to break the laws of physics. No such powers were used here, and no such laws were broken. I just quit drinking alcohol."


  54. Bait and Switch: First, "unconditional love" and then hateful contempt.

    A.A. promises the newcomer unconditional love, trust, and acceptance. The slogan is, "Let us love you until you can love yourself." But after they have sucked you in, they will blast you with contempt and loathing:

    • They will tell you that you have all of the disgusting defects of a standard alcoholic.
    • They will tell you that your thinking is alcoholic, that you are diseased and in denial.
    • They will tell you that you are selfish and care about no one but yourself, that you have a sick, fat ego that thinks it is the center of the Universe, and thinks that it is too big and too good to need God.
    • They will tell you that any disagreement you have with A.A. or the program just proves how sick you are.
    • The crabby, mean-tempered old-timer who smacks the newcomers with slogans and condescending put-downs is a regular fixture at many meetings, and his bad-tempered misbehavior is excused as tough love.

    If you really want to see the unconditional love and acceptance disappear fast, just try telling them the truth about A.A., Bill Wilson's insanity, and the real cult religion roots of the Twelve Steps.

    They also have contempt for you on another level: They don't think you rate the truth, so they won't tell you the truth. Their attitude is "The Truth? You can't handle the Truth!", so they will dole out the truth "By Teaspoons, Not Buckets", and only gradually reveal the true nature of A.A. to you.

    • They will say that you are just a stupid beginner with a diseased mind, and you can't think right, so you should not be told all of the facts.

    • They will pull deceptive recruiting stunts on you.

      • "There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are."
        (The Big Book, William G. Wilson, 3rd & 4th Editions, page 93.)
      • "They wanted a psychological book which would lure the reader in; when he finally arrived among us, there would then be enough time to tip him off about the spiritual character of our society."
        (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age (1957), William G. Wilson, page 17.)

    • They will answer your honest questions with thought-stopping clichés:
      • "Stop Your Stinking Thinking."
      • "Your best thinking got you here."
      • "Utilize, Don't Analyze."

    • They will deceive you with slogans and standardized answers to everything.
      • "A.A. requires no beliefs."
      • "RARELY HAVE we seen someone fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
      • "The program never fails. People just fail the program."
      • "A.A. is the best, the time-tested, the proven way to recover from alcoholism."

    • They will hide the real nature of A.A. from you.

    • They will quote you Bill Wilson's grandiose, bombastic delusional statements, but they won't tell you the truth.

    • They will tell you all kinds of things to keep you coming back, but they won't tell you the truth.

    That's what they really think of you.


  55. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. tells you to "Think, Think, Think", but later it's "Stop Your Stinkin' Thinkin'."

    In the beginning, people are asked to think about what alcohol is doing to them, and to make an intelligent decision to do the smart thing and quit drinking.

    Man is supposed to think, and act. He wasn't made to God's image to be an automation.
    As Bill Sees It, page 55.
    Also see:
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 92, April 24.

    But gradually, the tone changes to...

    "Nobody is ever too dumb to get the program, but some people are too intelligent."
    "Utilize, Don't Analyze."
    == common A.A. slogans

    Bill Wilson actually declared that we must abandon Reason and logic, and just have faith in his teachings:

    Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and did not like to lose our support.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 53.

    The object of the Alcoholics Anonymous program was supposed to be to quit drinking, not to lose our minds, remember?

    (And what the heck is "the Bridge of Reason"?)

    And then, finally, Bill Wilson declared that we were not qualified to even decide what we would think, or what we would do with our lives:

    How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.   ... 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.


  56. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. tells you that "A.A. requires no beliefs," but then you have to believe everything they tell you, and have blind faith in the proclamations of Bill Wilson.

    Bill wrote:

    Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.

    Perhaps you are not quite in sympathy with the approach we suggest. By no means do we offer it as the last word on this subject...
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, page 144.

    But later, the Big Book says:

    I was beginning to see that I would require implicit faith, like a small child, if I was going to get anywhere.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, The News Hawk, Page 259.

    Yes, Mr. Wilson was really big on blind faith. Bill felt that being intelligent and thinking logically was a serious impediment to success in his program:

    ... we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
          We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. ... People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 49.

    Here, Bill Wilson first praised logic, to get you agreeing with him, and then he turned around and attacked logic and declared that his "present faith" was superior to logic. Bait and Switch:

    Logic is great stuff. We liked it. We still like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our senses, and to draw conclusions. That is one of man's magnificent attributes. We agnostically inclined would not feel satisfied with a proposal which does not lend itself to reasonable approach and interpretation. Hence we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe, why we say our former thinking was soft and mushy when we threw up our hands in doubt and said, "We don't know."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Page 53.

    (By the way, Bill Wilson was never an agnostic or an atheist. He was just putting on airs again when he wrote that, pretending to be a reformed hard-core atheist because it sounded good.)

    Bill continued his sermon:

    Imagine life without faith! Were nothing left but pure reason, it wouldn't be life.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Page 54.

    Actually, life requires survival and reproduction, but it doesn't require faith in Bill's nonsense.   So yes, it would be life.


  57. Bait and Switch: First, prospective new members are offered a tolerant, open-minded "spiritual" program, but then they get narrow-minded demands for belief in Bill Wilson's teachings.

    Chapter Seven of the Big Book is a training manual for recruiters. That chapter teaches another bait-and-switch trick: first, the bait offered to the prospective new member ("prospect") is a promise of complete religious freedom, and then the switch comes later, when the new member finds that he must accept the A.A. beliefs and discard his own.

    Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God.
      ...
    There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 93.

    Why stress "the spiritual feature" freely? Because you aren't supposed to stress the religious feature. Keep on yammering, "It's spiritual, not religious" when the prospect says, "I don't want to join a religion."

    The statements: "make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God" and "Don't raise such issues" are instructing the recruiter to deceive the prospect, to hide the intense religiosity of Alcoholics Anonymous from him. In the end, the prospect will have to agree with A.A. about God. It is impossible to work the Twelve Steps without believing in the A.A. version of God. But newcomers are not told that up front.

    Bill Wilson declared that non-believers were "prejudiced" and "confused" about theological terms. He didn't tell the recruiter what to do with an intelligent well-educated agnostic prospect who was not at all confused about what those theological terms mean.

    Or, for that matter, what do you do with an intelligent well-educated believer who won't buy Bill Wilson's funny religious opinions? I'm sure that even the Pope would disagree with a lot of Bill's theology, because it's basically heretical nonsense, and at odds with Christianity. The Vatican banned Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult religion, from which Bill Wilson got all of his theology, twice.

    Again, Wilson taught the missionaries not to alarm prospects by revealing the real religious agenda of Alcoholics Anonymous:

    To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasize the spiritual feature on our first approach. We might prejudice them. At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 76-77.

    So the real purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to get people to Seek and Do the Will of God. Quitting drinking seems to be a secondary goal. But they don't tell new recruits about that in the beginning. They just emphasize the need to quit drinking.

    Finally, Wilson said of the Big Book,

    Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.   ...   [That] means, of course, that we are going to talk about God.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 45.

    It may be nit-picking, but it does not say that the goal is to help you to quit drinking. The goal is to get you to:

    • believe in a Higher Power, "that Power, which is God",     (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 46),
    • and to get you to follow the dictates of that Higher Power,     (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 100),
    • Who will then supposedly solve all of your problems for you.     (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 42 and 63).
    • And remember, "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God..."     (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.)
    • Also remember that we must be humble, and "That basic ingredient of all humility [is] a desire to seek and do God's will."     (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 72.)


    Dr. Robert Smith, left, and Bill Wilson, right,
    with an unknown man in the middle.

    In his own chapter of the Big Book, Doctor Bob added:

    If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Dr. Robert Smith, Doctor Bob's Story, Page 181.

    So, you can have any religious beliefs you want, but if you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or prefer to think for yourself while using a little common sense, then Dr. Bob really feels sorry for you, because you are in big trouble...

    Dr. Bob says that you are guilty of "intellectual pride" if you don't accept what he and Bill are pushing. That's rather narrow-minded, isn't it? What happened to the freedom of religion?

    • What, are you guilty of intellectual pride because you choose to trust your own thinking, rather than that of a bunch of superstitious, anti-intellectual, people who meet in a church basement down the street? Do you really think your own brain is working better than the brains of a whole bunch of fervent believers who swear that they can use a doorknob, a teddy-bear, a motorcycle, or a group of drunks for their God? Gee, how stubborn, proud, and uncooperative of you. Why don't you be a good kid, and conform, like everybody else?

    • Or are you guilty of intellectual pride because you refuse to submit to religious conversion at the hands of some grinning strangers and double-talking religiomaniacs who say that you should discard human intelligence and Reason, and just have faith in what they say?

    • Or are you guilty of intellectual pride if you think your brain works better, and you are smarter and saner, and a little more clear-headed, than the Bill and Bob team? I'm guilty of that, because I know that I'm smarter and saner than either William G. Wilson or Dr. Robert H. Smith was. That's really easy to do, because:

      All of which means that the A.A. true believers are basing their lives on the preaching of two pathetic wrecks who were so tragically brain-damaged and crazy from alcohol that they were incapable of even supporting themselves, but who arrogantly presumed to be qualified to tell everybody else how to live.

    People whose own lives are not worth living desire the power to control other people's lives.

    And if you won't accept what those two nut-cases are preaching, then 'Doctor Bob' says that he feels sorry for you because you are guilty of "intellectual pride"...

    So what makes you guilty of intellectual pride? Inquiring minds want to know.


    More religious freedom, more of that "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs" stuff: William Wilson wrote, in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, about Step Eleven:

    Those of us who have come to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we would refuse air, food, or sunshine. And for the same reason. When we refuse air, food, or sunshine, the body suffers. And when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support. As the body can fail its purpose for lack of nourishment, so can the soul. We all need the light of God's reality, the nourishment of His strength, and the atmosphere of His grace. To an amazing extent the facts of A.A. life confirm this ageless truth.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 97-98.

    Contrast that intensely religious statement with the earlier statements about how you can have any religious beliefs you wish, or none at all, and you can have any Higher Power you wish, including a doorknob, a motorcycle, or the A.A. group itself...

    "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs."
    Yeh, right.

    Obviously, one belief that is required is the belief that it is okay, even moral, to hide the truth and deceive newcomers, doling out the truth to them "by teaspoons, not buckets", while hypocritically claiming that A.A. is a program of "rigorous honesty". (The end justifies the means.)

    Bait and switch again: Offer them help in quitting drinking, but give them Intro to Cult Religion 101. Don't bother teaching them any good strategies or techniques for really quitting drinking and staying quit; God will solve that problem, later, or so the theory goes. (Or maybe God won't, if God doesn't like you... Or if you "hold something back" in your Fifth Step.)

    And if you have made the A.A. group itself your "God" (G.O.D. = Group Of Drunks, remember?), then just how do you get "the light of God's reality, the nourishment of His strength, and the atmosphere of His grace" from your local group of drunks?

    That's yet another bait and switch stunt:

    • First, they will tell you that "god" isn't meant literally — it's just an expression — it can mean anything you wish. You can even be an atheist, they say. Anything can be your "higher power".

    • Only later will they reveal the truth: "God" is meant quite literally — it is the authoritarian, micro-managing, order-dictating, slave-driving, wish-granting, prayer-answering, defect-removing, radiogram-transmitting, Guidance-sending father-figure patriarchal dictatorial fascist God of Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman, Rev. Samuel Shoemaker Jr., William G. Wilson and Dr. Robert H. Smith.


  58. Bait and Switch: Literal versus vague interpretation.

    This one is a back-and-forth flip-flop. Members are alternately exhorted to read the teachings literally and follow the instructions exactly, and then to accept vague grandiose euphemisms as sage advice and wise counseling for an improved lifestyle.

    Alternatively, first, new recruits are told that the words can mean whatever they want them to mean, then they are told that they must believe literally.

    Bill Wilson loved to brag that "God" can be whatever you wish:

    ...   I resisted the thought of a Czar of the Heavens, however loving His sway might be.   ...
          My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"
          That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.
    Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, "Bill's Story", page 12.

    (By the way, there was no icy intellectual mountain in Bill Wilson's life. Bill Wilson was a superstitious flunk-out, not an intellectual.)

    But then A.A. slogans and literature declare:

    • "Read your Big Book every day, but try reading only the black parts."
    • "Want a new life? Read it! Read the black bits, don't put anything into the white bits and find a freedom you never imagined you could have."
    • "Chapter five (Big Book) is called 'how it works', not 'why me?'."
    • "Unless each AA member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps of recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. We must obey certain principles or we die."
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    And then, when you read the Big Book, you get instructions like:

    • "We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done."
      (The Big Book, 3rd edition, Chapter 9, page 130.)
      So how on Earth are you supposed to follow those instructions?

    • "We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe."
      (The Big Book, 3rd edition, Chapter 6, page 75.)

    • "... you can join us on the Broad Highway."
      (The Big Book, 3rd edition, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 55.)

    • "Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word..."
      (The Big Book, 3rd edition, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 49.)
      So just what is "God's ever advancing Creation"? It sounds like "The Blob that Ate Hollywood". And where is it advancing to?
      And how can you be an "intelligent agent" for God who doesn't believe in human intelligence?

    • "We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our daily activities."
      (The Big Book, 3rd edition, page 85.)
      Whose "vision of God's will"?
      And how was that "vision" obtained? Prayer? Meditation? Séances with Ouija boards and spirit rapping and channeling spirits? Or was it an LSD session?


  59. Bait and Switch: First, the real A.A. is one thing, and then it is something else.

    Baloney. It's all really A.A.


  60. Bait and Switch: First, "Bill Wilson was the heroic Founder of A.A., a genius who invented a new way to achieve sobriety, a saint who brought a new revelation from God, and the author of the sacred Big Book",
    but then, when people learn what an insane lying philandering thieving creep he was, the rap changes into "Bill Wilson has nothing to do with A.A. We don't pay any attention to what he said."

    In the beginning, newcomers learn to worship Bill Wilson:

    • "Bill Wilson was a genius to make up twelve such perfect steps that can solve all of the problems of the world." (Shared at an A.A. meeting by a fanatical true believer.)

    • "God passed the message down to Bill Wilson, and then Bill Wilson passed it down to the rest of us." == Gary Busey, in the Penn & Teller show Bullshit.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU2YliYttnQ&feature=share

    • Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob are the saints who got a new revelation from God and started a new religion (which the A.A. true believers insist is not a religion). Their faces are plastered all over the walls of A.A. meeting rooms:

      Alano Clubhouse
      (click on image for larger version)

    • And Saint Bill could even do faith healing:


      A.A. Founder Bill Wilson, pretending to be a faith healer.

      Bill Wilson posed for a staged "Man On The Bed" publicity photograph, where Bill allegedly performed miraculous faith healings, making the drunks "pick up their beds and walk." (See John 5:2.)
      Notice the cross on the wall. This photograph was very carefully staged for best effect.

    But then, when someone reveals just what a scheming, cheating, con artist and liar and sexual predator Bill Wilson really was, and what he really did, the A.A. apologists declare:


  61. Bait and Switch: First, you can keep your own religion, and then you can't.

    The unbelievers, atheists and agnostics are not the only targets for religious conversion in Bill Wilson's sights — Bill considered even those people who were good faithful members of other (competing) religions to be fair game.

    • First, Bill says that any religious beliefs are okay. Just as long as you believe in some kind of a "God as we understand Him" or "Power greater than ourselves", Bill happily declares that you are "on your way".
    • But later, only Mr. Wilson's Buchmanite religious beliefs are good enough.

    In the opening pages of the Big Book, Bill Wilson declared:

    We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired.   ...
    Those having religious affiliations will find nothing here disturbing to their beliefs or ceremonies. There is no friction among us over such matters.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 28.

    (Note how Bill Wilson just changed the goal of the A.A. program from "quit drinking" to "acquire faith". Bait and switch.)

    And remember how Bill Wilson started off by telling the newcomers:

    As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 46.

    As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 47.

    That sounds very generous and open-minded (if you accept the surreptitious suggestion that the goal of A.A. is really to come to believe, rather than to quit drinking). But in the recruiting manual in Chapter Seven of the Big Book, Wilson instructed the recruiters to tell the religious newcomers that their own religious beliefs were inferior to those of Alcoholics Anonymous, because their own religion had not kept them from drinking:

    Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination. His religious education and training may be far superior to yours. In that case he is going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows. But he will be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 93.

    Bill instructs the recruiter, "If someone is having troubles in his life, claim that it proves that his religious beliefs and faith are inferior to those of the A.A. members, because "his own convictions have not worked"."

    That's a false assumption. Who says that the purpose of all religious convictions is to keep people from drinking alcohol? That is not what religions are usually about.

    After all, Jesus Christ drank wine, and his first miracle was making wine out of water. Catholic priests and Jewish Rabbis drink wine in their religious services, and many Christians drink wine during communion. So most religious convictions don't ordinarily ban drinking.

    And religious convictions don't "work".
    That is, religious convictions are beliefs, like the belief that Jesus Christ was a great guy, worthy of emulation. Religious convictions are not like cars or computers, machines which are supposed to work in a certain manner. So religious convictions are not necessarily supposed to either make you drink or keep you from drinking.

    Note the use of broken logic:
    "He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient."
    He may be an example of one of Bill Wilson's unquestionably-true religious beliefs.
    You get a vague suggestion followed by an absolute certainty.

    That's the propaganda trick called "Assume the major premise" — just assume that your favorite belief is true without any proof.
    It's also the propaganda technique called "Sly Suggestions" — "my crazy delusions may be true... You never know... (So let's assume that they are all true.)"

    The phrase "the truth that faith alone is insufficient" really has a more sinister meaning:
    "Just believing in my God and my religion isn't good enough. You must also go recruit some more members for our 'little fellowship' if you wish to avoid death by alcohol."

    And the statement "But he will be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well" deceptively implants yet another misconception. (That is the propaganda technique "Assume The Major Premise", yet again.) The A.A. recruiter is not necessarily any shining example of success. His "convictions" are not necessarily "working so well." Often, the recruiter is just obeying the slogan, "Fake it until you make it." And most of the time, he won't make it — the real A.A. failure rate is at least 95 percent, perhaps as much as 100 percent. Most of the recruiters will eventually relapse and go back to being a drunk with the rest of them,
    • just like Bill Wilson's recruiter Ebby Thacher did,
    • and just like Bill Wilson's first recruit in New York City, Henry Parkhurst, co-author of the Big Book, did,
    • and just like Jackie did in the Big Book,
    • and just like Paddy K., the founder of A.A. in Boston, did in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age,
    • and just like how "Johnny Appleseed", the founder of A.A. in South Africa, did,
    • and just like Florence Rankin, the second woman in A.A., and author of the Big Book first edition story A Feminine Victory, did,
    • and just like Doctor Bob's son-in-law Ernie Galbraith, "A.A. Number Four" and author of the Big Book first edition story The Seven-Month Slip, did,
    • and just like how Lillian Roth, the famous child movie star and founder of A.A. in New Zealand, did.

    In fact, Dick B. reports that very few of Bill Wilson's original New York group of alcoholics maintained sobriety. And Francis Hartigan, Lois Wilson's private secretary, reported that fully 50% of the original Big Book authors returned to drinking.

    So there is probably nothing wrong with the newcomer's religious convictions:

    The Boston group provided us with a fresh wonder and a big heartbreak, too. Its founder could never get sober himself and he finally died of alcoholism. Paddy was just too sick to make it. Slip followed slip, but he came back each time to carry A.A.'s message, at which he was amazingly successful. Time after time the group nursed him back to life. Then came the last bender, and that was it. This very sick man left behind him a great group and a triple-A rating for valor. His first two successes, Bert C. and Jennie B., carry on to this day.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 96.

    You have to question the sanity of a man who so fervently converts others to a religious program that isn't working for him, and isn't saving his own life. And notice how Wilson writes so fondly about Paddy, almost declaring him a saint of the Church for having made so many converts. It sounds just like the medieval Christian church, bragging about some guy who was declared a saint just because he converted large numbers of heathen natives to belief in the Church in Rome.

    That wasn't the only example of that either. In the biography of Marty Mann, the self-appointed A.A. missionary, we read:

    AA was already established in South Africa when Marty arrived, with a ready pool of interested and willing citizens. It had been started in that country by a relapsing alcoholic, "Johnny Appleseed." He was a gifted businessman and highly successful proponent of AA, but he could not stay sober. Regardless, wherever he traveled and got drunk and sobered up, he left literature about AA.
    A Biography of Mrs. Marty Mann: The First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous, Sally Brown and David R. Brown, page 224.

    Again, we have to ask what is going on here. Is the goal to stop drinking, or is the goal to grow the church?

    I know that the standard rationalization is that spreading the word, or "carrying the message", as they call it, is supposed to help others to overcome alcoholism, but how can someone so fervently believe in a program and seek to convert others to it when it isn't actually working to help him avoid death by alcohol? What word is there to spread? How can people be so convinced that it is a great program for others when it isn't working for them? (And when it isn't really working for anybody?)

    Is that religious faith or obstinate superstition?

    It reminds me of a guy who says, "I know of a great solution to all of our economic problems. It's called Communism. It hasn't gotten me any more money yet, personally, but I know that it's a great program. So let's spread it around everywhere, and take over the whole world. I'm sure that we will all get rich eventually."

    Continuing with the game of religious one-upmanship, the Big Book also says:

    I had been brought up to believe in God, but I know that until I found this A.A. program, I had never found or known faith in the reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with me in everything I do.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, The Housewife Who Drank At Home, page 341.

    Yes, A.A. is much better than other religions. So you should convert to the A.A. religion right now.

    A.A.W.S. (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.) echoes those sentiments in its other publications:

    I always believed in God, but could never put that belief meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him...
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990., January 1, page 9.

    Hazelden Foundation propaganda even goes so far as to declare that:

    "Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritual program, not a religious one. ...
    Ideally, religion helps you achieve spirituality, but if it doesn't, then set it aside for a while."
    The Way Home, A Collective Memoir of the Hazelden Experience, Hazelden, 1997, page 109.

    So you should dump your current religion and just believe in the teachings of Bill Wilson so that you can get the Alcoholics Anonymous style of "spirituality".

    All of those back-stabbing games of religious one-upmanship make a lie of the happy P.R. statement that Bill Wilson wrote in the beginning of the Big Book:

    We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired.   ...
    Those having religious affiliations will find nothing here disturbing to their beliefs or ceremonies. There is no friction among us over such matters.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, There Is A Solution, page 28.

    It is grossly unethical to demand religious conversion from the patients of a program that is ostensibly supposed to be some kind of "treatment" for a medical condition like alcoholism or drug addiction — especially when the demands for conversion only become apparent in the middle of the program. It is like a doctor who has a patient cut open on the operating table suddenly saying to the patient,

    "If you want this operation to turn out okay, you should convert to my religion right now. But please don't think that I am forcing you — This isn't blackmail — I'm giving you complete freedom of religion — You can believe anything you want — But I really do believe that you will get the best results from this operation — you will have the best chance of survival — if you convert to my religion right now."


  62. Bait and Switch: First, A.A. is completely compatible with Christianity, then it isn't.
    First, A.A. is based on Christianity, then it isn't.
    First, they say that the 12 Steps were derived from the Bible, then they aren't.
    First, A.A. is not in competition with other religions — Bill Wilson wrote that "There is no friction among us over such matters." — and then Bill Wilson wrote that practicing those other religions will not keep you from drinking.

    As a come-on, and recruiting tool, A.A. members routinely declare that A.A. is completely compatible with Christianity — or any other religion, for that matter — just the same as Dr. Frank Buchman said about his Oxford Group cult religion.

    But then the A.A. members attack Christianity and "the churches" and "religions", and declare that A.A. is superior to religions.

    • "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there."

    • If someone talks in an A.A. meeting about Jesus as his "Higher Power", he is often denounced with cries of "Take it to church! If I wanted to hear that garbage, I'd go to church."

    • A letter that I received declared,
      "I don't know what meetings you have observed, but the meetings we took note of pushed attendeding college, taking prescribed medications, and sure as hell never mentioned Jesus."

    • Christians have complained that their religious beliefs were not acceptable at A.A. meetings:

              Saddleback's 12-Step program began when Baker, a recovering alcoholic and increasingly devoted Christian, grew frustrated with the taboo of mentioning his higher power — Jesus Christ — at traditional Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. In the secular world, the concept of a higher power — the cornerstone of 12-Step programs — can be anything from God to a doorknob, depending on the spiritual comfort level of the person in recovery.
              "At an AA meeting, you can talk about anything else, but not Jesus Christ," Baker says. "I'd be mocked when I talked about my higher power."
      12 Steps, Christian Style, Los Angeles Times, April 24, 1999.

    • An A.A. true believer loudly ranted about A.A. being the only way, and other people at the meeting laughed at his tirade:

      A few of the guys from the Salvation Army were laughing at me and I suggested to them that they could laugh all they wanted. They could also go out and try to stay sober using just the Salvation Army and Jesus Christ and that we would save them a seat in AA IF they make it back!! After all, WHY do they think those "other programs" send them to AA anyway?
      == See full quote here.
      == See the article "Morning Meds" in the newsgroup alt.recovery.aa, 19 Jan 2006.
      http://groups.google.com/group/alt.recovery.aa/browse_thread/thread/c059d807ffbbd1d0/f8747c55c3d0745b?q=Jesus+Christ&rnum=1

    • In the eloquent immortal words of Robert, in the Internet newsgroup "alt.recovery.addiction.alcoholism", in August 2003,
      You are in the wrong group if you are looking for Jesus. I make no claim about healing the blind. Relative to these facts, you are one blind fuckwit.

    There is much more about the conflicts between Christianity and the 12-Step religion here:
    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-heresy.html


  63. Bait and Switch: First it's "Surrender to God" and then it's "surrender to some A.A. members".
    Likewise, first it's "Listen to God", and then it's "Listen to your sponsor".

    Step Three instructs us to "turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."
    And Step Eleven says that 'we' "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."

    But once we establish contact with God, and start receiving Guidance from "Him", we must submit all received messages to our sponsor or the other old-timers for interpretation and approval, so in truth, they will tell us what the 'Will of God' really is. They will effectively be our bosses, not God:

    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?
          ... 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.

    So, to save us from our own foolishness, our sponsors will correct our received Guidance, which we allegedly got from God, and they will tell us what God really says, and what God really wants us to do.

    In the end, the sponsors, not God, end up running our lives and giving us our orders, and telling us what to think and what to do...

    Wilson took this line of reasoning all the way to the point of declaring that we don't even have the right to decide for ourselves what we will think:

    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 goofed before, and made some mistakes, you must now choose slavery, and let your sponsor and the other old-timers do your thinking for you and tell you what to think and what to do.

    Notice how Wilson declared that using your intelligence and will power to manage your own life and take care of yourself was "playing God". Bill's strange fascist religion declares that you do not even have the right to think for yourself and decide what to do with your life — that only God has the right to make such decisions. (But since God isn't handy, your sponsor and the other A.A. elders will do the job for Him.)

    Bill Wilson said that only God had the right to decide what you should do, and that if you thought for yourself, and decided for yourself what to do, that you were usurping God's authority. Then Wilson implied that you are incompetent, and can't do that properly anyway. You are only fit for slavery. So just quit thinking, and just obey orders.

    That bait-and-switch trick — listen to God, and then listen to the cult leader — is nothing new. The Bishop of Durham, Herbert Hensley Henson, D.D., saw the same thing in the Oxford Group (the A.A. precursor), way back in the nineteen-twenties and thirties, and commented then:

          We seem to be contemplating a paradox. A religious movement which begins by ignoring all existing systems, and claims to have none of its own, ends by becoming a system more despotic than any! In order to 'check' the marching orders from on high which the Groupist has been taught to count upon, and which in fact he claims to have received, the movement has found itself forced to create a 'checking' machinery which robs the Groupist of his private judgement, and binds him to an unquestioning obedience to the verdicts of another authority than that of the 'luminous thought' which he was originally required to look on as Divine!
    The Oxford Groups; The Charge Delivered At The Third Quadrennial Visitation Of His Diocese Together With An Introduction, Herbert Hensley Henson, D.D., 1933, pages 72-73.


  64. Bait and Switch: First, it's "any God as you understand Him", and then it's "You don't understand God. You are 'confused' and 'prejudiced'."

    In Step Three, you are instructed to believe in "God as we understood Him," but it will gradually become apparent that A.A. considers your primitive understanding of God to be just plain wrong.

    Watch the wording: It's "God as we understood Him", not "God as you understand Her".

    Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    That step implies that God can be anything that you understand It to be, but that step ends with the word "Him", and implies that It is a God Who can and shall take over the care of your will and your life for you. (—As well as It being a God who actually wishes to be bothered with doing the work that you should be doing for yourself. There is plenty of theological room to argue that you should be learning to take proper care of yourself, not begging God to take care of you.)

    In addition, Step Eleven itself pretty strongly implies that we don't know God — we aren't in good "conscious contact" with God — and we need further enlightenment and knowledge about God, and power from God, which we will get by practicing Channelling:

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

    (And when the prayer didn't work, Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob used a Ouija board to get their messages from "the spirits". Is that really the kind of religion that you wish to join?)

    A.A. thinks that you need a lot of religious re-education. You are just a stupid beginner who can't think properly — your brain has been damaged by alcohol — so it doesn't matter what your sick mind thinks right now. They will fix you. You can start off with any religious convictions you wish; they will soon be dumped into the trash can and you will be taught what you should really believe.

    Bill Wilson routinely declared that people who disagreed with his radical religious beliefs were "confused" and "prejudiced", and Bill instructed recruiters to avoid discussing religious issues with new prospective recruits:

    There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Edition, William Wilson, Working With Others, page 93.

    Bill Wilson declared that newcomers could start off with various diverse religious beliefs, but then they were gradually pressured and nudged towards the standard A.A. beliefs:

    "I must quickly assure you that A.A.'s tread innumerable paths in their quest for faith.   ...   You can, if you wish, make A.A. itself your 'higher power.' Here's a very large group who have solved their alcohol problem. In this respect they are certainly a power greater than you, who have not even come close to a solution. Surely you can have faith in them. Even this minimum of faith will be enough. You will find many members who have crossed the threshold just this way. All of them will tell you that, once across, their faith broadened and deepened. Relieved of the alcohol obsession, their lives unaccountably transformed, they came to believe in a Higher Power, and most of them began to talk of God."
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 27-28.

    The original goal of the Alcoholics Anonymous program was ostensibly to quit drinking, but it got changed into a "quest for faith" — a need to "cross the threshold" and start believing in Bill Wilson's "Higher Power" or "God".   Bait and Switch.

    Bill Wilson wrote repeatedly in the Big Book and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions that beginners needed to be re-educated and converted to believing in God, as Bill Wilson understood Him:

    In Step Eleven we saw that if a Higher Power had restored us to sanity and had enabled us to live with some peace of mind in a sorely troubled world, then such a Higher Power was worth knowing better, by as direct contact as possible. The persistent use of meditation and prayer, we found, did open the channel so that where there had been a trickle, there now was a river which led to sure power and safe guidance from God as we were increasingly better able to understand Him.
          So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.

    So "God as you understood Him" got changed into "God as we were increasingly better able to understand Him".

    No matter what you believe to start with, you will end up loving the A.A. God and calling Him by name at A.A. meetings while the old-timers beam with pride at their handiwork.

    And while the old-timers will be able to see the change setting in, the newcomer won't. Bill Wilson quite plainly stated that the indoctrination and brainwashing take effect without the victim's knowledge or permission. That's the standard brain-washing practice of "Keep them unaware of how they are being changed."

    Likewise, Bill also wrote:

    Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Appendix II, "Spiritual Experience", page 569.

    Yes, the beginner doesn't notice how they are messing with his mind until after they have made some major changes.


  65. Bait and Switch: First, declarations of Religious Freedom, and then demands for Religious Conformity.

    A.A. initially says that you are free to have any religious beliefs you wish, but they will soon try to convert you to the official A.A. beliefs.

    The Big Book has an entire chapter, named "We Agnostics", that is devoted to just one subject: declaring how and why all agnostics and atheists must be converted into true believers. (It doesn't tell you anything about how to quit drinking.) Bill Wilson starts off sounding very broad-minded and tolerant of other religious beliefs, but is soon playing hard-ball:

    Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.

    When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 47.

    But within two pages, Bill Wilson has switched to sarcastically sneering at those people who disagree with his fundamentalist religious beliefs, using "The Preacher's 'We'":

    Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
          We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. ... People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, page 49.

    So just what on Earth are "intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation"?

    Whatever they are, Bill Wilson thinks he's one of them. Bill's delusions of grandeur and messianic complex are striking again.

    And Bill imagines that his "faith" is "logical":
    "People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about."
    No, actually, they don't. They have dogmatic ideas. They are told what to believe, no matter what the evidence before them may be. That isn't logical at all. Logic is a thought process where you examine facts and evidence and then draw conclusions from it, often using deductive or inductive reasoning.

    In that We Agnostics chapter, Wilson made more grand claims that would strip away our freedom of religion:

    When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 53.

    Talk about absolute black and white thinking... Bill Wilson gives you a choice of either agreeing with his extreme Buchmanite religious beliefs, or being an atheist. No middle ground is allowed. That's the propaganda trick called "The Either/Or Technique, and The Excluded Middle".

    Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 46.

    What is this nonsense? We commenced to get what results?

    • Was it quitting drinking?
    • Was it longer periods of sobriety between relapses?
    • Was it simply drinking less per day?

    Who knows what "results" they got? Bill doesn't say. We have to just take his word for it that some kind of benefits accrued because people believed something.

    (Heck, Bill didn't even really say that the results were good, did he? He just said that they "commenced to get results". The results could have been that they all got drunk and partied their brains out.)

    Such vague, grandiose hand-waving is typical of Bill Wilson's writing, and is evidence of his delusional disorder and his intellectual dishonesty. He doesn't want to give you accurate information about alcoholism and recovery; he wants to deceive you into believing what he is preaching.

    Note how Mr. Wilson repeatedly used the word "prejudice" to describe reluctance to accept his fuzzy thinking, broken logic, and Buchmanite religious beliefs:

    • You are prejudiced if you won't accept Bill Wilson's preaching on faith alone.
    • You are prejudiced if you demand clear thinking and honest talk in plain English.
    • You are prejudiced if you object to Bill Wilson's grandiose euphemisms and undefined terminology.
    • You are prejudiced if you have different religious beliefs than Bill Wilson.
    • You are prejudiced if you are reluctant to believe in Bill Wilson's voodoo medicine.

    Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice.   ...   In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as long as some of us were.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Pages 47 and 48.

    If you disagree with Bill Wilson's religion, then you are being unreasonable, he says, and you need to get "beaten into a state of reasonableness."
    Bill says, "I hope you will get converted to my religion quickly. But fast or slow, no matter. Either way, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."

    We saw we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 75.

    ("Sieg Heil, Mein Führer!" Bring on the Brown Shirts and hob-nail boots. Bill's fascist attitudes are showing again.)

    Bill Wilson could be downright hateful with people who wouldn't accept his strange religious beliefs:

    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.

    Bill continued:

    As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 46.

    What Bill Wilson means is that you have to agree with his theology and then do his Twelve Steps to share in his delusions of grandeur.

    Then Bill described how newcomers were told:

    As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, Page 47.

    "On his way"? On his way where? What does that mean? Has he quit drinking or not? Bill doesn't say. What happened to,

    • "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs."
    • "Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions." (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.)
    • And "Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization." (Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Foreword, page xx.)

    That "We Agnostics" chapter of the Big Book clearly describes how that same "religious freedom to religious conformity" bait-and-switch stunt was pulled on the original members of A.A., half of whom were non-believers who only joined because they wanted to escape from death by alcoholism, but who were eventually forced through an unwanted religious conversion, and made to believe the same things as Bill Wilson:

    If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.
          To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster, especially if he is an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.
          But it isn't so difficult. About half our original fellowship were of exactly that type. At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else. Perhaps it is going to be that way with you. But cheer up, something like half of us thought we were atheists or agnostics. Our experience shows that you need not be disconcerted.   ...
          Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?
          Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, pages 44-45.

    Note the illogical progression:

    • First, "you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer." There is no such illness, outside of Mr. Wilson's imagination. Neither the American Medical Association, nor the American Psychiatric Association recognize the existence of any disease or illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.

    • Then Wilson declares "you are doomed to an alcoholic death, or to live on a spiritual basis" (whatever that means), and "we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else."

    • Wilson's mind jumps from "you may be sick" to "you will die if you don't live on my spiritual basis" without a single supporting fact, or any new facts at all, to support his sudden change of the medical diagnosis. Bait and switch.

    But you need not be "disconcerted" — Bill said that such forced religious conversions had already been done to half of the A.A. members, who only "thought that they were atheists or agnostics", but who learned differently after Bill Wilson and his henchmen played mind games on them for a while.

    Hint: that is a mind-controlling cult.
    Nice, friendly, neighborhood self-help groups don't force unwanted religious conversions on their members.


    Early A.A. members, in the Akron, Ohio, group, posed for a press photograph in 1942, masked to protect their anonymity.

    And note the confusing double-talk that was contained in that quote above, double-talk that implies experience or research on the subject of what is needed for recovery from alcoholism:

    About half our original fellowship were of exactly that type [atheists or agnostics]. At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, pages 44-45.

    • So what does being an atheist or an agnostic have to do with being an alcoholic?
      How does facing the fact that you are an alcoholic suddenly make it impossible for you to also be an agnostic or an atheist?
      Bill says it is because you must have a "spiritual experience", or your "illness" won't be "conquered". Where is the evidence for that? There is none.

    • Just how did those alcoholic members discover that they had to "find a spiritual basis of life, or else"?
      • Were some experiments done, to see whether A.A. religious believers relapsed less often than non-believers? No.
      • Did Bill Wilson have any valid, reliable evidence that believing in Wilsonism saved people from alcoholism? No.
      • Did Wilson's organization have a higher success rate than any of the other temperance movements that had come before it? No.
      • Did Bill Wilson's group of alcoholics have a greater recovery rate than other alcoholics who got none of his cult religion indoctrination? No.
      • Bill said that "we" just "had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life, or else" based on no particular evidence at all. And by implication, you must do the same thing with your life, also based on no evidence at all.

    • Bill is pulling the propaganda stunt called petitio principii — assume facts not in evidence; assume the very thing that you are trying to prove. Bill just assumes that his "spiritual program" is of course the only cure for alcoholism, so all of the "true alcoholics" must start living his way immediately, or else.

    • And the "or else" threat uses two more propaganda techniques:
      1. The Either/Or technique
      2. Argue from Adverse Consequences — Fear Mongering

    • And note how Wilson is pulling a slick trick with the language. He says that all alcoholics "must find a spiritual basis of life — or else", but then Bill Wilson is the one who gets to define just what a "spiritual basis" is... And Bill's ideas of "spirituality" turn out to be pretty goofy.

    Bill Wilson had quite literally "seen the light." His vision of recovery from alcoholism embraced one thing and one thing only: religious conversion. To Wilson, research wasn't necessary; religion was The Answer. And when one has The Answer, research and questioning are obstacles, not aids. The problem is not finding new, better approaches, but rather putting an end to questions so that The Answer can be adopted without opposition.
    The History of Addiction and Recovery in the United States, Michael Lemansky, page 53.

    Indeed. Bill Wilson was not trying to find the cure for alcoholism. He was sure that he already had it. The only problem he saw was getting everybody else to agree with him.

    That is a common problem that narcissists have — they believe that they are more qualified than everyone else for solving problems, even when they have no education or training for dealing with the problem at hand. Bill thought that he was qualified to replace both priests and alcoholism recovery counselors. A newcomer who read and believed Bill's ravings in the Big Book declared:

    Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.


  66. Bait and Switch: First, a loosely-defined "Higher Power", and then an explicitly-defined "God".

    Did you notice the very first sleight-of-hand trick? That was yet another bait and switch stunt:

    • In Step Two, we only had to believe in a nice, vague, "Higher Power" — any "Power greater than ourselves" who would help us by restoring us to sanity.
    • But in Step Three, it suddenly became "God as we understood Him."

    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    Who changed the terminology? Who brought in that capitalized three-letter word, "God", with all of Its emotional baggage and associations?

    Some believers say that the "God" word means the same thing as "your Higher Power, however you envision or understand It," that the "God" word is just a convenient short-hand. They will even tell you that you can make the word "God" mean "Good Orderly Direction" or "Group Of Drunks", if you like.

    I'm not buying that argument for a minute. If we had a political contract where in Step 2 you were supposed to get the help of "the Constitutionally-elected President", and then in Step 3 you were supposed to follow the orders of "der Führer", would you believe that nothing was changed by the substitution of that word? Would you believe that it was just a short-hand, and still meant just the same thing? I don't think so.

    And this "God as we understood Him" turns out to be God as Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, William Griffith Wilson, and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith understood Him: a vindictive, authoritarian, micro-managing, willful Old-Testament patriarchal male God Who dictates orders to His sycophant followers, and Who looks an awful lot like Charlton Heston playing Moses, or that Bearded Fellow Whom Michaelangelo painted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

    And, according to Bill Wilson, that "God" is so mean-spirited that He will torture you to death — make you die slowly from alcohol poisoning — if you fail to grovel before Him and follow his orders every day.
    (And if you don't believe in a God like that, then the rest of the Big Book doesn't make much sense. Neither do the Twelve Steps. The Twelve Steps cannot possibly work without there being such a meddling God pulling puppet strings, delivering miracles on demand, changing reality to suit the A.A. members.)


    Bill Wilson pulled that same bait-and-switch trick in this convoluted sentence:

    We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Page 46.

    Excuse me? Say what? It's a nice, vague, tolerant, loosely-defined, open-minded "Power greater than ourselves" in the middle of that sentence, but It gets changed into just plain old "God" at the end of the sentence — "God", without even one of the "as we understood Him" qualifiers...

    Bill Wilson plays a slick shell game — "The hand is quicker than the eye. Where did the free thought and open-mindedness go?" Bill's stunt was accomplished by adding just three words to the tail end of that sentence:

    "which is God."

    Up until then, Bill was talking about a nice, loose, define-it-yourself Higher Power, one that would be acceptable to just about any old religion or philosophy, and then, suddenly, wham! It became the God of Bill Wilson's understanding. That's a classic bait-and-switch stunt, accomplished by redefining the object of the sentence at the last possible instant.

    After that, the old-timers will set to work indoctrinating the newcomers, pressuring them to bring their beliefs into agreement with the standard A.A. theology, pressuring them to conform to the group. A popular book called the "Serenity Bible" describes that theistic bait-and-switch process precisely:

    We may start out as agnostics. We may then come to view the group or recovery process as our higher power, looking to other people for strength. Gradually, we accept a vague notion of god, which grows to a more specific monotheistic god. We may even begin to pray to and dialogue with this god. Eventually we come to know the one true God.
    Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, Complete with New Testament Psalms & Proverbs, Dr. Robert Hemfelt and Dr. Richard Fowler, page 78.

    So you can start off with any religious opinions you wish, but you will be constantly pressured and nudged towards belief in "the one true God" of Alcoholics Anonymous, until you believe just what they believe. (Much of that process is just the usual social pressure to conform to whatever group you are in. It is almost unavoidable.)

    An A.A. member likewise clearly described the indoctrination process that made him "come to believe":

    When I got sober I initially had faith only in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Desperation and fear kept me sober (and maybe a caring and/or tough sponsor helped!). Faith in a Higher Power came much later. This faith came slowly at first, after I began listening to others share at meetings about their experiences — experiences that I had never faced sober, but that they were facing with strength from a Higher Power. Out of their sharing came hope that I too would — and could — "get" a Higher Power. In time, I learned that a Higher Power — a faith that works under all conditions — is possible.
    Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 69, March 1.

    And we get the same religious conversion story from Al-Anon, the wives' auxiliary of Alcoholics Anonymous:

          I turned my back on religion many years before my first Al-Anon meeting, so when the meeting ended with a closing prayer, I wondered how I could pray without feeling false. I closed my eyes and bowed my head, but I didn't say the prayer. I feared someone would tap me on the shoulder and tell me to say the prayer. The prayer ended, and no one chastised me. Instead, I was given literature and encouraged to return.   ...
          Years after my first meeting, I stand gratefully in the circle and choose to say the closing prayer.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 357.


  67. Bait and Switch: Redefine God. First you get one God, then you get a different God.

    Step Two says that we only have to believe that a "Power greater than yourself" — which can be anything, they proudly declare, including a doorknob, a potato, a mountain, a motorcycle, a cat, a parakeet, or the A.A. group itself — will "restore us to sanity."

    In Step Three, we only need to believe in "God as we understand Him," — we supposedly have great freedom in defining our "God", so that the program can accommodate all religions and all faiths.

    But the subsequent steps become increasingly specific about just Who and What God is, until by Step Twelve, A.A. has precisely defined their version of God. And the following steps instruct you to do things that require a very specific kind of God:

    • If you point out that it is unChristian and heretical to believe in a Golden Calf as your Higher Power, the sponsors will tell you that you can't really believe in a Golden Calf — that the "anything as God" line is just something that they tell the newcomers who might object to a dogmatic religion. Later, the newcomers learn that there is really only one acceptable Higher Power, and It is the entity that Bill Wilson called "God".

    • You must believe that God can (and will) control your alcoholism and manage your life (Step One). So it has to be some kind of meddling, micro-managing God who actually wants to meddle and micro-manage.

    • You must believe that God can (and will) restore you to sanity (Step Two). Again, God must be a meddler who actually wants to poke around inside your head.

    • You must turn your will and your life over to the care of God (Step Three). So It must be a God Who can and will take care of your life and your will for you. And it must also be a God who wants to do that.
      (And, according to the theology of Bill Wilson, this is where you offer to become a slave of God, and you tell God that it is in His own self-interest to fix whatever is wrong with you, so that He will have a better slave grovelling before Him. And that will also make God look like a better slave-master, too.)

    • You must confess all of your wrongs, defects of character, and moral shortcomings to God (Step Five). So It must be a God Who will listen, and maybe actually give a damn about your petty-ass sins. — And, presumably, grant you absolution.

    • You must pray to God for a number of things, like:
      • the miraculous removal of all of your "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings", including your desire to drink alcohol (Step Seven),
      • conscious contact with God (Step Eleven),
      • knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry out His will (Step Eleven).
      And you must believe that God will actually grant all of those wishes, as if God were Aladdin's magical Genie who grants three wishes whenever you rub his lamp.

    • You must believe that God is a Consciousness Who can be contacted by psychic means in a séance. They called it Seeking Guidance during "The Quiet Time" (Step Eleven).

    • You must believe that God will give you a "Spiritual Experience" or a "Spiritual Awakening" (Step Twelve).

    • And you must believe that God really can and will manage your life for you, and restore you to sanity, and answer all of your prayers, and grant all of your wishes, and "take care of your will and your life" for you, even while He completely ignores the starving children in Biafra, Bengladesh, Ethiopia, India, Sudan and Darfur, and the rest of Africa. Apparently, the A.A. God only cares about white boozers.

    That is a very narcissistic approach to life, and it is passive dependency to the max. (Not to mention the fact that it is also completely unrealistic, downright insane, and very heretical to all of the world's major religions.)

    It is, of course, absurd nonsense to declare that you are turning your will and your life over to the care of a doorknob, a bedpan, or a Group Of Drunks.
    It is ridiculous to suggest that we can do Step Eleven by sitting quietly and waiting to hear the voice of a motorcycle or a teddy-bear dictating our work orders for the day.
    At times, their behavior is so ludicrous that the A.A. true believers seem to be satirizing themselves in some kind of a bizarre farce:
            "Let us now bow our heads and pray to our favorite items of Higher-Powered Household Hardware..."

    But no, they will insist with a straight face that they are completely serious — "This is not a joke, this is a matter of life or death. You must turn your life and your will over to the care of some Higher Power of your choosing, like a doorknob, or a potato, or a kumquat, or an eggplant, or a rutabaga, or a motorcycle, or else you will relapse and die drunk."

    ROBIN: "Holy Higher Power, Batman! How can we Seek and Do the Will of Doorknob Almighty? That's impossible, because He won't ever open up and talk!"
    BATMAN: "Shut up, Boy Blunder! You're going to confuse the newcomers!"

    Obviously, they are either superb comedians or totally insane. (Or, they are lying... Or, they are lying and totally insane too.)

    (Well, okay, I can understand how a biker could pray to Harley Davidson. But the rest is insane.)

    I went to A.A., and they told me that I could use anything for my "Higher Power", even a doorknob or a bedpan. I decided to have a real higher-powered "Higher Power", so I got on my knees and began praying to Miraculous Microwave.

    All of a sudden, a brilliant light appeared inside it and blazed out through the holes in the front, and the oven began smoking, and a loud deep bass voice inside it growled, "ZOOOOL!"

    Bill Murphy the Ghostbuster walked in and said, "Hmmmm... You don't usually see such behavior in a major household appliance."

    Question: Why does God ignore the prayers of people in trouble, like the Jews in Auschwitz or the Tutsis in Rwanda, and ignore the pleas of the 60,000 people who will starve to death on this Earth today, and ignore the prayers of all of the millions of AIDS victims, but as soon as some white alcoholic Americans start chanting, "Higher Power, please gimme", the Lord and Creator of the Universe just drops everything and comes running to grant all of their wishes? How come?

    Just any old Higher Power or God-as-we-understand-Him won't work for all of that any better than a doorknob will, either. A Buddhist Higher Power who micro-manages the world, for instance, is out of the question. So is a Native American Great Spirit. Hindu gods don't work that way either. Allah is out, because Moslems are forbidden to drink alcohol, so you shouldn't have gotten into trouble in the first place. And the Jewish Yahweh does not micromanage the world and perform miracles on demand, so He's out as well.

    Many Christians will have problems with the required Higher Power, too. In fact, very few sects believe in a God who micromanages and manipulates the entire world and everybody in it like so many little puppets. Most Christian sects believe that humans have free will, and can either do good, or royally screw things up, all on their own, and that your life is what you make it.

    Few Christian sects believe in predestination, or that your future moral life will be determined by inheriting a gene for alcoholism, and hence, a "spiritual disease". But A.A. does.

    Few Christian sects believe that you can be "powerless" over temptation, and that you can only solve that problem by giving up, and "surrendering to God" and demanding that God fight the temptation for you. What's the point? You aren't even really living your own life any more, if you do that... It's "God vs. The Temptations" at that point, with you reduced to just being a spectator on the sidelines of your own life.

    Few Christian sects believe that you have to spend every waking minute of every day of your life doing the dictates of God, or else He will kill you. But A.A. does.

    Few Christian sects believe in a God Who would be so cheap as to only heal you for one day at a time when He does heal you, to keep you always trapped under His thumb, and having to keep coming back for more healing, having to again and again beg for another day of sobriety, every single day, for the rest of your life. But A.A. believes in such a Monster of a cruel God.

    So you really aren't free to believe in just any old Higher Power you like, or just any "God as you understand Him." Like Henry Ford's joke about model-T car colors — "You can have any color you want, as long as it is black" — in A.A., you can have any God you want, just as long as it is the A.A. God.

    Note that many of the true believers will still insist that you can have any God or Higher Power you wish. They will even brag about members who came from other religions. "We have token members from all races and religions, even an Indian." But what they are really saying is that you are free to put your choice of labels or names on their "Higher Power".
    You still have to believe in the authoritarian micro-managing whip-swinging slave-driving dictatorial prayer-answering wish-granting patriarchal God of Frank Buchman, Bill Wilson, and Doctor Robert Smith in order for the Twelve Steps to work.

    Having the freedom to call that A.A. God different names like

    • "Higher Power",
    • "Power greater than myself",
    • "Motorcycle",
    • "Mountain",
    • "Bed Pan",
    • "Door-Knob",
    • "Group Of Drunks", or
    • "Good Orderly Direction"
    is not much religious freedom.


  68. Bait and Switch: Hide from newcomers what membership entails.
    Only reveal the truth about the A.A. program a little bit at a time, later.
    First show them one image, then show them another image.

    The bait-and-switch strategy is also embedded in the recruiting rule of "Teaspoons, Not Buckets" — The recruiter is to dole out only a little bit of the truth at a time, only as much as the prospect can handle, just a teaspoonful, or less, but never more.

    ...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.

    The recovering alcoholics, whom Bill Wilson deprecatingly called "drunks who didn't want to be good", just wanted to quit drinking. They didn't want to join Bill's crazy Buchmanite cult religion with its ridiculous Absolutes. So Bill Wilson's answer to that problem was to deceive the newcomers and hide the intense religiosity of Alcoholics Anonymous, and to also hide the Oxford Group cult religion roots of A.A., at least until after the newcomers had been indoctrinated and brainwashed enough to not quit A.A. when they found out the truth... The A.A. slogan "Teaspoons, Not Buckets" teaches the standard A.A. recruiting procedure. "Don't scare away the newcomers by telling them too much truth too soon."

    Notice how Bill Wilson claimed that the alcoholics' reluctance to join a cult religion was them "clinging to their other defects", and them "not wanting to get too good too soon." Such arrogance.

    In Bill Wilson's mind, the alcoholics had to both quit drinking and convert to his Buchmanite religion in order to be good people.

    Also note that the absurd "Absolutes" were not exactly restricted to the Oxford Groups. The terminology "The Four Absolutes" was, but the thinking wasn't. Most cult religions encourage irrational absolute black-and-white thinking and grandiose demands for super-human perfection.

    And while recruiting, remember the strategy above, "There is no use arousing any prejudice..."

    There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 93.

    (If you don't agree with Bill Wilson's version of Frank Buchman's religion, then you are "confused" about theological terms.)

    But wait, there's more:

    Show him that as alcoholics, the writers of the [A.A.] book understand. Tell him some of the interesting stories you have read. If you think he will be shy of a spiritual remedy, ask him to look at the chapter on alcoholism. Then perhaps he will be interested enough to continue.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, pages 112-113.

    "If you think that he won't buy faith healing, then hide the religious part of the program by only showing him the other stuff..."

    To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasize the spiritual feature on our first approach. We might prejudice them. At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 76-77.

    "Don't tell too much truth too fast. Don't tell him about the faith healing part, or the cult religion. Just tell the prospect what he wants to hear, to keep him coming back. Save the unpleasant stuff for later, after we have him thoroughly hooked. Only then will he find out that our real purpose is to suck him into our cult and turn him into a religious fanatic, just like us..."

    Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 109.

    So Bill's real goal, and the final result of the Twelve-Step program, is the religious conversion of all of the newcomers. Bait and switch.

    Hiding the true nature of A.A. from the beginners has been a standard recruiting strategy since the very earliest days of Alcoholics Anonymous. The A.A. history book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age describes the debate surrounding the creation of "the Big Book", Alcoholics Anonymous, where the early A.A. members debated about how much truth to reveal to the public and the prospective new members:

    Fitz wanted a powerfully religious document; Henry and Jimmy would have none of it. They wanted a psychological book which would lure the reader in; when he finally arrived among us, there would then be enough time to tip him off about the spiritual character of our society.   ...   As umpire of these disputes, I was obliged to go pretty much down the middle, writing in spiritual rather than religious or entirely psychological terms.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age (1957), William G. Wilson, page 17.

    So, Bill says, he compromised and downplayed the religious nature of the organization, and only told part of the truth, in order to "lure the reader in":

    • "Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization."
    • "It's spiritual, not religious."
    • "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs.".
    • There would be time enough to reveal the true nature of A.A. to the newcomers later on, after they had "finally arrived among us..."

    Also note how neatly Bill Wilson blamed his dishonesty and deceit on the other A.A. members, rationalizing that he had to do what they said. The thought of actually telling the whole truth to the newcomers does not seem to have ever crossed Bill Wilson's mind.

    See the Cult Test item Deceptive Recruiting and the web page on Recruiting Mind Games for more on the deceptive recruiting practices of Alcoholics Anonymous.




    None of those bait-and-switch stunts are accidental. Frank Buchman's cult deliberately practiced deceptive recruiting — which is really a very common cult practice — telling prospective recruits anything to get them to join, and rationalizing it by saying that the lying and deceiving was okay because it was all done in the service of God — "We are winning more souls for God" — which is yet another standard cult belief, "The end justifies the means."

    The Buchmanites trained Bill Wilson, and he learned his lessons well. A.A. is just the same. They simply add two more rationalizations to the list of excuses:

    1. "And it's also okay because we are doing it to save the alcoholics' lives. We are doing it to them for their own good."

    2. "Besides, even if the Twelve Steps don't really work very well for making people quit drinking alcohol, we are still getting those disgusting alcoholics praying and seeking and doing the will of God, and that's a good thing."

      (Also see A.A.-Trustee Professor George E. Vaillant's rationalization for shoving all alcoholics into Alcoholics Anonymous, even though he had proved that A.A. treatment does not work and does not save their lives. Vaillant said it was to make them get an "attitude change" by "confession of sins to a high-status healer". Later, Vaillant also declared that "Puritanical abstinence" from alcohol was not the real goal — the "social rehabilitation" of the client is the goal.)


    Lois Wilson and Bill Wilson, at Christmas, year unknown.


    It turns out that such bait-and-switch practices are common in cults. Daniel Shaw wrote of his experiences in SYDA — "Siddha Yoga", the cult of Swami Muktananda:

    Social workers are taught early in their education the values of their profession: the clients' right to self-determination, respect and dignity for all, the innate worth of a human being, respect for uniqueness, and the facilitation of the realization of potential (Woods and Hollis, 1990).

    Religious cults are skillful in advertising the promotion of these values as the core of their philosophy. For example, SYDA's chief slogans, repeated frequently in public talks and SYDA Foundation literature, are: "Honor, love, respect, worship your Self. God dwells within you, as you. See God in each other." SYDA claims that its guru is "a self-realized master," and that following the teachings of the master leads to one's own self-realization. The bait of these messages is used to attract members.

    Once membership is established, the messages are switched to ever-increasing demands for obedience, submission and dependence. The actual value system of a cult is often the antithesis of the system it advertises.


    Ref: Woods, M. and Hollis, F. (1990). Casework: A Psychosocial Theory. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

    Traumatic Abuse in Cults; An Exploration of an Unfamiliar Social Problem, Daniel Shaw, CSW.




  69. LAST BUT NOT LEAST: This may well be the first thing you notice: You may have signed up for a treatment program, either voluntarily or involuntarily. You expected to get some kind of medical treatment, good, bad, or indifferent, but at least some kind of "treatment."

    Instead, you found that the program consisted of "group therapy" sessions of indoctrination with xeroxed copies of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous training materials by a "counselor" who was a religious fanatic and a true believer in A.A. or N.A., as well as a member. (It sort of sounds like the Hair Club for Men TV commercials, doesn't it: "I'm not just the dogmatic true-believer group leader, I'm also a member.") Then, along with the "group therapy" sessions, you were also required to go to at least three A.A. or N.A. meetings per week, or, "Preferably, one every day."

    Your counselor explained to you that if you went to enough meetings, it would all just gradually soak in. You would learn a little here, and a little there, and eventually you would get it.

    He wouldn't say out loud just what the "IT" was that you were supposed to get. He might have mumbled something about "equipping you with the tools that you would need to maintain sobriety",3 but he wasn't very specific.

    Perhaps, eventually, you figured it out. You were supposed to get religious conversion. You were supposed to start believing what they believe. You were supposed to start "sharing" about your "Higher Power", talking about how much you enjoy praying to Him, and how He is answering your prayers and helping you to quit drinking, and making your life wonderful... You were supposed to start talking about how wonderful the Twelve Steps are, and how they are the solution to all of your problems, and how you are making such great progress with them. And you were supposed to speak about yourself with disgust and loathing, and "admit" how sinful and stupid you have been, and how brilliant Bill Wilson was...

    It's yet another bait-and-switch stunt. You agreed to "medical treatment," not religious indoctrination.

    Again, this is no accident, and not even a coincidence. Most of the treatment facilities and treatment programs in this country have been taken over by such A.A. true believers, or their N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous) brethren.4 The take-over was easy — it happened almost by default. No one else really wanted the job. The brainy people are busy building careers in computers; the ambitious people are all playing IPO on Wall Street; the artistic people are busy doing their own thing, and everybody else is doing something else.

    The A.A. and N.A. members were the only ones who really wanted to run the nation's drug and alcohol treatment centers. It's a miserable job — the pay is low, there is no glamor or status, it's depressing because the vast majority of the people, almost everyone, will fail the program and relapse, and the counselor gets to work with all of the real wrecks and losers.

    The twelve-step true believers wanted the job so that they could redirect all of the nation's alcoholics and drug addicts into their 12-Step religion. It's called "Twelfth Step" work — recruit new members for the cult.

    Offer the patients hope of recovery, but give them Twelve-Step religion.

    Bait and Switch.



Footnotes:


1) Ernie Galbraith, A.A. Number Four:
See the book Children Of The Healer for Sue Smith Windows' story of her father, the autocratic "Doctor Bob", forbidding her to see her high-school sweetheart, Ray Windows, and using the older alcoholic womanizer Ernie Galbraith, "AA #4", to break up her romance with Ray. Ernie ended up grabbing Susan for himself. It was a disastrous marriage. Ernie relapsed constantly. He even wrote the story "The Seven Month Slip" for the Big Book, which described a seven-month-long relapse. He also philandered a lot, just like Bill Wilson. Even worse, Ernie and Sue's daughter got pregnant at 16, and then killed herself and her own little daughter with Ernie's shotgun a few years later, in a double suicide-murder. Bill Wilson quietly removed Ernie's story, "The Seven Month Slip", from the Big Book in 1955 when the second edition was published. But Sue didn't get divorced from Ernie until 1965. Then she finally married Ray Windows, her old high-school sweetheart, after his first wife died. Alcoholics Anonymous was nothing but a personal disaster for Dr. Bob's daughter.
Quotes: Here.


2) ibid.


3) One wag said, "When A.A. says that they are going to give you the tools you will need to maintain sobriety, what they mean is: 'Here is a pocket knife, toenail clippers, and a lighter. Now you have all of the tools you need to change a flat tire.'"


4) See: "National Treatment Center Study Report" by Paul Roman and Terry Blum, Institute for Behavioral Research, Athens, Georgia, 1997. Page 10 says that 93.1% of all treatment centers in the USA utilize the 12-Step approach.


1) Four or five of the Ten Commandments mention God: Which it is depends on the "Honor thy mother and father" commandment. That wording doesn't mention God. But the original text in the Bible, in the book of Exodus, chapter 20, does. The modern translation reads: "Respect your father and your mother, and you will live a long time in the land I am giving you." The speaker is God, so that commandment indirectly refers to God.



Bibliography:


"The Big Book", really:
Alcoholics Anonymous, Third Edition     published as "Anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, Joe Worth, and 40 or 50 other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 1976.
ISBN 0-916856-00-3, or, in paperback: ISBN 0-916856-18-6
Dewey: 362.29 A347 1976
or
Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition     published as "Anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, Joe Worth, and over 40 other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2001.
ISBN 1-893007-16-2
Dewey call number 362.29 A347 2001

Note that the earlier editions of the A.A. Big Book are available for free on the Internet. It seems that somebody was too "sober" to remember to renew the copyright (if the original copyright was even ever valid, which is highly unlikely, because Bill Wilson stole the copyright for himself when the book was really written by more than 30 people, and then fraudulently filed for the copyright after he had sold multilith copies of the first edition).
http://www.recovery.org/aa/download/BB-plus.html
and
http://www.recovery.org/aa/bigbook/


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.


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age     "Anonymous" ; really, by William G. Wilson
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1957, 1986.
Harper, New York, 1957.
ISBN 0-91-685602-X
LC: HV5278 .A78A4
Dewey: 178.1 A1c
This is Bill Wilson's version of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. It suspiciously differs from known history here and there.


The Little Red Book     Hazelden staff
Hazelden Foundation, Center City, Minnesota, 1957, 1986.
ISBN 0-89486-004-6
Dewey call number 362.2928 L778 1986
This book is actually just what it sounds like: a clone of the Communist Little Red Book of Chairman Mao. This Little Red Book is full of slogans and instructions for the faithful A.A. party member, like how to use judges, police, and parole officers to force more people to go to A.A. meetings.


Heavy Drinking     Herbert Fingarette
University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1988.
ISBN 0-520-06290-6
LC: HV5292 .F56 1988


A Biography of Mrs. Marty Mann: The First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous     Sally Brown and David R. Brown
Hazelden Pittman Archives Press, Hazelden Information & Educational Services, Center City, MN 55012-0176, 2001.
ISBN 1-56838-626-5
LC: HV5293 .M155B76 2001
LCCN: 00-054050
Dewey: 362.29'86'092—dc21 or B Ma3155b 2001



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