starI ran across today’s 12-Step AAll-Star on a google search. It isn’t from a site about drinking, but from one about conspiracy theories and such. One of the members proposed the question as to whether AA is a secret society, and a nice little debate started. It is a pretty interesting discussion, but got even better when today’s All-Star, Misfit, stepped into the ring for battle. This guy is full of all kinds of AA goodness. Enjoy:

“I can’t it hide any longer.

Yes, we are a cult. Damn good one being it is just now questioned.
We sit outside bars more than cops do, looking for recruits to initiate (10 points each)
The “can’t leave” bit, kinda true: you can leave, but that first handshake you got from a member actually had a skin-pricker in it, you were tagged with a micro-implant, we will always no where you are and what you are doing. The closed meetings are the nite we sacrifice little babies and virgins (babies are easier to find)”

Now, even I can detect he is being sarcastic – but this paragraph might not play too well to an audience of of conspiracy theorists who are already in bed with the idea of Area 51 little green men, and LBJ and Castro hooking up to knock off JFK.

“K, back to rationality. Just venting at the ridiculous theme this thread is.

Seems the author of that little write-up has a serious alcohol problem, could not banish it with AA, and instead is now venting his own demise targeting AA for the outlet. (to that rehab counsellor that posted – you did not see this theory? That’s it, you’re FIRED !! lolol)”

Misfit starts out with a classic full frontal attack. He accused the writer of a posted article as being drunk and angry because AA failed him. This comes naturally to Misfit, because it is simply an extension of what is said at the AA tables to shut someone down – “You are angry. You need to control your anger and resentments or you will fall off the wagon. Sure, you are are free to leave us, but if you do, you will come crawling back.”. This is a false dilemma, and standard argument used by AA. All Misfit does here is take what he has said and heard a million times, and apply a past-tense to the dogma.

“I have been in AA & NA for just under a decade. Buddy, there is NOTHING cultish about this group. Having been forced to believe ideologies as a child/teen/young-adult I would be the FIRST to see any devious actions taking place, no matter how subtle. If you classify this group becuase of its preceedings and guidelines (note: they are GUIDELINES, not rules to adhere or you’re excommunicated) then EVERY RELIGION on the Earth is by FAR more of a cult than AA. Jeez.”

His next punch comes in with a standard appeal to authority argument. He cites his old-timer status as an implication that he is ‘right’, and he ‘knows more’. This shutdown technique works well within AA, but rings hollow to anyone on the outside. He infuses this with the condescending “Buddy”, and finishes it off the classic thought stopping “these are suggestions” slogan. He calls them “guidelines”, which was a nice twist.

“For those bashing AA and still drinking, sounds like you just are not ready yet. If you are not, then that’s all there is to it, you’re not. Not EVERYone that gets sober goes to AA, not everyone that goes to AA gets sober, this is not a pre-requisite. If you think you can quite and stay quite on your own then more power to you from everything I am – no matter the means (non-harmful) to quit drinking, if you are not like I once was, then it only makes me smile . If you think you cant quit “drinking hard but just drink here and there”, only think I could insert here would be a laugh-track from a TV comedy.”

“Everyone who goes to AA gets sober.”

Hmmmmmmm….I’m not so sure about this statistic.

“I was going to copy/paste/formulate replies, but then I realized the thread subject and quickly killed the thought of investing energy to such a laughable subject.

AA a cult, would that make NA the NWO?

Damn, I need a drink & a hit now. That counsellor still here? lol”

OK, this topic is too laughable to further his response. That stance lasted about five minutes, and he continued by responding to the idea that AA forced a god upon a person:

“10 years of AA and that’s the first I’ve heard that one.

Dude have you actually attended meetings? Or are you just going by what you’ve read?”

Another classic: Have you ever been to a meeting? If answered “no”, he thinks it proves his point, which it does not. I’ve never been to a Moonie meeting, but I believe that group to be a cult, simply by what I know about them. Let’s take a look at the logic in this question, because it is so commonly used. Not just by AA, but by Amway, Scientologists, Mormons, that crazy snake handling church; and just about any shady, cult-like outfit. What kind of sense does the idea that one has to be in a cult, to know whether it is a cult. Hell, if they are in it, they have no sense of reality. Sure, an AA is told it isn’t a cult; but they are also told they may pray to an oak tree, and it will help them stop drinking. Tom Cruise and those snake handlers don’t know they are batshit crazy, but we can see it.

“One is never forced to believe in ANY God. It is the way off AA to work that we believe I am just a nothing in this world, that I need help to kick the booze/drugs because I obviously could not do it alone. I have NEVER been to a meeting you speak of. If an Athiest wants to quit, he is advised that the belief in “something” greater than he is exists. even if a damn OAK TREE. I chose the Walnut tree in the backyard. It was by far greater than I, I couldn’t hit it and make it hurt, I couldn’t curse it and make it cry, I couldnt ram my truck into it and have anything other than a FUBAR’d truck. nothing to make it less than what it is – it was more than I, so I used it as my object of prayer that is needed for the 12 steps to work.”

OK. This paragraph is one of my favorites. He writes “nobody is forced to believe in ANY God”. I’m not sure why he capitalized “God” is he wasn’t referring to a specific (AA) god. Either this was a Freudian slip (likely), or he is too dumb to understand proper grammar (more likely, and in which case makes him dumb enough for AA). His point though, is that people aren’t forced to believe in a god. This is literally true. As with just about any any cult, they aren’t literally forced to accept anything, but they are coerced. This is what cults do. They use coercion tactics. Ninety meetings in ninety days, showering newcomers with love, thought stopping slogans and infallible doctrines are examples of coercion. Coercion happens over time, so a person is often unaware it is happening. If you were to stand next to a 78° swimming pool, and ask two people whether the water was cold – one who is dipping their foot in the water and the other who has been wading neck deep inside the pool – you will get two different answers. Cults, like a swimming pool, take some time to warm up to. Patricia Hearst didn’t rob a bank on the day she was kidnapped by SLA, but within a few months, she had been brainwashed to the degree that she thought a bank heist was a good idea. Often heard is an stepper saying something like “it took awhile before I finally ‘got it’, but when I did it made so much sense!”

Next, he states that an Oak Tree is a fine substitution for God. Don’t want God? Pray to an oak tree. It makes absolute sense! A group that forces you worship a god is definitely a cult, but a group that encourages you to worship an oak tree is not. There is an obvious difference there.

“As for the lawsuite – damn, is that your stock in “forcing god”?. Sounds like an alchy disgruntled of the whole aspect of AA, subsequently suing to get out of it. Or he went, tried, and failed – anger issues being vented. Mixed with – this is America, I can sue you (and in many courts win) because you said an org I attent is a cult. Supeona is in the mail.”

He is pulling out the old anger card again, and again he is doing what comes naturally to an AAer within AA. It becomes habit because it works. Calling someone “angry” in AA, especially from an old-timer, is sure fire shut down. The problem is, this logic doesn’t work with AA outsiders. Normal people get angry. Hell, even AAs get angry. They just can’t admit to being angry. Ironically, Misfit is sounding downright pissed off at this point.

“In any case – Niether AA nor NA have professed nor instructed that a belief in a God is pre-requisite. It would be pretty damn ignorant of an Athiest in recovery to tell a new person he HAS to believe in God. Ugh”

Misfit does believe in a god, only he doesn’t realize this. His religion is AA. His god is AA. His holy scripture is the ‘Big Book’ and the thought stopping, mind numbing dogma he can’t help but spew. Like AA, other cults accept people of all faiths, because they know over time the recruits will grow to believe the dogma.

Finally, after another poster inserts “oak tree” in the place of “God” in a couple of the steps to show Misfit the absurdity relying on a tree to remove one’s shortcomings, Misfit counters with:

“It’s not about the “who”, it’s about the “what”. The “what” is that we can not quit on our own, that we must surrender our addictions to somehting that is stronger than us. For many it is God, as they already believe in one, for me, it was as I stated. The simple act of asking for help, re-affirms to a mans thoughts that he can not do it alone. The act of asking for help instills strength in us.”

“The simple act of asking for help, re-affirms to a mans thoughts that he can not do it alone.”

This final paragraph, and this one specific quote, tells what the real objective is with these proxy gods. Nobody, including the hardcore AA zealots, really believes worshiping a tree or a rock makes any sense. These are just stand-ins until the AAer has drank the kool-aid. The purpose is to convince the person that they cannot “do it alone”. If you aren’t “doing it on your own”, then someone is doing it for you. Someone is behind the controls. For Misfit, that someone is AA.