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Tags alcoholics anonymous , alcoholism , treatment programs

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Old 27th August 2010, 01:37 PM   #721
Gandalfs Beard
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post

It seems reasonable to expect that "religious" would be much easier to define, yet few real efforts toward that have been made in this thread. If a valid criticism is that AA'ers tend to dismiss the matter of defining "spiritual" as too intuitively obvious to deserve close attention, I don't see why JREF'ers should be let off the hook for doing the same with regard to the word "religious". Therefore, I appreciate the effort you make with this definition of the closely related word, "Religion":But, again, specific beliefs regarding specific deities, and specific practices which constitute worship of those deities. It is not limited to personal faith; it has a public aspect. If the private beliefs of the individual do not conform to the public aspect, that person is no more a bona fide practitioner of that religion than is the above-mentioned atheist who happens to enjoy hanging out in churches, or the Jew, Muslim, or Hindu who tags along with a friend, or is there to collect research material for a book, or whatever. The worship of the specific deities is the unifying principle; it is the primary reason for the existence of the community, and though the community may engage in other, non-relgious activities (picnics, food distributions, etc) those activities serve the primary purpose; it does not serve them.
What you are talking about is called Universalism. Unitarian Universalism is still a religion. Some Polytheist/Monist Religions like Hinduism also have a strong Universalist component. It's still a Religion.

Given the language of AA's 12 Steps, the best that can be said about them is that they are Narrowly Universalist, in the sense that they could be described as Monotheistic Abrahamic Universalism (until one analyses the actual doctrines, formative literature, and history of AA).

Quote:
In AA things are exactly the other way around. The unifying principles are that alcoholism is a disease, that recovery requires complete abstinence (both of which assumptions are subject to challenge and have been challenged here and elsewhere -- none of which helps to answer the question of whether AA is religious) and that reliance on a "higher power" is the key. The higher power is not specified or even defined (repeated unsupported assertions to the contrary notwithstanding), and is treated as a means to an end rather than an end in itself; ergo, AA is not a religion by the above definition. Agreed?

If so, what remains is the question of the distinction between "religion" and "religious".
I'll grant you that some of the unifying principles of AA are the disease/sin model of Alcoholism, and Abstinence. But as has been pointed out, an (allegedly) "undefined" Higher Power is still a religious principle (and YOUR repeated unsupported assertions that my assertions are unsupported is belied by the literature and history of AA which I have been using to support my assertions ).

That relying on it is a KEY principle--so much so that God or Higher Power is referenced in 8 out of 12 Steps--begs the question that it is treated as a "means rather than an end in itself", thus, I cannot agree that AA is not religious by the above definition.

As to the distinction between Religion and Religious, it's fuzzy enough to render such a distinction relatively meaningless. Thus I maintain that, at best, AA is to be considered a Religious Support Group for Alcoholics (and this has been held up in Courts of Law when AA's promotion by the Judicial System has been challenged as a violation of the Separation Clause of the Constitution).

GB
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Last edited by Gandalfs Beard; 27th August 2010 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 27th August 2010, 01:53 PM   #722
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Originally Posted by Dunstan View Post
I don't think AA needs to provide all those details in order to be "religious." Perhaps those elements are required (or generally indicators of) a "religion." I think most (maybe all) of the AA critics in this thread would say that AA isn't a self-contained religion; it simply piggybacks on the Abrahamic religions, or more specifically Christianity.

Would you agree that prayer is religious? If you want a specific example, let's go with The Lord's Prayer. It doesn't provide a lot in the way of theological details: just that God is "Our Father," that he dwells "in heaven," and his name is "hallowed," then goes on to request bread, forgiveness for sins, and then closes with some good old-fashioned sucking up about his power and glory.

Let's put aside the "higher power" vagueness for now, and suppose one is being told to turn one's life over to God, to ask Him to remove one's shortcomings, etc. Would you not consider that religious?
Nailed it. Slam Dunk. That this is the heart of AA's programme says it all.

GB
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Old 27th August 2010, 01:59 PM   #723
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Originally Posted by Gandalfs Beard View Post
No, it's not a good point.

Seeing as no-one is calling for people to give up Belief in God or a Higher Power, nor for an organization that forces people to give up such a belief as the price of admission, this argument is a Straw Man.

At question is why the "God-Stuff" continues to be the central feature of AA, given that a number of its members vainly attempt to insist that it's not.

GB
I think you missed the thrust of my argument. We're on the same side, right? You think that AA is a religious organization, right? Or am I mixing up posters?

It's not a straw man, it's an analogy. If there were an organization like I proposed, I think most religious people would consider it anti-religious. They'd see it as antagonistic to their religious beliefs, whatever those beliefs were, and if they joined it, they'd join it despite the fact it was an anti-religious organization, realizing that they'd need to ignore all the anti-religious stuff if they wanted to keep their faith.

Okay, so, if one turns it around, the implication is that an organization that does the opposite (like AA) is a religious organization, even if it doesn't promote a specific sect and even if it allows non-religious people to join or attend meetings.
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Old 27th August 2010, 02:12 PM   #724
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
I think you missed the thrust of my argument. We're on the same side, right? You think that AA is a religious organization, right? Or am I mixing up posters?

It's not a straw man, it's an analogy. If there were an organization like I proposed, I think most religious people would consider it anti-religious. They'd see it as antagonistic to their religious beliefs, whatever those beliefs were, and if they joined it, they'd join it despite the fact it was an anti-religious organization, realizing that they'd need to ignore all the anti-religious stuff if they wanted to keep their faith.

Okay, so, if one turns it around, the implication is that an organization that does the opposite (like AA) is a religious organization, even if it doesn't promote a specific sect and even if it allows non-religious people to join or attend meetings.
OOPS! Mea Culpa! I get your point now! Yes, if one was actually "turning it around" in the manner you describe it WOULD be considered Anti-Religious.

Sorry, I thought you were implying that this is what I was doing.

GB
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Old 27th August 2010, 04:02 PM   #725
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Originally Posted by Gandalfs Beard View Post
I don't mean to be rude, but I must point out that your truncation of my quote raises the question of your reading comprehension. What follows is the complete paragraph:



Now it is clear that the "They" are the Steps Themselves.

My apologies and thanks for the clarification.



Quote:
First, it really behooves someone participating in any organization to do some basic research on that organization. I wasn't aware of all the details when my stepfather participated (I was 15 at the time), but all the "God-stuff" raised my suspicions.
Generally I'd agree, but when you are in a desperate state research (even basic) is not high on the agenda.


Quote:
Not to mention the similarity of the doctrines to those of the Youth Group I was participating in at the time. I began researching and comparing religions and AA and discovered that not only was I not cut out to be a Christian, but that my Youth Group and AA had essentially the same Protestant doctrines. And the doctrines espoused in the 12 Steps are a dead giveaway to any who have studied, or grown up with Protestant Christianity.
Grandmothers on both sides of my family attended protestant churches their entire lives, I use to accompany them quite often, I don't recall ever hearing anything remotely similar to what I've experienced in A.A. Additionally I dated a Pastor's daughter for several months, his sermons and beliefs had nothing in common with A.A.

Now I realize my personal anecdotes don't make the world go round, but I can't ever remember of a church where you were allowed to pick your own god.

In fact, wouldn't the 12 steps be anti-christian? One of the tenants of christianity is the worshiping of a singular god. The steps say you can worship any god you like, you can even combine them if you see fit.

Quote:
And, as I have mentioned more than once, it isn't necessary to distinguish between the Abrahamic Religions. The fact is that the OBVIOUS references to a Single Male Deity, in 8 out of the 12 Steps, are enough to conclusively declare that AA is a Religious Support Group for Alcoholics, and one based on Monotheistic Abrahamism to boot.
I disagree, the fact members are allowed to choose any god or entity they see fit negates the references to a single male deity. It'd be news to me that I belong to a religious organization when I despise the concept.



An analysis of the doctrines, AA's history, and reading the Big Book is enough to narrow it down to Protestant Christianity. [/quote]

This would be more accurate. If one were to read the big book or analyze doctrines of AA without knowing the origins of the organization, they would have no way of relating it to protestant christianity.

Quote:
You are very fortunate to be in a relatively Universal or Secular chapter. But it doesn't diminish the fact that the Steps are still Religious Doctrines (and Protestant ones at that).
Maybe a few of them are, but basing a small part of the program (for me at least) on religious doctrine doesn't equate it to a religious program.

If an organization uses religious ideas are they then considered religious?

Are martial arts programs religious because they use religious doctrines??

Quote:
Many Churches, as has been pointed out, are more than willing to host non-believers, with the hopes of eventual conversion. So that isn't a basis for declaring that AA isn't religious.
Maybe they host non-believers because they are being friendly.Why do automatically assume they're trying to convert someone?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If a Non-theist can get past the God-Stuff and make AA work for him or herself, that's GREAT...for THEM (or YOU ). But denying that it's Religious, when it is beyond obvious that it IS Religious, sure as Hell doesn't work for the rest of us Non-theists.

GB

PS: And yes, much later in life I also participated personally (but not of my own volition) in NA's 12 Step program--which utilizes exactly the same 12 Steps as AA.[/quote]

Well then we'll have to agree to disagree.

It seems you've found peace in your life outside of AA/NA, I'm truly happy for you.

I think it would be disingenuous to post anymore in this thread without admitting that AA is not without fault (another thread, another day) I just don't believe it's a religious program.
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Old 27th August 2010, 04:24 PM   #726
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
I don't think that the people who defend AA have "impure motives." I think they are very sincere. The trouble is, the AA they defend is a different AA than the founders and the organization have in mind.


Agreed, if that AA was in existence today I would probably still be drinking.

I'm not sure if this analogy fits very well, but I'm going to present it anyway.

Heavy Metal music was heavily influenced by the blues.

In it's early form it still resembled the blues to some extent and both forms of music shared many similar characteristics.

40 years later they are very different and do not resemble each other at all.

Organizations change and evolve, even mainstream religions have changed somewhat over the years.

AA at it's inception might've been a religious entity, I don't think it is in it's present form.
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Old 27th August 2010, 05:19 PM   #727
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Originally Posted by Dunstan View Post
I think most (maybe all) of the AA critics in this thread would say that AA isn't a self-contained religion;
Yeah, I get that. Religious, but not a religion. The thing is, I'm still not any clearer on that distinction than I am on the one that has AA as "spiritual, but not religious".

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Would you agree that prayer is religious? If you want a specific example, let's go with The Lord's Prayer.
Yes, I would. But as we have already noted, the mere utterance of a prayer doesn't make a gathering a religious one. As a social convention, it has traditionally been done as a precursor to sporting events, military operations, business meetings, etc. Every session of the US Congress opens with a prayer.

Quote:
Let's put aside the "higher power" vagueness for now, and suppose one is being told to turn one's life over to God, to ask Him to remove one's shortcomings, etc. Would you not consider that religious?
In other words, let's pretend that AA isn't vague about that, that the words "Higher Power" or "God as we understood him" don't appear in the twelve steps, that AA is quite specific about identifying "God", and that it specifically promises that this God has the power to remove shortcomings, and will do so if asked in just the right way (promises which are not included in AA's steps, if you look close). Under those circumstances, my answer would be "sure". But I do have to say that it reminds me of a joke Abraham Lincoln is reported to have told:
Q: How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?
A: Four.
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Old 27th August 2010, 05:19 PM   #728
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Originally Posted by ProBonoShill View Post
AA at it's inception might've been a religious entity, I don't think it is in it's present form.
As I said previously, The Big Book was written by classic WASPs; in the 30's who wasn't 'religious'? A few apparently; Chapter 4 tried to address the problem.

For those of us who've attended meetings over the last few decades, the appellation "religious" is known to be an unfounded slur by the same type of critics who write crap like the Orange Papers and present it as unbiased fact.
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Old 27th August 2010, 05:20 PM   #729
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Originally Posted by ProBonoShill View Post
Agreed, if that AA was in existence today I would probably still be drinking.

I'm not sure if this analogy fits very well, but I'm going to present it anyway.
Actually, I think it is a very good way to look at this issue.

Quote:
Metal music was heavily influenced by the blues.

In it's early form it still resembled the blues to some extent and both forms of music shared many similar characteristics.

40 years later they are very different and do not resemble each other at all.

Organizations change and evolve, even mainstream religions have changed somewhat over the years.

AA at it's inception might've been a religious entity, I don't think it is in it's present form.
How has AA changed? The books are the same, the steps are the same, the beliefs are the same.

I would agree that AA has changed since its conception but I don't really see that it has changed any more than any other religious group has been forced to change by societies and laws. Not long ago religious people could kill non-believers with near impunity, now they have to at least tolerate them if not respect them.

So, everything changes but has AA changed enough to take it out of
religion/religious territory?
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Old 27th August 2010, 05:22 PM   #730
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
It is quite obvious to me that AA fits the bill of both a religion and of being a religious organization. AA demands the belief in a higher power and there is no higher power except a supernatural one.
Just so very, very wrong.
As previously pointed out a higher power can be anything you want it to be. Many atheists use nature - or the laws of the universe - as their higher power. Others use a new way of thinking as their higher power, yet others use the collective wisdom of others.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
The organization is run in accordance with this belief. People who don't belief in a higher power are given derogatory labels and ridiculed in the literature.
If this is true the people giving these labels are in fact running against the beliefs of the organisation.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Very few religions have a clear definition of their "higher power" so this doesn't support your claim about AA. It is also clear from the literature of the founders exactly who they mean when they say "higher power." They are referring to the christian god.
Two things:
You will find fairly good descriptions of individual gods in most religions, whether they be in the abstract or physical.
Second, the founders are not AA. They are no more AA than the founding fathers of the USA are the USA. On this Bill always ended with "as Bill sees it". It was his emphasis that this was his opinion only. AA has evolved.

Originally Posted by ProBonoShill View Post
Agreed, if that AA was in existence today I would probably still be drinking.
If any AA wasn't in existence, I would still be drinking - actually I would be dead.

Originally Posted by ProBonoShill View Post
Organizations change and evolve, even mainstream religions have changed somewhat over the years.
AA at it's inception might've been a religious entity, I don't think it is in it's present form.
Exactly: That does not mean that its history is thrown away just because of where it came from.
To extend the USA analogy I provided above (and apologies for any general inaccuracies): Does the USA believe in owning slaves today, just because it was in the past? Just because the founding fathers owned them? Just because it was normal then? Is the language the same as then?

Of course not. Why? Things change.

Maybe a better example would be the play book for a football team. Would it be the same today as the one written by the founding coach in 1935? Why not?
And because the founding coach in 1935 found god played a big part in his life and plays, does that mean that language should apply literally today?

If course not. Why? Things change, people, ideas and movements evolve and (hopefully) improve.
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Old 27th August 2010, 05:35 PM   #731
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Just so very, very wrong.
As previously pointed out a higher power can be anything you want it to be. Many atheists use nature - or the laws of the universe - as their higher power. Others use a new way of thinking as their higher power, yet others use the collective wisdom of others.
Bullcrap.

You're simply defining "higher power" in such broad terms are to be useless. Using your definition, I could consider my left foot to be my higher power, or perhaps some slice of bread ?

No, "higher power" means exactly that. How you define it may vary, but it is, by necessity, supernatural.

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If any AA wasn't in existence, I would still be drinking - actually I would be dead.
No offense, but how do you know this ?
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Old 27th August 2010, 05:43 PM   #732
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Gandalfs Beard View Post
What you are talking about is called Universalism. Unitarian Universalism is still a religion
Is Zen Buddhism a religion?

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That relying on it is a KEY principle--so much so that God or Higher Power is referenced in 8 out of 12 Steps--begs the question that it is treated as a "means rather than an end in itself", thus, I cannot agree that AA is not religious by the above definition.
Tradition five: "Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers."

That God is mentioned in 8 steps negates that?

Quote:
As to the distinction between Religion and Religious, it's fuzzy enough to render such a distinction relatively meaningless.
Then unless we can un-fuzz it, I guess you're left with two choices: call AA a religion, or admit that calling it "religious" is meaningless.

Quote:
(and this has been held up in Courts of Law when AA's promotion by the Judicial System has been challenged as a violation of the Separation Clause of the Constitution).
Worth noting that communications between members (such as a fifth step with a sponsor) have been ruled not protected as privileged communication.
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Old 27th August 2010, 05:57 PM   #733
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You're simply defining "higher power" in such broad terms are to be useless. Using your definition, I could consider my left foot to be my higher power, or perhaps some slice of bread ?

No, "higher power" means exactly that. How you define it may vary, but it is, by necessity, supernatural.
Perhaps in a narrow minded individual that would be true. Try telling that to the 100s and 100s of atheists I personally know that use exactly these principles. The 'loophole' is a lot larger than you make it out to be.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No offense, but how do you know this ?
Pacreatitis (actually saw me effectively in an induced coma for 10 days or so).
Liver disfunctions progressing to cirrhosis
'Shot' central nervous system.
Suicidal ideation and intention (I have had my head literally in the noose on a number of occasions)
Drug and alcohol induced (or exacerbated by) mental heath disorders

There is more, should I go on?
The pancreatitis was what assisted me to my rock bottom.
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Old 27th August 2010, 06:02 PM   #734
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Bullcrap.

You're simply defining "higher power" in such broad terms are to be useless. Using your definition, I could consider my left foot to be my higher power, or perhaps some slice of bread ?

No, "higher power" means exactly that. How you define it may vary, but it is, by necessity, supernatural.
I've given you a definition, twice now I believe, that references a power higher than your conscious mind and ego, that clearly would not be considered supernatural.

Of course you may continue to ignore it.

And you never did comment on the effects Libet demonstrated.
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Old 27th August 2010, 08:47 PM   #735
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
As previously pointed out a higher power can be anything you want it to be.
Then it isn't a higher power is it?

How about you just admit that you are just adopting definitions that allow your beliefs to be true regardless of what the words actually mean. Believers do it all the time.

Quote:
Many atheists use nature - or the laws of the universe - as their higher power. Others use a new way of thinking as their higher power, yet others use the collective wisdom of others.
Then it isn't a higher power and AA's claim that a higher power is needed to control alcoholism is BS. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Quote:
If this is true the people giving these labels are in fact running against the beliefs of the organisation.
I suspect that the people doing it are fully aware, what with them being in charge and all.

Quote:
Two things:
You will find fairly good descriptions of individual gods in most religions, whether they be in the abstract or physical.
If we are talking "in the abstract" your definition of a higher power fits the bill. It is about as good a description as most people give their god.

Quote:
Second, the founders are not AA. They are no more AA than the founding fathers of the USA are the USA. On this Bill always ended with "as Bill sees it". It was his emphasis that this was his opinion only. AA has evolved.
No, what has evolved is AA's control over it's followers. Just like any other religion it gets stronger as time goes by and pretty soon you have people changing definitions and making claims that seem reasonable but just are not based in reality.

Quote:
If any AA wasn't in existence, I would still be drinking - actually I would be dead.
That's a claim made only by AA believers. Those who have quit AA and quit alcohol would completely disagree with you. They were just as down and out as you and survived without AA.
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Old 27th August 2010, 08:54 PM   #736
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Perhaps in a narrow minded individual that would be true.
As a famous person once said, "It's good to have an open mind, just not so open your brain falls out."

Quote:
Try telling that to the 100s and 100s of atheists I personally know that use exactly these principles. The 'loophole' is a lot larger than you make it out to be.
I think you fail to grasp the implications of what you say. This statement right here means that AA is really based on a bunch of lies and doesn't work as claimed. One doesn't need a higher power. One isn't powerless over alcohol.

If the tenets of your beliefs are wrong, it's time to change your beliefs. Reality is always more effective at solving problems than make believe.
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Old 27th August 2010, 09:08 PM   #737
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Then it isn't a higher power is it?
Sure it is.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
How about you just admit that you are just adopting definitions that allow your beliefs to be true regardless of what the words actually mean. Believers do it all the time.
Isn't it wonderful that I have the power of choice.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Then it isn't a higher power and AA's claim that a higher power is needed to control alcoholism is BS. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Sure I can.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
I suspect that the people doing it are fully aware, what with them being in charge and all.
Who is "in charge" and of what?

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
If we are talking "in the abstract" your definition of a higher power fits the bill. It is about as good a description as most people give their god.
In fact we were talking about the absence of a description of gods. Do try and keep up.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
No, what has evolved is AA's control over it's followers. Just like any other religion it gets stronger as time goes by and pretty soon you have people changing definitions and making claims that seem reasonable but just are not based in reality.
How many foil hats have you got?

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
That's a claim made only by AA believers. Those who have quit AA and quit alcohol would completely disagree with you. They were just as down and out as you and survived without AA.
Actually, it's a statement of fact and one echoed by my doctor.

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
As a famous person once said, "It's good to have an open mind, just not so open your brain falls out."
Last time I checked, they were still there.
What's your excuse?

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
I think you fail to grasp the implications of what you say. This statement right here means that AA is really based on a bunch of lies and doesn't work as claimed. One doesn't need a higher power. One isn't powerless over alcohol.
If you say so. But how come I am so happy?

Originally Posted by qayak View Post
If the tenets of your beliefs are wrong, it's time to change your beliefs. Reality is always more effective at solving problems than make believe.
If perception is reality. And personal experience is perception. How can these tenets be wrong? Then why would beliefs need to be changed?

The reality is that AA works for many (not all).
The reality is that AA can be done with or without religion.

Just because that doesn't fit with your narrow definitions isn't really my problem.
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Old 28th August 2010, 01:11 AM   #738
qayak
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Sure it is.
Childish.

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Isn't it wonderful that I have the power of choice.
Much easier than being honest with yourself I suppose.

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Sure I can.
Childish.

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Who is "in charge" and of what?
Already explained.

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In fact we were talking about the absence of a description of gods. Do try and keep up.
You're so far behind you think your ahead! You don't even understand what the discussion is. Your definition of your higher power is no different than any other religions' definition of their higher power (god). A rose by any other name . . .

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How many foil hats have you got?
Reality often appears crazy to delusional people. It is a symptom of the problem.

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Actually, it's a statement of fact and one echoed by my doctor.
Hearsay.

Of course, when you were in this coma, it was AA that saved you not the doctors and medical staff. Oh, wait! They were back at the meeting, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.

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Last time I checked, they were still there.
You couldn't prove it with your posts here.

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If you say so. But how come I am so happy?
Now you think your happiness is the measure for the validity of your claims?

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If perception is reality.
It isn't.

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And personal experience is perception.
It isn't.

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How can these tenets be wrong?
Because your first two claims are false and so your conclusion, based on them, is wrong. The tenets are indeed wrong.

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Then why would beliefs need to be changed?
Because they are wrong and, more importantly, don't work.

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The reality is that AA works for many (not all).
According to the evidence, that ain't the case.

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The reality is that AA can be done with or without religion.
Oh, I know that . . . too bad AA doesn't. And too bad you don't see where that leaves the belief that AA works. You claim AA works and yet you don't follow the tenets, so if you are no longer drinking, it's not thanks to AA.

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Just because that doesn't fit with your narrow definitions isn't really my problem.
Well, using AA reasoning, you aren't, and never have been, a real alcoholic. You didn't need a higher power, you didn't need to admit you were powerless against alcohol and yet you no longer drink. Obviously you were never the alcoholic you claimed.

Don't get me wrong, I truly believe you were as far down as you say you were, I just don't see how the AA double speak had anything to do with your recovery.
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Old 28th August 2010, 01:16 AM   #739
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Originally Posted by AlBell View Post
I've given you a definition, twice now I believe, that references a power higher than your conscious mind and ego, that clearly would not be considered supernatural.
Forget the definition, give us an example of an object that meets your requirements for a higher power.
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Old 28th August 2010, 06:25 AM   #740
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Perhaps in a narrow minded individual that would be true.
Ah, yes. Insults are a great argument.

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Try telling that to the 100s and 100s of atheists I personally know that use exactly these principles.
Hundreds and hundreds ?

Your counter is pointless. I didn't say that there aren't people who buy the definition twists you offer. I said that the term "higher power" means exactly that, and that some can manage to squirm through anyway doesn't change that fact.

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Pacreatitis (actually saw me effectively in an induced coma for 10 days or so).
Liver disfunctions progressing to cirrhosis
'Shot' central nervous system.
Suicidal ideation and intention (I have had my head literally in the noose on a number of occasions)
Drug and alcohol induced (or exacerbated by) mental heath disorders

There is more, should I go on?
The pancreatitis was what assisted me to my rock bottom.
If you actually had all this, I suspect you should've sought some medical assistance as well.
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Old 28th August 2010, 06:26 AM   #741
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Originally Posted by AlBell View Post
I've given you a definition, twice now I believe, that references a power higher than your conscious mind and ego, that clearly would not be considered supernatural.
They also aren't higher powers, which dismantles your definition.

I've pointed this out to you, twice now I believe.
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Old 28th August 2010, 06:57 AM   #742
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Ah, yes. Insults are a great argument.
"Bullcrap!"

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Hundreds and hundreds ?
Yep

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Your counter is pointless. I didn't say that there aren't people who buy the definition twists you offer. I said that the term "higher power" means exactly that, and that some can manage to squirm through anyway doesn't change that fact.
No, you said..

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You're simply defining "higher power" in such broad terms are to be useless. ....
No, "higher power" means exactly that. How you define it may vary, but it is, by necessity, supernatural
I was responding to your unsupported "useless". It is not useless if people can "squirm" through a broad ranging definition that ultimately helps them find and obtain sobriety and peace of mind. If it gives them comfort and relief I think that's great. Maybe you could try something similar.

As for supernatural. It is this you are having trouble with - many of us did and do. It is because we can wriggle through the broader definition that ensures inclusiveness for everyone. Remember AAs primary purpose is getting people sober - nothing else matters. Religion, spirituality, god are all optional extras for which we can and do use our own definitions.

It seems you don't like it. Meh - build a bridge - who cares?

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
If you actually had all this, I suspect you should've sought some medical assistance as well.
I did actually have all that - and more.
And I did get medical assistance, I tried doctors, counsellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, priests, barmen, friends, family, naturopaths, hypnotherapists and more trying to find a way, until I found myself near death (a few times).

I was taken by ambulance to the emergency ward of the local hospital: they placed me in intensive care and was treated for pancreatitis. When I was being discharged, the doctors said to me I would die if I drank again. I asked them if it would be ok if I drank on special occasions as Christmas was coming up (lol ). True!
Anyway, I drank again, and again. I had some short periods of sobriety and wound up in intensive care for a second time. It was after this latter period I again became suicidal (as I had been a few years before). Previously I suffered (and continued to suffer) acute anxiety, panic disorder and depression. I was on a range of psych' medications that naturally wouldn't work due to the amount I was drinking (and drugging).

Just so you know, I was on about 12-18 cans of beer per day (4.9%) plus half a bottle of scotch, plus (say) half a gram to a gram of choof. That was on weekdays. On the weekends I binged. The drugs and alcohol helped me function with the mental disorders but ultimately and naturally saw me get gradually sicker (mentally, physically and spiritually).

For the most part I remained fairly functional - well I held down a middle management job in finance, played top grade sport and supported a family - the last three to five years were abominable.

After the second stint in hospital, I tried sobriety again - resisting AA because of the God thing the whole time. I did (yet) another detox and rehab. I drank again. I finally got to AA, I haven't had a drink for over 10 years.

If AA doesn't work, it's doing a damn good imitation of it with me. You might argue I was simply ready, maybe. You may argue I am being deceived, maybe. You may argue I was simply ready to stop, maybe. You may also argue that I could drink again in safety, again - maybe: But I sincerely doubt it on any score.

And some anonymous god haters insist that AA is religious, dangerous, it doesn't work and I should reject it. You're kidding aren't you?

I have a fantastic life. I sit on my couch at my computer for a few hours a day arguing the toss over a lot of stuff that doesn't matter.
I have a hot wife and a great job that I love (in a completely different field).
I have four kids and 100 acres over my back fence (not my 100 sadly).
Two dogs and more friends than I can manage.
I have peace of mind, serenity and a comfort within my own skin that I could not have ever believed possible.

10 years or so ago I was given 36 hours to live.
Why would I take the chance of rejecting AA and the people in it when they have assisted me in getting so much?

Like I said, "you're kidding aren't you?"

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 28th August 2010 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 28th August 2010, 07:28 AM   #743
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Originally Posted by Belz...
Originally Posted by AlBell View Post
I've given you a definition, twice now I believe, that references a power higher than your conscious mind and ego, that clearly would not be considered supernatural.
They also aren't higher powers, which dismantles your definition.
At least one alcoholic, me, has discovered through actual experience you are wrong. For me prayer seems an effective technique to effect wanted and hoped for changes in my otherwise unavailable higher power.

I also suggest that reading and posting in internet forums does not provide actual experience.

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I've pointed this out to you, twice now I believe.
I believe you still haven't understood the implications of Libet's work on free will.
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Old 28th August 2010, 08:04 AM   #744
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
How about you just admit that you are just adopting definitions that allow your beliefs to be true regardless of what the words actually mean.
I'll admit that. It was a key insight for me: contrary to conventional folk wisdom, you can't believe what you want to believe, actually. Try it. Pick something absurd and make a deliberate effort to convince yourself that it's true. Unless your brain is wired much differently than mine appears to be, I predict that your results will be similar to mine. There's a lot more to human cognition than what takes place at what we call the "conscious" level, and access to what goes on underneath is limited at best. For me, step two ended up not being about "coming to believe" anything I didn't already believe; it was about coming to be comfortable with what I already believed; with what my reason and my intuition told me to believe (and what to reject).

Though it's somewhat outside the scope of this discussion, it might be worth noting in passing that among the surprising conclusions produced by some investigations in the field of cognitive science is that decision making doesn't work quite the way it feels like it does. By the time a subject is aware of making a decision to (say) move his arm, careful measurement of electrical responses in the brain indicate that the action has already commenced. It may be a stretch to extrapolate this to more complex and abstract decision making processes, but then again, it may not.

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Then it isn't a higher power and AA's claim that a higher power is needed to control alcoholism is BS.
The question of whether it's "needed" is tangential. Again, back to the teddybear/volleyball analogy: What the child needs (for whatever value of "needs") is the comfort of companionship. Not a power greater than himself, per se, but a power (or just an awareness) other than himself. The teddy bear is merely a lump of stuffed cloth. The question is not whether it IS an awareness other than himself but whether it can SERVE as one. The child has relatively little choice in the matter. A brick won't work because it does not invoke the desired physiological response, for reasons having to do with cognitive subprocesses below the level of the child's control.

For the AA member, it is similarly not a question of whether the "higher power" really IS something that could objectively be considered to be that; it's merely a question of whether it can SERVE as one for that individual. Some people think in simple, "skydaddy" terms. Others think more abstractly. For them, something along the lines of "the powers of nature" is a better fit. It has been repeatedly asserted here that nothing like that is "allowed" in AA, as if there really were anyone in charge, and as if AA really does "control" its members. All I can do is echo what Alfie has said: Yes, incredible though it may seem to a person whose experience with AA is limited to a cursory scan of some AA literature, I would also estimate in the hundreds the number of AA members I've known who spoke of their concept of a higher power as something entirely abstract. "The powers of nature" does seem to be a popular choice.



Nice to see that you guys have really taken to heart the admonition to cut out the bickering, btw.
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Old 28th August 2010, 08:41 AM   #745
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
"Bullcrap!"
If you consider labels for your argument to be insults towards the arguer, then you're not done being insulted.

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No, you said..

I was responding to your unsupported "useless".
The TERM is useless. Read it again.

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Maybe you could try something similar.
I have no addiction.

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As for supernatural. It is this you are having trouble with - many of us did and do. It is because we can wriggle through the broader definition that ensures inclusiveness for everyone.
Then why call it a higher power if you can call it something else ? Using an obviously loaded term is not very useful, especially if you have to change its definition in order to fit in. If you're right, then the term is incorrect and they should've used a different one.

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Remember AAs primary purpose is getting people sober - nothing else matters.
Unfortunately your interpretation, which _should_ correspond with reality, doesn't seem to fit AA litterature. Now, why do you think I use the latter instead of the former ?

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I did actually have all that - and more.
Thanks for your testimony. It was very informative, and certainly not something you like to recall.

But you DID get treatment aside from AA. Without the treatment, you wouldn't even have gotten so far as AA. I just think that your statement that, without AA, you'd be dead, is simplistic and avoids mentioning other factors that, fortunately, saved your life.

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If AA doesn't work, it's doing a damn good imitation of it with me.
"If Homeopathy doesn't work, it's doing a damn good imitation fo it with me." I don't mean to say that AA works just as well as homeopathy. Support groups are certainly more potent than water. But surely you see how your quote above is not a convincing argument to an outsider.

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And some anonymous god haters insist that AA is religious, dangerous, it doesn't work and I should reject it. You're kidding aren't you?
That strawman would perhaps be serious. But since that's not what I'm advocating or arguing, I can't say.
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Old 28th August 2010, 08:43 AM   #746
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Originally Posted by AlBell View Post
At least one alcoholic, me, has discovered through actual experience you are wrong. For me prayer seems an effective technique to effect wanted and hoped for changes in my otherwise unavailable higher power.
May I ask what you prayed to, if not a higher power ?

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I also suggest that reading and posting in internet forums does not provide actual experience.
Who said it did ? Certainly not me.

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I believe you still haven't understood the implications of Libet's work on free will.
Depends on your definition of free will. Under some definitions, it doesn't exist.
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Old 28th August 2010, 09:42 AM   #747
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
And some anonymous god haters insist that AA is religious, dangerous, it doesn't work and I should reject it. You're kidding aren't you?
Ah! I think I'm understanding more where you're coming from.

You're assuming that if someone says AA is religious, they therefore are saying all the rest, so you need to deny that it's religious as part of refuting all the rest.

Some people may say all the rest--certainly quite a few people in this thread do. And all the rest may be true. Or it may not. But none of it is necessary connected to whether or not AA is a religious organization (other than the fact that a judge recommending it in the U.S. may be a problem with a separation of church and state).

To me, the higher power stuff, the mention of "God" as "him," and so forth, all show that it's obviously a religious organization. There are organizations that don't recommend believing in higher powers, etc., so I know what a non-religious organization looks like, and that's not it. So to me, denying the fact makes a person look as if they must be twisting the truth and denying the obvious, to further some other goal. And I see now what it is.

Quote:
As for supernatural. It is this you are having trouble with - many of us did and do. It is because we can wriggle through the broader definition that ensures inclusiveness for everyone.
If it weren't a religious organization, one wouldn't have to "wriggle through." It wouldn't even be an issue.

But since people obviously can wriggle through, why not just say, yes it is a religious organization because the basic literature recommends belief in a higher power and talks about god, but it can still be helpful to an atheist or agnostic if you can get around the religious part? Why the need to start down the path of denial?
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Old 28th August 2010, 10:20 AM   #748
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Well stated Pup - I like the way you phrased 'If it weren't a religious organization, one wouldn't have to 'wriggle through'. Indeed So.

On that note (the ability to 'wriggle through') a few AA quotes seem appropriate:

Do these quotes seem to allow a bunch of 'wiggle' room for using Nature - or anything other than a xian godfigure - as one's 'higher' power?

Big Book Chapter "How it Works" : <bold mine>

"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and 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! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help.

This is the how and the why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most Good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.

When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. "


What do you think AA is talking about there? Do you think it's having a worshipful sense of Nature, eh?? Not.

In my several decades of experience in - and extensive study of - the AA program, coupled with the intensive research I've documented elsewhere, it is quite clear the AA program is not only religious - but based on a very narrow range of what previous societies have thought up and called 'god'. Quite a few (although still a minority) of people attending AA meetings reject AA dogma - basically, they use the meetings as a self help group to support their decision to quit drinking. And to meet up with friends, chat, have 'quality' time together in a fast paced apparently uncaring society. These things can be helpful to the person who's decided to quit - but none of these are are the primary goals of AA, nor the members themselves. To quote AA again:

"Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us."

The program is one of religious indoctrination, through and through.

This is just as true today as it was when Bill founded the movement.
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Old 28th August 2010, 10:48 AM   #749
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
Ah! I think I'm understanding more where you're coming from.

You're assuming that if someone says AA is religious, they therefore are saying all the rest, so you need to deny that it's religious as part of refuting all the rest.

Some people may say all the rest--certainly quite a few people in this thread do. And all the rest may be true. Or it may not. But none of it is necessary connected to whether or not AA is a religious organization (other than the fact that a judge recommending it in the U.S. may be a problem with a separation of church and state).

To me, the higher power stuff, the mention of "God" as "him," and so forth, all show that it's obviously a religious organization. There are organizations that don't recommend believing in higher powers, etc., so I know what a non-religious organization looks like, and that's not it. So to me, denying the fact makes a person look as if they must be twisting the truth and denying the obvious, to further some other goal. And I see now what it is.



If it weren't a religious organization, one wouldn't have to "wriggle through." It wouldn't even be an issue.

But since people obviously can wriggle through, why not just say, yes it is a religious organization because the basic literature recommends belief in a higher power and talks about god, but it can still be helpful to an atheist or agnostic if you can get around the religious part? Why the need to start down the path of denial?
Just about the best summation of a position I have ever heard . . . anywhere . . . on any subject.

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Old 28th August 2010, 11:34 AM   #750
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
But since people obviously can wriggle through, why not just say, yes it is a religious organization because the basic literature recommends belief in a higher power and talks about god, but it can still be helpful to an atheist or agnostic if you can get around the religious part?
I find it interesting in its own right, as a subset of the question: what is religion? (or: what does it mean to say that something is 'religious' -- which is, apparently, not necessarily the same thing). It's interesting in the same way that the question what does it mean to say that something is "spiritual" versus "religious"? is interesting (and the answers are, apparently, just as elusive). What is a "self", how big is it, and how powerful? (questions that seem reasonable prerequisites to exploring the possibilities for "a power greater than one's self). If the notion of a self is, at best, a "useful fiction" (in Daniel Dennett's terms) and, at worst, baggage from outdated dualistic views of the universe, how big and how powerful and how supernatural need a thing be in order to represent a power greater than that? This is the religion and philosophy subforum; don't we need to address these questions?

Its also interesting that threads dedicated to these questions -- when decoupled from the question of where AA fits in with all that -- seem to generate much less interest than threads like this one. It appears to be not only alchoholics who are capable of becoming heavily emotionally invested in these questions when they are applied to certain specific examples.
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Old 28th August 2010, 11:43 AM   #751
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
Do these quotes seem to allow a bunch of 'wiggle' room for using Nature - or anything other than a xian godfigure - as one's 'higher' power?
Yes, they do -- once you understand that the book represents nothing more than the first example of AA members sharing their own experiences. Granted, those who prefer painting by the numbers to blank canvas will attribute considerable weight to these statements, perhaps more than what they hear at meetings. The power of the printed word over the spoken word does not depend on its truth value; it receives more weight simply by virtue of appearing in printed form. But those experiences don't automatically trump those of all the other members who happened not to be around when material was being collected for the book. It's funny how much difficulty most people have adjusting to the idea of "no rules".
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Old 28th August 2010, 11:44 AM   #752
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Just about the best summation of a position I have ever heard . . . anywhere . . . on any subject.
That, or your confirmation bias is showing.

Do you also believe reading a book on bicycle racing makes one as expert to comment on races as people who've actually participated in them?

The AA organization as such is not an AA meeting. Nor is the formal organization religious.
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Old 28th August 2010, 11:57 AM   #753
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I'll jump in here again:

As I stated earlier in this thread, I am a heavy drinker going on 10 years who is currently trying to cut back and perhaps quit entirely(I'd rather not). I am really only worried about the health consequences of having a 6-pack every night. I don't drive drunk or falcon punch my girlfriend when I am intoxicated. I am not any more ashamed, embarrassed, or powerless over this than I am over my indulgences with respect to anime, video games or pepper-jack cheese. I actually think it would be a hell of a lot harder for me to quit gaming; I may choose liver disease and death willingly if that were the consequence mwahaha. I have gone from drinking every night, to one or two nights a week(after stopping entirely for 3 or 4 weeks). The problem is, I still do really want to do it on a nightly basis. It is relaxing, fun(being intoxicated is fun, yes), and I do love craft beers. I figured I would check out some support options other than my therapist.

I have attended 4 more AA meetings since the initial one I referenced earlier in which quite a few people talked openly and directly about Jesus Christ. I live in Akron OH(where AA was founded), so there are no shortage of meetings here. I thought maaaaybe one would be light on the woo woo, and give me a place to chat with other people who relate to my struggle. They were all filled with people making wild claims about the effectiveness of the program, their Gods, and statements deriding people who would reject the notion of a "spiritual awakening"(I heard this phrase like 90 times). I told a fellow who wanted to sponsor me that "an awful lot of what was being said didn't make very much sense", and he told me that my ego was getting in the way of my recovery, and that I would end up dead or in jail if I kept on my current path. His words were something like: "you have three choices: a spiritual awakening as a result of the twelve steps, death or incarceration".

This is the way I see it: I would need to compromise some unknown amount(probably quite a large) of my intellectual integrity and make up some sort of wacky higher power to throw my faith into, who I then compartmentalize away from my unrelenting need to question my own beliefs. OR I could compromise a large part of why the program itself works, and try to work it absent the "magical" higher power; annoyed and misanthropic sitting through hour long meetings(wearing my "Cthulhu is my higher power" t-shirt) wanting to stand up and slap some critical thinking into 95% of the speakers.

Addiction appears to me to be a dysfunctional way of thinking rooted in my brains reward system. I have been rewarded for years for a behavior that is not functional to my survival. I need to unseat that system by slowly breaking the cycle and learning to live without that big reward at the end of every day, or perhaps learn to equally enjoy a different reward which does not damage my body. If I stood up and said this at an AA meeting, what do you think they would tell me? /shrug
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Old 28th August 2010, 12:15 PM   #754
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Well stated Gate - and I certainly understand what you are going through.

As I've stated many times, although AA is rather ineffective (perhaps succeeding 5% of the time, a number statistically in line with how many people quit on their own - so why bother with AA?), the process of meeting with other people undergoing a similar struggle on a regular basis can very well be helpful.

I recommend groups that have none of the AA 'woo' factor, such as SOS (http://www.sossobriety.org/) - you should be able to find one near you (or at the very least, participate in one of their online gettogethers).

You seem to have an excellent handle on what you want to do, as well as a solid awareness of where you are now - it's the 'how to I get there from here' part that you seem to be working on. I always recommend people of similar goals meet together (whatever those goals are), and plan - as a group - how to get from point A to point B. This is, in fact, the sole reason (in not only my view, but also that of many researchers in the field) AA appears to work for a small minority of people - the constant reminders, the frequent gatherings of like-minded people, the reinforcement of goals, etc that occurs during some AA meetings. I see a few SOS meetings in your area at the SOS website I've listed above - there are of course other nonAA solutions (SMART groups, CBT therapy, etc) that you could look into.

If you wish, feel free to PM me and I might be able to offer a few suggestions - no stress, no pressure Good Luck to you!
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Old 28th August 2010, 01:50 PM   #755
Dancing David
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
May I ask what you prayed to, if not a higher power ?
Sometimes prayer is not a petition to a 'power outside ourself' but a ritual of calming, a form of affirmation of intent and mental reinforcement.

And just for clarity:
I believe that AA as created was religious and that many members are still very religious. there was a great tolerance for my higher power of 'sobriety' and 'reality' at many a meeting I attended.
However many meetings are more practical, the motto is DFD "Don't *********** Drink", that is the message, the rest is window dressing.
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Old 28th August 2010, 01:55 PM   #756
Dancing David
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Originally Posted by Gate2501 View Post
I'll jump in here again:

As I stated earlier in this thread, I am a heavy drinker going on 10 years who is currently trying to cut back and perhaps quit entirely(I'd rather not). I am really only worried about the health consequences of having a 6-pack every night. I don't drive drunk or falcon punch my girlfriend when I am intoxicated. I am not any more ashamed, embarrassed, or powerless over this than I am over my indulgences with respect to anime, video games or pepper-jack cheese. I actually think it would be a hell of a lot harder for me to quit gaming; I may choose liver disease and death willingly if that were the consequence mwahaha. I have gone from drinking every night, to one or two nights a week(after stopping entirely for 3 or 4 weeks). The problem is, I still do really want to do it on a nightly basis. It is relaxing, fun(being intoxicated is fun, yes), and I do love craft beers. I figured I would check out some support options other than my therapist.

I have attended 4 more AA meetings since the initial one I referenced earlier in which quite a few people talked openly and directly about Jesus Christ. I live in Akron OH(where AA was founded), so there are no shortage of meetings here. I thought maaaaybe one would be light on the woo woo, and give me a place to chat with other people who relate to my struggle. They were all filled with people making wild claims about the effectiveness of the program, their Gods, and statements deriding people who would reject the notion of a "spiritual awakening"(I heard this phrase like 90 times). I told a fellow who wanted to sponsor me that "an awful lot of what was being said didn't make very much sense", and he told me that my ego was getting in the way of my recovery, and that I would end up dead or in jail if I kept on my current path. His words were something like: "you have three choices: a spiritual awakening as a result of the twelve steps, death or incarceration".

This is the way I see it: I would need to compromise some unknown amount(probably quite a large) of my intellectual integrity and make up some sort of wacky higher power to throw my faith into, who I then compartmentalize away from my unrelenting need to question my own beliefs. OR I could compromise a large part of why the program itself works, and try to work it absent the "magical" higher power; annoyed and misanthropic sitting through hour long meetings(wearing my "Cthulhu is my higher power" t-shirt) wanting to stand up and slap some critical thinking into 95% of the speakers.

Addiction appears to me to be a dysfunctional way of thinking rooted in my brains reward system. I have been rewarded for years for a behavior that is not functional to my survival. I need to unseat that system by slowly breaking the cycle and learning to live without that big reward at the end of every day, or perhaps learn to equally enjoy a different reward which does not damage my body. If I stood up and said this at an AA meeting, what do you think they would tell me? /shrug
I still recommend Rational Recovery by Trimpey, it is over the top but usefull. I went to meetings because it helped me overcome my shame and denial. I found a lot of healing by just talking. And as stated earlier I listened to the process not the explanation for it.

I have affirmation books where I blacked out the word God on all the pages it occurs.
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Old 28th August 2010, 03:43 PM   #757
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Originally Posted by AlBell View Post
That, or your confirmation bias is showing.
If I had started out with this view I might be inclined to believe you. However, I was one who really believed AA was all it claimed to be. It was my brother-in-law's alcoholism and his experience with AA that made me curious as to what was really going on.

The evidence led to one inescapable conclusion and it isn't the one AA pushes. That is why I make sure to give my brother-in-law credit for his sobriety and not AA.

Quote:
Do you also believe reading a book on bicycle racing makes one as expert to comment on races as people who've actually participated in them?
Not at all. Do you think that blind adherance to AA's woo filled dogma makes you better able to give an accurate picture of AA?

Quote:
The AA organization as such is not an AA meeting.
I don't recall ever saying it was. I recall you bringing this up as an attempt to move the goal posts when your argument began to flounder.

Quote:
Nor is the formal organization religious.
The evidence suggests otherwise.
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Old 28th August 2010, 04:10 PM   #758
majamin
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Self-help groups are not known to be particularly effective (Davidson 1999, Dean 1971), and 12-step programs are included in this research (religious or not). There are benefits, according to this research, but not the important, intended one: recovery. Separate studies have been completed on AA specifically, citing no significant recovery rates.

Given this ineffectiveness, which I feel does not directly stem from the fact that there are religious/supernatural/woo overtones*, to stipulate a particular set of "guiding principles" that includes these characteristics is flagrantly unprofessional and prejudicial. This is especially harmful when AA meetings, in particular, are recommended by mental health professionals (such as the social worker in the original post), or by peer-pressure.

(It seems that the belief that "AA works" is as strongly in our cultural psyche as with the belief that a full moon causes death, accidents, etc. ... the assumption that "it works/it's true" is prevalent)

Maybe I haven't said anything unique, but my conclusion is ...

... given that there are secular alternatives to AA, the issue of supernatural/woo overtones (or grounding) in the 12-steps (which is not unique to AA), is a moot point. They are all worthless in terms of recovery, regardless of their religiosity.


*the research is conclusive about secular and non-secular self-help groups
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Old 28th August 2010, 04:20 PM   #759
AlBell
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
If I had started out with this view I might be inclined to believe you. However, I was one who really believed AA was all it claimed to be.
I haven't seen AA claiming much of anything. The Organization uses funding basically from media sales and volunteers to staff local AA call centers, and assist local groups in finding meeting space. Larger cities also tend to have "AA Rooms" funded in part by the Organization.

Who speaks for AA, and what have they claimed?

Quote:
It was my brother-in-law's alcoholism and his experience with AA that made me curious as to what was really going on.
OK.

Quote:
The evidence led to one inescapable conclusion and it isn't the one AA pushes.
Inescapable? What did you conclude? Again, who pushes what regarding AA?

Quote:
That is why I make sure to give my brother-in-law credit for his sobriety and not AA.
What does your BIL credit it to? If he's like every other drunk, his best thinking got him in the mess he was in when AA seemed like a good idea.


Quote:
Not at all. Do you think that blind adherance to AA's woo filled dogma makes you better able to give an accurate picture of AA?
What AA woo-filled dogma? The only dogma I've seen is the blather here naming AA as a religious organization.

Quote:
I don't recall ever saying it was. I recall you bringing this up as an attempt to move the goal posts when your argument began to flounder.
You think someone here has a clue where the goalposts now are?

Of course some are sure it's "AA is a Religious Organization" to the exclusion of all else.

Quote:
The evidence suggests otherwise.
The AA Organization is as "religious" as any bookstore that sells books with the word 'god' in them.

Some Meetings are more religious, some less, some not at all.
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Old 28th August 2010, 04:28 PM   #760
AlBell
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Originally Posted by majamin View Post
... given that there are secular alternatives to AA, the issue of supernatural/woo overtones (or grounding) in the 12-steps (which is not unique to AA), is a moot point. They are all worthless in terms of recovery, regardless of their religiosity.
Except of course for people like me who found, and continue to find, AA helpful, in fact instrumental, in my (continuing) recovery.

I do agree the statistics on recovery are not good irrespective of methods used.

I then note that garnering valid recovery stats on groups of alcoholics who wish to remain anonymous must be fraught with difficulty.
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