WHAT PEOPLE HATE AND LIKE ABOUT A.A.
Truly once a man realizes that he has the power of choice and is responsible for all his decisions and actions he can no longer blame others for his own misery he now knows he alone has the ultimate power which is…TO TURN, WALK AWAY AND NOT LOOK BACK. HE HAS THAT RIGHT. If he hangs around for abuse that’s on him.
Leaving A.A. is a popular topic on the web.
These two links are to anti-12 step websites. These are created by disgruntled ex-A.A. and N.A. members. the Orange Papers site has allot of statistics true and balanced. The “leaving AA” site is more just a bitch session by people who either have been hurt by people in A.A or they are trying hard to rationalize their own inability to stay sober, you be the judge. Lord knows I know how guilt can wear on a person struggling to stay sober. If it keeps them feeling sane without really hurting anyone it’s ok I reckon, let them bitch and criticize with each other. They have a common bond at least.
I like to give a fair and balanced opinion about anything. Leave it to alcoholics and addicts to have to label things either all bad or all good. Addicts are notorious for wanting to put the “bad and wrong” label on anything they can. (myself included at times) However lets face it there are not many things in this world that are all bad or all good, in fact it is a rarity. Even a good thing can be overdone until it becomes bad. But when it comes to inanimate objects they are not usually bad in and of themselves. It’s the people that abuse and make inanimate objects bad.
However when it comes to people it is our actions that can be bad or good. To label a person all bad or all good again will usually be inaccurate. Granted there are some evil people out there who are bad but they even do some good things now and again right. But me as a person…well I am neither bad nor good I am just human. The 12 step programs meaning the 12 steps in their proper form ARE ABSOLUTELY GOOD. Who could possibly refute that except maybe someone who hates the “Higher Power” concept or resents God. A person who doesn’t understand the true and good 12 steps could easily call them bad.
From what I have read some people end up with oppressive and controlling sponsors in A.A. I don’t doubt that a bit. I have been a member of A.A. for ten years…this time. I have met the sick and controlling people. I have seen the closed-mindedness, the liars and the sick perverted sex offenders. But I have also seen and felt the love. I have experienced the magic. And I have fallen head over heals in love with AA for a time. But that white-washed view of AA had to tumble down from its pedestal. White-washing anything as all good is simply inaccurate. Pink clouds end but it did serve it’s purpose for me to begin my sober life.
What these sites (above links) comments say about A.A. is probably true on the most part. But what they are not saying is that they need to label A.A. bad because to them there is no such thing as something being both good and bad. IT MUST BE ONE OR THE OTHER THEY SCREAM!
So does A.A. really work? Well it appears that only 5% of newcomers will pick up a 1 year medallion and only 1.17% will pick up a 10 year medallion and 0.15% will pick up a 20 year medallion. Now that doesn’t mean that there are not allot of people that stay sober due to A.A. yet leave A.A. for one reason or another. I know some people who have learned the 12 steps and how to live them. They have people in their lives that they confide in and they are close to God… they don’t NEED the meetings when they have the program. Maybe others no longer need to sit in A.A. meetings absorbing the sick vibes of all those emotionally handicapped people who frankly don’t open up enough in meetings to get better. And with good reason. Quite possibly they would get shut down and criticized if they shared their hurts, fears, and worries the way that they should be encouraged to. Often members mistake the healthy need to vent about hurts and fears or process core issues by labeling that kind of emotional outpouring “character defect” and “self-pity”
If members could express core issues they would heal. If people would get real in the rooms more often and tell the sick and suffering addict that they understand and have felt that way too then the program would be much more effective. But instead some members sit like vultures in meetings waiting for someone to criticize. Emotionally abusive members use the A.A. cliche’s as if they were weapons to stab the un-knowledgeable newcomers with. Newcomers suffer while some members make it a fault-finding meeting rather than looking for the similarities and relating.
I have often wondered why is it some people want to make people feel better while others exist to make people feel inferior, degraded and wrong. If I were hurt by an A,A cliche’ that a member wielded at me as a newcomer, would I then wield that same cliche’ later when my self confidence returns? Wouldn’t I assess that the statement was hurtful to me therefore I would find another way to express a similar thought? However I do see people using the same tools that hurt them to hurt other people. It’s not surprising that many people just get tired of A.A.
Granted A.A is the perfect platform for a minister or counselor to catapult his career. Some groups will allow any member with 30 days sobriety to take meetings into jails and institutions. These people could have audience to hundreds of people in no time while they share their story and their own interpretation of what the 12 steps are and how to work them. Right or wrong if they are offering hope to the hopeless it’s good. Service work is a wonderful thing if it’s done with kindness. It does not take brash, and mean cliche’s to share the program of A.A.
Why are so many members so defensive when it comes to their 12 step program? That’s simple besides the fact that AA often produces miraculous results in one’s life, therefore gratitude and vigilant guardianship is common. But also in the addicts ego things are either good or bad (no diversity or grey area) so if someone points out one wrong thing with their A.A it means the entire program is bad, which in turn in the perception of an insecure addict makes themselves bad. An insecure man with low self-worth is defensive because he feels he needs to be to make himself look better…and if his program looks bad he looks bad.
Feeling we need to defend A.A. is akin to thinking we have to defend God Himself who clearly doesn’t need us for It’s defense, It is the almighty It needs no defending because no one can bring it down. Both God and A.A. I think the only one that could truly bring down the 12 steps and their programs would be He who established it to begin with (and I don’t mean Bill W. I mean God Itself, Himself, Herself. (Choose your own descriptive word.)