So many AAs have an amazing inability to introspect. We see it both here on this blog, and with real life AAs. Sometimes that comes out as comically ironic, as with an Angry AA who verbally tries to beat us into submission of the idea that we could have the same serenity he has (read: Tipsy McStaggar). Sometimes it comes out as pure hypocrisy, as with those who preach a program of brutal honesty, but teach manipulative, bait and switch recruiting tactics.
These examples are like my hair loss, being both sad and funny at the same time. What is not so funny is when a sociopathic or narcissistic personality rises to to top of the AA food chain, becoming both a sponsor and a revered member of the fellowship. AA is chock full of old-timers with a god complex, because it provides many with the respect that they lack in their regular, day to day lives of working at a used car lot or managing the local Taco Bell. The run of the mill old-timers provide their own brand of detriment to the world, but these sadistic assholes inflict more damage on individual members than your basic 13th stepper or self appointed AA psychologist could ever impose an individual. Case in point: Richard Babinski, a convicted rapist and murderer, who is unrepentant, and denies having raped and murdered a woman in front of her son. Not only does Babinski deny the crime, he is now claiming to be an Ojibwa Native, which provides special status (including legal status) in Canada.
AA has been the landing strip of many convicts who have made their exits from prison, and who got their AA starts while they were locked up. A lot of 12th stepping happens in the joint, which makes sense. I mean, what better place to find a captive audience of rock bottomed alkies than inside a prison. The program is also highly effective, at least while these folks are still locked away. Sure, moonshine is made behind prison walls, but it is damn near impossible drink habitually in a place where liquor is disallowed, and one’s living quarters are searched on a regular basis. I recently saw a show on the A&E network that profiled potential parolees, and one of the inmates profiled bragged to the board that he had been attending AA meetings, and he hadn’t had a drink in seven years, which was, by chance, the exact amount of time he had been locked up. Big deal! I haven’t had a blowfish in the past seven years, as they aren’t readily available. It doesn’t mean that Blowfish Anonymous would be of much benefit to me. AA is used to demonstrate a desire to rehabilitate, and to take time off of a prison sentence. This is absurd. Hell, I think AA is a crazy, ineffective cult, but I might participate in some of the meetings if I were in prison and trying to chalk up good time. The boredom alone might be enough entice me to a meeting or two. No doubt Mr Babinski is using AA as a “get out of jail free” card. Of course, he seems to have missed the part about brutal honesty and making amends, but as I’ve often been told: the steps are a process, not an event.
Now it seems that Mr Babinski has been speaking to community groups (read: outside AA groups), and he planned to speak to some school children. Nice. I’m not sure what his topic of discussions are, but I am assuming it isn’t “remorse”. My suggestion to him would be to change that, and at least fake remorse. That happens a lot in AA, like when a sponsor talks his subject into apologizing. Making amends is one of the steps in AA. The problem is, forced remorse is about as effective as when my fifth grade teacher, Ms Solomon (who was as sadistic as any AA old-timer I have ever met) grabbed me and led me by the ear to apologize to Becky Randles for pushing her. I did apologize, but it wasn’t too sincere. Really, all I wanted was to have Ms Solomon let go of my ear. True remorse requires empathy, and empathy cannot be taught. It is innate, and self learned by way of maturity. Now, as an adult, I’m sorry that I pushed Becky. I don’t push people anymore.
Fortunately, this creep’s attempt to speak to children’s groups has been denied. He shouldn’t fret over this, because he will one day be released, and when he is released, AA will be there waiting for him with open arms – with a chair for him to sit alongside others, including many women. There, he will be free to fulfill his narcissistic desire to speak to a group and be listened to, and he will be enveloped with same admiration given to any old-timer. AAs are keen on saying that AA does contain this element, but so does the rest of society. This is might be true, but the only organization which ever welcomed me as a member, who also welcomed sociopathic felons of every stripe, was Alcoholics Anonymous. AA does not mirror any group to which I have ever belonged, including society as a whole. Sure, society contains every element, but I can choose to avoid what I don’t like, and society has a way of screening out its criminal element. Ironically, that element that is segregated from the majority population by way of our prison system, is to a large degree eventually funneled into groups like NA or AA as part of a parolee’s release plan. Richard Babinski will fit in well when he is released.