Thursday, May 31, 2007

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

What if it is broken?
How do you tell if it's broken if you only look at the times it works?

As anyone who cares to read this blog knows, I want AA to change. Every time I bring up the subject, AA members tell me that AA ain't broke. But I think AA is broke — take that either way — every time a newcomer comes to a meeting and reaches out for help, and the newcomer does not find a way to stay sober in AA. Success can only be measured against failures, but AAs are unwilling to look at the people that are not helped by the Big Book, Higher Powers, and talk of spirituality. AA must expand and diversify its message.

A call recently went out from the General Service Office for groups in the United States to update their group information to show increases in members. The worry is that AA has not been gaining US members during the last few years, even though there are many unserved alcoholics. My worry is that the old-timey AA message has saturated its market. It has been accepted by everyone that can tolerate the Big Book and the 12 Step Goosesteppers.

My hope is that other alcoholics could be helped if we would tone down our high-toned skree. Help the alcoholic where they are at. When you push the Big Book and Steps, you virtually tell the drunk that AA won't help them unless they comply. And for that, you are responsible.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The best revenge...

is to live well.

Analysis of therapy suggested at AA meetings

Click the image to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sobriety without Big Book or Higher Power

I've struggled with AA since 1992. The talk of spirituality, God, Steps, and cultish devotion to the founding text raised the hackles of my sophisticated skepticism. For years, I suffered at AA meetings, thinking I was doing something wrong. I listened to brainbashing know-nothings and felt out of place. After years of this and an abusive alcoholic girlfriend, I found Al-Anon Family Groups, and I found that the difficulties I was having might not be my fault. Finally, I came through to a rational and human sobriety that involves no white knuckling.

I am tired of referring to myself negatively as an atheist. People who believe in God have the burden of proof on the question of God's existence. Those that don't believe in Santa Claus aren't called to answer for their lack of belief. My view is positive. I believe and trust in rational thought and human power to unravel fallacies and free up misused resources. I am a humanist and a rationalist. I believe in the healing power of rational thought, and I believe in pursuing and defending the values of cultured humanity.

My sobriety now (and at all times past) has come from my human understanding of my situation and does not involve a Higher Power. For many years, I played along with the people in AA and allowed myself to refer to Reality as my Higher Power (patently true but psychologically useless). I also let people convince me to refer to the "Group" as a Higher Power (dangerously close to cultism). All this talk about Higher Power always puts me in danger of pretending that I believe it's okay to believe in absurdities. But we believe in absurdities at the peril of wasting our lives and chances to do good (at the minimum) and culture war at the worst. Since there is no way to convince another person about your pet absurdity, you can either do it gently through repetition, advertisements, and hypnotism, or through violence. I do not want to be a part in overcoming another person's rational choice, therefore I will no longer use the term "Higher Power." I will also avoid the word "spiritual."

Let me stand up decidedly and state that the Group is NOT my Higher Power; I have no Higher Power. The Group has been helpful and harmful to my sobriety. I have learned to avoid certain members and fellowships out of wise concern for my serenity. Oftentimes, the Group is flat out wrong. When that happens, I don't feel that I must remain quiet or comply with rules I find morally repugnant. My own conscience, after seeking counsel from my peers, is the final word as far as I'm concerned.

I understand the attraction to believe in a Grandparent who oversees the world. We evolved in primate tribes that passed on the wisdom of forbears to their offspring. Part of our primate mind evolved to store the old wisdom of our ancestors. This part of our brain is accessible to us when we enter a psychological posture of a child and relax to listen to the distilled knowledge of our culture. Sometimes, this wisdom is very good - sometimes it is insane. But because this part of our brain received the wisdom of our beloved elders - the wisdom transmitted is always authoritative. It is important that we put correct information into this part of our brain, because the wisdom we receive from our God-brain is only as good as the knowledge and experience we put into our human-brain.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A REAL Einstein quote...

For those of you that are tired of the Internet drivel about Einstein's alleged refutation of the scary atheist professor who suggested that God must have created evil. (Einstein probably was that atheist professor.)
I would not think that philosophy and reason themselves will be man's guide in the foreseeable future; however, they will remain the most beautiful sanctuary as they have always been for the select few.

New Briggsmore Beach Post: The Euthyphro

I've posted an explanation of the uselessness of postulating supernatural entities to make humans do what we know to be right. You can find it at: