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Tags alcoholics anonymous , alcoholism , treatment programs

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Old 30th July 2010, 07:25 AM   #321
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
Embracing AA's core doctrine - that being Bill's claim that except in very rare, unheard of cases, it is impossible to get and maintain sobriety unless one develops a concious contact with a 'higher power' - no, that did not work for me.
That didn't work for me either; certainly not for any definition of "conscious contact" that I could accept as both meaningful and sane. On the advice that all that was required was a willingness to believe, I tried. What that effort led me to was a realization that belief is not a choice; it resides at a level I don't have access to. I cannot give AA credit for making me into an atheist; I started out as an atheist. AA simply helped me to get comfortable with that.

Quote:
socializing/relearning how to be part of a social group - these are what worked for me
I think that's what worked for me as well. Or, as marlots puts it above:
Quote:
In my opinion, to the extent AA helps someone, it is dependent on a sense of community, the AA group itself.
I say "I think", because I've come to see both addiction and recovery as rather complex, the oft-heard claim that AA is a simple program notwithstanding. People often have interesting and detailed explanations for why something does or doesn't work for them; a job, or a relationship, for example. But the other person (the employer or the S.O. -- or the ex-employer or S.O.) may questionn the accuracy of those insights. I think recovery is like that. Abstinence does not automatically equal success, and relapse does not automatically equal failure, and as helpful as it might be to be able to put a finger directly on the causes for one or the other, it's rarely very easy to do so.

What seems most relevant to the OP of this thread is the question of the extent to which AA may be considered to be something more than what you refer to as its "core doctrine" (defining "doctrine" as something like: a body of knowledge to be accepted and absorbed without critical thought). Unless I have misunderstood, and you did your "socializing/relearning how to be part of a social group" somewhere other than AA, you seem already to have conceded that AA is more than mere doctrine.

Quote:
I suggest everyone interested in what AA doctrine really says about 'higher powers' read Chapter 4, as in it Bill quite clearly states that using the group as a higher power is only meant as a small start - a first step - to developing a relationship with god, and is not meant as a final choice.
Bill W's memory is much cherished, and his words often quoted, but (as Alfie has pointed out) his take on a particular point is no more regarded as the final word on the matter than is Darwin's on some point related to evolutionary theory. In my view, it's one of the main things that disqualifies AA as a "cult". But I have a bigger problem with your statement: I cannot find in chapter 4 of the Big Book anything remotely resembling the statement you claim is there.
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Old 30th July 2010, 07:55 AM   #322
Dancing David
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
??

here ya go!
Originally Posted by Dancing David
Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
You are half right here.
Alcoholism is not a choice, drinking is. One will rarely know of they are going to be an alcoholic until it is too late.



Hobbies become obsessive, not addictive - the word addictive is being misused here. Hobbies are a mental obsession only. Addiction is the physical dependance coupled with the mental obsession.
The physical dependance is the what moves it from (say) a mental disorder to a disease.

I hope that helps clear things up.

Um, no.

It is the behavior that defines addiction, physical withdrawal symptoms are not needed. Now I know that you have probably been trained or something, but you are wrong in that.

There is addiction, there is addiction, there is no 'disease addiction', there is no 'psychological addiction' there is addiction.

Symptoms of physical withdrawal are NOT needed, this is the crazy thinking that led many people to believe 'cocaine is not addictive'.

And your nomenclature is way messed up, some 'mental disorders' are diseases, some are not . But addiction is a mental health issue, it is not a 'disease' in the most common usage of the word.

Now since you are from Aussieland you are more likely to use the ICD-10

Here is the qualifier for *.2 dependence

Quote:
.2 Dependence syndrome
A cluster of behavioural, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and that typically include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.

The dependence syndrome may be present for a specific psychoactive substance (e.g. tobacco, alcohol, or diazepam), for a class of substances (e.g. opioid drugs), or for a wider range of pharmacologically different psychoactive substances.
Note the ‘sometimes a physical withdrawal state’.

Now the DSM is similar BUT ‘symptoms of withdrawal’ are not a requirement for addiction.

And IN FACT you can be an ‘alcoholic’ and NOT have any symptoms of withdrawal.

And ALL psychoactive substances do WHAT? They cross the blood brain barriers and all people who have addictions that are not to substances have physical brains, they are ALL 'mental disorders'.

Addiction is a behavioral disorder is may or may not have biological vulnerabilities, it may or may not have withdrawal syndromes, BUT they are behavioral.
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Old 30th July 2010, 08:22 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
But I have a bigger problem with your statement: I cannot find in chapter 4 of the Big Book anything remotely resembling the statement you claim is there.
I will answer the other questions you brought up in this post shortly, in another reply I am composing, but wanted to answer this one about Chapter 4 'We Agnostics' first, as that particular chapter is one of the worst in the entire book - it's full of misleading information, false & poor analogies, logical falacies, and outright lies.

The quote I was referring to is actually the very end of chapter 3, not chapter 4. That quote is the following:

"Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power. "

Chapter 4 proceeds to define 'higher power' as god, then - as the book progresses - the judeochristian God.

More stupid quotes from chapter 4:

"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. "

"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. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty arises with agnostics. Many times we talk to a new man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his 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. s"

<I have to comment here - notice in the last sentence that the AA program is directly claiming the only reason people are agnostic is because they've evaded or ignored god? Not a word about the extensive effort and research many (if not most) agnostics and atheists have gone through, only to discover, at the end, that there is absolutely no evidence of any god whatsoever? Slimy bullcrap writing, condenscing BS! Continuing with the direct quotes from AA's manual>

"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. "<note here how AA is claiming any agnostic thoughts are the result of prejudice, not honest research. Of course thats what AA and bill w claim, since to bill, everyone who doesn't agree with him is prejudiced>


Reading this chapter should make any informed skeptic ill, it's so full of logical mistakes, bad analogy's, typical theist arguments that have been debunked for 1000's of years, outright lies about agnostics and atheists, etc. All to be expected from a narcissistic maniac like Bill (bob was even worse) who knew - they just knew!- it was their way or the highway.
Or their way or death.

And 'their way' is not only does the AA member need to find god to get - and stay - sober, but the member's family should convert also! More on what AA thinks the family should do in a day or so, when I have more time.

Sorry again the quote I was referring to was at the end of chapter 3, not chapter 4.
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:19 AM   #324
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I see the AA supporters are still ignoring the fact that I posted the

information on actual studies previously in my posts. Since they appear to have a problem finding them, I'll place links here - these refer to the studies, court cases, data that show a 95% (or greater) failure rate for AA, etc: The following links do make for a bit of reading, but I urge everyone to read the following material if they are interested in learning more about the religious nature & cult aspects of AA.

One more thing I will repeat - and keep repeating until AA supporters either stop lying about what AA is, or stop intentionally lying about what I am asserting:


AA is flatly religious. Dozens of major courts have ruled AA is religious. AA's material is nearly completely religious. It appears to help the same people (around 5%) as get sober on their own willpower, those who are ready and willing to quit already - the same 5%, not additive. Another way to put that - doing nothing has the same failure / success rate as AA. And, if you are in a group that doesn't use the 12 steps, the big book, or the 12x12 as written, and you are sober - great!! But stop claiming such a thing is an AA group - if it's not religious & spiritual, it's not AA..if god and the higher power is removed from your program & group, it's not AA - it's something else. If it's worked for you, well then I'm happy for you - but stop claiming it's AA.

AA's Failure Rate
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...s62.html#coins

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...181.html#Green

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...8.html#success

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...tml#what_works

The Effectiveness of the 12 Steps
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:43 AM   #325
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I feel enough pages have passed that I can repeat myself.

I have seen many excellent critiques of the AA methodology and evidence to make the case that AA is religious/faith-based in nature.

BUT, as the OP asks, "Why do they insist it isn't religious?"
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:48 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I feel enough pages have passed that I can repeat myself.

I have seen many excellent critiques of the AA methodology and evidence to make the case that AA is religious/faith-based in nature.

BUT, as the OP asks, "Why do they insist it isn't religious?"
It's part of their creed.
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:55 AM   #327
marplots
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
It's part of their creed.
Can you expand on that? Do you mean it falls under the "all are welcome" bit? I only ask because many religions have that as well and do not deny they are religious.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:08 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I feel enough pages have passed that I can repeat myself.

I have seen many excellent critiques of the AA methodology and evidence to make the case that AA is religious/faith-based in nature.

BUT, as the OP asks, "Why do they insist it isn't religious?"
I find it interesting that you replaced the word "people" in the OP with the word "they." I suppose if I try to answer the OP i'm going to be one of "them" but here goes...

In my personal experience only, I found AA useful and no more religious than any other organization here in the deep south. Which is to say there's more religion in it than I care for but it is easy to ignore. For me.

By the way, I don't "insist" on it, at all.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:33 AM   #329
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
...wanted to answer this one about Chapter 4 'We Agnostics' first, as that particular chapter is one of the worst in the entire book - it's full of misleading information, false & poor analogies, logical falacies, and outright lies.
You may be surprised to hear that I actually agree with that. It is often assumed that those chapters were written by Bill W himself, but that is just as often disputed. Whoever wrote it was clearly not very well versed in either theology or philosophy, because I find most of the arguments laughable, and always have.
Quote:
All to be expected from a narcissistic maniac like Bill (bob was even worse) who knew - they just knew!- it was their way or the highway.
I agree with that as well. What's worse is that there are still plenty of AA members who take the same approach. I find it relatively easy to overlook when it reflects the type of rigidity in thinking that typifies the newly recovering alcoholic, not the least reason being that I've so often seen it appear to work. As an alternative to the chaotic, antisocial existence of the active alcoholic, a formal, regimented approach may be just the ticket. For a while. But I feel sorry for those who never progress beyond that as the years pass by (as well as for those upon whom they attempt to inflict their rigidity). I think the take-home message is that no one person defines what AA is for anyone but himself. The door opens right out onto the street, and there's no telling what sort of maniac may wander in. I've encountered people in AA who were off on all kinds of weird trips; not just religious trips. It hardly seems reasonable to expect anything else, considering the reason for AA existing in the first place. It doesn't have to be an obstacle.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:36 AM   #330
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I feel enough pages have passed that I can repeat myself.

I have seen many excellent critiques of the AA methodology and evidence to make the case that AA is religious/faith-based in nature.

BUT, as the OP asks, "Why do they insist it isn't religious?"
I guess that means that enough pages have passed that I can also repeat a question I asked earlier: Why do JREFers (James Randi in particular) insist that the JREF is not an atheist organization?
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:40 AM   #331
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The main problem with research into relapse prevention is that they need to be longitudinal and comprehensive. You would need to do a long term study of substance users and then do a post hash out on the factors that support not dependant vs. dependant.

So first many studies are only a year long, which si evry short term in substance dependance, and then I believe there are other factors that support non-dependance.

I really like the Big Choice "I choose not to use."
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:41 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Can you expand on that? Do you mean it falls under the "all are welcome" bit? I only ask because many religions have that as well and do not deny they are religious.
BUT, as the OP asks, "Why do they insist it isn't religious?"
It's part of their creed.

Irony was my intention. Missed by that ll much.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:42 AM   #333
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Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
information on actual studies previously in my posts. Since they appear to have a problem finding them, I'll place links here - these refer to the studies, court cases, data that show a 95% (or greater) failure rate for AA, etc: The following links do make for a bit of reading, but I urge everyone to read the following material if they are interested in learning more about the religious nature & cult aspects of AA.

One more thing I will repeat - and keep repeating until AA supporters either stop lying about what AA is, or stop intentionally lying about what I am asserting:


AA is flatly religious. Dozens of major courts have ruled AA is religious. AA's material is nearly completely religious. It appears to help the same people (around 5%) as get sober on their own willpower, those who are ready and willing to quit already - the same 5%, not additive. Another way to put that - doing nothing has the same failure / success rate as AA. And, if you are in a group that doesn't use the 12 steps, the big book, or the 12x12 as written, and you are sober - great!! But stop claiming such a thing is an AA group - if it's not religious & spiritual, it's not AA..if god and the higher power is removed from your program & group, it's not AA - it's something else. If it's worked for you, well then I'm happy for you - but stop claiming it's AA.

AA's Failure Rate
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...s62.html#coins

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...181.html#Green

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...8.html#success

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...tml#what_works

The Effectiveness of the 12 Steps
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html
Have you actually read the crap that you post? The Orange Papers!?!?!?!?!?!?
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
Did you see how he arrived at his numbers!?!?!? Yea, real scientific. Try working on that resentment. You might feel better.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:45 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
I guess that means that enough pages have passed that I can also repeat a question I asked earlier: Why do JREFers (James Randi in particular) insist that the JREF is not an atheist organization?

The James Randi Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1996. Its aim is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so widespread in our society today.

The Foundation's goals include:

* Creating a new generation of critical thinkers through lively classroom demonstrations and by reaching out to the next generation in the form of scholarships and awards.
* Demonstrating to the public and the media, through educational seminars, the consequences of accepting paranormal and supernatural claims without questioning.
* Supporting and conducting research into paranormal claims through well-designed experiments utilizing "the scientific method" and by publishing the findings in the JREF official newsletter, Swift, and other periodicals. Also providing reliable information on paranormal and pseudoscientific claims by maintaining a comprehensive library of books, videos, journals, and archival resources open to the public.
* Assisting those who are being attacked as a result of their investigations and criticism of people who make paranormal claims, by maintaining a legal defense fund available to assist these individuals.




I don't see "promote atheism" in there or any requirement that only atheists can join.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:46 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by godofpie View Post
Have you actually read the crap that you post? The Orange Papers!?!?!?!?!?!?
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
Did you see how he arrived at his numbers!?!?!? Yea, real scientific. Try working on that resentment. You might feel better.
For us lurkers, will you simply say what's wrong with this?

That is, put it in the form of an assertion, save me some time?

(I'm multitasking)

eta: In particular, at first glance the Vaillant study seems to show no benefit for his method of choice. Is there something wrong with it?
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Old 30th July 2010, 12:48 PM   #336
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
The James Randi Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1996. Its aim is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so widespread in our society today.

The Foundation's goals include:

* Creating a new generation of critical thinkers through lively classroom demonstrations and by reaching out to the next generation in the form of scholarships and awards.
* Demonstrating to the public and the media, through educational seminars, the consequences of accepting paranormal and supernatural claims without questioning.
* Supporting and conducting research into paranormal claims through well-designed experiments utilizing "the scientific method" and by publishing the findings in the JREF official newsletter, Swift, and other periodicals. Also providing reliable information on paranormal and pseudoscientific claims by maintaining a comprehensive library of books, videos, journals, and archival resources open to the public.
* Assisting those who are being attacked as a result of their investigations and criticism of people who make paranormal claims, by maintaining a legal defense fund available to assist these individuals.




I don't see "promote atheism" in there or any requirement that only atheists can join.
Does AA promote religion? If so, which one? Is there a requirement that only religious people can join?

As for JREF, are most members here atheists? Is atheism vigourously argued for and defended? Are non-atheists put down and ridiculed?

This goes back to the de facto/de jure distinction. JREF may not be a de jure atheist organization. It sure is a de facto one.
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Old 30th July 2010, 01:21 PM   #337
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And off we go again with the personal attacks....

Originally Posted by godofpie View Post
Have you actually read the crap that you post? The Orange Papers!?!?!?!?!?!?
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
Did you see how he arrived at his numbers!?!?!? Yea, real scientific. Try working on that resentment. You might feel better.
<sigh> I expect nothing less than baseless personal attacks from theists, whether in or out of AA. That's all you've got, as regardless of whether or not you agree with Orange's conclusions, those links lead to many other researchers & studies and all those agree with Orange. You haven't a clue who Dr. George Valiant is, do you?
Of course not.
I'll even give you the courtesy of answering your (dumb) question,which is more than I got from you: Yes, I read every word of the links I post, and much I can quote from multiple readings.
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Old 30th July 2010, 01:28 PM   #338
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
You may be surprised to hear that I actually agree with that. It is often assumed that those chapters were written by Bill W himself, but that is just as often disputed. Whoever wrote it was clearly not very well versed in either theology or philosophy, because I find most of the arguments laughable, and always have.
I agree with that as well. What's worse is that there are still plenty of AA members who take the same approach. I find it relatively easy to overlook when it reflects the type of rigidity in thinking that typifies the newly recovering alcoholic, not the least reason being that I've so often seen it appear to work. As an alternative to the chaotic, antisocial existence of the active alcoholic, a formal, regimented approach may be just the ticket. For a while. But I feel sorry for those who never progress beyond that as the years pass by (as well as for those upon whom they attempt to inflict their rigidity). I think the take-home message is that no one person defines what AA is for anyone but himself. The door opens right out onto the street, and there's no telling what sort of maniac may wander in. I've encountered people in AA who were off on all kinds of weird trips; not just religious trips. It hardly seems reasonable to expect anything else, considering the reason for AA existing in the first place. It doesn't have to be an obstacle.
Thanks for your comments, much better than the juvenile personal attacks I typically receive (see below, for another example). On a side note, nearly all of the first 164 pages was personally written by Bill, there is solid proof of that (for instance, the memoirs of his wife, secretary, & mistress are all in agreement he wrote all of that - AA archives (which I've personally viewed several times, including archives which have never been publically released) also confirm that.

Another interesting tidbit - out of the ordinal 100 members of AA, did you know that just about 50 (1/2) of them died either drunk (not able to stay sober for more than a few years) or from alcoholism related causes? That was the first, last, and only time AA had a 50% or better success rate, it went downhill fast from that original group.
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Old 30th July 2010, 02:39 PM   #339
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Originally Posted by Malerin View Post
Does AA promote religion? If so, which one? Is there a requirement that only religious people can join?

As for JREF, are most members here atheists? Is atheism vigourously argued for and defended? Are non-atheists put down and ridiculed?

This goes back to the de facto/de jure distinction. JREF may not be a de jure atheist organization. It sure is a de facto one.
Is Latin your native language?
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Old 30th July 2010, 05:48 PM   #340
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
here ya go!
Got it.
No offense taken DD.


Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
I will answer the other questions you brought up in this post shortly, in another reply I am composing, but wanted to answer this one about Chapter 4 'We Agnostics' first, as that particular chapter is one of the worst in the entire book - it's full of misleading information, false & poor analogies, logical falacies, and outright lies.
Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
One more thing I will repeat - and keep repeating until AA supporters either stop lying about what AA is, or stop intentionally lying about what I am asserting:

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...s62.html#coins

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...181.html#Green

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...8.html#success

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-...tml#what_works

The Effectiveness of the 12 Steps
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html
Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
<sigh> I expect nothing less than baseless personal attacks from theists, whether in or out of AA. That's all you've got, as regardless of whether or not you agree with Orange's conclusions, those links lead to many other researchers & studies and all those agree with Orange. You haven't a clue who Dr. George Valiant is, do you?
Of course not.
I'll even give you the courtesy of answering your (dumb) question,which is more than I got from you: Yes, I read every word of the links I post, and much I can quote from multiple readings.

You seem to give an awful lot weight to the opinions of a handful of people (i.e. Bill, Bob and Orange). Each are simply individuals with their own opinions and experience. None of them is or has the last word. Why you keep rolling out the Bill and Orange as proof of anything is beyond me to be honest - it is tedious and pointless.

The first two lines of the Organge paper website confirms same:

Quote:
THE ORANGE PAPERS
One Man's Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous....
This nutter has the final word? Please!
Perhaps he is in denial and is justifying his disease? If nothing else he's probably obsessive compulsive, filled with resentment, hate and revenge. Poor fellow, I feel sorry for him that his life has to be about bringing others down rather than helping (himself and) other up.


You need to prove to us AA is religious, not by using one man's opinions but by showing what religion, what god, what tenets etc are required.

And I repeat:
- Tradition Three: The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking
- The 12 steps are "suggested".
- Where does AA say it has the first and last word on recovery?

And btw, to you and others - I am still waiting on some stats for other forms of recovery that can add to our 5% "just stopped" and AAs 9%.


Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
Another interesting tidbit - out of the ordinal 100 members of AA, did you know that just about 50 (1/2) of them died either drunk (not able to stay sober for more than a few years) or from alcoholism related causes? That was the first, last, and only time AA had a 50% or better success rate, it went downhill fast from that original group.
Good point.
It actually shows us a number of things, but also raises some questions you might like to answer:
- The disease is cunning baffling and powerful.
- For far too many, it is "stop drinking or die". Most alcoholics can't do that alone, (that is the true strength of AA in my opinion). Alone we have to do it, but we don't have to do it alone.
- How many of these members who 'failed' followed the program from go to woe?
- Many of them were 'gutter drunks', out of hospital etc. i.e. Bill and Bob '12 stepped them from a very low rock bottom. Most AA walk ins these days have far higher rock bottoms, they are in a contemplative stage rather than (say) in a decision and/or action stage. They still have research to do.

There are more, but that will do for now.

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Old 30th July 2010, 05:59 PM   #341
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
- The 12 steps are "suggested".
That can be taken two ways.

1) Believing in a higher power is only suggested. That's what makes AA a non-religious organization. For it to be a religious organization, believing in a higher power would need to be required for membership.

2) Believing in a higher power is suggested. That's what makes AA a religious organization. In non-religious organizations, there's no suggestion that atheists change their beliefs.

And yes, I know, doorknobs. But if we're using "higher power" in its normal sense...
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Old 30th July 2010, 06:06 PM   #342
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What it actually says is:
- "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:"
then step 1, 2 etc etc

How would you read that?
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Old 30th July 2010, 06:09 PM   #343
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There is another approach -- from the backside. Instead of thinking about what AA proposes and tells its membership, what would it take to get thrown out of AA? What would constitute heresy?

If you are an atheist, I don't think that would do it. What I'm getting at is what AA would view as a sin, or a action so counter to its purpose that expulsion would be the only remedy?
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Old 30th July 2010, 06:16 PM   #344
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
There is another approach -- from the backside. Instead of thinking about what AA proposes and tells its membership, what would it take to get thrown out of AA? What would constitute heresy?

If you are an atheist, I don't think that would do it. What I'm getting at is what AA would view as a sin, or a action so counter to its purpose that expulsion would be the only remedy?
I have never ever ever ever ever, heard of anyone being expelled from AA. There is nothing in the traditions that allows for it. All are welcome.

It's true that when people turn up to groups with alcohol, or drunk (while they might be told to "shut up" sometimes) they will also be told "keep coming back".
Angry people who are starting out on sobrity are the norm. Tolerance and understanding is the key and that has been passed down over the decades. It is an extraordinary thing to see first hand.

We once had a couple of guys get into a heated argument in a meeting. One went out to get a knife. I personally sat with him in the meeting (I gently and quietly told him if he made one move I would take care of things myself) he calmed down. I told him to "keep coming back", he returned the next week and is now four years clean and sober and a sponsee of mine.

That sounds a bit too macho and egotistical, but I am a pretty big bloke, former bouncer and can take pretty good care of myself. I also like to think I helped calm him and he is on a good path these days.

There are millions more stories like that too.

AA naturally lets the police to rule over and enforce the laws of the land;
the only require for membership is a desire to stop drinking

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Old 30th July 2010, 06:37 PM   #345
marplots
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
the only require for membership is a desire to stop drinking
That might be it then. What I was after.

It isn't much of a religion in my eyes then. For me, what distinguishes a religion is an object of worship -- could be a concept or a supposed being of some sort. In that viewpoint, AA wouldn't be a religion, although it could still be a really creepy, cult-like, and even predatory club. (Could be, not necessarily is.)

I also think the point about religions not brooking the practice of other religions in their midst as a powerful discriminator. One does wonder how the group might react if you started your story with.... "And then I turned my life over to the power of Odin, and by Odin's command, I am able to maintain my sobriety. One day at a time; one day at a time."
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Old 30th July 2010, 06:45 PM   #346
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
It isn't much of a religion in my eyes then. For me, what distinguishes a religion is an object of worship -- could be a concept or a supposed being of some sort. In that viewpoint, AA wouldn't be a religion . . .
From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Definition and usage

In current twelve-step program usage a Higher Power can be anything at all that the member believes is adequate. Reported examples include their twelve-step group, Nature, consciousness, existential freedom, God, science, gravity, Buddha. It is frequently stipulated that as long as a Higher Power is "greater" than the individual, then the only condition is that it should also be loving and caring.[5][6]

Alcoholics Anonymous

The terms 'Higher Power' and 'power greater than ourselves' appear in the "Big Book", on three occasions:

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.

Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
There is little doubt that the A.A. higher power can't be anything other than a supernatural being, specifically, the christian god.
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Old 30th July 2010, 07:02 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
That might be it then. What I was after.

It isn't much of a religion in my eyes then. For me, what distinguishes a religion is an object of worship -- could be a concept or a supposed being of some sort. In that viewpoint, AA wouldn't be a religion, although it could still be a really creepy, cult-like, and even predatory club. (Could be, not necessarily is.)

I also think the point about religions not brooking the practice of other religions in their midst as a powerful discriminator. One does wonder how the group might react if you started your story with.... "And then I turned my life over to the power of Odin, and by Odin's command, I am able to maintain my sobriety. One day at a time; one day at a time."
Odin or anything could be the higher power - no-one would care.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
From Wikipedia:

There is little doubt that the A.A. higher power can't be anything other than a supernatural being, specifically, the christian god.
On the contary, anything can be ones higher power; even your cited definitions allow for that. E.g. "no other human being" is singular, the group/fellowship can be, which is the group plural.

I don't get why you guys can't understand, no-one cares what ones higher power is, no-one even wants to know.

btw, I have never seen the term " Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!" And I wonder where Wiki got it.

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Old 30th July 2010, 07:10 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
That might be it then. What I was after.

It isn't much of a religion in my eyes then. For me, what distinguishes a religion is an object of worship -- could be a concept or a supposed being of some sort. In that viewpoint, AA wouldn't be a religion, although it could still be a really creepy, cult-like, and even predatory club. (Could be, not necessarily is.)
The only object of worship for AA is the desire to obtain and maintain a sober life. (This to me is the "primary purpose" or goal, rather than worship).
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Old 30th July 2010, 07:14 PM   #349
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I've been to local AA meetings and have gotten the impression that some locals do think that it has worked for them.

I, however, was there as a result of court proceedings. I have had 2 DUIs. Here's the thing... on your second DUI they have a tendency to assume that you are a severe alcoholic. I not only had to attend AA meetings, but go through a lengthy program at the mental health center, as well.

Considering that I only drink about 10 nights out of every year, tops, at this time of my life, and that I have made no conscious effort to cut down on my drinking... I still think the diagnosis was way off. I drank a bit more back in those times (over 10 years ago, and still in college), but even then I was at worst a weekend binge drinker... and not even every weekend, at that.

Anyway, I don't want to insult those who think it works for them, but I came away with the impression that it consisted of about 95% bull, with the other 5% being hype (about how great AA is). Then again, I always considered myself an outsider and have never felt anything resembling an overwhelming urge to drink (and I know what addiction feels like... I smoke like a chimney).

I got asked to leave both the AA meetings and the other addiction program more than once due to actually expressing my sincere view of the situation, but managed to calm things down enough that I was able to get through it to satisfy the court.

Although I am not fond of AA in general, I will have to admit that the meetings I attended weren't particularly religious in nature. Yes, some people expressed their "faith in God" and whatnot, but there were others who came right out and said that they were atheists as well. Relgions were expressed, but there was no consensus on religion. Actually most of those in this group weren't particularly religious. It might be interesting to note that there are 2 AA groups in this town (pop. 25,000) and this was the one that didn't meet in a church (the other one did). I suspect that the two groups were greatly different.

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Old 30th July 2010, 08:25 PM   #350
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
On the contary, anything can be ones higher power; even your cited definitions allow for that. E.g. "no other human being" is singular, the group/fellowship can be, which is the group plural.
You are really stretching this. No other human being means just that, no other human being. That rules out every other human being singular or plural.

The higher power can't be an inanimate object as many claim. Inanimate objects don't dictate how you should live nor are they loving and compassionate.


Quote:
I don't get why you guys can't understand, no-one cares what ones higher power is, no-one even wants to know.
12&12 already knows.
Quote:
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.
Also from 12&12:

Quote:
Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God -- or, if you like, a Higher Power -- into our lives.
This here specifically says that it is God, or condescendingly, a Higher Power. Notice how both are capitalized?

And I care and want to know. The claim is that the program doesn't work without a higher power and yet, without the higher power, all the A.A. claims are untrue, ie.- People really do have control over their lives and alcohol. People really can kick the habit on their own. Etc.

That higher power thing is important.

Quote:
btw, I have never seen the term " Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!" And I wonder where Wiki got it.
Big Book page 100, Working With Others
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Old 30th July 2010, 08:43 PM   #351
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
There is little doubt that the A.A. higher power can't be anything other than a supernatural being, specifically, the christian god.
Even with the condition that it be a supernatural being (which is in dispute here in the thread) doesn't it seem odd that you could be worshiping Jesus and the guy next to you Satan and the gal across the room "The Divine Earth Mother Gaia?"

It just doesn't seem like a religion to me. Reading AAlfie, it seems like the object of worship is sobriety, or maybe the group meme coupled with that.

I wonder if you could set the two ideas at odds -- something like, "My higher power is, and always has been Bacchus. He wants me to drink."

From what I've read here, AA will accept atheists or even a whole group, but will not accept someone who doesn't wish to stop drinking.
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Old 30th July 2010, 08:47 PM   #352
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
You are really stretching this. No other human being means just that, no other human being. That rules out every other human being singular or plural.
In your opinion, others think differently and have applied this "stretch" to suit their own needs. Such is the nature of AA - it is completely flexible.
By the way, where is that quote from?

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
The higher power can't be an inanimate object as many claim. Inanimate objects don't dictate how you should live nor are they loving and compassionate.
Why can't the group or nature be loving or compassionate?
Why can't one be guided by a set of personal values, that for too long have been rubbery?


The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
And I care and want to know. The claim is that the program doesn't work without a higher power and yet, without the higher power, all the A.A. claims are untrue, ie.- People really do have control over their lives and alcohol. People really can kick the habit on their own. Etc.
We have one member contributing to this thread who has rejected religion and a higher power, yet has managed to stay sober for > 20 years. He is the living personification that AA works without a higher power and the program is completely flexible to the individuals needs.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Big Book page 100, Working With Others
Thanks

eta: Those other bb extracts are again, one man's opinions why do you keep rolling them out. They are his story, his experiences, his beliefs? The Big Book is a wonderful tool, but does not have the last word on anyone's recovery.

I and my disease dictate to me how I use the program, no-one and/or nothing else.

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Old 30th July 2010, 08:56 PM   #353
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
From what I've read here, AA will accept atheists or even a whole group, but will not accept someone who doesn't wish to stop drinking.
Accept atheists?

For the time being, we who were atheist or agnostic discovered that our own group, or A.A. as a whole, would suffice as a higher power. 12&12, pg. 107

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. 12&12, pg. 109
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Old 30th July 2010, 08:59 PM   #354
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Accept atheists?

For the time being, we who were atheist or agnostic discovered that our own group, or A.A. as a whole, would suffice as a higher power. 12&12, pg. 107

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. 12&12, pg. 109
And I repeat, this is one man's experience and opinion.

Additionally, the Big Book was written very early in the collective experience of AA, and it has evolved. Bill never intended his writings to be the final word: He was sharing his "experience strength and hope", as an AA member does everytime they share with another.

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Old 30th July 2010, 09:13 PM   #355
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
In your opinion, others think differently and have applied this "stretch" to suit their own needs. Such is the nature of AA - it is completely flexible.
By the way, where is that quote from?
From the book 12 Steps and 12 Traditions on the A.A. site.

Quote:
Why can't the group or nature be loving or compassionate?
Let's disregard the group because we dispute whether they can be a higher power but nature can't be because nature can't dictate how you live your life and nature is not loving and caring, it doesn't care who, or what, lives or dies.

Quote:
Why can't one be guided by a set of personal values, that for too long have been rubbery?
That's my question? Why does a higher power have to dictate? It's A.A. that says you are powerless not me.

Quote:
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking
Well, not really. You have to believe in the twelve step program as set down by the founder of A.A. Otherwise, you would be free to go in and contradict everything they say with evidence.

Quote:
We have one member contributing to this thread who has rejected religion and a higher power, yet has managed to stay sober for > 20 years. He is the living personification that AA works without a higher power and the program is completely flexible to the individuals needs.
That's one way to spin it. It just might be that A.A. doesn't work and he quit drinking by himself without any help. Millions do.

Also, A.A. says the program doesn't work without a higher power. Apparently they are wrong.

Quote:
I and my disease dictate to me how I use the program, no-one and/or nothing else.
Glad to hear it and I am not trying to take anything away from you. In fact, I am trying to say that the credit for any success you have is yours. You do the work, you go through the rough patches and you ultimately succeed or fail. You pay the price for the slips and you should get the credit for the successes.
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:14 PM   #356
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qayak, I found a link to a list of atheist and agnostic AA meetings. I do not know how accurate it is: http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:24 PM   #357
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
qayak, I found a link to a list of atheist and agnostic AA meetings. I do not know how accurate it is: http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html
Now that I like!
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:36 PM   #358
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
qayak, I found a link to a list of atheist and agnostic AA meetings. I do not know how accurate it is: http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html
I especially liked this listing:

Godless Heathens
El Cerrito Fellowship
11157 San Pablo Ave.
Sunday 10:30 a.m.
El Cerrito, CA
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:44 PM   #359
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Well, not really. You have to believe in the twelve step program as set down by the founder of A.A. Otherwise, you would be free to go in and contradict everything they say with evidence.
No, wrong.
The steps are suggested, the big book is his experience strength and hope.
You can go in and contradict it, I have seen it time and again. People don't give a **** what you believe in. As long as you want to get and stay sober and are having a go, that is all that matters.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
That's one way to spin it. It just might be that A.A. doesn't work and he quit drinking by himself without any help. Millions do.
And millions more do with fellowship - that is the real key in my opinion.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Also, A.A. says the program doesn't work without a higher power. Apparently they are wrong.
Again, wrong - the program doesn't say it (although it does "suggest" it). Other members may say it, the founders said it too, but it is not a prerequisite for recovery; a mere "suggestion".

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Glad to hear it and I am not trying to take anything away from you. In fact, I am trying to say that the credit for any success you have is yours. You do the work, you go through the rough patches and you ultimately succeed or fail. You pay the price for the slips and you should get the credit for the successes.
Correct, I have done the work, but I had heaps of help and I needed it all.

Alone I have to do it, but I don't have to do it alone.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Now that I like!
See?!
Edited by Tricky:  Edited for rule 10.

Last edited by Tricky; 1st October 2010 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:52 PM   #360
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
(snip)
Glad to hear it and I am not trying to take anything away from you. In fact, I am trying to say that the credit for any success you have is yours. You do the work, you go through the rough patches and you ultimately succeed or fail. You pay the price for the slips and you should get the credit for the successes.
This may be true but for me would be a dangerous way to think. It is a very short step from:

I did it I deserve the credit!

to:

Hey, I can control my drinking! 1 or 2 after work today won't hurt me, I got the willpower to handle it now...
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