The 12 Steps

Go read this article by Paul A. Toth at The Nervous Breakdown:

Alcoholism, AA and the Medical Industry: Nationwide Malpractice

Toward the end of the comments section, the author poses a topic for discussion:

Question:If alcohol really is a disease, shouldn’t it primarily be treated by physicians?

No one seems to have engaged him on this question yet.


I lopped off the corner of my finger with a chef’s knife last night, so this post is gonna be a little clumsy. Typing is hard, but unpacking moving boxes is harder (I bashed my finger one too many times). I’ve been meaning to write about this for a couple of days, anyway… So, sorry about any half-formed thoughts and unedited messes to follow:

Aside from the appalling absurdity of the fact that the addictions treatment industry in this country has been co-opted by a juggernaut of quackery – by a program of spiritual awakening, for which sobriety is only a perk (or evidence that one has achieved enlightenment) – and is treated with all seriousness by conventional wisdom, which would never in a hojillion years put up with this kind of crap from any other branch of medicine, there is also the utter lunacy that it fosters among AA members and 12-Steppers, generated by the nebulous standard of transcendence called “Getting It.”

The 12-Steps are not a recipe for sobriety. They are a recipe for opening up a direct line to God, to whom you have turned over your will, so that you may now do his. But, as one poster over a SoberRecovery asked, How do you know what God’s will actually is? This is the essential question that newcomers to AA must ask themselves, because their recovery depends upon knowing the difference between one’s base desires and God’s will. (more…)

no defects!

Have you seen this man?

Steppers without Defects of Character

by Mykeru

The other night, after a small Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where the lead’s topic was “Using Your Higher Power”, I stood outside the venue, a nondescript building in Arlington, Virginia which might have once been some sort of school, but now functioned as a Baptist church, smoking a cigarette and talking to one of the more intelligent members of this group.

These moments, I think, are my real reason for being in AA: Just to talk to people, one-on-one, without reference to The Big Book or the pointless God-boggled self-loathing and infantile babbling that characterizes “sharing” within the AA meeting itself.

In AA a “Higher Power” is, at first, a pretty amorphous entity — a door knob, a bedpan, a “Group of Drunks” — right up to the point where it transmogrifies with a sleight-of-hand jolt into the easily petitioned, micro-managing, diaper-changing, Great Go-fer God of Bill Wilson’s Buchmanite imagination.

Despite the baited hook of nebulous “Higher Powers” Wilson makes the nature of this “higher power” unequivocal by page 46 of the Big Book: “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.”

“Which is God”. Not a doorknob “higher power”, not a God “as we understand Him”, but God.

Period. (more…)

So, this guy is studying to be an addictions counselor, and he writes in to the alcohol addiction specialist at AllExperts for help with his paper. This is his question:

Hi, Clyde.

I am studying to be certified as an addictions counselor.  So far, I am doing very well in my class about self-help groups, but I have run up against a wall.  My current assignment asks me to write a paper telling at which of the twelve steps a person is likely to suffer a relapse.  Also, I am asked to designate which of the steps are preparatory and which are treatment. I have spent hours looking for a source that would provide answers to these questions.  Any ideas?


Here’s a quote from Clyde’s reply: “When I hear a person’s fifth step my last question is always ‘Now what did you not tell me that you know already about your inventory that you won’t disclose?’  Invariably, those who say there is nothing will relapse; those that succeed will spill the secret.”

You can read the whole answer here .